Breakaway Festival promises multi-genre experience with 2019 festival series

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Breakaway Music Festival returns this summer with an extensive litany of hip-hop and electronic acts alike. Facilitated by Prime Social Group, one of North America’s rising festival promoters, the company has seen increasing success over the years, expanding Breakaway from its flagship event in Columbus, Ohio, to Nashville, Tennessee for the first time in 2018. Breakaway also recently branched into Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Charlotte, North Carolina, amassing some 65,000 attendees in 2018 alone.

The latest run of Breakaway shows kicks off in Columbus at MAPFRE Stadium August 23-24, and boasts an impressive bill including Future, Young Thug, Matoma, Louis The Child, Bassnectar, TroyBoi, Christian French, and more. The upcoming Columbus edition also promises an enticing Silent Disco experience, with a variety of DJs wiring tunes to headphones throughout the weekend. Breakaway’s Michigan edition in Grand Rapids takes place the same days, with Kaskade, Wiz Khalifa, and Big Gigantic as a few headliners. It hits Charlotte, North Carolina in October, and returns to Nashville the following week.

2019 has proven another promising year for Prime Social Group organizers, who have produced over 800 events around the globe. General on-sale tickets for each of the festivals are available here.

Breakaway Festival promises multi-genre experience with 2019 festival seriesBreakaway Festival

Diplo hops back in the studio with Madonna for ‘Future,’ with Quavo

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Diplo hops back in the studio with Madonna for ‘Future,’ with QuavoDiplo Madonna

Diplo‘s tag line, “Random white dude be everywhere,” is no joke. From appearing in the new Detective Pikachu movie, to debuting the very first album as the production backbone of power trio, LSD, to working on the presumed last Major Lazer album, Diplo’s schedule this year indicates no idle hours.

And for his next trick, Diplo has rendezvoused with Madonna yet again, for her new track, “Future,” featuring Quavo, of Migos. This isn’t the first Diplo-assisted Madonna original, either. The Mad Decent maestro shared production credits with Sophie for Madonna’s cheeky, 2015 declaration, “Bitch I’m Madonna.” The first single from her forthcoming album, “Future” exudes a Caribbean dancehall style in a similar vein as Diplo’s radio-ready Major Lazer efforts. The impending album, Madame X, housed by Interscope Records, will be Madonna’s first in four years

Future drops surprise Zaytoven-produced mixtape, ‘BEASTMODE 2’

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Future drops surprise Zaytoven-produced mixtape, ‘BEASTMODE 2’Future Zaytoven Recorded 100 Songs For Beast Mode 2

Imagine the slew of unreleased material Future and his choice producer, Zaytoven, have in the pipeline. In a recent interview with The FADER, Zaytoven actually did divulge on the workaholic’s ammo, revealing they’ve recorded roughly 100 songs over the past three years. A lot of those tracks were then sat on for their new offering, BEASTMODE 2, and after much deliberation, they decided to keep it “short and sweet,” releasing an album with just nine tracks.

It’s easy to understand the significance of conciseness in hip-hop by comparing Future’s effort to Drake‘s recent undertaking — admittedly a notable achievement from the Toronto-based talent, but a padded, deeply-advertised 24-track double-album nonetheless. It’s a bit humbling then to have a rapper release an album with just nine songs. Future and Zaytoven’s effort is simply their own approach to artistic integrity.

When the pair linked in 2015 for their original collaborative project, Beast Mode, the Atlanta-based rapper was on a hot streak. Fast forward two years, and that same steam has still yet to wear off. Beast Mode came right in the middle of what is now a historic string of releases for Future. He followed up with his self-titled, HNDRXX and Super Slimey, just to name a few, and now BEASTMODE 2 comes on the heels of Future’s work on the soundtrack for the movie Superfly. Considering the rapper’s timeline and trajectory, it’s no small wonder that beast mode was the title of these works — he certainly is on his game.

Rick Ross – Green Gucci Suit ft Future

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Rick Ross - Green Gucci Suit ft Future

Maybach Music founder Rick Ross has linked up with longtime friend and collaborator Future on a new track, “Green Gucci Suit.” The two internationally revered rappers have appeared on a multitude of singles together, whether featured on tracks like those on DJ Khaled‘s albums Grateful and Major Key, on tracks like Ace Hood’s “Bugatti,” or supporting one another on albums, like Future’s appearances on Rick Ross’ 2017 Rather You Than Me.

