Tagged: kanye west

My Adeezus

Also on Four Pins

Hey, this is Kanye motherfuckin’ West. Some of you may know me for being your favorite person and the rest of you obviously don’t know shit about shit! Anyway, why am I here? Because I’ve got some shoes to sell! One of the things that Steve Jobs’ ghost never told me was that being a genius is fucking expensive! Do you know how much gottdamn debt I’m in from all of my crazy ideas? For every screen I added to my extravagant cinema-tent or whatever, I had to take out another mortgage on Big Sean. He’s technically owned by a boutique that only sells indigo silks in Osaka, but I haven’t told him that yet. And apparently, all of those crazy contracts I signed when I was younger are still legally binding, so I needed to find another way to make money. I went to the Nike offices to ask them for royalties, and they said that they would agree if I would do some commercials.

I told them no! I told them they can’t control me! I told them to please reconsider as they carried me out of their office, but they wouldn’t listen! When DONDA grows to more than just Virgil and Ibn making different voices on the phone, I’m going to buy Nike! So anyway, now I need to recoup my losses. Kim’s mom said that she would help me meet some people who could help out, but Adidas was the only one who would give me 100% control of my projects. Plus, and you peons probably don’t know this, but the fashion world is impossible to penetrate. Only the most prestigious of names are selected to participate in projects like this. Like Jeremy Scott! He’s like the second modern day Willy Wonka! I’m the first!

I gave Adidas ten ideas for shoes, and all of them are great. They are cutting edge products, each and every one. I’m a master of product design, so this obviously did not come as a surprise to me. I’ve included some of the prototypes here, so take a look and agree with me!

Frendi High:

You know how it’s annoying when you leave the house looking 80% like a ninja, but your shoes look like they’re clearly made for basketball? Now, you have the option of matching these leather slippers with your pants! I was going to call these the Air Hedi Slimanes, but I didn’t because I’m a better person than him!

Yeezus Christ Superstar Skate Low:

I made an amazing song called Black Skinhead, and this is an homage to that. It’s important to pay respect to perfect, so I try to incorporate as much of myself into my work as possible. Not only are the stripes klan hoods, but they also look like a Zebra! I fucking love zebras! There’s a lot you don’t know about me!

Mask:

In my latest concert appearances, I’ve been sporting spiked masks. I’ve been trying to get Kendrick to put one on, but he keeps saying he’s busy whenever I ask him to hang out. I made these shoes because I wanted everyone to experience a cool product I made, because I’m like the Santa Clause of product!

Red Mocctober:

Sometimes I’ll be chilling in the house, and I get worried that I don’t look fresh enough. What kind of examples do I set for Norie if I’m not fresh all the time? Without a good role model, she will never grow up to be a successful businesswoman like her mother. That’s why I made these moccasins! Plus I recently had my assistant read me a book about the last of the moccasins, so I figured it’s my duty to add more of these things into the market!

New Slaves High:

We are all a slaves to corporations! When you’re buying something from a big national brand, you’re directly supporting evil! Adidas is cool though!

Perfect Model:

I don’t use the perfection often, but I’m going to use it a lot here! These shoes are perfect! They look perfect, they look perfect on your feet, the smell perfect when they’re off your feet. There is nothing not perfect about these shoes. You’re not supposed to wear them though! Just look at them.

Unravel:

Thee shoes are just one big bundle of laces, because laces are the most important part of a shoe. That’s a little tidbit of information that I picked up while I was looking at a lamp for the tenth straight hour. These are dope, but you have to remember to keep them tied or else you’ll find yourself barefoot fast, and that’s illegal! It’s in the bible!

Yeezus Wings:

These shoes are the perfect packaging for your feet. You probably don’t get this, but it’s minimalism. It’s also baroque!

Yeezus Walks:

This is the sort of fantastic product packaging that I’m capable of, these shoes are wavy! Ahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! Get it, because there’s water in the soles?! If you give Adidas money for these shoes, you can literally walk on water. I’ve only known one guy who could preform miracles like that, but me and Dame Dash don’t talk no more.

OIVO Fest

This article also appeared on Noisey

The entire concept of OVO Fest is a little silly. You’re paying money to see Drake perform, but during the show you’re looking for any potential hints that will tell you what’s behind door number two. Guessing who the surprise guests will be for OVO Fest has become a tradition for as long as the event has existed because if there’s one thing that Torontonians hate it’s being caught off-guard. Last year people were able to guess Snoop and Nicki Minaj’s appearance based on their Twitter feed – and the year before that Stevie Wonder ruined his surprise by playing a sound-check at 3 PM the afternoon of the concert.

