Skyzoo Goes Off the Top for Ep. 17 of DJBooth & TIDAL’s “Bless The Booth”: Watch

Skyzoo Goes Off the Top for Ep. 17 of DJBooth & TIDAL’s “Bless The Booth”: Watch

Skyzoo loves rapping. Case in point: episode No. 17 of our ongoing Bless The Booth freestyle series with TIDAL.

Ahead of his new album, In Celebration of Us, out this Friday, February 2, the Brooklyn veteran reasserts his underground dominance by going off the top with a four-minute lyrical outburst. Word to Odell Beckham. 

Shot at DJBooth’s SoHo, New York City studios, Bless The Booth showcases the lyrical dexterity of rappers both established and on the rise.

In Celebration of Us is scheduled for release this Friday, February 2, but you can head to our YouTube channel right now to watch past Bless The Booth episodes from Rapsody, G Herbo, Don Q, CyHi The Prynce, Wyclef Jean, Nyck Caution, Mir Fontane, Zoey Dollaz, Rob $tone, Jimi Tents, Khary, OMB Peezy, Kris Kasanova, Jarren Benton, and Sylvan LaCue.

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Star-Studded ‘Black Panther The Album’ to Be Released on February 9

Star-Studded ‘Black Panther The Album’ to Be Released on February 9

Top Dawg Entertainment has announced Black Panther The Album, music from and inspired by the forthcoming Marvel film Black Panther, will be released on February 9. 

In addition to sharing the project's release date, the label has also revealed the full tracklist. In total, the project stands at 14 tracks, including the previously-released "All The Stars," featuring Kendrick Lamar and SZA, and "King's Dead," featuring Jay Rock, Lamar, Future and James Blake. 

Lamar, who executive produced the album alongside TDE CEO Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, appears on five tracks, while labemates ScHoolboy Q ("X") and Ab-Soul ("Bloody Waters") each appear on one track apiece.

As for non-TDE guests, the album is stacked: 2 Chainz, Anderson .Paak, Travis Scott, Vince Staples, The Weeknd and more.

Black Panther The Album is currently available for digital pre-order, but fans will have to wait one additional week (February 16) for a physical copy.

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Kendrick Lamar: Going From Obama to Trump is “a Complete Mindfuck”

Kendrick Lamar: Going From Obama to Trump is “a Complete Mindfuck”

After winning one of his five GRAMMY awards this past Sunday evening, Kendrick Lamar endorsed JAY-Z to become the next commander-in-chief, blurting "Jay for president!" before ending his speech.

Jay, like Oprah, isn't likely to run for the office of the President of the United States in 2020, but his success beyond music, as a businessman and an entrepreneur, has served as inspiration for Lamar, who, like many Americans, is still trying to wrap his head around the transition from former president Barack Obama, a friend and noted fan of his music, to our current president, Donald J. Trump, who has openly mocked hip-hop in the press.

On his recent appearance on Touré Show, a weekly podcast hosted by esteemed American journalist Touré, Lamar was asked to put this dynamic into words:

"It's a complete mindfuck, man. It's a complete mindfuck," Lamar said. "If you don't have the mental stability of knowing who you are and what you're capable of, you're immediately going to be brainwashed by the idea of, again, you are a part of the problem."

Touré quickly changed gears, covering a wide range of topics including whether or not Kendrick enjoys the sound of his own voice (he does) and how rappers practice ("Just being in that studio, writing terrible verses, terrible hooks, you have your homeboys and your friends, people that you trust, telling you that's garbage."), but throughout the 46-minute interview, Lamar repeatedly brought up the word "community," referring to his audience, his fans, and the people who supported him at the earliest stages of his career. 

Since taking office, Trump has gone out of his way to make anyone who isn't a white man—blacks, immigrants, women—feel lesser. Kendrick's music alone won't change this ugly rhetoric, but his encouragement of self-belief and his support for his community is the best way to counteract an evil political agenda.

