Here we go again! As I continue to look back through my albums of the year, month by month. This time I’ll take a look at April, which saw the return of The Strokes after seven years, the wonderful collaboration between Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes, amongst fantastic new albums from Enter Shikari, Fiona Apple and The Used. April once again saw an abundance of new music, and as always it was hard to pin down what my top five albums were. This list could have easily included Thundercats ‘It Is What It is’, and new releases from R.A The Rugged Man and Dance Gavin Dance, but alas I can only pick five, and these are the beautiful albums that I have chosen.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in April”
Next up in my series ‘Origins of European Hip-Hop’, I’ll take a look at a fragmented and divided hip-hop scene in Germany. Whilst in both France and Italy artists had ideological differences, and both scenes had significant political impacts, no scene in Europe had the kind of political backdrop and contrast of musicians than that in Germany. From Nationalist movements to Turkish rebellion, this post will piece together the development of hip-hop in a country still feeling the effects of the Second World War.Continue reading “Origins of European Hip-Hop: Deutscher Hip-Hop”
As I continue to take a look back at the dissertation I wrote a few years ago on the developement and impact of hip-hop in Europe, I now move onto my second country, Italy. In the last post I looked into Francophone Rap, a budding hip-hop scene in France, which produced artists such as MC Solaar and IAM, and the film ‘La Haine’. Not too far away though in the Southern regions of Europe, an entirely different hip-hop scene was beginning to emerge, one that would have a big political impact.Continue reading “Origins of European Hip-Hop: Rap Italiano”
Having already looked at my albums of the month for January and February, I now move onto March. The first two months of the year brought us some great music, and March continued in the same vein. Just like my previous posts, I’ll start with a quick update on the state of the world back then; it had imploded. Speaking of someone who lives in the UK, our Government started a shit show of a plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as we were shown numerous graphs of how to ‘flatten the curve’, and Boris Johnson reassured the nation by stating that “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time”. He then set out plans to do absolutely nothing for weeks… Eventually, we were all ordered to stay at home, which led to a new outbreak which swept across the nation; boredom. Time was spent binge-watching the latest Netflix series, baking numerous amounts of banana bread, and attempting to learn new skills, as we began to settle into the ‘new normal’.Continue reading “Album Reviews: My Top 5 Albums Released in March”
After looking through some of my old work, I stumbled across the disseration that I wrote for my final project at university back in 2016, and decided to give it another read. Lockdown boredom may have reached new heights, and brought me to an educational read which I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Perhaps as it brought back the memories of writing it, which with the benefit of time and rose-tinted glasses seemed great, but the sleepless nights and Red Bull driven researching weren’t. Whilst I’ve ditched the Red Bull, and seem to be sleeping fine, going back down memory lane and the same rabbit holes as I orginally had, seem like the perfect distraction to another stressful time, as we are in now. As you may have ascertained from the title of this post, my disseration was about European hip-hop, in particular the development and impact of the genre in France, Italy and Germany during the 1980s and 1990s. In that, I waffled on about Globalisation, Americanisation and the history of hip-hop, but I’ll save you from the academic jargon, and dive right into the various scenes themselves.
Continuing to look back at some of my favourite albums released earlier this year, this time I’ll take a look at the month of February. A month where everything seemed normal, it was the calm before the storm, as the full impact of COVID-19 lurked around the corner. Donald Trump was being impeached, Parasite won Best Picture at the Oscars, Storm Denis hit the UK, and the world was still in self-destruct mode. But alas, there was new music. This month saw the return of The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, Tame Impala coming back after five years, and a blisttering second album from Liverpudlian band Loathe, not to mention new albums from The Amity Affliction, Grimes, Green Day, and King Krule, just to name a few.
What feels like an eternity ago, when COVID-19 was a distant viral illness beginning to spread throughout Asia, when Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down from royal duties ‘split the nation’, when we were all left realing from the heartbraking scenes of the Australian bushfires, before many other tragic events, including the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter; new music was released, which was a brief respite from the tsunami of bad news and conflicts brought in with the start of a new decade, 2020. Whilst it’s not hard to understate that there are more important things in life than music, music can provide an escape from reality, and provide an outlet to release negative emotions, as well as provide joy and something to look forward to, especially in times such as these. Little did we know, that January was just the start of things to come, and these albums are fresh from the context of now, providing a brief respite as they did then, and now.
Last night, Fever 333 performed a live demonstration to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, with all proceeds of the livestream going towards the Black Lives Matter and the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Further to the performance, the band shared the below message:
Like many, I’ve been following the news of the shocking and appaling murder of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by police in Minneapolis, USA. The consequential outrage of his killing has not only sparked protests there, but spread to other cities in the United States too and across the world, with demostrations in Auckland, Berlin, London, and more. George Floyd’s death, and the circumstances surrounding it, is one of many examples of police brutality and racism towards the black community in America. As things began to boil up over the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and Breanna Taylor in Louisevill, and the consequent investigation (or the lack of), things have now boiled over to the point where enough is enough, and things need to change. The worldwide response shows that this sort of racist behaviour isn’t just succluded to America, the insututional day-to-day injustices and the things we don’t see, are happening all over.
The current situation with COVID-19 has left the world in lockdown, with venues closed and tours cancelled or postponed, a lot of artists have been forced to find new and innovative ways to stay connected wth their fans, such as live streaming performances from their home, going back through the archives and releasing footage of previous shows, or hosting Q&A’s and listening parties. Like many, I’ve had the extra time on my hands to watch a lot of these performances, and found it interesting to see the various ways in which bands and artists are approaching these difficult times.