Red Bull Dance Your Style competitors express correlation between music and dance

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Red Bull Dance Your Style  competitors express correlation between music and danceAP 21QQG911W11 Hires Jpeg 24bit Rgb

Late last month, 16 stolid-faced dancers stepped onto the red and blue dance floor resting on Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino’s rooftop to compete in the first-ever USA National Finals of Red Bull’s Dance Your Style one-on-one street dance competition. They did so without uttering a word—instead letting their bodies do the talking.

The 2019 USA finals was the culmination of three months of freestyle battles that pitted one dancer against another in a sundry of cities across the nation. The Red Bull Dance Your Style’s roots trace back to Honolulu, where the brand held its first qualifying round at the Kaka’ako Warehouse Event Space. From there, the competition continued, drawing dancers to Washington DC, Miami, Boston, New Orleans, and Los Angeles to show off their deft dance moves.

Divided by vastly differing hometowns and equally unique choreographic developments, the dancers came prepared to face off in Las Vegas, unified simply and supremely by what they convey to audiences: passion for the art of bodily movement.

The victors of the regional qualifiers went on to the USA National Finals in Las Vegas, to vie for a chance to compete in the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Finals. Slated for October 12 in Paris, France, the World Finals is the consequential stop on the road to Red Bull’s Dance Your Style destiny. The organization has hosted more than 50 events in more than 30 countries all over the world.

At the USA National Finals, much like the dancers themselves, the crowd members assembled at the edge of the dance floor as active participants. Upon arrival at Planet Hollywood, each attendee received an LED-powered bracelet that could be set to glow either red or blue. With this, the audience was equipped to raise their wrists high to cast their votes for the winner of each round: the dancer on the red or blue division of the dance floor.

The element of surprise constituted a core component of the competition. DJ Mike Murdah, who soundtracked the event from start to finish, put the dancers’ concentration to the test, aiming to catch competitors off guard by playing tracks from genres outside the hip-hop realm. The crowd judged dancers by their ability to creatively, enthusiastically, and agilely craft a routine that synchronized well with whatever style of music flowed through the speakers.

Red Bull Dance Your Style  competitors express correlation between music and danceAP 21QQUU6H1W11 Hires Jpeg 24bit Rgb
Lil O dances at Dance Your Style USA Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 28, 2019

Lil O, who won the preliminary qualifier in Washington, DC, said competing in a dance battle of Red Bull’s Dance Your Style’s caliber and scale was something he’d “always wanted to accomplish.”

“I’ve been battling my friends in the neighborhood and at school for fun since I was a kid,” he told Dancing Astronaut before taking the floor at the Las Vegas finals. “To see that dance battle has come to this point where dancers can be looked at as athletes is something very great and important.”

The New York native added that he would often watch Red Bull-sponsored skateboarders when he was younger and “wonder” if he “could be a part of something like that.”

Fellow competitor, OPM, who describes his idiosyncratic style of dance as “visual intoxication,” said the inaugural Red Bull Dance Your Style one-on-one street dance freestyle competition offers a pivotal new platform for dance. He lauds the competition organizers for giving dancers the platform he insists they are repeatedly denied.

“Red Bull is actually putting dancers at the forefront, as they should be, instead of always behind an artist or in the background as a prop,” he said.

While the diverse, genre-spanning music selections of the USA National Finals organically incited some of the competitors to venture beyond their choreographic comfort zones, the unpredictable nature of the cuts chosen by DJ Murdah played to one of OPM’s most ardent strengths: adaptability.

“When I began dancing my mother would be like, ‘You gotta be versatile,’” OPM said. “She would play a song on her laptop and change it to a random song and say, ‘I want you to dance to this.’ So I would have to adapt to the next song. It was really cool doing that because not many dancers dance to different genres of music; they don’t always know how to [apply] their style to other [kinds of] music.”

Red Bull Dance Your Style  competitors express correlation between music and danceAP 21QQSG4W1W11 Hires Jpeg 24bit Rgb
OPM takes the floor at the USA Finals.

Dynamism was also key to Lil O’s growth as a dancer in his youth. He says his mother challenged him to become something of a renaissance man of the dance domain, to surpass the confines of hip-hop. Lil O went on to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he developed and honed his skills across an array of approaches, including jazz, ballet, and tap.

