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Top Ten Girls of 2015

We count down the 10 hottest girls from 2015 and reveal the RUKUS Girl of the Year, as voted by our readers.

16 All Access

The Latest Albums Reviewed Albums Reviewed: Future EVOL

By Silas Valentino

Cage the Elephant Tell Me I’m Pretty By Silas Valentino

20 All Access Spotlight Artists/Bands Featured:

Kid Ink, The Cult, and Fetty Wap By Samuel Wendel

34 Game On

The Latest Games Reviewed Games Reviewed: Street Fighter V By Jesse Seilhan

The Witness

By Joshua David Anderson

38 Game On Spotlight Games Featured:

Dark Souls III, EA UFC 2, and Homefront: The Revolution By Jesse Seilhan

On The Cover

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Andrew Gates All Access Editor

Silas Valentino Games Editor

Jesse Seilhan Art Director

Andrew Gates All Access Contributors

Silas Valentino & Samuel Wendel Pit Pass Contributors

Andrew Gates Game On Contributors

Jesse Seilhan & Joshua David Anderson Contributing Photographers

Andrew Gates

Contributing Videographers

Nate Olson

Contributing Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists

Alisha Baijounas, Bioanca Robinson, Nicolette Melland, Jacqueline Pahl, Stacey Hayes, & Regina Pacheco Advertising

Andrew Gates

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RUKUS MAGAZINE 11304 Chandler Blvd. #6131 North Hollywood, CA 91603

Copyright © 2008-2016 RUKUS, LLC. All Rights Reserved! Jan/Feb 2016 issue, Volume 8, Number 1. ISSN 2161-4369 (print) ISSN 2161-4377 (online) Visit http://www.RUKUSmag.com for more images and content.


TOP TEN GIRLS OF 2015

T

hat’s a wrap, folks! As RUKUS magazine celebrates its 7th year, we’ve got another Top Ten list of the hottest RUKUS girls [2015] in the books. As in years past, we leave it up to the readers to let us know who are the best girls from the previous year and crown the RUKUS Girl of the Year. We photographed a lot of great girls for you, which made selecting only ten a bit tough, but as always the votes have been tallied and the nail-biting is over. Congratulations to all the girls who became a part of the RUKUS family for 2015, we wish you the best and hope you all achieve big success. To the RUKUS readers; A big Thank You for also, being a big part of why we do what we do. Enjoy this Top Ten list of beauties and come back for more big things throughout 2016.

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Future’s Here! Written by Silas Valentino

Future is for the birds. He’s either inviting them over for a drug-fueled lay (the “three exotic broads” mentioned during “Xanny Family”) or he’s flipping one to the world and to anyone who doesn’t agree that he – née Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn – is indeed as advanced as his stage name suggests. One area in which Future exhibits his undeniable worthiness is in content creation. His latest album, Evol, is also his fourth in less than four years – those are Beatles numbers! And this isn’t even his only release of the year. Three months in and Future has provided fans with not only this fresh LP but his Prince-inspired mixtape Purple Reign saw its release in January. When you’re telling it like it is, Future doesn’t waste any time. But what is Future trying to tell us through one unarticulated lyric at a time? That he’s “Laying low in a Maybach/Spraying at you like an Arab” (“Maybach”) or that he has some deeply embedded goals: “I just wanna be there for my nigga, woo/I just wanna go back to the Bentley store”? (“Lil Haiti Baby”) The genius of Future lies in his bravado; as is with plenty of hip-hop personalities. Future embodies trap: the work ethic, the commitment to the 808-snare roll and the never-ending struggle between them and us. He also has a set of pipes that instantly characterizes his brand. Contemporary Young Thug included, the voice of Future is recognizable and works well for the way he controls it. Like a friend with a beat up truck that runs smoothly whenever they’re in command, Future’s vocal ability would seem out of whack, atrocious even, if anybody else was mumbling or huffing these lines. Moreover, when he stretches and warps that aforementioned rhyme “I just wanna go back to the Bentley store,” the inflection he places on the phrase “Bentley store” briefly suggests he might have meant “business school” – which would have made for quite the reveal, right? Here lies Future Hendrix: banger of the game who’s sole wish was to earn his MBA; a complex character doused in codeine with diamond talent but whose heart was in the library, not the club. Though that was just a misheard lyric. Future definitely went back to the Bentley store and probably left with two. 40 minutes and 11 tracks comprise Evol (notice the title’s double entendre between evil and love, Future would have wanted you to) and if you seek a playlist to help pop up your shoulders or accompany a few dabs then look no further; Evol delivers. Notably during “Lie to Me” where Future teams up with producer DJ Spinz over a galactic beat decorated by star-beaming synths. Whereas other sections of Evol feature Future flexing, “Lie to Me” has the man staring back into the mirror as he addresses fame (“Accepting the hate when it’s coming”), family (“I know Tiarra, and Britney, and Keisha/They gon’ lie for me”) and friendly disputing (“Tell that lil nigga to stay in his place before I expose you/You take one shot at me, you know that’ll cause an explosion/Never fight the hand that feeds you, nigga”). By the time this review hits the digital newsstands chances are Future will have already released a new mixtape, collaboration or album. He’s that prolific. What this exhausting work ethic proves is that Future aims to be unwritten and under no thumb. Even though Evol fails to launch Future into unprecedented realms, the LP furthers his meddling into the midnight murmur he so gracefully resides in.

