Cassidy Sparrow

Steve Aoki Deconstructs His EDM Evolution With Hip-Hop Infused Album 'Kolony'

Kolony is the perfect mix of hip hop and EDM. 

The inside of Premier Studios, located eight floors above the saturated sidewalks of Times Square in New York City, feels like a vacant sauna turned into an intimate recording oasis designed for steamy vocal sessions intertwined with tantalizing beat production. On this unseasonably brisk June night, EDM’s reigning king Steve Aoki is deconstructing his forthcoming album, Kolony, due out on July 21 --- inside the studio's control room for a group of journalists.

In comparison to his prior work, (see: Wonderland, Neon Future I and Neon Future II) Kolony isn’t just made up of infectious electronic productions. It’s a mix of both the latter --- and hip hop. It’s safe to say every track of the album features one of rap’s most current shining stars. There are Migos and Lil Yachty on “Night Call”; T-Pain and Gucci Mane on the braggadocious “Lit,” and a new comer from Trinidad named Jimmy October. In it’s entirety, the album’s Southern trap sound influence is more then just present --- it's in the project's DNA.

Sonically, the 39 year-old’s new effort sounds like you’re on a all night bender through Atlanta’s club scene while poppin' molly (say no to drugs, kids). For the most part, the project is filled with party-ready singles that are destined to infest radio waves and garner chart topping airplays. By infusing so much hip-hop into the records, Aoki learned a thing or two about production.

“In EDM we have to add everything. We just sprinkle in samples wherever it makes sense, and it’s all about that fire drop,” he explained of what  it's like to produce for an EDM record. “Where in this case I have to take away a lot to give room for the artist.”

Amid this new chapter, it came as organic evolution for Steve to experiment with artists who dominate in another arena of music because of his close personal relationships. He says working with all if his rap friends felt like a tribe of some sort; coming all together to build a colony, and that's what inspired the name of the album.

“The general vibe of the studio when I was working with these artists felt like this room right here, so it’s not just me and the artist working on a song,” he revealed. “This is a colony; this is a vibe; this is something totally unique and different. The energy in the room allows us to work till six in the morning with out drinking five cups of coffee, or whatever I need to stay in the studio. So that’s where the name came from, it’s this over arching umbrella of the energy of the project.”

There were studio sessions in Atlanta that were prompted by prior meet-ups at music festivals with the likes of ILoveMakonnen, and also impromptu FaceTime calls with T-Pain at 3pm in the afternoon. Aoki recalls how he made T-Pain jump in his pool from a high surface of at his house in Vegas as a form of “initiation.” Soon after, they got to work on “Lit,” where the singer interpolated a line from the legendary British band, Queen. Aoki was over the moon about the line, but feared they couldn’t use it. They tried anyway, and Queen cleared it for them.

#aokijump #770. The Aoki x @ShaunWhite Pool Jump. #AokisPlayhouse. LAs Vegas NV. June 23, 2017.

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As much as the album sounds like a complete club record, there are glimpses of vulnerability mixed in. “If I Told You That I Love You” featuring Wale, brings a softer edge to the rest of the songs on it. Wale sounds like he is trying to profess his love for a close female friend on the song. Besides the complexities of love, another attribute, which differentiates the songs from one another is the vocal range from the LP's co-stars. On “Been Ballin” featuring Lil Uzi Vert, his syrupy drawl sounds peculiar, but it sticks to you. The Philly artist sounds like he is drifting away into a haze as he reminds you of his returning triumphs. Both hip-hop and EDM continue to rule the pop world, so it’s a no brainer why Aoki has chosen to combine the two.

You can pre-order Kolony on here 

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Drake To Drop Two New Songs After Toronto Raptors Win NBA Title

As fans of the Toronto Raptors celebrate in the streets over the team's first NBA title, their biggest supporter Drake is dropping two new singles.

The rapper quickly took to Instagram Live Friday (June 14) after the big win to show off some his chips (he hasn't found the dip yet) and casually shared the news. "Much love to everybody, to the family, much love to the guys, congratulations, two songs dropping tomorrow, a championship to the city of Toronto for the first time ever, congrats. Well deserved for the people."

