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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.