Provo RnB sensation Le Dad sits down with K-UTE Radio

If you thought a dull place like Utah could never churn out some funky music, then Provo RnB sensation Le Dad will surely change your opinion. His music follows a wave of RnB revival sparked off by artists like Anderson .Paak, Joji, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Frank Ocean. Le Dad shows off a soft and melodic voice over hard-hitting production that comes together as a clean blend of genres. I got a chance to sit down in the studio with Le Dad for a special premiere of his newest single “Hewasarollersk8erboi”, as well as to talk with him about his process and some of his inspirations.

Background:

As a music student at Utah Valley University and self described “music nerd”, Le Dad isn’t just your average music hopeful. He is incredibly humble about his aspirations to become a choir teacher and share his passion for music with future generations. For now, he enjoys applying his musical knowledge to create the kind of music that he likes to listen to. Among his musical inspirations are Xaviar Omar, Marc Ayres, and Bruno Major. His music is best described as a funky blend of smooth hip hop beats, 80’s synth pop, and RnB vocals that are sure to get stuck in your head after your first listen.

A Creative Force:

Le Dad is gifted not just vocally, but musically as well. He plays a variety of instruments and is particularly fond of guitar. You really get a sense of the depth of Le Dad’s knowledge in music theory as you listen to his music. He creates the different elements of his songs by writing all of the words, creating all the melodies and harmonies, and producing the instrumentals with guidance from his producer @breckenstrange. His first ever single, “L8ly”, is a testament to his ability to produce not only radio-worthy content but also allow a peek into what kind of gold he has in store for his fans.

Future:

Moving forward after two incredibly well-received singles, Le Dad plans to release at least one song every month this summer for all of his fans! Follow Le Dad on Instagram @Le_Dad_Yo so you don’t miss out on a single thing from him. Also be sure to check out his first two singles on Spotify by searching Le Dad. Tap the link at the bottom of this article to listen to my full interview with Le Dad!

Soundcloud link to interview:

https://tinyurl.com/y2lqvw3m

Tyler, The Creator finessed the entire rap game

Is it just me or is it crazy to think that it has already been 10 years since Tyler The Creator released his debut project Bastard? Well believe it or not, it is true. In that 10 year period, Tyler has become one of the most polarizing and controversial hip hop artists ever. From my experience, you either hate him or love him and there really isn’t an in-between. But no matter what your opinion of Tyler is, you have to admit that he is one hell of an artist that completely finessed the music industry.

Beginnings

Tyler The Creator, born Tyler Okonma, has loved music since he was a kid. He co-founded the creative collective Odd Future in 2007 and began releasing music in 2008 with The Odd Future Tape. A year later, he released his debut project Bastard. The project was met with critical acclaim by fans and critics. Meanwhile it was disliked by older audiences due to some vulgar and disturbing themes that it contained.

Following Bastard, Tyler released his first studio album Goblin in 2011. This album continued the concept of Tyler talking to his fictional therapist Dr. TC. The therapy sessions can be found on many tracks on the album. Goblin was another project that was loved by fans and critics for the most part, but disliked by older audiences. The project was considered horrorcore by many listeners, which made Tyler quite upset as he didn’t see it that way.      

Artistic progression

After releasing Goblin, it seemed like Wolf Haley was ready to make a change for the better in his career. A few years after releasing his debut album Goblin, Tyler released Wolf. Many saw this album as a great step up in maturity, cohesiveness, and subject matter compared to his previous releases. The project still had an interesting narrative concept like his previous releases and showed tinges of the type of horrorcore-esque vibes that made him popular in the first place, but it was something new entirely. He stepped up both is producing abilities and his rapping that made for a great project. It was met with generally positive reviews from critics and sold the most albums of his career thus far.

2015’s Cherry Bomb was another step in a new direction for Tyler. The album was his most varied and experimental work yet due to the many different genres it incorporates. Critics praised the album for the layered production it had as well as the increased maturity displayed by Tyler. Common knocks on the project include subpar rapping on some tracks as well as the feeling that a bit of the project was simply thrown together. The album didn’t have as much commercial success as his previous efforts simply due to it being a surprise release.