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JMSN Explores Funk and Desire on New Single “So Badly”: Listen

JMSN Explores Funk and Desire on New Single “So Badly”: Listen

Yearning, much like JMSN, is best served chilled over a funky beat.

On “So Badly,” JMSN explores the most impressive highs of his register, letting the grandiosity of the record slowly unfurl and consume the listener in much the same way loving someone “so badly” consumes all of us.

From the sandy percussion and reaching melodies to the cresting harmonies and a rich bass groove, “So Badly” is a very good first step into 2018.

JMSN, a Michigan-born multi-instrumentalist and R&B and soul singer, has been exploring the fringes of passion and desire since his 2012 album, †Priscilla†. Since then, he has continued to unpack and retool to soundscapes of R&B, planting sonic seeds from song to song and album to album.

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Video: Your Top Ten Production Questions Answered

We just dropped a special video answering some of the hundreds of questions we’ve received from people wanting to get started in making their own music (that’s about 85% of you according to our recent Global Digital DJ Census 2018). In it, our very own Joey Santos and Phil Morse cover a wide range of … Continued

The post Video: Your Top Ten Production Questions Answered appeared first on Digital DJ Tips.

“I’m on a Different Wavelength”: Domo Genesis is Happy Again (Interview)

“I’m on a Different Wavelength”: Domo Genesis is Happy Again (Interview)

Domo Genesis stands behind the stage right entrance. He's waiting for his cue to emerge before the crowd at the release party for good friend and collaborator Evidence’s new album, Weather or Not. Every soul in LA's sold-out Roxy Theatre is eagerly anticipating Domo’s performance, but the Inglewood rapper shows not a trace of nervousness. Instead, he shares a laugh with the man standing next to him. Finally, the DJ deems the audience ready for Domo's entrance, and the man before the man of the hour saunters his way to center stage, passionately rapping the words to “Brake” off his week-old mixtape Aren’t U Glad You’re U?.

Domo Genesis
Photo by Justin James

Two years ago, the concept of sharing his solo material with the world wasn’t nearly as nonchalant, especially in the days leading up to the release of Genesis, Domo's debut solo album.

Genesis had me with the jitters. Of course, it's the first one,” he says candidly during our green room interview a few hours before the show. “It’s a lot of shit that I got out of the way, a lot of shit that I learned. Being able to kick it with people, like Ev, who’s been doing this for a long time, and soak in knowledge, I became a whole other person.”

Domo and Evidence originally met at the house of legendary producer The Alchemist, when Domo and Alc were working on their joint 2012 mixtape No Idols. Evidence (and many others) would often stop by the house to play their new music, and the two quickly hit it off. That friendship would eventually blossom into the collaboration “Deez Nuts” off Domo’s 2017 mixtape Red Corolla, and the song's excellent response convinced the two to record an entire project together, which became Aren’t U Glad You’re U?.

“It was supposed to be five songs originally, but me and Ev had such a sick relationship doing this, everything about it was organic,” he says. “It was just cool to work freely with somebody like that and have them critique what you’re doing, or tell you to have more conviction. So it ended up being a little bit longer, just because it was something that was fun to do.”

The two originally planned to release Aren’t U Glad You’re U? immediately following Red Corolla, but as things began to fall into place, dropping the mixtape in early 2018 became the only sensible option. As the release date for Evidence’s album drew near, Domo kept his accomplice's best interests in mind, and ultimately decided to release his own tape close to Evidence’s full-length in order to further build anticipation.

“I wanted to [drop my mixtape] to promote his album, to show love to Ev,” Domo says. “I knew he had a lot of things going on, like [Defari's Rare Poise] tape, so he had a lot that was running his momentum up. So I was just like, 'Why not put it out a week before and then have you drop yours?' and it seems like it really picked up that way.”

Getting his debut album out of the way played a major role in Domo’s decreased nerves leading up to Aren’t U Glad You’re U? but it was a return to his inherent sound that also put him at ease. The rapper enjoyed experimenting with live instrumentation for the first time on Genesis, but his hip-hop upbringing made the beat-tape atmosphere he crafted on the new mixtape a much more natural setting.

