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Daft Punk ‘Random Access Memories’ Review: The Robots' Playground

Daft Punk
Random Access Memories (Columbia Records)
Release Date: March 21, 2013
Starring: Panda Bear, Julian Casablancas, Todd Edwards, DJ Falcon, Chilly Gonzales, Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams, Pharrell Williams

The French duo Daft Punk, comprised of Thomas Bangalter (38) and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (39), have moved eons away from their 1997 crossover Homework, an album many say caused the EDM volcano to erupt. But it wasn’t called EDM back then, and you can't really dub Random Access Memories that either. It'd be like calling a Bruno Mars album gangster rap because at times he spits on a breakdown. Elements used pertaining to any blanket genre do not equal the sum of its parts.

This is not an Electronic Dance Music for Gen-Y, dancing in their furry boots and spirit hoods at Ultra Music Festival. A title like RAM makes sense for this robotic duo, and some other meanings for the acronym do a great job describing the record: Ridiculous Abstract Moments, Revered Artists’ Musings, Roaring Aural Magnum, Random Ass Memories. The unintentional cult leaders that are Daft Punk, along with a well-oiled army of musicians, pack as many disparate sounds as possible into these 13 tracks. And we’re all drawn to it like moths to the flame. Its neon glow just too bright to ignore. Even the duller moments.

There's high points, like the ominous vocal interludes on insta-classic “Doin’ It Right” featuring Panda Bear. Then there are the lows, such as the mercurial indie-electro “Instant Crush” featuring Julian Casablancas, which would better serve as the backdrop for a skateboarding video. Somewhere in between these far ends there's a story lurking. But that narrative is not fluid. Nor does it have to be. This is sound-play.

Sometimes it’s dark and even terrifying, and suddenly it’s Steve Sondheim (Daft Punk the Broadway musical, anyone?). Next it jumps to Louis Carroll-trippy meets jazzy future disco. Welcome to Daft Punk’s playground, where you can dance or fall asleep (see track seven, “Touch”, which is safer than Ambien and just as trance-like).

A standout is track “Giorgio By Moroder.” Moroder’s voice is suave yet earnest as he explains, “We knew we needed a synthesizer because it was the sound of the future.” An orchestra tic rock band kicks off with not one, but two wizards on bass: pioneering rock and R&B bassist Nathan East and plucking legend James Genus, who tours with Herbie Hancock to this day. Their rhythm section steers this sonic ship as Moroder hypnotically lauds, “We put the click on the 24.” A basic three-way independence you learned in drum class meets like an orgasm crescendo with clean electro synths. This is truly RAM’s shining star.

Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories has fallen from someplace “outside the ether in which we live” to the Earth’s surface and spread like the Bubonic plague across the world. It’s easily the biggest dance album of the year. As for the single, “Get Lucky” featuring Pharrell Williams, which shot to number one on iTunes upon droppage, it's not just the former N.E.R.D. star that makes this a hit. Thanks are also due to Nile Rodgers, whose undeniable axe chops kick in after about two minutes. The tune is super gay (in the French way) and sticks in your head like superglue. If you can't enjoy this song, get a therapist. Or go back to your EDM.

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Nas Officially Drops 'The Lost Tapes 2' Album

Nas' music industry spotlight has intensified thanks to his newest project The Lost Tapes 2. The pioneering influential dropped the soundscape on Friday (July 19).

The album features unreleased tracks from his last four studio albums: Hip Hop Is Dead, Untitled, Life is Good, and Nasir. The Lost Tapes 2 comes as a sequel to 2002's The Lost Tapes 11-track compilation.

Hypebeast reports the latest installment introduces the Queens native rapping over instrumentals crafted by the likings of Kanye West, Pharrell, RZA, Swizz Beats, The Alchemist, and more. Ten years of material collected well-produced beats, wordsmith pierced verses and inclusive range of rhythm.

"Tanasia" and "Highly Favored" were produced by RZA giving off the classic Nas sounds fans have become accustomed to as he spits about his housing projects in Queensbridge. Other exclusive tracks include "Vernon Family" at the hands of Pharrell, and Swizz Beats' "No Bad Energy." Yeezus and Nas also give a less instrumental-forward sound emphasizing the ever-so clever rhymes from The Lost Tapes 2 mastermind on "You Mean the World to Me."

