LRNDVS Mix: I Love Black Girls

Anxious about a fascist becoming The President of the United States? We have a great solution. 


Artwork by: LRNDVS

Artwork by: LRNDVS

BY: KILE ATWATER

While traveling the world from Norway to St Louis, international DJ and visual artist LRNDVS conjures up a dreamy laid back mix that is pro vibes and pro black girl. 

Check out the mix in our interview below. 

Which city has the best music scene and why?

I think in terms of diversity in music New York has the best scene. I've never been anywhere where dancehall was played on the radio, and I love that being from a Caribbean background.

I think Miami is also very great. Two very diverse cities so obviously that also influences the music. I also think that Oslo has tons of shows, they're able to bring out any musical guest, so they're pretty well versed in music there as well.  


 

"BLACK GIRLS ARE POPPIN'"

 

 

What inspired you to start DJing?

Photo By: adrianleversby

Photo By: adrianleversby

I think the DJ really shifts the atmosphere, and I obviously feel that when I'm either at a bar, or an event, or a club. The music being played really shapes your experiences. It's interesting how a DJ can have so much influence or control on a particular event or situation. The music is what really brings people together, or sometimes we might not have fond memories of the night just by what the DJ is playing. I feel inspired by that alone, wanting to be a curator more than anything else. 

Describe the inspiration behind this mix?

Well initially I was looking for black female rappers and I wanted to find new ones, like we know the Nicki Minaj's and the Lil' Kim's so I was like who's new. That's how it started doing that initial research and then I just was like black women are doing so many awesome things in general -especially in vocals and in music, so I just kinda went down this rabbit hole. I remembered this quote that Gucci Mane said in a Breakfast Club interview and that kinda set the tone for the mix.

I wanted it to be something that black girls can get ready to when they're about to do some poppin' shit, when they're tryna look poppin', cause black girls are poppin'. 

 

What is your go to song when white people try you?

I guess my go to song changes all the time. If I'm feeling kinda down maybe it'll be like F.U.B.U. or Don't Touch My Hair, but the other day when Donald Trump was inaugurated I was feeling very militant, so Black Skinheads and Blood On The Leaves were great to listen to. 

let your hair down.


Why We Deserve A Seat At The Table



REVIEW: BY ANSELME NDANU

The evolution of Solange Knowles continues with the debut of her latest album “A Seat at The Table”. The singer tapped into some neo-soul (with guidance from RNB legend Raphael Saadiq) to deliver a conceptual mediation on the life of a black woman in America.  Though only out for a short time now, the album has garnered well-deserved praise in its contribution to the neo-civil rights movement. 

“A Seat at the Table” comes at a time when, once again, the lives of African Americans are up for debate. Solange not one to silence herself, delivers a masterpiece that not only calls out the hypocrisies of living in America but also understanding that its effects have led her and us to give into unhealthy behavior. The smooth sounds lead you on a journey of the mind and soul of a black woman just trying to figure her place in a world that often diminishes her worth. Telling us her story of falling and rising, dancing and crying, to show that none of us are immune to systematic racism and the oppressive mindset it breeds. 

Solange sets up her album as a safe space with the introduction track “Rise”, and lyrics like “Walk in your ways, so you won’t crumble. Walk in your ways, so you can sleep at night. Walk in your ways, so you will wake up and rise.” Her smooth voice accompanied by a few piano notes, evoke a warmness that opens your ears to the black girl magic soaked melodies. 

In tracks such as “Weary” she shows her wounds, “Don’t Touch My Hair”, she asserts herself, and “F.U.B.U ,where she takes ownership of her black identity; are the few of many on this album that call to our humanity. She uses these tropes to expand upon our fight to be treated like the humans we are, while acknowledging our very human faults. “Cranes in the Sky” a song about self-medicating by means of frivolity, is something we can relate to on an emotional and physical level. Her features by the likes of Lil Wayne, Kelela, Q-Tip, The-Dream, Dev Hynes, and Kelly Rowland feel like necessary additions that produce a well-rounded message of black camaraderie. 


FEATURED TRACK: DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR


Master P, who offers tidbits about his journey in the form of a narration, serves as a call to the perseverance and success we gain when understanding our self-worth, despite being vilified for not submitting to the inferior roles we were assigned. She also uses his story to illustrate the importance of representation. “It really impacted me that, out of all the houses on MTV Cribs, this was a black man from New Orleans, and he got this by completely staying firm in his independence,” she said in an interview with Stereogum about his influence on the album and her life. 

Most of the album was written and recorded in Louisiana. Solange thought it was important to dive into her mother’s humble beginnings to connect the past with the present.  She also does this with interludes featuring her parents Tina Lawson and Matthew Knowles about their experiences of living in their blackness. It is a great reminder of how far we’ve come yet how much needs to be done. Although her harmonious crooning is warm and inviting the heaviness of the subject matter forces you to feel your deep emotions and self-evaluate. 

A Seat At The Table is a cry for self-care, self-triumph, and self-awareness in the (re)humanization of black people. What makes this album work is that it doesn’t chastise our faults or belittle our collective intellect, what this album creates is unification through personal thought and experience. How Solange feels and thinks are the same as all of us trying to navigate white spaces, never unscathed yet forced to quiet our trauma. “A Seat at The Table” is unapologetically black, unapologetically Solange, unapologetically us. 



