Drizzy shines some soothing vocals on his latest contribution to Majid Jordan‘s “My Love”— “I’m not your trophy, baby / I won’t let you show me off or shine me up,” he sings. Formerly known as Good People, Majid Al Maskati and Jordan Ullman are an electronic, alternative R&B duo who met while attending the University of Toronto. In early 2013, they dropped their debut EP, afterhours, as a free download. And boom: later that year, Drake’s “Hold on, We’re Going Home” appeared featuring “Majid Jordan.” Majid is working on the follow-up to their 2014 EP, A Place Like This. Listen Up!
Ah, Drake. Love him or hate him—Toronto’s hero is the only rapper that can truly change the game with a mixtape. The self-proclaimed 6 God recently partnered with Fader and Sprite for an in-depth interview series.
In the Obey Your Thirst documentary, Aubrey speaks on his hometown pride, the equalizing nature of internet culture, striving to be a multi-dimensional artist, and his take on industry competition.
“I’m not worried about these other rappers, I’m not competing with those guys,” he says in the insightful interview, “I already know their hand, I know their move. I study everything. I’m worried about the kid that’s sitting in his house that wants to be better than me and all those guys. That’s who I’m competing with.”
Can’t wait to hear what rhymes with bacchius.
Ah, a new year. Here’s to new adventures, ambitious resolutions, and, of course, new music. We’ve compiled a preview of some great new—and not-so-new—musical acts / tracks you should have on your radar for 2014.
FRIENDS: “Van Fan Gor Du”
Friends has been incubating in the indie buzzosphere since 2011 and are slowly garnering some well-deserved attention. Headed by Samantha Urbani, Friends is self-described “weird pop,” swapping genres for an infectious, funky album that’s filled to the brim with cutesy female appeal. The band is sure to kill it during festival season, the proto-funk beats providing the ultimate soundtrack when you and your besties are glazed and that dude keeps dancing on you, no, next to you, no, on you.
JAMES BLAKE FEAT. CHANCE THE RAPPER: “Life Round Here”
One of the best things to happen to hip-hop and R&B these past few years has been their head-on collision with electronic music, producing some incredibly catchy beats and reshaping their respective forms in a substantial way. James Blake and Chance The Rapper join forces for a hypnotic, tingly, remix of Blake’s own Overgrown track “Life Round Here.” It’s been one of our favorite remixes to come out of 2013, only made better by celebrated director Nabil’s music video.
(via Lindsay Zoladz | Pitchfork)
“Probably won’t make no money off this, oh well,” Beyoncé shrugs on her new album’s moody, amorphous second track, “Haunted.” And I say this with the requisite curtsy to the Queen, but: bullshit. True, in both content and form, Beyoncé is a risk—an emotionally candid, unconventionally structured experimental pop record that was released digital-only with absolutely no promotion—but we know now that she is going to make a little bit of money off this. Still, how could you not know all along that you’ve got a blockbuster on your hands, when there is a song on your record like “XO”?
“XO” is one of those big, boundary-obliterating pop songs that demands to be projected onto the sky, like the aural equivalent of a firework. There will be a supercut of people all over the world lip-syncing and doing cute hand motions to “XO” by the end of this week. It’s the Beyoncé cut that Ed McMahon would ride for. One of the guys from Skeleton Crew is going to propose to his girlfriend while “XO” is playing and she will say yes. “XO” is the reason why anyone you know who has said, “Yeah, but where are the hooks on Beyoncé?” did not listen to the entire album. Chris Martin is listening to “XO” right now, crying. And, because perfection is overrated, all of the flawlessness here is brilliantly undercut by that gravelly croak in her lower register when she growls, “Baby love me, lights out.” You kill us, Bey.
IMMIGRÉ: “Madeline Remix”
We have a confession. We like to believe it was the LAC crew that “discovered” DJ duo Immigré so we can cling to the backbone of their success when they blow up. Liberian/Iranian/American/European/Creatures-of-the-World, Jasmine & Val Fleury prove the amazing output of collaboration when cultures and music styling’s blend (If only the rest of the world would take their lead). The gals have been curating some fresh mix tapes since 2012, and will be making their rounds on the festival circuit this coming spring. Do yourself a favor and watch them spin live and with love.
