EP Review – On The Rvn

If you know anything about Young Thug, you’re probably aware that the rollouts leading up to his projects are not exactly regarded as good. He sometimes has bold tactics for the press, including things such as sending live snakes before the release of Slime Language. But in general, his label isn’t the best at promoting his upcoming projects. This is evident by the fact that we didn’t see any promotion for On The Rvn besides a couple social media posts prior to the release.

Young Thug released On The Rvn on Monday at midnight. This is a bit odd considering that most projects are released on Fridays to maximize streaming numbers. This is his third project of 2018, following the 3 track Hear No Evil EP and full-length album Slime Language. The project was supposed to drop on the 11th, but didn’t end up getting released until the 24th. Because this is only an EP, it’ll only give us a small taste, nevertheless, let’s dig in.

First Impression

On my first listen through this EP, I’m impressed with what Thug has for us. He goes back to his roots a bit on this project and I absolutely love it. We finally got some more glorious London On Da Track beats on a Thug project. The only negative I see so far is that we saw nothing new on this project. He went back to his old flow, which isn’t exactly the worst thing for a shorter project like this.

Lyrics/Flow

After taking a slight break from his usual flow on Slime Language, Thug is back on what made him stand out in the first place. The lyrics are typical subjects that he has rapped about before, so nothing really special in that regard. One thing that really stands out thus far are the beautiful melodies on some tracks. I’m glad that he’s started to incorporate them in his music during recent years.   

Score: 7.2/10

Beats 

As I mentioned above, we finally got some new Young Thug and London On Da Track. This combination is responsible for some of his best music, simply because of the production quality that London brings. We also get contributions from other frequent Thug producers Wheezy and Supah Mario. A downside of having these producers back is that they don’t bring many new sounds, even though Thug has made a name off of being experimental. Overall, the beats are good but nothing we haven’t heard Young Thug over in the past. The one beat that is completely different is for the song “High”, which samples the legendary Elton John

Score: 8/10

Replayability/Standouts

The best thing about EPs is their length. This project comes in at 6 tracks that span 21 minutes. There are different sounds, flows, and stellar features, making this project one that you can listen through multiple times. While I wish that we got more Young Thug, it is honestly a perfect length EP.  

I truly like every single track on this EP, but the songs you definitely need to hear are “On The Run”, “Sin”, and “High”.

Score: 8.4/10

Final thoughts

Young Thug’s music output in 2018 hasn’t impressed me much up to this point. I say that as someone who thinks that Beautiful Thugger Girls is one of the best albums of 2017. I liked Hear No Evil and Slime Language was alright, but neither of them did what I was hoping Thug would do: build on the new sound he brought out on BTG.

On The Rvn does exactly that. We get street Thug, melodic Thug, and even a bit of singing all in a short-but-sweet package. It isn’t perfect by any means, but I think this is the direction that Young Thug should continue to explore. It results in some amazing music that will be replayed countless times by his fans.

I’d recommend taking a listen to On The Rvn if you’re already a Young Thug fan or if you’re trying to get into his music. It’s only 21 minutes and it allows you to hear some of the things he does best. This is a solid EP and it deserves to be heard by the hip hop community.  

Final Score: 7.8/10

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“Speak English!” Demands Barely Literate Student

As a white person who wants to “do something” but is also too lazy to critique myself too heavily, I’m curious about the U of U’s implicit xenophobia. However, when I researched further, the xenophobia I found was unfortunately…what’s the word? Explicit.

I caught up with Elías two weeks ago at the freshly sterilized Big Ed’s/Publik on Second South and University Street. The space smelled like artisan coffee and veggie burgers. The perfect place for liberal youths to gather.

Image result for publik eds

(Photo by Francisco Kjolseth, Salt Lake Tribune)

Meeting Elías

When Elías arrived, I pointed out which beers were best. We then sat down, and he told me about himself.

Elías speaks Spanish at home and English at school. Elías’ accent is negligible. He’s an S.I. for Calculus 3 this term, and explains to me that teaching math is nearly identical to teaching a new language. “When you get a question incorrect or look at a string of variables and not understand at all what’s going on, this was exactly what I felt when I started learning English,” he told me. “Teachers would look at sentences I’d write, would say I did something wrong, and I’d feel so frustrated.” He laughed. “It makes me sympathetic, I guess.”

Good Journalism

Because I don’t care about math, or, really, about Elías as a person, it was time to get to the hard-hitting questions. “Do you think your students respect you?”

His brow furrowed. “What?”

Suddenly, Elías’ phone rang. It was his wife. He spoke for a few minutes with her, and I would have eavesdropped, if I knew Spanish.

“Speak English,” barked a student as he walked past our table and out the door. I recognized him! I copy-edit his papers. They’re incomprehensible. It’s like the man vomits disconnected words onto paper.

“What a jerk,” I said, heroically. “I’m glad not all white people are like that.” I was, of course, talking about myself.

He looked away and swigged his beer.

“What the hell? Is this beer…vanilla flavored?”

Unfortunately, it was.

Student Success Advocates

This week on The Rostrum, we interviewed April Ollivier and Tramaine Jones, Student Success Advocates at the University of Utah, about the role they play in helping U students deal with obstacles and pursue their goals. They discuss the common problems students face, the support they offer students, and why higher education is such a critical time of growth and development.

