Album review: Sincerely, Tokyo by Madeintyo

I first discovered Madeintyo a few years ago. You may be familiar with his track “Uber Everywhere”, which was released in 2016. The track got an official remix with Travis Scott. Even though that is currently his most popular song, Madeintyo brings much more to the table than just his slick-but-lazy sounding flow.

He’s released several projects so far during his short career, including Thank You, Mr. Tokyo and True’s World. These projects show off his tremendous flow, but I’m looking for more than that on this project. Seeing that it’s his debut album and he’s been working on it for more than two years, expectations are understandably high.

Enough talk, it’s time to get into Madeintyo’s debut album Sincerely, Tokyo.

First impressions

During my first couple listens through this project, the songs are all quality. There are 14 tracks, but they don’t drag on as the majority are between 2-3 minutes. The beats are fresh and experimental, which is always a plus.

Something that immediately sticks out about this project is the lack of different flows. This is something I really hoped Tokyo would experiment with on this project. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it makes the album a bit repetitive after a few listens.

Lyrics/Flow

Madeintyo is known more for his slick flow than his lyrics. He once again proves that on most of these tracks. He brings dope vibes to each project and all of the songs are ones that would be perfect for party playlists.  

While I’ll admit that his flow is dope on this album, it just gets a bit grating with the amount of times we hear the same thing. Tokyo has so much potential to make different sounding tracks due to the beats that he chooses, but he brings the same flow in most of these songs. That’s a no from me dawg.

  • Score: 6/10

Beats

If there is anything that is a clear-cute standout to me, it’s the beats contained on this album. Each song has a very distinct beat. It keeps the album fresh in that aspect, which I really enjoy for replayability reasons. Some of the producers on this album include Dwn2Earth, Ronny J, K Swisha, Hit-Boy, Wheezy, TM88, and many more. 

The only negative that I can say about this album’s beats is that they are too short on a lot of tracks. For example, the beat on “Moshi Moshi” is absolutely amazing but it only lasts about 1:15. The same problem is present throughout the project. While I respect shorter songs, I wish some of them were a bit longer.

  • Score: 8.3/10

Replayability

Not all albums are easily replayable, but this one definitely is. Sincerely, Tokyo clocks in at only 39 minutes. It is a quick listen that you can knock out and hopefully enjoy. I for one will be listening to this one for quite a while because most of the songs are enjoyable.

Even though the album is short and the beats are outstanding, Tokyo’s flows do get a bit repetitive. Not all of the tracks sound exactly the same, but a lot of the tracks near the beginning of the project sound kind of similar. But don’t let that turn you off the album as a whole, because you can shuffle through it and find something you like instead of listening in order.   

  • Score: 7.5/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

I expected a lot from Madeintyo on Sincerely, Tokyo. The album isn’t perfect, but he mostly met my expectations. Yes, he has proved that he isn’t only the guy who made “Uber Everywhere”, but did he prove anything else on this release?

Let’s be clear, the best things about this album are the beats. They are absolutely amazing and carry the project for me. Tokyo flows over them all so effortlessly, but that’s about it. His lyrical content is nothing to be amazed at.

Honestly, Sincerely, Tokyo is an album to listen to if you enjoy an artist that brings solely vibes to their music. I urge Tokyo to explore new flows and subject matter on his next project, simply because it’ll get people interested again. Madeintyo has released a fine project here, but not one that will go down as a classic by any means. The beats will remain fresh and the vibes dope, but otherwise most hip hop fans won’t remember this project.

Final Score: 7.3/10

Artwork owned by Madeintyo/The Private Club  

Professor ‘Rejects’ the Status Quo: A Case Study

The professor, who is she?

When she first walked in to teach Intro to Gender Studies, students knew she was going to be an engaging professor. She wears scarves in bright colors and prints–a shorthand for collegiate rebellion.

“We need to be critical of the status quo,” claims the white, straight professor. “That’s why, for this course, I’m banning a few words. ‘Society’ is one of them.”

Students, squished at desks that are too small for them, pencils poised, scrawl: “Society is a banned word” at the top of their notes.

Tearing Down the Institutions

Students, paying several thousand dollars to sit in this room, should know that Professor stretches their minds in new and exciting ways. She is only a little emblematic of the capitalist hell scape in which we’ve contained learning. She sends her children to private schools, because public schools–though good enough for everyone else–are not good enough for her precious babies.

Though she believes in free higher ed, she can’t do anything about it. She can only lecture at her students about their privileges. Her own lack of privilege–as a woman, as a white lecturer in a discipline that (necessarily) criticizes whiteness–exemplifies her teachings.