Only Jay-Z and Eminem’s appearance at the maiden OVO Fest was truly a surprise and it was an unforgettable experience that instilled a permanent sense of FOMO in all potential ticket buyers. Three years later, thousands of people packed the Molson Amphitheater again in the hopes of seeing a once in a lifetime moment happen. Again.

Upon entering the venue you’re confronted by a sea of owls. Owls on shirts. I’d say roughly 1/4 of the Drake-bros were wearing some sort of OVO-apparel. I admire their dedication, since wait times for the merch table reached two hours and the prices were ludicrous. But isn’t $100 worth it to say you’re really putting your owl sweater inside your luggage? Maybe, but I draw the line at $75 fitted hats. And the only thing more present than the owl-gear was the camo. I ended up sitting in three people’s laps mistaking them for my lawn seats.

James Blake was performing as I walked in but nobody seems to care. His turn-down tunes aren’t exactly stadium music, so people use this opportunity to mingle, buy expensive clothing and guess who the surprise guests will be. James Blake leaves to tepid applause.

Oh great, Wale has shown up. I guess he pulled the short straw backstage and had to open. At one point Wale walks into the pit to get swallowed up by the audience and I assume my dreams have come true, but he ends up coming out unscathed minutes later. Truthfully, Wale has some great strip-club songs: Slight Work, Clappers, Rack City, No Hands. If this were a strip-club, I would probably be enjoying it more. Wale leaves the stage, I applaud, the announcer says Drake will be out in twenty minutes.

Fourty minutes later, the only thing on stage is Drake’s set. To be fair, it’s an impressive set. Ten bent black mechanical arms reach out of the stage equipped with lights and what would turn out to be the impressive pyrotechnics rigging. At the center of the arms lay a DJ booth where Drake’s DJ, Future the Prince, would curate the night from. It will also act as the setting to which Drake will later escape in order to watch TLC perform.

Finally, the sounds of a helicopter fill the amphitheater and The Beige God comes out to perform Headlines to roaring applause. In an attempt to be fashionable and patriotic, Drake is wearing a white unmarked baseball jersey with a Canadian flag on the sleeve and an undershirt with Arabic writing on it.

Headlines transitions flawlessly into Crew Love as Abel struts onstage – a far cry from the shy enigma that opened for OVO Fest two years ago. Now, Abel runs around making rap hands and playing to the crowd. After he’s done, Abel exits just as quickly as he appeared. Drake asks who has been to OVO Fest before and the applause is loud. But when he asks who’s here for the first time – it’s thunderous. “I’ve got some shit for you guys” Drake teases.

5 AM in Toronto blasts out of the speakers and cuts off abruptly as Drake panders to the city by telling everyone how beautiful they are. I’ve never felt more confident in myself. Suddenly, the opening bars to Clique thump out and Big Sean takes the stage wearing a prison striped baseball jersey of his own. Sean runs through Mercy next, a performance that was supposed to feature 2 Chainz until he pulled out at the last second. Fifteen minutes into the main show, Drake and Sean perform All Me. This could’ve been the song they ended with, so playing it this early shows a lot of confidence in what’s behind door number two.

Everyone knows that the best part of OVO Fest is seeing Drake jump along to his favorite music, grinning like a lovable idiot. It’s humanizing to see him react the same way I would if I had my own rap concert where I could invite whoeverthefuck I wanted to perform. Drake dances whenever he’s on stage with an artist for a short period of time and they’re about to segue into their collaboration. French Montana came out to mumble through “Ain’t Worried Bout Nothing” and get body bumped by Drizzy before performing Pop That to an impressive backdrop of fireworks. French fanutes offstage to confused applause due to the fact that this isn’t the Bronx. These people are just finding out now what the other guy rapping on Pop That looks like.

A single microphone is set up onstage which means it’s time to get sexy. Poetic Justice is played (no Kendrick) and followed by The Motion, which is followed by a drum solo. The bros I am surrounded by are really into the drum solo, but they go absolutely apeshit when the beat for Girls Love Beyonce drops. Drake does his usual crooning and dips into an R.Kelly thing where he starts throwing questions out to the audience while still singing. Drake thanks the staff at the Molson Amphitheater for providing him with a nice dressing room and says that they gave him too many mirrors so now he feels like Trey Songz. I don’t know either.

After setting up the mood for romance, Drake pulls the rug out from under us by bringing fucking Wale to the stage again. Drake also says that Wale is “one of the nicest dudes he’s ever met” so I’m pretty sure he knows he’s trolling. Wale performs that squeaky bed song and leaves, hopefully forever this time.

