125 E. 11th St. New York, NY
Lil Debbie Erin Manning
Like a pan of burnt brownies tossed in the trash, gone are the days of Kreayshawn collaborations and White Girl Mob drama, clearing the smoke for the Bay Area baker Lil Debbie to pursue her solo career. Between Riff Raff duets and colorful music videos on singles like “Bake a Cake,” “Slot Machine,” and “Ratchets,” Lil Debbie has proven she’s more than just a party persona, but a cake baking, gambling, and drug-taking fashionista and lifestyle influencer. She added fitness guru to the list most recently after releasing “Work the Middle,” the lead single off her upcoming EP California Sweetheart Pt. 2, which is slated for release on August 5th. The single itself has a much spicier hook than typical LD tracks and an all around fuller sound. If it’s any indication of the rest of her new shit, it’s gonna be so hot you’ll need an oven mitt.
Wiz Khalifa’s career hit a turning point in 2010 when the Pittsburgh native declined an invite to go on tour with Drake and instead headlined his own nationwide tour. Traveling across the country in support of his critically-acclaimed Kush & Orange Juice mixtape and monster single, “Black And Yellow,” off his then-upcoming album Rolling Papers, Wiz sold out all 50 dates. With a proven loyal fan base, Wiz showed the hip-hop world that he was ready to take the leap to superstardom.
In the four years since the landmark “Waken Baken”tour, Wiz dropped Rolling Papers, won best new artist at the 2011 BET Awards, released his second major label album, O.N.I.F.C., achieved platinum status with the single, “Work Hard, Play Hard,” married one of the most beautiful women in the game and had a healthy baby boy. Not many modern artists can say they have had as good a run.
Wiz’s current Under The Influence Of Music Tour has shown just how far the Taylor Gang head honcho has come. Co-headlining with Jeezy, Khalifa has been playing shows in arenas that fit tens of thousands of people and has appeared on some of the summer’s biggest festival stages as one of the main draws.
But for one night only, Wiz took it back to the Kush & Orange Juice days with an intimate concert at New York City’s Studio At Webster Hall. Hosted by SiriusXM’s hip-hop channel Shade 45 to help promote his upcoming album, Blacc Hollywood, Wiz invited 400 of his biggest fans for a high-energy show that, realistically, may never happen again.
Introduced by hip-hop radio legend Sway, who dubbed the rapper “one of the realest artists the game has ever seen,” a laid back Wiz touched the stage wearing white sunglasses complete with joint in hand. Backed by his band, “Kush & Orange Juice,” Khalifa began to reel off his growing catalogue of hits, beginning with the aforementioned “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Fittingly, Wiz then ran off a series of mixtape bangers including Kush & Orange Juice’s, “Mezmerized,” the Geto Boys cover, “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Taylor,” and Cabin Fever’s pulsating, “Taylor Gang.”
With the energy riding high, Trap Wiz made a cameo. Transitioning to cuts from 28 Grams like “James Bong,” Wiz showed off just how much range his music has. From there he ran through the fan favorite, “Black And Yellow,” and spit his verse from Mike WiLL Made It’s Miley Cyrus-featuring “23.”
Wiz then gave the fans in attendance a few tracks off of Blacc Hollywood. From the sound of it, the album will not stray from Wiz’s formula of bass-heavy beats with rhymes about smoking multiple joints, sex with multiple women, and hitting multiple clubs to party all night. While it has been done a thousand times by a thousand different rappers, Wiz has found his lane and keeps it fresh with a sound that is expected, but never boring.
Khalifa then closed the night with the Problem and Iamsu!-aided “Everything About Me,” the Snoop Dogg collab, “Young, Wild And Free,” and jumped into the crowd for the hit, “We Dem Boyz.” After an hour’s worth of hits, Wiz reminded everyone that it’s still Taylor Gang or Die. —Peter Walsh
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 30: Tyler Connolly of Theory of a Deadman performs for the SiriusXM’s Live Subscriber Event With Theory Of A Dead Man at The Studio At Webster Hall on July 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
THE Glasgow band jetted out Stateside on Friday morning ahead of their performances at LA’s Troubadour and New York’s Webster Hall Studio.
