Behind the Mic: Christian Le

Christian Le, a music DJ at KCR, begins his playlist for the night in the studio.

Every Wednesday night at 10, Christian Le, a junior at SDSU, can be found in the KCR studio starting his show, “All Earz on Le.” I sat down to interview Christian and find out who was behind the mic. In his second semester with KCR, Christian is continuing his music-oriented show, playing a mix of 90’s and modern rap and R&B. Christian said that the show’s title is a play on 2Pac’s “All Eyez on Me,” which is right in line with his music taste.

According to Christian, last semester’s show was heavily focused on music, but later in the semester he brought in some guests to be on air. For the spring, Christian said he is “pretty much going all out” with his show by having more guests and compiling interviews. “I want to do more variety,” Christian added. He wants to be more comedic and more conversational.

Christian builds a new playlist for his show every week. Being born in the later half of the 90’s, Christian said that he wasn’t able to fully appreciate the legends 2Pac or Biggie Smalls, although both make appearances in his playlists. Modern rap finds its way onto Christian’s playlists too, through giants such as Kendrick Lamar.

When I asked Christian about any inspirations he had for his show, he mentioned the podcast “The Handsome Rambler,” by Hannibal Buress. Christian pointed out that he hopes to replicate a segment from Hannibal’s podcast, in which he invites his Tinder matches onto the show. With humor being a focal point for “All Earz on Le,” a new Tinder segment would bring a modern comedic twist to the show.

As the sole host of his show, Christian loves the creative freedom he has. Christian told me that early in the fall semester, his co-host left him, forcing him to adapt to running the show by himself, a challenge he seemed to be thankful for.

I asked Christian to describe the biggest challenge he has faced in relation to his show. Being that the show is rap and R&B, Christian said ensuring all his music is clean proves to be the biggest hurdle. KCR avoids explicit lyrics, a policy that all DJ’s abide by.

Looking toward the future, Christian said that “it would be nice [to be] nominated for something,” when discussing next year’s Intercollegiate Broadcast System awards.

You can listen to Christian Le on his show, “All Earz on Le,” every Wednesday at 10 P.M. on KCR College Radio.

In addition, you can find your favorite DJs on our KCR schedule.

Featured Image: Christian Le, a marketing major at SDSU, finds a balance between classic and modern rap and R&B. Photo by Sumner Shorey.

A Review of RAY BLK’s “Durt” Mini-Album

There’s thousands of lyrically straightforward pop and R&B songs saturating the roster of today’s new music, but it’s not exactly easy finding candid pop and R&B with good lyrics. Abstractions are frequently the direction that skilled songwriters prefer to lean into – they’re more interpretive, and therefore less susceptible to criticism – but at times, metaphors and symbolic imagery aren’t of any immediate use. At times, what we’re looking for are answers or content that resonates with us, plain and simple. But as history’s most horribly-written music has demonstrated, not all songwriters can balance poetry with straightforwardness, and it’s that lyrical disparity that makes us cringe and say “even I can do better,” as we’re driving alone in our cars, for once concentrating on a song’s words.

Thankfully, we have artists like RAY BLK, whose mini-album (aka a longish EP) Durt is a 25-minute representation of creative candor. Hailing from south London, RAY BLK got an early start on songwriting – she began at 14 – and today, the 23-year-old R&B singer is offering us what could be labeled as raw, artful ‘big sister’ storytelling, comparable to other young Londoners on the rise, like the soulful Jorija Smith. Those familiar with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill will notice the thematic similarities between Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and Ray’s short, yet clever “Hunny,” while the album’s title track, “Durt” is a lyrically grimmer, sexier version of Kandi’s “Don’t Think I’m Not.” In collaborations with UK-based producer SG Lewis and English rapper Wretch 32, Ray explores ended relationships from positions of both melancholy and shamelessness, making for a diverse listening experience.

Durt was released on October 28, also available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. RAY BLK can be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


The featured image is promotional and belongs to its respective party.

Now Listening: Solange

Hey dudes and dudettes! I hope you like power house because oh man! Solange is killin’ it with her new album. A Seat at the Table was released a few weeks ago. Just like her older sister Beyoncé, Solange is a queen. She compiles R&B with soul and jazz to eloquently create an album worth talking about.

Solange has beautifully grown into herself as a woman and is shares her art in an exquisite way. A Seat at the Table is soft yet stern. Solange is empowered in her identity and independence. Rich, generous, and honest, this album is already a historical landmark for black cultural and social history.

A Seat at the Table documents the struggle of indignities of the current society in 2016. Artistic and emotionally rich, this album is open and radical. Solange does so all the while opening songs with rich piano solos and jazzy ensembles. Her R&B roots show through in a minimalist way. Beats, bass lines, synths, drowsy horns and trembling guitars, Solange pays tribute to the era and funk and soulful groove.

Impressive and provoking, Solange’s A Seat at the Table is a remarkable album full of power that is brutally honest and tender. It transcends space and time and will be a beautiful artifact from 2016 forever and ever.

Check out a few of the best tracks below. ❃

 

 

 

Astronomyy hypnotizes us with fresh single on #NewMusicFriday

You’re traveling at a steady seventy on the highway. Beyond the illumination of the car’s headlights is asphalt blending in with a speckled black sky. Sitting shotgun could be a best friend or lover, maybe just the thoughts you force to take the backseat during the day. The car stereo blasts at a positively deafening volume, and oozing from the speaker grilles is a pop opiate perfect for night cruising: Astronomyy’s brand new single, “Hypnotized.”

Not familiar with the name? Don’t feel too out of the loop — Astronomyy releases his dreamy, surf guitar-laced R&B on his own label, Lunar Surf, and he’s also an enigmatic lone wolf — the UK singer-songwriter and producer seldom posts to social media, and virtually no videos can be found of the guy performing live. In a contemporary sphere where visual aesthetics quite often and ironically trump a musician’s sound, the virality of Astronomyy’s songs attest that good music is still what gets people listening. Thousands of SoundCloud users are addicted to the Englishman’s sound, which is something he likes to call “guitar’n’B.” Such a label is genre-blurring, but a quick listen to tracks like 2014’s “Nothin on My Mind” and the newer “Hypnotized” proves its aptness.

A Bonnie and Clyde-esque short film by Blake Atienza accompanies the new track, and the showcased romance will appeal to fans of Drugstore Cowboy or the 1975’s “Robbers” music video.

Check out “Hypnotized” and its clip below. Astronomyy is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and his website.