“It’s what I’m familiar with, the music I listened to when I was a kid that got me into rap,” he says. “I don’t dislike working with a big band either—those have been some of my favorite songs, but it doesn’t give you that same nostalgia, those feelings you got when you were first bumping Late Registration.”

Nostalgia drives Domo in more ways than one; certainly encouraging his affinity for the beat machine, but also inspiring his songwriting as he tries to relive memories from years past.

“I’ll hear a beat, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, this reminds me of what I was doing in high school when I was driving around throwing eggs at people,’” he says with a laugh. “That’s the kind of shit that inspires me, I’ll go back in the moment and try to base this song off of that experience.”

Domo isn't entirely fond of Memory Lane, however; for quite some time following the release of Genesis, personal struggles outside of music stood in the way of creating the necessary drive to create and release new material. He credits family and friends for motivating him to push through and delivering constructive criticism, which he believes helped to give him the confidence to share more of his creations with the world.

“A lot of people that I keep around me, they genuinely care,” he says. “They’ll tell me stuff in a negative way, but for positive reasons. Like, ‘You’re not doing this, I know you Doms. What’s going on?’ You know, like when your uncle punch you in your chest when you’re little, it’s like that.”

Through all the ups and downs, Domo feels he has arrived at a better place. He is unhindered from a workflow, which has allowed him to attack the new year with the underdog mentality he’s grown accustomed to owning. His goal for 2018 is to sustain a more consistent output, whether it be new albums, mixtapes, or visuals.

“It takes a lot of time to get inspired by real life to go back and rap,” he says. “Once you get past that and you’re in a happy place, you’re in the mood to just work. I’m on a different wavelength. Now it’s just fun to be in a place where I can just talk about life and have fun doing it.”

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JAY-Z Originally Wanted to Create a “Radio Single” for ‘4:44’—Could It Have Won Him a GRAMMY?

JAY-Z Originally Wanted to Create a “Radio Single” for ‘4:44’—Could It Have Won Him a GRAMMY?

Despite scoring an industry-leading eight nominations, JAY-Z walked away empty-handed from the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards this past Sunday evening.

While some believe Jay split votes with Kendrick Lamar in several major categories, leading to Bruno Mars sweeping Album of the Year (24k Magic), Record of the Year ("24k Magic") and Song of the Year ("That's What I Like"), it's also possible the lack of a true "radio single" on 4:44 meant that fewer voting member ears actually listened to the full body of work. 

In an interview on Ebro In The Morning prior to the awards ceremony, 4:44 producer No I.D. revealed that, during the construction of the album, Jay expressed a desire to have at least one track that could be pushed as "the single," but together they decided against it.

"I kept referencing [Marvin Gaye's] What's Going On when we was working," No I.D. said. "We were gettin' near the end and he'd be like, 'Let's go for the...' And I'd be like, 'Let's not put 'Sexual Healing' on Whats Going On. I know radio, I know the club, but let's just do this one. You already got the catalog. You won. You won five times, 10 times, whatever. But this one..."

For some, the overall quality of an album is often (unfairly) based on its most notable single selections, but as No I.D. went on to explain, a project should never be judged by its best material, but rather by its worst.

"An album, to me, is measured by the worst song, not the best song," he said. "The 'bad' songs make an album not classic. You could have the most amazing records on the record, and you got two bad records, it ain't a classic though." 

4:44 is already Platinum (largely thanks to Sprint), the album is among the highest-rated of Jay's entire career, and its corresponding tour is his highest-grossing solo run ever. It's possible a hit single could have meant greater success for the album—which has never been made available for stream on TIDAL rival Spotify—which, in turn, might have helped Jay add to his impressive collection of gilded gramophones, but just as No I.D. explained, Jay is past the point of chasing hits. 

4:44 isn't Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, but, as a legacy project, over time it will likely be remembered in a similar vein.

