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the interns’ Saturday Mix #5

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If we could just divert your attention away from The Bachelor for one moment, you might actually realise it’s the freakin’ weekend and it’s time for mummy and daddy to come out to play. Remember kids, you don’t make friends with salad and with people with shitty music taste. Always come musically prepared for the weekend.

Promnite – Triple J Mix Up Exclusive: Music to get your freak on

Twerk baby twerk. Before you have time to scream “I.G.G.Y”, you will grinding up against your boyfriend, your best friend or any intimate object which will let you make that booty clap. Prepare your thighs for a work out, cause tonight you are going to freak out harder than Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/promnitebeats/triple-j-mix-up-exclusive-promnite-60-minute-mix[/soundcloud]

Motez – Splash House Mix: Music to shop to

You’ve just been paid and you deserve to treat yourself. What you do not deserve however, is to have annoying retail assistants and weekend shoppers cramping your style. Pop this baby in your ears and wonder down the high street with ease, with a spring in your step even. Motez will give you the retail therapy you need.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/tonicollision/us-tour-splash-house-mix?in=the-in-terns/sets/throwaway-thursday[/soundcloud]

Twonk Team – Mixtape: Music to cause mayhem

It’s time to hit the streets and make yourself look and sound so much cooler than you really are. You ain’t no SuperBad drop-out any more, prepare to turn it up – if you wake up with an unknown tattoo on your forearm do not be surprised, you are a badArse now.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/twonkworld/twonk-team-volume-4[/soundcloud]

Richie Hawtin – Essential Mix Live, Ibiza: Ain’t nobody listen to techno

It seems like everyone is in Ibiza right now. The Kardashian clan, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Leo Di Caprio, Linsday, Beiber – you name it, the gang is all there fresh out of their recent rehab stints! It then seems fitting that we brought a bit of that sun-kissed party vibe to remedy your Winter blues. Don’t shy away from the techno, it’s just a harmless bit of fun, just don’t expect to surface for a few hours…or days cause this mix is set to pack more of a punch than Orlando Bloom on a dinner date. “What’s up bitch?”

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/everybodywantstobethedj/richie-hawtin-essential-mix-live-enter-space-ibiza-2014-08-02[/soundcloud]

Sophie et al – Dismagazine on Rinse: Music to turbo charge

Everybody loves a bit of life admin, but when you have a million jobs to do and half a day to complete them – everybody needs a little energiser bunny to help them on their memory way. [Cue Sophie Et Al]. If your head doesn’t explode from this glorious PC Music mix, then you are in the clear and hopefully able to clean your room, do the washing, call your mother, wash the car and file your tax return in 20 minutes flat.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/rinsefm/dis310714[/soundcloud]

 

 

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How Ariana Grande became a Pop Princess and an Alternative Darling

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Last month when Pitchfork awarded Ariana Grande her second ‘Best New Music’ stamp for Break Free, there were a lot of people left confused. The Best New Music award on Pitchfork is usually reserved for Sufjan Stevens and Vampire Weekend types, rarely gifted to Nickelodeon child stars turned popstars.  While many have their theories, it seems regardless Ariana Grande has won over alternative media everywhere. Not just Pitchfork, but the blogosphere in general has decided to turn a blind eye to her status as a pop princess and hail the second coming of Mariah Carey.

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Grande first found fame on Nickelodeon’s Victorious as Cat Valentine. Last year, she made her ascent to pop royalty, releasing her first album Yours Truly. The album went to number one in the US and spawned a top ten single with The Way. The album received lukewarm reviews with many hailing it more for its promise than its present merit. With pipes like a young Mariah Carey and a ‘90s RnB sheen, the 21 year-old had most impressed.

This year she’s poised to release her sophomore album, My Everything, off the back of her US number two single, Problem with Iggy Azalea. The CEO of her label, Republic Records, Monte Lipman said of Grande, “she has this wildly successful fan base on the Internet unlike anything we’ve seen in some time”. And it’s being seen. On Twitter she’s got 17.1 million followers and the video for Problem has received 110 million views in just over two months. From Pitchfork-reading hipsters to delirious teen fans, it seems Grande has everyone a little starry eyed.

