Thoughts going into the Grammys: Kendrick’s Turn

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[UPDATE]

 

I’m back y’all.

I know it’s been a minute, but I’ve been getting settled into a completely new situation at the house, and sadly I’ve been putting TDL on the back burner.That coupled with some technical problems caused a slight malfunction to TheDarkerLens. Bad news: I had to repost everything, and unfortunately I lost a couple from last year.  But now that everything’s good, expect more TDL posts on the way.

 

Now back to the topic.  

 

When it comes to most things in my life, I’m pretty optimistic. I always hope for the best in my school  and whatever sport I’m playing, and I always believe that the best possible outcome will show itself. Helen Keller once said “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Now while I do like to keep a positive outlook, there are a few things that I’ve simply given up on. The first one, is the possibility of 100% percent harmony between races, for after the last couple of years, it’s becoming less and less like a possible reality. The second one, is the possibility of Tupac being alive, for as much as I want the Cuban Conspiracy to be true, I feel like he would’ve come out by now. And the last one, which kind of fits in with the first, is the possibility of black people getting the proper accolades they deserve for what they do. Richard Sherman and Cam Newton are successful black men who have fun playing football?

“Just a couple of thugs”.

Serena Williams is the most dominant player in women’s tennis?

“She might be a man”.  

President Obama passed the Affordable Care act for millions of Americans, ended the war in Iraq, turned around the automotive industry, and created 8.7 million jobs?

“Still running our country into the ground”.

The examples don’t end, and this goes across the board. One of the clearer examples of blatant disrespect comes in award ceremonies such as the Oscar’s and the Grammy’s. Now, the Oscar’s are a whole different beast for another post, but as for the Grammy’s, something is different this year.

Although for many years black people have been snubbed of well-deserved awards at the Grammy’s, it’s sometimes debatable that there might be some competition in the fields that they’re in. And on top of that, the work made by black people might not have been “Grammy winning” that year. But that was the past, and that was before To Pimp a Butterfly.

I distinctly remember staying up all night waiting for that album, hoping that one of my favorite rappers, Kendrick Lamar, will deliver with a quality project for me to listen to. I was simply hoping for some quality lyrics, some catchy hooks, and a banger or two to play in the car. Needless to say, my standards weren’t too high,

 

And then I listened to it.

 

I don’t even want to chalk it up to the thought-provoking lyrics, or the fusion of jazz, funk, spoken word, and Hip Hop. I don’t even want to chalk it up to the overarching message of the whole album. I say this because that was the closest thing I’ve heard to a perfect album. This album gives you music you want, and music you didn’t even know you wanted. This album is extremely personal, while also having the ability to speak to so many people at once. And of course, this album was one of the most timely things anyone could’ve  produced given the state of the U.S. With songs like “Alright” that uplift an entire people despite the weights of society (police shootings, poverty, etc), “The Blacker the Berry” which speaks to the dichotomy between uplifting fellow black people and black-on black crime, and “Complexion”, which paints a vivid picture of the colorism that still exists amongst black people, this album puts music to the lives of every African American living in the United States right now. That’s why it’s certified platinum, and that’s why it’s nominated for 11 Grammys.

But even with all of that in its corner, I as well as others, are still not too sure if Kendrick will get what he deserves. He was already snubbed a Grammy in 2014 after Macklemore took it with “The Heist”, but that was a different time and this is a different album. To me, everything is lining up perfectly, now it just needs to happen.

So this monday, Lord knows I’ll be watching the Grammys to see if the right things happen. Right now I’m still not too sure if the Academy will do the right thing, but hopefully they can prove me wrong.

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The Childish Gambino Deep Web Tour Review

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 “The crowd was waiting for the man of the night. After almost 45 minutes of an opener DJ set, it was time to see who they were paying for. All that was heard was the clicking of iPhones in boredom, as the DJ  made his last remarks, leaving his booth. There was nobody on stage,  leaving only props consisting of a piano, a couple of sofas, some drums, a projector screen, and a chandelier. As soon as the crowd’s attention is almost completely lost, a voice comes from the background repeating the same word over and over again:

 

woooorldstar. Wooooorldstar. WOOOOORLDSTAR. WOOOOORLDSTAR!

 

The crowd joins in and forms a deafening chant. Over and over, this is all you hear from the sold out crowd. And suddenly, almost oblivious to the noise, Childish Gambino walks onto the stage and sits at the piano. He’s met by what sounds like a roar of screams as the crowd rushes towards the stage trying to get a better look. The band walks on seconds later, as Gambino leans into the microphone. With a sleepy cadence he says:

‘What’s up Atlanta’.

 

The show had begun”.

If you don’t know who or what I’m talking about, the answer is Childish Gambino. Childish Gambino a.k.a Donald Glover, is a comedian/actor/writer/rapper that has made his mark on a few forms of entertainment. Whether it’s writing for 30 Rock, being a stand-up comedian, or playing the role Troy Barnes on NBC’sCommunity, Donald has showed that he is not only funny, but smart, creative, and extremely talented. His rap career started in 2010 with a couple of mixtapes entitled I Am Just A Rapper and I Am Just A Rapper 2, and really took off with his first LP Camp  in 2011. Since then he has been doing a plethora of things, including releasing his second studio album entitled Because The Internet (album cover above). This album was accompanied by a full screenplay to go along with it, involving a young adult like Donald living a laid-back, lavish, and lonely lifestyle. The album was, in my opinion, really good, showing multiple sides of Gambino that really showed off his range. And to top it all off, Donald announced the Deep Web Tour around the world where he’ll be performing stuff from his past and recent album. I was lucky enough to get tickets.

 

What a show.

 

The first thing that I loved  was the live band that played throughout the concert. Not only did it give the concert an authentic experience, but it was also really, really good. From the drums down to the backup singers, everyone held their own. My personal favorite was the female keyboard player, who almost hypnotized me by how powerful and passionate she was. And all of it fit so well with Gambino’s music, which isn’t just all synths and bass like some other rappers. By putting actual instruments into his songs, it makes the live experience that much better.

What was also really cool, was the Deep Web app that was made especially for the concert, and how people in the crowd could interact with the actual concert via a projector screen. You could send messages, take polls in some areas, and even draw pictures when you wanted to. I wish I knew about it before, but it was still really cool ( and sometimes funny) to see what people were writing in real time in the crowd.

On top of all this, the stage was set up to resemble moments in the screenplay, so it was as if you were watching a movie during the performance with Gambino acting as the score. I was wondering why there were sofas and a chandelier when I got there, for it almost looked like a stage for a play or something. But it worked out really well, and I felt like I wasn’t just at a concert.

And of course, there’s the performance from Childish Gambino. This was, in my opinion, the best part of concert hands down. This man put on a show. He rapped with incredible charisma, he sang really well, he danced, he talked to the crowd, he freestyled, he did everything. You could feel the electricity coming from the stage with songs like “Worldstar” and “Crawl”. And because of this, the audience never seemed to stop cheering. All the parts for a great show were there, and he was basically the glue that put it all together. It was really good.

So in conclusion, I would rate this performance an 8 and a half out of 10 (we waited for a little bit for him to come out due to some safety problems or something). It was fun, it was interesting, it was exciting, and it was CRAZY. If you have some spare time and he’s in your city, I highly recommend checking it out. Chances are, you’ll become a fan.

 

 

Here’s another photo from the concert.

photo

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