If you are a fan of Tyler The Creator, 2017 was almost certainly a great year for you. That year we received perhaps his best project yet in Flower Boy. The project was universally praised by critics upon release. It was given an average of 84/100 based on 18 reviews that were written. The project was highly praised because of how vulnerable Tyler was, how cohesive the project was, and how beautifully composed each track was.. It is widely agreed upon that this is his best album yet and even received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album for it.

What’s next?

2019 is looking like another great year for Tyler and his fans. He recently announced the follow-up to Flower Boy in the form of his new album IGOR. Not much is known about the project at this point other than the title, cover art, and snippets of two songs. The album will release on May 17th, 2019 so check it out on streaming services and come back to kuteradio.org for an IGOR album review!        

What’s your point?

To put it frankly, Tyler The Creator wasn’t supposed to make it this far. He was one of the notorious bad guys in hip hop at a young age. Some of his critics even went as far as to say that Eminem already did what he was trying to do and did it way better than Tyler could ever think of doing it.

In response to the harsh criticism, Tyler showed maturity on each subsequent release in his career and proved everybody wrong. He is now considered by many as one of hip hop’s brightest stars at the ripe old age of 28. Tyler The Creator absolutely finessed the rap game and proved that no matter how you start something, there is always a way to get to where you want to be. He is the shining example of doing it your own way and creating a legacy that inspires people to truly be themselves.  

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece.

“CrasH Talk” review: ScHoolboy Q hits listeners with interesting new album

The day is finally here. We’ve been blessed with a new ScHoolboy Q project for the first time in almost three years. I couldn’t be more excited to dive into this album as Q has been able to maintain a spot in my personal top 10 hip hop artist list since he first dropped Oxymoron in 2014. 2016’s Blank Face LP may be a tough project to follow up, but myself and many others believe that ScHoolboy Q can without a doubt do it.    

If you are wondering why it took so long for CrasH Talk to come out, there are a variety of reasons that may have contributed to the long time period between releases. As I wrote in my ScHoolboy Q album wishlist piece, label politics and personal issues may have had an influence on this project’s release date. Regardless, this project has been quite hyped up by the hip hop community and we’re all ready to hear it.

Let’s jump right into CrasH Talk and see what Q has for us in 2019.

First impressions

  • The Good: During my listen to this album, it is quite different than any other ScHoolboy Q project. It has a mix of different styles during different parts of the album and it is pretty interesting. We’ll see how it ends up sitting with me during additional listens.  
  • The Bad: The only negative I see on the project is that some of the songs feel a bit generic and uninspired. For example: the ones that sound exactly like they are reaching for radio play (“CHopstix and “Lies” specifically). If you listen to Q for party bangers, these tracks right here are great for that. They aren’t terrible songs but they do bring the overall quality of the project down a bit in my opinion.   

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: A staple of most of Q’s past music was his amazing and unique storytelling ability. Luckily we see a decent amount of deep and conceptual songs on this project. These tracks really shine and show his value in the hip hop community. His flow is impeccable on most of the tracks and we even hear a few new flows here and there.  
  • The Bad: As I mentioned before, a few tracks are quite generic and have the same old subject matter as a lot of the popular rap songs out right now. The flows are good on these songs but the actual lyrics don’t stand out from other songs out there right now. I respect that Q went with a bit of a different direction but I’d much rather hear more personal tracks from him in the future again.  
  • Score: 7.7/10

Beats

  • The Good: The best thing about this project is that we see ScHoolboy Q stick to the kinds of beats that he is good over while also trying out some new styles. While we didn’t get to hear him over soulful beats like I wrote in my album wishlist piece, I can still say that the beats are very good on this album and they met my expectations.
  • The Bad: Man, I really don’t understand why every rapper (even the non-trap artists) feels the need to make trap bangers on their album. If they have a great niche sound that works for them and makes them sound great, maybe they should stick with that the majority of the time. Q used a few too many trap beats on this album for my taste and I think it makes the quality suffer a bit.  
  • Score: 7/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Another great thing that I’ve found about this new album is that it is quite a pleasant and fairly short listen. It clocks in at 39 minutes over a perfect number of 14 tracks. I like that it was kept more concise instead of including bonus tracks that ruin the pacing.  
  • The Bad: To be honest, if you aren’t a fan of ScHoolboy Q making trap bangers you might not like this album or want to listen to it more than once. I understand that label pressure may have pushed Q to include these types of songs on the project, so I can’t fault him too much for it. I still enjoy the project but I understand that others may not in the end.  
  • Score: 7.4/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

It is absolutely crazy that we had to wait almost three years for this album to come out. It feels like just yesterday that Blank Face LP came out. A lot has changed in Q’s life and we can see that reflected in his music.