WILD CUB: “Thunder Clatter”
This song isn’t particularly new, but it’s finally making its rounds this year, and we have a sneaking suspicion this is destined to be some kind of summer sleeper hit. The Nashville quintet just signed to Mom+Pop Music, and “Thunder Clatter” is a youthful, jubilant, celebratory tune that lends itself to an afternoon of drinking with friends.
KELELA: “Guns & Synths”
If you had to guess whose style Beyoncé might bite for her latest studio album, your guess would probably not have been a no-name LA R&B singer who hangs around with underground electronic producers. And yet that would not have been such a bad answer. Kelela’s blend of hard drum and bass and warm ’90s-style diva vocals made her mix tape Cut 4 Me one of the most talked-about of 2013. She’ll be performing here and there through 2014, including an appearance at SXSW. If you get a chance to see her, do yourself a favor and take it.
BLOOD ORANGE: “”You’re Not Good Enough” [ft. Samantha Urbani]”
Whether writing/producing wispy pop cuts for Solange and Sky Ferreira or releasing misty, meditative R&B (“Chamakay”), Dev Hynes is crushing it…in glossy black dancing shoes. Hynes, aka Blood Orange, sounds like Prince if Prince had been raised entirely at nighttime under Miami’s neon lights. “You’re Not Good Enough” is solid enough to be a massive hit but dude has stayed (largely) under the radar until the release of this album.
EARL SWEATSHIRT: “Chum”
A member of LA’s Odd Future hip-hop collective, the 19-year-old released the sleeper album of the year with Doris—an album light years beyond his peers. “Chum” is 4 minutes of intensely personal yet insanely catchy headphone rap.
TINY HEARTS: “Stay”
Comprised of singer DeDe Reynolds, jazz trained composer Tim K and producer Waajeed of Platinum Pied Pipers fame, Tiny Hearts came together on a fateful night in a bar in Brooklyn in 2011. Since then, the trio has relocated to LA, and wowed us with their debut Stay EP. Waajeed and Tim K create a gritty cocktail of melodic and lyrical potency, while Dede Reynold’s ephemeral vocals bring the whole thing home with an affect that combines a bit of enigmatic gypsy mysticism with a healthy serving of old Hollywood charm.
Just for this Vine:
While we’re a little biased (peep our Jan/Feb cover), Malaysian-born beauty Yuna has been keeping us above water and smiling while we wade through our most gloomy breakup moments, our career pitfalls, or simply, our Wednesday hump day. Yuna is audible euphoria, and just the ray of sunshine we need to kick ass and take names in 2014.
Music nowadays is on some kind of global takeover — what seemed to start in Canada with the likes of Drake and now Ryan Hemsworth and Kaytranada, has trickled to the lands down under in Australia and New Zealand. I mean, let’s face it, some of the folks that we have on constant rotation right now are straight out of the southwestern hemisphere: Flume, Ta-Ku, Hiatus Kaiyote, Lorde, and The Wyld, are all respectively from from either Australia or New Zealand. And, well, we’re about to add another one to our list.
Enter ChoiceVaughan. We caught wind of the Lower Hutt valley native through London DJ/radio host Complexion‘s weekly “Future Beats Show,” and it was love at first bass drop. The featured cut, titled, “Loves BabyFace,” is one off his recently released EP, “The Reveremixes,” a seven track project of favored 90’s R&B reworks with amplified boom-bap production re-sexified for your body-rolling pleasure. We don’t know about you guys, but we think it’s going to be a minute before the whole 90s-R&B-edit trend dies, but you know what.. we’re not complaining. Check out the track below, and check out ChoiceVaughan’s soundcloud here.
Lucky us. Kevin Celestin, aka Montreal beatsmith, Kaytranada, is in LA for two shows this week for his No Peer Pressure tour featuring Groundislava and Jerome LOL (though his LA shows will open with Morri$ and Colta), and we managed to sneak in some couch-time conversations. We spoke a bit about his up-coming tour in the US, genre-labeing, Drizzy Drake and bodybuilding babes.
LA CANVAS: I actually didn’t know English wasn’t your first language. That’s what Will (Kaytra’s manager) told me just now.
