Look Back @ It: Thayer Street edition

As we transition from #fallfoliage to the cruel reality of a real New England winter, it’s easy to forget that College Hill sheds more than just its leaves every season. Shops and restaurants are constantly opening their doors, followed by a review by yours truly, and continue to exist for a period that ranges anywhere from 1 year to a century. The initial shock that inevitably hits Brunonia when a store is closed, followed by the sweet anticipation of a new franchise, is all part of the emotional rollercoaster that students experience during their time at Brown. Maybe I’m drawing too much from my own personal meltdown when Shades Plus went “out of business,” which for me really reaffirmed that nothing lasts forever.

Thayer Street in particular has witnessed a hefty amount of storefront makeovers, recently bringing a new Sushi Cafe (review to come!) into the old location of the beloved Spats, and spontaneously kicking out City Sports in an eight-day period of “EVERYDAY WE SELL IS BASICALLY FREE.”

After all of its ups and downs, Thayer deserves a post dedicated to its transformation through the years. Thayer Street, you may not realize it because you’re just asphalt, but we’ve known you since you were a baby.

Let’s look back at @ it

249 Thayer

Store 24 to Tedeschi to ???

The only online review of Store 24 is scathing, a direct quote being “You get a dirty feeling just walking into this place.” Tedeschi Food Shops eventually took its place and quickly gained a cult following with its bizarre yet price-friendly selection of goods. Tears were shed when it closed, and its disappearance even inspired a “ghost of Tedeschi” Halloween costume in Fall 2012. Now the storefront next to Chipotle is completely vacant.

257 Thayer

Esta’s to Toledo: Pizza in a Cone to 257 Thayer

The funky atmosphere at Esta’s included a gift shop, video rental business, and bike shop … but unfortunately the demise of video renting in general ended its reign in 2004.

However, Esta’s was soon replaced with Toledo: Pizza in a Cone. Reviews of this place ranged from “Hidden gem!” to “I had the misfortune of downing one of these pizza in a cone’s in January 2011.” Now the area is dominated by the 257 Thayer apartment complex … an arguable downgrade from pizza cones.


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Blogify: Upcoming Freshness

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For this week’s Blogify, we’re bringing back the “Fresh Albums” segment, where we feature some great new music that will (hopefully) be released in the coming months. This collection of musicians tends to sway towards rap and R&B, perfect to help gently get the blood pumping after a tiring Halloweekend. While we wait for these albums to come out, we’ve compiled a playlist featuring some of the artists’ best work up to this point.

Skizzy Mars: Alone Together


Despite pushing back his Alone Together tour this fall, the NYC native has been dropping new music on a monthly basis. His most recent releases, Chemistry, Changes, and Weekend Millionaires are among his best yet, in my opinion. Produced primarily by Michael Keenan, each track continues to impress fans and critics alike. Continuing on an upward trajectory since Red Balloon Project, his first major studio album, Skiz looks to have a bright future at only 23 years old. To really get a feel for his music, check out his SoundCloud! Continue Reading

What a Time To Be Alive: A BlogDH review

On his second mixtape release this year, Drake teams up with Future for What a Time to Be Alive. Of course, Drake is basically a hip-hop demigod whereas Future is better known for his features on songs like “Love Me” and “PNF,”  both of which happen to feature Drake as well. So why hook up with Future? The dude has hits but does he really have bars?


While What a Time took just seven days to complete with most of the production supervised by from Atlanta producer Metro Boomin (Honest, Skyfall, Tuesday) it’s a polished, cohesive body of work. But even though Metro and Future – also from Atlanta – have a long history of working together, this is still through and through a Drake album; he dominates every song with superior lyricism, style, and overall prowess.

Many of the enjoyable songs on What a Time to Be Alive tap the same vein that made songs like “Hotline Bling” and “Legend” radio hits. Drake’s rhyming is subdued; he appears less interested in rhymes and wordplay than he is in vocally evoking his emotions. On “Diamonds Dancing,” Drake takes the spotlight with a two-minute long outro. With synths swirling in the background, he croons: “How can you live with yourself / Ungrateful, ungrateful / Your momma be ashamed of you / I haven’t even heard from you, not a single word from you.” It’s an instant jam. I’m brought back to 11th grade, standing out in the pouring rain waiting for the love of my life to come outside. She never came.

Listening to Drake like: how could you do this to me

Listening to Drake like: how could you do this to me…

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Student Musician Spotlight: DAP The Contract


This week, Blog is spotlighting five Brown and RISD student musicians, all of whom will be performing this Saturday night at the Bodega Beats live session at The Spot Underground. We’re publishing all interviews of one musician talking to another.

Earlier this week, we had the event’s two DJs, Michael Moyal (aka Mulga) and Raye Sosseh (aka Chartreux) interview each other. Jahi Abdur-Razzaq Brown ’17 also interviewed fellow rapper Sebastián Otero Oliveras Brown ’18. A few days ago, Dolapo Akinkugbe Brown ’16 (aka DAP the Contract) interviewed Jahi. Now, it’s DAP’s turn to be in the spotlight. You can check out DAP’s work on his SoundCloud.

Keep reading to find out about his working with Mark Ronson (yes, for real), the influence of his Nigerian roots on his music, and why his post grad plans might include law school.


Sebastián: So, DAP, you recently got back from Abbey Road Studios. Let’s just start with that.

