Daily Archives: November 5, 2012
Up-and-coming hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar released his second studio album and first major label debut, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City on Oct. 22 on TDE Records.
The album tells stories of Kendrick’s life and tales of living and growing up in the streets of Compton, Calif. The album is a follow up to his critically acclaimed first studio album Section. 80.
In the song “Compton” Kendrick says, “Now we can all celebrate, we can all harvest the rap artists of NWA, America target our rap market, it’s controversy and hate, harsh realities we in made our music translate.”
Lyrics like this paint a perfect picture of the type of artist Kendrick is. He is someone who grew up seeing the harsh realities of life in the streets and has the ability not to just highlight them but to analyze the repercussions of the lifestyle, both positive and negative.
His ability to craft the tales of the everyday man trying to make it day by day can appeal and translate to anyone. Kendrick moves beyond the limits of the gangsta rap genre and speaks to the humanity in almost all music fans and especially hip-hop fans.
The album features production from big name producers like Just Blaze (who has worked with the likes of Jay-Z and J. Cole) and the Neptunes (who have worked with artists like Justin Timberlake, as well as Jay-Z). The album also features appearances by artists, such as Jay Rock, Dr. Dre and Drake.
The album starts off on a slower note with two songs “Sherane” and “Don’t Kill My Vibe.”
“Sherane” is a story of a summer fling involving Kendrick and a character named Sherane. They meet at a party and flirt but Kendrick has reservations about getting involved because of her gang-affiliated family. Kendrick decides to continue the fling but as the song draws to a close he is confronted by Sherane and two hooded men waiting to surprise him.
The song gives a fairly innocent look at summer love but also keeps the themes of street life and the dangers that constantly confront Kendrick throughout the narrative of the album. The song has a laid back vibe but soon the album quickly picks up speed.
The album hits an incredible pace on the freestyle rap “Backseat Freestyle.” Kendrick’s raps come fast and with a growl in his voice that demonstrates the grit and power he puts into his album. Past fans will recognize flows like this from his song on Section. 80 “Rigamortus.”
Many Kendrick fans may be disappointed by the lack of features from his Black Hippy compatriots Ab-Soul or Schoolboy Q but the album is still strong. And “Money Trees,” featuring Jay Rock, will more than hold fans of the hip-hop super group over until they release a formal studio album.
The album is a great success and Kendrick fans will not be disappointed with the direction the artist has moved in since his first release on Section. 80. Music fans in general will also find a lot of positives in the album as long as they like hip-hop. It can keep the attention of the general rap fan or dig deep into the minds of the serious hip-hop aficionados.
Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City could be the strongest hip-hop release of 2012 by a young artist, who could be one of the first to save the genre and bring its consciousness back, while maintaining the reality and straight forward attitude that makes the rap so special.
This album is a must listen and Kendrick is an artist that any serious music fan needs to explore further.
KSLC Music Director
This week is it. The next president will be decided and all those annoying political ads will finally come to a close. At this point, it feels like they have been going on forever.
So what will happen? For only one day after this article runs will we be unsure. But sex and reproductive rights have been a huge part of this year’s political discussions. Many opinions and false facts have been tossed around and have become viral on Facebook and other media. Before it became less relevant, I wanted to go through some of them.
The first statement that comes to mind was about the need- or lack thereof- for abortions in rape cases by Todd Akin. He claimed that doctors had told him that when legitimately raped, a woman’s body will prevent itself from getting pregnant.
One, this is not true. Some form of birth control is what would prevent a woman from becoming pregnant after being raped. The body does not differentiate between rape and consensual intercourse and decide to stop a process.
Two, what is “legitimate rape”? He may have meant violent rape where it is clear the woman is being raped. This invalidates women who are raped through manipulation and guilt, which is also emotional abuse (see my last article).
Unfortunately, he is not the only one to believe this. Back in 1995, Henry Aldridge said those who are truly raped don’t get pregnant because their “juices” don’t flow. Akin later claimed he misspoke, but never offered his alternative “medical advice.”
