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TEST SPIN: dvsn — Morning After

It seems like it was just yesterday when dvsn, the Toronto-based joint project between vocalist Daniel Daley and producer extraordinaire Nineteen85, debuted in 2015. In the brief time since their inception, dvsn has garnered 150 million streams and, arguably, landed the largest gig that any aspiring artist could land. In 2016 dvsn opened up for the Drake and Future on the notorious Summer Sixteen Tour, and with this brought their smooth, 90s R&B to the masses. While although only debuting their music to the public within the past few years, dvsn has been involved in the music business for much of the last decade. In the early years, dvsn leaned heavily toward rap because, as Daley says in a recent Rolling Stone article, it wasn’t really the “coolest thing to say ‘Yo, I sing – have you heard that Boyz II Men record, that new Usher or Ginuwine?’” However, once 85 heard the remarkable voice of Daley, he knew that the talent couldn’t be ignored.

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TEST SPIN | Daniel Caesar – Freudian

As I walked across the arts quad on a nippy Tuesday evening, I began to hear vibrations that resonated with the current zeitgeist of my soul. To love, to lose, to suffer, to love again. Toronto R&B singer Daniel Caesar’s debut studio album Freudian gives artistic form to that central pillar of being human. The album consists of 10 tracks, making it his first full length work. It was released on Aug.

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TEST SPIN: Childish Gambino — Awaken, My Love!

This isn’t what we expected. Maybe if you attended Donald Glover’s PHAROS concert, or if you took him seriously when he said that this project would be completely different, you weren’t caught off guard. Though, for most of the casual listeners, the switch from hip-hop to soul/funk/R&B is an unprecedented move. Being that Paper Boi, a central character on Glover’s his hit television show, Atlanta, produced rap music, it seemed that Glover himself would continue on this path. Nevertheless, the decision to switch from his original genre didn’t result in a flop; rather, “Awaken, My Love!” is a masterful collection of Childish Gambino’s premier work.

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TEST SPIN: Mac Miller — The Divine Feminine

This year has made it apparent that Mac Miller is trying to distance himself from Donald Trump in more ways than one. The combination of the chant he uses to get the crowd going when he performs —one of his old mainstays at concerts (“Fuck Donald Trump”) — and his new album’s tone — which is decidedly more Al Green than Beastie Boys — draws a line that he has been trying to mark out for years. Each of his albums has represented a drastic musical shift from those preceding it, and The Divine Feminine is no exception to that trend. The album opens with “Congratulations,” which features both Mac and Bilal singing. If you haven’t heard Mac sing before, you should.

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TEST SPIN: Isaiah Rashad — The Sun’s Tirade

Isaiah Rashad has always seemed like a guy caught between two worlds. Back in 2013, the Tennessee native turned heads by signing to Top Dawg Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based label previously exclusive to artists like Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q, rappers raised in the city and deeply indebted to its musical history. And while Rashad operates comfortably in that scene, his blatant reverence for Southern rap and J Dilla-soul mark him as something of an outsider on TDE’s roster. After more than three years on the ever-growing label, the 25 year-old’s role there remains unclear. Even so, he’s one of its most compelling artists — that rare student of rap baring his influences on his sleeve, all the while crafting a signature, vital sound.

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Let’s Be Frank: Arts & Entertainment Writers Take On Frank Ocean’s New Projects

Four years after his revered and still-bumped Channel ORANGE, R&B singer/enigma Frank Ocean has finally put out two follow-up projects: Endless and Blonde. Frank Ocean fans from the Arts & Entertainment section reflected on the albums: Were they worth the wait? Will they ascend to the same level of praise of Channel ORANGE? Chris Stanton: I had a friend make the mistake recently of criticizing Blond(e) to me, arguing that the hype around the album combined with Frank’s general aura of mystery had led to reactionary praise — longtime fans and casual passerby alike loudly proclaiming their hosannas to prove that they totally get art, man. Call it a product of spontaneous album releases or the performativity of social media, but the immediate public response to this sprawling project (TWO albums???

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TEST SPIN: Frank Ocean — Blonde

I have a difficult time describing Frank Ocean’s music. Perhaps it’s a surreal introspection of the most morose and neurotic reactions to something tragic, like the loss of love and the painful journey that follows it. Maybe it’s a conceptual project of youthful hope and fervor in a world that is far less than ideal. Maybe it’s just sad. Regardless, Ocean’s new album Blonde is brilliant.