Dolapo: Yeah, that’s a good place to start. That was this competition Converse does where they have artists apply. They have 84 artists go to 12 different studios around the world, and you’re given a mentor. Mark Ronson was my mentor, which was amazing. And he was mad cool, super laid-back, and made me feel comfortable. We made three songs together on a Friday, and then I worked on stuff with the horn section on a Saturday. So it was just like a perfect music weekend, really, in the best studio ever.

S: How did you feel when you entered Abbey Road?

D: I remember the first day, it was like a video when me and my sister walked in, and I was just silent. The best thing about the room was that when it’s silent–nothing sounds like that ever in life. It sounds perfectly silent but noisy at the same time.

You can hear anything in the room—it’s a big room—and you can hear every single detail in the room. It’s like the perfect noisy-silence, because you can hear a little hum, like you can hear the room breathe, but it’s perfectly quiet. That was the first thing I noticed. I didn’t even play any keyboards. We didn’t touch anything for the first ten minutes. We just sat there in silence, and it was just crazy.

S: Do you think that this is one of DAP’s greatest accomplishments?

D: For sure. That and performing at the Saatchi Gallery in London were the two biggest landmarks so far. Nothing comes close to that, really.

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Student Musician Spotlight: Sebastián ( )tero


This week, Blog is spotlighting five Brown and RISD student musicians, all of whom will be performing this Saturday night at the Bodega Beats live session at The Spot Undeground. We’re publishing all interviews of one musician talking to another.

Check out the event’s two DJs, Michael Moyal (aka Mulga) and Raye Sosseh (aka Chartreux) interview with each from Tuesday. Yesterday, Dolapo Akinkugbe (aka DAP the Contract) interviewed Jahi Abdur-Razzaq (Brown ’17), rapper to rapper. Today, Jahi interviews fellow rapper, and musical Renaissance man, Sebastián Otero Oliveras (Brown ’18). You check out Sebastián’s work as Sebastián ()tero on Soundcloud.


Jahi: Alright let’s talk about you. I think, the main thing is: why music? Why express yourself through this music as opposed to something else?

Sebastián: Right, I started playing the violin when I was 4. So music has been very present in my life, throughout my life. I don’t know, I just think I have this connection to music, and this energy to produce, and use this medium to express myself.

For example, I can think of a good thing to draw, or something, but my hands don’t do it that well. But I have my voice and I think I have the talent and the energy. So that comes together and that is Sebastián ()tero.

J: So how did you make the transition from violin to rap?

S: I played classical until I was 13 or 14. I got bored. I love listening to classical music but I can’t play it. I don’t like it. And then I moved to jazz. I played a little bit with jazz, and I’m from Puerto Rico and salsa is a big thing. Latin jazz too. So I also played over those types of genres.

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Student Musician Spotlight: Bodega Beats Rapper Jahi


This week, Blog is spotlighting five Brown and RISD student musicians, all of whom will be performing this Saturday night at the Bodega Beats live session at The Spot Undeground. Every day, we’ll publishing an interview, one musician talking to another. Yesterday, the event’s two DJs, Michael Moyal (aka Mulga) and Raye Sosseh (aka Chartreux) interviewed each other.

Today, Blog brings you an interview with rapper Jahi Abdur-Razzaq (Brown ’17). Jahi is interviewed by Dolapo Akinkugbe (Brown ’16), aka DAP The Contract. They discuss everything from the concept of “home,” to the best Nas album, to “S&M” by Rihanna. Definitley keep reading if you’re looking for some good rap recommendations. You can check out Jahi’s work on Soundcloud.

Tomorrow, DAP will be interviewed by rapper Sebastían ( )tero.


“Tell Your Friends” by the Weeknd starts to play.

Dolapo: The first question I have for you is: what is your primary purpose for making music? What do you want to do with your music?

Is it for fun? Is it therapy for you? Is it therapy for other people?

Jahi: It’s therapy for me, but by accident almost. I was just obsessed with the idea of making music, it was something that I thought was so cool and that I had to participate in.

So I was like, yo — let me participate in it. When I started, I didn’t even put a lot of what was in me into the songs — which is what I wanted to say. So, I changed what I wanted to say into just saying everything that’s in my head. Telling my story: how I be feelin’. Even if it’s not my story — how I’m feeling through somebody else’s story.

D: I feel like a lot of artists start off just joining in because it’s cool, and then they realize how helpful it is for them, and that breeds more passion for it. Then you really start to get shit off your chest — and that makes it, I think, for everyone. So, this latest project you’ve put out, what’s it called again?

J: Home for the Summer.

D: What was that inspired by? What did you get off your chest in the making of that project?

J: What sparked it was just the idea of being between home and college. I was like, yo, like this is actually something that’s crazy, this phenomenon.

D: It really is. We really don’t talk about it enough. They’re really polarized lifestyles.

J: Yeah! The real thing is like, there’s vacation, right? And anybody can have vacation. It doesn’t have to be college. People have vacations. So, the whole thing is about stress. It’s about being as stressed as I am here — it’s nuts.

But from the beginning it’s stress and trying to figure out how to work with that stress, and then trying to get rid of it. Once you try to get rid of something like that with the wrong things, it kinda just messes it up for you. All that happened to me, and I was just like, “Screw it!”

D: Yeah. Going home for the summer for people is a very — especially, I come from Nigeria, so going home for winter, for me, for Christmas, is a culture shift like crazy. What’s home like for you? You’re from Brooklyn, right? Where in particular in Brooklyn?

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