“Green Gucci Suit” opens with an ’80s, Miami Vice feel, a potential nod at its upcoming feature on Ross’ Port of Miami II. The album, announced in March, will be the follow up to Ross’ debut 2006 album Port of Miami, with a release date to be announced.

Lost Lake Festival returns to Phoenix with impeccably curated sophomore lineup

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Phoenix is quickly becoming an enticing west coast festival market. Last year found Superfly, the events powerhouse behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, planting their flag in the desert with the inaugural Lost Lake Festival in the heart of Phoenix’s downtown district. Now, Lost Lake is back for a second edition in 2018, led by a stacked talent roster topped by Future, The Chainsmokers, rap’s current lead female SZA, and pop-rockers Imagine Dragons. Highlights on this year’s bill include Nas, Louis The Child, Mija, A$AP Ferg, Cashmere Cat, and T-Pain.

Bringing over 40 acts across October 19 – 21, Lost Lake boasts a uniquely curated festival experience, blending top-notch hip-hop, electronic music, and rock with a heavy emphasis on Phoenix’s burgeoning arts and culinary scenes. With festival amenities that include a marketplace to discover local artisans and creators, a philanthropic component with FOUNDation and an entire culinary experience dubbed Phoenix Flavors, Lost Lake applies just as much emphasis on its host city as its lineup. From Janelle Monáe and Young Thug to local favorites Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra and Jimmy Eat World, Lost Lake drops off one of the most diverse lineups of the summer for their 2018 installment.

Outside Lands reveals The Weeknd, ODESZA, DJ Snake, Jamie xx & more atop 2018 bill

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Outsidelands 2015

Outside Lands has revealed the 2018 lineup for its 11th installment in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park August 10-12.

Following a fervent 2017 edition of Gorillaz, The Who, and Metallica headlining, 2018 boasts a hefty onslaught of acts, and although the headliners see earlier appearances in the festival season  — The Weeknd at Coachella and Janet Jackson at both Panorama and FYF Fest  — the lineup remains rife with talent and excitement.

The Weeknd is set to perform, where he’s likely to play out his recent slew of new material which features the aid of Nicolas Jaar, Daft Punk‘s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, and Gesaffelstein. Both Florence + The Machine and Janet Jackson front the bill with performances that will be nothing less than excellent and the lineup also promises a plethora of beloved dance acts. From ODESZA, Chromeo, and Claptone, to DJ Snake, Jamie xx, Tycho, CHVRCHES, James Blake, Gryffin, Lauv, and Whethan, Outside Lands is a music lover’s oeuvre in its late-summer installment.

More information and tickets, which are available starting at 10 a.m. PST April 5, can be found here.


New study attributes increase in MDMA use to hip hop’s lyrical glorification of “Molly”

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Future’s 2017 single, “Mask Off” had hip hop fans ardently chanting the song’s substance centered chorus, “Percocets, Molly, Percocets” shortly after its May release. The track eventually worked its way into the festival sets of electronic artists like Marshmello, with its integration in the electronic sphere contributing to its further popularization.

“Mask Off” is but one of many hip hop songs to mention MDMA, and as a recent study has newly determined, hip-hop’s lyrical glorification of the party drug has led to an increase in the number of new users that try the stimulant for the first time.

Published in the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, the study surveyed African American young adults who have used molly in the past. The study went on to determine that 82% of the study participants credited hip-hop music as a key influence in their decision to take molly.

Study participants noted that the proliferation of hip-hop lyrics that portray MDMA as a chic, fun drug contributed to their comfort in trying it. “I’m just trying to party like a rock star, not get strung out,” one of the study participants noted, “Whenever they [rappers] mentioned it [molly], they are either partying, drinking [alcohol], smoking [weed], or having sex. All the things I love to do the most. I never heard about anyone getting addicted or dying. That made me feel better about trying it.”

And yet despite MDMA’s convivial representation in hip hop lyrics, Khary Rigg, a PhD and professor of mental health law and policy at the University of South Florida reminds listeners that while Molly is “not as dangerous as opioids,” the substance continues to be “linked to psychiatric problems, sexual risk taking and adverse health outcomes like seizures, irregular heartbeat, hyperthermia and even death.”

The study’s focus on the molly use of African American participants offers researchers insight on how hip hop music can influence patterns of MDMA use among the African American population — studies concerning MDMA use have previously focused on white, European, and electronic music listeners involved in dance culture.

