Is Eminem “Framed?”

On Monday, April 3, hip-hop and rap artist Eminem released a music video for his song “Framed,” which is the 12th track featured on his most recent album “Revival.”  “Revival,” Eminem’s ninth-studio album, was released in November and has sold over a million copies worldwide, and some of its tracks placed on the Top 20 Hits playlist in the United States.  His collaborations with Beyonce in “Walk on Water” and Ed Sheeran in “River” have brought Eminem’s album large success. This year Eminem is also confirmed to headline at several music festivals, including Coachella, Governors Ball and Bonnaroo, where he is expected to showcase his new album.

His new music video, directed by James Larese, carries a unique horror movie-esque theme, as the rapper plays an escaped asylum patient in his hometown of city of Detroit, Michigan.  The video starts with a news report that Eminem has barricaded himself in a house filled with his bloody murder victims, and has little communication with the police that are outside. The news is reported by Stan Dresden, played by WJBK-TV FOX 2 reporter Josh Landon, who appears worried and frantic. There are several scenes of the rapper with blood and knives, to add a creepy and more realistic feel to the video. Eventually, he is drawn into a confession by a police officer who uses hypnosis and throws Eminem’s character back into the psychiatric hospital. At the end of the video, the character is hypnotized once more and is given an injection in his chest.

“Framed” is similar to Eminem’s song “97 Bonnie & Clyde” on the “Slim Shady LP,” giving off strange and bizarre vibes. Both songs also are indirectly addressing someone in the media (Christie Brinkley and Ivanka Trump). One of the more unsettling lyrics is, “When murdering females, better pay attention to these details or you could be derailed.” Even though his character is giving a step-by-step guide on murder, he also declares himself innocent until the end of the video, by saying “I’m almost certain I was framed.”

HalfNoise at the Echo

Alternative rock project HalfNoise is an ambient effort fronted by current Paramore drummer, Zac Farro. After quitting the band in 2010, Farro took a different musical route than his former bandmates. Instead of the guitar driven melodies and head banging tunes, the HalfNoise sound is mellow, vibrant and synth filled. I had the pleasure of attending their LA show on March 12 at the historic concert venue, The Echo. The show was groovy, high energy and, to be completely honest, unexpected.

Albacore Club opened up the show with their gimmicky, sea-oriented music. Adorned in sailing hats and boat captain attire, the band played a variety of songs pertaining to shrimps and swabbing the poop deck. I am still not sure whether or not it was meant to be ironic. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the music. Afterwards, The Gloomies took the stage with tracks like “Fire Escape” and “If We Were Older.” This San Diego-based group heavily submerges itself into the atmospheric beach-y rock outfit: washed out guitars, tri-chord synth effects and reverb drenched vocals. These acts successfully warmed up the crowd for the band we were all waiting for.

HalfNoise put on an awesome show. They opened up strong with “Sudden Feeling,” a track that takes influence from Tame Impala and the likes. The distinct bass lines coupled with Joe Mullen’s drumming made the performance vibrant and undeniably groovy. Standout performances include “Leaving,” “Scooby’s in the Back” and “French Class” because of the band’s high energy that kept the crowd movin’ and groovin’. Throughout the rest of the night, the group never missed a beat and continued to spread good vibes all around. It was definitely one of the most carefree and happy shows I’ve ever been to.

Not only was the crowd feeling the music, the band was too. It’s amazing to see bands love the sounds and experiences they create live. During the concert, Farro admitted, “sometimes I don’t like to play shows because we do it all the time, but when I see smiles on people’s faces, it reminds me why I love to play music.” And one could really see that. Armed with his trusty tambourine, Farro danced and grooved onstage alongside smiling bandmates and even invited family friends onstage for their encore. The show was genuine and is a reminder that artists are people too. To create unforgettable content, they must also love what they do and follow their own ambitions. Zac Farro and his project HalfNoise exemplifies this authenticity in a compromising music industry.

Check out their new single Flowerss and keep and eye out for their new EP, which will be released on May 4.

Black Panther Cultural Impact

Was “Black Panther” as good as what I expected? Definitely not… it was even better! “Black Panther” may have been out in theaters for months already, but its hype has not deteriorated.

