From left to right: Kitty's Miami Garden Club, Kendrick Lamar's DAMN., Tyler, The Creator's Flower Boy.

The Sun’s Top 15 Albums of 2017

Damn. — Kendrick Lamar

On his fourth studio album, Kendrick Lamar brings us back to the golden age of hip-hop with smooth flows and incredible musicianship. Over the course of fifty-five minutes, Lamar explores his struggles with sin and society and his place in a nation that often seems to be against him. Damn. dazzles and will soon prove to be a generation defining masterpiece.

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GUEST ROOM | Linaje Originarios: Indigenous Hip-Hop and Cultural Promotion in Colombia

In the wake of the recent war between the FARC, the military and para-military forces, the current administration is attempting to distance Colombia from its recent war-torn history. At the same time, narratives of indigenous culture are perpetuated by the continuation of resguardos, Colombian indigenous reservations, while the myriad changes in governing systems create a narrative of evolving political systems. As a result, indigenous people and their cultural traditions are characterized as “past” or “dead.” Moreover, through the divorce from the recent war with the FARC — a group which has its roots in the same regions where many of the indigenous resguardos are located — the administration frames indigenous culture as part of the violent past, while simultaneously engaging indigenous people in a system which is systemically oppressive to indigenous ontology. The hip-hop duo Linaje Originarios is creating a space for productive political inclusion and cultural promotion that resists hegemony through their online hip-hop music videos in and about their native Emberá. The two cousins Dario and Brayan Tascón, who form Linaje Originarios, come from a resguardo called Valparaíso in the western mountain ranges of Colombia, where they spend most of the year working in the fields. When they are not working, the pair spends their time writing and performing their music on the streets of their resguardo or in the city of Medellín.

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The Sun’s Top 10 Songs of 2017

1) Bodak Yellow – Cardi B

Perhaps the most pervasive and noticeable facet of this song is the unapologetic delivery of Cardi B’s lyrics. The percussive nature of her articulation almost renders the background beat subservient to her artistic command. Supporting the lyrics is the repetition of a haunting melody which produces a sense of tension that despite being peripheral, is undeniably entrancing. Mesmerizing and captivating, Bodak Yellow is a beautifully hypnotic work. By Varun Biddanda

2) “Passionfruit” — Drake

“Passionfruit” is possibly the most confusing track on More Life.

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Spinning Singles: “Walk on Water” by Eminem

Eminem is a walking contradiction, at once meticulous and utterly messy, both in character and in lyric. His politics are complicated, his rhymes often puzzling. The illustrious Marshall Mathers has without a doubt left behind a prickly portfolio that ranges from aggravating dark male anger to poppy bops to at times mind-bending twists of verse. He is, by most measures, one of the greatest and most problematic hip-hop artists of his era. Eminem has since more or less fallen out of the zeitgeist, nowadays reserved for workout playlists and the occasional surprise appearance on shuffle.

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Test Spin: Paranoid Void — Literary Math

When I first listened to all-female Japanese trio Paranoid Void, I learned of the existence of math rock. At first, it did not sound fun, as anything having to do with math is just not fun to me. Math rock, though, is a genre holding some similarities to post-rock that utilizes unconventional time signatures, rhythms and dissonance. Paranoid Void, composed of members Meguri, Yu-Ki and Mipow, is unlike most music I have listened to, and it became evident that the trio put endless effort into their first full-length album, Literary Math. On Paranoid Void’s website, the band describes Literary Math as a “three-dimensional composition of the sound and words that the female sensibility unique to women creates.” Additionally, on the album’s release date, the band published a blog entry explaining what they wanted the album to convey.

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Test Spin | Col3trane — Tsarina

Cole Basta, known as Col3trane is a London native already starting to make a name for himself in the English hip hop scene at age 18. He released his first single “New Chain” on May 19 of this year. The vibe of this song set the stage for his entire debut album. It is slower than most rap songs we hear in the states, and has more of an R&B vibe to it. The beats, while very rhythmic, are relaxed and subtle, leaving room for his lyrics to come through.

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Girlpool at The Haunt

If there is one word that is overused when describing concert experiences, it’s “magical.” Experiences and emotions are subjective, yet everyone seems to come back to that word. I agree that there is a certain atmosphere to be found at concerts that can’t be found anywhere else, but I believe that the affects found in a Girlpool concert are in a category of their own. Girlpool’s music takes emotions that are difficult to describe and puts them in an accurate, concise form of music that makes one think, “Wow. Why couldn’t I think of that when it’s so straightforward?” Taking those sentiments to a small venue like The Haunt makes the experience personal by forcing one to address neglected, bottled up feelings, creating a truly magical experience. Girlpool opened their show with “123,” the first track off their newest album Powerplant.

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TEST SPIN — Without Warning: Offset x 21 Savage x Metro Boomin

Over the recent years, Atlanta has become a cultural hearth for hip hop. The movement really began in the mid 90’s with the rise of Outkast, whose smooth rhythms and melodic hooks captured the attention of the masses and put Atlanta on the map. From this point on, there was no stopping the area from booming into what is, in my opinion, music’s most exciting city. https://open.spotify.com/album/0MV1yCXcNNQBfwApqAVkH0

From the late 2000’s to present day, a new genre of hip hop has emerged from the underground of Atlanta to grow into a world phenomenon, trap. Some of the world’s biggest artists (Gucci Mane, Future, Migos, 21 Savage, Travis Scott and many others) fall into this genre.

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TEST SPIN: Kyra Skye — Summer Nights

Kyra Skye is a student in Ithaca College, bassist for the band Izzy True and, now, a solo artist. Her EP, Summer Nights, represents memories, dedication and affection. Skye worked on Summer Nights for a month, recording, producing and mastering all five songs on her own. Skye plays and sings everything on the EP, excluding the drums on the tracks “Room 217” and “Suffocate.” Not only is her music touching and personal, but the music is well-arranged and coherent. The first track, “Room 217,” introduces the theme of the EP.

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JONES | How Bad Can a Good Time Be? A Discussion of Three Versions of U2’s New Single

Have you been keeping up with U2? I hadn’t really checked in since the PR disaster of Songs of Innocence’s 2014 release, when the band attempted to regain relevance and reach a younger audience by forcing everybody with an iPhone to own their music. What they intended as a generous gift was instead received like the act of a tyrannical surveillance-state: many iPhone owners were outraged by the band’s disregard for the normal practices of ownership and consent in the digital world. But don’t count U2 out just yet! It turns out that in the years since Songs of Innocence’s stealth-deposit, U2 has been contemplating the naivete that led them to this colossal miscalculation.