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.

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!   

A recap of K-UTE Radio’s Hip Hop Drip local talent showcase.

Hip Hop Drip: Voice of Salt Lake

Utah may have some unique cultural factors, but despite these the state still has a very strong, dedicated, and promising Hip Hop culture. During my time spent as a DJ and host at K-ute radio I have had the pleasure of interviewing and getting to know much of the local Hip Hop scene here in Utah on our rap segment, the Hip Hop Drip, that airs weekdays from 4-7 on Kuteradio.org.

Here at K-ute radio, it is our mission to give those that want a first shot at exposure and recognition the platform they need to have their music heard! This gives Artists the opportunity to promote themselves with an interview, play their music on air, and grow their following from our loyal listening base. In addition to this, we have begun holding regular K-UTE Radio presents shows, to showcase the talent that has come through our doors and to show them the love and respect they deserve!

K-Ute Presents

We held our second K-UTE Radio and The Hip Hop Drip Presents show at Kilby Court earlier this year and fans came out from every corner of Utah, in freezing temperatures, to turn up with us! We had an incredibly talented lineup of performers, most of which having dropped new projects within the last 6 months.

Getting Things Started

Our opener for the night, Undecided Music, gave us a taste of what is to come from them in the future. As one of the younger and less experienced acts of the night, they absolutely killed their set and were hopefully given the confidence they needed to keep making dope music!

This is when the 44 clique began showing up in droves to see their boy Koba perform songs off his latest project Dreams. This project is available for stream on SoundCloud under the FourFathers music page. Dee came out with some fresh out of the oven features which was a sweet surprise for the fans. Moving on in the night, big homie Pur2x showed up and showed out, performing tracks off of his debut EP Village Boy also available for stream on SoundCloud.

The Night Continues

The last three Artists to perform were the ones I was particularly excited for. I have personally interviewed them multiple times and I’m a big fan of their previous work. In addition to that, Lisa Frank, vinniecassius, and Adam Banx have been performing together at shows for sometime now. They’ve become the go to openers for big hip hop acts in the valley having worked with Kaskey, Rob Bank$, and Wifisfuneral in just the past few months.

Lisa Frank, took the stage by storm, opting out of an intermission, handing me a confetti canon instead to get his set popping off. He kept the crowd alive with the relentless energy of his music and interaction with the crowd. Keeping the vibe set by Lisa, vinniecassius performed his project Revenge Until Death that dropped only weeks before the event. Chockfull of high BPM bangers and trancelike melodies this project is certainly something you want to experience live someday.

Finally, a long time homie of mine and veteran of the Salt Lake City Hip Hop scene, Adam Banx took the stage as our headlining act. Arguably one of the most musically gifted artists in the scene right now, Adam writes all of his own music, composes a lot of his own beats, and engineers all of his projects for himself. He stays true to his unique style and doesn’t box himself into any specific genre. If you are into something a little more melodic, Adam Banx has definitely got what you want and plenty of it. He already has two complete projects, Illmedicine and Caution: Lanes Merge available on all major platforms, but also has the most amount of unreleased content and new material of any artist I have seen come through the station so far.

Whats next?

The night wrapped up around 10 o’clock and was a huge success for everyone including the station, myself, and the artists involved. By holding shows like this 2-3 times a year, K-ute Radio and the Hip Hop Drip hope to become a staple in the local music scene. As a go to source for promotions and opportunities we invite any artists looking to be heard to reach out to us and get an interview set up. Here at K-Ute Radio, the only thing we love more than music, are people who have a passion for music. We want to hear your story and help make your dreams a reality. Keep your eyes peeled for more live events and tune into Kuteradio.org for all of your favorite music and info regarding upcoming events and ticket giveaways.

I want to take this time to shout out all the performers and fans that came out and put shit down for local Hip Hop!