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Pictured: USA National Finals finalists, Rascal Randi and Neguin.
Photo credit: Jordan Nicholson via Red Bull Content Pool

Hooks, Lil O, and OPM told Dancing Astronaut that music typically precedes the creation of a routine in each of their creative processes. The period that precedes the development of the course of sequential movements that will constitute the choreography is predicated on absorption and analysis of the music.

“I listen to the music first, [watch] how it makes me feel, and then the concept can build in seconds,” Lil O said.

“Whether you’re a dancer or [not], when you hear a song, there are certain emotions that are elicited,” Hooks added. “We all feel those emotions differently, and there’s certain imagery that will pop into people’s minds. I use that instinctive imagery that pops in on the first listen of a song to inform where I go with it.”

The explicit challenge of Dance Your Style: the slim amount of time afforded to the dancers to construct such a concept. It is by design that the expression “think on your feet” is so alive in this competitive context, and it was without reservation that the 16 dancers rose to the challenge.

Of them, Neguin, who hails from Paraná, Brazil, would triumph as the Red Bull Dance Your Style National Champion. He will now advance to the World Finals, to battle for the international title.

Viewers can livestream the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Finals from Paris via the Red Bull Dance YouTube and Instagram channels on October 12. Learn more about the street dance freestyle competition on Red Bull Dance Your Style’s official website.

Featured Photo: Jordan Nicholson

Flume, Kenny Beats, James Blake and more roast JPEGMAFIA in new album announcement [Watch]

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Flume, Kenny Beats, James Blake and more roast JPEGMAFIA in new album announcement [Watch]Jpegmafia Live Credit Getty

JPEGMAFIA‘s profile has shot into the stratosphere this year. He’s establishing himself as one of alternative hip-hop’s brightest prospects, and his creative crossover appeal has allowed him to reach a continually diversifying fanbase year over year. Now, the LA-based rhymer is preparing to deliver his third studio LP, All My Heroes Are Cornballs, on September 13, and in the spirit of the record’s title, a handful of JPEG’s friends and collaborators put together some …well wishes, ahead of the album’s release.

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy appears among James Blake, Kenny Beats, Channel Tres, and JPEGMAFIA’s recent collaborator Flume, in a new trailer for All My Heroes Are Cornballs. Everyone offers their own perspective on the upcoming album, and while the general consensus throughout the cameos is that Cornballs is “trash,” something tells us this might be one of the more intriguing hip-hop records of the year. See the trailer below.

Boys Noize secures producer credit on A$AP Rocky’s first release since Swedish incarceration, ‘Bubushka Boi’

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Boys Noize secures producer credit on A$AP Rocky’s first release since Swedish incarceration, ‘Bubushka Boi’Asap Rocky

Reverberating force in the four-by-four domain and one half of the Skrillex-assisted Dog Blood duo, Boys Noize (Alex Ridha) recently decided to put his dexterous production prowess in full view, taking a strategic step outside of the electronic arena to assist in an auspicious new hip-hop endeavor.

The German Boysnoize Records boss hopped in the studio with A$AP Rocky, to co-produce the latter’s first official output since his highly public incarceration and subsequent assault trial overseas. Championed alongside Puerto Rican sound engineer, Hector Delgado, “Babuskha Boi” was fashioned after Rocky’s affinity for rocking granny-evocative head scarves. The track arrives with a slightly outlandish Dick Tracy-reminiscent visual, tracing a less-than-serious 1930s-era bank heist.

Boys Noize and Skrillex reconvened earlier this year for their first multi-track Dog Blood project since 2014, Turn Off The Lights. He released his last extended solo project in March of last year, Strictly Raw Vol. 2. The producer’s next single with Skrillex, “Midnight Hour,” arrives tomorrow, August 29.

Getter, Troyboi, Adventure Club, and more top Goldrush phase two lineup

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Getter, Troyboi, Adventure Club, and more top Goldrush phase two lineupGetter Viseral Mau5trap

Goldrush Music Festival its preparing for it’s third edition, bringing a little extra heat to the tail end of Arizona’s summer swelter. The festival announced the first phase of 2019’s lineup in June with electronic power players like ZHU, Alison Wonderland, and Destructo topping the initial wave of talent for this year’s iteration. Now, Goldrush is following up with an equally stacked second phase billing that includes Getter, Adventure Club, Green Velvet, Troyboi and more.

