We’re nearly a year and a half removed from Mac Miller‘s death in September of 2018, and his fans and contemporaries alike are largely still reeling from the untimely loss of the young emcee. News of Miller’s passing landed just a month after the release of perhaps the most creatively ambitious work of his shortened career, Swimming. At the time, little did we know, Swimming was only one half of a two-sided concept Miller was in the middle of finalizing. Now, the second half, Circles, is finally ready to be heard in full—posthumously completing Miller’s legacy as his final album.
There’s a haunting quality to the Jon Brion-produced Circles in the first listen through. Sonically, the album picks up right where Miller left off: augmenting slick rhymes with emphatic live instrumentation, further actualizing his vocal prowess outside of rapping, and laying his own unique creative tropes against different musical backdrops that wouldn’t typically characterize a hip-hop record. The album often departs from the groundwork laid by its predecessor, offering yet another perspective on Miller’s talent. Though, all the while the listener is constantly reminded that Miller is no longer here, giving the record a somber, chilling tone amid summery melodies and psychedelic guitar riffs.
Circles, released via Warner Records, is being welcomed by fan pop ups across the country. Three exhibitions celebrating Mac’s work will take place in Los Angeles, New York, and his hometown of Pittsburgh. Entry is free and all net proceeds from pop up merchandise sales will go to The Mac Miller Fund. Each pop up event will be open to the public from 12:00 – 9:00 p.m. local time. Hear Circles in full below.
The industry at large has a close collective eye on Whipped Cream. Her energy and emotion is felt in every meticulously crafted release and seen in her vibrant stage energy during live performances. Last year she released a highly-anticipated collaboration drenched in hip-hop influence with Lil Xan, and now she’s released an even heavier take on “Told Ya” with her own VIP remix.
The “Told Ya” VIP stays true to the original mix in key places, highlighting the distorted vocals from Lil Xan, while adding a heavier drum ‘n’ bass spin to the first break. The second however, more experimental in nature, is a testament to the forward-thinking innovation that characterizes Whipped Cream’s output.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has confirmed that a $3.5 million-dollar grant to build the world’s first hip-hop museum is officially underway.
Initially announced in February of this year, the Universal Hip-Hop Museum will be situated in the South Bronx to operate as “a space for audiences, artists, and technology to converge and create unparalleled educational and entertainment experiences.” The South Bronx borough has gained reverence in the musical genre’s community, having long been considered the home of hip-hop, birthing influential talent like Slick Rick, Fat Joe, and Mary J. Blige.
The museum plans are to be spearheaded by chairman of the board, Kurtis Blow, Director Rocky Bucano, and Chairman of the Celebrity Board Chuck D and has received audible support from Nas and LL Cool J. Noteworthy donations primed to appear in the museum include handwritten lyrics by Tupac and Blow’s gold plaque for his song “The Breaks.” Other display items will feature thousands of vinyl and cassettes, turntables, a recording studio, and video projections of iconic local graffiti.
Construction plans for Universal Hip-Hop museum are currently in process, with a projected completion date of 2023. The museum will occupy 50,000 square feet in Bronx Point.
Learn more about Universal Hip-Hop Museum and access free tickets here.
“Lucid Dreams” artist Juice WRLD, real name Jarad Anthony Higgins, was pronounced dead Sunday morning December 8, following a seizure in Chicago Midway Airport shortly after getting off a private jet. The cause of death is currently understood to be the result of a seizure, though the cause of the seizure is not entirely known yet.
Juice WRLD experienced a meteoric rise to fame behind the success of his debut studio LP Goodbye and Good Riddance. The record featured the breakout single “Lucid Dreams” would peak at No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 2018. Earlier this year in March, his follow-up sophomore LP, Death Race for Love, would go on to debut on the chart’s top spot. Remarkably, in just the two short years since his emergence, Juice WRLD landed a staggering 25 songs on the Hot 100.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 hisSteal This Mixtapeseries 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.
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.