“Rap Or Go To The League” review: 2 Chainz crosses the competition up on new project

Honestly, last year was more of a quiet year for 2 Chainz. He announced Rap Or Go To The League in February of 2018 and released a few tracks here and there, but was otherwise uncharacteristically quiet aside from features on other artists’ songs. Usually when an artist is that quiet, it means that they’re cooking up an amazing project.

Nearly one year later he officially announced the release date for the project on February 19th, 2019. The announcement was made on Twitter and it was revealed that basketball superstar LeBron James had executive produced the project. This new development sent everyone who was anticipating this project to a new level of hype.   

Enough of all the talk, 2 Chainz has finally released his fifth studio album Rap Or Go To The League for our listening pleasure. Let’s dive in and see if this album with a bonkers tracklist lives up to the hype surrounding it.  

First impressions

  • The Good: On my first listen through the album, I noticed the quality of beats that Chainz rapped over. They’re some of the best of his career thus far due to the variety in each of them. His flow is impeccable as usual and that just adds to each track.  
  • The Bad: While I can agree this is the most lyrical we’ve heard 2 Chainz in quite some time, there are still tracks that sound like your typical trap banger. Yes these are far and few between on this project, but they’re still there and feel a bit stale after multiple listens through.  

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: As I mentioned, we haven’t heard such great subject matter from 2 Chainz in quite some time. He discusses things such as basketball, college athletes, his family, taxes, and politics and does it all with a variety of flows. This is probably his best lyrical project for the most part and I hope we get to hear similar stuff like this from him in the future.
  • The Bad: Even though the lyrics and flows are really good for the most part, sometimes Chainz doesn’t do a great job of picking the best flow for the mood of each track. He has showed us on his past work that he can bring out a variety of different flows for different types of tracks, but for some reason he didn’t pick them correctly this time. I still enjoy the songs regardless, but it can get annoying when the songs sound a bit off.   
  • Score: 7.8/10
2 Chainz announced the forthcoming album by launching a blimp in 2018.

Beats

  • The Good: The production on this album is honestly my favorite part. It is a great mix of trap, soul, and straight up funk at some points. There are some tracks that contain heavy sampling, but I think that only adds to the final product. We haven’t heard 2 Chainz over those types of beats in quite some time, so it was like a breath of fresh air on this project. Some of the producers that contributed to this project include WondaGurl, Mike Dean, Hitmaka, Pharrell Williams, and Cardo.  
  • The Bad: Even with an album full of great beats that stand out from the rest, there are usually a couple lackluster ones that also stick out. Not to say that these beats are bad in any way, but some of them sound too similar to what we’ve already heard from Chainz and many other artists. That isn’t a huge knock on the project as a whole because we only find these beats on a few tracks, and otherwise it’s a stellar album.
  • Score: 8.5/10

Replayability

  • The Good: Let’s be honest, a lot of 2 Chainz’ previous albums don’t have a lot of replay value. This is simply because the songs are either mediocre or get straight up boring after a few listens. But to the delight of many, that isn’t the case with this new project. Clocking in at 54 minutes over 14 tracks, this one doesn’t drag on in the slightest sense. This whole project will stay in my constant rotation for quite a while as I really enjoyed most every song on it.   
  • The Bad: As with most albums, the amount of times that you’ll actually replay an album comes down to personal preference. If you aren’t the biggest fan of 2 Chainz, you may find yourself bored quite quickly due to his slower flow on most of the tracks. Check out a few tracks and skip around a bit before you decide to listen to the whole project. I think that’ll make for a better listening experience if that person is you.
  • Score: 8/10

Standout songs

  • As with most albums I review, it’s always tough to choose the best tracks. It’s even harder for this project considering the amount of quality music that we’ve been blessed with. The standouts from 2 Chainz’ fifth studio album are “Forgiven”, “Momma I Hit A Lick”, “I Said Me”, and “Sam”.   

Final thoughts

When you think of 2 Chainz, what’s the first thought that comes to your head? I bet it isn’t “an artist who is known for making great trap music but decided to make a killer introspective concept album”. I’ll be honest, that wasn’t what I was thinking either before I listened to this album.

