Desiigner On Why He Signed To Kanye, Kanye Using ‘Panda’ On ‘The Life Of Pablo’

In this clip, Desiigner reflects back on being recruited by numerous record labels and being offered several multi-million dollar contracts. From there, the 25-year-old talks about receiving a phone call from Kanye West about using “Panda” for his album called “The Life of Pablo” and signing with his G.O.O.D. music imprint. He goes on talk about how good it felt to give back to the Brooklyn housing projects where he was raised.

Illmind On Producing For Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Drake, J. Cole And Travis Scott (Full Interview)

In this full-length interview, Illmind shares his thoughts on winning two Grammy awards, the depths of his music catalog moving to Brooklyn about 12 years ago, and the way in which J Dilla inspired his style as a music producer. From there, the 41-year-old reflects back on working with 50 Cent and G-Unit for the first time before sharing what it was like to work with Lin Manuel on the soundtrack for “Moana” and the “Hamilton Mixtape.” As the discussion moves along, the New Jersey native shares his thoughts on why Kanye West chose to boycott the Grammys this year. Lastly, Ill Mind talks about working with heavy hitters such as Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z, and Beyonce.

Illmind On Kanye Giving Him His Big Break, Signing With G-Unit During 50 Cent’s Prime, Reveals Price For Beats

Illmind came through for his first-ever VladTV interview, where he spoke about growing up in New Jersey, but having a strong connection to New York. He then spoke about J Dilla inspiring him to become a producer, and Illmind revealed that he copied J Dilla’s beats to learn how to make them and start producing. Moving along, Illmind opened up about 50 Cent’s “Make a Movie Out of Em” being the break-out song that he worked on, and he added that “The Morning” on GOOD Music’s “Cruel Summer” was another turning point in his career. After speaking about working with Little Brother, Illmind detailed getting a production management deal with G-Unit as 50 Cent was on top of his career. To hear more, including Illmind speaking about working with 50 Cent in the studio, hit the above clip.

In this clip, Illmind reflects back on signing a publishing deal that he should not have signed back in 2010. The iconic record producer states that the he signed the contract out of desperation because he needed the money. He also shares that anyone who intends on signing a publishing deal should get a lawyer first. From there, the New Jersey native reveals that he used to sell hip-hop beats for $25-50 before sharing that he now charges $50,000 per beat. This prompts Shirley Ju to ask the record producer how the track that he created for “The Morning” landed on the radar of Kanye West. To that, Illmind details the events leading up to the epic collaboration for the “Cruel Summer” compilation album and the doors that opened for him in the music industry afterwards. The 41-year-old then shares his feelings on Kanye West, the artist/producer before explaining why he looks up to him so much as a creator. Moving along, Illmind talks about being on one the first music producers to release his own brand of sound packs (back in 2012) for musicians to use with their production software. Lastly, Illmind gives the origin story for how he earned his stage name.

Coachella Won’t Require Masks, Testing, Or Vaccination When The Desert Music Festival Returns In April

When the Coachella outdoor music festival returns for the first time in two years this April, performers will be greeted by a sea of unmasked — and potentially unvaccinated — fans as the struggling concert industry stirs back to life.

Organizers said on Tuesday that attendees would not be required to wear masks or be vaccinated or tested for the coronavirus at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which drew up to 125,000 fans a day to Southern California and was one of the biggest music festivals of the pre-pandemic era.

“There is no guarantee, express or implied, that those attending the festival will not be exposed to Covid-19,” Goldenvoice, a division of the global concert giant AEG Live, said on the Coachella website.

Goldenvoice noted, however, that the festival’s Covid policies may change “in accordance with applicable public health conditions.”

Goldenvoice also said on Tuesday that Stagecoach, a country music festival in Southern California, would have no requirements for guests to be masked, vaccinated or tested. The festival was set to run for three days in late April and early May.

It has been a turbulent two years for the concert and touring industries as a number of events were canceled because of the coronavirus. In the last year, since Covid vaccines became widely available, organizers have grappled with decisions over whether to hold the events at all and whether to require masks, vaccines and testing.