Drake begins to sing I Get Lonely Too before transitioning to the original version performed by the original artists as TLC takes the stage to perform Fanmail. Chilli still looks like she’s ready for the stage and was able to hit all of her dance moves, but T Boz resembled a soccer mom who was forced into leather and made to sing. Regardless, they both worked through Waterfalls and No Scrubs to an excited audience. They almost ruined it by having Lil Mama join them on stage for the last bit and almost Papoosing their performance though.

Drake comes out briefly to welcome another guest to the stage, keeping with the theme of “MORE GUESTS!”. This guest is introduced as being roughly the same height and skin tone as Drake, which narrow our choices to J.Cole or French Montana again. Fortunately it’s J.Cole, though he comes out to an unnecessary level of applause to perform Forbidden Fruit (no Kendrick) and Nobody’s Perfect. J.Cole thanks Toronto for selling out his last show and, in typical J.Cole fashion, apologies for something. He then brings out Miguel to do Power Trip. Miguel is wearing a bandanna-cape underneath a leather jacket with tassels on the sleeves, but he performs Adorn so the girls don’t care.

Drake comes back onstage with a very #cozyboyz wardrobe change. Now wearing sweatpants, a tank top and a shiny jacket, Drake reminds people of his early days by performing a verse off each of his early hits: Successful, Uptown, Forever, Best I Ever Had, Over. Taking a break from the songs, Drake mentions that it’s ironic that OVO Fest is held at this venue every year (it’s really not, since he chose it and everything) because this is where his Uncle Steve took him to see his first show ever. That experience was so great for Drake, that he decided to make some calls and recreate it.

The entire arena goes dark as the opening bars of Victory play and steam rises around the stage as the door at the center slides open to reveal Diddy. Diddy’s mic didn’t work at first, but he still managed to perform Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down before bringing out Ma$e and telling us repeatedly that we are witnessing history. Seeing Drake dance like an idiot beside Diddy – who dances like an idiot at an elite level – shows how much room Drake has to grow in that department. Diddy essentially performed a mix of his greatest remixes as he touched on I Need A Girl and Same Damn Time Remix.

A$AP Rocky was given the tough task of following Diddy and resorted to just hopping around onstage with Ferg as he did Fucking Problems and Wild For The Night – during which Drake played air-MPC.

Then, Drake took the stage alone again. He touched his knee to the ground and closed his eyes before reciting the Diamond Remix verse with some changes: “asking the same questions like, yo where Reign at? Man we both busy I ain’t gotta explain that. What’s up with you and Ye man are ya’ll okay man? Fucking right.” Hmmm… weird, what was this about? And why is Drake leaving the stage? Wait, is that … do I hear New Slaves?

I cannot describe the energy in the crowd when Kanye came out. This is partly due to the fact that I temporarily blacked out. We knew that what we were seeing was more than two artist together, it was a moment in Hip-Hop history. More than anything, it was a genuine surprise. Kanye doing New Slaves and following it with All Of The Lights and Can’t Tell Me Nothing recaptured the feeling you got at the first OVO Fest when Eminem came out to perform his verse on Forever. If last year’s show was centered around “look who I know”, this year’s theme was “look who I don’t actually hate”. Kanye coming out saying that Drake was one of the factors that influenced him and Jay-Z creating Watch The Throne while at Drake’s show took a lot of humility. Just seeing that from Kanye West was worth the price of admission alone.

Lastly, Lil Wayne came out to perform HYFR, The Motto and Bitches Love Me. Lil Wayne is arguably the best live performer of our time and in most circumstances, this would’ve been an excellent closer. But following Kanye made it a little anti-climactic since you almost expect to see Wayne at a Drake concert. The Versace Remix, No New Friends and Started From The Bottom closed out the show as a solo set from Drake.

People go to concerts to experience something one-of-a-kind. The best concert memories hang on moments that you consider historic. This OVO Fest was historic because it allowed us both a brief glimpse into the late 90s with the TLC and Ma$e appearances, as well as the moment shared by Kanye and Drake. After the fourth annual OVO Fest wrapped up I found myself asking the same question I asked after the first one: how is he ever going to top this?

If anyone can figure it out, I believe it’s Drake.

Pulling the WOLF Over Our Eyes

This article also appeared on Noisey/VICE

For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to connect with the whole Odd Future movement. Maybe it’s because I don’t skateboard, am not filled with angst, or have ever considered myself an artsy-fartsy social-outcast. But I feel that when we look back on the “good old days” of music in the year 2050, Odd Future‘s ‘Kitten Kounter Kulture’ of 2010 and beyond will serve as a focal-point of the music scene that would go on the be xeroxed by many in an attempt to create a similar “movement” (see: A$AP Copy). What Tyler and Co. did for music collectives in a post Wu-Tang world is analogous to the Drake-ushered mixtape-buzz-circuit that we thought was impossible post 50 Cent.

