#NOWLISTENING: to COLE TURNER by Foxx Tailored

Culture, Music

A beautiful R&B and Soul EP by Soundcloud artist, Foxx Tailored, produced by YellowSynth, Copta, HCM, Cosmic Beatz, The Martianz, Tokyo, Mantra, LAVI$H JAX, P. Soul, Ajet, Nish, IGNORVNCE, and The Boy. It holds inspiration to the hit WB series, Charmed. Listen and see where you can spot where!

If you like the sound, don’t forget to comment, like and share!

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Best of Afropunk Brooklyn 2k17

Articles, Culture, Fashion, Uncategorized

By: Steven Underwood

Featured Photo courtesy of  Don Fonso (@fonzfranc) Stylist , Look Innovator and Fashion Icon for the Digital Age. 

Every year, around August 26th, there is a weekend of pure Black joy and happiness: Afropunk.

Afropunk is a festival that is part celebration of the alternative blackness, part exposition of black music in its numerous forms. The life that isn’t paralleled to the commonly understood black experience, but in fact goes perpendicular — actively intersecting with our very life.

#TRENDSETTER: ZEL, 21, NEW JERSEY

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Culture, Fashion, Fiction

Steven “Zel” Vasquez, 21; Graphic Designer, Cover Artist, Fashion Blogger

IG: Sayitaintzel

Inqueries: Byzelclo@gmail.com

“It’s BYZEL”

****

Black Culture is about intersection, and Zel’s art is no different. Crossing the decadent fashion of rap culture with digital graphics, Zel is forming a career by making the unexpected a statement. While most would think a digital artist focuses less on physical presentation, they will be surprised to find Zel pays as much attention to what he is wearing, and how he feels with it as he does to the tools of his trade — a sentiment someone like me, who feels aesthetic conveys as much as a written word, agrees with.

Zel’s Inspirations could come from the very artists he designs his concepts for: such as the subtle festive street looks of ASAP Rocky, or the maddening lost outlook of Kanye West. There is an approach to his graphics and designs that always feels familiar, yet vibrant and distinct like a splash of color on a monotone backdrop.

 

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Even though he attends school far out in the boondocks of Hackettstown, New Jersey, he where style takes a backdrop to the salt-pillar lifestyle surrounding the college, he still maintains he isn’t simply Steven Vasquez — but the artist who creates: Zel. He appreciates the power of attention and detail on a t-shirt, in footwear and on a Mac book screen.

Whether it is a custom fit, or a digital concept for his favorite artist’s albums, Zel maintains a bold, elegant and sharpness. His art continues the trend of true Black Boy Joy.

For graphics and designs, well, BYZEL, reach the artist at byzelco@gmail.com or at his IG: Sayitaintzel.

#BlaqueTwitter: June 26th 2017, THE BET EDITION

Articles, Culture

Photo Courtesy of Hypebeast

By: STEVEN UNDERWOOD

SPOTLIGHT

JOE BUDDEN ruins another peaceful interview with another rising talent in Hip Hop, TAKEOFF of MIGOS*. At the BET Awards last night, JOE BUDDEN interviewed the Versace-décor’d trio along with DJ Akademiks and [whatever that girl name was] for the EVERYDAY STRUGGLE podcast. DJ Akademiks started the interview confusingly antagonizing TAKEOFF in a scene that felt reminiscent of a Chappelle Skit (WHAT?!). JOE BUDDEN, being allergic to successful black rappers younger than himself, immediately start barking like the pitbull he looks just like. Little did Budden know, MIGOS are always ready to square up like they’re rooted.

Follow the Birdie for the Tweet!

Summary, the situation escalated into a fight, because MIGOS obviously had the power advantage. No one turned for confirmation in the trio. QUAVO stood, OFFSET stood, TAKEOFF didn’t even break his gaze, just eased on out of his seat, didn’t even stop to take off the very expensive jewelery around his neck. I didn’t know OFFSET was still a gentleman. Homie just got to rolling up his sleeves. And way to go TAKEOFF, the underdog is always ready to bark. Never doubt MIGOS is the next incarnation of the Three Muskateers: Blouses and all. Budden took the L in this situation, he’s just looking sad. Almost as Sad as DJ Akademic shoving a girl in-between himself and the situation. The next day, JOE BUDDEN took to Twitter, saying something about not liking MIGOS attitude. But, when you not only a fashion Icon, immune to the consequences of rampant homophobia, and the hottest rap group out, you can afford to have an attitude. To this situation, I refer to the Crissles philosophy: “Ain’t Yall too rich for this stuff? Don’t yall got a yacht to buy?” Joey, go host your podcast and stay silent. We get it, you’re talented and mad you get no respect. It ain’t our fault, it’s your own. Chalk it up to the game and go home. *TAKEOFF, QUAVO and OFFSET are all members of MIGOS. No, MIGOS is not one person. Pay attention to American culture.

Lesser News

MIGOS also fought CHRIS BROWN, but this is like a normal Sunday evening for CHRIS BROWN. I won’t be satisfied until either he gets folded like the lawn chair he looks like, or he ends up in prison. There’s girls won’t let him go broke. Homie gonna be 16 to them until he 80 in a retirement home threatening to fight his nurses and getting into dance battles with his own reflection.