Below are a number of reasons why we think she’s managing to crack the mainstream and alternative markets:

RnB is kind of in right now ICYMI and Ariana knows it

Following a golden-age in which Janet, Mariah, Ciara, Ashanti and more prospered, RnB has took a back seat for much of the late 00s. It’s revival has been bubbling away on blogs for the better part of two years but this year it seems to be back in the mainstream. Pharrell has had a big part in that, as has Beyonce’s self-titled record and a few big RnB voice, one of them being Ariana.

Her first record and Problem were unapologetic throwbacks to the golden days of Mariah Carey and have, as such, put her on the radar of alternative media championing the 90s RnB revival and on the charts. With critics, in particular, RnB has become a very flavoursome genre. According to Any Decent Music, Pitchfork gave the most positive review of the latest Mariah Carey album, Me. I Am Mariah, saying “she’s rarely sounded as comfortable”. The fact that Ariana arrived with an RnB debut Yours Truly puts her right in the centre of RnB’s renaissance without having to change her sound at all.

She’s working with interesting producers

The RnB renaissance has been made particularly interesting by the prevalence of the genre within electronica. Kaytranada, Ryan Hemsworth and Shlohmo have made a name through sleek, mid-tempo originals and skittering remixes of tracks by Janet, Jeremih and Beyonce.

How does this have anything to do with Ariana? Be My Baby off her forthcoming record was produced by Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat. It’s a distinctly forward thinking move by Grande’s team who have clearly recognised what less mainstream producers like Two Inch Punch, Shlohmo and Dev Hynes have done for popstars (namely Sam Smith, Jeremih and Solange). Cashmere Cat’s remix of Miguel’s Do You Like Drugs? demonstrated how will his trap-inspired beat work meshed with soulful voices.

Elsewhere on the album she’s worked with Benny Blanco who’s done a seamless job of giving artists like Jessie Ware and Sia. Zedd has also produced the second single, Break Free, and David Guetta has produced a song, One Last Time which should satisfy America’s EDM cravings. The Weeknd also has production credits as does Ryan Tedder which seems to automatically mean massive hit.

[soundcloud width=”700″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/waveleaks/ariana-grande-feat-zedd-break-free[/soundcloud]

It’s an eclectic bunch of producers, distinctly different from Yours Truly which was predominantly built by Veteran producer Babyface and The Rascals. It’s a collection of current and future hitmakers which shows that she and her team are aware of what’s going on in all facets of the music scene right now.

Max Martin is on board for the new album

There’s one more name that wasn’t mentioned above, because it’s probably the most important addition to the album. Swedish producer Max Martin has won the prestigious ASCAP songwriting prize consecutively for the last four years, writing for artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson. His hand on the album is not a guarantee of success but it’s a pretty good push in the right direction.

Proof of that is Problem produced by Martin. It’s a delectable, RnB-inspired pop song that twists the proven formula to deliver an all-guns-blazing verse with a hushed chorus. Despite its unpredictability, the song 438,000 copies in the US in its first week and topped the iTunes charts in more than 50 countries. Martin apparently came up with the pre-chorus melody and the horns which have become the songs defining feature.

Martin pops up on three more songs on the new album (including Break Free) which pretty much means there are three more songs with definite hit potential.

She’s taken a different path from TV star to popstar

It’s a well-trodden path that from children’s television to mature popstar. Many have tried and failed to break out of their mould and set the charts on fire. Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus are perhaps the two most successful but even they struggled. Lovato did a stint in rehab and Cyrus’ career was all but over following her mildly received, adult album Can’t Be Tamed. She’s gotten over that hurdle with 2013’s Bangerz.

Coming into the music scene as a Nickelodeon star, Grande’s first release was a boppy, sunshine-filled track called Put Your Hearts Up which received very little love from her fans and from Grande herself. She told Rolling Stones, “”It was geared toward kids and felt so inauthentic and fake. That was the worst moment of my life. For the video, they gave me a bad spray tan and put me in a princess dress and had me frolic around the street.”

In 2013 she returned with The Way featuring rapper Mac Miller and scored a number two hit in America and a number one album with Yours Truly. The video for The Way features Grande fully clad, mucking around with Miller in a way that reflected her age. She wasn’t explicitly presenting herself as a grown-up popstar, rather she was placing herself cleverly in-between her Nickelodeon roots and her desired popstar destination.

