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Review: The Weeknd 'House Of Balloons'

The Weeknd is getting everyone talking by saying very little. Hailing from Toronto, Canada and endorsed by superstar Drake, the R&B group has shrouded itself with an air of mystery at a time when overexposure seems to be the de facto standard. Very little is known about the group, consisting of Abel Tesfaye on vocals and producers Doc McKinney and Illangelo. Instead of appearing in the flesh, The Weeknd—pronounced "weakened"—couples its music with sensual black-and-white imagery that could easily pass as flicks from a French art house film. The artwork for the debut mixtape House of Balloons simply depicts a topless woman lying on the bathroom floor, engulfed in a blanket of black and white balloons and ostensibly unconscious after a hard night of partying.

Excess is the pervading driver throughout the nine-track mixtape, a hazy journey of sex, drugs and bombast. “Take a glass…don’t be scared…Trust me girl, you want to be high for this,” Tesfaye croons on the opening track “High For This,” both setting the mood and perhaps encouraging the state under which the project could be best enjoyed. R&B is a misnomer here, as the songs effortlessly float between R&B, hip-hop, electro and rock, pulling inspiration from sources like indie rock group Beach House and Brit rockers Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Like Drake’s So Far Gone or Frank Ocean’s nostalgia/ultra, House of Balloons plays in a lane of post-metrosexual hip-hop, pandering to men in skinny jeans with tales of high-class debauchery all the while without offending women. It’s emo on ecstasy; aspiration music for the man who dreams of jet-setting affairs with supermodels who could double as weed carriers.

There’s a matter-of-factness that flows through the ’tape, particularly on the topic of women, who in Tesfaye’s world, are largely opportunistic and not to be trusted. In “The Morning,” the singer cautions about falling for a fast girl: “Better slow down, she’ll feel it in the morning. Ain’t the kind of girl you’ll be seeing in the morning.” Meanwhile, “Wicked Games” is a sultry ode to a stripper he entices with lines like “bring your body baby, I could bring you fame,” while knowing she doesn’t reciprocate feelings for him. The machismo is not fully believable, though, and there are hints at sensitivity throughout.  On “The Knowing”—the project’s beautifully haunting closer—Tesfaye lashes out at his cheating lover and despite a verbal assurance of acceptance, his breathy falsetto indicates an underlying vulnerability. Perhaps the party has to end some time. No high or facade can be upheld forever and like gravity to the proverbial balloon, the truth ultimately brings everything back down to reality. —Sowmya Krishnamurthy

UPDATE: Turns out The Weeknd is singular. Mystery solved(?)

Download House Of Balloons at the group’s official website:

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Emotional Orange Releases Callings Of Love On "Corners Of My Mind"

Mysterious duo Emotional Oranges are taking a reflective route with "Corners Of My Mind," a gentle ode to an old love.

The track which can be found on the duo's SoundCloud page was inspired by their friend who went through a bad breakup. It seems to be the fitting track towards the end of a coming of age romance where the couple goes their separate ways. In an email to VIBE, the faceless group explained how love was the seed that planted the smooth track.

"I watched a close friend go through an awful heartbreak recently," they said. "This song was birthed by me attempting to reflect on how I would have reacted had it happened to me. The irony is as he was losing love, I was finding new love. It made the whole process of writing it all quite painful."

The LA-based pair croons about a painful love life on the soft pop beat. "It was yesterday/You couldn't look me in my eyes, and then/There was nothing more that I could say/I thought what we had was unbreakable/Guess I was wrong/Opened it up, gave you my all/I know it seemed like you weren't enough/Try to forget, peace and reset/But I can't forgive you no more." 

Emotional Oranges have released just a few singles, including the bouncy bop "Motion" and "Personal" that gained fanfare online.

According to the musical pair's Twitter page, fans can expect a new EP, as well as a tour announcement and "cute merch" following "Corners Of My Mind."


it’s going to be an exciting few weeks for the orange gang 🍊! new music, ep + tour announce, cute merch etc can’t wait for you guys to see it all x

— Emotional Oranges 🍊 (@emotionalorange) March 19, 2019

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Allow Salma Slims To Provide "Seasoning" With Her Irresistible Flow

Salma Slims has come out the kitchen with some new heat.

The Private Club Records prodigy recently released a new song titled "Seasoning," giving her fans the sauce they've craved and then some.

"My flow change like seasons/this that sauce that seasoning/do the whole rap game breezy," Slims rapped on the record produced by Cam Wallace who has worked with artists such as Ty Dolla $ign and Sevyn Streeter. The track single is a teaser for what fans can expect for the artist's and model's upcoming project Runway Rapper expected later this year.

Although she's presently an up-and-coming hip-hop artist and a successful model, instead of rapping about the current "hats" she wears, Slims recalled her past life working in retail as a reminder of tough days.

"Double the dose/I  do this s**t for my bros/I do this s**t for the days I was workin' at Lowes/That s**t was pushin' me close," she rhymed as she rode the beat. Slims also had smoke for anyone who could be bitin' her style and how chasing a "bag" is the only thing she needs.

"Might take a hit from the bong/B***h I get lit while I'm gone/Bitin' my style man, n***as is clones/They just can't leave me alone/I'm in the house like Jerome/I'm in the house like Jerome/Might put life in a song/I put my life in a song." 

"One eighty on the dash/Lil' n***a speeding/Big bag only thing I'm needing/I'm bad Mike Jack wanna beat it." 

Keep an eye out for Atlanta's rising rapper, she's the pinch of seasoning the industry needs.


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This that sauce 🍜 that Seasoning 🧂!!!link in bio !! I’m getting so much love on this song from y’all keep streaming. Let’s keep going up we just getting warmed up. #TeamSalma

A post shared by Runway Rapper (@salmaslims) on Mar 10, 2019 at 2:34pm PDT

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Travis Scott's February Show At The Forum Helped Him Make History

Travis Scott had a historic night back in February, when he managed to make $1.7 million in one night for his Los Angeles Astroworld Tour stop. Not only did he manage to sellout over 16,000 tickets, he also joined the ranks of some huge names who have sold out The Forum more than once in a 12-month span.

"Travis now joins legends like Garth Brooks, Juan Gabriel, The Grateful Dead, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Sting and Michael Jackson to accomplish repeat sellouts since 1990," writes TMZ of the major feat. He sold out The L.A. venue for his Dec. 19 and 20 shows.

The rapper has a lot to celebrate these days. His hit "Sicko Mode" has been in the Billboard Hot 100's top 10 for 32 weeks, one of five songs in history to do so. It peaked at No. 1 and currently sits at No. 10. He also recently sat down with Playboy for an intimate interview with Nas, where they discussed the current state of the hip-hop game and the Internet's influence.

"We came up on iPhones, you know what I mean?" he said when commenting on the differences between Nas' generation and his. "We’re at a point now where we don’t even write our raps down. We’re just going straight off the dome in the booth. I know from people I work with, like Young Thug and Quavo, most everyone likes going in and just laying down whatever’s on their minds."

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