 

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THE LOST TAPES 2 OUT NOW

A post shared by Nasir Jones (@nas) on Jul 18, 2019 at 10:24pm PDT

In an interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the hip-hop artist spoke about how his project is somewhat of a guessing game when figuring out when the tracks were actually created. "You just play them. You kind of got to guess like, 'What year did he make this one?'" he said. "Some of the songs are, like, ten years old, 12 years old, and some of them are, like, as early as, like a year and a half ago."

He also teased to a partnership with the creation of the Hip-Hop Museum that's slated to come to the Bronx by 2022.

Check out the full interview below and stream the project below.

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Rappers Lil Baby and Gunna pose for a picture backstage during the BET Hip Hop Awards 2018 at Fillmore Miami Beach on October 6, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

Lil Baby Says He Previously Paid Gunna To Write Raps He Practiced To

Lil Baby's inspiration to perfect his craft was greatly inspired by Gunna in a very creative way.

Unearthed by Genius, Lil Baby spoke to German hip-hop platform 16 Bars about his early days in the game. The rapper, who earned a BET Award for Best New Artist this year says he paid Gunna to write raps for him in order to practice his own raps.

While none of the songs Gunna were released, they have been used as reference tracks during the duos studio sessions.

"I done paid Gunna to write my songs. I never put the songs out but like when I first started rapping I used to pay him like $100 like 'I'ma give you $100 write something for me so I can try to learn to go in and record it," the Street Gossip rapper said.

Their tightknit friendship in and out of the studio also was considered teachable moments for the rapper. "That's how I used to practice and try to get it right because I just started rapping out of nowhere."

Gunna told Rolling Stone that he was the inspiration for Lil Baby to take his craft seriously. "I kinda helped push [Lil Baby] a little bit to go harder," Gunna said. "He didn't really care about [rapping] that much. He was being him, just chilling. I was critiquing his music, but also letting him know it sounded good, he should keep going, [offering] words of encouragement."

Lil Baby and Da Baby released a track entitled "Baby" Wednesday (July 17), he pulled up on verse one and the chorus of the new hit single.

Heating up verse one with these bars, it looks like the $100 sessions with Gunna paid off.

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Swedish Prosecutors Opt To Keep A$AP Rocky Detained For Another Week

Since the tail-end of June, A$AP Rocky and two of his friends have been detained in Sweden as police officials investigate a physical altercation involving the rapper’s entourage and two unidentified men. According to the Associated Press, authorities will now keep Rocky and his friends in custody until July 25 until a court appearance.

In an interview with Complex, Congressman Adriano Espaillat, who’s also advocating on Rocky’s behalf, discussed the claim that the Harlem native poses as a flight risk, that’s why his detainment is a point of contention.

“They don’t have to keep him in jail. If he has a court appearance, first and foremost, it should be done expeditiously,” Espaillat said. “It shouldn’t be a long, protracted wait because that’s damaging in itself. So you got to wait a couple of months just to tell that you’re innocent? And then you’re away from your family and your work for several months? That’s not fair. That’s not just. I think that not only is it incumbent upon the Swedish authorities to release him or have him see a judge as quickly as possible. And for that to be done expeditiously without any further financial damages to him and his family.”

During the altercation, Rocky posted footage of the reported harassment, boasting his case of self-defense.

 

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SO A FEW DRUG ADDICTS ARE NOT MY FANS , WE DONT KNOW THESE GUYS AND WE DIDNT WANT TROUBLE , THEY FOLLOWED US FOR 4 BLOCKS , AND THEY WERE SLAPPING GIRLS BUTTS WHO PASSED , GIVE ME A BREAK

A post shared by PRETTY FLACKO (@asaprocky) on Jul 2, 2019 at 7:56am PDT

Since that time, celebrities like Meek Mill, Quavo, and Kim Kardashian have advocated for Rocky’s release. Kardashian recently met with Donald Trump and his cabinet to assist in Rocky’s freedom, taking to Twitter to thank them for their efforts.

Thank you @realDonaldTrump , @SecPompeo, Jared Kushner & everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends. Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated 🙏🏼🤞🏼 https://t.co/Ym1Rzo5Z6c

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 18, 2019

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