I went to see “Black Panther” the weekend it was released. Theaters were packed and tickets were selling out fast. Even a week after its release, the line to watch Black Panther had not decreased. Releasing the movie during a four day weekend could be the best decision that Marvel has made yet. But even with the nicely timed release, the movie of course would not have been a success without the great actors, and story line. There was never a dull moment in the movie. I was entertained the whole time. It had enough action, and some jokes here and there, elements that helped grasp the audience’s attention.

The one aspect that I loved about the movie was that it did not just touch the hearts of African-Americans, but also of immigrants. As an American, and daughter of immigrants, I could relate to this movie in various ways, but the one that impacted me the most was of the right to speak any language one pleases. In “Black Panther” there is a scene where the Wakanda general, Okoye,  speaks in her tribal language to T’Challa (Black Panther), while a CIA agent is in their presence. This leads the agent to ask T’Challa, instead of Okoye, “Does she speak english?” Okoye quickly responds in English with, “She speaks English when she wants to.” The moment she said that, the inner me was jumping with happiness, because finally someone on the big screen chose to speak up about this issue.

Throughout history, and even today, people in America are being told to ONLY speak English, or to NOT speak another language. Some even having the audacity to tell others that our soldiers aren’t fighting for us to speak other languages, that they are fighting for our “right” to speak “American.” People should not feel bad speaking in a language besides English in public, and most importantly, people should not be obliged to forget their native language in order to make others feel “comfortable.” I am tired of worrying about making others feel “uncomfortable.” I personally have never been afraid to speak Spanish in public, but I know for a fact that there are many others, children and adults, that do need this reassurance of being told that it is okay to speak another language. “Black Panther” encourages people of all ethnicities and ages to love their culture’s language.

Unfortunately, some children didn’t get the same encouragement from the movie. Or at least the young girl I heard talking in the bathroom didn’t. I was washing my hands after the movie and I overheard a young black girl talking to her mom about how she didn’t want to be like the general. The mom asked her why, and the little girl said that she did not want to speak “African.” I was devastated when I heard her say that, because it showed the negative affect society can have on the minds of the young, when it comes to the topic of speaking other languages. In America, any language besides English appears to be ugly, and it’s not okay and it must change.

Enough decades have passed for people to understand that America is a melting pot, and no one language is better than the other. This is why I thank Marvel for including this scene in “Black Panther,” and presenting the people of Wakanda as people who love their culture, and are proud and unafraid of speaking their language.

 

The Legend of The Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel, otherwise known as The Hotel Chelsea, has housed many rock ‘n’ roll greats, authors and actors. People from the iconic Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix to the notorious Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen have stayed in. In the late ’60s and ’70s, New York City was home to the whole new pop culture realm of music, photography and poetry.

I came to hear about the Chelsea Hotel through a book written by Patti Smith called “Just Kids”. She wrote about her many experiences in New York with her then partner Robert Mapplethrope. She talks about her time in the Chelsea Hotel and the people she met there.

As some of us may know, The Chelsea Hotel was were many artists spent the end of their lives. The most infamous was the murder of Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious’ girlfriend. For those who don’t know the story, Nancy was found stabbed to death in her and Sid’s hotel room. Many believe that Sid killed her, including the police. So, they arrested him at the Chelsea Hotel.

Many songs, books and movies have been written about this hotel. We all know the lovely song “Chelsea Hotel #2,” by Leonard Cohen, who also stayed in the establishment. That song was about the affair with Janis Joplin he had during their stay at the Chelsea. Andy Warhol, the esteemed photographer, filmed a short film called Chelsea Girls about his models and their lives in the hotel.


I recently had the privilege of visiting the Chelsea Hotel. Even though it was closed for renovations, I could still feel the essence of its glorious history. On the building people have written the long long list of names of legends that have stayed behind its doors. I hope to go back one day when it is open to really feel the spirits of those who came before. I’ll leave you with the words of Leonard Cohen: “I remember you well, in the Chelsea Hotel. You were talking so brave and so sweet.”

 

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