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TEST SPIN | ASTROWORLD

“The biggest knock against Travis [Scott] early in his career (and today) was his tendency to be an expert cipher, but rarely innovator. Besides his help behind the boards on 2013’s landmark Yeezus, Scott seldom introduced music that didn’t sound indebted to his own influences,” writes Charles Holmes in a recent Rolling Stone article preceding the release of ASTROWORLD. Reading this, as a Scott fan, initially irked me. However, as I kept reading, I realized Holmes was entirely correct in his analysis of Scott’s career. Scott undoubtedly has the best live performance currently in music.

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GUEST ROOM | The Most Beautiful Thoughts are Always Besides the Darkest

Where should we, as listeners, mainstream media consumers and socially minded citizens, stand on Kanye West? It is a question that, in today’s world, flickers in our minds about as often as “what’s for dinner tonight?.”

With every concert hall rant, tweet and piece of Kardashian-related gossip, that spotlight has only grown brighter. Often, his career as an artist is only examined superficially, as if it is second to his worldwide image as an erratic pop star. This summer, following his support for Trump on twitter and preposterous statement that 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice,” Kanye released his G.O.O.D. Music series consisting of five albums.

So where do these five albums fall on the stage of Kardashian gossip, tweets and rant? Is it fair to evaluate Kanye’s music without the context of his personality and erratic behavior?

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TEST SPIN | Drake – Scorpion

Scorpion, Drake’s 5th studio album and 9th overall project, comes at a crucial time in his career. With three studio albums that core fans live and die by, his 4th album, Views, made an attempt to capture his ever-ballooning fanbase — balancing pop hits, club bangers, crooning ballads and a handful of regular raps. The project was widely viewed as his worst album by critics while simultaneously becoming his highest selling album accumulating 4.14 million sales in 2016 and cementing him as the biggest artist in the world. The music world waited in suspense for Scorpion, pondering what he would do: would it be an album for the core fans? Would it be a pop album?

Sun Staff Takeaways from Gov Ball 2018

RANDALL’S ISLAND PARK, NY — Five minutes before Pusha T appeared on stage at the eighth annual Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, a teenager no older than 17 turned to me and remarked matter-of-factly, “This guy wasn’t relevant until a week ago.”

As someone who grew up first on the sounds of Clipse and the Neptunes and later on Kanye West’s GOOD Music collective, the idea that the Daytona rapper was ever “irrelevant” just didn’t make sense to me. Under-recognized or underrated? Perhaps, but Push has been one of the most important rappers in the industry for the past two decades, even if his bars about drug dealing never stormed the charts. And yet, just one week into relevancy, Pusha T’s mere presence was enough to inspire thousands of concertgoers to break out into several spontaneous “Fuck Drake” chants before and throughout the set. In just one week, he had gone from being your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper to slayer of the decade’s most dominant man in music, the “Hotline Bling” king Aubrey Drake Graham.

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Love and Lust in a Burning Forest

“There was a cabaret and there was a master of ceremonies and there was a city called Berlin in a country called Germany. It was the end of the world…” So writes Cliff Bradshaw, the starry-eyed American novelist whose search for love and adventure in 1930s Germany frames John Kander and Fred Ebbs’s Cabaret. In the haze of the Kit Kat Klub, a haven for stockings, lipstick, and high-heeled performers, Berlin is in full-view, beautiful in its celebration of self and doomed by the rising political waves that would ultimately engulf Europe. Ithaca College’s production of Cabaret was an astounding success, executed with masterful design, orchestration, choreography and particularly amazing talent. Designed to bring the audience into the nightclub, with red “Ausgang” signs, dim lights and the orchestra dressed as a cabaret band, Clark Theatre brought the tantalizing Kit Kat Girls and Gals as close to the audience as possible.

JONES | I Don’t Even Wanna Talk About It

I really don’t wanna talk about it, and I shouldn’t even really, so I’m barely going to. The last few weeks have been surprising, disorienting and mainly just sad for anybody who has ever admired Kanye West as a musician, artist, public figure and person who doesn’t befriend alt-right figures and espouse their disgusting revisionist histories. The music he has released during this time — while it, as usual, sounds pretty good — has either been a platform for his new, semi-incoherent ideology (“Ye vs. the People”), or a troll so broad that it begs the question of whether he’s taking any of this shit even remotely seriously (“Lift Yourself”). In the end, it doesn’t really matter all that much, at least to me, whether he actually believes what he’s been saying, or whether he just believes that he is continuing a long career of reactive, disruptive speech regardless of its content, or whether it’s all just a huge joke at the expense of everybody except for Donald Trump, Candace Owens and people who believe that 400 years of slavery were a choice.

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COLLINS | What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

I’m in the twilight of my days as a columnist for The Sun. I know that, typically, columnists will close out their time with parting words of advice to incoming first-years or graduating seniors. But, although I’ve done that in the past weeks, the fact of the matter is that I don’t have much advice to impart. Or, at least, much advice that you haven’t already heard hundreds of times, and will hear a hundred more times. Go to office hours, try out something new on campus, make sure to wear sunblock on Slope Day, etc.

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Breaking Silence is Not Sharing a Secret: Speaking with and Reading Dr. Rosenna Bakari

It is time to break our silence. After speaking with Rosenna Bakari ’11 and hearing her insights on living as a survivor of sexual assault, it is evident that it is time for women to live openly about their experience with assault and move past the discomfort in order to reframe the conversations we are having about the topic. Much of the rhetoric and literature about violence against women has channeled women’s stories into a feed dominated by conditions that maintain comfortability among audiences. In Rosenna Bakari’s  recently published memoir Too Much Love Is Not Enough, she discusses the relationship between silence and psychological trauma in a way that imbues its audience with her own personal reality in an honest, relatable fashion. Dr. Bakari is a Cornell alumna whose story and dedication to creating a space for survivors is beyond inspirational.

Courtesy of Study Breaks Magazine

YANG | To Thine Own Self Be True

On an ordinary afternoon a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the poem “Love After Love” by Sir Derek Walcott as I was sorting through old files on my laptop. The title didn’t ring a bell at first. The file info says I had saved it over two years ago to the folder that contains poems I liked, which I also didn’t remember doing. So I opened on the file to read it, unprepared for relevancy of its words, and the clarity they would bring me. “Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.”

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer.

Sophie Zheng | Sun Sketch Artist

Avengers: Infinity War Roundtable

What was your favorite moment from the movie? Lev Akabas: Every single time that Thor called Rocket “Rabbit.” Also the ending. I know some may criticize it for taking the easy way out with a cliffhanger or exploiting cheap emotion, but it was also genuinely surprising. I’ve been consistently entertained by Marvel for the past ten years, but truly surprised? It’s been a while.