Luka Sabbat Needs Festival Fashion Boys & Girls to Chill

Luka Sabbat Insta.png

Luka Sabbat | photo c/o LS’ Instagram

 

With festival season upon us, young gun model Luka Sabbat has some words to heed in regards to trying too damn hard to look good while you’re dancing in the dirt:

“But really, just wear a white tee, some jeans and a pair of sneakers that you can fuck up. You’re at a festival, not fashion week. Some people do too much and get mad when their clothes get fucked up. Nobody came out to see your outfit. We came to see the artists.”

Luka Sabbat on Walking in Yeezy Shows, John Mayer’s ‘Ill Swag’ & Coachella Style Tips

So true. There are dozens of Best Looks at Coachella lists that include both musicians and fans out there. But more times than not, when I see the fan ‘fits, some variant of what Luka says up there comes to mind. Why not just throw on some old Chucks, Levi’s, a tee, scarf, and hat (props to those who know to bring hoodie for the night chill)?

I talked to Sabbat about that and some other fun topics—walking in Kanye West’s Yeezy shows, John Mayer’s low-key style and more. Check it out.

Fun Facts About The-Dream from my Billboard Q&A

the-dream-Miguel-Starcevich.jpg

The-Dream | shot by Miguel Starcevich | c/o Roc Nation

 

The-Dream just dropped his Love You to Death EP, so I talked to him for a bit for Billboard. It ended up being an awesome, lengthy convo that topically ranged from his theory on why dating sucks for young Black men, taking artistic risks, and why more colleges should have Male Studies courses.

The-Dream on Love You To Death EP: “I’m Trying to Find the Rest of the Things That Make Me Whole”

There’s also a bunch of insight on his contributions to Beyonce’s Lemonade, Rihanna’s Anti, Solange’s A Seat at the Table and Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. Here are some fun (and one not-so-fun) facts from the talk:

  • Dream’s a painter! Jay-Z and Beyonce both own Terius Nash originals.
  • He wanted to make a Purple Rain-esque movie for his first album Love Hate.
  • Solange LOVES “Fancy“!
  • He was dumped by his prom date.

Give it a read.

Do you want More Music from Me? #loveyoutodeath #OUTNOW #New #Music The-Dream #radiokillarecords

A post shared by THE-DREAM (@thekingdream) on

A Little Bird Talk with Travis Scott

 

Travis Scott Crowd at LA Pop-Up.JPG

Travis Scott at Travis Birds Pop-Up | Shot by Sara De Boer

 

The tour merch era is back and killing. Between people rocking vintage/“vintage” Ramones or Metallica tees and modern stars like Kanye West and Justin Bieber cranking out concert apparel, it’s clear the trend won’t be going anywhere soon. Joining the collection of artists making rock merch worth copping is Travis Scott.

All You Need to Know About Travis Scott’s Los Angeles Merch Pop-Up

I met up with him last Friday at his pop-up shop out here in L.A., where he sold his Travis Birds line that’ll pair nicely with his 2017 tour for his Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight album. Levis trucker jackers with eagles drawn on the back, dad hats, sweats and more. You can wear them to the show or, like most will, everywhere else to be fly.

Travis Scott LA Pop-Up2.JPG

Travis Birds line | Shot by Brad Wete

 
We talked about his love for Toyotas, Jack the Eagle (who fans will meet on tour), and how he whipped up the designs for the TB. Give it a read at Billboard.

travis-scott-la-pop-up1

Travis Birds tee | Shot by Brad Wete

 

 

Francis Starlite’s ‘Friends,’ Bon Iver and Kanye West

I’ve been rooting for this guy Francis Starlite for a while. Sometimes when I’m asked who my favorite interview subjects have been, I recall this time I spent on the phone with him for Entertainment Weekly.

I’m guessing this is his new single. Looking forward to seeing what else he’s cooking up. This is fresh.

Cruel Winter? ‘Champions’?

 

5o1q3gfduvio

When the whole squad has bars and you even let extended fam dance on the syths, too.

Kanye West feat. Travis, Quavo, Big Sean, Yo Gotti, Gucci, 2 Chainz & Desiigner.

Apparently, there’s a Cruel Winter album coming. Clearly, Gucci Mane is having the best week ever. Maybe G.O.O.D. Fridays are back. But who the hell knows? The title for this song Kanye debuted on Big Boy’s radio show this morning isn’t even confirmed.

‘Net God bless this random-ass NightsInOctober character for ripping the song. Lord knows Universal/Def Jam will be taking it down in 3, 2…

 

Kid Cudi Billboard Q&A

Cudi

Kid Cudi

 

Kid Cudi’s last album, Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven is a bummer. The spirit of the December 2015 set it is straight demoralizing and somber—even for Cudi. Which is saying a lot, because as a fan I know that he’s never been the smile-for-no-reason type musically. Still, Bullet, a rock album immersed in depression, drugs and doubt is especially sad.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this Ted Talk with him up on stage speaking at his old Cleveland high school to students and saw a lively Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi smiling and—dare I say—happy? I had to know how the hell he went from sounding like a guy that was one pill or drink away from having an #RIP hashtag in front of his name on social media to this guy seemingly past his darkest days.