She knows that she strikes the perfect contrast to her student’s entitled attitudes.

Image result for gender studies class

(From The AAUW Gender Studies Symposium)

Inappropriate Student Feedback

Even a perfect professor, however, sometimes receives unnecessarily aggressive feedback. One problematic student, a black woman named Katherine, made the professor’s insides squirm with white guilt. Katherine once called the professor a hypocrite. In front of the class. 

The incident occurred a few months back, when the professor mentioned that she felt that white privilege erased the uniqueness of European cultures, making her feel directionless. “I just feel sad that…white culture is just a kind of void in America.”

Katherine, moved by thousands of years of colonial history and, indeed, facts, interrupted. “Wait. Your ‘white culture’ actively erases other cultures. It’s done that for hundreds of years,” Katherine said, staring at the professor. “…What are you teaching us?”

The professor replied, “Katherine, you’re thinking of this in the wrong way. I’m saying that racism hurts everyone.

“But it hurts some more than others, ‘professor.’ We’re a classroom of mostly white students in a mostly white state–should we maybe try to understand racism before we try to tackle white suffering?” Katherine countered.

“Let’s hear from someone else,” the professor suggested, glancing at the twenty or so white faces in the room.

Then came that word, that awful word, which cut the professor like glass. “You’re a hypocrite,” Katherine said, packing her bags. A few students, following Katherine’s example, exited too.

To the professor’s relief, Katherine dropped the class. Even the best professor can sometimes just have a bad student.

 

Emory Jackson and the Black Press

This week, The Rostrum spoke with Kimberly Mangun, assistant professor of communication and author of “A Force for Change,” which examined the career of Beatrice Morrow Cannady, an editor, and publisher who advocated for civil rights in Portland, Oregon. We discussed her new book on Emory Jackson, a newspaper editor in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil rights era. We get into Jackson’s contributions to the black press, Mangun’s process of researching and writing the book, and how the civil rights era reflects our contemporary world.

Music: https://bensounds.com

Photo: https://blackpast.org/perspectives/emory-o-jackson-birmingham-world-and-fight-civil-rights-alabama, Public Domain

Rate Your Music dot com

Too Much Music?

In the vast untamed world of 21st century music it can be easy to feel lost. There are more artists and genres than ever before, yet we are still on a never ending quest of finding new music. Being overloaded with options can make it hard to find music that truly speaks to us. Internet radio stations are spotty. Discover weekly playlists never seem to show us anything new. Is there anything out there, made for the user, to navigate the infinite possibilities of music?

Rate Your Music

Let me introduce to you rateyourmusic.com. As a music enthusiast, this is your one-stop website when it comes to all things music. Rate Your Music has several useful features from album reviews to ways of discovering new music. If you want to make the most out of your listening experience and improve your music knowledge in general, Rate Your Music is for you.

When the website pulls up you’ll notice tabs in the upper left hand corner and a search bar in the upper right. The home page also includes a reviews, latest ratings, and new releases section. These can be useful in finding new music but honestly I rarely use them because they eliminate the greatest feature of rate your music which is specificity of searches.

Searching

For your journalist, the most used feature is the search bar. You may notice a drop down menu inside the bar. This changes the parameters of your search. Since it defaults to “artists” you have to enter the bands name when entering a search. If you try to enter a song title or album name you most likely won’t find what you’re looking for. Once you do find the band, click on their name to take you to the artists’ page.

Artists’ page shows when/where they formed/disbanded, members years active and instruments (click on their name to take you to that persons page), other names for the band, and genres (click on the genre to get more information about it). As you scroll down you’ll see their entire discography with a rating beside it. Albums are rated out of 5. Anything above a 4 is extremely rare and above a 3 is strong. The rating shown is an average of all reviews which come from critics and fans. These are also subject to change as more people like or dislike the album over time. This is why I feel Rate Your Music does a better job at ranking music than any other music review site.

You can then click on the album title to take you to that page. On this page you’ll find general album information including its rank for the year it was released and overall (yes, this is a comprehensive list). The most used features I use to get a taste of the album are it’s rating, genres, and descriptors. You can then form your own opinion about the album but it’s nice to have a place to start.

Charts and Lists

…are a great way to discover new music. The charts page allows you to search the top rated albums, eps, etc. from a specific genre. You can limit your search to a certain decade or specific year. If there is an album I particularly like, I’ll look at its genre and check-out the related chart. This has allowed me to sort through some of the classic music of that genre, in order to find the best, as well as discover more unknown artists that are highly acclaimed.