“The behaviors of millennial African Americans are probably the most likely to be influenced by hip-hop music as the artists themselves are typically from that demographic,” adds Dr. Rigg. “This suggests that rappers may be effective sources for prevention, health promotion, and harm reduction messages aimed at African Americans.”

Whether top grossing rappers fond of name dropping “Molly” in their songs will refrain from the drug’s mention will remain to be seen, and is perhaps doubtful, the study nonetheless spotlights the power of lyrical suggestion.

H/T: Medical Press

N.E.R.D’s self-titled fifth studio album is a chaotic affair rooted in social commentary

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No_one Ever Really Dies: even the acronym by which American funk rock supergroup N.E.R.D — Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley — were founded upon suggests a non-traditional marriage between chic nonchalance and latent sentimentalism. Consider the collective sense of fervid urgency that is currently igniting the veins of millions of disenfranchised American and global citizens, inject a lethal dose of vogue funk and bottle it up in vivacious, supercool packaging: this more or less captures the sonic universe defined on N.E.R.D’s self titled, fifth studio album.

People began taking note of signs posted around Los Angeles and featured at Tyler the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival that read “No One Ever Really Dies” in late October, 2017. A few days later, the N.E.R.D proceeded to release No_one Ever Really Dies’ lead single “Lemon” before debuting the full LP a few days later at ComplexCon. It marks the first release for the famed group since 2010’s Nothing.

Since their inception, N.E.R.D has been raveled in collective confusion — not undue to their own struggles in defining their own artistic focus. The group’s first album, In Search Of, was originally produced digitally, but was pulled from the shelves of record stores worldwide and re-recorded utilizing live instrumentation from the rock band known as Spymob. Its re-release was met with ubiquitous disapproval from critics, giving way to another two albums plagued by their supposed failure to define a singular style.

Perhaps N.E.R.D’s first three albums were simply misunderstood by the masses, or maybe they served as quasi “trial and error” sessions in which the group refined their own characteristic style. One thing is certain: the outfit’s production M.O has always strayed from the traditional linear structure. Each of N.E.R.D’s five studio albums see them taking increasingly audacious risks, and No_one Ever Really Dies looks to be their most rewarding effort yet.

It kicks off with the exuberant frenzy that is “Lemon,” featuring one of contemporary pop music’s most exalted figures: Rihanna. The 29-year-old global superstar bops from verse to verse with palpable swagger, as if she’s playing pop-scotch on the red carpet.

“Lemon’s” sample of a man yelling “wait a minute” is former United States Senator, Arlen Specter, at a 2009 Pennsylvania town hall meeting while “shout out to them people” and “mad ethnic right now” are both phrases sampled from a viral twitter video originally posted by a rapper by the name of Retch. As the record bounces between verses, it usurps the listener with its dazzling flow. Before long, the project’s focus begins to take root.

Much like adjacent industry colleagues Gorillaz, N.E.R.D’s propensity to showcase a plethora of contemporary styles runs the risk of seeming misconstrued, pulling away from the album’s central focus; some would argue that such overbearing features can make such a project seem disjointed, but it pays off on No_one Ever Really Dies. Rather than cloud the group’s artistic intuition, each embellishment serves an integral purpose in building the stylistic framework by which listeners will contextualize the album.

High profile vignettes from artists like Future, Wale, Gucci Mane, M.I.A, and Frank Ocean imbue the album with a sense of urgency and are an relevant statement about the current musical zeitgeist heading into 2018.

“Voilà,” featuring Gucci Mane and Wale, carries the momentum onward.  Since being released from prison in 2016, Radric Davis — better known by Gucci Mane — has turned a 180. “They think I’m a magician” sings Davis, alluding to the fact that the general public is undoubtedly shocked at his life changes over the last two years, and that many people doubted him along the way. The Atlanta rapper revealed in an interview with TIME that, during his stint in prison, sobriety and exercise helped him lose 90 pounds and get his life back together.

Gucci Mane’s raspy verses are not typically associated with the sparkling funk-verve that characterizes N.E.R.D, but his lyrics add a serene sense of tranquility to the track: “I might pull up on a skateboard with me and P. Hoes gon’ still pay me attention” he raps. Gucci Mane’s fabled status in trap music history is a welcome blessing on “Voilà.”

Pharell picks up the pace immediately afterward with “1000.” Turning a corner, he chants the intro, “Kinetic energy a thousand times higher!” As the drums halt to half speed, morphing into a tribal rythmn, Future belts his verse, “Rick Owens boots, I’m walkin’ on a few thousand” sings the Atlanta trap superstar. “1000” is an honest, yet ostentatious glimpse into the life of some of hip hop’s wealthiest superstars: complete with designer boots, Ferragamo belts, and models in the bed.