Kid Cudi Reveals His Struggle With Drugs and Depression: ‘I Was Living a Nightmare’

I reached out to Billboard and told them what I wanted to do: Interview Cudi to find out if my wishful thinking was true. And they were with it. So a few weeks later I met up with Cudi at a recording studio in Los Angeles, where he spent the first 5-10 minutes playing me “Frequency” just hours before he’d release it to his fans via SoundCloud.

It’s a refreshing take on that Cudi most of his followers fell in love with eight or so years ago thanks to his first two Man on the Moon albums and offshoots like Indicud. Waning hums lead to a woozily sung hook, followed by tight raps that are lifted by a galvanizing “I’m done up ’til sun up!” chant.

Once the music stopped, Scott spoke. A lot. About:

  • getting over depression.
  • how he tried to use cocaine to help.
  • reconnecting with Kanye West.
  • not being interesting in making Man on the Moon 3
  • ejaculating on doubters.

I’ve interviewed him a bunch in the past and he’s always been candid. But this time I’m less proud about the more headline-grabbing quotes I got from him and more that he’s speaking about choosing to be happy. It really is a choice that eludes many.

Give it a look here.

Kendrick Lamar’s untitled, unmastered Scraps and Why Artists Should Package Theirs Like Him

Kendrick-Lamar-untitled-unmastered

Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered. album artwork.

 

A few days ago news came out that the latest Star Wars movie The Force Awakens, which came on in theaters in December 2015, would be released on DVD in April. As is the case nowadays, the blockbuster movie will be paired with bonus features that include the chance for fans to see a documentary on the making of the movie, find of how the costuming came to be, and, of course, watch deleted scenes.

The latter feature is always a questionable one for me: “Why would I want to see what was purposefully left on the cutting room floor?” It’s a question I always wonder before inevitably pressing play. What occurs next is some version of harsh criticism (“Why didn’t they include XYZ?! That would have fit perfectly!”) or thankfulness (“Whew! I’m so glad they left this junk out!”). And the same goes for music and album releases. Though when an album comes out, the way its “extras” are packaged with the actual “standard” album is a bit more messy.

For example, the standard version of Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo album technically ends with Frank Ocean’s words on “Wolves,” the thirteenth track on the album. It’s perfect. But what immediately follows Ocean’s thoughtful lyrics is a goofy Collect call from imprisoned rapper Max B. The Harlem rhymer, iconic for his cool ways effectively gives West permission to use the eventually scrapped Waves title. The entire skit is unnecessary. By including it on Pablo, Kanye is basically saying, “Hey guys, Max B approved of me using a title that I eventually decided against. Just thought you should know.” And because this bonus track sits right next to “Wolves,” it effects the quality of the album as a whole. From Max B on, four tracks that clearly don’t fit the mood of TLOP play, ruining the good standing of the actual standard album.

Kanye West: Pablo Creates and Loves Seeing You Flourish, Too

This morning I woke up to my younger brother’s text: “KENDRICK’S NEW ALBUM IS GREAT.” He was excited. As was I. The Compton rapper apparently released new material last night, just a year removed from dropping his critically acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly album. Once I hopped on my MacBook to check out the music, one glance at its track-listing told me that the cuts are essentially ones that were left on the cutting room floor from TPAB recording sessions. Their titles are all calendar dates, suggesting that the eight songs were made while Lamar was working on his Grammy-winning masterpiece. This collection is suitably called untitled unmastered. That says it all.

So with that in mind, I wondered what I usually do: “Why would I want to hear what was purposefully left off the album?”

Well, I do appreciate that Kendrick didn’t carelessly fling these songs at the end of Butterfly. So I can separate the two from each other. It’s a gift Kanye didn’t give me. And I for sure want to have more insight on what one of this era’s greatest musical minds was thinking and creating when he made his second landmark album. untitled unmastered. is not an album as much as it is a mixtape of rough drafts and ideas that didn’t make it out of the cocoon. Still, as marvelous as Butterfly is, some of those ideas, are bound to be good, right?

In this case, RIGHT!

“untitled 03 05.28.2013.” is this gem that he dynamically performed on The Colbert Report in December 2014. “untitled 08 09.06.2014.” debuted on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in January, another fervent performance of a song that I couldn’t listen to a studio version of. Until now.

Other tracks are solid, but are clearly sonically out of place on TPAB, like “untitled 02 06.23.2014.,” which sounds too trappy for the funky jazz vibes that dominate the true album. But it’s cool to know that Lamar wasn’t a complete shut-in and at least put some time in to trying out different genres within Hip-Hop.

It’s also crazy to think that all eight of these songs could have made the TPAB had they been shined up to 100%, which all don’t seem far from. As far as content, they all are Butterfly-worthy, from the apocalyptic future Lamar envisions on the opener (“The ground is shaking, swallowing a young woman/ With a baby, daisies, and other flowers burning in destruction/ The smell is disgusting, the heat is unbearable…”) to the culturally divisive third track to uu‘s closer.

So in the case of untitled unmastered., yes, I’m thankful that these tracks weren’t Butterfly bonuses. But I’m also glad these saw the light of day. Clearly, Kendrick loved them enough to share live, possibly finished, variants of them on television. And I’m looking forward to unpacking their content, which rivals TPAB cuts in most cases.

Other artists should adopt Lamar’s method of releasing bonus cuts/deleted scenes. Don’t ruin the shine of your proper/standard album by sitting it’s premature siblings next to it, as promising as they are. When you can recognize the difference, it’s easier to fully appreciate both.