Some politicians have said that rape is God’s will. Richard Mourdock said recently that he believed life begins at conception and that even in cases of rape, abortions should not be allowed. One of his supporters, Sen. John Cornyn, agreed with Mourdock that life conceived in this manner was a gift from God.
Mourdock did say that he does not condone violence and rape. But when using the religion card, why is it not pointed out that rape is wrong? If life begins at conception, why is the aftermath punished rather than targeting the cause?
Gov. Mitt Romney has been wishy-washy on some issues, including when it comes to abortion and birth control. He has flipped on where he stands on abortion exceptions, from none to only cases of incest, rape and threat to the mother’s health or life. He has also reportedly said that he will get rid of Roe v. Wade and funding for Planned Parenthood.
Where he will land, nobody knows. But what statistics show is that more education about sex leads to less unplanned pregnancies and abortions. And stopping the problem at the source has shown more effective, not only in rape but a wide variety of other issues as well.
J.K. Rowling, acclaimed author of the “Harry Potter” series, is back with a new novel, “The Casual Vacancy.” But for this novel, you’ll have to put your wands away.
Rowling took the new novel as an opportunity to do everything she couldn’t do in “Harry Potter,” a children’s series. “The Casual Vacancy” is an adult novel full of F-Bombs, drug use and sexy British scandal.
“I just needed to write this book. I like it a lot, I’m proud of it and that counts for me,” Rowling said in an interview for “The Guardian.”
“The Casual Vacancy” is set in a rural town in modern day England called Pagford. The town is rocked by the sudden death of Barry Fairbrother, who leaves an open seat on Pagford’s town council. The town is politically torn between those who want to separate the Fields, a poverty-ridden side of town that is home to drug addicts and bad seeds from Pagford, and those who want to keep it.
Several townspeople jump at the opportunity to take Barry’s vacant seat, which causes the ghost of Barry Fairbrother to intervene.
Rowling narrates Pagford by observing a handful of dysfunctional characters like, Samantha, the middle-aged woman that pines for her youth (and youthful boys), Krystal, the teenage daughter of a heroin addict/prostitute, and Cubby, the principal of the local high school who is determined to protect the Fields after the death of his best friend.
Rowling has a distinct pattern to her writing. For about three-quarters of her novels, there’s a steady buildup of character development and plot thickening before, in the final quarter, there’s an explosion of events that leaves the reader stupefied.
During the first week, “The Casual Vacancy” became the 15th top selling novel from 2012 and within a month, sold more than one million copies.
The media is raving about “The Casual Vacancy,” and not all of it is good. A family of Sikh’s in Pagford has caused a controversy. Many Sikhs appreciate the accurate portrayal of how Sikhs are racially discriminated against while some Indian officials, like Avtar Singh Makkar, want the novel banned in India.
“The novel contains moments of genuine drama and flashes here and there of humor,” wrote the New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani. “But it ends on such a disheartening note with two more abrupt, crudely stage-managed deaths that the reader is left stumbling about with whatever is the opposite of the emotions evoked by the end of the ‘Harry Potter’ series.”
Rowling took a relatively boring topic, like small town politics, and transfigured it into a fast pace and fun novel.
Known for the castles, royalty and history, Great Britain is one of the many locations that Linfield students can chose from to study aboard.
This fall semester, Linfield has nine students studying at the University of Nottingham.
Junior Chelsea Ploof’s adjustment to Great Britain culture hasn’t been as difficult as she predicted.
“I still get tripped up by the 24-hour clock and how they refer to time. Instead of saying 3:30 for example, the British would ask you to meet them at half 3. Or, they might even say half past or a quarter past and you have to determine what hour they are talking about,” Ploof said via email. “Also, currency is a challenge. I still get confused about the proper terms for each coin and the slang that is used to refer to pounds.”
When looking at the difference in schools, fellow junior Alanna Stanton has noticed the teaching style differences between Linfield and the University of Nottingham.
“The courses have a lot less mandatory reading [which] are much larger,” Stanton said via email. “They seem to take the approach of ‘here are about 30 additional books that have good info on the subject we discussed in lecture, feel free to do more reading.’ You seem to in a sense design your own course in a way. Focus on the parts you find really interesting.”