In my opinion, the Odd Future collective is slightly above average at best. The entire idea of a group of unruly teens moshing into the game and becoming an injection of youthful vigor into a rapidly aging rap-scene was a solution to an imaginary problem, especially when we look at the strength of current 30+ year old rappers like Danny Brown and Gunplay. Nothing Odd Future did, from pasting cats onto tie-dye shirts to the constant anagramming of “WolfGang”, struck me as being particularly creative or funny, in spite of the hordes of poorly-dressed teenagers screaming otherwise. Empirically, what regular Future did in the last few years with his sing-gurgles can be considered much more “Odd” than the group of skater-kids trying to collectively sound like their favorite rappers while drawing dicks on everything.

While it’s true that media darling/Avenger of Chris Brown, Frank Ocean and underground darling/Brosef of Mac Miller, Earl the Sweatshirt were birthed from the murky swamp of Odd Future, front-man Tyler the Creator is the recipient of much of the group’s critical praise due to his lack of filter and knack for re-purposing Pharrell Phormulas in 2013. But just because Kanye West takes time out of his busy schedule of Keeping up with the Kardashians to update his website with Tyler’s creepy video doesn’t mean we should all follow suit and fall at his feet. I mean, how much does a Kanye co-sign mean when he’s given similar merit to the likes of such talentless containers as Theopilus London and the womb of Kim Kardashian?

Tyler’s new album ‘Wolf’ plays off as an attempt at staying in the cultural cross-hairs and remaining relevant in an attempt to sell clothing and beats instead of actually pushing the envelope like he did upon his arrival into the music scene years ago. It feels more like an attempt at appeasing his core fans by constantly putting out music to a group of die-hards who don’t really care about the quality, similar to what the Insane Crown Possee does, albeit with less warrants for their arrest (both groups do however hold yearly carnivals). Even in the sparse interviews leading up to the release, Tyler stressed that his true passion lay not in rapping, but in producing music, creating ridiculous television shows, and scoring movies. If I wanted to listen to an 18 song commercial for a show on Adult Swim, I would listen to Ice Cube’s ‘King Of The Hill’ on loop.

Just because your rap-hero tells you to shrug off brand names in the hopes that you’d wear his kitty-cat shirts and tries his hardest to be weird for the sake of rejecting any label that’s attempted to be put onto him, doesn’t mean that he’s uncategorizable. So when Tyler raps with a heavy baritone in an MF Doom style cadence over top of Neptunes-style jazzy strings and horns, is the end product greater than the sum of its parts? Or does it just seem that way because those parts were never meant to be combined? Is being different the only qualifier needed to be considered good? If so, here are some reviews in Haiku format which are SUPER DIFFERENT!

Wolf
Over-thought intro
with confusing character
concepts. This is art?

Jamba
Self-aware punchlines
and scare-tales about drug use
with forgotten friend

Cowboy
Lukewarm offensive
lyrics about getting fame
and coping with it

Awkward
Teenage storybook
love tales built on fantasy
that girls like Tyler

Domo 23
Punchy horns, rigid
lyrics, recapping last year
and blasting boy-bands

Answer
Family issues
and overly personal
bars reach the children

Slater
More regaled tales of
yesteryear masked as likely
excuses for songs.

48
Nas wants relevance
but no more songs with Tyga.
Easy compromise.

Colossus
When you have fans that
like you, life is hard. But don’t
worry, they’ll grow up.

Party Isn’t Over/Campfire/Bimmer
Three songs squeezed into
the amount of time it takes
for one of JT‘s

IFHY
Conflicted love angst
featuring Tyler’s main love
interest, Pharrell

Pigs
Hits back at bullies
with the aide of some blaring
sirens. Cool song bro.

Parking Lot
Trill, angry nonsense.
Half-clever metaphors and
more words from lost friends.

Rusty
Mocking of the peers
over jazzy keys of life.
Who are these people?

Trashwang
Gunshots and trap sounds
to stunt and appeal to youths.
Who are these people?

Treehome 95
Airy chimes and horns
featuring the Magic Box.
Neo-Soul Asshole.

Tamale
A buzzing shit-storm
with over-yelled chorus and
some lukewarm insults

Lone
Therapy on wax
with psychoanalysis
on top of the blues.