The lists page can also be useful for finding new music. This is essentially a page where users can compile playlists of similar artists or “best of” lists, etc. There are lists such as “1001 albums you must hear before you die” and some more random like “Worst album covers of all time”.

I’ve only scratched the surface of all the features this website has to offer. Go check out rateyourmusic.com and leave a comment below to tell me what you think!

The month in hip hop: October part 2

Oh you thought those were all the projects coming out this month? Not even close. The amount of new music that we’re getting this month is absolutely crazy. Check out the new projects that are arriving on October 19th and 26th!

Click here for part 1 of this post.

October 19th  

  • Future & Juice WRLD – WRLD on Drugs
    • Now this is the definition of a surprise album. After releasing the single “Fine China” earlier in the week, Future and Juice WRLD really went hard and dropped a whole 16 track album on us. The project is available now on streaming services and has features from artists including Young ThugLil WayneNicki Minaj, and Gunna among others.
  • Lil Yachty – Nuthin’ 2 Prove
    • Earlier in 2018, Lil Yachty released Lil Boat 2 which is a follow-up to a previous project called Lil Boat. Other than that, his musical output hasn’t been as prolific as it has been in the past. But a couple weeks ago he announced that he has another album titled Nuthin’ 2 Prove on the way. We didn’t have too much information about this project earlier in the week until Yachty tweeted out the tracklist. The project is available now on streaming services. Take a listen and let us know what you think in the comment section!  
  • Brent Faiyaz – LOST.
    • Many people have heard the song “Crew” by Goldlink. This song was released in late 2016 and became quite popular in large part due to the amazing hook that was sung by Brent Faiyaz. After listening to this song, I’d suggest checking out Faiyaz’s debut album Sonder Son. It is some high quality R&B music due to his beautiful voice and way with melodies. Even though he has had a quiet 2018 thus far, Faiyaz has finally announced his new project called LOST. The project will contain six tracks, and it’s looking to be a good one.    

October 26th

  • Madeintyo Sincerely, Tokyo
    • Even if you aren’t familiar with Madeintyo by name, you’ve probably heard some of his bigger tracks called “Uber Everywhere”, “I Want”, and “Skateboard P”. He has released projects every year since 2015, with True’s World in 2017 being the latest. This new project is titled Sincerely, Tokyo and will feature artists such as Roy Woods, Gunna, ASAP Ferg, and 24hrs. I’m very excited to see what Madeintyo can bring with this project. If you haven’t listened to him before, I’d suggest checking his music out before you listen to this album.    
  • Tory Lanez Love Me Now?
    • Toronto rapper/singer Tory Lanez is gearing up to release his second album of 2018, titled Love Me Now?. The project is supposed to have features from many artists such as Chris Brown, Gunna, 2 Chainz, and Lil Baby. It’ll be interesting to see how this project shapes up after we received Memories Don’t Die from Lanez earlier in the year. He’s already released “Talk To Me” featuring Rich The Kid and “Keep In Touch” featuring Bryson Tiller from the project.
  • Ty Dolla Sign & Jeremih MihTy
    • The duo of Ty Dolla Sign and Jeremih have collaborated on numerous tracks in the past, so their joint album should be something to look forward to for fans of R&B. Details about MihTy are scarce, but two singles have been released so far; “The Light” and “Goin Thru Some Thangz”. These are both quality tracks and should raise the level of hype for the project!
  • Mick Jenkins Pieces Of A Man
    • This project has been a long time coming. It seems like forever since Mick has released a project, but it’s only been about two years since he dropped his debut album called The Healing Component. We don’t know many details about this project yet, but Jenkins did release the first track from the album called “Understood”. Keep on the lookout for this project, it should be a good one.  

Stacked month

That’s about it for the hip hop world in the month of October. If I’ve missed any albums, please feel free to leave a comment on the bottom of this post and let me know!

Artwork owned by artists and their labels

Skalloween 2018

Neighbors have decorated their houses and lawns with skeletons and ghosts. Stores have candy stocked constantly. Horror movies are being released in theaters left and right. The Tower is playing Rocky Horror Picture Show! All of this means Halloween season is upon us, and in full swing! But you’re a music fan at heart. Where’s your Halloween hallmark? Don’t fear the reaper, because Skalloween has you covered!

Skalloween

…is an annual concert featuring four local Ska Punk bands — The Gringos, Scheming Thieves, The Anchorage, and Show Me Island. Each captures the sounds of ska, from jazz to reggae to rock, in their own way. The Gringos vocals evoke the scratchy sounds of jazz lounge singers. Scheming Thieves embody Ska music’s early 2000s pop-punk influences. The Anchorage brings the moody sounds of hard rock and emo to their wonderful brass. Last but certainly not least, Show Me Island is for the classic Ska fans. Their walking bass lines, composition, and lyrics will remind you of your first time listening to Madness or The Specials, but with a female vocalist!