Drake teased the two pack with the song titles, "Omertà" and "Money in the Grave" featuring Rick Ross.


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Drake previously teased "Omertà" by way of an Instagram comment earlier this year. The term is a Southern Italian code of silence and honor which is basically in the same vein of no snitching. The rapper is clearly happy about his team taking the title as he even stopped to chat with reporters after the big game.

Drake really did a post game interview 🤣 #NBAFinals

— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) June 14, 2019

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Vic Mensa Debuts Band 93PUNX And Drops Bold Single "Camp America"

Vic Mensa's new band 93PUNX are here to deliver a poignant message about migrant children in their video for "Camp America."

Released Friday (June 14), the visuals for "Camp America" showcase Mensa in ICE gear with white children locked in cages similar to "family detention" centers that currently filled with children of color separated from their families. The children are also shown playing in the cages, drinking from a toilet bowl wrapping themselves in thermal blankets.

"We’ll be living it up, not giving a f**k / Splitting you up, then we put you in cuffs," Mensa sings. "Then we shipping you off / Yeah, you could get lost at Camp America.”

The song is based on ICE director Matthew Albence’s quote comparing the detention centers to “summer camp." Mensa tells The Daily Beast why he wanted to use white children as means to show "that twisted alternate reality."

“I thought that was a crazy f**king idea and wanted to create a world with this song that imagined that twisted alternate reality, where it was fun for kids to be held as prisoners, drinking out of toilets, away from their parents, and somehow enjoy it like one might at a summer camp," he said. “My intention for using white kids as opposed to minority children is to point out the blatantly obvious fact that this would never happen to white kids in this country or maybe anywhere on this earth. Although the nature of the actions the kids were involved in was graphic or shocking, it was all taken from actual occurrences reported at ‘detention’ centers.”

Mensa says that the children and their parents were aware of the political messages in the video. “All of the children’s parents were present and the children were really smart and understood the political statement being made—they wanted to be a part of it," said. "Nothing about this is about shaming white children; it’s about showing that this simply would never happen to white children.”

This week, the Trump administration announced plans to use an Oklahoma military base that was used in World War II as an internment camp for Japanese and Japanese American to hold undocumented immigrant children. Huff Post reports the administration cited “a dramatic spike” in unaccompanied minors with 41,000 detained by border officials this year.

Other policial statements have been made this week from nonprofit organization RAICES and ad agency Badger & Winters. The group placed pop-up cages with dolls crying across New York City for their campaign called #NoKidsInCages. 

Watch "Camp America" below.

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Premiere: Mariah Commands The Streets Of Miami In "Perreito" Music Video

Since its inception, reggaeton and Latin trap have been a traditional boys' club. Newcomer Mariah, a Cuban-Puerto Rican artist from Miami, forms part of a new-age group of women in the industry, aside from pioneer Ivy Queen, aiming to disrupt the male-dominated business. In just a year, the 19-year-old catalyzed the genre's disruption with female-driven anthems like 2018’s “Blah.”

In the new music video for her single “Perreito,” Mariah commands the streets of Miami on the back of a motorcycle with interludes of her performing in front of colorful backdrops. Mariah was first discovered at age 16 by superstar producer, Nely “El Arma Secreta." At a young age, she knew she wanted to make her mark on the music industry.

“Once I was like nine or 10, that’s when I started to sing and noticed my voice was a little good,” Mariah told Mitu. “I was like, 'That’s it!' I woke up every morning before school and watched Justin Bieber and Chris Brown, they are also big inspirations for me, and I wanted to be just like them.”

“My dream was to get signed and bring a new sound to the industry,” she continued. “Together, with Universal/GTS, we will make a big impact on the industry.” And so far, her star is steadily rising. In January, Mariah landed on Billboard’s 2019 5 Female Latin Artists to Keep On Your Radar list.

Watch the new video for "Perreito" above.

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