Student Musician Spotlight: Bodega Beats Rapper Jahi

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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.

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“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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Student Musician Spotlight: DJs Chartreux and Mulga

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This week, Blog will be 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’ll publishing an interview every day this week, one musician talking to another.

Today’s interview is with Raye Sosseh (Brown ’17) and Michael Moyal (RISD ’16), also known as DJs Chartreux and Mulga, respectively. You can check out their Soundcloud profiles by clicking above, and catch them DJing together Saturday night.

Michael is the co-founder of Bodega Beats, the music blog and community; he grew up playing instruments, but later found his calling in curating music and taste-making. Raye DJs and produces, using “dense hip-hop inspired beats with recognizable motifs and lyrics to emote an evolving emotion with every song.” Read on to find out how exactly a DJ picks a name, why they hate Top 40 songs, and how they came to be real life Zac Efrons (we’re kidding).

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Raye: What kind of tunes were you thinking for this event? It’s going to be an eclectic mix of sounds.

Michael: I think we should start easy, because we’re doing the first hour and half, and then the last hour and half just go break everything.

R: How do you hunt [for music]? Because I always have a very hard time — I feel like I fall into niches a lot with where I’m looking for music.

M: I know, I hate my Soundcloud right now. I hate it. Actually it’s weird–it goes in waves. A couple of weeks ago, my Soundcloud was unbelievable. This past week, it’s just been garbage.

I have a folder of all the websites I like to look at, and I’ll check them out from time to time. It’s hard, because people curate music on Soundcloud. My favorite thing is when I find a collective. Recently, I found these dudes, they’re called Blanc Label. They’re so good. Their sound is mostly electronic stuff, but they’ve got some really dark stuff and then some really lighthearted new disco shit.

R: I definitely feel like that’s a better way of going about it, seeing whole movements as they occur on the Internet, as opposed to honing in on eight or three people who repost things on Soundcloud.

M: I’ve been deleting people on Soundcloud. I unfollowed Diplo.

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Blogify: Fresh Albums

September saw a ton of awesome new music, so this week’s Blogify features a collection of certified-fresh (as Rotten Tomatoes might say) albums that have been released in the past month(ish). Featuring music by groups ranging from up-and-coming artists to established stars, this carefully selected playlist is guaranteed to keep your spirits high as the temperature plunges. Check it out!

Beach House: Depression Cherry

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Definitely the biggest surprise on this list, Beach House evokes a comparison to Tame Impala in their synthy, psychedelic beats. Their new album flows together perfectly between tracks, adamantly “exploring the sadness of pleasure,” as Pitchfork noted. A thoughtful experience in its own right, the pleasant-yet-melancholy Depression Cherry leaves you pensive and reminiscent. (Also, if you’re into this album, make sure to check out their last release, Bloom, as well!)

Aer: One of a Kind

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A personal favorite of mine, this Boston-based duo is back at it for their biggest studio album yet. Fresh Aer Movement (FAM) has moved their offices to Brooklyn and is now producing their finest rock and reggae-infused music just in time to keep you warm in the coming winter months. Influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the modern Cali-chill band started young and is only getting better. From inauspicious beginnings (a.k.a. an original group that broke up in high school)this band has certainly come a long way–and One of a Kind is a testament to their incredible growth. Continue Reading


Student Group Spotlight: emPOWER, the Brown Concert for Climate Action, and RYSE

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This Friday, emPower, Brown’s umbrella environmental organization, will be hosting the Brown Concert for Climate Action to raise awareness about climate change and its consequences. emPOWER has teamed up with Know Tomorrow, a national campaign partnering with over 50 colleges across the country and started by Brown alum Wendy Abrams ’87. The concert will feature activist Kerry Kennedy ’81 P’17, the beloved What Cheer? Brigade, Voces Verdes- Latino Leadership, Young Hummus, Sons of ProvidenceSebastián ()tero ’18, a video message from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, and more!

On Saturday, emPOWER will be hosting the Rhode Island Youth Summit on the Environment (RYSE) which will bring high school and college students from across Rhode Island together to foster debate around the current state of the environmental movement and according to the RYSE Facebook event description “challenge our common perceptions of environmental issues.” The RYSE keynote speech will be delivered by Voces Verdes- Latino Leadership in Action. You can also check out a comprehensive list of Saturday’s RYSE events and register here.

Blog connected with emPOWER’s Executive Director Camila Bustos ’16 to learn more about these two events.

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BlogDH goes to Boston Calling

Between A Better World By Design and A Slightly Better World By Design, a lot of great things happened on campus this past weekend. Not all students opted to stay in Providence, though, and instead took a train-ride trek to the 6th installment of Boston Calling Music Festival.  This two-stage festival occurs twice a year (once in September and once in May) and spans over the course of three days. There are never overlapping acts, never obtrusively massive crowds, and only a few places with low visibility of the stages, making this festival pretty exceptional for discovering (or rediscovering) some great acts. Single day tickets are usually around $85 and previous headliners include Lorde, Beck, The National, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, etc.

In case you didn’t heed the call, here are 10 things you might’ve missed this weekend.

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1. Some good freebies 

Boston Calling is 60% about music and 40% about collecting all the free things distributed around the perimeter of the fest. Polar Seltzer gets the MVP award for giving away sets of friendship bracelets that compliment each other by saying “Polar” and “Seltzer,” and also using a massive slingshot to launch foam polar bears into the crowd. Sam Adams shelled out baseball caps, Kind Bars tried to make us forget about that FDA scandal by distributing granola, and it was actually impossible to walk anywhere without being offered some free cough drops courtesy of Ludens.

2. Blankets

Without fail, every night around 7 p.m. it would suddenly occur to me that it’s basically October and thus basically freezing. My denim jacket (the only jacket I packed) didn’t cut it. The majority of festival-goers were wiser, though, and brought blankets. Not coats, not gloves, not scarves, but blankets. Patterned blankets, wool blankets, fuzzy blankets… keep this in mind when it starts to inevitably snow in Providence and you’re looking for a  new fashion statement.

3. Doomtree’s Crack Attack

Doomtree brought an intense and high energy performance to the Saturday stage, and however briefly, got the crowd to chant “crack” as part of “No Way.” And yes, it does beg the obvious Mean Girls reference.

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4. Father John Misty throws the mic

Father John Misty is known as much for his brutally honest lyrics as he is for is brutally honest on-stage remarks. He danced atop the drum set, against his microphone, and in the audience all while pointing out banality of life and hedonism of festivals. He did not drop the mic after his last note, but rather threw it on the ground and walked off.  This gets my pick for favorite performance of the festival.

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Blogify: First Day of Fall

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Shopping period is ending and the temperature is cruising in the low 70s which can only mean one thing: it’s officially fall. Time to pull out your favorite layers and get to stepping on some crunchy leaves. Here’s a playlist of all your favorite fall-related songs and other jams to get you ready for Providence’s moodiest season.

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