The two-day event, running September 27 – 28 features a diverse array of electronic and hip-hop acts, from Zomboy to Sheck Wes, Hermitude to Lil Texas, with tons in between. Tickets to Goldrush are on sale now, don’t sleep. See the full festival lineup below.

Getter, Troyboi, Adventure Club, and more top Goldrush phase two lineupGoldrush Lineup

First Listen: YehMe2 kicks off HARD Summer mixtape series with heavy handed hour-long mix

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First Listen: YehMe2 kicks off HARD Summer mixtape series with heavy handed hour-long mixYehme2dancingastronaut

HARD Summer is nearly upon us, and as the staple Southern California dance event ramps up for one of it’s biggest billings yet, the festival is rolling out its annual mixtape series with veteran beatsmith YehMe2.

The former Flosstradamus proponent split from his longtime producer partner Curt Cameruci in late 2016 to launch his new alias in early 2017. Since then, he’s built a massive catalog of heavy handed heaters and remixes, from his Steal This Mixtape series to collaborative cuts with A-Trak, WHIPPED CREAM, and more. Now, YehMe2 is primed to return to HARD Summer, a festival he’s dominated countless times over the years, and he’s locked in to deliver one of the most exciting—and hyped— performances of the weekend.

Ahead of YehMe2’s HARD Summer performance, vibe out with a new hour-long mix from the Chicago-native DJ below.

First Listen: rising bass producer Qoiet debuts vicious new project, ‘Absurd’

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First Listen: rising bass producer Qoiet debuts vicious new project, ‘Absurd’Qoiet2

Talk about a misnomer—Qoiet’s debut LP is anything but quiet. In fact, it might be the loudest low-end ammunition to drop all year long. Though, where rising bass producer Qoiet may have you fooled with his name, the title of his newly released project hits the nail square on the head: Absurd.

The new album is a 12-track listen that wears its name on its sleeve from front to back. To call Absurd dubstep would be inaccurate, or at the very least, an underestimate. The record is a bulldozing amalgam of riddim, dubstep, trap, hip-hop, screamo, and metal tropes. Bombastic, stabbing bass and raw, snarling vocals are weaved together with penetrating frequencies, as Qoiet makes his official long play introduction. If you aren’t up on Qoiet yet, that’s all about to change—but we warned, Absurd is not for the faint of heart.

Diplo tapped as executive producer on LeBron James’ debut album ‘King’

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Diplo tapped as executive producer on LeBron James’ debut album ‘King’Dipbron

With LeBron James‘ move to LA, his introduction to Hollywood was inevitable. While the 15-time All Star will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005, his itinerary remains packed with a handful of new entertainment ventures via his production imprint, SpringHill Entertainment. First came the announcement that the mythical, long-awaited Space Jam 2 is finally underway, and now LeBron has announced his debut rap album, King, is landing this fall, executive produced by none other than Diplo.

LeBron’s foray into the rap world makes sense—he’s made a habit of previewing massive rap cuts on his Instagram stories, he’s been known to break out a quick Milly Rock while rubbing shoulder’s with hip-hop’s top dogs, and he actually served as A&R on 2 Chainz well-received Rap or Go to the League earlier this year. His link to Diplo also makes sense. The Mad Decent head honcho is one of the most in-demand pop producers of the moment with credits working alongside Beyoncé, Madonna, Justin Bieber, and more.

Diplo has kept tight lipped about working with the Lakers forward, though he recently commented,

“Being the LeBron James of EDM is hard work, but someone’s got to do it. But when the real LeBron called and asked if I could make rap beats, I figured I might as well try. It’s been really silly in the studio and Bron’s also been teaching me how to dribble with my left hand—pretty rad.”

Look for James’ debut album, King to hit streaming platforms later this year. See the full tracklist below.