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Uncaged! Written by Silas Valentino

Tell Me I’m Pretty buzzes with identity crises – yet has this not been Cage the Elephant’s modus operandi all along? Since their 2008 crash and crush onto the contemporary rock scene via instant hit “Aint’ No Rest for the Wicked,” Cage’s usual way of doing things has been to maintain eyeline with their clearly stated influences without sacrificing their Kentucky-born view. “Ain’t No Rest” was a bbq slider that had as much G. Love & Special Sauce as it did Jack White. 2010’s sophomore follow up Thank You Happy Birthday paid homage to Kurt Cobain and his roots – track two is unapologetically titled “Aberdeen” – although more noticeably the album was riddled with a surf punk pathos à la the Pixies. One of the final album’s of 2015 was also Cage’s fourth LP: Tell Me I’m Pretty; where the show running Shultz brothers seem to be practically pleading through the album title for their audience to reaffirm their status. It’s a move that doesn’t falter their ambition; this is still some of the better top-notch rock currently on sale at the market. It’s just that Cage’s newest release, which remains utterly consistent with their past discography, wears its musical motivation loudly. Dan Auerbach might one day be known solely for this production expertise. He made Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence sound magnificent, uncovered the African desert guitar guru Bombino and helmed Dr. John’s best album in a generation. But he’s also a Black Key. And marks left by his hands are all over Tell Me I’m Pretty’s production, both evident and enjoyable. Tell Me’s lead off single was the ripper “Mess Around” which critics found obnoxiously similar to recent Keys records. But in truth “Mess Around” is the best song produced by The Black Keys since Brothers – it’s just sung in the key of Cage. The rattle and rough of the Blues activates Tell Me through opener “Cry Baby” which is one of the album’s three tracks that exceed four minutes in length. The song’s scope suggests the band had decided to legitimately develop and hash out this meaty tune, which cultivates in a bona fide Blues breakdown during its final minute where the guitars are gruff as the beats big. What soon follows is the jubilant and poppy “Sweetie Little Jean” which dares to trivialize and repurpose the unsolved abduction of a seven-year-old neighbor of the Shultz brothers when they were children in Bowling Green, KY. The tragic tale of influence is outlined in a recent Rolling Stone profile on the sibling bandleaders who give context to the lyrics: “Candlelight vigils being held in silence/On the channel four/And they’ve knocked on every door.” But the reprocessing of childhood innocence loss is itself immediately lost due to the cut’s feeble nature. The choppy and corny piano pulse makes for an unsettling trip – as though Alice flew through a glass window and began desperately grasping for Sgt. Pepper’s colorful coattails. “How’s it feel to be a ghost?” wonders aloud singer Matt Shultz. John Lennon was clever with his twisted childlike songwriting; he wasn’t banal. The latest scoop into the Bowling Green rock band does its job by keeping it familiar. Cobain was replaced with Auerbach and the four band members play confidently without the help of founding guitarist Lincoln Parish, who left Cage in 2013. There aren’t any lingering afterthoughts informed by single hits like “Cigarettes and Daydreams” yet Cage the Elephant march on. Tell Me I’m Pretty ultimately proves to suffice though lacks in achieving anything more.

