Archives for posts with tag: Kanye West

Jhene-Aiko-I-AM-in-Love

 

The most recent quote on Jhene Aiko’s Tumblr reads, “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.” This arab proverb is perfect for Aiko’s attitude towards life and music. To paraphrase from a past interview she’s said, “I just believe in progressing through life..I really take things that most people would see as negative as motivation..tradegy etc., those are the things that make me even more motivated and inspired.” It can be easy for some to hear her music, her voice and instantly be drifting away in a kind of bliss. But there is darkness, and complexity within the beauty.

Jhene is about a year older than me, a Pisces, born March 16th 1988 (raised in LA). While I was trading Pokemon cards and playing video games in 2002 (Jhene was probably doing that too:)), she was getting her music career started, contributing vocals to past R&B group B2K. It was fun to realize I had heard her voice way back then and not noticed. You can spot Aiko in their video for “Uh Huh” (my favorite of theirs).

 

She toured with them for a bit, and took a break from the music industry for several years. During this time, she had a daughter and had a record label meeting that would influence the future creation of the Sailing Souls Mixtape, Sail Out EP and upcoming debut album Souled Out. She was told the classic tale, that you need to sell yourself if you want to get somewhere in the business. A play on words would change “sell” to “sail”, and that attitude of freedom and artistic integrity would fuel her future work.

 

I admire her energy and perspective on the world within and around her. She doesn’t believe in setbacks and takes each moment good or bad, as energy for her music. It’s that roll with the punches feel that’s helped give her this angelic, as well as raw presentation as an artist and person. In her Sailing Souls mixtape (Prod. by K. Roosevelt, Fistcuffs, J.LBS, Bei Maejor and Tae Beast), the relationship songs are all about one particular, unnamed person. The audience has a window into her life, and that vulnerability and honesty has connected with a massive and diverse group of individuals. That mixtape’s had over a quarter of a million downloads, and features Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Gucci Mane, Lite, H.O.P.E., Roosevelt and Kanye West.

Her productions on that mixtape were smooth demonstrations of R&B, soul and pop, some of my favorites being “Stranger”, “Hoe Feat. Miguel & Gucci Mane”, “Real Now”, “Higher” and “Space Jam.”

 

 

Jhene lost her brother Miyagi to cancer in July 2012. She wrote “For My Brother” solely for her dying sibling, and he passed away shortly after hearing it. That fall, “3:16 AM” was released as a single from Sail Out.

In 2013 she was featured on Drake’s “From Time” off his marvelous Nothing Was The Same album, was involved in a car crash with her daughter (who was thankfully unharmed) and released her Sail Out EP (Prod. by Fistcuffs and No I.D., via Def Jam and Artium) in November. With each release, from the mixtape to this EP I hear a mighty evolution that further puts Aiko in her own creative space. It’s refreshing, organic music, that doesn’t sound anything like current mainstream cheese. The same labels that brought Sail Out are now prepping Jhene’s debut album, Souled Out (out May 2014). I’m itchin’ to hear where she takes us next.

* You can catch Jhene Aiko at Coachella 2014 *

 

Jhene Aiko – Facebook Twitter Tumblr Soundcloud

– Jimi Jaxon

References: Jhene Aiko Interview – The Truth With Elliott Wilson, Wikipedia, Jhene Aiko Interview With Manny Norte

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Right now, the best thing I can do is take in the words of Kanye West. His motivation, drive, confidence and genius artistry demands my attention.1-hour long interview with Zane Lowe for BBC Radio 1.

 

Kanye West – Twitter

kanyewest.com

– Jimi Jaxon

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What’s so impressive about the latest from Kanye West to me, along with Daft Punk’s newest, is their ability to take expectations and rip them to shreds. These people do not owe us anything. They have changed the way this world looks and sounds. They have built their careers around following their own gut, and there’s no way that’s about to change. Yeezus and Random Access Memories sound very different, but the mindset is the same; trust yourself.

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I knew when I heard Kanye West perform “Black Skinhead” on SNL, this was the track Daft Punk was talking about. In their cover feature for Rolling Stone they said,

“We had a combination of live drums and programmed drums going..And Kanye was rapping over it.”

“Not even rapping, more like screaming in this very primal way..”

“He’s radical in the choices he makes..He doesn’t give a fuck.”

 

Daft Punk also said via Mixmag, “”When the first 15-second snippet of ‘Get Lucky’ came out, Kanye came to our studio in Paris and we worked on loads of different ideas together. We’re not sure how many tracks we will have on [his new, forthcoming] album yet.” A look at the credits for Yeezus show that Daft Punk contributed to 4 tracks; “On Sight”, “Black Skinhead”, “I Am A God (Feat. God)” and “Send It Up”. Another artist with his fingerprints on Kanye West’s new masterpiece is Hudson Mohawke. He’s credited on “I Am A God (Feat. God)”, “New Slaves” and “Blood On The Leaves”. There are some more intriguing artists who’ve worked on this new record including Gesaffelstein, Brodinski, Frank Ocean and Lunice. But all these wonderful people aside, this is Kanye West’s vision. It is raw, it is angry and it is not afraid.

In an exclusive interview with The New York Times, Kanye West had a few things to say about Yeezus. He describes it as “visceral, tribal” and when asked if he still feels like an outsider fighting his way in he responds, “No, I don’t think I feel like that anymore. I feel like I don’t want to be inside anymore. Like, I uninvited myself.”

He concludes the interview by saying, “I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people: “This is the level that things could be at.” So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities. I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.”

Amen.

Kanye West – Twitter

kanyewest.com

– Jimi Jaxon