Follow the Birdie for the Tweet!

TREY SONGZ had another mediocre performance. The TL is still confused about why he still making music about all the sex he has, and still somehow makes the same song over and over. I just want someone to break his heart, or for him to have some character development. He needs to have his LEMONADE by Beyonce (this is the only accurate way to refer to THE album). I want to like his music like I liked LAST TIME, YOUR SIDE OF THE BED, and BOTTOMS UP, but he just…doesn’t give me a reason to? Maybe he can make an album about his dog, the true talent in his family.

SOLANGE, the Moon Goddess, won the Centric Award last night. Some people got made she thanked the Universe and not God. Some people also aren’t aware that not all Black People are Christian or Religious. She made the bop for Depression, which most church folk think is just an imaginary illness you can pray away without actual therapy or medication or actual, I don’t know, acknowledgement. So boo.

REMY MA, stole an award. Let’s not dwell on her speech – which she made about a feud and not about her own development, growth, abilities, appreciation, etc. The TL didn’t say NICKI MINAJ should’ve won the award (they screamed it from the rooftops), but REMY MA certainly didn’t do everything all the Runner-ups did to possibly win over her. MISSY ELLIOT has put in so much work this year that she has certainly earned that win. CARDI B has actually shook the pedestal that Nicki Minaj twirls 5 inches of Indian hair on. YOUNG M.A. has brought a dynamic flow to the game. All of them have done more thank REMY MA and her need to tear down other female rappers. REMY MA is just Joe Budden with two X-Chromosomes and a ghost writer (Guess you needed a, PAP). It’s a shame, because I really WANT to like her. She a Potterhead, she a carefree black girl, she’s rude. All things I love in people.

SZA was a carefree black girl on stage living her dream, and we loved her for it. KEYSHIA COLE stayed for the celebration of what is apparently her favorite album about her life and then left. We love this girl and her crown of curls she turns into this magical prop. Honestly, SZA is Rapunzel and I love her.

People still thing CHANCE THE RAPPER is a new artist, and he isn’t. But I think the qualification for this award just means you were recently signed. Which means one year Chance will one day receive the Lifetime Achievement Award along with his Best New Artist award, because he ain’t -ever- gonna sign.

BIG SEAN continues to be the example all Rappers should follow. Fashionista, Philanthropist, Poet, Artist, Professional Own-Business-Minder, Good Boyfriend. BIG SEAN, keep laying down the blue print.

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LUKE JAMES tried to steal everyone girlfriend on stage in front of the most violent men in Hip Hop and got away with it. NEW EDITION also performed with the -entire- cast of their Biopic. That stage was all white blazers and Motown choreography. I enjoyed what I could see of it (I couldn’t tell who was who, at all. They could’ve been lipsynching for all I know).  

Rhianna’s Versatile Style Explodes in New WILD THOUGHTS Video

Articles, Culture, Fashion

By: Steven Underwood

This morning, Snapchat Sage, DJ Khaled, Real-world Mystique, Rhianna and Bryson Tiller debuted their video to their instant hit, WILD THOUGHTS and set a commotion across Twitter that is sure to top Summer playlists everywhere as a hit. While many are speaking about the genius sampling of MARIA MARIA’s guitar solo, a ballad during the 90’s brilliant dalliances into Latin Pop, even more are noting the subtly vibrant styles of Rhianna.

The Multihyphenated-singer-songerwriter-styler-setter, Rhianna shoulder shimmies and groves across the screen in a passionate pink tone complete in a Latin inspired ensemble: tantalizing with an off-the-shoulder pink sheer crop, beautiful floral-inspired bottoms, rose patterned headscarf, pink shades and dangling golden earrings, invoking the clandestine seduction of Carmen herself. Seductive, yet highlighted with a bombastic street aesthetic the entire way, furthering the sentiment that the seduction of the flower begins and ends in the heart of the ghetto culture Black girls were scrutinized for almost a decade back.

The Empress of Style changes her look maybe once the entire production. And to what you may ask? A simple strapless dress in a sorrowful blue that showed legs longer than Tiller’s feature. She was complete only by her bracelets of beads and silver, inch-long ruby nails, and an effortlessly primal stage presence. A dominate ambiance that’d send a puritan spiraling in their grave: praise be Rhianna.

If anything , WILD THOUGHTS further proves that there is no look Rhianna cannot dominate on her way to the top of American Fashion Iconography.

#TRENDSETTER: Talia Rashay, Columbus, OH

#TRENDSETTER, Articles, Culture, Non-Fiction

Talia Rashay, 22, Columbus, OH; Dancer

IG: _taliarashay

Twitter: @_ImShay

“The possibilities are endless when you do what you love and love what you do!”

***

By Steven Underwood

 

When I met her, she had a dance at the base of her foot and a kick in her step that set flowers to bloom down the halls of our middle school. We weren’t rich, but her presence always was. Talia Rashay (Or simply, Shay), a Columbus native, had a beautiful art to her that was like smelling spring. She collected anything orange; she sung in the choir; she was pure and cool and vibed like jazz in moonlight behind a pair of glasses and a butterscotch smile.