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facebook.com/KidInk

Written by Samuel Wendel

Kid Ink, Summer in the Winter

Dropped on Christmas Day, Summer in the Winter is a blast of club-ready jams that truly sound out of place during the cold, dark days of December. The fourth studio album from L.A rapper Kid Ink, Summer in the Winter is full of catchy, bassdriven cuts reminiscent of Chris Brown and his radio-friendly modern R&B sound. To go further, Kid Ink’s latest is a collection of easygoing, crossover tracks that easily follow in the footsteps of the other contemporary R&B crooners you hear buzzing out of car stereo systems and leaking out of clubs in the wee hours. But compared to his prior releases, with Summer in the Winter Kid Ink tries to up the ante by polishing his sound with help from producer DJ Mustard and by featuring guest spots from bona fide stars such as Fetty Wap and Akon. Overall, Summer in the Winter finds Kid Ink angling to cement himself as a mainstream hip-hop radio star. But right now it’s the offseason for summer club jams – guess we’ll just have to wait until the weather warms up to see if Kid Ink has struck sultry gold.

facebook.com/OfficialCult

The Cult, Hidden City

Still standing after 30-plus years, British postpunks The Cult have now lasted longer than most actual cults and, to my knowledge, are not being investigated for massmurder or fraud. But the effects of their tenth album, entitled Hidden City, are at times hypnotic and provocative, making it difficult for listeners to resist The Cult’s Kool-Aid. The soundscape of Hidden City swings back and forth from brooding postpunk to chugging heavy metal, with the occasional curveball in-between. Such as closer “Sound and Fury,” which dispenses churning guitars that leave only a stripped down voice and piano ballad that borders glam rock. Throughout the album, singer Ian Astbury’s croons and howls gruffly, strangely complementing the surgical precision of Billy Duffy’s chiming guitar riffs. The resulting album comes off as very jagged sounding, but not in unpleasant way – and makes Hidden City a worthy inclusion into The Cult’s discography. Decades after their Eighties heyday, Hidden City finds The Cult exploring the dark depths of their well-explored styles and themes, but without being brainwashed by their own sound to keep from experimenting. Standout tracks are “Dark Energy,” “Avalanche of Light” and “Sound and Fury.”

facebook.com/FettyWap

Fetty Wap, Fetty Wap

As if you still need an introduction, Fetty Wap is the self-titled debut studio album by hip-hop artist Fetty Wap. With four Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles on the chart at the same time during 2015, including “Trap Queen,” “679,” “My Way” and “Again,” it’s safe to say that Fetty Wap is a breakout star and borderline cultural phenomenon. But all these singles dropped – and exploded in popularity – before Fetty Wap had even released a proper album, begging the question: would his success translate well into the album format? Well, as an album, Fetty Wap’s debut effort isn’t as smooth as any of the individual singles featured on it, and the deluxe version is long and uneven. The highs are high, as evidenced by his deservedly chart-shattering singles, but at times – across its 20 tracks – redundancy rears its head; reoccurring themes of romance, drugs and money packaged with hooks that don’t quite hit with the same force as “Trap Queen.” Overall, Fetty Wap’s debut has the feeling of a raw mixtape rather than a proper album. In light of his string of hit singles, Fetty Wap’s first album is more of a well-earned victory lap than an introduction – and his fans probably won’t mind.