I’m not disappointed with this album. In fact, I actually quite enjoyed it. It is by no means perfect and it has a few tracks that I feel didn’t really need to be included, but mostly it is really good. Q tried something new in terms of what beats he rapped over and the artists that he enlisted for features. He says that he is happy with this album and that this is a new phase in his career and I must say that I am too. It is always good to see an artist step out of their comfort zone while also continuing to do what they are good at.

Honestly, I would consider this project a bit of a regression from the near-masterpiece that was Blank Face LP but it was pretty good nonetheless. If you like Q you should mostly like this album and if you’re just getting into him I’d suggest you check out Oxymoron and Blank Face LP before this project. Overall, I think that this album is solid and is one of the best of this slow 2019 thus far. It won’t blow your socks off, but if you like ScHoolboy Q you should like this project and I would recommend checking it out.  

Final Score: 7.4/10

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images in this piece.

Concert Review: The Faim

April 16th, 2019 @ The Depot

Normally, on a Tuesday night during the heat of finals, you can find me cramming textbooks and coffee in a dark corner of the library.  Last Tuesday, though, I was at The Depot in the heart of a crowd, dancing away my assignments, just to anxiously remember them in the morning.

Back in Black

The first thing I noticed as I arrived to the Depot was the long line filled with jet black swooping hairstyles, ripped skinny jeans and more fake leather than a Harley Davidson store. I should have expected this, considering the opener was Andy Black, lead singer of the infamous emo punk band Black Veil Brides. I changed and grew out of that phase, and I assumed others had too. Clearly I was wrong. It was at this point I knew the crowd had not come for The FAIM. But by the end of the show, would leave with them.

The FAIM

If Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco had a love child, it would be The FAIM. Still, their music is a melting pot of musical diversity, every song bringing a new sound. Lead singer Josh Raden stunned the crowd with his polished melodic voice that is even better live than on the recording. They started with “My Heart Needs to Breathe”. A jumping, pumping bop of a song and the perfect opener. Within seconds they had the crowd dancing along with them, with a few singing along as well. Truth be told, I can’t remember what came after the first song. It didn’t matter because all of their songs carried the same hyped up intensity as the opening act, a feat not many bands can achieve.

The FAIM didn’t falter for a minute from start to finish. Their set was mesmerizing and passionate. Intoxicating the crowd, holding them captive, and making them beg for more. Songs “Amelie” and “The Saints and Sinners” feature entertaining rock riffs and a catchy drum beat paired with dark lyrics. Ambitious and unpredictable with their shows, The FAIM create an ultimate alt-rock vibe. I caught up with bassist/keyboardist, Stephen Beerkens. He told me that every night is different, no show is the same. This is a band that truly loves what they do and are humbled and full of love for fans. Night after night The FAIM rises to the stage to live their dream and it shows.

Song review: “Crowd-Pleaser” by CJSleeves

Here at K-UTE Radio, we love showing support to local artists because we believe in the beautiful art that they create on a constant basis. One of the artists that K-UTE has written about before is Provo, Utah artist CJSleeves. If you’re unfamiliar with him and would like to know more, check out K-UTE’s Artist Spotlight of CJSleeves from February 2019.

New music

Sleeves has released two tracks thus far in 2019, January’s “Paean (Alright)” and February’s Mac Miller tribute track “Objects In Youforia”. But it’s April now and CJSleeves is ready to release some more new music.

He has prepared a new single to be released very soon called “Crowd-Pleaser”. Sleeves is very confident in the track and says that “It speaks on the never-ending struggle artists go through to make the music that they want to make, and the music that people want to hear”. Topics included in the song are things that artists usually want from creating music (recognition, respect, for people to recognize the meaning in my songs) as well as money and clothes.

Song review

After listening to this track numerous times, I can confidently say that I really like it. The concept behind it is pretty unique and it is executed very well. The beat is also very quality and CJSleeves flows on it very well. His flow on this one is reminiscent of early Logic and that isn’t a bad thing at all. To be honest, this track is an earworm and you’ll probably find yourself repeating “they want it like like like that” in your head for the rest of the day, just like I have.

