Astronaut & Spacey: Hump Day Hip Hop
1. Lupe Fiasco
Lupe, Lupe, Lupe, what can you say about this Chi-town song-smith. His smooth lyrical flow has gained him sold-out area stardom in both the underground hip-hop scene and the main stream circuit. He was first recognized back in 2006 when, with the help of Jay-Z, he debuted his first studio album, “Food & Liquor.” If you are a true Lupe Fiasco fan, you would have already had the packaging ripped off of your copy of his newest album, “Lasers.” There are a few solid tracks, but it is sort of a let down. The man himself admitted it wasn’t his best work. But the fact remains, Lupe is still the same off beat kid with a dirty flow. And the students at Penn State are lucky enough to have this Grammy-award winning artist headlining at our spring concert, Movin’ On. My advice, start learning the words, Happy Valley.
Actor, comedian and rapper are all titles that pertain to Donald Glover, the face behind the rap act Childish Gambino. Glover is one of the founders of Derrick Comedy and can be seen in several viral videos, including “Bro Rape” and also plays Troy in the NBC sitcom “Community.” But this isn’t about his acting, but his ever-expanding repetoire of rap songs. Gambino’s style uses indie rock band such as Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear and Sleigh Bells, to name a few. He takes the songs and removes the vocals so he can write his own rap songs over top the indie beats. There have been five full-length releases which are all free for download from his website, including his newest EP, so profoundly called “EP.” The EP features his newest single and homage to the TV show, “Freaks and Geeks,” a solid jam worthy of party status for your hipster friends. If you like what you hear, make sure to check out his older stuff, especially the song “The Real” off his “I am Not a Rapper 2” album that samples Sleigh Bells “Infinity Guitars.” After listening to Childish Gambino, you won’t look at indie-rock, or rap for that matter, the same way.
3. Hyro Da Hero
When someone mentions the term “rap rock,” artists like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park tend to come to mind. While we all love ourselves some Nookie, the genre has garnered a dismal reputation. Enter Los Angeles-based Hyro Da Hero. While it would be incorrect to label him as simply rap rock, Hyro delivers a fierce lyrical sermon, while his band (featuring ex-members of At the Drive-In/The Mars Volta, Idiot Pilot and The Blood Brothers) front a crunching rock n’ roll onslaught. “Ghetto Ambiance,” the first single off his debut album “Birth, School, Work, Death” (described as Nas meets Rage Against the Machine), displays the collective’s raw, genuine sound. An artist not afraid to experiment with a multitude of styles, even sampling Circa Survive’s “Living Together,” in the song “Noose Around Hip Hop,” and, believe it or not, raps over Slipknot’s in the song “Our Nation.” You will be hard pressed to find hip hop like Hyro’s, proudly proclaiming himself in his upcoming song “Grudge,” “I ain’t no Lil’ Wayne.” Make sure to pick up Hyro Da Hero’s debut album when it drops April 4 on Stereo Bang Media, as well as his three mixtapes.