Artists’ Blueprint: Tyler The Creator

The rapper/songwriter/producer and creative force isn’t the first in hip hop to expand creative boundaries for the genre.

Tyler the Creator has been one of hip hop’s defining acts this past decade, from his angsty and controversial work during his time with the collective Odd Future like Yonkers and Tamale, to a shift for a more introspective and soulful sound with See You Again and Earfquake. With his evolution as an artist, Tyler expanded his brand with ventures such as the annual Camp Flog Gnaw Festival in Los Angeles, his GOLF brand of streetwear along with a flagship store, and shows such as the sketch comedy Loiter Squad and the animated series The Jellies for Adult Swim. Despite his reputation as one of the most ambitious creative minds in the rap game, it is worth mentioning artists similar to Tyler and also cited as his inspirations.

Pharrell Williams

The songwriter/producer/singer/rapper is usually credited as Tyler’s biggest creative influence. Tyler has publicly expressed his love for Pharrell’s work, especially seen in his Facebook post commemorating the 10th anniversary of the producer’s debut album In My Mind. In this post, he praises Pharrell’s attributes such as his penchant for jazz and r&b chords and basslines influenced by the likes of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and his love for previously uncommon subject matter such as high end fashion brands (like Hermes) and skateboarding. This interview with Mass Appeal is another example of The Neptunes’ stylistic influence on Tyler as he talks further about these topics. Tyler’s gone on to collaborate with Pharrell on songs like IFHY and tracks such as Rose Tinted Cheeks are compared to Pharrell’s sound of outer space electronic funk.

Kanye West

Like Pharrell, Kanye is another creative influence on Tyler as a multi-talented artist in hip hop and budding entrepreneur. In an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Tyler mentioned his love for West’s 2018 album Ye, praising the project for its honesty in subject matter, along with crediting him in a list of artists who practice complex techniques and sounds in music like chord progressions and live instrumentation. In other interviews and public appearances, Tyler has talked about their common interests, including art, Kanye’s ability to look normal in various colors for his Yeezy fashion line as an inspiration for Tyler’s GOLF brand, and his defiance of black male stereotypes. The two artists have collaborated on songs like Smuckers off Tyler’s 2015 album Cherry Bomb and Puppet off his 2019 album Igor.

Various Neo-Soul/R&B Artists

Strictly on the musical sphere of influence, Tyler has repeatedly gushed about his love for r&b music and its sub genre neo-soul, which blends live instrumentation with hip hop influence. In the same interview with Zane Lowe, he discusses topics like Janet Jackson’s collaborations with producer duo Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the multi-layered and melodic song structures of Erykah Badu and D’Angelo and the euphoric feelings he got as a fan of artists like Brandy. In another interview with Funkmaster Flex of Hot 97, he credited other childhood influences such as Faith Evans, Mary J Blige, and Zhane. He gave a special shout out to Zhane’s producer Kay Gee for his blend of rough hip hop beats with pretty melodies as the basis for his own style. In an interview with comedian Jerrod Carmichael, Tyler referenced artists such as Tony Toni Tone and Stevie Wonder, especially the latter with his vocal melodies and chords. In his work, Tyler has sampled acts like the Gap Band for songs such as  911/Mr Lonely along with a feature by Badu on his 2013 track Treehome95.

The musical and stylistic footprints of these artists are still evident through Tyler and he carries their torch as a representative for hip hop’s future evolution into newer sonic boundaries and self expression, possibly inspiring a wave of newer artists as his idols did.

Written by: Kristian Gonzales

Feature Image: Fader

The It Girls of Rap: 2021 Edition

What a year it’s been. Can you believe it’s almost over? Despite the world plummeting into a global pandemic, at least we have music to keep our spirits afloat. While I’m bummed I won’t get to experience live concerts for a while, I’m glad I get to soak in all of the exciting releases from these up-and-coming female artists. Here’s who to look out for going into 2021:

Coi Leray

Refusing to be confined by one genre, Coi Leray brings her versatility to any track she hops on. Her EP Now or Never was released this year in August and features the likes of Gunna, Fetty Wap, Kiana Ledé, and Sevyn Streeter. I appreciate her ability to diversify her style–with some songs being explicit hard-hitters and others featuring smooth, laid-back melodies. Aside from her artistry, Coi has an interesting and lively personality outside of music. Her fashion, social media presence, and charisma are a few factors that have propelled her fanbase and success; she’s just an effortlessly cool person. I only see her stardom growing in the coming year.
Listen: “The Hills”

