12 Days of Spring Weekend: Hudson Mohawke

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Hudson Mohawke is not a Lower Manhattan-based hairstyle. He doesn’t even wear a Lower Manhattan-based hairstyle. But, I mean, he constructed the beat behind Yeezy’s “Blood on the Leaves,” which is perhaps the best song on Yeezus, and that’s good enough for me.

Born Ross Birchard, Hudson Mohawke looks like a literal sixteen-year-old but is actually 29. His dad gave him his first pair of turntables when he was 11. At 15, Mohawke was the youngest-ever UK DMC finalist. Except then, he spun under the name “DJ Itchy,” which is horrible. His career took off in his native Glasgow, Scotland, by getting radio slots, performing at Glasgow University, and DJing in clubs under the name DJ Mayhem, a big step up from DJ Itchy.

Mohawke had no real recognition outside the viral boundaries of SoundCloud etcetera until 2012. His repertoire was mostly composed of underground releases and mixes circulated online, even after signing to Warp Records in 2009. His first official release, “Spotted,” was featured on the Rush Hour beat compilation Beat Dimensions Vol. 1, and his second official release, “Free Mo,” was released on the Ubiquity Records various-artists compilation Choices, Vol. 1. In 2008, his first official EP, Ooops!, was an underground hit.

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12 Days of Spring Weekend: Don’t Sleep on Waka Flocka Flame

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In a rather bizarre turn of events earlier in the semester, it was leaked that Waka Flocka Flame would be performing at this years spring weekend concert. In the last two years, BCA has booked artists, specifically hip-hop artists, at pivotal points of their careers. In just the short time since his performance here, Kendrick Lamar has surged into the hip-hop scene and is fighting for the title of best rap artist of our generation, if not all time. Chance, too, has started to collab with bigger names and is receiving more widespread acclaim in mainstream media.

So when I found out about Waka’s spot in the lineup, I was a bit surprised. I couldn’t help thinking back to my freshman year of high school, when I thought blasting “Hard in da Paint” made me cooler than I actually was (let’s not forget I was a chubby kid from the suburbs who thought Waka’s lyrics spoke to me). After reliving my glory days, it became clear to me why my memories of Waka Flocka stopped after my first year in high school: Flame’s last mainstream record success, Flockaveli, was released in 2010.

At first, the BCA’s decision confused me. Why would they book an artist whose career was anything but taking off? That was until I realized that Waka has been steadily producing mixtapes since his major debut, has been collaborating with EDM artists like Steve Aoki, and has become one of the most consistent rap artists of the last five years. Though he has not had as much mainstream success since Flockaveli, Flame has continued to produce and create music. What became clear is that though his career may not be about to leap forward, it has definitely not lost its spotlight it once had. Let’s start in the beginning.

Born in New York, Juaquin Malphurs, aka Waka Flocka Flame, soon relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where he grew up and eventually developed his sound. Atlanta is often considered the birthplace of trap, and Flocka fit right in, starting his relationship with established trap artist Gucci Mane by the age of 19. In 2009, Flame had his first breakout single, “O Let’s Do It,” which eventually peaked at no. 62 on Bilboard’s Hot 100. This spark launched Flame’s career into the spotlight, and he never looked back. After his initial success, Flocka released his debut album Flockaveli in 2010. With Flockaveli, Flame crashed into the hip-hop scene with unapologetic lyrics about living in the trap and his life as a member of the brick squad (other notable members include Chief Keef and Gucci Mane). Known for its boisterous sound and party anthems, some of the album’s more notable songs include “Hard in da Paint,” “Grove St. Party,” and “No Hands.” The album debuted at no. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 200, and Flame was named the eighth-hottest MC of 2010 by MTV.

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If Spring Weekend performers actually went to Brown

Yes, the SW performers are coming here but they aren’t going here — catch my drift? A two hour performance does not make you Brown student. But this is BlogDailyHerald, and Hank is back to throw some light on deep hypothetical situations to ramble back. Let us explore what it would be like if Hudson Mohawke, Yeasayer, Pusha T, Waka Flocka, and Modest Mouse got early admissions acceptance Z-listed and were Brown Students.

Hudson Mohawke

Hudson, or Ross Birchard as his mom calls him, is from Scotland (which is like England’s slightly paler cousin). He is a DJ, just like me, but he doesn’t play his iPod unwelcomely at pre-games he is not actually invited to. He is also a producer (whatever that means) on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music label. Lastly, he is (the better) half of the DJ duo TNGHT (pronounced tonight). Ok, backstory complete, now the jokes can start!

So what would Hudson be like as a Brown student? I think you could find Hudson throwing out fire jams at Small Victories party at Colosseum, Ultra, or one of those other horrible places. Likely to be constantly mixing beats in his dorm room, Hudson would live on the Main Green and blast music 24/7 out his window. He might learn about Scottish history or maybe he would study music? Both sound like so much…  fun? I reached out to Hudson Mohawke’s people to ask what his favorite food is and if he plays any sports. So far, they have not responded, which is shocking. Would he be in a fraternity? Do fraternities still exist at Brown? Insert monkey emoji here. 

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Blogify: Spring Weekend prep

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Despite foreboding snow piles lingering on the Green, Spring Weekend 2015 is upon us. Believe it or not, after spring break, there are actually only a few weeks until the joyous week weekend that marks the end of New England hibernation and the beginning of the greatest month (yes, it’s really only a month) at Brown: spring.

So, study up. Acquaint yourself with artists unknown to you and get pumped for those you’ve been bumping for years. Happy listening!

Image via Albie Brown ’16.