Over four days last summer, the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago ran at full capacity, with its 400,000 attendees being required to show either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test. According to data released by the city after the festival, infection rates among the concertgoers were low.

Coachella did not run in 2020 or 2021, and was canceled three times over the pandemic, including a rescheduled date in the fall of 2020.

Before the pandemic, Coachella, which is widely seen as a bellwether for the multibillion-dollar touring business, had put on a show every year since 1999 at the Empire Polo Club in Indio. It typically runs over two weekends in April.

The organizers of Coachella announced in January, after weeks of speculation, that the festival would be back this year. It is set to be headlined by Billie Eilish, Harry Styles and Kanye West.

Source: NY Times

Voice Of Baceprot Are The Metal Band The World Needs Right Now – An All-Female Muslim Metal Band Based Out Of Rural Conservative Indonesia

In 2014, in a classroom in rural Indonesia, three schoolgirls fell in love with metal. During an extra-curricular arts programme at their school in Garut, West Java, Firdda Marsya Kurnia (vocals and guitar), Widi Rahmawati (bass), and Euis Siti Aisyah (drums), then aged 14, were introduced to metal by their school guidance counsellor, Ahba Erza.

Immediately, the teenagers were drawn to the “unique and beautiful” lyricism of System Of A Down, and “rebellious” spirit of bands such as Rage Against The MachineLamb Of God and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Before long, they had formed Voice Of Baceprot, (the word ‘Baceprot’ means ‘loud’ in Sundanese) and were making their own incendiary racket. Their 2018 single, School Revolution, is a fiery blend of elastic bass and furious RATM-indebted thrash.

Emerging as an all-female, Muslim metal band in a conservative community in West Java has posed its own challenges however. The girls have received death threats, while Ahba, who is now their manager, has received calls pressuring him to break up the band. The trio spoke to Metal Hammer about overcoming these challenges and demolishing cultural and gender norms.

Marsya [lead guitar / vocals]: “Every year the metal scene in Indonesia keeps on developing and growing. There’s a bunch of bands all genders and ages, a lot of Indonesians are familiar with metal music and there are a lot of local metal bands in Indonesia.

Euis [drummer]: “There are women that play rock and metal. It’s there, the amount is relative, but there are more and more women playing in Indonesia.”

Can you remember your first gig?

“The first performance was a school event, a farewell concert and it was the first time our parents saw us perform. They school we went to was a pretty religious Islamic school, when we performed, everyone was pretty shocked.”

Shocked in what sense?

Marsya: “[Our parents] didn’t explicitly show their support or forbid us from playing music. Deep down, we knew that they were actually proud of us. Perhaps a little bit worried. They did prohibit us from playing music after [our first show], but we carried on regardless and didn’t think too much of it. [The band practised in secret for a year after their first gig following reservations from their parents.] We never thought about packing it in or taking a step back. As time went by, we realised that the lack of support from our parents and community played a huge role in fortifying our mental strength, and the resolve that we have in proving that our music does not negatively affect our morals.”

You have faced challenges in your own country, and even death threats for playing metal. How did you deal with that?

“They were just comments made on social media. We were a bit scared at first, but we just put our heads down and focused back on our music. As the cliché goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. We get a lot of curse words and people saying you should stop playing. They want us to stop playing music. For the most part, people are saying that stuff because we’re women, but we’re not scared to say what’s on our mind. A lot of people don’t like that. If we were men maybe we wouldn’t get such a hard time. Music gives us such a great joy that’s why we want to continue to play. So we are focusing on our music and screw the others!”

What is your single School Revolution about?

“When students start to feel lost and so far detached from their hopes and dreams for the sake of following rigid school rules, we believe that it is simply another form of subjection. This is based on our own experience; from what we felt, the discussions that we had with Abah, and what we’ve read from many books. School was a big part of our lives at that time. It was the place where most teenagers spend their adolescence. Schools should be a just and fair space that is able to accommodate the hopes and dreams of its students.”

