Before Las Vegas became the mecca for blockbuster DJ residencies at posh mega clubs, Atlantic City reigned supreme. The East Coast entertainment and tourism hub’s rich history began well before it became the first city outside of Nevada to offer legal gambling. Though over time, Atlantic City’s booming commercial appeal faltered, and at point of the city’s steepest decline, Vegas caught on to the global EDM boom, and the world’s top rap and dance talents all started vying for valuable residency slots at some of the hottest club properties in the country.
Atlantic City, once the home Caesar’s Palace, Bally’s, and more, may have fallen on hard times, but that doesn’t mean that the enduring entertainment hotspot has not hung on. Now, it seems the little engine that could may be picking up some steam once again. The city has remained an East Coast entertainment center point behind clubs like Hard Rock’s emerging DAER concept. The new indoor/outdoor hybrid, championed by the Hard Rock brand’s deep musical legacy, has been drawing in top-tier talent since it opened in June 2018, programming a state of the art venue that manages to capture big room energy and an intimate feel all at once.
DAER, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, has staked its claim on the national club circuit with major bookings including Drake, Tiësto, Alesso, Travis Scott, Above & Beyond, and more in its first months in business. The secret ingredient to DAER’s success though comes from venerated industry talent that has quietly migrated away from current social hotspots to head back to the East Coast and ignite Atlantic City’s resurgence. Former Hakkasan figures have brought their know-how to New Jersey and Atlantic City’s restoration seems to be underway. If DAER is the comparative barometer for what the boardwalk could eventually go back to, things are going to start looking up for the East Coast club scene. DAER hasn’t even had a full trip around the sun yet, but a recap of the club’s first six months in operation shows Atlantic City’s exciting comeback starting to materialize, largely behind what could likely become one of the most in-demand clubs in the country.
A cacophony of trumpets coalesces with the warm notes of a saxophone to pierce the silence on “The Beginning,” an attention-grabbing, aptly titled number that opens Louis Futon’s debut album, Way Back When. Inherently dynamic, Futon has long treated listeners to his forward thinking remixes, to place his own idiosyncratic spins on other artists’ offerings, like James Blake‘s “Retrograde,” and Travis Scott‘s “Wake Up.” Now, Futon channels his creative efforts into an extended, 14-track showing that radiates the bright, buoyant personality characteristic of a Futon single.
Way Back When engages listeners from start to finish in its unpredictability, and the fun that Futon evidently had when engineering the debut project is audible in each song of the album. The bold instrumental components of “The Beginning” are crisp commencers that yield to the twinkling synths and comparatively syrupy pace of the album’s second song, “Surreal.” Delightfully kaleidoscopic in the nature of its cuts, Way Back When dabbles in the vocal-centric on “Rewind,” with the bubbly assistance of Ashe and Armani White. Futon melds playful tones with glitchy arrangement on “Supposed To Be,” to craft a rhythmically oriented joint, accented with DUCKWRTH delivered hip-hop verses. Way Back When traverses distinctive sonic territories across its 14 comprising cuts, to emerge as a highly developed debut project that is duly diverse in its sound, and cohesive.
Travis Scott was electric at 2019’s Grammy Awards, performing a selection of tracks from his latest album Astroworld. To kick things off, the Houston-born phenomenon rattled off “Stop Trying To Be God” with featured artist James Blake. They also had assistance from Earth, Wind & Fire members as well as producer Mike Dean, who aided in creating a smooth, melodic aura that was quickly interrupted by the intro for Scott’s “No Bystanders,” panning to a large cage containing an elevated Scott. It’s safe to say that utter craziness proceeded to ensue, as a mixture of fans and stuntmen charged the stage for some mosh pits and cage dancing to close out.
The 26-year-old rapper received two nominations for single “SICKO MODE” featuring Drake and one for best rap album. Scott is also featuring on Blake’s latest project Assume Form, which Dancing Astronaut reviewed here.
If Mac Miller secures the 2019 Grammy for “Best Rap Album” for Swimming, the award will be accepted by late rapper’s parents, who will attend the awards ceremony in Miller’s memory. The annual ceremony and the biggest night in music will return to Los Angeles’ Staples Center on February 10, where Alicia Keys will be playing host.
Miller’s fifth studio showing, Swimming, had been considered one of the rapper’s most visceral to date, exploring themes of mental health that stood out from older released. He passed not long after that, further amplifying the themes set in his record. The LP will compete with productions from four other hip hop entities, Cardi B‘s Invasion Of Privacy, Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap, Pusha T‘s Daytona, and Travis Scott‘s Astroworld.
View the list of 2019 Grammy Award nominees, here.
It’s official: Travis Scott will be in “Super Bowl” Mode for Super Bowl LIII. After flirting with the possibility of a Travis Scott guest performance for several months, Super Bowl halftime show organizers have now confirmed that the Astroworld album-maker will appear alongside previously announced halftime headliner, Maroon 5. Fellow rapper Big Boi is also slated to join Scott and Maroon 5.
Scott’s Super Bowl booking comes after philanthropic collaboration between Scott and the NFL, who will collectively donate $500,000 to “social justice accelerator,” Dream Corps. “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” Scott said in a statement that followed formal announcement of his entertainment confirmation. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change,” Scott added.