The bands dress up too!

At Skalloween, everyone dresses in costume, dance and mosh together for a night of trumpet and bass-fueled fun. If you love Ska music, this is absolutely your place to be. You’ll be right at home in Skalloween’s pits that are full of moshing and skanking. Almost everyone there is dressed in costume, so if you’re looking to display yours before halloween, you’ll fit right in. Even if you’ve never heard of Ska, you’ll probably still love it because everyone else is having so much fun. Ever since I was introduced to this show, it’s been my favorite concert every year. I think every music fan should make it a tradition to go to this concert.

Skalloween takes place this year on Oct. 20 at the Beehive (666 S. State Street) @ 7:00 p.m, $7 at the door. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you too! Dress up and bring all your friends!

The month in hip hop: October

This may be obvious to many hip hop fans, but 2018 has been a year for the books. We’ve received so many projects from a huge number of artists, ranging from the superstars to those that are still working their way up to that position. But even with the crazy amount of albums, mixtapes, and EPs that have released this year, we still have two and a half months left. And naturally, those last few months will be chock-full of even more music.

We’re about halfway through October and there are plenty of projects coming soon from a variety of artists. I’ve compiled the hip hop and R&B projects that have been released this month that I believe are noteworthy and that you should check out.

October 5th

  • Sheck Wes – Mudboy
    • Cactus Jack Records signee Sheck Wes finally released his highly anticipated debut album after the great success that was “Mo Bamba”. This is a project with a lot of different sounds, great production, and interesting lyrics. Check this one out if you’re a fan of the more aggressive side of hip hop, because this will undoubtedly fill your appetite.
  • Gunna & Lil Baby – Drip Harder
    • A few weeks ago, Atlanta trapstars Lil Baby and Gunna unleashed their collab album after months of teasing it. The project contains 14 tracks, with features from the likes of Lil Durk, Nav, Young Thug, and Drake. If you’re a fan of trap, check out this project. It is one of the best collab tapes of the year.
  • Mozzy – Gangland Landlord
    • West Coast mainstay Mozzy has released his new studio album titled Gangland Landlord after first teasing it in 2017. The project contains features from YG, Ty Dolla Sign, Dej Loaf, and many more. It has so many dope vibes that’ll instantly make you feel like you’re in the middle of Sacramento, California. If you’ve never checked Mozzy’s music out before, this is a great project to start on.  
  • T.I. – Dime Trap
    • Atlanta legend T.I. has finally dropped his latest album Dime Trap after originally announcing it in 2014. It is a sequel to his previous album Paperwork. T.I. is a certified legend and one of the creators of the current trap sound, and it is always a good thing to receive new music from him. Since the project got a 7.4 rating from Pitchfork, I’d suggest checking it out if you’re a fan of that original trap sound.

October 12th

  • Quavo (of Migos) – Quavo Huncho
    • Recently, the three Migos members announced that they would all be releasing solo albums while still remaining a group. The first of these solo projects to drop is Quavo’s Quavo Huncho. The project is preceded in release by three singles; “Workin Me”, “Lamb Talk”, and “Bubble Gum”. Featured artists on the album include the likes of Travis Scott, Drake, Kid Cudi, and Normani. With 19 tracks in total, this is certainly one that’ll keep you busy for a while.   
  • Belly IMMIGRANT
    • If you don’t know who Belly is, it’s time to become aware. He’s been around for more than 10 years, steadily releasing projects since 2005. In 2015, he signed with The Weeknd’s label XO as well as Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. He then went on to feature on numerous tracks with The Weeknd and many other artists. His new project IMMIGRANT shines a light on his status as an immigrant and why he wants to support his fellow immigrants. The project is stacked with features from well-known artists including Meek Mill, The Weeknd, Yo Gotti, French Montana, and more.   
  • Usher A
    • It seems like quite a long time since we have got a new project from Usher, even though it’s only been a couple years. He’s back with his ninth studio album titled A, which is a collaboration with talented producer Zaytoven. The project’s title is inspired by both Usher and Zaytoven’s hometown of Atlanta. The project features 11 tracks with guest appearances from Future and Gunna. This is a return to form for Usher and definitely deserves a listen. 

That’s not all of the projects that are releasing in October, so keep an eye out for part 2 of this post!

Artworks owned by artists and their labels