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5 Time’s a Charm Written by Jesse Seilhan

It’s been eight years and millions of fireballs since we had a new Street Fighter game. Capcom has taken their sweet time, iterating on Street Fighter IV’s gameplay and roster to ensure tournament-level quality was available to everyone. But times change and so do games, so a proper numbered sequel was in order for this new gaming generation. Sony picked up part of the tab to ensure console exclusivity and after a few betas, Street Fighter V is among us. With it comes a return to simpler gameplay systems and mechanics, as well as four brand new characters and plenty of returning favorites. But does the game offer enough modern modes and trappings worthy of its $60 price tag? Booting up the game should give you a little bit of a pause. The only modes available at launch are online battles (of the ranked and casual variety), a survival mode, training room, and a two-to-three fight “story” mode. That’s it. A fleshed-out cinematic campaign is being promised for June, but no details have been revealed as far as the quality or length of said campaign. The store is closed until further notice, so new characters or costumes are not on display as of yet. Same for the Challenges mode, a great way for learning the ins and outs of different characters. As a whole, unless you love playing online or have a buddy to beat up on the couch next to you, the package is fairly barren. A quality internet connection is also important, as the credits you earn to purchase all the DLC only gets accrued if you’re connected to the web. Sadly, offline gamers need not apply. Lucky for Capcom, once you actually get into a match, the game is fantastic. The back and forth action of a well-paced fighting game is at its best in this version of SF, with new mechanics that are both easy to learn and deep enough to master. The new characters feel right at home, with Necalli standing out as the early favorite among the rabid fanbase. Classics like Ken and Ryu haven’t been tinkered with too much, so anyone that remembers how to throw a Hadouken or Dragon Punch from 1991 will feel right at home. The V system is by far the newest wrinkle, as every player gets three unique moves, two of which that cost a bit of meter to perform. V-skills cost nothing and they are activated by pressing both medium buttons together, giving players like Chun-Li a horizontal jump or Zangief some extra armor. V-reversals help you get out of tight spots and act similarly to Killer Instinct combo breakers, turning the tide of battle during a close fight. And V-triggers are the cream of the crop, as they are often flashy moves that either turn into damaging combos or unblockable throws. Super finishing moves are back, this time dubbed Critical Arts, and continue to deliver round-ending destruction when pulled off correctly. Mileage always varies for fighting game franchises, as you need a healthy amount of competitive spirit to pick one up. But SFV does something better than ever in helping to foster this feeling: replays and leaderboards. While waiting for your next match, you can browse the leaderboards for the entire world, and do a deep dive into individual fighter profiles. You can see their record and actually watch any match they’ve played online. You can store these matches for future viewing and replay your own battles for training purposes. It feels like Capcom really wanted to help people get better at the game, and while a challenge mode and better netcode would have gone a long way toward accomplishing that goal, having this replay system is a good start. Ultimately, you know if Street Fighter is your “type” of fighting game or not. But if you’re nervous how a new entry works in 2016, fear not, as there is plenty of fun to be had with this cast of world warriors. It is hard to recommend in it’s current form, given the absence of so many key features and modes so adopting a wait-and-see approach until further notice might be the best course of action.