A source close to the “Sicko Mode” artist told Billboard that Scott’s participation in the halftime show was contingent upon the NFL’s agreement to contribute a donation to Dream Corps. Many artists rejected the NFL’s Super Bowl 2019 halftime show bids, including Rihanna, Jay-Z, Adele, and Cardi B, each of whom reportedly rejected the entertainment offer to show solidarity to prior San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the National Anthem in “protest against police brutality” in 2016. Storied and dedicated in his efforts to to bring attention to the issue of police brutality in the nation for many years preluding Kaepernick’s on-field opposition, JAY-Z supposedly attempted to dissuade Scott from accepting a halftime slot at Super Bowl 2019 prior to Scott’s confirmation.
Boston Calling revealed its 10th anniversary lineup, featuring some of the biggest names in the industry and premier headliners such as Travis Scott, Twenty One Pilots, and Tame Impala. Other big names to grace the northeastern sonic get-together include ODESZA, Logic, Greta Van Fleet, Anderson .Paak, Hozier, Janelle Monáe, Sheck Wes, and many more. With an eclectic lineup combining carefully selected acts in hip-hop, rock, and electronic music, Boston Calling tempers the array of sounds by including comedy acts such as Michael Che, Jenny Slate, and Fred Armisen.
Other electronic acts thrown in the mix include Mura Masa, a DJ set from Chromeo, Snakehips, and other various troupes that utilize strong synth protagonists. The event is embedded in prime-time festival season, May 24-26, at the Harvard Athletic Complex. Click here for tickets.
The designation is affirmed by a comprehensive year-end report published by market monitor BuzzAngle, which tracks music consumption data. Far from a fad, hip-hop comes out on top again as the most streamed genre this year, with rap singles consuming 24.7 percent of the streaming market in 2018, or a quarter of all streamed tracks for the year. 2018 shows continued year over year growth for the genre, which previously consumed 20.9 percent of single streams in 2017. The report categorizes urban songs as a combination of rap, hip-hop, and R&B, all amounting to the country’s most streamed genre, beating out pop music three years in a row.
Other trends that have emerged are the rise of pop and the decline of rock. In 2017, rock was right behind hip-hop with a 19.8 percent consumption share, while in 2018, pop overtook rock to take a 19 percent market share. Rock precipitously declined to only a 11.7 percent market share in 2018, even in a year when highly marketable albums from Greta Van Fleet, Smashing Pumpkins, and Stone Temple Pilots among others saw major label releases.
These trends are similarly reflected in album streaming patterns for 2017 and 2018. Although rock album streams superseded rap album streams in 2017, 2018 was a year of major growth for hip-hop and a considerable decline for rock. In a year when everyone from Travis Scott to The Carters, Drake to Anderson .Paak dropped full-length projects, it comes as no surprise that hip-hop dominated nearly a quarter of the streaming market in 2018.
Last month, the multi-talented Brit, James Blake, set the scene up in a blaze of intrigue, taunting his crowd with an unreleased André 3000 (of Outkast) collaboration at a Brooklyn DJ set.
Now, thanks to the hyper-vigilant Reddit community (specifically user: Misfitxxx) and a leaked Amazon link, all signs point toward a full-length album from the singer/songwriter, entitled Assume Form. The since-deleted Amazon pre-sale page indicated the album–purportedly slated for a Jan 25 release date–will feature a grocery-list-length sundry of illustrious industry faces from Travis Scott (whom Blake collaborated with for Astroworld-housed “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”) to Spanish songstress, Rosalía.
Given Blake’s affinity for precipitate album-dropping (2016’s The Colour in Anything), a sans-promo (almost) release is certainly within the realm of possibility for the 1–800–Dinosaur producer.
Below is the tracklist as it appeared on the Amazon pre-sale page:
01 – “Assume Form” 02 – “Mile High” 03 – “Tell Them” 04 – “Into The Red” 05 – “Barefoot In The Park” 06 – “Can’t Believe The Way We Flow” 07 – “Are You In Love?” 08 – “Where’s The Catch?” 09 – “I’ll Come Too” 10 – “Power On” 11 – “Don’t Miss It” 12 – “Lullaby For My Insomniac”
Paring down an entire year’s worth of songs is no easy feat.
2018 saw the explosion of songs like ZEDD‘s “The Middle” and Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa‘s “One Kiss,” dominating both the dance music charts and the radio airwaves. Ear-catching tracks like these, along with fan favorites like FISHER‘s persuasive “Losing It” and Anti Up‘s entertaining “Pizza” wiggled their way into festival sets around the world and — love them or hate them — stood out as notable tracks that do their part in immortalizing this whirlwind of a year.
From Skrillex to Kayzo, many DJs have been tempted to try their hands at remixing Travis Scott‘s chart dominating “Sicko Mode.” The latest to join the list of artists stepping up the the Astroworld standout is none other than Diplo, although his rework of the original is more festive than it is transformative.
Diplo enlists Walshy Fire, Ape Drums, and company on a private plane for the ultimate Christmas re-think of “Sicko Mode,” fake rapping his newly written holiday-themed “Santa Mode” lyrics. The original track is an undoubted hit, but Diplo’s timely Christmas cut actually manages to hold up — we might need a full version.