What are other themes and messages in your music?

Widi [bassist]: “The main message is about freedom. Independence as a woman, as a human being, and we write a lot about human values and humanity as well. What we’re trying to do is continue traditions, speak our mind and share our music with other people.”

Source: Metal Hammer AKA Louder Sound

Instant Classic – The Story Of Eddie Guerrero Vs Rey Mysterio Jr (WCW Halloween Havoc 1997)

Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio Jr. at WCW Halloween Havoc 1997 is considered one of the best matches that ever happened in a World Championship Wrestling ring. Contested as a “Title vs Mask” match, Guerrero and Mysterio put on a bar-setting performance that is still as good to watch today as it was over 2 decades ago.

After losing the United States championship, Eddie Guerrero had turned heel and his next goal was the Cruiserweight title, held by Chris Jericho. While Guerrero was able to defeat Jericho to win the title, Rey Mysterio was on a winning streak of his own. Mysterio had defeated Eddie on Nitro before Guerrero won the Cruiserweight belt, and when Eddie tried to trick Rey by competing under a mask as El Caliente, Mysterio was once again able to beat Guerrero. A match was set up for WCW Halloween Havoc 97, Mysterio vs Guerrero… but a lot was at stake. If Eddie lost the match, he would lose his title. If Rey lost, then Rey Mysterio would have to unmask on Pay Per View.

The match Rey and Eddie had at Halloween Havoc was simply phenomenal. This video covers the build up and the match itself.

The Dual Album Design Of Kendrick Lamar’s Major Label Debut Offers A Glimpse Into An Alternative Future

The two albums’ early 90s photographs are highly personal to Lamar, but have a familiarity to the beholder as well

In 2012, good kid, m.A.A.d city brought hip hop’s finest new storyteller to the attention of the masses. Kendrick Lamar’s major label debut tells the story of a kid growing up in Compton, Los Angeles, circumnavigating the pitfalls of gang life, whether by accident or design. The cover art meanwhile provides two stories, perhaps offering us a glimpse into an alternative future. 

It’s a cinematic roman-à-clef that comes at you out of sequence—memory isn’t linear, after all—and the two photographs chosen for two editions of the album conjure up different but connected memories from the immediate past: one is a family scene from a kitchen, and the other, a van sitting in the driveway of Lamar’s old house. While personal to the artist, these pictures from the early ’90s have a familiarity to the beholder too, even if they’re not our own memories.

Exhibit one, for the initial 12-track release, is a picture we’re to assume is of the baby Kendrick surrounded by three older figures who may be relatives. According to Marcus J. Moore’s excellent new biography The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited The Soul Of Black America, that is indeed Lamar in diminutive form, with two teenage uncles and his grandfather sitting to his left. In an interesting visual twist, the eyes of these other figures are blacked out with identity-obscuring oblongs, while the toddler—who you’d expect to be the protected party here—stares into the lens. A few years after this photo was taken, Kendrick, aged just five, would witness a teenage drug dealer gunned down before his eyes, and the year before, he’d seen mass rioting in the streets following the infamous attack on Rodney King by LAPD officers. 

On closer inspection, the photograph is communicating dangers via signifiers, such as a bottle of alcohol sitting on the table—something he’ll addressed on ‘Swimming Pools (Drank)”; meanwhile, the uncle whose lap young Kendrick is sitting on is throwing a surreptitious gang sign with his left hand. Potential downfalls are hiding in plain sight in a picture as symbolically rich as Holbein’s The Ambassadors. “That photo says so much about my life and about how I was raised in Compton and the things I’ve seen,” said Lamar. 

Exhibit two, mounted on the cover for the deluxe version of good kid, m.A.A.d city, is not as easy to read. Lamar’s mother’s van, parked on the street in front of their family home, appears on the cover, shot through a fisheye lens. Intriguingly, while this photo offers less in the way of visual portents, the house itself has become a shrine to fans. Type “Good Kid M.A.A.D City House” into Google Earth and you’ll find the rapper’s childhood home in Compton, and pictures of fans assembled outside like they’re at Graceland. Furthermore, scrawled under the battered Chrysler are the words “a short film by Kendrick Lamar,” adding to the hauntological vibrations.  