Rubi Rose

With a deep and raspy voice, Rubi delivers a gritty sound that inherently screams “IDGAF.” In the age of Megan Thee Stallion-esque music that pushes for women controlling the reigns of their sexuality, Rubi Rose perfectly caters to this niche audience. Coming off an already large social media following, she has boosted her name both as an influencer and artist. Even though her first single was released in 2019, Rubi has since then collaborated with Wiz Khalifa, Rico Nasty, K Camp, NLE Choppa, and Yella Beezy. She is still in the early stages of her career, but I’m excited to see what she does in the future.
Listen: “Big (ft. Rubi Rose)”

BIA

I honestly didn’t hear about BIA until recently–and boy am I glad that I did. I first heard her on the “Perfect” remix with Cousin Stizz and Doja Cat (which is arguably better than the original). Something about her cadence and delivery sparked my interest in researching the rest of her discography. She first signed to Pharrell’s I Am Other label in partnership with RCA back in 2014, but later signed a new deal with Epic Records. While she is best recognized for being featured on songs with Russ and J Balvin, BIA is evolving into a unique solo act of her own. Her debut project Rich Tiers is scheduled to release in 2021, so make sure you’re tuned in.
Listen: “Same Hands (ft. Lil Durk)”

Flo Milli

It wouldn’t feel right to not include THE Flo Milli on this list. The Alabama rapper came swinging out the gates when her debut mixtape Ho, Why Is You Here? peaked at number 78 on the Billboard 200. At only 20 years old, Flo Milli has positioned herself as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Her consistently clever verses and catchy hooks over bouncy, bass-heavy beats give her a signature sound that is hard to replicate. She isn’t afraid to dish out insults in the process and can switch up her flow in a matter of seconds. Having already received a taste of commercial and critical acclaim, Flo Milli definitely isn’t going away anytime soon.
Listen: “Send The Addy”


Photo Source: The Fader


Written by: Nathalie Lum

Cover Photo Source: Paper Magazine


10 Fun Activities To-Do Over Winter Break

We did it, we made it through our first full virtual semester, and I am sure you are happy to be done. No more waking up early, studying in between classes, all-nighters, and the best part no more Zoom lectures (at least for a while) and silence that GroupMe app.

Indoor businesses may be closed and gatherings discouraged, so what is there to do now? Here are 10 fun activities to-do over winter break that abide by COVID-19 rules and maintain physical distance.

  1. Host a Virtual Happy Hour with Family & Friends

Photo Credit: Screenshot of Echo Video Call from review.com

Ok, I am sure you are over Zoom calls, especially because you have been on them all semester long and some have been on zoom calls all day from when they wake up to when they go to sleep, but since social gatherings are highly discouraged due to the pandemic it is important for us to still have contact with our social circles. Make the zoom calls fun but sharing the latest life updates, how your semester went, what you hope to change next semester, etc. You can even play games virtually over zoom like among us and chat about in-person to find the imposter.

2. Christmas Light Viewings


Photo Credit: Screenshot from San Diego Family Magazine

San Diego has some of the best houses that have excellent decorations for Christmas lights. Drive around your local neighborhood and see some of the excellent lights that your neighbors put in the effort to decorate year after year. You can also visit other neighborhoods by driving by to see how others decorate their houses. Remember to keep that social distancing by remaining in your car. For a complete list of neighborhoods with Christmas lights go here.

3. Self-host a Movie Marathon



Photo Credit: Screenshot of dining hall from Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone Warner Bros Pictures

Die Hard, Elf, and The Polar Express, or a regular movie marathon of some of your favorite movies. Why not? You have the time since you do not have a paper to write or test to study for, enjoy it. Unwinding with your favorite movie is the perfect form of self-care.

4. Complete A Tasty Video



Photo Credit: Icons 8 Team from Unsplash

We’ve all wasted point at one time in our college career by watching those addicting Tasty Videos on YouTube or Instagram so why not put that time waster to good use? Go outside your comfort zone and create something new and not to worry you will not be alone, you will have the video right there in your kitchen with you and who knows, you may like what you whipped up and can make it your own for your family once gatherings are allowed again.

5. Decorate your Room/Home


Photo Credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST on unsplash

Whether you celebrate the holidays or not this is the perfect time to make some changes around your room/home. It is the end of the year, so why not start the new year with a few changes, sure 2020 was full of changes but that does not mean all change is bad. Some suggestions for decorating: Purchase a new piece of artwork from Etsy or e-bay (support small businesses). Change around your Work from Home or virtual school desk set-up. These small changes can be meaningful in your life and affect your mood in a positive way.

6. Catch up on your favorite shows


Photo Credit: Adrian Swancar from Unsplash

Now more than ever is the perfect time to binge-watch your favorite show or start a new show guilt-free since you’ve been busy in school. You may get the message “Are you still watching?” and now you can press yes without any remorse. If you are in need of some new shows to watch visit one of my recent posts where I shared “Quarantine TV Picks” and includes current shows along with throwbacks on multiple streaming services.

