Combat Jack
Theo Wargo

At Their Artist Forum And After Party, SoundCloud Showed Why They Are The Future

SoundCloud's second Artist Forum and After Party brought out Combat Jack, Vic Mensa, !llMind and more.

SoundCloud is more than just a music streaming service. The platform provides a community for all creatives alike. This past Wednesday (Nov. 16), the creative haven invited the neighborhood to Samsung 837 to celebrate the improvements it's making to its collective.

Founder and CEO, Alex Ljung—who made himself accessible to all who wanted to chop it up throughout the night—got the ball rolling with the reason the neighborhood came out in the first place: all the dope updates.

The first topic on the agenda, which is a synonymously discussed topic with any streaming service, was revenue sharing. With the rise of SoundCloud Go and global advertising initiatives, SoundCloud has been raking in some extra coins, allowing them to invite more creatives into the Premier program. Premier enables creatives to benefit financially on their streams and popularity. Although this specific status is still invite-only, SoundCloud hasn’t abandoned its laurels in pushing to making this an inclusive partner program as it continues to grow.

Next up: the adjustments made to the SoundCloud Pulse app. While the community is inclusive to all lovers of anything and everything creative, the Pulse app seeks to tend to the creatives themselves. Easing the process of editing track info, the upgrades allow for editing track titles, descriptions, tags and genres while also choosing whether the track will be public, downloadable or private all through the subsidiary app. Increasing convenience even further, the platform enhanced their Creator Guide which allows for a creative to understand their place in SoundCloud’s portion of the streaming world and how to make the most of their experience. With these new measures, SoundCloud will continue to enhance all of its beneficiaries’ experiences pertinent to the indie-influenced shift relative industries have been immersed in within the last decade or so.

Additionally, some of the finest of the streaming game came out to put us in the know with their stories and SoundCloud’s role in how they came into who they are today. The two panels included "Building And Empowering Modern Day Music Creativity" (Combat Jack, Toni Romiti, !llmind, Sean Bohrman, and Jami Welch) and "From Creator to Purveyor: The Creative Journey" with Ghostly International’s Sam Valenti And The Fader’s Naomi Zeichner.

SoundCloud’s lateral influence is more diverse than a investment portfolio ranging from Toni Romiti, who utilized the service in her transition from Vine superstar to multi-million stream-ist, to Combat Jack, who went from a music attorney to a “middle-aged blogger” turned podcaster helping him find a “second life” in an industry he almost lost hope in.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BM7fQ8dBQzT/?taken-by=romitimusic&hl=en

As producer, !llmind reminisced on how SoundCloud is an appropriate successor to his early beat sharing days via Underground Hip Hop’s “Beat Battles” folder on its website, we’re reminded of how the audio platform has been a kick starter to many careers.

Aside from the streaming service’s impact on the direct beneficiaries and creators, it's also allowed a space for investors to better position themselves towards the artists. Burger Record’s co-founder, Sean Bohrman and Ghostly Record’s Sam Valenti stand as examples of some investors into these creatives. Probably representing one of the most unique business plans for a record label possible, Bohrman boasts about his label’s atypical approach by targeting debut albums and high school bands, while releasing material mainly in the form of cassette tapes. If you let Sean Bohrman tell it, the way to go is being purely ballsy and achieving superior fulfillment as he quit his job, cashed out his $401K and invested all his time and money into his small record store in Fullerton, CA, which has grown. While Jami Welch discussed his experience as SoundCloud's Product Manager for Creators by day and SoundCloud artist and user by night.

After panels, food, freebies and a showcase of live graffiti artists exercising their talents on the typically unconventional canvas of headphones, we broke out to go our separate ways until the after party later. When we returned, Toni Romiti came back in full effect to kick off the line up of performances. Serving a mix between Cardi B’s swag and Kehlani’s presence, the young vocalist delivered some turn-up vibes. Demanding a space of her own, she got her Mary J. Blige two-step on, all while connecting with the crowd just enough to get us to join in on our own lit jigs.

As the night went on and drinks kept flowing, the music kept getting better and better. Araabmuzik came through and shut down the entire venue as he prepared for battle: head down, shoulders hunched ready to blast the audience with a burst of sonic stimulation. As he instrumentally crafted his club-influenced mixes, adjusting knobs and feverishly tapping away on his drum pad, his personalized renditions rallied a select few dancers to join him on stage. It also got everyone on their feet and grooving for his mash-up of Rihanna’s “B***h Better Have My Money.”

To conclude the night, Premier artist, Vic Mensa delivered a sensation emulative of the unapologetic rock’n’roll meets hip-hop vibrations of the RUN DMC era—but smoother. Starting out with his critically-acclaimed, “16 Shots,” Mensa stepped out in a leather jacket, biker boots, laced-up pants, band tee and icy, metallic jewelry. He portrayed the perfect cross between hip-hop and rock, with his torso arched and head tilted back, belting into the mic, “You know me, I like the danger!” from his track “Danger.”

The entire SoundCloud crew, ranging from the creatives, panelists and attendees, is proof of the legacy SoundCloud is paving for itself in respect to the trends of today’s industry. In a quick chat we had with founder and CEO, Alex Ljung, he explained that SoundCloud is in a lane of its own offering an "open platform," which anyone can sign up for. But the platform is also simultaneously working with major labels and indie labels alike to attract a larger audience which results in more monetization pushing them closer to their goals of opening Premier monetization benefits to everyone.