The album also cleverly oscillated between RnB throwbacks featuring rappers like Big Sean and pleasing piano ballads. As such, the conversation Grande growing too quickly or being risque has never really arisen. The process has been seemingly organic and as a result very much unpublicised.

The guests on My Everything are not your average pop features

There are seven featured artists on the forthcoming My Everything and while Pitchfork has labelled Iggy Azalea and Big Sean “no-talent stars” and Zedd is an EDM star, there are four which are very much of a more alternative taste. The aforementioned Cashmere Cat is one of those as well as Childish Gambino, A$AP Ferg and The Weeknd.

It looks like a move on her and her teams behalf to channel a current RnB sound with less-mainstream collaborators. Neither of those three have had a big chart hit and are much more likely to appeal to alternative blogs than mainstream fans. At this stage, Grande’s fame is enough to carry the album without big name guests. It’s a smart move that will once again see her coverage spread further than MTV. It should also be hoped that these names have been added for the benefit of the songs rather than for publicity.

There is one more name that has nearly been forgotten. None other than Harry Styles of One Direction fame (need it be said?) has co-written a track called Just A Little Bit of Your Heart. Just adorable. Truly adorable.

She’s paying Pitchfork

According to this Reddit post, Grande and her team have been paying alternative media for their coverage. The speculation is all kicked off by one user who asks in reaction to Pitchfork’s coverage, “I like a good pop song as much as the next guy but this shit is trash. Is anyone seeing something deeper here? Brings their credibility into question in my eyes, might be those radio $$ talkin.”

31 users have weighed in on the debate with some arguing that her team is paying the website because “long term critical praise is more effective than a quick hit”. There are a lot of $$$ signs thrown around but others dispel the rumour saying that the site is covering her because of “Decent voice – decent transitions – decently catchy – decent production”. One user writes it’s “because she’s a qt”. Sounds like they may be onto something.

She’s nailing nostalgia

Nostalgia is one of the most powerful emotions and often one of the most effective tools of marketing. Grande and her team have done an excellent job of touching on a number of nostalgic decades through her videos and music.

The video for Problem takes us straight back to the ‘70s with knee-high white boots, big hair and a general Austin Powers psychedelia. In the video for Baby I she’s firmly in the ‘90s with fluro coloured jackets and street-side hangs like those crazy kids from the ‘90s used to do. The track itself also heralds back to Mariah Carey’s golden days of Honey or Dreamlover. The ‘90s is the decade that Grande references the most frequently which is smart given that it is very much in vogue at the moment.

She has an Instagram full of dogs

There has been a lot of talk above about good taste but nothing solidifies Ariana’s good taste like her choice of dogs over cats. Her Instagram is full of pictures of her three dogs Coco, Toulouse and Ophelia who, of course, have their own Wikipedia pages. The dogs can do everything, as documented by her Instagram, from lying down to staring lovingly to sitting. It’s really quite a sight to see.

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I am now wondering why I bothered with the other reasons when this is all we really need. Ariana Grande is a committed Instagram dog fan and that is why she is adored by all, just like the loveable species themselves.

 

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The producers behind the biggest popstars

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It may surprise you, but Rihanna, Miley and Katy Perry are not the only ones in the studio penning and producing their hits. Below we take a look at the biggest, best and most promising producers in pop music today.

The Heavy-Weights

Pharrell

The man that almost need not be mentioned. Over the past year, Pharrell has reboosted his credentials, stemming from a feature on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. Since then he has released a solo album, Girl (and a fragrance) which reached number one in Australia and the UK and has had a worldwide number one single by way of Happy. Originally as part of The Neptunes (with Chad Hugo), Pharrell produced hits for All Saints, Backstreet Boys, Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z, Kelis, Janet Jackson, Snoop Dogg…can I stop now? In the past year alone he’s produced tracks on Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, Beyonce’s self-titled record, Kylie’s Kiss Me Once and Ed Sheeran’s X. While we may want to forget about it, he also produced Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.