“I fought not to have that on the cover!” says designer Don Clark on a Zoom call from his Seattle office. Clark set up the design agency Invisible Creature with his brother Ryan in 2006. “At the beginning I felt a photo of a minivan wasn’t worthy of an album cover, but I’m not always right. Because then his art creates this thing that becomes greater than any of us. That’s the sweet spot I love when working with other artists, when it takes on a life of its own.” 

Clark was initially reluctant to talk about good kid, m.A.A.d city because of his lack of conceptual input into the design. Invisible Creature took 4×6 photos supplied by Lamar and scanned them, adding crease marks to the corners to give the packaging a more distressed appearance, and then superimposed the pictures onto various textures until they found a background that most resembled an old Polaroid. But otherwise, the direction all came from Lamar himself. Within the space of a five-minute conference call, the musician, who was just making a name for himself at the time, had laid out exactly what he wanted in fine detail. His objectives were clear for every inch of good kid, m.A.A.d city, visually and audibly.

There are ten polaroid photos laid out across the deluxe gatefold edition, again all chosen in sequence by Lamar. Clark also disapproved of the graffiti-style font at the base of the sleeve, but he’s willing to concede that that cover has become a fan favorite, and that it has an enigmatic quality, too: mystery, after all, is in short supply these days as cover art becomes utilitarian and avatar-like, a one inch box on a tiny smartphone screen to click on or swipe away. 

The alternative 12-track cover still makes more sense to Clark though, and a couple of serendipitous details add to its ability to communicate: the Parental Advisory sticker is analogous to the photo’s message, and use of the black strips across the eyes of the adults was actually at the insistence of the label. “That was more of a legal thing,” says Clark. “Interscope and the family wanted to do that to obscure their likenesses.” 

Other than obfuscating the identities of the grownups in the room, Interscope was happy to allow their new signing complete artistic freedom to unleash his vision, a gamble that obviously paid off given that Kendrick Lamar is one of the most acclaimed rappers of all time, a state of affairs that really began with good kid, m.A.A.d city

“From the beginning they let him do what he wanted,” says Clark. “He was also [Dr.] Dre’s guy and I think that had a lot to do with it. That’s another amazing thing about him in that he doesn’t care what people will think and his art speaks for itself, and I appreciate that audacity.”

Source: AIGA Eye On Design

Philadelphia City Council Takes Steps To Formally Apologize For Deadly 1985 Bombing Of A Black Neighborhood

Philadelphia City Council voted Thursday to apologize for the MOVE bombing 35 years ago that left 11 people dead, including five children, and burned 61 homes in West Philadelphia.

The resolution, approved almost unanimously (Councilmember Brian O’Neill said he opposed it), represents the first formal apology offered by the city for the May 13, 1985, bombing. It also establishes the anniversary of the bombing as “an annual day of observation, reflection and recommitment.”

Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, whose West Philadelphia district includes the neighborhood destroyed by the bombing, sponsored the resolution. She introduced it days after the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. less than a mile away from the site of the bombing. She linked the two events in a speech to City Council last month.

“We can draw a straight line from the unresolved pain and trauma of that day to Walter Wallace Jr.’s killing earlier this week in the very same neighborhood,” Gauthier said. “Because what’s lying under the surface here is a lack of recognition of the humanity of Black people from law enforcement.”

In 1985, police dropped an explosive device on the roof of 6221 Osage Ave. after a daylong confrontation with the Black radical and naturalist group MOVE, as officers attempted to evict them from their compound. The majority of the victims were Black.

W. Wilson Goode Sr., who was mayor at the time, called on the city to issue a formal apology in an op-ed published by The Guardian before the 35th anniversary. “The event will remain on my conscience for the rest of my life,” he wrote.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer