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what’s Editor in Chief: Joanna Agwanda Design Executive: Kiersten Weiss Executive Editor: Regina Cho Creative Director: Jalisa Arnold Photo Executive: Dina Ben-Nissan Public Relations Chair: Larry Mikanga Community Engagement Chair: Kemet High Historian: Destinee Andrews Photographers: Dina Ben-Nissan, Arthur Chen Design/Art: Irene Kim, Kiersten Weiss, Ada Szcezepanski, Kadreyna Merot, Kennedy La Nier, Maddy Fetzko Writers: Chloe Martin, Joel Berakah , Juan Buena, Arena Jimenez, Leslie Gomez, Nina Bracey, Vee Navarro, Sydney Bufford, Kemet High, Joanna Agwanda, Larry Mikanga, Regina Cho Special thanks to our advisor, Professor Gwendolyn D. Pough

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inside... 4 5 6 7 10

Letter From the Editor

Staff Representation of Women in Hip-Hop

I Miss the Old Kayne

Hip Hop Dictionary

20 22 30 32 40

Leave Frank Alone

Student Spotlights

Syracuse Concert Review

Like They Did it in the 90s

Old School vs New School


Tidal is the Nickleback of Music Streaming


Artists On the Come Up/ The Decline of Conscious Rap


Damian Lillard is the Best Rapper in NBA History


Beyonce & Kendrick: Speaking for Us

14 16 19

I Got a DM rom Kayne West

Rap Beef

The Mixxy’s Award Show

46 48 51

Hip-Hop’s Double Standard/ The Resurgence of Rap Singing

Drake Conspiracy

Can You.. Viral Dances



YO... It’s kind of crazy that you’re reading this right now, because that means that my team and I really made this magazine possible. Like you’re actually holding a physical copy of “Mixtape Magazine” in your hand… that’s crazy. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for a girl who has plenty of ideas in her head but didn’t have the confidence to pursue them, this coming to life on campus is a triumph. Usually, the Letter From the Editor has a connection of what the main points of the issue are, but I really wanted to take the time on this FIRST issue to thank everyone who was a part of this. I thank our advisor, Gwendoyln Pough, who had to deal with my “last minute” ass, and Agnes Humphrey-Copes, who had my name in her inbox every other day. Also, thank you to every single general body member who came out to our meetings. I would like to thank the models, the writers, and the research team who provided the content that made this magazine possible. But I would be tripping if I didn’t specifically thank my E-Board. That’s fam and I appreciate you guys for taking your roles seriously and committing to this project that was built off of me being petty... but what’s new? So Regina, Ja’Lisa, Larry, Dina, Kemet, and

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Destinee, we may not always agree (mostly Larry), and our group chat is way too active (also mostly Larry), but I have love for y’all for making this a real thing and I can’t wait for us to get bigger and better and to leave our mark on this campus. You guys are appreciated. Now, for you readers, “Mixtape Magazine” is here to stay so join the wave or get left. This is a magazine about hip-hop created by students who love hip-hop. We are the first to do this and it’s long overdue. We did this because it had to be done, so enjoy it my friends. A word of advice: always trust and pursue your ideas on and off this campus. They can turn into something beautiful. Nothing but Love,

Joanna Agwanda Editor-In-Chief

staff Joanna Agwanda Editor In Chief The Chronic Jalisa Arnold Creative Director The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Regina Cho Executive Editor My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Larry Mikanga Social Media Chair Wolf

Dina Ben-Nissan Photo Executive Beauty Behind the Madness Kemet High Community Engagement Black on Both Sides

Destinee Andrews Historian Perfect Angel 5

representation of women in hip-hop By Leslie Gomez



uby Rose recently said (in response to Kanye’s controversial lyrics about Taylor Swift) that she could not be a Kanye fan while also being a feminist. As a woman and also avid lover of music, specifically hip-hop, I believe there is a misrepresentation of women. But this is a problem throughout all of media in today’s society with the varying definitions of perfection. We know to expect that stereotypical video vixen in every music video that plays a rappers love interest, and we always think the same thing: “Damn, is that how I am expected to look?”. So, I understand where Ruby Rose is coming from, because it is a valid point. However, the music lover inside me is quick to defend hip-hop for the simple fact that it is, indeed, possible to be both a feminist and a fan of the music. People tend to be hyper-sensitive about women’s sexuality onscreen. That is not to say that every song in this genre

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misrepresents women, but for the ones that do, people believe that those women are being objectified. To that I say, we as music listeners have the power to choose what messages we want to consume from our favorite artists. We can accept that a figure like Nicki Minaj is talented and powerful artist, not just a woman with a fat ass. We can appreciate the music for what it’s worth when quality artists produce it. We have the power as equal part consumers to men in this genre to not listen to artists that degrade women and instead turn towards more conscious rap. In the entertainment industry, people will do anything for the shock appeal, and let’s face it, sex sells. This is something that does not only need to change in hip-hop, but instead our society as a whole, so to ostracize just this genre for the misrepresentation won’t fix the bigger issue.

I Miss The Old Kanye By Regina Cho

I’d like to thank all of the dry ass sandwiches out there. Without y’all, there would be no Miracle Whip. Without Miracle Whip, Kanye would have nothing to compare a mayonnaise-colored Benz to. Without that line, Jay Z’s eyes wouldn’t have lit up. The rest is history. Since then, we’ve gotten seven classic solo albums and a generation of fearless rappers. At the end of the day, moisturizing your sandwich is key and nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today.

Kanye West

was flying over my fucking head. I swear I looked up and that man was flying. I had no idea that when I was welcomed into heaven, it

would be by a red-leather-wearing black man singing “can we get much higherrrrrrr?” Life was surreal. I still consider that first Kanye concert to be the best day of my entire life. Eh, I guess shit like holding my little sister

for the first time or getting accepted to Syracuse University has to be pushed down to 2nd and 3rd respectively on my “Life Changing Moments” list now. I snapped back to reality. Oh, he ain’t flying. He just on crane. Also, I wasn’t exiting the 7

Earth’s stratosphere. I was actually in the (now bankrupt) Revel Ovation Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey back in 2012. That concert was absurdly lit. However, present day, right at this very moment, my cracked iPhone screen is spazzing like crazy with notifications as Kanye West goes off on another nonsensical Twitter rant. I actually roll my eyes so far back that I get a headache. How did we get here? There’s absolutely no verbal, physical, or written medium that could register how much appreciation I have for Kanye West and all he has done. We are all blessed, y’all. We could’ve been born at any time between now and the Cenozoic Era but we somehow are alive at same time as Kanye West? That’s a phenomenon within itself. For any artist to receive a co-sign from Kanye is equivalent to Richard Pyror telling you your punchlines are fire. I could choose to front and say that I’ve been listening to Ye since the day I was born and that he was the first rapper I ever knew. He really wasn’t. Regardless, he is the artist I love the most. This journey with him has been a roller coaster though. From the jump, we knew Kanye was a sample sovereign and lyrical mastermind because he proved that right from his debut. For a lot of us, Kanye is the one we grew up listening to. He’s been there while we learned to love hip-hop. He was the one that said shit that people were afraid to say. He attacked the power up top and had the talent to back himself up. Even if he isn’t your favorite, 8 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

he has undoubtedly influenced your current favorite in some way. His impact is simply immeasurable. “College Dropout” and “Late Registration” encompass his soulful era that remains unparalleled. Hip-hop will always remember that genuine sound each track had along with those instrumentals that were so complexly simple and honest. Man, that shit really changed my life. Kanye already did early on in his career that other artists will never be able to achieve. He was just spitting such real and unapologetic shit and complementing those flows with his genius infusion of beats that glorified old classics. Even if you didn’t actually drop out of college, Kanye’s story was something most people could relate to. It’s what we all needed to hear to take that leap of faith and follow our gut. “Graduation” was fun. It was a celebration. It was so uplifting. This was the one with the hits that were arguably a bit easier to digest. It was easy for people to love Kanye during this time. “808’s and Heartbreaks” caught many people off guard. It was so daring that it actually raised concerns. In retrospect, this album captures Kanye’s life essence the most. This is not to say that his whole life is a cold departure from reality using an artistically poignant upheaval. Hardly. Instead, I see 808’s as a representation of his life because it was far ahead of its time, and that’s what Kanye always has been all throughout his life: ahead.. of everyone. I firmly believe “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was Kanye’s prime. He hit every

“I firmly believe ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ was Kanye’s prime.” song on the head lyrically while he showed off how much he has matured in his sense for production. It was, in many ways, very deserving of the “Album of the Decade” claim. The night “Cruel Summer” dropped, there was a meet and greet in NYC. I waited on line for like 18 hours next to musty strangers in a hurricane just so I can be in the same room as Kanye’s team in hopes that one of them would smell like his cologne. My love and support was at an alltime high. Call it typical, but “Yeezus” signaled my decline. I approached its stylistic deviation in the way I did with 808’s, thinking “maybe I’ll ‘understand’ it later?” It undoubtedly had a few gems, such as “Bound 2” and “Blood On the Leaves”, but my heart just wasn’t in this one and I hated the way that felt. It was like waiting all year to go home to eat your mom’s greatest dish she promised, but she forgot the seasoning. I really tried to love it but there was just something missing and it was gone for good. Kanye has always been about

more than just the music and to say that he’s “just a rapper” is a gross understatement. It’s tricky because his dive into the fashion world should make me happy solely due to knowing that’s something he wanted to do for his entire life and it’s simply a dream come true. But them oversized crewnecks and clunky boots are just reminders that he’s rapidly retracting on all those down-to-earth values he spent so much time preaching to us about. Similarly, I have no doubt in my mind that Kim Kardashian is, indeed, the love of his life. I believe it, but along with her came the cameras, glitz and glamour. He started his journey as a musician by hammering us with how we can’t be enslaved to this luxurious lifestyle that society tells us we need, but now he’s out here selling cheese-grated knit sweaters for thousands of dollars that none of us can afford. This, along with his increasingly misogynistic Twitter jabs, unnecessary fixation with taking down Nike and relentless rants (instead of actions) about shit that pisses him off, just push me to believe he’s becoming the person he said he never would become..

When “The Life of Pablo” dropped, I came to terms with many things. In his older albums, every verse hit. They hit me in the core. In TLOP, I can’t name more than three songs that made impacts lyrically. This is the man that is considered to be one of the most lyrically clever and ground-breaking rappers of all time and the most memorable line on his latest project is about bleached assholes. Don’t get me wrong! The production on TLOP is utterly phenomenal and sonically adventurous;

yet unfortunate. It seems like he forgot about where he came from. It’s not about speaking up for the people that needed a voice anymore. It’s not about growing up as a Black kid from the Chi with a dream so intense that he locked himself in his room every day making beats five beats a day for three summers anymore. I’m aware he can’t rap about his “come up” stage forever, but his success does not excuse his lack of giving us more of the powerful bars he once was able to deliver. The hardest thing for fans to understand is that Kanye is an artist and he will drop what he wants to drop and say what he wants to say solely because that’s his vision, whether it pleases the public or not. I’ll still love Kanye through all the narcissistically charged stunts, Twitter rants and the Tidal plugs because that’s what you do when you ride for your favorite musical genius that has already done so much for the world.

he’s becoming the person he said he never would become that cannot and should not be discredited. However, the lackluster execution of the actual storyline along with the dearth of cohesion and flow as a project was disheartening to see from someone the GOAT.. Am I corny for yearning to see that pink polo Kanye again and preferring that over bejeweled-mask-wearing Kanye? I do realize that all artists must evolve. He remains on his mission of breaking artistic barriers and inspiring the world, but he’s ultimately lost the humility he started with, which is expected

… But I’m still never gonna cop the Kimoji app no matter how many times he tells us to.



Fly 1 |flī| verb (flies |flīz| , flying; past flew |floo| Cool, awesome, dope

Jiggy 1 |ˈjigē| adjective (jiggier, jiggiest) informal

1) When a person is dressed very well or looks good 2) Having sex or messing around with Word 1 |wərd| noun Understood; I agree Poppin 1 |päp| verb (pops, popping, popped) As in, “what’s up?” or “what’s going on?” Fresh1 |freSH| adjective Orginial, cool, nice, “the shit” O.P.P.1 |oopepe| noun Stands for “Other People’s Pussy/Other People’s Penis.” First used by Naughty by Nature in the song “O.P.P.” Yo Mama1 |yo ˈmämə| noun A come back usually used when you can’t think of anything to say. Crew1 |kroo| noun [ treated as sing. or pl. ] Gang, set Yo1 |yō| exclam. informal Another way of saying “hey” or “hi” Hoochie1 |hooCHe| (also hootch) noun. informal A women usually defined as being promiscuous or otherwise a slut

new school

Fire 1 |fīr| adjective

Sensational, extremely remarkable, captivating.

Lit 1 |līt| noun

1) When something is turned up or popping 2) Extremely intoxicated Wavy 1 |ˈwāvē| adjective (wavier, waviest) To be fly, impressively dressed Turn Up1 |ˈtərn ˌəp| verb To get loose, wild Yolo1 |yō lō | exclam. informal Acronym for “You Only Live Once.” Usually an excuse to do something stupid. Popularized by Drake in the song “The Motto”.

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Dope1 |dōp| adjective Fly, cool, etc.

Tidal is the Nickelback of Music Streaming

By Arena Jimenez

Ever since Jay-Z, along

with several other prominent artists, came out with Tidal last year, the artist-owned music streaming service has faced heavy criticism. On the surface, Tidal seemed like a brilliant idea. It is artist-owned and claims to pay the highest share of royalties to artists and songwriters within the market of music streaming services. Tidal also claims to provide the highest audio quality in order for users to listen to music in the way that it was originally meant to be heard. So, why would anyone hate on it? There’s surprisingly a myriad of reasons, but the biggest obstacle was the price. Tidal HiFi is $19.99 dollars a month. In comparison, the

already established and much appreciated music streaming service, Spotify is $9.99. Apple Music, which came later, is also $9.99 dollars per month. This is a stagnant difference that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The whole thing just seemed… greedy. I absolutely believe in an artist’s right to get paid for their work, especially when said work provides joy to so many people. However, something about sitting in a dorm room struggling to study for a test without having to pay for the textbook and watching millionaires such as Madonna, Chris Martin and Alicia Keys stand on that blue ass stage and demand for double the amount of money in exchange for “higher quality” did not sit right with me, and I was not alone. In

addition to this, the artists who own Tidal are so invested in the service that they often use the app to stream their new material exclusively. This was especially stressful for me when “Feelin’ Myself ” came out and I couldn’t find anything but teasers, gifs and extremely low quality versions of the video. I actually considered paying for the service which only made me that much more annoyed by its existence. It happened again with “The Life of Pablo” and it will happen again with Beyoncé’s next album. Ultimately, this incessant exclusivity just makes the public wish that Tidal didn’t exist so that we’re able to watch Nicki and Bey throw French fries at each other on YouTube, as God intended. 11

Damian Lillard is the Best Rapper in NBA History. ...Sorry Shaq.


t’s no secret that there has always been a deep relationship between musicians and athletes. Entertainment and sports simply go hand in hand, but the connection between basketball and hip-hop is much more special than any other genre and sport. The two cultures blend together naturally. We always tend to see rappers hanging with players at nightclubs after games, and in exchange we see players make cameos in music videos. It’s even normal for artists to name-drop some of their favorite athletes in songs. Any follower of hip-hop and basketball has probably heard the popular phrase several times before: “rappers wanna be ballers, and ballers wanna be rappers.” This proves to be true time and time again, as a multitude of NBA players tried to crossover into the rap game (pun intended), to test their pen and show off their skills on the mic. Unfortunately, most of the superstars we love to watch on the hardwood end up dropping tracks filled with corny lyrics highlighted by elementary flows and hooks 12 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

that just prove to be cringe worthy. Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Tony Parker, and sadly even Allen Iverson were all examples of hoop stars that had short-lived music careers due to the weak content that they put out. What’s even more unfitting is that the new generation players like Lance Stephenson, Lou Williams and Kevin Durant are following in those same footsteps of ballers in the booth who should just probably stick to their day job. To be fair, not every single NBA player is automatically terrible behind the mic when they try. Players like Stephen Jackson, Chris Webber and Iman Shumpert have proven that they can hold their own on a beat and garner a little success and respect with their rap skills. However, there is one player today that is repeatedly being regarded as the best rapper that the NBA has ever produced, and his name is Damian Lillard. He plays for the Portland Trail Blazers and is considered to be one of the best point guards in the NBA today. This guy is special, and what makes him different from all of the other

players is that this man can legit rap. Before Lillard He possesses creative wordplay, impressive rhyme emerged onto the scene, Shaq was considered to schemes, and a smooth delivery laced with a calm be the NBA’s biggest rap star ever, due his debut and mature flow. After his short performance on album going platinum, and because the fact that he “Sway In The Morning”, Lillard started to drop recorded with Jay-Z and Biggie. However, despite his own tracks through his Soundcloud profile. his major success, Shaq was actually awful behind His singles, “Full Stomach”, “Tell Me Why” and the mic, and he even admitted himself that his “Soldier in the Game” are all songs that show his songs were ridiculously corny and flat out wack. versatility and potential as an artist. But Damian Lillard, or Dame D.O.L.L.A. as However, Dame’s latest track “Bigger Than he likes to go by, is becoming extremely popular Us”, featuring Paul Rey, is the concrete evidence and well liked for his rap abilities, and many even that shows us why he is just different and above wonder if he is a better rapper than basketball his fellow NBA brethren when it comes to making player. Lillard’s hidden talent was discovered music. The song is about shedding light to the when he decided to launch a weekly challenge social injustices that African Americans face daily, to his fans and fellow NBA players on Instagram highlighting most specifically police brutality. labeled “4 Bar Fridays” prior to the start of the Lillard raps a message of love, peace and unity that 2013-2014 NBA season. The challenge was brings people together to fight and rise above such for individuals to upload themselves spitting injustices. The song, along with a heart-warming their best four bars, while including the hashtag music video, was released on Martin Luther King #4barfriday when Jr. Day. “It touches submitting the post. “I swear sports and music on a lot of things that The top four individuals are going on around are so synonymous, cause us, stuff that affects with the best verses would be highlighted everybody,” Lillard we wanna be them, and every week. The trend said. “Whether that’s they wanna be us” quickly took IG by positive or negative, storm, with thousands however you want - Drake on “Thank Me Now” of fans from around to look at it. It just the country (me included) uploading their best kind of raises awareness, lets us know that it’s verses every week. Even fellow NBA stars like right there in our faces happening. It’s only facts. Paul George, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes It’s not disrespectful. It’s not overly aggressive. It’s and Lebron James stepped up to the challenge, just facts.” submitting their best bars. Damian Lillard is unique. He has the attention Lillard’s consistently impressive 4 Bar Friday and respect from notable hip-hop figures and uploads eventually got the attention of several media outlets in the game, and has a legitimate notable hip-hop media outlets, and on February buzz about his music, which is very rare for an 13th, 2015 he was invited to Shade 45’s “Sway NBA player. He is currently having the best In The Morning Radio Show” to show off some season of his pro career and is still evolving as of his skills. He spit a hard-hitting verse over a a player. However, if he decided to hang up his classic “Dead Presidents” beat that highlighted the sneakers to pick up a mic, no one would ridicule struggles of his rough upbringing in Oakland. His him or cringe at his attempts because he actually verse impressed Sway so much that it prompted has what it takes to be a successful artist. It’s safe him to go into his now signature “ I hate all you to say that he will continue to be a problem for wack rappers speech”, claiming that Dame was players on the court and rappers in the game. rapping better than a lot of the rappers in the game today. Lillard’s rap ended up generating over four million views on YouTube, making it one of the most viewed videos on the station’s channel. It surpassed other freestyles from artists like Tyler the Creator, King Los, Chance The Rapper, and Meek Mill. Sway’s statement is by no means exaggerated. Lillard shows that he is different from other “rapletes” because of how authentic he sounds. by: Joel Berakah 13

“I Got a DM From Kanye West...”

photo: Dina Ben-Nissan

Mixtape Mag’s Chloe Martin sat down with SU junior, Joel Berakah, to find out how in Yeezus’s name did he know what T.L.O.P. meant before anyone else did. Before his album dropped, Kanye West told his Twitter followers if anyone could guess what the album title was, they would win Yeezy’s and tickets. Joel is a SU Political Science Major from Boston, MA.

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Chloe: So you guessed Kanye’s album title before it was released. How, Sway? Joel: I knew “T.L.O.P.” had something to do with Pablo from the jump because of a lecture he gave at Oxford. He said he wanted to be like Pablo Picasso. Then, in the song “No More Parties in L.A.”, he mentioned “I feel like Pablo”. I had a lot of bullshit guesses. That was actually my last guess. I tweeted it then went to bed. CM: How did you find out you guessed right? JB: Couple days after tweeting, man, I was just tired as hell on the bus. Then, he tweeted “The Life of Pablo.” From there I was tweeting like crazy trying to get people to retweet my tweet. It was a crazy process. CM: Tell me more about the process of trying to get Kanye to see your tweet JB: That shit was insane. When he announced the title I was on Instagram and Twitter like crazy asking people for help and to retweet it. A lot of random people retweeted for me. I tried tweeting Team Kanye, Charlamagne, and Angela Yee. I got a good amount of people to tweet for me, like 150 retweets on the first tweet, couple hundred on the next, and that’s when his rep saw it. CM: How did his reps reach out to you? JB: One of Kanye’s reps, Elon Rutberg, creative director for DONDA, said “anyone who guessed the right answer DM me and send a link with the URL of the tweet. No PhotoShop, no screenshots, it has to be the link to be legit.” I had to wait like two or three days, anxious as hell. Then, on a Thursday at like 4am, I got a DM from Kanye! I didn’t sleep that night. CM: A DM from Kanye. Wow. What did he say? JB: He said congrats to us and said he was going to email us using a private email. He was like “this is my private email, these are private instructions, if any of this leaks none of you guys are getting anything.” CM: So what exactly did you win? JB: Yeezy’s and tickets for a concert or event at a later date. CM: Did you get your Yeezy’s? JB: The wait was crazy, like 2 and a half weeks. We had to be confirmed to be legit like 3 or 4 times. I might not ever wear them, or only take them out on special occasions. CM: How did it feel to get your 15 minutes of fame? JB: I felt like the man. People kept trying to get me to sell the shoes and everything. I ain’t even take them out the box yet. CM: What did it mean to you to win? JB: It meant everything. I’ve been a Kanye fan damn near my whole life. Since like 2nd grade. 15

rap Are all of these “beefs” lately anywhere near genuine? 16 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

By Kemet High


beef I’m not talking Nas vs. Hov or Tupac vs. Biggie. I’m talking publicity stunts and album promotion beefs like Drake vs. Meek. I’m refusing to believe any of it. These so-called “beefs” all captured our attention and had us scrolling through the details. You could say that they were natural, but looking into them a little deeper, it was obvious they were all plots. Let me give you 5 examples.

METRO BOOMIN VS. YOUNG THUG Future and his main producer, Metro, were still riding the wave of stardom after they set the summer off with some crazy music. In early November, artists were blessing us with drop after drop, and Metro thought Future was the one who ticked it all off. He took to Twitter with this opinion and one of his homeboys, Young Thug, publicly disagreed. These two were supposedly working on “Metro Thuggin’”, a collaborative mixtape. Young Thug tagged Metro and asked who he was referring to before telling him to put some names in his tweets. Next, here they go, a back and forth subbing contest that resulted into physical threats by Thug saying “ima beat the shit out of u fool”. Next thing we know, “Hercules” dropped. Come on now. First of all, Atlanta’s biggest artists are rocking together, hence the collaborations that we keep getting, so after Metro’s and Thug’s surfaced, why would they get into a fight? They’re the ones who said they were working so I’m sure if they had any disagreements, they would have no choice but to settle it. Moreover, Atlanta rappers have respect for the people that were doing it before them, so it was extremely odd for Thug to try and disrespect Future. Lastly, why would they argue on Twitter as if they don’t have each other’s numbers and addresses? After catching attention from eager listeners all

over, they hit us with yet another new track. If you believed everything that preceded, you should feel fooled. These men have no beef, they just found a way to gain attention. Smart, but obviously fake. NICKI MINAJ VS. MILEY CYRUS Shout-out to MTV for booking one of the most interesting hosts of 2015: Miley Cyrus. The 2015 VMA’s were definitely noteworthy because of this unpredictable host. When Miley was asked about the summer bash between Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, she stayed real. In the summer, Nicki voiced her disagreement that “Anaconda” should’ve been nominated for “Video of the Year” instead of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”. During an interview a few days before the VMA’s, Miley stated: “What I read sounded very Nicki Minaj, which, if you know, Nicki Minaj is not too kind.” When Nicki got up to accept her award for “Best Hip Hop Video”, she clapped back. Nicki confronted the situation at the end of her speech saying this: “And now, back to this bitch that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press the other day. Miley, what’s good?” Nothing. If they really had a problem, they were on the same stage to handle it. Miley clearly doesn’t care about anything and Nicki claims she’s one of the realest there is. Am I wrong to think that if this beef was real, it would’ve been solved immediately 17

eqslcao due to nothing but time and space? The only results coming out of this “beef ” were the memes. These two had no real beef and they were obviously chatting.

KANYE WEST VS. WIZ KHALIFA Alright, this was probably the funniest one. Kanye West re-generated his social media account to track the progress on what he said was going to be “the album of the life”. With all of this talking, he informed us that he would be changing his album title from “Swish” to “Waves” and uploaded a track list with signed cameos from multiple celebrities such as Swizz Beatz and Fonzworth Bentley. As far as hip-hop goes, when we hear “waves”, many of us think of Max B. Wiz voiced that for us all by tweeting: “Please don’t take the wave” and “Max B is the wavy one. He created the wave. There is no wave without him.” These two previously had no beef, not even when it came to Amber Rose. Then, when Kanye tried to respect Max B, Wiz dismissed it and told Ye to hit the “KK”. This man Kanye took it as a shot towards his wife Kim Kardashian and made himself “Donkey of the Day”. Kanye responded immediately with this: “Oh n*ggas must think I’m not petty cause I’m the best that’s ever made music” and “Like, oh that’s Ye and I can put his wife’s initials on my twitter @Wizkhalifa” before continuing his rant at Wiz. It wasn’t long until Wiz stepped back in and informed Kanye that “KK” was indeed weed, not his wife. Kanye’s final response was “Thank you for the extra promotion.” Five days later, a picture of Kim K. and Amber Rose surfaced and all of this “beef ” was immediately gone. Other than a visual, Kanye verbalized this squash saying he spoke to Wiz and all was good. There was no real battle, just an elaborate situation to capitalize off of exactly what Kanye wanted: album promotion. LIL WAYNE VS. BIRDMAN Do I even have to introduce the relationship between Birdman and Lil Wayne? Probably not. Birdman signed Wayne when he was a teenager and the two haven’t split paths since. Lil Wayne is still signed to Birdman’s Cash Money Records, but right before 2015, he made it known that he wanted off of the label. Lil Wayne released to his fans that the fault is towards Baby and his label by saying this: “To all my fans, I want u to know that my album won’t and hasn’t been released bekuz Baby & Cash Money Rec. refuse to release it.” Before calling himself a prisoner, he preceded by saying

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“I want off this label and nothing to do with these people but unfortunately it ain’t that easy”. Wayne then dropped an anticipated free album, “FWA”, as a makeup project so the marketing worked out fine. It made sense because the album never dropped but then we saw the headlines of the two on stage together as they publically squashed their beef. The question was whether or not this beef was real or fake but, in my opinion, the falseness was obvious. Why would Lil Wayne beef with a man that he called “daddy”? Their love was so deep that there are pictures of them kissing, no lie. Why would Wayne snap on the man who put him on and why would Baby diss his biggest success? Like the rest of these battles, it doesn’t really add up.

DRAKE VS. MEEK MILL Y’all knew this one was coming. Meek Mill messed around and stepped out of his lane, making him the biggest clown of 2015. Now, I like Meek Mill and agree that he’s undoubtedly nice but his career took a huge hit. He did this to himself. After dropping “Dreams Worth More Than Money”, Meek got upset when Drake, who was featured, failed to promote the album. Meek began ranting on Twitter starting with “Stop comparing me to drake too… He don’t write his own raps! That’s why he ain’t tweet my album because we found out!” Drake responded musically by dropping the first diss of the series, “Charged Up”. Meek was expected to drop his clap back on Hot 97, hosted by Funk Master Flex, but flaked. Drake then took this opportunity to drop another diss, “Back to Back” which ended up winning a Grammy and being one of the summer’s hottest anthems. Meek Mill finally responded, dropping “Wanna Know” but, to be honest, no one cared. The beef was already over at this point. This conflict was entertaining but when they dragged it into 2016, it made me question if anything was genuine. They tried it, both dropping more disses in “War Pains” and “Summer Sixteen”. Meek dropped his diss after Drake addressing the content of Drake’s “Summer Sixteen”. How? Meek claimed the ghostwriter told him but the reaching continued. The moment Drake said he played “Back to Back” over Meek’s hotel room, I knew this was a plot. After their last diss tracks, it was obvious that they were working together to promote an issue that intrigued us the most as listeners. As hood as Meek says he is, if Drake was really above his hotel room, he would’ve handled it. They were talking nothing but talk…


50 Cent 62.50% Wale 15.63% Troy Ave 12.50% The Game 9.38%

Rihanna 38% The Game 37% Erykah Badu 25%

best clapbacks Meek Mill 46% Kanye West 31% Azaelia Banks 18% Iggy 3%

twitter fingers Dab 40% Milly Rock 34% The Whip 18% Hit Tha Quan 6%

best viral dance

The Mixxy's award show The Mixtape surveyed students around Syracuse University and here are the results.

Pettiest Drake 58% Rich Homie Quan 19% Lil B 12% Future 9%

best worst dancer Kanye West 37% Vince Staples 25% Tyler, The Creator 25% Chance, The Rapper 12%

Best tweeter Drake 43% Trey Songz 28% A$AP Rocky 25% Bryson Tiller 3%

most likely to fuck your bitch Bow Wow/Lil Mama 37% Lil Mama 25% Nick Cannon 21% Bow Wow 15%

most likely to show up to your cookout unannounced 19

Leave Frank Frank Alone Alone } {Leave



20 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

Frank is


He owes us

nothing. It’s been four

excruciatingly long years since Frank Ocean dropped that deliciously golden album, Channel Orange. He’s made us wait what seems like a lifetime, and you know what? THAT’S OK. I’ve been fucking with Frank Ocean since the Lonny Breaux days; back when he was wearing letterman sweaters and shit looking like a Kappa that stepped out of formation. I suffered through more than my fair share of Odd Future songs just to get a taste of that magical crooning voice. I was crying over my imaginary high school boyfriend to “Thinkin’ Bout You” a good two years before that song was ever on an album. According to my iTunes account, “Novacane” and “American Wedding” have over 450 plays collectively. I know how it feels to crave new material by him and I know how agonizing the wait is, especially because it feels like he’s teasing us on purpose. The road to heartbreak started back in 2012 when in an interview with “The Guardian”, Frank told us he might not ever make another album. My teenage world felt shattered. That’s when he really started to play us. From then on, he’d drop hints about a second album here and there in interviews and on his Tumblr account. Do y’all remember when his little brother linked us to a supposed album and actually rick-rolled all of us? All the teasing came to a climax in 2015 when Frank trolled us all again, writing these words on his Tumblr: “I got two versions. I got twoooo versions #ISSUE1 #Album3 #JULY2015 #BOYSDONTCRY.” “YASSSSSSS” we all chanted as we eagerly waited for July. We should’ve known better. Clearly, July came and went with no album. The meme-agedon started; Frank ocean as where is Waldo, Michael Jordan crying faces everywhere. I can’t even describe it..