Go to for: Funky, minimalist RnB tunes

Best production of 2014: His own track, Hunter

Career Highlight: Gwen StefaniHollaback Girl

Max Martin

Martin Sandberg (aka. Max Martin) may not be a name you’ve heard much of but he’s behind some of the biggest pop tracks of all time. The Swede has produced hits for Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and N’Sync but he is still just as relevant today. Recently he’s had writing and production credits on Katy Perry’s Roar, Ariana Grande’s Problem and Justin Bieber’s Beauty and the Beat just to name a few.

Go to for: Big, anthemic pop moments

Best production of 2014: Ariana GrandeProblem

Career Highlight: The Grammy-winning Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

Greg Kurstin

Greg Kurstin was a member of 90s alt-pop trio, Geggy Tah and is now a part of The Bird and The Bee but he’s undoubtedly better known for his work as a pop producer. The producer was attached to Kelly Clarkson’s mammoth Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) and also worked on Lily Allen’s debut album, Alright, Still and the following two, It’s Not Me, It’s You and Sheezus. Since then he’s worked with Kylie, Sia and Kesha. His work on more alternative works from Lykke Li, Tegan and Sara and The Shins indicate how multi-faceted Kurstin is.

Go to for: Melodic pop songs with an alternative tinge

Best production of 2014: SiaChandelier

Career Highlight: Ellie GouldingBurn or Lily AllenThe Fear

Dr. Luke

Lukasz Sebastian “Luke” Gottwald also known as Dr. Luke made a name for himself as Saturday Night Live’s house guitarist but since then he’s become one of the world’s biggest producers. Hits like Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl, Pink’s Who Knew and Jessie J’s Price Tag all have Dr. Luke’s fingerprints on them. More recently he gave way to Miley’s mammoth Wrecking Ball and Katy Perry’s Roar. It’s safe to say that Dr. Luke is one of the most demanded men in pop music right now. He also runs Kemosabe records which hosts the likes of Katy Perry, G.R.L and Kesha.

Go to for: Huge choruses

Best production of 2014: Nicki Minaj- Pills N Potions

Career Highlight: Surely being a part of Miley Cyrus’ Party In The USA

Benny Blanco

Benjamin Levin has been producing since 2007 and as such has collected an extraordinary amount of credentials. Beginning as a rapper, Blanco was mentored by Dr. Luke before producing tracks for Britney Spears, Jordin Sparks and Katy Perry in 2008. We’ll forgive him for working with Vanessa Hudgens and 3OH!3 because he’s produced songs like Rihanna’s Diamonds and Kesha’s We R Who We R and they are kind of pop gold. Of late, he’s been working with British producer, Two Inch Punch as BenZel.

Go to for: Big, radio friendly pop tunes

Best production of 2014: Jessie WareTough Love (as BenZel)

Career Highlight: RihannaDiamonds

The Sound of the Moment

Dev Hynes

Devonte Hynes is a chameleon. He’s performed as Lightspeed Champion, is now Blood Orange and produces under his own name. While he hasn’t had any huge chart success, his work as an alternative pop producer and given way to a funky, throwback sounds that is permeating non-mainstream pop. Originally producing for Florence and the Machine he went on to work with Solange on her 2012 True EP which gave way to Losing You. In that same year he produced Sky Ferreira’s Everything is Embarrassing which took her from being a wannabe to a cult hero. More recently he’s worked with Kylie and produced for the original Sugababes now known as Mutya Keisha Siobhan.

Go to for: Throwback alternative pop tunes

Best production of 2014: KylieCrystallize

Career Highlight: SolangeLosing You

Ariel Rechtshaid

Formerly a member of The Hippos and Foreign Born, American producer Ariel Rechtshaid has made a name for himself with glossy alternative tracks. He worked on Usher’s career-best Climax and has since worked with Sky Ferreira, Vampire Weekend, Charli XCX and Justin Bieber. Two of last years best LP’s, Haim’s Days Are Gone and Sky Ferreira’s Night Time, My Time were produced by Rechtshaid.

Go to for: A bit of direction while still retaining your personal shtick

Best production of 2014: He hasn’t done a lot this year yet but rumour has it he’s working on Madonna’s next album

Career Highlight: UsherClimax

Mike Will Made It

Some of you may know him as the name mentioned at the start of Miley Cyrus’We Can’t Stop but he’s far more than that. Michael Len Williams II is one of the most sought after producers at the minute for his brand of hip-hop/pop crossover. In the past year he’s produced for Jay Z, Ciara, Mariah Carey and of course, Miley as well as releasing his own solo material. His latest track, Buy The World features Future, Kendrick Lamar and Lil Wayne.