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Childish Gambino to Re-Release 2011’s ‘EP’ on Streaming Services Tonight

Childish Gambino to Re-Release 2011’s ‘EP’ on Streaming Services Tonight

Childish Gambino's EP, a five-track project that was released for free download on March 8, 2011, will be re-released across all major streaming services at midnight through Wolf + Rothstein’s partnership with Stem. At the time of its initial release, EP was Gambino's first non-mixtape, housed his early single "Freaks & Geeks," and served as a prelude to his debut full-length, Camp, which arrived eight months later.

According to Billboard, EP is the first of several older, freely-released projects that the artist born Donald Glover plans to make available for stream, several of which will be released later this year.

The recent GRAMMY award winner is currently working on his final full-length album as Childish Gambino, which will also serve as his first full-length release under RCA Records.

In related news, Joey Bada$$ recently revealed his plan to make his debut mixtape 1999—which, like Gambino's EP, was never given an official, commercial release—available on every major streaming service.

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The GRAMMY Bump: Kendrick Lamar, SZA & More See Massive Social Media Following Increase

The GRAMMY Bump: Kendrick Lamar, SZA & More See Massive Social Media Following Increase

Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar cleaned up at the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards this past Sunday in New York City, taking home 11 gilded gramophones between them. In addition to leaving Madison Square Garden with some brand new hardware, both artists also collected a sizable chunk of new followers on social media.

On Monday, according to data collected by SocialBlade, Lamar saw a 260% jump in average daily Twitter follower gain and a 349% jump in new Instagram followers vs. the previous five days (January 24 through January 28), while Mars saw his Instagram following increase 1,077% over the same time period. (Oddly, Mars' Twitter following, which currently stands at 40.4 million, fell 1.2%.)

Rihanna, who won an award for her work alongside Lamar on "LOYALTY." and also performed "Wild Thoughts" with DJ Khaled and Bryson Tiller, saw her average daily Instagram following gain jump 562%, but like Mars she saw a dip in her Twitter following. In the five days leading up to the show, Rihanna averaged 2,631 new followers, but on Monday, the singer lost 8,382 followers.

It should be noted that, despite suffering a post-GRAMMY follower loss, Rihanna still has more Twitter followers (86.1 million) than Bruno Mars (40.4m), Kendrick Lamar (9.9m), Cardi B (2.35), Logic (2.14m), and SZA (1.62m) combined.

Social media following boosts shouldn't be surprising, as Nielsen reported sales boosts for every song performed at the awards show, earning a earned a collective 328% gain in download sales in the U.S. on the day of the show.

Here is a look at all the numbers:

Bruno Mars

Twitter Followers: -1.2%

5-Day Avg: 29,884 
Monday (1/29): 29,505

Instagram Followers: +1,077%

5-Day Avg: 15,722
Monday (1/29): 185,063

Cardi B

Twitter Followers: +107%

5-Day Avg: 5,504
Monday (1/29): 11,434

Instagram Followers: +182%

5-Day Avg: 64,212
Monday (1/29): 181,331

Kendrick Lamar

Twitter Followers: +260%

5-Day Avg: 3,139
Monday (1/29): 11,308

Instagram Followers: +349%

5-Day Avg: 10,594
Monday (1/29): 47,623

Logic

Twitter Followers: +1,201%

5-Day Avg: 1,081
Monday (1/29): 14,065

Instagram Followers: +570%

5-Day Avg: 6,893
Monday (1/29): 46,219

Rihanna

Twitter Followers: -418%

5-Day Avg: 2,631
Monday (1/29): -8,382

Instagram Followers: +562%

5-Day Avg: 15,792
Monday (1/29): 104,572

SZA

Twitter Followers: +134%

5-Day Avg: 4,114
Monday (1/29): 9,633

Instagram Followers: +319%

5-Day Avg: 10,309
Monday (1/29): 43,208

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10 NPR Tiny Desk Concerts We’d Love to See

10 NPR Tiny Desk Concerts We’d Love to See

Live music has the ability to make you feel invincible. Whether bangers or mellow joints, old classics or new experiments, it all sounds different when the artist is standing 10 feet in front of you. The inherent intimacy of a live setting can enhance the music almost as much as a new arrangement, an alchemy that’s usually worth the beer spilled on your shoes.