AS Twin Atlantic set off to the US to promote their forthcoming album, they tried to travel in true rock star style – by blagging an upgrade.
Glasgow’s Sam McTrusty, Barry McKenna, Craig Kneale and Ross McNae jetted out Stateside yesterday morning to perform shows at LA’s Troubadour on July 21 and New York’s Webster Hall Studio on July 24.
The gigs are a chance to preview songs from their new Gil Norton and Jacknife Lee-produced album Great Divide.
The prospect of travelling cattle class wasn’t quite what rock star – and Heat magazine hunk – lead singer Sam had in mind as he put out an appeal on Twitter before the flight for the lads to be upgraded to first class.
Taking heed of the phrase “God loves a trier”, he Tweeted: “The heat in London is solid preparation for leaving for LA tomorrow. Flying with @British_Airways … Hoping for an upgrade! Oww #upgradeTA”
Magnificently-bearded bandmate Ross McNae cheekily replied: “I’ll try and sort you out @sammctrusty. It’s always lonely up there without you. @British_Airways #upgradeTA”
Although it didn’t get to full trending status, the appeal seemed to be working as British Airways replied: “We hope you have a great flight.”
But while the boys have rocking out down to a T, their blagging needs work – Sam later replied to BA: “Me too! No #upgradeTA this time… I’m holding out for first-class on the way home my friends. Thanks.”
The lads looked in fine spirits as they posed for pics in the airport.
The band, who thrilled at T in the Park and Glastonbury, will also take part in the huge Ryder Cup Gala event at the SSE Hydro on September 24.
And they play three more intimate Scots dates next month – Liquid Room, Edinburgh on the 11th, The Ironworks, Inverness 12th, and Fat Sam’s Live, Dundee, the next night.
Single Brothers and Sisters is out on August 10, with album Great Divide a week later.
Sam admitted that making the album in a countryside studio in Wales gave him more of an insight into his bandmates’ lives.
He said: “All the things you thought you knew about everyone’s character traits become more extreme.
“Ross, for example, knows about ultimate relaxation and is always lying in the bath with candles. When we go on tour he opens his suitcase and it’s all ironed and packed, whereas ours is like a bust cabbage.”
Topshelf Records has put out a handful of excellent releases over the past few years, and this year four of its bands will head out on Topshelf’s first-ever label tour. The tour showcases how diverse the label is at the moment, with A Great Big Pile of Leaves who make chilled-out mathy indie pop not unlike Minus the Bear, Diamond Youth who have kind of a QOTSA-meets-Weezer thing going on, Prawn who do justice to Kinsella-style emo, and Field Mouse who mix shoegaze and ’90s-style alt-pop. The tour was announced earlier this month, but more dates have since been added including a NYC show happening October 2 at The Studio at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All dates are listed below.
Village Voice’s 4Knots Music festival is a fantastic experience.
Held at South Street Seaport, from 1-8 p.m. fans get to listen to great bands while surrounded by good food, cool games and a beer garden. You can’t beat that. The bands for the 4th Annual 4Knots Music Festival were Dinosaur Jr., Mac DeMarco, Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz, Radkey, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Juan Wauters, Re-TROS, and Dead Stars. But the real fun was later on at night.