Go to for: Melodic hip-hop RnB tunes with pop hooks

Best production of 2014: FutureMove That Dope

Career Highlight: CiaraBody Party

The Up-and-Comers

Two Inch Punch

As indicated before, Ben Ash (aka. Two Inch Punch) is one half of BenZel with Benny Blanco but he’s also done some pretty impressive stuff on his own. He had a big part in the success of Sam Smith, producing Nirvana and the UK number one single, Money On My Mind. He also produced Life Support off his debut album In The Lonely Hour. He’s also recently produced Rudimental collaborator Becky Hill’s track Caution to the Wind. If you’re an aritst attempting to oscillate between the alternative and the mainstream it seems you should look no further than Two Inch Punch.

Go to for: A less obvious take on pop music

Best production of 2014: Sam SmithMoney On My MInd

Career HighlightSam SmithMoney On My Mind

Shlohmo

LA producer, Shlohmo is probably best known for his remixes and original tracks but as a producer he’s proving to have some serious chops. You only have to listen to No More, his collaborative EP with Jeremih, to realise that his balance between electronica and RnB is unparalleled. While that EP doesn’t have a lot of mainstream appeal, his production on BANKSBrain most certainly does.

Go to for: Skittering RnB

Best production of 2014: BANKSBrain

Career Highlight: Jeremih- Bo Peep

Detail

Noel Fisher, otherwise known as American producer, Detail may have been producing since 2007 but last year was the best year of his career. 2013 saw him producer Beyonce’s Drunk In Love and Jealous while also waving his magic over Drake’s Own It and 305 To My City. Brooding, smokey RnB/Hip-hop tracks seem to be his flavour which is perfect because it seems to be everybody’s flavour right now. This year he produced Jennifer Lopez’s criminally unrecognised, I Luh Ya Papi.

Go to for: Mid-tempo Hip-Hop/RnB that breathes

Best production of 2014Jennifer Lopez-I Luh Ya Papi

Career Highlight: Beyonce- Drunk In Love (Feat. Jay Z)

BOOTS

When Beyonce’s self-titled album came out at the end of last year, BOOTS (aka. Jordy Asher) was an enigmatic, unknown producer. He signed a publishing deal with Roc Nation in June 2013 and produced eight of the 14 songs on Beyonce including Drunk In Love and Partition. Since then he’s released a mixtape, WinterSpringSummerFall but hasn’t had production credits on anything else. Surely, most artists in the world are clamouring to work with BOOTS.

Go to for: Genre-pushing RnB

Best production of 2014: His own track Howl/ Your Move

Career Highlight: BeyonceDrunk In Love

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City Spotlight: Chicago

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City spotlight is a bi-weekly feature where the interns go behind a particular city looking to uncover its musical trends and cool hangs.  This week we’re taking a trip to the current rap capital of the US – Chicago, Illinois. 

Ok, so we admit defeat. It seems all roads lead back to Chicago. From our feature on the faces of Future R&B to last weeks round up of Chicago rappers, inspired by Vic Mensa‘s new track Feel That,  to songs from Chicago-based artists regularly being devoured at our First Impressions table or featuring on our Top 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week lists. We just can’t get enough of the Chicago scene at the moment. With that in mind, it seems only fitting Chicago takes the limelight in our second instalment of City Spotlight. Be warned, the following is a hyperlinked minefield.

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the interns Saturday Mix #4

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Hold the phone, did someone say weekend!? It’s time to switch off the Blackberry, call the babysitter and put your party knickers on because Saturday is here and the interns’ mix is not going to let you stay indoors tonight watching Friends re-runs.

Major Lazer – Royal Speaking: Songs to hang with Mary Jane

Note: the interns do not condone the use of illegal drugs.

But Let’s just say you wanted to go green this weekend. And let’s hypothetically say, you need a token music mix to wake and bake or do some garden weeding to. Why don’t you hash out the idea of using this Major Lazer Jamaican jam? That ok with you, bud? If I said ‘People Everyday’ by Arrested Development was in the mix, would that spark up your interest?