Well yeah, I’m from Montreal so I speak French. But we throw some English words in there, kind of like slang I guess.
LAC: So you just came off of an Australia tour with Ryan Hemsworth, and this is your first American solo tour. Is there a difference between the Australian crowd and the US crowd?
Yeah, the Australians go hard, they’re a lot rowdier, but I think that’s because most of them seem younger. I haven’t been to all of America yet but when I was in New York, I could tell that they weren’t really feeling it; I mean, they were dancing and all, but they weren’t going hard. I know LA goes hard though, LA gets down.
LAC: How was the tour kick-off in San Jose?
San Jose was cool, there was this girl dancing all over the stage, she was twerking and all that. It was crazy, I wasn’t expecting all that (laughs)
I mean, to hear or read something like that, it’s crazy, if not reassuring. The track was even featured on HotNewHipHop and they put the word “hot” in front it; and I was just surprised the track was even featured on a hip-hop blog. Something like that though, it definitely tells you that you’ve made it though, hearing that type of shit.
LAC: The “At All” video, though – that was nuts with the buff ass girls. Who came up with that idea?
The one who came up with video idea was my friend, Martin Pariseau. He called me about the idea of the bodybuilding women and me hanging with them and doing weird shit. I wasn’t really down with it at first, but I don’t know, when we were at the shoot, I knew it was going to be a big thing so I did it.
LAC: Was being carried weird?
Not really. I mean, we’ve all been carried when we were kids so, it ain’t that weird. But I couldn’t stop laughing.
LAC: Yeah, I bet. Just the imagery of it all was like, “What the hell?” I was diggin’ your jersey.
Yeah, that was the point of it all; and yeah, I was diggin’ it too, I wished the jersey was mine.
LAC: When you listen to your tracks, you can hear the hip-hop, R&B, soul and disco influences in your background. Given that, is it weird to be labeled as an electronic artist/producer?
I mean it is weird because I don’t like to label myself as an electronic DJ because I’m always pulling from other genres, cause that’s what I listen to. I listen to hip-hop, R&B, a lot of old disco and that transfers to my music. Even the… I don’t want to call it trap, but I use a lot of that downbeat hip-hop bass, and I just don’t think the electronic label fits it. Nowadays it’s like, how can you tell my music is hip-hop? By the BPM? It’s so hard to slap any one genre onto music because we’re pulling influences from all these other different places, you can’t just place it into one bubble.
LAC: What have been the major differences since signing with Huh, What & Where (HW&W) Recordings? Has being a part of that helped you creatively?
It’s been cool. I mean, since I signed with them, I still stayed in my own lane, just doing my own thing. The label used to be just about instrumental beats, and even then I still want creative control over my music. But they’re the homies and they’ve helped get my name and music out, and then I get to do cool shit with them, like Boiler Room. So overall, it’s been cool, it’s been great.
LAC: I was browsing through your SoundCloud and saw some tracks under “The Celestics.” Is that like, a side project, or something you started prior to being a solo producer?
Yeah, it’s a hip-hop group I was working with, it was actually the first project I was doing, and it just never popped off cause we weren’t really working at it. Instead of recording or working on tracks, we’d just fuck around or be lazy or whatever. It was me and my brother, Louie P, he was the rapper and I was the producer – I was still Kaytradamus then and just making hip-hop beats. I didn’t want to associate Kaytranada (the solo producer) with the group, I just wanted to be the producer and have the music solely stand as The Celestics. But yeah, it was something that we were trying to do, and I want to keep working at it; we already have a few tracks out, “Charles Barkley,” and “Kill,” that are getting some recognition, so it’s something that I want to keep pursuing.
LAC: Was it hard to keep working on The Celestics while you yourself were getting recognition for your solo tracks?
I mean, yeah that was definitely part of it. Like when I started releasing tracks on my SoundCloud and people were feeling it, and I was getting a shit-ton of likes on it, and recognition from blogs, it was like I said before, it’s like you see you’ve made it or that you were doing something right. When “If” popped off, that was when things really started to escalate and it was like, I’m being more successful at this than with The Celestics so…
LAC: I mean, at that point, it seems like you had no choice but to run with it.