Just vision it (or Google it). As an avid meme connoisseur, I can say there are some really great ones. Anyway, the album never came and people were very upset and took their frustrations to social media. Even though I was muy disappointed, I had to sit back and look at the bigger picture. Frank is human. He owes us nothing. Not. A. Damn. THING. We should be forever grateful for the A1 material he has given us over the years. Seriously, his discography, is a gift from the Gawds, and we need to be more appreciative. If you’re really feening that badly for something from him, just look out for one of the billions of features he does and listen to it on repeat. Do what I do: don’t play his album or mixtapes in a year or two then obsessively binge listen for a few weeks as if it just dropped. Feels brand new. In the meantime, get off Frank’s back. Let him live his life, show up to album listening parties and post on Tumblr in peace. Rumor has it there’s some new material floating around out there somewhere from a secretive album listening party. Go search the torrent sites for that shit and give your computer the bubonic plague. Whatever you do, be patient. Give him time. Y’all so starved for music, y’all getting used to your favorite rapper dropping new material every other week, failing to realize that material is straight basura. #NoShade #SipsTea. Something of “Channel Orange’s’” caliber takes time. I can guarantee if Frank ever decides to drop a new album, it’s going to be life-changing, and if he decides not to ever bless us with his voice ever again, that’s ok, too. It’s his life let him do what makes him happy. By Chloe Martin 21

mason paul

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photos: Arthur Chen

Singer/Poet. Class of 2016. Reppin’: Seattle, Washington. Major: Advertising.

Q&A by Nina Bracey

Instagram: @theshakywarrior

Tell me about your latest project? I just finished shooting a cover of Justin Bieber’s song “Love Yourself.” I also am in the process of shooting my poem “Places” which is about all the places I want to see. I’m excited about all the work I’m doing lately, I have all these ideas and so it’s sometimes hard to focus my time on just one. But it’s so close to being released! Why do you go by the name Casper? I call myself Casper because growing up a lot of people used to make fun of how white my skin is. So making it my musician name was me embracing it. No one thought I could rap growing up because I was the white kid from the suburbs but I didn’t let it stop me. How did you get into the music? I went to a John Mayer Concert when I was eight with my mom and I was blown away from the guitar. Shortly after, I signed up for lessons and joined the choir and took voice lessons in high school. Becuase of sports, I dropped the singing. I started rapping and writing raps with my friend Jordan. We called our music group “Type-O” like the blood, because we wanted our music to be for everyone. What’s the first song you ever made? The first song I ever wrote was called “Get High” with my boy CP. We used to just mess around and rap when we were bored. We called ourselves “The After School Special”, which is actually the name of my radio station now. When did you know you wanted to make music? I signed up for a poetry slam and actually won. So I signed up for another one and won that one and won two more after that. People would come up to me after and be like that made me really think. I never thought about it that way. Their comments motivated me to continue with my work. Who are some artists that inspire you? Lil Dicky’s story really inspires me because he left his desk job and followed his passion for music. I also look up to George the Poet, who’s from the UK. His poetry has a lot of insightful messages and a hip-hop base. Some other rappers I like are Nas, J. Cole and Kendrick. 27

monty white 24 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE



by Nina Bracey

Can you tell me about your latest project? Right now I’m making a trap infused with old school songs. I sampled the song “Sunglasses At Night” by Corey Hart and I’m adding a new a sound to it. Who’s your favorite artist? Right now, I’d say Travis Scott is my favorite performer. He has so much energy and passion when he performs and I love how the crowd feeds off his energy. If you’re not hyped up and excited about your work no one else is. I also really like DJ Snake, Tchaimi, and J Cole. If you could perform with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be? Tupac. His music and his story is just so inspiring. There will never be someone like him again. He definitely left his mark in hip hop. When did you start DJing? It was my freshman year of college and I was watching my fraternity brother DJ from his phone and his version of DJing was just moving the volume up and down while transitioning songs on YouTube. And I just thought no way, there has to be a better way to DJ. So I got some money together and bought turntables and speakers and taught myself how to DJ. What makes your music different from others? I feel like I know what people like. I pay a lot of attention to the crowd. People like familiarity. They like old school songs they can sing along to and jump and down with their friends and sing at the top of their lungs. I also play all types of music. I don’t stick to just one genre. Usually people are known as a pop artist or a trap artist and I don’t want to stick to that label. I want to play all types of music that appeals to everyone. What is your style in music?

I would say trap, deep house and old school. In high school I used to only listen to rap and hip hop. I’ve been introduced to house music not to long ago and I love it’s vibes. I like to put the two genres together because it brings two different types of music that are so different to one. And trap gives it that hard feeling. What’s your go to outfit? A white tee and jeans. Very simple. I just need something to absorb the sweat while I’m dancing and turning up. Is hard to balance school and music? Yes! I’m struggling so much with that right now because my major is completely different from music but I find time to practice at least some point every day. DJ Class of 2016 Reppin’: Queens, NY Major: Biomedical Engineering

Soundcloud: DJ Monty Python

photos: Arthur Chen



aarick urban 22 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE


WHEN DID YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH HIP-HOP? When I heard “Through The Wire”, yeah, I guess that’s the first time it made me feel something. FAVORITE ARTIST? Of all time, I would have to say Kanye, musically. OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL I’m kinda in the middle. I fell in love with music in like the mid-2000s. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AS? I’m a writer.. a writer that loves music. It’s all expressing yourself, getting your experiences, what you’re going through on a daily basis, your feelings… Just getting it all out there. BRING ME BACK TO THE FIRST TRACK YOU EVER RECORDED. I was in Nob Hill (apartment complex in Syracuse) with my cousin and it was a freestyle over Big Boi’s “Shutter Bug”. We were playing 2k and you know that was on the old 2k so I was like, “Yo, I’m about to spit to this. I’m gonna write to this”. We recorded it on a Mac Book but then we actually went to the studio later and put it down. I put it on Facebook jokingly and it got a lot of feedback. IF YOU COULD GET A FEATURE BY ANY ARTIST OTHER THAN KANYE, WHO ARE YOU PUTTING ON YOUR TRACK? I would hit up my boy Chance The Rapper. That man is super talented and I feel like that gospel-rap vibe is kind of what I’m messing with too. It’s kinda what the rap game needs, a mixture of both. SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Aarick wrote his first book in the summer of 2015. “Generation-I, The Millennial Mindset” is available now on Amazon.


Soundcloud: AARICK URBAN Twitter: @AARICKURBAN Interview conducted by K.High photos: Dina Ben-Nissan 23

eugene the dream

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Producer Class of 2018 Reppin’: Houston, Texas Major: Bio-Chem / Pre-Dental

What made you fall in love with hip-hop? Hip-hop has really been in my life for a great deal of time. It wasn’t until I got a chance to check MTV when they were doing music, Suckafree and all of those freestyles or interviews on 106. Hip-hop is like an art form, there’s a culture behind. People are expanding and doing classic things. Favorite producer and artist? My favorite artist is my favorite producer, Kanye West, solely because of him being Kanye West and being so nice at production. He has a vision. When Kanye puts it together, that vision comes out and it’s solely out of his mind. That’s why it’s so genius. Do you consider yourself an artist or a producer? I consider myself a producer. I’d like to think of myself as an artist. Maybe when the time comes and I start making and marketing a craft out of it but for right now I’m more of a producer. Bring me to the first song you recorded. The very first beat I ever made was terrible. It was maybe about 5 years ago back in Texas. It was on FL. I kinda went with my heart and my gut but it didn’t come out how I wanted it. The first song I ever spit on was called “Hit That Super Mario”. I recorded it in my bedroom on a little condenser mic.. it was so ratchet. I went in the backyard and tried to make a dance for it. My mom recorded it. It was really embarrassing. (It got 15 million plays though.) When did you realize you kinda made it? I took a trip to Africa. I told someone I made music and my name was Eugene The Dream in Kenya and they recognized me from one of their DJ’s. He posted one of my vines on his Instagram. Apparently people were bumping my hit that Super Mario and my American Boy remix. That trip to Africa really solidified a lot. You can make a beat for any artist right now, who? I would probably say Future, either Future or Kendrick. Future would be lit, with some auto-tune. Go-to breakfast? Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with the milk, the cinnamon milk. A nice pancake, like an iHop pancake with the butter. Some fire bacon and like some yogurt with some granola. One element: water, fire, air, or earth? Earth, I feel like it would be mad cool to be kicking up dirt. by Kemet High

photos: Dina Ben-Nissan

soundcloud: Eugene The Dream twitter: @EugeneTheDream 29

photo: Regina Cho

Concert reviews GREEK UNITY FEST-

Fabolous and DJ Premier For the 2016 Greek Unity Fest, the OG Swag Champ, along with producer legend, DJ Premier, reminded ‘Cuse just why the 90’s and 2000’s were times we should miss. DJ Premier warmed up the crowd by playing arguably the greatest hip-hop throwbacks we will ever know. Fabolous, who is known for his ability to maintain longevity in this ever-changing rap game, really showed ‘Cuse why that’s so. He performed tracks off of his newest project, “Summertime Shootout”, and also did noteworthy throwbacks such as “Can’t Let You Go” and “Into You” which had us all thinking of our middle school baes. He stayed true to his “throwback jersey connoisseur” title by donning a fresh #5 Syracuse jersey. That night, ‘Cuse’s current situation was definitely a lituation.



Coming into 2016, Tory Lanez was probably my number one artist to watch for. Musically, his sound was remarkable and he provided a reason to continue paying attention to Canada talent. When I got word that he was coming to ‘Cuse, you couldn’t tell me anything, but after his performance, maybe I should’ve kept my mouth closed. The fashion show put on by Fashion’s Conscience was dope as expected but between no DJ, bad song selection, and extreme waiting time, the performance after was disappointing. At least he made up for it with a meet and greet but with as long as he took, most of us were just ready to go home at that point. Tory Lanez is still an amazing artist but his lack of execution made it seem like I was vouching a little too hard beforehand. written by staff 30 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE


Young Thug and Metro Boomin On May 25th, headliner Young Thug and opening act Metro Boomin came to ’Cuse to give us a wild show. Metro started out his set with extreme hype and crowd interaction then took to his comfort zone behind the turntables, which is typical for most DJ acts (except if you’re DJ Esco). Of course he played fan favorites such as “Thought it Was A Drought” and “March Madness” and he let us have that “Jumpman” which features his famous ad-lib “if young Metro don’t trust you I’m gone shoot you.” His set was concluded by playing “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” and at this point, Schine went up. The room was ready by the time Thugger came out. He performed Rich Gang’s hit “Lifestyle” and shared the stage with Metro while performing “Hercules” since Metro was on production for that one. He performed songs off his tape that was just released Slime Season 3 that only a few fans knew the words to and the crowed was not as hype at this moment compared to the rest of his set. He concluded the show with arguably one of his strongest songs, “Best Friend” and the crowd, including myself, went bananas. Overall, this duo worked extremely well together and gave us one of the best shows of the year. It feels good to know Metro trusts ‘Cuse. photos: Dina Ben-Nissan


like they did From denim on denim, to colorful windbreakers, old school hip-hop fashion is something that everyone still tries to emulate, even to this day. Here’s an homage to one of the freshest and most influential eras of fashion that this genre has ever known.

Models: (from left to right) Amanda Silverstein, Omari Ashley, Taylor Whitelow, Colefield Smith, Denzel Deranamie, Kayla Marquez 32 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

it in the 90’s Photographed by Dina Ben-Nissan

Stylists: Arthur Chen, Leslie Gomez, Chanell Chebuske, Kadreyna Merot 33

34 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

Seen a car full of girls ain’t no need to tweak. All you skirts know what’s up with 213.


It’s like this and like that and like this and uh. It’s like that and like this and like that and uh. 36 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE


38 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

In the city of good ol’ Watts, In the city, the city of Compton we keep it rocking. 39

old school If

someone were to say the words “old school hip-hop”, you’d probably automatically assume Biggie or Tupac or maybe even NWA because of the “Straight Outta Compton” movie that came out last year. These are usually the safest bets too because of how much they did for the culture. But why do we never talk about DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, or Doug E. Fresh? Now there are several others, of course, but no one ever knows who they are or what they’ve done. I bet you didn’t know that Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff were the first ever rappers to win a Grammy. Did you? I didn’t think so. Many people think that the entire history of hip-hop revolves around Tupac and Biggie, but these are only two grains of sand on the beach and beaches don’t just have two grains of sand. It’s an amalgamation of grains of sand that come together to make the beachfronts across the… I think ya’ll get the point. But let’s address the best things to ever come out of hiphop. Let’s take a moment to talk about the fashion. Hip-hop is not just the music. It was baggy jeans and oversized white tees. It was pastel colored jackets and crop tops - FOR BOTH SEXES. It was Jheri curls and high tops. Basically, hip-hop had all the signature looks that everyone wanted to emulate. People everywhere were trying to recreate the iconic half-moon step flattop. Adidas and Nike both own the hip-hop fashion now and back then, but back then was a whole different game. It was a lot less conservative and very flamboyant. “The colors weren’t neutral and there was no holding back. The more colors, the more popping.” Many people forget how proactive artists were back in the day. Artists were much more liberal 40 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE


with their music and weren’t afraid to speak their mind. This is most notably seen with NWA’s song, “Fuck Tha Police”, whose message is expressed directly through the title. The iconic LA Riots were very big for activists across the country, both in hip-hop and outside of it. Back then, people used their music to shed light on things that a lot of people were normally blind to problems facing the black community. Why the black community, you ask? Hip-hop was a primarily black run culture, if not all the way ran by the black community. So naturally, we would want to voice our opinions on our problems and troubles we are facing. Now, music is prob- wait, IS the most notable part of hip-hop’s culture history. Everyone always thinks about music when the phrase “old school hip-hop” is uttered. Tupac and Biggie being the main names everyone should know. Dr. Dre, Snoop, Eminem, N.W.A., Outkast, and maybe even Will Smith are the second tier of known artists that come to mind and there are plenty other artists that I could name but you probably wouldn’t recognize. The style of music back then was mainly subtle beats with a verse prominently heard over the beat. Basically, it was all about what was being said instead of what we hear. This doesn’t mean that the beats weren’t good, it’s just that the importance of production wasn’t a great as it is today. Hip-hop back then was to tell a story or send a message. Old school hip-hop was an amazing time in history. We found our outlet and we turned it into the most listened to, emulated, recreated, and talked about culture to ever be. When it’s all said and done, no one really set the tone better than the hip-hop pioneers.

s There’s

new school

a certain disdain that comes with “new school hip-hop”. From where I’m standing, many people say this younger generation of rappers tend to only care about radio hits instead of rapping about the important things that need attention in society, such as feminism, social injustice and selfempowerment. People say new school rap comes off as less raw and overly generic. To an extent, this is undeniable and the bare fact that conscious rap has experienced a decline cannot be sugarcoated. However, new school rap encompasses so much more than flawless beat drops and perfect dabbing staccatos. I’m here to defend y’all. There’s an on-going debate about the blurred line that distinguishes which artists are considered to be new school. Since countless rap OG’s are still killing it currently in 2016, there’s really no formula, so let’s not take everything so literally. Technological advances have brought forth this long-lasting wave of auto-tune, intricate beats and just more sonic control and audible creativity in general. Since old school hip-hop did not have these added elements, what we heard was rappers rapping for the sole sake of rapping. It was beautiful. The bars were everything. Nowadays, sometimes the beat is what drives the song instead of the lyrical content. The field of beat production has boomed into something so vast and innovative that a majority of these rappers nowadays combine forces with their go-to producer and proudly roll as a duo, and rightfully so. A fair way to describe the new school hip-hop look does not exist. We have the Kendrick’s and the J.Cole’s who are the ones that will show up to sold-out arenas in their sweats that look slept-in. We have the overly flashy. There are swag champs

like Fabolous who relentlessly stunt in throwback jersey gems and Air Mags. Finally, we have a surplus of people that love to keep that old school look alive. Saying hip-hop is dead because new school artists lack woke lyricism is such an overexhausted claim which only serves to showcase that the person saying it is simply listening to the wrong artists. It is completely okay to bump the Future’s, Yo Gotti’s and Young Thug’s. Back then, there was mindless rap with misogynistic lyrics and incoherent hooks as well. Back then, it wasn’t okay to take these messages to heart and allow them to guide your lifestyle either. You think taking somebody’s girl is a new concept? As long as listeners approach today’s music with a similar filter, minds will not be poisoned. It’s always been this way if you really think about it. In a society with such fluid and ever-changing norms, of course standards will change. Appreciating old school hip-hop is intensely necessary because it’s important to acknowledge how this hip-hop culture came to be. However, this appreciation never has to be done at the expense of not crediting new school hip-hop as the blossoming era it truly is. By Larry Mikanga and Regina Cho

“no one really set the tone better than the hip-hop pioneers” 41










THE DECLINE OF CONSCIOUS RAP: WE TO BLAME If we look at hip-hop today, it’s clear that there has been a decline in conscious rap or at least a decline in the attention that we give it. There are a lot of things that we can blame it on, but one of my favorites: the Millennials. Yeah, I know these are my own people, but I’ve been mad at y’all for a minute. You guys have been so obsessed with beat drops that you’ve forgotten to assess the content. I took into consideration that we are

42 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

a party generation. We like to go out and dance and dab with all our friends, and maybe we can’t do that to Mos Def or Public Enemy. You’re probably wondering why I’m blaming us. We have a lot of say in what is currently the most popular sound out. We show the industry what we like based on the number of times we play it, the albums that we “buy” (we both know we ain’t about that buying music life, don’t play), and the free publicity we



















give artists via social media. What we say has an effect on what is put out. Look at the number of careers that we fucked up and the rappers that we’re not allowing to come back,like Soulja Boy and Tyga. I understand good music is good music, and we can never deny that, but the popularity of it depends on us. We are a “beat drop” generation. Lyrics are slowly becoming less important for a majority of us. Because of this, that social criticism seen in rap from the 90’s has dissipated. I’m not at all saying that it is completely gone, considering we still have artists like Joey Bada$$,

J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. Still, the presence is not as strong as it used to be when Tupac and Krs-One were in play (R.I.P Pac). This is not because there is a lack of conscious rappers out there. It’s because the industry is feeding our thirst to party instead of pushing for socially critical rappers. Understand this is coming from a person who has “Brenda’s Got a Baby” and “Scholarships” on repeat, so I understand why we love these Future’s and Young Thug’s, but I’m asking for us to support a balance. Music can change the world and more support should be given to the artists that also want to change it. By Joanna Agwanda


‘ & BeyoncE Kendrick. Speaking For Us. #BlackLivesMatter. By Sydney Bufford

The rise of police brutality

towards black individuals has caused this social media movement to be born and social media has been our main telescope into this issue. This has revived the notion of black pride similar to the black power movement in the 1950’s to late 1960’s. Artists have also taken a stand in this movement of #BlackLivesMatter and the celebration of black pride. On February 6th 2016, Beyoncé released her single “Formation” along with the official music video. The following day she performed that song at the 2016 Super Bowl. Everything from her lyrics to her dancer’s outfits were celebrations of black pride. All of her dancers were dressed as Black Panthers with afros and her performance doubled as a salute to this group, considering it was the 50th anniversary of the movement. Bey released the song the day Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old boy who was fatally shot by police officer George Zimmerman, would have celebrated his birthday. Her lyrics alone emphasize black empowerment. “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros / I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”. Beyoncé had received a lot of backlash for letting her daughter, Blue Ivy, wear her hair natural. Black girls and women everywhere still continue to get 44 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

backlash for wearing their natural hair. Black people have gotten teased and bullied over their wider noses and voluminous hair and Beyoncé is unapologetically flaunting these features and putting them in a positive note. The music video to “Formation” also emphasized black pride and criticized police. She starts it off standing on a police car in a flood, representing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Scenes are shown of the flood. The government was criticized for their response to the hurricane. 67% of New Orlean’s residents were African American. Her dancers all had afros in the music video, a form of black empowerment as many black people in the 70s wore afros to demonstrate their black pride. There’s a scene where a man is holding up a newspaper with a picture of Martin Luther King with the headline “More Than A Dreamer” as well as a scene in a black church. Christianity has been one of the foundations of black communities. She showcases a scene where a little black boy is dancing in front of a group of policemen. At the end, he has them all raise their hands up. This is a reference to the “Hand’s up, Don’t Shoot” movement that was created after Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in 2014. On a white wall, “Stop Shooting Us” is written in spray paint as a reference to

all the police shootings of black individuals happening in recent years. The video ends with her on top of the police car sinking into the water. This is symbolism for the negative portrayal of police after the increase in police brutality. In the rap world, Kendrick Lamar has been in the forefront of emphasizing black pride, criticizing the police force and speaking out about social injustice. His performance of “Blacker The Berry” and “Alright” at the 2016 Grammy’s was seen as a bold performance of black empowerment. It starts off with him and the rest of his dancers coming out in chains. His band is in jail cells. It already represents the struggle black men have gone through and still go through, from slavery to imprisonment. He starts off with the lyrics:

“You hate me don’t you?

My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide.

You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture. You’re fuckin’ evil I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey. You vandalize my perception but can’t take style from me.

”My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide. You hate me don’t you? You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture. You’re fuckin’ evil I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey. You vandalize my perception but can’t take style from me”. This right here shows how he is grateful for his features no matter the judgment. He embraces his African roots. He wants the world to know that although his people are being killed unjustly, he’s still proud of who he is. After this, his dancers are dressed in traditional African clothing and dance freely. Kendrick’s song “Alright” is about the black community keeping their heads up despite the multiple killings hurting the community. This has been an uplifting and incredibly influential song that is being chanted at protests all across the nation. Artists becoming involved in social issues provides a risk, as their fan bases may not always agree with their beliefs and the public will always provide backlash. It becomes a double-edged sword. Hip-hop’s core values are based on black pride and empowerment. We need artists like Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar to be the

voice of this generation.