Let me tell you, 2 Chainz did exactly that. This album is an exceptional piece of art that showcases how it may feel for young black males that feel their only choice in life is to either rap, sell drugs, or try to make it as an athlete. The album is full of stories about struggles that 2 Chainz has faced in his own life as well as more stories about how the world works in America.

This will go down as one of the top 10 best hip hop releases of 2019. Everyone did their thing on this project; 2 Chainz, the featured artists, and even the producers. They all crushed it and created an album that will stand the test of time and be known as 2 Chainz’ best album and one of the best of the year.  

Final Score: 8.3/10    

Artist Spotlight: CJSleeves

Here at K-UTE, we make it a point to support our local artists of all genres. We believe that each and every one of these artists has something to bring to the table and has a chance at success. One such artist that is particularly talented is Provo, Utah’s CJSleeves. The young rapper has a lot of potential and definitely deserves to be listened to by a large audience.  

Background  

If you are unfamiliar with CJSleeves, you won’t be for long. According to the man himself, he got his rap name by using his initials of CJ and adding “sleeves” after a teammate on his high school basketball team referred to the sleeves that would show under his jersey during games. Sleeves also likes to say that the latter part of his name refers to the fact that he is very honest in his music and “wears his heart on his sleeves”.

CJSleeves first started writing music in 7th grade, but didn’t really take it as serious until his high school years. One of the biggest things that he thought of when starting to make music was that he wanted to have the effect on others that his favorite artists left on him while he was growing up. Some of his biggest artistic influences include Machine Gun Kelly, Chance The Rapper, J. Cole, and Childish Gambino. If he could collaborate with one artist right now, he would choose Lukas Graham. He also cited the late Mac Miller as a dream collaboration (RIP Mac).

He has made over 100 songs in 5 years but has only released about 30 of them. His debut mixtape Junior Varsity was released on Soundcloud during his senior year of high school. He plans on dropping a few projects this year as well because he’s enjoying making music more now than he ever has before.          

Why you should give him a chance

If you can’t tell by now, CJSleeves is an artist that genuinely cares about the music he puts out. He doesn’t release everything he records, but that isn’t a bad thing at all. This is an artist that truly gives the music he creates his all. All of the hard work will pay off for him once he is able to help others through music and have a positive impact on others lives.

In regards to his rapping ability, this kid has skills. If you’d prefer to check him out for yourself rather than hear my opinion, check out the section below to see where you can find his tunes.    

Where you can hear his music

CJSleeves has quite a few tracks available on Soundcloud, including his brand new self-produced single “Paean (Alright)”. On the track (which is accompanied by a music video), Sleeves gets into some real-life struggles that are very relatable to young people. Sleeves said of the track “It speaks on the pressures of being in your early 20’s and having all kinds of decisions to make, but how even through that, I’m happy”. This one has been in constant rotation for me, and I’m sure the same will be true for you.

Check out his project Junior Varsity on Soundcloud for more of that real spill courtesy of a fresh Utah artist. Stay tuned for more new music coming soon.

What’s next?

This should be quite obvious, but CJSleeves isn’t going to quit pursuing his dreams. Right now he’s making more music than ever and is ready to drop some new projects and make a splash in 2019. If you enjoyed his music, follow him on Instagram @cjsleeves and show him some love.

Logic announces release date for debut novel

On January 10th, rising hip hop star Logic announced the release date of his debut novel titled “Supermarket”. The novel will be the rapper’s first entry as a published author. It is expected to arrive at retailers on March 26th, but pre-orders are available online now.

According to the official “Supermarket” website, the novel tells the story of Flynn, a recently single supermarket employee that finds himself in a world of trouble at his place of work. The book is billed as a psychological thriller that is also darkly funny.

Even though this is Logic’s first novel release, he has often mentioned in his music and interviews that he’s been interested in writing books and movies. It is clear to see that he’s trying to expand his reach in the pop culture world outside of his highly successful and still growing musical career. Aside from being behind the scenes, Logic also mentioned in the past that he’d love to get into more acting roles after having a part in an episode of Rick and Morty.

Storytelling ability

Storytelling is nothing new to Logic, as the majority of his studio albums have consistent stories being told throughout them. If you are interested in hearing a story told by Logic rather than reading one, I’d recommend listening to his studio albums Under Pressure, The Incredible True Story, and Everybody. Each one is different and unique in their own way, but still somehow hold together an interesting story. Logic has also claimed that his “last” studio album, tentatively titled Ultra 85, would end the story being told in his previous work.  

If you’d like to pre-order a copy of “Supermarket”, check out supermarketbook.com. The novel will be available at stores including Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Amazon, iTunes, and many more on March 26th. The novel will also be accompanied by a soundtrack, but not much is known about that yet. Only time will tell what Bobby Tarantino has in store for us in that regard. But if his previous work is any indication, this project will be both dope and innovative.   

Concert Review: Childish Gambino

On December 11th Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” tour finally hit Oracle Arena in Oakland, California after numerous delays. According to him this is his last headlining tour, so tickets were a  hot commodity come the day of the show. Luckily for you I was able to experience this show and I have a full recap here.

Opening act

The opening act for this show was Tupelo, Mississippi’s own Rae Sremmurd. If you’re unsure of who Rae Sremmurd is, they are a duo composed of brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee. The show was scheduled to begin at 7:30pm, and the Sremmurd brothers arrived right on time. When I heard about the show originally and saw that Rae Sremmurd would be opening, I wasn’t too sure that they would be a good fit since their music differs drastically from Gambino’s.

To start their set off, the Sremm boys performed their hit single “No Type” off of their debut album Sremmlife. This was the perfect party starter because every hip hop fan should at least be familiar with the track. It got some energy pumping into the crowd immediately that was sustained during their entire set.

Other songs that they performed include “No Flex Zone”, “Black Beatles”, “Powerglide”, and “Perplexing Pegasus” among more. They performed all of these songs together and then each of them performed some of their own solo tracks. Slim Jxmmi performed “Brxnks Truck” while Swae Lee performed “Guatemala” and his feature on “Unforgettable”.   

I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong about my assumption that Rae Sremmurd wouldn’t fit a Childish Gambino show. Rae Sremmurd did a great job opening for Gambino because they kept the crowd interested with a mix of turn-up tracks and more chill ones. They are more well-suited for smaller venues so that the crowd can be involved, but they did a surprisingly great job in an arena setting.   

Gambino finally appears in Oakland

After taking a 30 minute breather from the hype that Rae Sremmurd brought, the crowd was ready to see their beloved Childish Gambino in the flesh. As the clock struck 9pm, the arena went black and the beat began to build. He was finally here, for real this time.

Gambino came out to “Algorythm”, which is a yet-to-be-released track that was only sent to those who bought tickets to the show, and the arena went absolutely nuts. No one could believe that Gambino was finally performing in Oakland again after being forced to cancel his previous couple shows that were scheduled there.

After performing “Algorythm”, he addressed the Oakland crowd of 17,000+ and then performed one of his latest singles “Summertime Magic”. He then jumped right into classic tracks “The Worst Guys” and “Worldstar” from his sophomore album Because The Internet. These tracks were amazing to see in person and the lighting and dancing that accompanied them was spectacular. It was moments like this that made fans grateful that Gambino decided to postpone some of the tour dates after he broke his foot in October.

And he vanishes…

Following the Because The Internet songs, he suddenly vanished. As fans looked around in confusion, a monitor next to the stage lit up and showed him walking through the lower level concourse and into the crowd to perform a powerful rendition of “Stand Tall”. The next stretch of the show was filled with more cuts off his 2016 album Awaken, My Love! including “Have Some Love”, “Boogieman”, “Riot”, and “Terrified”.

Next up was a fan-favorite performance of “This Is America” that had the whole place rocking and singing along. He left the stage after this track and then ended up coming out for the best encore that I’ve seen yet in all my years of going to concerts.

Encore tracks included “Sober”, “3005”, “Sweatpants”, and the track named after the city he performed in, “Telegraph Ave. (Oakland by Lloyd)”. It was the first time in years that Gambino performed “Oakland”, and it was by far the best moment of the night for me. It was simply beautiful and something that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.   

Final Thoughts

During the course of my life thus far, I’ve experienced many different concerts in a variety of cities and types of venues. Anywhere from small and intimate venues to sold-out arena shows, you name it and I’ve been to one. But this show was truly special for so many reasons.

First of all, as great as the music is when played through simple headphones or car speakers, it is so much better in an arena setting with thousands of fans screaming every word and jumping with joy. Seeing the passion on Gambino’s face as he bared his soul and shared his music with the crowd shows just what a great performer he is.

Second of all, the lighting and visuals were something to behold in their own right. Gambino utilized everything he possibly could of in order to create a beautiful experience.

Overall, this concert was fantastic. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more, and I implore you to catch Childish Gambino in concert if he somehow tours again in the future. It is worth it in the truest sense.  

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

New music wrap up: week of 10/29-11/2

This week has been crazy with all the releases that we’ve received. Some weeks are fuller than others, and this is definitely a full week. I’ve listened to quite a few of this new music already, so check below to see what I recommend you listen to from this week’s new drops!

Albums/Mixtapes/EPs

Chief Keef – Back From The Dead 3

Chief Keef is one of the more consistent artists in the rap game in terms of the amount of projects he releases. He’s back again with the newest installment in the fan-favorite Back From The Dead series. This project has 13 tracks with features from Tray Savage and Soulja Boy. Check this one out for your fix of that Chicago drill sound.  

TakeoffThe Last Rocket

After the release of Culture II earlier this year, Migos said that each of the three members would be releasing their own solo album. Takeoff’s project is the second of these to come out following Quavo’s Quavo Huncho last month. Takeoff is probably the least well-known member of the group, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t talented. Give this project a listen if you’re curious about his rapping abilities.

Vince Staples – FM!

Long Beach’s own Vince Staples returns with his latest project FM!, after releasing Big Fish Theory in 2017. This new project is heavy on the conceptual side of things, with radio skits running rampant throughout. It clocks in at 22 minutes in length over its 11 songs. Features on this project include Jay Rock, E-40, Kamaiyah, and others. This is a west coast project in the truest sense, so check it out if you love west coast rap.   

Metro Boomin – Not All Heroes Wear Capes

A few years ago, Metro Boomin was everywhere. He released numerous tracks with artists including Drake, Future, Young Thug, Kanye West, and many more. He took a bit of a break in 2018, but is back with his new project that features Travis Scott, Swae Lee, 21 Savage, Young Thug, and more. If you enjoy tracks with darker vibes, check this project out because it is full of them.  

 

Singles/Loose tracks

Nav – “Know Me”

Canadian rapper/producer Nav is back after a short break following the release of his debut album “Reckless” earlier this year. This is your typical Nav track on which he talks about his money, jewelry, and success. Check it out if you’re a fan of Nav and his unique voice and ear for beats.    

Tyga – “Dip” ft. Nicki Minaj

It’s 2018 and surprisingly, Tyga is relevant for something other than dating someone famous. He has had a strong 2018 thus far, with the super popular single “Taste” racking up over 400 million views on YouTube. This new track features his former Young Money labelmate Nicki Minaj.

Trey Songz – “Shootin’ Shots” ft. Ty Dolla Sign & Tory Lanez

Trey Songz is back with a brand new track after taking a short break following the release of his 2017 project Tremaine The Album. Take a listen to this track if you enjoy smooth crooning, because there’s plenty of it right here.

More new music

This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything that was released today simply because there is so much new music. If you want one check this link. Happy listening and check back for more of these posts in the future!