King Tracklist:

  1. Akron’s Favorite Son
  2. Rings, Bitch (ft. Adele)
  3. Chris Bosh Swag (ft. Big Shaq and Oliver Tree)
  4. April Fool’s Day (prod. Diplo & Kenny Beats)
  5. They Don’t Want This Smoke
  6. Ty Lue The Truth (ft. Kevin Love)
  7. Free Throws
  8. Cleveland Come (ft. J. Cole and Future)
  9. David Stern’s Ferrari (ft. Stephen A. Smith)
  10. In My Bag

Good Morning Mix: Rock with A-Trak’s Holy Ship! Rap Party Mix

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Good Morning Mix: Rock with A-Trak’s Holy Ship! Rap Party MixA Trak Holy Ship Hip Hop

Party master and scratch luminary, A-Trak shows his versatility and relevance in this lava “Holy Ship Rap Party 2019” mix of turn-of-the-millennium rap mixed with newer hip-hop and electronic goodies. For example, the Fools Gold head honcho hits a groove towards the beginning with Clipse’s “Grinding,” Jay-Z‘s “La La La,” a bootleg of Missy Elliot‘s “Work It,” an edit of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy,” Mary J. Blige‘s “Real One,” and Panjabi MC featuring Jay-Z’s “Beware.” That groove is continued and further expanded on; however, those tracks set the tone for a modern-day dose of nostalgia.

While listening through some of hip-hop’s finest products, A-Trak adds more modern elements with Kodak BlackChildish GambinoLil Uzi Vert, and more while mixing electronic elements from Daft Punk, GesaffelsteinJusticeYehme2, TroyBoi and others. This is a certified must-listen for fans of hip-hop and music in general, directly from one of the best improv party DJs to grace the stage.

Photo credit: Holy Ship!

Chance The Rapper announces new album due this summer

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Chance The Rapper announces new album due this summerChance The Rapper Live Lost Lake Lineup

On this third mixtape, 2016’s critically lauded Coloring BookChance The Rapper rewrote the rules at the Grammy’s, grabbing seven total nominations and taking home three gramophones, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album, without technically moving a single unit. Now, he has officially confirmed the delivery of his next studio project, and if his third was the charm, his fourth might just be an instant-classic waiting to be heard.

A hard release date has not yet been revealed, though Chano and his manager both confirmed a July release on social media. In a video posted to Instagram, Chance, beaming, gives fans a quick look at the busy life of a budding star—he’s preparing for his wedding, actively involved in Chicago’s politics, his non-profit’s work, and of course studio time, all accounting for the three year gap between LPs.

“Life is good, you can get that sh*t when I’m ready,”

“…July, though.”

In those three years, Chance has logged studio time with Anderson .Paak, Kanye West and more, though it is currently unclear if July’s release will be the Chicago emcees’ highly anticipated joint project Good Ass Job. Interestingly though, in 2017 Chance was quick to publicly clarify after winning his Grammy Awards that his first three projects would more accurately be described as mixtapes, not albums.

 

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Update: Now Chance has confirmed on social media this is in fact his first album, and not a mixtape as his previous three projects were designated.

J. Cole drops first single of 2019, menacing T-Minus produced, ‘MIDDLE CHILD’

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J. Cole drops first single of 2019, menacing T-Minus produced, ‘MIDDLE CHILD’J Cole Live 2018

J. Cole has released his first track of 2019. In typical Cole fashion, fans were bombarded with the announcement of “MIDDLE CHILD” with a seemingly out of nowhere clearing of his Instagram feed, replaced with posts promoting his new song. Produced by T-Minus, the track follows the release of the North Carolina rapper’s highly anticipated album K.O.D. in 2018.

“MIDDLE CHILD” addresses common themes that have arisen throughout J. Cole’s career, including his quitting the rap game (which, through this single’s exercise it becomes clear he’s not quite ready to stop rapping just yet). Cole also explores impressively beautiful metaphors—a trait that has become integral in his brand—this time, comparing his own rap career to being an awkward middle child between two generations of rhymers. The new track is Cole’s first solo single since 2013. While it’s unclear if “MIDDLE CHILD” is a signal for more music down the line from the famously platinum-with-no-features rapper, if this was in fact the first single from a larger project, this would be the beginning of J. Cole’s first traditional album roll out since Born Sinner.