Sometimes, an arena is required to provide this experience. Sometimes, all you need is a tiny desk.

Every time a new Tiny Desk Concert pops up online, this is the experience I seek. NPR’s online video series revolves around acoustic live performances from artists in the vein of MTV’s Unplugged, all done from behind the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. Boilen and NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson started the series in 2008 after they weren’t able to hear Laura Gibson's vocals over a raucous live crowd. What started as a joke about Gibson performing at Boilen’s desk was the seed that birthed the first ever Tiny Desk concert. They were chasing the same feeling.

It took the pair a while to fully embrace hip-hop and R&B, but they broke that streak—and the internet at large—with T-Pain’s 2014 Tiny Desk, which included hits like “Buy U A Drank” and “Up Down (We Can Do This All Day).” The performance was jaw-dropping enough to make up for the sea of backhanded compliments that came from people unaccustomed to an Auto-Tune-less Teddy.

Since then, Boilen’s desk has been graced by soulful acoustic sets from the likes of Anderson .Paak—who is tied with Pain for the most-viewed Tiny Desk of all time, with 11.5 million views—Tyler, The Creator, Chance The Rapper, Oddisee and Noname, as well unique performances from DJ Premier & The Badder Band, Run The Jewels and Gucci Mane. They’re all unified by their intimacy and their adventurousness, a live show stripped down to the essentials that reveals new layers to songs we know and love.

2018 is only a month old, but I’m already thinking about who I want to see in that corner office next. In no particular order, here are some suggestions.


Big K.R.I.T.

Mississippi’s pride and joy is known for his trunk-rattling bass just as much as he is for introspective lyrics. K.R.I.T. ventured even further into live music territory on last year’s masterful double album 4Eva Is a Mighty Long Time, exploring his hedonistic rapper side (Big K.R.I.T.) before diving into his mind off the clock (Justin Scott).

K.R.I.T.’s lushest arrangements this side of “Soul Food” are housed within this album’s 22 tracks, so setting K.R.I.T. with some keyboards and a bassist at the Tiny Desk would make for a thumping and thoughtful good time. Imagine if he got Raphael Saddiq or Robert Glasper on the phone.

Ideal Setlist: “Aux Cord,” “Keep the devil Off,” “Everlasting”

Kelela

Take Me Apart is a trip through the death and rebirth of love dominated by spacious production and Kelela’s wispy vocals. She doesn’t so much float through the songs as she does flow through them like a current, the ghost in this R&B/electronic machine reclaiming love on her very Black terms.

Kelela often performs live with backing vocalists and sparse samplers, a dark blue quasar of a performance that would blow Tiny Desk away. Limiting Kelela to a performance with only background singers could make for an experience that fans would look forward to ripping them apart.

Ideal Setlist: “Enough,” “LMK,” “Truth Or Dare”

Vince Staples

Vince Staples’ unapologetic approach to music and conversation is refreshing, if not always entertaining. The ear-shattering garage and techno on Big Fish Theory was a sonic departure from the sticky skeletal synths of Summertime ‘06, but they’re both tied together by Vince’s deadpan reporting from the frontlines of tongue-in-cheek Black angst.

An album as loud and abrasive as Big Fish Theory might not seem like Tiny Desk material, but Vince has built a career on subverting expectations. With a keyboard, some bass and sampler backing him, and an assist from frequent collaborator Kilo Kish, Vince could rattle the NPR offices even with some of the album's more intimate cuts—and he'd have a lot of fun while doing it.

Ideal Setlist: “Big Fish,” “745,” “Samo”

SZA

I see flowers whenever I listen to SZA’s GRAMMY-nominated Ctrl. Outside of the earthy textures of the music, the TDE songstress blossoms in front of our eyes after years of hard work (and album delays), bringing her serene ordered chaos to the world.