Student Success Advocates website: studentsuccess.utah.edu/

Hidden Gems of SLC: Catès Café

Looking for a new place to relax and study? Wishing you didn’t have to pay for coffee? The answer to both questions is closer to campus than you may think.

Enter Catès Café

Located on the corner of 200 South and University Street, the coffee shop is just across the street from President’s Circle. It can be easy to miss at first as it is part of a Catholic Center, but if you approach the building from the east side and follow the rampway to the left you’ll find yourself right at its entrance.

Inside is a homely venue. The scent of coffee hangs in the air and an assortment of furniture beckons you to unwind and relax. Of course, if you’re a student and coffee is on your mind you’re probably looking to study instead of relax, and Catès Café has you covered. There are plenty of tables with convenient charging stations for you to situate yourself in, as well as a room off to the east side of the cafe intended for those looking for a quieter space to study.

The Coffee

Anything that is labeled “free” is as likely to be celebrated on a college campus as it is to be warranted with suspicion, but I can personally say the price is right. For free coffee, it even tastes better than what some dedicated coffee shops offer. The trade-off is that you’re making the coffee yourself. But it’s a fairly quick and straightforward process to make pour-over coffee and there is almost always someone at the cafe who is willing to help.

Such hospitality risks feeling insincere at a church, offered only in tandem with pressure to join or donate, but I’ve never experienced that at Catès Café. In the wake of more sexual abuse cases coming to light within the Catholic church, the cafe, in comparison, feels like a reminder of the values a church should strive for. Hospitality is offered for hospitality’s sake, and I’d like to see other churches make similar efforts.

With the relaxed atmosphere, the sense of accommodation at Catès Café reminds me of the ambient music of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports. The music is styled to work perfectly as background music. While it is rendered beautifully through Eno’s meticulous method of composition, it never demands your whole attention. Like the cafe, you are free to visit and leave, soaking in as much or as little as you want.

 

 

Slim Shady’s Comeback: Kamikaze

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

Back in the late 90’s Eminem (Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers) made his debut. Eminem began working with Dr. Dre, which he clearly states in his song “Mockingbird,” about his daughter Hailie. “And that’s when Daddy went to California with his CD And met Dr. Dre and flew you and Momma out to see me But Daddy had to work, you and Momma had to leave me”

www.vsbattles.wikia.com

Eminem always wrote music about his life. Back in the 90’s he mainly wrote about his daughter and his past. Hitting the 2000’s he released the Marshall Mathers LP which was the fastest selling album in rap history. The following year he released Devils Night which featured the songs “Mockingbird” and “Toy Soldiers.”

Downslope In Career

Over the next few years, he slowed down making music due to his toxic relationship with Kim Mathers. After a long going custody fight over their daughter, Mathers got into drugs and nearly died of an overdose. In 2010, he began his comeback and started to make music again with the likes of Rihanna, Drake and others.

In 2018 Slim Shady stood up once again

Without any notice, Mathers released the album Kamikaze which shocked everyone. He dissed on several rappers and even the President. On the album, he disses Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, Joe Budden, Ja Rule, and most prominently Machine Gun Kelly.

Kamikaze

Kamikaze really gets Em’s message across which is “f*ck you new rappers, I am the OG.” The album kicks off with “The Ringer” which sounds distinctly new, yet still the classic Eminem we all know. His flow throughout the album was insane, and I personally am liking it.

My second favorite song in the album had to be “Lucky You” ft Joyner Lucas. This song really spoke out to me especially the lines where Joyner & Eminem say, “Back on my hood shit, it’s back to the pushin’ These packs and I’m actually pumpin’ Can’t f*ck with you rappers, you practically suckin’ You mighta went platinum, but that don’t mean nothin’ I’m actually buzzin’ this time.” Shady is saying who cares if you’ve won something? I am the old rap, the good rap.

Multiple rappers responded to Eminem’s disses and some even took jabs at his daughter. Ja Rule spoke out stating, “Guess that Hailie line must be starting to hit home.”

www.hippopandmore.com

Following Ja Rule the most controversial diss was directed at MGK, who released a diss track in responseEminem’s main call out was this: “Now you wanna come and f*ck with me, huh?/This little cock-sucker, he must be feeling himself/He wants to keep up His tough demeanor, so he does a feature/Decides to team up with Nina/But next time you don’t gotta use Tech N9ne if you wanna come at me with a sub-machine gun/And I’m talking to you but you already know who the f*ck you are, Kelly/I don’t use sublims and sure as f*ck don’t sneak-diss/But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie.” MGK responded calling Eminem “sober and bored”

Shady definitely made a comeback and who knows what he will do next. Kamikaze called people out and shocked the world a little bit in classic Eminem style. His candor “f*ck you” attitude really conveys his message, but hey Slim Shady has never been one to mince words. Overall this album was a good mix of his old stuff and his newer albums like Revival. I enjoyed the straight fire roast to all these new millennial rappers.  Very good job indeed Slim Shady.

https://genius.com/discussions/34082-Slim-shady-vs-eminem-you-decide