The Airplane Boys: Toronto’s Arthaus Rap

The following article has also been featured on Passion of the Weiss

I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but being from Toronto is finally cool again! For the first time since the early aughts, the city can take pride in its Grammy winners and athletic dunk contest representatives as well as the “underground” talent that’s scattered throughout the metropolis. And although Terrence Ross is certainly no Vince Carter and Drake is far from Alanis Morissette (depending on who you ask), the rappers that haven’t yet caught fire on a national stage are some of the best in recent memory.

Take The Airplane Boys for example: the North’s answer to the machine-gun lyricism of such Beastcoasters as The Underachievers and Flatbush Zombies, albeit with more artistic flare. Stylistically, the only thing that separates Beck Motley from Bon Voyage (yes, those are their rap names) is Beck’s slightly more adenoidal and melodic delivery compared to Bon’s near-sneer-and-growl, an observation that instantly makes sense when you see the two of them standing side-by-side. This dynamic duo has been active for the last two years, putting out critically acclaimed mixtapes and preforming at music festivals all over North America and Asia, including a headlining show in their home city that saw their fans literally break the stands by jumping on them too hard.

Their first release, Where’ve You Been, was produced mainly by Illangelo and sampled everyone from Radiohead to White Stripes in the hopes of casting a large net and getting as many faces to un-screw in the city as possible; their second offering, Alignment, took on a more pop feel with a dark undertone as they cultivated their image until it closely resembled what they’ve become now: Arthaus Rap.

Their newest project Brave New World shows both thematic and artistic growth as it breaks down their journey thus far. Lyrically, their bars are overloaded with so many cultural references that you may lose sight of the big picture by focusing too much on the punchlines. For example, on TIDES a rap about the internal struggles of a beautiful female is almost overshadowed by a reference to an R&B one-hit wonder:

She baptized in Chanel
You smelling good, you well and good
but you crying inside they can’t tell
keep going to war with yourself
Thoughts as Blu as Cantrell
do you remember her, will they remember you
for the things you slave to, please be more brave boo
invite the cravings that make them hate you

This tongue-in-cheek songwriting is stamped all over the tape and since it’s the third such offering, it’s becoming obvious that they have no intentions of slowing down. This is a duo that’s been wearing leather pants way before All Star Weekend and if they’re lyrics are to be believed, are receiving letters from Kanye West. In fact, there’s a chance you may have heard an Airplane Boys song without knowing it: they’ve partnered with both Levis and Adidas in order to make these brands seem more “alt”. So get familiar with the hottest export coming out of Toronto before they become popular and the city turns its back on them!

Haiku Reviews – Cruel Summer

This article also appeared on Passion of the Weiss

To The World – Kanye West feat. R. Kelly & Teyana Taylor
Zombie Kellz croon-boasts
over strings and 808s.
Kanye shows up too.

Clique – Kanye West & Big Sean feat. Jay-Z & Cocaine 80s
Angrier “Crew Love”
with bravado filled Seans and
introspective Ye

Mercy – Kanye West, Big Sean & Pusha T feat. 2 Chainz 
Cross layered samples
and luxurious punchlines.
Autoexotic.

New God Flow – Kanye West & Pusha T feat. Ghostface Killah
Jesus piece debates
and cocaine inuendos
over haunting keys.

The Morning – Pusha T, Common, CyHi The Prynce, Kid Cudi & D’banj feat. Raekwon and 2 Chainz 
A sonic patch quilt
with a designer label.
Even Cyhi tries.

Cold – Kanye West feat. DJ Khaled & DJ Pharris
A tantrum on wax.
Arcane whines over arcade
products. And….Khaled.

Higher – Pusha T feat. The-Dream, Ma$e & Cocaine 80s
Chanting hymns and a
desperate atempt from Mase.
JUST OKAY Music.

Sin City – John Legend, Teyana Taylor, CyHi The Prynce & Malik Yusef feat. Travi$ Scott 
All of your least fave
elements of a Ye song,
like that pun pastor.

The One – Kanye West & Big Sean feat. 2 Chainz, Marsha Ambrosius & Cocaine 80s 
A theatrical
composition of come ups
and healthy self praise.

Creepers – Kid Cudi 
The complex musings
of a tortured soul — who cried
to get his own song

Bliss – John Legend & Teyana Taylor 
An upbeat ballad
by the two GOOD-mates with real
musical talent.

Don’t Like (Remix) – Pusha T, Kanye West & Big Sean feat. Chief Keef & Jadakiss 
Remixes, old songs,
that’s the shit I do not like.
However, this bangs.