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/majorlazer/royallyspeaking[/soundcloud]

Digitalism – In Session: Songs to bring back electro

How good was 2007 for dance music!? Daft punk toured the globe with their Alive tour, Justice, Boys Noize and Sulwax bought us dance hit after dance hit, and Digitalism fed our musical taste buds with their debut album ‘Idealism.’ This mix is a culmination of the old goodies and some fresh new head-bangers. It is the perfect mix of punchy, mischievous and dancey nostalgia to remind us all how electro is done properly.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/mixmag-1/in-session-digitalism[/soundcloud]

Moby – DJ Mix / July 2014: Songs to take the new car for a spin

“Moby, you can get stomped by Obie, you 36 year old bald headed fag blow me
You don’t know me, you’re too old let go its over, nobody listens to techno.”

That guy that Eminem loved to diss, you remember him? Well, Daddy’s got a brand new car sound and he wants to take it for a spin around the block. Whether it is your mum’s Suzuki Swift, your sister’s Barina or your new sexy new Mercedes – windows down please, and subwoofers out. The local council are going to hate you tonight.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/moby/dj-mix-july-2014-electro[/soundcloud]

Karman – LFTF Mix: One for the ups and downs

This mix is going to get the blood pumping through the highs and lows of your relationship. We all know how it goes, one minute you are looking into their eyes, their beautiful soul – that’s a special moment.

Next moment you are at each other’s throats, threatening to change your Facebook relationship status.

Then you are all over each other again, grinding, kissing and loved-up like nothing ever happened.

All in the span of about 2 hours.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/liveforthefunk/karman-lftf-mix[/soundcloud]

Jamie xx and Friends – BBC Radio 1: Songs to stay in bed for

Sunday morning has arrived. Stay right where you are, put your phone on silent and spend the next hour warm and cosy with this old faithful sound. Jamie xx does not judge if you are big spoon or little spoon. He does not throw prejudice over what you did the night before. This well-curated mix is here to let you just slide into the back-end of your weekend with ease and relaxation.

Listen to the “it’s too cold outside to move” mix here

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Chiraq or Chi-Town? Choose Your Own Chicago

chooseyourown

A strangely anchoring dichotomy lies at the heart of Chicago’s hip-hop music scene, from which the most segregated and violent city in the United States pivots, bends, twists and turns itself around, looping together a rich tapestry of talent and cultural diversity.

One need only blink in the direction of the vastly differing career trajectories of Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, two of the city’s hip-hop alumni, in order to realise this is a scene, filled with rules, codes and boundaries, yet undeniably open to contradiction and false word. Say what? On the one side stands self-proclaimed Messiah, Kanye, having irrevocably changed the face of hip-hop and R&B all the while *insert any one his “oh he just being Kanye,” antics here.* While on the other stands a comparatively humble Lupe Fiasco, conscious hip-hop advocate who takes advantage his position as a lyricist in the limelight to excoriate corporate America for its gas-guzzling tastes and establish youth empowerment initiatives.

Even the city’s latest YouTube-sensation-come-dance craze, “Bopping,” embodies the city’s unwillingness to present a unified whole other than in its collective and total abandonment of that very notion. Made famous by Lil Kemo’s appearance in Drill artist, King Louie’s video for My Niggaz, bopping, with its frenetic footwork on the bottom and loose freestyle of elbows and shoulder shrugs on top is, as Meagan Garvey notes, business on the bottom and party on top. 

In light of Vic Mensa’s new track, Feel That, come with us as we look at four of the cities male hip-hop artists, taking over from the Kanye’s and the Lupe’s and forging a path of their own. 

Young Chop 

19 year old producer Young Chop, is an embodiment of the unlikely collisions that happen in the windy city. Credited with essentially creating the city’s prominent, hyper-masculine and violent Drill scene from a desktop computer in his mother’s home, a gang-affiliation free, straight-edged and clean-record Young Chop can be seen being driven around the south of Chicago by his mum in the Beemer he paid for, and, despite having ventured to Paris to collaborate with Kanye West on the latest Pusha T album, had never been to The Chicago Bean before Vice forced him up town on a webisode of Chiraq. A true demonstration of just how racially and socio-economically segregated Chicago can be. Now signed to Warner Records, Young Chop is one of the most sought after hip-hop producers in the western world, and has been an integral cog in the sky rocketing career of Bieber from the wrong side of the tracks, Chief Keef. Producing songs for the 3 Hunna member like I Don’t Like, Love Sosa, and of course, 3 Hunna. Young Chop has gone on to collaborate with Big Sean, Soulja Boy, Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and Travi$ Scott.

Chief Keef 

This kid. If you know anything about the Drill music currently pouring out of Chicago, it’s likely that you’re also acquainted, almost to the point of exhaustion, with Gucci-flashing, dread lock-sucking, belt-enthusiast, Chief Keef. At a mere 17 years old, Keef is the face, inspiration and indeed pin-cushion of the entire movement. Having hit Young Chop up on Facebook, while on house arrest in his grandmother’s living room the two collaborated on his 2012’s album Finally Rich. A boy of few words, Keef is also the semi-absent star of Vice’s 8-part web series Chiraq and gained even more exposure when Pitchfork took him to shooting range for their interview, whereby violating the conditions of his parole. Keef represents a reality of Chicago often neglected by the media, and outsiders. A reality of projects and extreme poverty, in which guns are prevalent, death is old news and gang-affiliations everything. It’s a world in which reality and social-media seamless collide; Twitter is one’s jury and cases are fought on the streets, often resulting in real loss and heartache. Now signed with Interscope Records, Keef has performed and produced with the likes of Drake, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, 50 Cent and fellow drill artists Lil Durk, King Louie and Lil Reese.

Chance The Rapper 

Unlike the “brawl out,” gun-toting, motherF*&King spits of Chief Keef and his Drill affiliations, so intimately entwined in the city’s gang wars and gun violence, 20 year old classicist, Chancelor Bennett, aka, Chance the Rapper, offers us a different perspective on the same place called home, reminding us instead of Chicago’s soulful history with his rich textures and smooth rap throwbacks. Since his first mixtape 10 Day, partially recorded while on a 10 day suspension from high school, Chance’s second mixtape Acid Rap, filled with acid jazz sounds, and equal parts Eminem / Kanye references, has graced multiple “Best” lists, including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Complex Magazine’s. He has collaborated with the likes of future R&B stars, SZA and Tinashe, Childish Gambino, Joey Badass and fellow savemoney crew member Vic Mensa.

Vic Mensa

Off the back of the colossal popularity of his first solo mixtape Innantape that debuted earlier this year, Chicago local, and savemoney member, Vic Mensa has been touring with the likes of Disclosure and Danny Brown. Since turning his back on band Kids These Days and a shiny label deal, Mensa’s solo career has gone from strength to strength but it’s unlikely the bourgeoning superstar will be satisfied until he’s “earning more money than his dad.” Recently, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League producer, Cottontale, told The Fader “Mensa’s the rare talent who can write, produce and sing with equal flair. I don’t think he’s just a writer and rapper. He’s definitely a producer in his own right. He has a lot of potential.” Telling of the camaraderie that exists at the centre of Chicago’s hip-hop scene, Drill or otherwise, Mensa also appeared on an episode of Vice’s Chiraq, attempting to gather enough money to post bail for fellow savemoney crew member, the aptly titled, Joey Purp. That’s love.

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Throwaway Thursday 17 July

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This will probably mean nothing to you all because you’re all cashed up on tax returns and dropping a bucket of cash on iTunes, but if that’s true you’re most likely downloading the new Madden Brothers‘ song. So, in the interest of improving your iTunes library, here are some great tunes that happen to be free.

This week we’ve got a bunch of stuff that errs on the dancey side and are  available to download for free. A-Trak has remixed Foster The People’s Best Friend which will ready you for their mighty Splendour in the Grass set next week. Throttle have also done a disco-inspired remix of Sam Smith’s mammoth hit Stay With Me while GANZ has flipped Alison Wonderland’s pumping track, I Want U. Rome Fortune’s second collaboration with Four Tet, Lights Low, is also worth a listen and download.