In the spirit of the No. 1 “Black Beatles” chart-toppers, it's very much ideal to “get you a [streaming service] that can do both.” SoundCloud has proved to fit the mold as it expands in its efforts of acting as a guiding force in today's creative spectrum.

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A$AP Ferg (L) and A$AP Rocky attend A$AP Mob Yams Day 2019 at Barclays Center on January 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Yams Day 2019 Was A Millennial Hypebeast's Wet Dream

It's somewhat fitting that the theme for the 2019 Yams Day is WWE wrestling. While it pays homage to the late Yams' favorite sport and pastime, it perfectly encapsulates today's concert culture for the millennial hypebeast.

After wading in the brisk weather of one of the colder Thursday's of Jan. 2019, 20-somethings and late 90s babies flocked to their assigned sections of Brooklyn's Barclays Center to pay tribute to the founder member and enjoy A$AP Rocky's "Injured Generation Tour."

The crowd is more salt than peppered, even more than a Lil Wayne concert. Puffer jackets decorate the rows of the rickety stadium chairs. And young clear girls donning cornrows, tube tops, cropped shirts, and a rainbow of colored, high-waisted camo pants weave in and out of the aisles. Boys in beanies, florescent skullcaps, and cross-body bags are seen down below migrating in huddles by the main stage and sub-arena masquerading as a wrestling ring. If you needed a gentle reminder of just how influential black culture can be, you found it here.

Rocky, the mob's fierce leader, encouraged the crowd to form a pit in the center of the venue. And just like WWE, a single spotlight highlights the pit as shirtless boys crash into one another, limbs failing and heads bobbing. It surely looks like it hurts, but as mentioned several times throughout the night, it's all for show, and for fun of course.

Each mosh is ricocheted off of one another so much so that from the lower level (which is actually one level above the floor), looked like a violent sea rolling up to shore.

The only thing keeping these kids up, besides the body of the person beside them, seems to be the revolving doors of performers which included a long list of ragers like Ski Mask the Slump God, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, Metro Boomin, and of course A$AP Mob.

Weed fogs the air as fans light up to commemorate the fallen members of hip-hop. That includes more than Yams today, as XXXTentacion recently passed away in 2018. And it wouldn't be a night if someone didn't yell "Free Tekashi 6ix9ine." "No one deserves to be locked up," it was stated.

"Millennial" and "hypebeast" haven't always found the perfect harmony, but when they do it produces a unique experience. Black boy joy is one of the better products. A$AP Ferg and a variety of other friends and family partake in a fun-loving game of dance-tag, flinging their arms and bodies around as Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz's "Uproar" cuts on. Other jams of the present and past like Crime Mob's "Knuck If You Buck" and Kendrick Lamar's "M.a.A.d city" also blast through the speakers, while the n-word echoes through the spot.

 

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$ummer $lam or #YamsDay? 😂

A post shared by Barclays Center (@barclayscenter) on Jan 17, 2019 at 6:08pm PST

Millennials are fearless. What's more courageous than the kids entering the pits of destruction, are the musical acts that run off the cliff of the stage into the audience. They are so certain their fans will catch them, they often dive head first, flipping into piles of extended arms.

The surprise guests of the night, Meek Mill and Soulja Boy, are perhaps the most trending acts in the social realm. Soulja Boy reenacts comedic interview from The Breakfast Club, reciting "Draakee" as he walks from one end of the stage to the next. Meek creates a "moment," performing "Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)."

 

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Bedtime is approaching but there's not a yawn in sight around this crew. If you're looking for the millennials, you can find them turning up at Barclays.

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Mahershala Ali Addresses 'Green Book' Backlash After Golden Globes Win

Mahershala Ali took home the Golden Globe for Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Green Book on Sunday night (Jan. 7). Following his acceptance speech, Ali addressed the backlash regarding the film's plot.

Critics appeared to be upset about the film's storyline which depicted the true relationship between jazz pianist and composer Dr. Don Shirley (played by Ali) and Tony "Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). In the movie, Shirley, a black man from the deep South in 1962, hires an unemployed, white bouncer from the Bronx as his security to escort him during a the segregation era. During their journey, the two develop an unbreakable bond while confronting their differences. The backlash came after Shirley's family stated that the film and Ali's portrayal was inaccurate and filled with lies.

"I will say this," Ali said in response to the controversy, “my job is always the same: I have to look at what I am doing and be responsible for it."

He added: "I respect the family…and Doc Shirley. I spoke to the studio and the family and at the end of the day you wish everyone was happy and you don’t want to offend anyone in any capacity."

This is Mahershala Ali's first Golden Globe win. Check out his acceptance speech above.

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Regina King Makes Vow To Employ Women On Everything She Produces

Regina King took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk on Sunday (Jan. 7). While it was the Hollywood star's time to shine, King took a moment during her acceptance speech to acknowledge other women in the industry with a courageous pledge.

After thanking various contributors who helped her nab the win, King addressed a more important issue. "The reason why we do this is because we understand that our microphones are big and we are speaking for everyone," she said. "And I just want to say that I’m going to use my platform right now to say in the next two years, everything that I produce, I’m making a vow — it’s going to be tough — to make sure that everything that I produce that is 50% women."

She concluded: "And I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries — I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same."

King is now a two-time Golden Globe winner. She previously won the award in 2016 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in American Crime. She was also nominated this year for her performance in Seven Seconds but did not win.

Watch Regina King's acceptance speech at the 2019 Golden Globes n the video above.

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