There are so many sounds on Ctrl that deserve the justice of an intimate setting. Get SZA an acoustic guitar to belt over, some steaming keyboards in the back and some backup vocalists and watch her bloom like never before.

Ideal Setlist: Songs: “Drew Barrymore,” “The Weekend,” “20 Something”

Future

An ear for melody helps when Auto-Tune is such an important part of your brand, and Future’s ear continues to push his raspy voice to new heights. The prolific ATLien dropped not one but two full-lengths within a week of each other in 2017, including the lovelorn R&B odyssey HNDRXX.

As style oozes out of Future’s double cup, I can perfectly imagine his Tiny Desk. He's wearing a white hat and a matching t-shirt, sitting on a stool ready to vent about love lost. It could reveal the layer hiding behind those shades.

Ideal Setlist: “Incredible,” “Neva Missa Lost,” “Sorry”

Ghostface Killah

Every member of the Wu-Tang Clan has a flair for the dramatic, but Ghostface goes above and beyond. His stories are always grand in scope, all pushed through by his booming, nasally voice. A man who raps with a solid gold bird clipped to his arm better have some of the hardest rhymes in his back pocket.

Ghost has worked with live bands before, particularly with composer Adrian Younge on the 12 Reasons To Die series and with BadBadNotGood on the greyscale Sour Soul. Give Ghost a mini-orchestra and room to spit old and new material, and in no time Pretty Toney will be adding another notch to his belt.

Ideal Setlist: “Nuggets Of Wisdom,” “Rise Of The Black Suits,” “Nutmeg”

Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert is a walking WarHead. His music is candy-colored if you can get past the angsty bite on the surface. The swirling emotions keep a project like Luv Is Rage 2 as light as a feather taped to a bright neon bowling ball.

I know what you’re thinking; we already heard a terrible acoustic version of “XO TOUR Lif3e” at the GRAMMYs last year. So let’s just ditch the guitars and the big hit single and give him a chance to re-contextualize some less popular album cuts, with warm synths and background coos.

Ideal Setlist: “The Way Life Goes,” “Feelings Mutual,” “Dark Queen”

dvsn (Daniel Daley and Nineteen85)

Daniel Daley of dvsn lives and loves in technicolor. The sounds that he and producer Nineteen85 conjure on their sophomore album Morning After evokes the pink and purple shades found on the album cover; ballads for all that the light touches when texts with exes give way to daybreak.

Most Tiny Desk concerts benefit from some sort of vocal backing, but dvsn doesn’t need outside help to skew intimate. Give 85 his board and Daley a baby grand piano and the sepia-toned sparks will fly.

Ideal Setlist: “Keep Calm,” “Think About Me,” “Hallucinations”

Mac Miller

If you had told me four years ago that Mac Miller would release an album like The Divine Feminine, I would’ve smirked and fallen back into Watching Movies With the Sound Off. The path traveled from muted cinema and revealing his many faces to the funk/soul odyssey of Divine has been a fulfilling trip—as much for a newly sober Mac as it is for his fans.

I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to hear The Divine Feminine played live with a band. Upbeat bops and smoldering grooves with backup from NJOMZA and a quick trip to the past behind the Tiny Desk? Sign. Me. Up.

Ideal Setlist: “Dang!,” “Planet God Damn,” “100 Grandkids”

Kid Cudi

I’ll admit that my recent history with Cudi is brief. While I hopped off the bandwagon following Man On The Moon, that doesn’t mean that my appreciation for his voice, which shimmers like a diamond when it's at its peak, has lessened. Cudi continues to inspire a generation to be themselves through the worst the world has to offer, and his latest album, Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’, is no exception.

Much of Kid Cudi’s live show is built around spectacle, even though his songs can be insular and intimate. Behind the Tiny Desk, onlookers would enter galactic on a smaller scale, finding their way through Cudi’s world in a new light. This is also just an excuse to hear some sort of acoustic rendering of a Pharrell beat.

Ideal Setlist: “Day ‘n Nite,” “Surfin’,” “Maniac”

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