Just like most music that comes out, this track isn’t perfect. I think it could benefit from the incorporation of more melodies and maybe another verse. I really like the concept and would like to see it fleshed out even more. That isn’t a huge knock, but just something that I noticed.   

Overall, I’d definitely recommend that you listen to this track. It showcases the talent of one of Utah’s up-and-coming hip hop artists. It is not perfect, but it is very good and is a huge earworm which is never a bad thing. I look forward to CJSleeve’s next track as well as a full project in the future to see how he can flow over multiple songs!

Rating: 8 out of 10

If you like what you heard on this track, you can follow CJSleeves on Instagram @cjsleeves to keep up with his dope output!   

“Ventura” review: Anderson .Paak is back in tip-top shape on fourth album

In case you didn’t know it by now, Anderson .Paak is a star in the music game. He’s already released a modern classic (as some would call it) in his second album Malibu. But where did he come from in the first place?

 The weird thing about him is how he seemingly came out of nowhere, but was here all along. .Paak has been around since 2009, working with the likes of Dr. Dre, ScHoolboy Q, Flying Lotus, The Game, and Kendrick Lamar since then. Many have grown to love his unique voice and his ear for instrumentation. But fans and music critics alike have begun to wonder if .Paak can replicate the quality of his album Malibu due to the mixed reviews of its follow-up Oxnard in 2018.

   On Ventura it seems like .Paak is ready to prove himself yet again. Let’s dive right in and see if he can do that on his fourth studio album.

First impressions

  • The Good: On my first listen through the album, I was amazed at the sonic direction that .Paak went with this time around. It is so different from his last album Oxnard and that isn’t a bad thing at all. The project gives off more of a late 70s-early 80s vibe with disco/funk influences and it’s a really nice change of pace from his previous work.
  • The Bad: The only bad thing I can see thus far with this album is that it is simply too short. It doesn’t drag at all due to the fact it’s only 11 songs long, and I would have much rather preferred a few more songs just to see how far Anderson could take this sound.  

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: On this project we hear .Paak utilizing his beautiful singing voice in a variety of different ways. We also get the opportunity to hear him rap a little bit, but the rapping doesn’t overpower the singing like on some of the songs on Oxnard. It is a really good mix and there is something for everyone in this collection of songs.   
  • The Bad: While the singing/rapping is very good on the project, the subject matter is a bit lacking. Most of the tracks have similar concepts that we’ve already heard .Paak discuss in detail in the past. That isn’t terrible, but I would have loved to hear some new ideas fleshed out in these tracks.  
  • Score: 7.7/10

Beats

  • The Good: As I mentioned before, it seems that Anderson .Paak went with a more 70s-80s classic R&B/funk feel. Once you listen through the whole project, you’ll definitely feel that. The beats on this project just resonate a different energy that makes the listener actually feel something. They convey the emotion that .Paak is trying to get across in each track and I applaud him for that.  
  • The Bad: Even though most of the project is new sonic territory for .Paak, not every track seems to have got that message. This knock is only for a few tracks and I don’t think it detracts from the album as a whole. It is a great project and I’d still recommend it if you enjoy .Paak’s style of music.  
  • Score: 8.5/10

Replayability

  • The Good: If you’re looking for a short but sweet album that sounds fresh every time through, you’ve got it right here from Anderson .Paak. This album is only 11 songs and it clocks in at 39 minutes. It doesn’t drag in the slightest and that is a huge boost for the replayability.  
  • The Bad: The only bad thing I can say in terms of the album’s replayability is that if you aren’t a fan of Anderson’s style of music, you may get bored after your first few listens. That is understandable but doesn’t detract from the project as a whole.  
  • Score: 8.2/10

Standouts

Final thoughts

After the less-than-stellar album that 2018’s Oxnard was, I’m happy to see Anderson .Paak get back on the right path with his music. I would 100 percent recommend this album for anyone that wants to hear some pure good vibes this spring. This project is perfect for the warm weather we’ve got headed our way and it will for sure stay in constant rotation.  