You’ll want to clear a space around you for this one, pop some headphones on and get ready to dance. The best part is free also means freedom. Download these tunes and listen to them without a Wi-Fi connection, just like the old days (circa 2005).

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/throwaway-thursdays-17-july[/soundcloud]

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Festivals and the Tech Experience

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When Woodstock started in 1969, the festival experience was all about music (and peace). Since then, things have changed a little. With the meteoric rise of music festival popularity, organisers have challenged themselves as to how much the experience can be enhanced. Unable to hand out free drugs, technology has become a festival drawcard. From websites, to gadgets, phone apps and wristbands, here are some of the nerdy cool technologies which are set to pimp out our festivals in 2014.

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Tomorrowland (Belgium) – Friendship bracelets

Live music has this incredible knack of bringing strangers together to bask in momentary friendship, however sometimes you do not have the time or the resources to connect digitally with someone when you want. This July, a little town in Belgium called Boom will play host to the biggest friend-making party the world has ever seen. With attendees from 214 countries, a higher number than those who participated in the London Olympics (204 nations), the organisers of EDM festival Tomorrowland have developed Facebook wristbands which ensure you never have the “one that got away” experience ever again. The concept is quite simple – these wristbands not only store all your information for entry for the festival, but they also serve a social purpose by housing your Facebook account details as well. All you have to do, should you meet an awesome new friend at the festival, is push the love heart button on your wristband and a Friend request will be sent. We’re not quite sure if remembering your festival one night stand is a good or bad thing.

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Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas) – Snapchat ‘Our Story’

It seems like everyone in social media wants a piece of the music festival pie, and this year’s Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas saw the Snapchat rise to new heights with the debut of ‘Our EDC Story’. While Snapchat previously allowed users to share their snaps with connected friends, ‘Our Story’ is a a group-sharing feature which encourages all the users in the same location for a single event to upload their photos collectively and publicly. The end result? An awesome highlight reel of shots collected and compiled by Snapchat from hundreds of different vantage points. And jealousy ensues…

 

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Lollapalooza (Chicago) – No cash, no worries!

There is no need to worry about lugging your spare change around a festival any more, because this year’s Lollapalooza is offering festival goers wearable tech that can be linked to their credit and debit card information. Similar to Disneyland’s successful MagicBands, these festival wristbands can be “tapped” to radio frequency identification (RFID) vendor terminals. Once you enter a pin you’re ready to go! This form of wearable payment allows festival patrons to pay for food, drinks and merchandise without cash or card. No more getting down on your hands and knees in the mud to look for that darn credit card. 

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OPPIKOPPI (South Africa) – Beer Delivery Drones

At Oppikoppi festival, an annual festival held in the Limpopo Province of South Africa in August, beer delivery is always a problem. Festival organisers however, have sought to tackle this universal problem, and instead of standing in long queues or leaving your great spot in the crowd, attendees will able to order beer on their smart phone, to be delivered by a flying drone.  These drone prototypes can drop cold brews to festival goers from the air via a parachute, based on the GPS location of their smart phone. Right now, the system is guided by hand, but in the future there are plans to guide it on a GPS grid. Cheers to that!

 

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SXSW (Texas) – Lightwave technology

This year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) featured its own touch of technological genius with the introduction of Lightwave technology that enabled lasers and special effects through the use of wearable wristbands. The Lightwave technology measures audience interaction in real time, converting data to art – collating audience members’ biometrics by tracking them with motion, volume and temperature sensors. Sponsored by Pepsi and with a special appearance by DJ A-Trak, Lightwave bands were linked to user’s individual accounts with audience interaction ranked on a screen. Certain levels of dance interaction ‘unlocked’ rewards, such as Pepsi refreshments.

 

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Coachella Music Festival (Palm Springs) – Bluetooth and Spotify

Who could forget the epic technology behind the Tupac hologram at Coachella in 2012. This beautiful-people festival is renowned for pushing the boundaries on and off stage. Earlier this year, the festival used Bluetooth-enabled micro-location technology, iBeacon, to deliver proximity-based information, navigation and notifications to festival attendees. Spotify also teamed up with Coachella for the We Were There campaign – an interactive experience that allowed attendees to use their wristbands to collect songs and playlists that they could later compile and share with friends via an interactive map.

 

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