Pivoting from the gaudy introspection on “1000,” N.E.R.D moves into outward social commentary at breakneck speed with “Don’t Don’t Do It!” The track, which features the father of modern hip hop, Kendrick Lamar, is a statement detailing the discriminatory behavior of law enforcement and, on a larger scale, society as a whole.

“Pac-man wanna prosecute you. Raise your hand up, and they’ll shoot ya’. Face off, face off.” spits Kendrick Lamar, the beat carrying his conscious rhymes a mile a minute, “Adolf Hitler. Grandkids slayed off. N****s, same rules, same chalk. Different decade, same law.” Lamar’s verse is more than simply an apt statement confronting the malevolent behavior of systemic racism — it’s a warning call. “Soon or later sides gon’ switch. You know Johnny got that itch,” raps Lamar, “How many more of us gotta see the coroner? Slain by the same badge, stop, wait, brake, fast!”

N.E.R.D’s ability to pivot from effervescent dance jams to socially-conscious funk ballads at headlong speeds — all the while utilizing atmospheric transitions and carbonated beat change ups — is mesmerizing. No_one Ever Really Dies seems to weave into one theme and out of another before the listener can make the conscious realization that the song’s structure had changed. The album’s biggest success is its mellifluous ability to shape shift and keep listeners engaged the whole way through. Listeners find themselves knee deep into a pop tsunami for one moment, and are catapulted into an incendiary diatribe on today’s current political situation the next.

“It’s crazy out here and right now, what we’re discovering is the truth only matters when it sounds cool. And when it doesn’t sound cool, people just choose to not fucking believe it,” explained Pharell during the album’s listening session. “So, that’s how they’re gonna use their minds. We need to use our minds a little bit stronger.”

Nearing the end of the album, N.E.R.D orchestrate a symphonic finish — complete with features from such fabled artists as Andre 3000 and, to a lesser extent, Ed Sheeran. “Rollinem 7’s” lyrics stream from the Outkast co-founder’s mouth in effortless fashion.

The combination of M.I.A and Kendrick Lamar on “Kites” is a further testament to N.E.R.D’s versatility and their ability to mold to fit any of the featuring artists’styles.”I’m letting off kites over barriers” sings M.I.A, the Sri Lankan avant pop legend alludes to the absurdity of nation’s having borders. Her ultimate goal, like other artists’ on the LP, is to make music that transcends the unavailing barriers that serve only to divide us as a human race.

Consistent with M.I.A’s verse, N.E.R.D’s newest album is a virtuosic, funk driven house party rooted in social and political commentary. Rather than serve as purely an escape, No_One Ever Really Dies acts as an atmospheric groove that exists entirely within the gloomy corners of the current political period. N.E.R.D is back to inspire change in provocative fashion, and their fifth project is a chaotic affair deeply rooted in the ongoing narrative of social progress.



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New technology allows users to ‘feel’ objects present in augmented reality

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As virtual reality progresses and proliferates, a variety of tech startups have begun experimenting with the applications that VR might have on senses other than just sight.

One such disruptive technology has been brought forward by Ultrahaptics, that uses ultrasonic waves to allows users to “feel” and “touch” objects that are present in virtual reality landscapes, but physically absent.

The new tech was introduced to audiences in Berlin, Germany, where Ultrahpatics’ CTO Tom Carter fittingly demonstrated how the technology could make users feel Star Wars’ famous Jedi “force,” synced to a lightsaber sound and animation of crackling energy on a poster for the upcoming film Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

While the idea is still under development, Carter envisions the technology to have extensive use in the automobile industry, especially in delivering non-distracting information to vehicle drivers.

H/T: TechCrunch

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Win & Woo – Gold ft Shaylen (Fluencee Remix)

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Fresh off a performance at EDC Orlando, LA-based producer Fluencee puts a new future pop spin on Chicago duo Win & Woo‘s emotive track “Gold” featuring Shaylen. The single follows Fluencee’s latest release, “Better,” featuring Bri Tolani, which peaked at No. 21 on the Spotify Viral 50 and gained noteworthy support from none other than The Chainsmokers.

By consistently sharing forward-thinking production on his growing discography of future bass, trap and pop tinged tunes, Fluencee is making his mark on the electronic crossover game. The artist’s debut EP is slated to drop in early 2018.

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