Man, this project is honestly so great and I can’t get enough of it. I’ve had pretty much the whole album on repeat since it came out. There is enough variety on here to keep me coming back and it doesn’t get stale as fast as other albums. I love the heavy funk influences that Cheeky Andy used simply because they sound so crisp and polished. I’d love to hear more of that from him in the future.

Honestly this project isn’t groundbreaking in too many ways, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great in its own right. .Paak tried something new on Oxnard and I respect him for that, but I respect him even more for knowing exactly what he’s good at and giving that to us on Ventura. This is one of the best albums of 2019 thus far and will remain that regardless of what other big artists drop for the rest of the year.  

Final Score: 8.4/10    

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any images in this piece.

Artist Spotlight: Kossisko

Over the course of the last decade and a half or so, hip hop music and video games have become curiously aligned. One of the most interesting things about this development is that companies don’t always choose popular artists music to feature in their games, they often choose the music of smaller artists that aren’t as well known. A great recent example of this is Berkeley, California singer Kossisko.

Rise in popularity  

Kossisko, then known as 100s, had his music featured in Rockstar Games smash hit Grand Theft Auto V. The song that made 100s well known is “Life of A Mack”, which is featured on in-game radio station Radio Los Santos. The game released in 2013 and brought a lot of attention to 100s career, leading fans to check out his debut mixtape Ice Cold Perm which was released in 2012. Following Ice Cold Perm, 100s released his EP Ivry in 2014 which incorporated heavy disco and g-funk sounds.

At the start of 2015, the 100s name was retired and he began to perform and release new music under the name Kossisko. The name change may not have elevated his career yet, but the music he has put out has become even more polished and quality.      

Why you should give him a chance

As I’ve began listening to Kossisko’s music again lately, I realized that there’s really no one else like him today in the mixed genre music scene. His old music as 100s is a nod to 90s-era gangsta rap and g-funk among other influences, and it is amazing in its own way. The new music he makes as Kossisko is certainly different, but not in a bad way at all.

His latest album Low, released in November 2018, is a fusion of funk, disco, pop, hip hop, and many other genres. According to Kossisko himself from a November 2018 interview with Hypebeast, the new project is “me as a person, with all my influences and everything. Now, I’m at the point where I’m like, “this is exactly what the f*ck I wanted to do.’”. It is truly a project that you need to give a listen if you want to hear something you aren’t likely to hear from many other artists. Each song is so different from the others, and it’s sure to keep you interested across the 34 minute run-time.

Notable songs

As I mentioned above, most of Kossisko’s music can’t be labeled as a specific genre. To present him fairly, I’ll be including different sounding tracks so that you can get a feel for what he brings to the table as an artist. Here are some of Kossisko’s standout tracks that you should definitely check out.

“Across The Room” – Kossisko

This track was the first one that I personally heard that was released under the Kossisko name. It sounds like it’s straight out of the 80’s, and that makes it so much better. If you think this song shows you everything you’ll hear from Kossisko, you’re wrong.

“SUPERFICIAL” – Kossisko

Up next is “SUPERFICIAL” from the album Low. This is one of Kossisko’s highest energy bangers and it’s certainly an ear worm. It contains pop and hip hop elements, along with some crazy vocals and rapping. It hasn’t left my regular rotation since I discovered it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same happened to you.

“SIDEWAYS” – Kossisko

This song contains a bit of R&B, which we haven’t received much of from Kossisko thus far. It’s more of a slow track at the beginning and picks up the tempo in the middle. It also contains beautiful sonic elements reminiscent once again of classic 80’s tracks.

“CARDIO” – Kossisko

We’ve finally reached “CARDIO”, my personal favorite Kossisko track. What makes this one so special is that it’s pretty much a three-for-one song. You get R&B, rap, and electronic influences all in one song. It’s super catchy and I wish I had discovered it earlier so as to put others onto it. It is also Kossisko’s most popular track yet under that name, reaching 1 million views on YouTube.

What’s next?

After listening to all of 100s/Kossisko’s music again, I’m not sure what direction he will go in on his next release. But whatever direction he goes in, my biggest hope for him is that the general public wakes up on his music and realizes what is right in front of them. This man is truly talented and needs the love and appreciation that he deserves because his music is stellar. He makes music for everyone and there is something for all types of music fans to enjoy.   

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece.