Articles by Daniel Abelson
Jun. 7, 2013
Hit-Boy makes Philly debut at the sixth annual Roots Picnic
Think back to the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Remember that song that you heard at every party, on every radio station and out of every car that drove by? It was one song and one song only: “N—-s in Paris.” The man responsible for bringing you that hit, along with A$AP Rocky’s “Goldie”; Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle”; and Big Sean, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Clique,” goes by the name of Hit-Boy, and he’s not just a producer. Last August, Hit-Boy released his debut mixtape as a rapper, titled “HITstory,” which showcased his impressive flows and lyricism. Shortly thereafter, Hit-Boy, 26, signed to Interscope Records in December 2012 and launched his own label, HS87, under Interscope’s imprint in January 2013. Hailing from California, Hit-Boy made his Philadelphia debut June 1 at the sixth annual Roots Picnic, where he, along with his signees, Audio Push, delivered an impressive, high-energy performance on the tent stage.
May. 31, 2013
Summer music albums promise bold new sounds
We typically anticipate summer for the warm weather, weekends at the beach, and if we had attended a semester school, some real time off from classes. However, this summer in particular, there are a number of highly anticipated hip-hop and R&B album releases to await.
May. 24, 2013
Kanye West initiates aggressive marketing campaign
Marketing in the music industry has changed drastically over the last few years with the advancement of technology, with more power shifting into the hands of the artists. Some artists have used social media to break major news or release new music; others have released music videos or video blogs to build up hype for upcoming projects. However, Kanye West has taken a far different approach. By performing on well-known platforms across the world, including America’s own “Saturday Night Live,” West is forcing everyone to watch and listen to him. With his new album “Yeezus” set to release June 18, West has returned to the United States after recording in Paris and is making his presence felt across the country and the world.
Apr. 19, 2013
Kid Cudi returns from solo hiatus with very adventurous ‘Indicud’
It’s been two and a half years since Kid Cudi released a solo album. During that time, he released an experimental album with producer Dot Da Genius under the group name WZRD and more recently disaffiliated with Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, where he had been signed since 2008. The news surprised the majority of the industry because West was instrumental in Cudi’s growth and commercial success over the years. However, the departure seems to have been on good terms, and now Cudi is back in the spotlight with his third studio album, “Indicud.” After a premature leak on the Internet, Cudi decided to push the release of his album up a week, so the album ended up hitting stores and iTunes April 16.
Apr. 12, 2013
Apr. 11, 2013
James Blake showcases unique sound with ‘Overgrown’
James Blake flew onto the scene with his incredibly unique sound and style in 2011. His self-titled album was one of the most highly regarded projects of the year, featuring amazing songs such as “The Wilhelm Scream” and “Limit To Your Love.” Now, the 24-year-old from London is back with his sophomore album, “Overgrown,” which was released April 9. While this album is far less musically adventurous than “James Blake,” Blake clearly honed in and continued to evolve and expand his electronic alternative sound.
Apr. 5, 2013
Tyler’s ‘Wolf’ his best work to date
It’s been two years since Tyler, The Creator flew onto the scene with Odd Future. With articles in every major publication about their performance at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and praise from artists including Kanye West about Tyler’s music video for “Yonkers,” the group’s leader became a star in the hip-hop world. Now, he returns with his third solo album, “Wolf,” which was released April 1 on iTunes and April 2 in stores. The album features fellow Odd Future members, including rising star Frank Ocean, who appears on a number of songs even though he’s not always listed as a feature, along with Erykah Badu and Tyler’s idol Pharrell Williams.
Mar. 1, 2013
9th Wonder delivers hip-hop lecture at UPenn
As the lecture opened, he switched between Serato (a software program for disc jockeys) and PowerPoint, playing songs that he grew up with. He ran through the history of hip-hop dating back to 1973 and led up to present-day artists. During this time, he provided some incredible quotes, such as “Sam Cooke was Trey Songz to [his mother]; every generation has a Trey Songz.” He also joked that The Sugarhill Gang, known for its hit single “Rapper’s Delight,” was “the Spice Girls of hip-hop.” The most notable quote from the night came near the end, when 9th Wonder said, “The best music is made when Republicans are in office.”
Feb. 8, 2013
Casey Veggies ready to soar after ‘Life Changes’
It’s quite possible that you’ve never heard of Casey Veggies. The young man from Los Angeles has been flying under the radar for years but is finally breaking out of his shell and letting his presence be felt in the hip-hop industry. At the age of 19, Veggies has already released more mixtapes than most of your favorite rappers have in their entire careers (with the exception of Lil Wayne, but if he’s your favorite rapper we have bigger problems). With his sixth and most recent release, “Life Changes,” he takes his game up to a new level of greatness. While past projects “Sleeping In Class” and “Customized Greatly 3” have been well received by fans and critics, his latest project, which was released Jan. 22, is an impressive body of work that shows the growth and potential of this young rapper.
Feb. 1, 2013
Pusha T prepares for debut with ‘Wrath of Caine’
It all started in 2002 when Clipse flew into the hip-hop scene with its debut album “Lord Willin’,” produced entirely by The Neptunes. Two brothers, Pusha T and Malice, teamed up and became one of the most highly regarded rap duos of all time. Their three albums are critically acclaimed and created a lane for conscious street-rap music. Now the brothers have split up and gone their separate ways. Malice, who now goes by the name of No Malice, is now an author, having written his first book in 2011 titled “Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked.” Pusha T, on the other hand, has remained in the rap game and has reached incredible success since working with Kanye West and his label G.O.O.D. Music in 2010. Collaborating with West and his team on songs including “Runaway,” “So Appalled,” “Mercy” and “New God Flow” have put Pusha T among the most recognizable rappers in the game today.