Talia’s RAW profile sings her love for dance: “Dancing lives in me, music frees my soul and I express my love through the connection of movement and music” – she follows this with a heart emoji, because she’s just sweet like that.
Few who know her do not also know her reverence for family – and friends that are family, like her heart-and-soul, Brittany Dinea. Her brother is featured stage right in all of her snaps, and she smiles next to him like a proud mother. That butterscotch smile she reserves for love, affection and dedication. Her brother was an athlete for FRANKLIN HEIGHTS HIGH SCHOOL, a public school on the Southwest side of Columbus that has become the seed for Ohio’s most powerful and inspirational young minds like the revered Marshawn McCarrel, model, Brandon Lynn Watters, local entrepreneur Tony Harvard and Community Organizer, Matthew Quinn.

Often, her left manifests Brittaney, a bohemian princess who moves through Columbus like a nymph of concrete and beauty through perseverance, filling walls and canvas with art and inspiration. This inspiration flows into how she moves: always seductive, but rhythmically modest and conservative, like a dance of spring fertility – seduction for the sake of life, rather than excess and sloppy gluttony.

This kind of movement is rediculously difficult in Hip Hop. The artform is naturally bombastic and raw. It is delivered in truths: both measured and unmeasured, brutal and delicate. Few people ever call the Truth beautiful, but somehow Talia moves beautifully. On her Instagram, followers can find a video of her practice with Tru Kingdom Mega Crew from Columbus, Ohio. Far from alone on the stage, Talia’s actions are complimentary, but motivates an blossoming energy under the strobe lights. She doesn’t seem to ever strive for the spotlight of the performance, but lures it in as a matter of personality while up there. She lacks bombastic move, but — as every dancer knows — it’s not in what you do, it’s how you do it.

Stripe Shirts and Chocolate Ears with a Butterscotch Smile (PC: _Taliarashay)

Such art is never a product of talent. Anyone could move to something sexually; anyone could step out on a floor and live in the moment selfishly. Talia’s talent comes best through hardwork and dedication to a craft that is meant to convey love. Though her Twitter Profile (@_ImShay) whispers of “Naturally Gifted” across the bio, her actual talents are a reflection of a flower pushing through icy bedrock and overwhelming snowfall: a promise of tomorrow’s spring day.

All Rights for the Featured Image are due to Visual Artist, Brittaney Dinea, and can be found @Brittanydinea on Instagram.

Love with Hip-Hop

Art, Non-Fiction, Poetry

Hip-hop has the humanizing effect: it exists without gender, a body but is very definite and powerful human force. This is a poem regarding how I fell in love with hip-hop and all of its facets.

By Steven Underwood

The concrete jungle gave birth to the love of my life;

We met in my mama’s womb, I loved her on Monday mornings over the radio to the smell of fried potatoes and grits.

She be fickle, like the ether pounding her stereo speakers;

A chaotic rhythm: a smooth beat; the Deejay and the word-smith in her soul;

They explode together: unhinged.

She be quick-witted, the soles of her reeboks and Adidas changing course

And destination faster than anticipated.

I call her Hip, and she is the rhythm of the streets.

I kiss her, and she tastes like mid, tear drops, welfare cheese and too many broken promises.

Her voice sounds like the first crescendo of a Saturday night, like the last chime on a Sunday morning.

The concrete jungle gave birth to the love of my life;

We met on long car rides on a Philly Friday night, I loved him in prepubescent rages when rebellion filled my blood and constitution strengthened mine tongue.

He be beautifully savage, so mean when he just needs to be honest;

Sometimes I look him in the eye, and hear the legacy of a people burdened,

perturbed, bountied, bloodied and beaten.

He is my savage dissonance on a silent hill that bare witness to a macabre scenery;

I named him Hop, and he is the cold honesty, my thrilling passion.

He lashes with his tongue.

I kiss him, and he tastes like Hennessey, black-and-milds and too many repressions.

His voice is rough like a broken knuckle on a balled fist, like skin smacking the park mulch.

The concrete jungle gave birth to my best relationship;

We came together at the same time, but love each other different.

With him, I’m gentle, I hold him to my heart in a dark room where our anger can’t escape

Her, I’m rough, our electricity bounces off each block, like the lamp lights which guide us home.

Together, I’s become We’s,

You becomes a crew.

We hunt, love and kiss on the light of midnight;

We talk about what is new in the world,

We cry — we anguish over what is old.

We do our little dance to drums.

We mix these rhythms with something old too, something ancestral.

We like to make music to the conditions that built up our huts in this concrete jungle.

People are jealous of the sounds we make when we love together,

The wet, savage patter of our celebration.

They call us rap, and they are afraid of the primality of our songs.

We kiss, and it smell like how freedom feel; like the heartbreak of being just a friend;

She feel like the hot shower of a Candy Rain; She touches me in shapes of tic-tac-toe: all hugs and kisses. He feels the first steps of liberation; Our hearts collide; Our minds move into one synchronized beat; I twerk, she dabs; we become us — become a family, becoming individuals.

The concrete jungle gave me love.