LAC: I was actually going to ask you about the name change. Did changing the name from “Kaytradamus” to “Kaytranada” happen because of your success as a producer and a drift from The Celestics?
It was kind of part of it, but at the time, it was when I was still doing more “trap” beats and that also was when Flosstradmus was coming out too, and I didn’t want it to look like I was biting off them or anything like that. I was already hearing shit from my friends on Twitter like, “Who the fuck you think you are?” or “Why you biting off Floss?” and I just didn’t want to deal with that shit. I actually prefer to just be called “Kaytra,” but it’s too late to change it now at this point (laughs). But yeah, Kaytranada is more of a random name.
LAC: Going off your Twitter point, I saw a while back when (Drake’s) “Nothing Was the Same” first came out that you Tweeted that he could’ve done better musically. What would you have done with the album? Does that mean we’re going to get some Drake edits in the near future?
I mean.. I don’t know. I’m not disrespecting Drake in any way, but I just think that musically he really could have done better. Like, his team did hit me up for some beats but they wound up not using them (for NWTS). If they did though, I can guarantee that that would’ve been a classic ass album. I mean, he could hit up any underground artist – whether that be me, Sango, Star Slinger, whoever – and that would be classic.
LAC: Who would you want to collabo with in the future? Near-future or even big dream-status? I’m sure you have a long list.
Oh man… yeah, I have a fat list. I mean, I’ve done a bunch of Erykah Badu edits, a ton of Janet edits, so I’d love to work with them or other people that have remixed their tracks too. The tracks I want to do, I don’t really want or need any big time names on them, I’d just want to work with people that have that sound that I like.. like, I absolutely have to have a neo-soul singer on my tracks, maybe a rapper… but definitely a neo-soul singer.
LAC: Who are you listening to right now?
I listen to so much shit, man… really though I listen to a lot of old school disco and funk, mostly underground stuff. In a general sense I listen to a lot of underground music, especially hip-hop, disco, funk. A lot of 90’s R&B too, obviously. I love Janet.
LAC: So what should we expect for 2014?
Oh, I don’t know… I mean, I will say this: I’m definitely working towards releasing an album. It might be released in 2014, it might be released 2015, I don’t know, depends on if I’m feeling it or if I get into the right creative groove within the next year. But, we got some big things planned out, some collabos and projects that I don’t think people are ready for; I really don’t think y’all are ready for it.
Catch Kaytranada at Los Globos this Thursday, cop your tickets while you still can right here.
In case you were unaware, Drake’s album dropped Tuesday. It’s hard to ignore the man since he has been just about everywhere lately wearing those promotional tees. Anyway, we’ve been feeling a lot like Jaden Smith at the VMA’s since the album leaked and we were excited to see the video for his second single, especially since it features our latest Triple Threat model, Ashley Moore.
Drake has been in the rap game for awhile now, but he seems to never run too far away from his roots. In “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” he brings back his acting skills, in a white suit, looking real important. It isn’t far from truth, aside from the fact that the video takes place in Miami circa 1985. With A$AP Rocky as his right hand man, they embody the mafia lifestyle. Like all head honchos in mafia movies, the haters try to get you down by taking what you love – is this all just a metaphor for life disguised with bad ’80s attire and mediocre acting, or are we getting ahead of ourselves?
In a Sopranos-esque kidnapping, Drake comes close to losing his woman (a.k.a Ms. Moore). But because we are all suckers for a ::SPOILER:: happy ending, they reconcile with a perfectly passionate make-out sesh.
He may receive backlash for being the most sensitive rapper in the game, but we like seeing the nice guy finish first. Enjoy the video while we get back to listening to Nothing Was The Same – on loop.
Kendrick Lamar has certainly blown up since appearing in our Downtown Issue last May, especially following the hype of his summer hit with Dr. Dre, “The Recipe.” But that was by no means the only jam or big-name cameo from his sophomore album good kid, m.A.A.d city.
The album’s latest single, “Poetic Justice,” features a little help from Kendrick’s friend Drake, who delivers his rhymes via phone from a hotel room, where he sits next to an angelically passed-out-post-coital woman (every man’s fantasy). Meanwhile, Kendrick looks dapper in a square-print button-down as the tragic love story unfolds. Up to you to decide whether the bloody ending is indeed poetic and just.