The 4Knots Music Festival After Party featured young upstart YC the Cynic, 2014 XXL Freshman Jarren Benton and TDE member Ab-Soul at Webster Hall last night (July 12). YC the Cynic was a great opening act, displaying a lot of energy. After some technical difficulties and delays, out came Jarren Benton. A big amount of respect goes to the drummer. He came out with a clown mask that reminded you of the movie It. He couldn’t bring his drum set to Webster Hall so instead he used a bucket and two cymbals. Benton rattled off ”Billion Buck,” “My Grandma’s Basement” and “Move Back” with lighting speed. Seriously, the speed in which Benton raps is inhuman. Next he perform ”Skitzo,” a crowd favorite, while his hypemen threw around a yellow ballon with a smiley face on it. Benton followed up by jumping in the audience to perform “Gimme The Loot.” Crowd participation was the theme for Benton’s performance. He invited the entire front row of the audience onto the stage while he performed “Shut Up Bitch.”
Out next came the star of the night TDE’s Ab-Soul, turing the crowd into a frenzy while he shouted ”I just might be in your hood.” He started the night off with cuts off of Control System like “Track Two,” followed by “Pineal Gland” and “Terrorist Threats.” Fresh off the release of his new album These Days…, Soulo began to perform cuts off his newest project, beginning with the title track “These Days.” He was surprised when his buddy Mac Miller joined him on stage. Next was “Just Have Fun,” “Twact,” “Dub Sac” and ”Hunnid Stax,” which he performed with Mac Miller. His next surprise guest was Asaad and they performed ”Stigmata” together. The night was continued with Soul performing more hits and he continually thanked the crowd for attending. Everyone at Webster Hall was apart of the revolution.
Are there five more worrisome words in the world than “You guys like reggae music?”
Let’s face it — you’re probably not going to hear them at an actual reggae show, populated by reggae musicians and reggae fans. Better chance that they’re coming from the mouth of a beach bro, or someone who aspires to same, who fronts a band that has learned a few licks and wants to show off its open-eared perspective, dude. (A fire pit is optional.)
And so it went Thursday night at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall, where Nasri Atweh, the frontman of Magic!, asked that dreaded question not five minutes into his band’s set. It was there to celebrate the recent release of its debut album, “Don’t Kill the Magic” (RCA), and its single “Rude,” currently the No. 2 song on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Don’t Kill the Magic” is pleasant enough, a beige album full of music almost wholly lacking in ambition. It hits worldly notes without all the mess of actually having traveled. Its lite-reggae-rock is unerringly smooth, and unerring in general, with songs so casual and familiar they barely need to be written at all — maybe that’s a sign of skill at work, or just a plain old fact.
And liking Magic! doesn’t really involve liking Magic! at all — it means liking Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and Sublime and 311 and the Police and maybe liking the idea of legalizing marijuana.
Mr. Atweh, who as a writer and producer has worked with the likes of Justin Bieber and Chris Brown, seems to understand just how preposterous a proposition this all is. He’s a wry frontman who never pushes his unexceptional voice past where it can naturally go. The rest of the band — Mark Pellizzer on guitar, Ben Spivak on bass, Alex Tanas on drums — is game but modest.
They offered a couple of covers — a schlocky version of Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” and a take on Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” that kicked off with Mr. Spivak’s loping bass line from Chapter 2 or 3 of the lesson book.
“Rude,” its hit, is about asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage and being rejected, and it’s one of the band’s better and more complex songs. When the band closed its set with it, Mr. Atweh asked that the house lights be raised so he could see people singing along.
That gave some shaded meaning to another of the band’s songs, one with a title that poses a potentially more troubling question: “How Do You Want to Be Remembered.” (No question mark needed, apparently, so powerful is this idea.)
Before playing it Mr. Atweh thanked the people from his record label — “We want to be remembered as your teammates in this great journey” — then picked up an acoustic guitar and sat down on a stool, and the band got mellow. So mellow that the volume of chatter in the room got loud, louder at points than the group itself, which fought back with a muscular rock-steady groove but was still defeated.
Maybe, for a band, there are five words that are even more worrisome: What was your name again?
In the last 18 months, the Swedish rapper Yung Lean — a child of the Internet made real — has evolved from suburban ennui to performance art to straight-up commodity.