Anselme Ndanu

 

Anselme Ndanu is a turtleneck enthusiast who's hooked on making idiosyncratic arrangements in horizontal lines, with ink on bleached and flattend wood pulp, of twenty-six phonetic symbols, ten numbers, and about eight punctuation marks. Her body is in philly but her mind is always lost. Follow her search on instagram. @anselme_en


Fifi Rong

 

Fifi Rong offers us a snapshot of her musical awakening

BY: KILE ATWATER

Upon my first listen to Fifi Rong's Forbidden Desire EP a feeling of sudden serenity instantly overtakes my aural landscape. A soft voice oozes from my laptop speakers that feels like a sweet secret whispered in my ear. The feeling is both parts comforting and unsettling as the production of the song "Holy" employs subtle percussion reminiscent of a heart beating for a first love, or a love lost. 

 

FEATURED TRACK: HOLY

 

Originally from China, Fifi landed in London during her teenage years and became immersed in the underground music scene. She ended up coming in contact with Grime artist Skepta through Twitter, and was featured prominently on his fourth studio album Konnichiwa. Since then she's been on a mission to define her sound with a commanding DIY attitude. In her words, this recent project is a 'snapshot' of her latest developments. To me, this EP feels like the calm before the storm. As I replay the title track Forbidden DesireI can't help but feel like we are witnessing an artist on a verge of a musical awakening. One that Fifi has kept in isolation until her forthcoming album drops later this year. 

Download Forbidden Desire on Bandcamp


Chance The Rapper



REVIEW BY: STEPHANYE WATTS

This year in music has been paramount. After years of feeling like American music had spiraled into a lull that it could never recover from, the sleeping beast has awakened and taking no prisoners. Chance the Rapper has officially thrown his hat into the ring with Coloring Book

Picking up where Acid Rap left off (down to the same colorway in album artwork), Chance returns with his brand of Chicago juke-50s jazz hybrid music, thanks to the ever-present Donnie Trumpet. From the opening of the album, we are reminded of how graciously Chance carries Chicago on his back. “I'm in love with my city, I sleep in my hat” he exclaims on “Finish Line.” Literally, in his continuous efforts to engage and provide opportunities to the city’s youth and helping the homeless survive the brutal winters. Figuratively, in his commitment to not only having Chicago artists constantly featured on his music (CB has everyone from Jeremih to NoNameGypsy) but sticking to the regionality of his sound. You know a Chance record when you hear it, and it’s drenched in that Harold’s mild sauce. 

As hard as we try not to compare artists, it’s impossible to not see the Kanye in Chance. The pride in their city. The middle class, but very black upbringing. The desire to push the boundaries of hip-hop. The transparency. Chance even says it himself on the album closer “Kanye’s best prodigy/ he ain't sign me, but he’s proud of me.” It made perfect sense that the album began with his voice.

Themes of gratefulness for what he’s been able to accomplish and his insanely functional co-parenting relationship with his child’s mother shine a light on how Chance has evolved as a man since Acid Rap. However, Coloring Book is business, err Chance as usual. The bravado holds greater weight, but the growth in his bars remains stagnant. The perils of maturing and self-actualizing early, I’d assume. What one must applaud Coloring Book loudly for though, is the way he seamlessly bridged the generations of hip hop. 2Chainz (nee TityBoi) and Lil Yachty served as the perfect bookends to the old guard and new-new Atlanta. 


FEATURED TRACK: NO PROBLEM


Speaking of 2Chainz, he and Lil Wayne resumed their Collegrove roles and spit like crazy men on the Basstracks produced “No Problem.” With opening lyrics like “If one more label try to stop me/ It's gon' be some dreadhead niggas in ya lobby”, Chance is reestablishing that he is self-made and with the shits, if anyone attempts to threaten that. On “Mixtape”, Chance assembles with Young Thug and Yachty, the holy trinity of now rappers. As much as people give Thugger for laxing on lyrics, he managed to best Chance as they ask if they’re the only ones that care about a mixtape. 

Where the album lacks in cohesion, the grandiose, stadium music courtesy of Chicago’s Children's Choir throughout push the record to sacred proportions. Chance repeating – “I speak to God in public” in “Blessings” connects how the church is just as responsible for R&B artists, as it is rappers. Chance is able to salute his God in a way that’s not cheesy or preachy. It feels personal, bringing you into his private prayer closet. The appearance of Kirk Franklin on the mixtape was equally as surprising as his cameo during Chance’s 2015 Pitchfork Fest performance. Kirk has always been committed to bringing young folks into the Jesus fold, but between Coloring Book and The Life of Pablo, he is back to his peak height from the “Revolution” era.

Whether you call him the savior of hip-hop or an industry plant, Chance the Rapper will be forever iconized as the kid from Chicago that created his own lane and achieved wild success, all while staying true to himself, his God, and his native land.



STEPHANYE WATTS

 

As NYC’s biggest fan in the form of the coolest black girl alive, Stephanye’s quest to discover everything dope, cheap, and black+ excellent below 14th Street is chronicled on her travel site iso14below.com. Stephanye is also the woman behind NYC’s only R&B trivia night, "Rhythm & Bodyroll". Follow her on Twitter at @iso14below.

 

 

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