7. Make a Gingerbread House


Photo Credit: Gingerbread House from Wilton.com

Every year during Winter Break I take the time to create a gingerbread house. There is something that is therapeutic about creating a gingerbread house. You can purchase a premade gingerbread house where all you have to do is decorate it or purchase one where you have to make it from scratch. How creative are you feeling? The brand I use year after year is Wilton as they make it so easy to build. You can purchase one of these from party city here (subject to availability).

8. Do a TikTok Dance


Photo Credit: Andrew Weiss from unsplash.com

If you’re obsessed with TikTok like me or haven’t even used the app before this will be a fun activity. There are many dances out there to chose from on TikTok like “What You Know Bout Love” by Pop Smoke, “Savage Love” by Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo, or “Tap In” by Saweetie to name a few. It is a great form of exercise practicing these dances, learning something new, and getting out of your comfort zone. The best part, you have the time to perfect while on break. Download the app and start searching TikTok dances.

9. Start Journaling


Photo Credit: Andrew Weiss from unsplash.com

Journaling is an excellent activity for self-care that you can do for fun when you’re upset about something, or when you’re just bored around the house. You make journaling work for you. It can be paragraphs of thoughts, a mixture of paragraphs and photos to describe how you’re feeling, rearranging song lyrics, or making a list of things you want to do after quarantine. This is your creative space. You do not need to have a fancy journal for this activity. Pen and paper around the house will do just fine or the notes app on your phone, but if you are feeling fancy. I recommend the Day One app. Available both on Andriod and iPhone. I use it and it’s awesome. You can incorporate photos, videos, and text all in on entry. I love it because it’s simple to use, secure, and private. Information regarding pricing for Day One is here and you can download the app from the App and Google Play store.

10. Try a New Fitness Class


Photo Credit: Screenshot of Chris Hemsworth in Gym from The Associated Press

All indoor fitness centers are closed, however, there are many that have moved operations outdoors. Try something new over the break like a fitness class. This is the perfect opportunity to meet new people while socially distancing and getting in a good workout at the same time. Don’t feel like leaving the house just yet? That’s ok too. There are endless amounts of at-home workouts available on YouTube like Orangetheory Fitness at Home. You can complete this workout with everyday items around your house already and no sign-up is required and they’re free.

Now that have you some ideas for your winter break what do you plan on doing? Hit me up on socials and let me know. @MikeStarkCA on Twitter and Instagram. I will definitely be creating a gingerbread house and then eating the creation and watching classic tv shows on the couch with some hot cocoa, an SDSU hoodie, holiday socks, and my favorite blanket. 

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

Feature Image: Screenshot of holiday tree from hopkinsmedicne.org

New Album: Yungblud “Weird!”

On December 4th, British artist Yungblud released his new album “Weird!” featuring his 6 singles “Weird!”, “Strawberry Lipstick”, “God Save Me, But Don’t Drown Me Out”, “Cotton Candy”, “Mars”, and “Acting Like That,” which features Yungblud’s good friend and fellow artist Machine Gun Kelly.

The album “Weird!” is about the fans and for the fans. Yungblud hopes that this album shows his listeners that it is alright to ask questions, to be different, to be strange, and to be unique, or in the words of Yungblud “why be someone else, they are taken.”

Yungblud has made it clear that he is very involved with his fanbase. He sees “Yungblud” as more than himself but as a community involving him and his listeners. He says Yungblud is about humanity, unity, and bringing people from all walks of life together. Yungblud was able to showcase this by releasing the song “Mars”. “Mars” is about a Yungblud fan who is transgender whose parents were not accepting of her identity but instead she was able to find acceptance within the Yungblud community. Yungblud wanted to make her voice heard and thought the best way to do this was to make her a song and share it with the Yungblud family in hopes that someone else would listen to the song and see that they are not alone.

This album features the song “love song” which Yungblud revealed is the first love song he has written. Yungblud felt that he is finally comfortable enough with himself and his fanbase to reveal this softer side of him. Yungblud disclosed that growing up watching his parents fight all the time he was never able to see what true love was. In “love song” Yungblud sings about how his relationship with an ex-girlfriend taught him what love should be. Yungblud mentions that even though the relationship ended, he is grateful for the experience and what he was able to learn from it.

The song “Cotton Candy” is about sexual liberation and losing yourself in others in order to find yourself. This song has a strong driving bass line with a laid back vibe that makes you want to sway to the music. Yungblud’s music video for “Cotton Candy” features him and a group of people of all ages, sizes, races, and sexes making out and enjoying themselves.

If you are searching for alternative music with a punk influence look no further than “Weird!”. Not only will this album make you go “bonkers” but it will leave you with a sense of community and belonging. The songs on the album are so diverse yet they go together perfectly, there is a song for every mood you are feeling.

Feature Image By: Tom Pallant

Written By: Faren Holland