With more independence in their learning, Linfield students adjust to a new type of grading system.
“The British do not typically have a GPA or letter grades,” Ploof said. “Instead, they receive marks based on percentages of the rest of the class. Their marks are also on a totally different scale than us. For example, 70 is superior here where as in the U.S., it would be seen as average work. In order to get a superior mark, you also have to go above and beyond the expected amount of work. Your overall mark is usually dependent on only one exam or one paper. You have to conduct a lot of independent study and determine what is important and what is not.”
While Great Britain is filled with historical culture, those who come to Linfield from Great Britain see a lack of history behind the American culture.
Sophomore exchange student, Marit Berning grew up in Great Britain and in coming to Linfield has noticed some distinct differences in culture.
“The hardest thing about moving to America was getting used to the lack of historical culture,” Berning said via email. “In England, even the sidewalks have been around for 200 years, not to mention all of the buildings, statues are so steeped in history. Coming to America was an aesthetic shock due to the newness of everything.”
Another difference Berning has encountered is the hospitality of Americans, more specifically those on the West coast.
“Americans are much more hospitable than Londoners (I can’t really speak for the whole of England),” Berning said. “Everyone seems eager to help here, and the general air is that if someone can go out of their way to make your day notably better, they will.”
While Great Britain and America are different, both Berning and Ploof, along with many other Linfield students, have positive experiences fueling their visits to each country.
“I have never felt so accepted and so at home while abroad before,” Ploof said. “Elements of the culture that I was originally nervous about, only make the experience that much better. I love all the opportunities and diversity that a big university has to offer, and I am really enjoying the social life. If I had to pick one word I would say opportunity. There are so many ways to get involved here. If you ever get bored of Nottingham or even England, all you need to do is just hop on a train or a plane and travel. The world is your oyster in the UK.”
My fellow Review staffer Kaylyn and I sat in the theater by ourselves, faces covered by our jackets, as we watched the horror unfold in the latest installment of “Paranormal Activity.”
The Paranormal franchise began in 2007 and has since gathered a large following. The movies deal with a family being terrorized by a supernatural presence.
For those of you who have been lucky enough to make it five years without seeing one of these movies, here is a quick rundown of the stories (without giving too much away, of course). The first movie deals with a couple, Katie and Micah, being haunted by an evil presence. In the second movie (a prequel to the first), we meet Kristi (Katie’s sister) and her family who are also being haunted by the presence.
The third movie (set when Katie and Kristi are kids) answers a lot of questions about the first two, namely why the two sisters have to deal with the evil spirit no matter where they go. In the latest movie, the same evil spirit begins to terrorize a new family after the neighbor’s son begins hanging around their property.
From my experience, the movies have gotten increasingly scarier. With each movie, the supernatural presence becomes much more hostile. What used to be just random bangs and weird sounds in the night has turned into creepy cats and pool cleaners, knives falling from the ceiling, humans being pulled into the basement by invisible spirits and kitchen cabinets and doors opening on their own, just to name a few things.
Each movie steps up the level of horror and torture that can be released on a human. In addition, each movie expands on the idea that supernatural occurrences don’t only happen at night. Not only that, but each movie advances in the way it records the paranormal activity. Simple home cameras on a tripod have transformed into smart phones and webcams used in the most normal locations imaginable.
As a general rule, the “Paranormal Activity” movies are really creepy. The idea of being haunted by something that is invisible and has complete control over you is out of my mind creepy. Also, it seems impossible to make a tree house, your own bedroom or your own house, for that matter, a scary place, but think again… these movies will make you paranoid.
Everything that once made you feel safe, forget it! “Paranormal Activity” will ruin it, just like your parents ruined Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. “Paranormal Activity” not only scares you in the theater but it also drives you mad once you leave.
I am not afraid to admit that each “Paranormal Activity” movies scares me more than the first and that’s what I love about them. I don’t go to see scary movies to laugh (even though the first one was kind of a joke), I go to feel like I am going to die (for lack of a better way to put it). It’s my form of bungee jumping or skydiving but with a guarantee that I will still be alive at the end.