The turning point came late last year, around the release of “Kyoto,” the first single from his forthcoming album “Unknown Memory.” In the video, the dry, eccentric rapper drives an ATV, rides in a tiny boat, and watches U.F.O.s, while rapping seminonsensical boasts over keening, spooky production: “S-A-D-B-O-Y-S/ See me in the club with it tatted on my chest.”
Early Yung Lean was a fascinating curio. In one online video after the next, he stood awkwardly and rapped, gesticulating as if robotically reperforming what he’d seen in endless rap videos. The videos evolve over time, showing the path from a boy to something like a man. He looks at the camera more. His pose becomes more convincing. He ceases to be a commentator on the form, and becomes a practitioner.
And in fact, the small pitbull of a rapper on stage at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall in New York on Wednesday night was a far cry from the awkward-looking kid in the “Ginseng Strip 2002” video. He was there for a pair of sold-out shows, his first in this country.
From Stockholm, Yung Lean is a reminder that the new hip-hop underground isn’t geographically or racially specific in any way — a 17-year-old Swedish kid can rack up millions of YouTube views and SoundCloud plays without making so much as a ripple in the mainstream hip-hop world.
It’s a potent reminder that success as a rapper no longer requires traditional hip-hop gatekeepers. For some perspective on how white participation in hip-hop has changed over the years, all one had to do was look over at the roped-off section near stage left. There during the first set was the actor Michael Rapaport, who practically pioneered the hip-hop generation’s trying-to-be-down, white-boy-at-war archetype in the 1992 film “Zebrahead,” and who was here because his son is a Yung Lean fan.
But Yung Lean doesn’t exist in a vacuum. He’s a pastiche of the first wave of Tumblr-influenced meme-rap: some of Lil B’s lyrical repetition and absurdity; the epic, muddled atmospherics of Main Attrakionz and Clams Casino; and oodles of familiar tropes of mainstream rap excess, from sex to drugs. His work isn’t a sendup of hip-hop materialism so much as a fun-house mirror version of it.
In one old promotional photo, he wore a do-rag and held a jug of Arizona Iced Tea, which also pops up often in his lyrics. Somehow, the company got wind of his brand loyalty and offered to sponsor this show, handing out free drinks and sunglasses to fans as they arrived. The drink special for the night was a $7 vodka and Arizona cocktail.
This was something like a real rap concert, and Yung Lean has built something like a real rap career — a collaboration with Yung Gleesh, a beef with Spaceghostpurrp, and a clique with a name, Sad Boys, that’s a pointed repudiation of familiar hip-hop braggadocio, even if that’s exactly the sort of thing Yung Lean offers more often than not. (One of the recent Sad Boys T-shirts uses a font not unlike that of the Ruff Ryders logo.)
Even when he’s pedestrian, the production on his songs — by the likes of Yung Gud and Yung Sherman — isn’t. Typically buffeted by a thick, viscous low-end, it filled the room here, often obscuring his rapping, which used to be lethargic and spacey, but is now pugnacious and bumpy. Listen to him without knowing his back story, and he can read as pretty straightforward, and possibly even translatable to a broader, mainstream hip-hop audience. (Hey, in an Iggy Azalea world, anything is possible.) The fans here were longtime devotees, rapping every word, but Yung Lean is the rare purveyor of outsider hip-hop who almost could pass for an insider.
Maybe Yung Lean had gotten more comfortable after the rapturous response he received from the first set, because the night’s second set, which began well after midnight, was far rowdier, with Yung Lean rapping harder and louder than before. At one point he called for the crowd to part for a mosh pit; in the middle of it, one stocky young man screamed out “Sadddd Boysssss!”
By the time Yung Lean got to “Yoshi City,” near the end of his set, the stage was chaotic, teeming with dozens of people, with more pushing their way on. Midway through the song, a dweeby-looking young man in black reading glasses and a Sad Boys T-shirt crept to the front of the stage and started doing a nervous shimmy combined with a twitchy cooking dance.