“Eazy-E taught us that AIDS was real...” - Ice Cube

By Vee Navarro

On one end, institutions such as Syracuse University’s Health Center and Office of Health Promotions “encourage” students to wear condoms and take free HIV/Aids tests, but on the other end, the music that students listen to obnoxiously glorifies unhealthy sex-habits. These habits, such as having unprotected sex with strangers and lacking establishment of consent prior to engaging in sex are often times/most obnoxiously glorified by the lyrics of most hip-hop songs. 48% of the people diagnosed with AIDS in the United States are African-American. AIDS is the 6th Leading cause of death for people ages 25 to 44. HIV was the 8th leading cause of 46 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

death among Hispanics/Latinos between the ages 25 to 34. In relation to hip-hop, it is okay to talk about sex when it entails having fucked-up and sloppy sex with people we know little-tonothing about, but it is not okay to talk about sex when it entails Plan B, STI’s, and HIV/AIDS. You cannot encourage unhealthy sex habits and then not talk about the consequences these actions can bring upon us, our families, and our communities. It’s important for the hip-hop/rap communities to recognize that the people listening to their music are often members of communities that, statistically speaking, are heavily impacted by these issues. This conversation needs to go beyond the next hip-hop artist that gets affected. We need to stop talking about this shit like it can’t affect us; the stats are there and this is obviously impacting our communities. As hip-hop heads, we need to demand and voice the need to redefine the way in which sex is being spoken about.

The Resurgence of Rap-Singing By Juan Buena

Let’s go back to the 90s:

If you rewind 15 years or so, Hip-Hop wasn’t as “melodic” as it became around the end of the 2000’s. Don’t get it twisted, rappers have and always will incorporate melodic elements into their music, but those melodies have never been the focal point of a song like they are now. Singing used to only be used for the hooks or the occasional bridge, not whole verses. That just wasn’t a rapper’s image at the time. Take Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend”, he rapped the verses and sang the hook over a simple beat and Freddie Scott sample from the 60s. However, the core of that song still rested within the bars of his verses. More so than Biz, Lauryn Hill and André 3000 are notable for their use of singing throughout their songs. Their music didn’t follow the status quo of hard bars and a hook; they weaved smooth melodies within their choruses and verses. These artists were a preview of how creative you could get within the genre.

Welcome to Heartbreak:

The mid-2000’s was the era of ringtone, bling-bling rap and Kanye opened up the exit lane. It’s been nearly eight years since Kanye West released “808’s & Heartbreaks” on a cold Friday on the 24th of November, but its legacy still carries into today. Sure, singing was used in Hip-Hop way before 2008 when Mr. West was carving up the status quo, but not in the same capacity or vulnerability that soon came after the decade’s end. We left that era but entered another one that featured rappers themselves singing and experimenting with new, sonically-daring sounds for the genre. Auto-tune was being used more prominently than ever before thanks to the T-Pain’s work. The precedent that these two set opened up the gate for many big artists that we have today. The fact that a multi-platinum, Grammy award winning rapper like Kanye can go in a completely different direction with a whole album, as opposed to one or two songs, showed that it was okay for rappers, to do something new.

… And Nothing Was the Same:

It wasn’t just the song structure that changed in Hip-Hop, but the subject matter as well. You could make the argument that without Kanye, there’s no Kid Cudi, and without those two switching up the genre like they did, the rappers we have today might not sound the same or have the same type of subject matter in their songs. Braggadocios rap is no longer the norm, nor is it expected. ‘Ye and Cudi showed vulnerability in their albums (“808’s & Heartbreak”/”Man on the Moon” respectively) that was unexpected for rappers. The moody, introspective music that we’ve become accustomed to from the Drake’s and the Weeknd’s of the world came from the dark experiences that gave us “808’s” and “Man on The Moon”. At the same time, those two albums helped open the lanes for the buttery melodies of Young Thug and Future, whose showcase flows are some of the more attractive components of their songs. Their voices are the key parts of their melodies because they use them like instruments, but at the same time, they’re still rapping. HipHop itself is more creatively charged because of the resurgence of rap-singing. This resurgence has lead to an emergence of a larger mix of sounds, subject matter, and overall creativity in the genre that hasn’t been heard before. 47

Drake Conspira

48 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE


Is Drake planning his suicide? We’ve found the clues.

Many people blame Drake for the fake people coming into the either not having any purpose studio and that he feels really behind his music or not sending alone and he needs his privacy a message to his listeners other back, but he isn’t able to get it than how he started from the back. Lastly, in “Outro”, there bottom, and now he’s here. is a moment that many people While many of us are okay with overlook or think too innocentknowing that his “whole team ly about where Drake asks his is fucking here”, it has become producer, 40, whether they are apparent that his whole “live for done or not. 40 responds back the moment” style of rap is a bit saying “I don’t know, are we?” more morbid than we are taking to which Drake doesn’t respond it. I, personally, didn’t realize to. We know he wasn’t done what he was trying to tell us making music, so why was it until after hard for If You’re him to just Reading “Views From The 6 will say “no”? This It’s be Drake’s last project” Drake’s Too Late. debut Drake is planning his suicide. studio album, “Thank Me LatWhether it be metaphorical or er”, expresses a more confident literal, his death is imminent. Drake. He’s more assertive and Let’s delve deeper into the 6 secure than in his previous God’s brain by running through project. He still holds on to the each of his works, starting in “lovestruck” theme but he does 2009 with “So Far Gone”. it in more of a way of reconciliWhile SFG seems like a lightation. He shows both regret and hearted first trip into Drake’s relief. By the end of the album, personal life (because he takes he gives himself an ego boost by us on so many), this is actually taking back the album’s request the first glimpse to his fragile and telling everyone that they psyche. We are introduced to can “thank him now” instead a vulnerable Aubrey Graham of later. This album shows his who at first seems like any other strength and appreciation he lovestruck guy, however, that’s has with himself. He’s sure not the case in some cases where that what he has done deserves he shows a glimpse of strength recognition from his peers. and boldness. The big culprit “Take Care”. Need I say in this mixtape is the Kanye anymore about this one? This inspired “Say What’s Real”. He album probably is the biggest talks about how he’s sick of all culprit in showing how fragile, By Larry Mikanga 49

if not broken, Aubrey really is (and yes, I will refer to him as Aubrey in this section). The title of the first song, “Over My Dead Body”, gives us a pretty good reason that Aubrey had come to terms with the topic of death. This album has, arguably, the saddest song of his career, “Marvin’s Room”. At times, this album strays a little from the melancholy persona it sets at the start, but we can still feel the pain Aubrey has felt in this album. The infamous phrase, YOLO, originated from this album. “You Only Live Once”. I think this would be the appropriate spot to put the thinking emoji. “Nothing Was The Same” is my least favorite Drake project. The album was less about the words and more about the production. NWTS marked the changing point in Drake’s career. He decided to stop being the sad boy always stressing about girls he’s either been with or couldn’t get with. This was our first glimpse of a Drake we only saw short spurts of, one that was over confident and ready for that action. People, when in the face of death or when fully aware they are about to die, tend to get a lot more confident because they have nothing to lose. “Hold On, We’re Going Home”, the album’s biggest piece of evidence, basically says that we’re coming to the end of our journey, just hold on a little longer. We’ve been good so far, thanking him for his contributions and accompanying him on this 50 Spring 2016 THE MIXTAPE

road, and we are almost done, whether we like it or not. “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late” was the moment many people caught on to the suicidal trend in his music. The main reason being the title, of course. The second reason being that in the intro, he is basically foreshadowing his death by saying “if I die, I’m a legend”. He’s set his career up so that no one will forget him even if he were to die at this moment. Also, the Drake we see on this project is the one we saw on NWTS, but with a little more edge, partially due to him recruiting Quentin Miller as a co-writer for several tracks. “Views From The 6” will be Drake’s last project if everything goes in the direction I envision it going. When you bury someone, you bury them

6 feet under the ground. It can also be viewed (see what I did there?) like he’s standing on the 6th floor of a building ready to jump. Time and content will only tell. Now that you guys can look at these projects under a different light, I’m going to make this last statement brief and in the form of a note: “If you’re reading this, it’s too late. Nothing was the same after I decided to join the rap game and get big. For those of you that wished to thank me later, just know that your appreciation was too late because we were so far gone down the road for it to matter anymore. I only have one last thing to say to those of you who have stuck through with me to the end, take care.”

td Hi

Nae Nae





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Dab this year’s viral dances

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Spring 2016 issue of Mixtape Magazine

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