1. Nicki and Beyonce are Feeling Themselves - Natalie P.
The last few weeks were full of women in popular music, and Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj weren’t about to miss out on the fun. The day after Taylor Swift debuted the “Bad Blood” music video at the Billboard Music Awards, Minaj released the video for “Feeling Myself,” a collaboration with Beyoncé from her latest album, The Pinkprint, on TIDAL, a new music streaming service. Much like Swift’s “Bad Blood,” the video is very female-centered and most, if not all of the men in the video, are simply there to be in the background. This video is so unique in that it brings a new and refreshing perspective that is often lacking in the hip-hop and pop music industries alike: the perspective of two women who put each other and themselves before the men in their lives. In “Feeling Myself” Minaj creates an environment where, much like a previous hit from Beyoncé, girls run the world. There are very few men in the video, and the men who are there are pretty much just used as extras. The world that Beyoncé and Nicki have created in this video shows two women who seem to value each other and their friendship the most, (even if that fantasy just exists in this one video, as we all know Beyoncé has an entire family to tend to, and I’m sure Nicki has a ridiculous amount of things going on literally all the time). They’ve continued to work with the feminist vibe from the last Nicki and Beyoncé collaboration, the “***Flawless” remix, putting themselves at the top of their own priority lists and not apologizing for it. The video shows Beyoncé and Nicki having a blast at Coachella, doing a lot of things that any of us would do with our best girlfriends, making the two women very easy to relate to. They dance, they eat (and not in a creepy sexualized Carl’s Jr. way, but in a real human eating way), they goof off, and they paint themselves as two best friends who just happen to be mind-blowingly beautiful. They send a powerful message to the young girls who may be watching this video: it’s okay to think that you’re hot shit, it’s okay to know that you’re hot shit, and it’s okay to talk about it; a message that too many young girls grow up without hearing. Between this video and Swift’s “Bad Blood” video, I, for one, can’t wait to see more of this “girls to the front” type of attitude from today’s music. And with an overwhelmingly positive response from fans, it seems like there is only more to come – Natalie P.
2. Tomas Furey - Beams and Shadows
Based in Montreal, Tomas Furey composes electro-pop pieces that remind us of James Blake or Moderat. His studies in electroacoustics give him a complete control over his art. Here's his new video for Beams and Shadows.
3. Kdza - Mafia ft. Yasi (Prod. by Kdza)
Illustra Music Group is a team of creative artists from Durham, NC that currently consists of two artists (Kdza and Ya$i). They don't collaborate on every song, as both artists are working on solo projects. Kdza is working on an untitled EP that will be out this summer. Released work from the Illustra team is never a disappointment. Follow their Instagram & Twitter to keep up: @k.dza @yasi.emcee. Here is Kdza's latest track 'MAFIA' featuring Ya$i.
4. Who is Rome Jeterr?
Coming out of a ‘not so perfect’ area, where streets filled with negativity bars the minds of many, independent rising star Rome Jeterr uses his Southside Raleigh, N.C. upbringing as the muscle to his hustle. The young independent artist believes that the only music that should be created is the music that people can relate to and music that touches the soul. Rome Jeterr has been pursuing a music career for a few years now. His plight toward hip hop started out as just a hobby, but quickly turned into an obsession. Jeterr’s previous single ‘Wildin for Respect’ explains Jeterr’s approach to this music thing. The N.C. artist appreciates the support of those who come from areas – as those he comes from. Jeterr’s approach to music, involves his advocating for those who didn’t have much – the have-nots. Using classic sounding production, with a real authentic hip hop feel to its sound, Jeter makes sure to include ‘real hip hop’ in his style as he gracefully lays bars down on tracks. Influenced by only greats like Jay Z, Fabolous, and Lil Wayne, Jeterr also states that independent legend of N.C. Shook Da Crook taught him about staying true to where he came from and representing his hood – first and foremost. Rome Jeter’s style is one of intelligence, and you can tell by his choice of wordplay that he’s hip to a lot of ‘fake rap lives’ being lived on beats. Rome Jeterr chooses to stay authentic in his rhyming. Most recent single and video ‘Give a F*ck’, is the perfect example of a single from Jeterr that explains how dedicated an independent artist can be to his own grind. Basketball dreams would fold for the young high school star due to a physical injury, and Rome Jeterr would soon up his grind a thousand – focusing strictly on the music. Rome Jeterr looks at the music industry as a room full of followers, and he plans on brining a new style of leadership to the game. Being placed on several music sites including Karakhaotic.com, one of the biggest blogs in North Carolina, Jeterr is sure to be one artist you’ll get familiar with shortly. Follow @RomeJeterr on Twitter, Facebook, and SoundCloud to stay in tuned to what’s next.
5. Bambino - Miss Conception
Miss Conception is the first single off of Bambino’s debut project ‘Conception’. Bambino, at 19 years old, is the youngest member of the Castello Empire collective based out of Vancouver, Canada. He aspires to reciprocate the musical energy and cadence of his creative influences, some of which being; Outkast, Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper.
Miss Conception is a refreshing blend of pop and old school R&B, with elements of Hip-Hop. Bambino, along with the Castello Empire collective, pride themselves on being original while executing abstract ideas. With more than just music in his artistic catalogue, Bambino is an aspiring filmmaker and visionary.
The Castello Empire collective is a group of four young men who came together to fulfill their vision of designing a platform to express their passions. Between the four, in-house skills vary from producing, engineering, graphic designing to filmmaking, as well as, starting a clothing line by the namesake. This is just the start for the young, passionate artist and his team, as they have many upcoming releases in the works for the near future.