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Clever & Crafty

Written by Joshua David Anderson

Creating a video game can take a long time. Some games are released too early and could use more time in development. Other games have famously long schedules and a protracted development doesn’t always mean the game will be any good. So of course it was with some skepticism that after nearly seven years since it was announced by Braid creator Jonathan Blow, The Witness finally came out for people to play. After that long of a delay, what form would the game take? Could it be any good? What kind of game is The Witness anyways? When you first start the game, The Witness feels very bare bones. There is no opening text crawl, no initial cut-scene to let you know what is going on. You simply start in a dark tunnel and have to solve your first puzzle to get out. It’s a simple black line with a circle on one end and a nub on the other. Simply drag the analog stick from one end to the other to earn your freedom. After that, you are let loose on a mysterious island. The game wastes no time in setting you up, and does not burden you with complicated mechanics or control schemes. You can walk or run around the island and pull up a little dot for solving puzzles. And that is all you need, because The Witness is simply a game where you solve puzzles on an island. There are a lot of puzzles, but there are no other characters or NPCs around, and you do not fight or level up. Even more, there is really only one type of puzzle in the game, that maze-like line puzzle that requires you to get one end of a snake-like line to a designated spot on the other side of the maze. Other than that, you are free to wander around the island and look at anything you want, and go anywhere that you can find access to, which is usually gated by more line puzzles. So can a game with such a limited scope be interesting or fun? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Although the overall form of the puzzles is the same, the real genius lies in how many variations and how many different rules can be applied to what seems to be a simple puzzle type. The Witness will stretch the absolute bounds of what can be done with only a line and a grid. The secret beauty of this setup is that you become incredibly familiar with the puzzles and the visual language that the game presents over its many hours of playtime. This helps you solve the puzzles, but it also gives a deep feeling of satisfaction when you discover the solution. You aren’t just using logic and memory, you are starting to interpret the island to help you progress through it. Visually, The Witness looks stunning. It has a stylized design that makes it seem like there isn’t as much detail in the world until you look closer. The island is also incorporated into the puzzles in The Witness and without revealing any spoilers, sometimes the answer to a puzzle is found in the environment, and sometimes the answer to an obstacle on the island is found in a simple line puzzle. It all works together in a seamless fashion to promote a single goal: to get you to look at the world around you for answers. As far as a story or traditional ending, there are bits and pieces of that peppered throughout the game, but it is more minimal than other games. There is a narrative of sorts, but it is only told in audio logs, and even then it is pretty muted. There is an ending that you can get to after completing some puzzles, but you do not have to complete all the puzzles on the island to do so. In fact, there are many puzzles on the island that do nothing other than let you solve them. The Witness lets you discover for the joy of discovery, explore for the sake of exploring, and solve puzzles for the intention of solving them. Overall, The Witness is hard to describe. It is a game about puzzles, but the puzzles are so much more than what they seem. It has an island, but the island is more important than just the place you walk around. It has more hours in it than you would initially think, and it has secrets that people continue to find. If you like puzzle games, you may very well like The Witness. And if you like the idea of a game being a puzzle in and of itself, than The Witness is very much for you.

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Written by Jesse Seilhan

Dark Souls III

From Software wants to know if you hate yourself. If so, they have the perfect game for you with Dark Souls III, a return to aesthetic form after last year’s stellar Bloodborne. The dastardly difficult hack and slasher is back with some of the best visuals and most refined gameplay the series has ever seen. Those looking for the more plodding and methodical mechanics the Souls franchise is known for will be happy with this sequel, as the focus on shields and parries is definitely back. The game will be available on all consoles and PC, although computer gamers might want to hold off at least a few weeks to see if that version is up to snuff or suffers from the same technical hiccups that bogged down the past games in the series.

EA UFC 2

While the first game lacked the face-paced action of boxing and MMA games before it, the sequel to 2014’s EA UFC is looking to get back into the octagon. Alongside the generic train/fight/train career mode are a few new ways to play. The most fun at parties will certainly be the KO mode, in which fighters can only absorb a few strikes before automatically being knocked out. Fans of EA’s other sports games will recognise Ultimate Team mode, where fights earn you credits that are then used to purchase packs of cards. But instead of athletes, the packs contain various strikes and submissions that you can equip on your created fighter. The graphics are as great as ever and this March looks to be a nice rematch for the only MMA game on the market.

Homefront: The Revolution

May brings one of the most curious releases of the year, as the long-indevelopment sequel to Homefront is back, this time in the hands of Dead Island creator Deep Silver. Our time with the game at E3 was less than favorable, and the since-released beta was buggy as hell, but something about this game gives it an underdog vibe that might be perfect for the mid-year gaming doldrums. It takes place in an occupied Philadelphia, as a ragtag group of rebels aim to take our country back from an oppressive force. The gadgets and freedom of mobility options does help it stand out from the rest of the shooter wasteland, so hopefully all of the pieces come together and make something unexpected.

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RUKUS magazine Jan/Feb 2016 issue with cover model and RUKUS Girl of the Year Raven Lexy. The featured girls are Jessica Melody, Jeri Lee, L...

RUKUS Jan/Feb 2016  

RUKUS magazine Jan/Feb 2016 issue with cover model and RUKUS Girl of the Year Raven Lexy. The featured girls are Jessica Melody, Jeri Lee, L...