As I come to the end of my freshman year of college, I’ve begun to reflect on my first two semesters, thinking about where I once was and where I am today. My dorm room is the same; empty beer cans and piles of clothes lining the floor. But everything outside of that room has changed drastically. In the past seven months, I’ve gained and lost more acquaintances than I could possibly name, formed more habits and routines than I’ve ever had in my life, and most importantly, I have come to learn that the University of Maryland is, at least for seven months per year, my new world. My new ecosystem, my new society, and my new home. This, I believe, is the single most important mindset that one has to have when they come to college; this is your life right now, so you must embrace it entirely and not waste time thinking about home.
High school seniors dream about college, especially if they’re going to a school like UMD, where we clearly know how to have fun. There are few things I have ever been more anxious and excited for than driving down to this school on that hot day in late August and beginning my life as a freshman Terp. UMD is what one would call my “dream school,” and as much as I missed my life at home, I knew Maryland was going to be really sick.
If this year’s Art Attack said anything of the beautiful campus and people at the University of Maryland, it’s that Terps know how to turn up. No matter the artist or the song, Xfinity Center’s audience on Friday night was about as fired up as they had been after beating Wisconsin basketball back in February.
The crowd was in it from the start, immediately jumping into a unique set from Battle of the Bands winner, The Orthobox. The one man show was all but orthodox, beat-boxing in a way that incorporated dubstep, pop music, and hip-hop beats. Regardless of his unusual genre, everyone on the floor was down to dance to whatever odd noises and sounds came out of the man’s mouth. This was only evidence of what was to come, however, as the crowd would continue to grow in size, volume, and energy throughout the night.
And then came Logic. In his homecoming show, the up-and-coming Maryland native was entertaining, confident, and lively, making for an awesome performance. The young rapper certainly felt at home, rapping through his discography as his local fans were able to rap along with him. At one point, he even brought Testudo on-stage, which was was sure to bring the crowd to another level.
The set had two distinctive highlights. The first song, “Alright,” is one where Logic sounds more like a Big Sean or Drake than the mixtape rapper that he was no more than a year ago. On-stage, it felt like I wasn’t at a Logic concert, but instead at the show of a more established rapper. This was his strongest moment on Friday night, but it was “Under Pressure” that was the most entertaining. This is where Logic really went in, aggressively spitting into the mic as the crowd bumped with him, beat by beat through what is my personal favorite Logic song. He exhibits his phenomenal flow on “Under Pressure,” and it made for a great live act.
The Chainsmokers were my favorite performers at Art Attack. To be fair, I will lose myself at any EDM show and The Chainsmokers are no exception, but from an objective standpoint, I can still say that the Xfinity Center was no more live for anything else than it was for their top-track, “Kanye.” The Chainsmokers’ mix moved from genre to genre, playing some of the New York duo’s original music, like “Kanye” and “Selfie,” while also mixing in whatever else sounded good. And it all sounded good.
By the end of their show, all the jumping and arm-moving and singing had left the crowd about three-times as tired as they were before the set had began, but I think I can speak for everyone else at Art Attack when I say that the raging was definitely worth it.
Coming into the night, I had only low expectations for Jessie J. Did I wish it was Juicy J? Yes. And do I like the song “Bang Bang”? No, not at all. But what the young artist was able to do on-stage truly did surprise me. She was more energetic than anybody else had been that night, including the fans. She hopped and danced around the stage and was solidly entertaining. And I also forgot that she wrote “Domino,” so that helped her too. Not to say that I had a “great time” watching Jessie J, but I can’t imagine any other pop star would do much better (besides Miley Cyrus).
Maybe it would have been in SEE’s best interest to end the show with The Chainsmokers, seeing that the end of their set drained both the energy and size of the crowd. But either way, I have to give it to Jessie J for getting me to dance to songs as poppy as hers are.
All in all, Art Attack XXXII was better than I had expected, and the crowd was one of the best that I’ve ever seen. A school concert is special because it brings the school together, allows everybody to have fun around one common thing – music. Were Logic, The Chainsmokers, and Jessie J the three acts that I could have asked for? No, the furthest thing from it. But together they put on an exciting and spirited show in front of a great group of people known as #TerpNation.
Kanye West, in all of his wisdom, wrote a very insightful op-ed for Paper Magazine’s April issue titled “Kanye West: In His Own Words.” West hits on a wide range of topics, varying from fashion to innovation to the Illuminati, and for one of the first times in a long time, he isn’t angry. What is unfortunate, however, is that while his opinions are both intriguing and beneficial to read, people’s perceptions of Kanye West – the ridiculous husband of Kim Kardashian, the loud-mouthed and rejected fashion designer, the Taylor Swift-interrupting egomaniac, and most importantly, the mastermind behind “ignant” bangers like “Mercy,” “All Day,” and “Don’t Like” – destroy his credibility as anything other than a musician and allow for these valuable opinions to be either overlooked or assumed to be ignorant banter.
Let me preface this by saying that I am huge Kanye fan, and he is undoubtedly my favorite rapper of all-time. But until not longer than a year ago, that man was arrogant, he was rude, and he was infuriated with his inability to succeed in the fashion industry. For me, as a fan, reading this essay brought a final end to that era. Continue reading Why People Need to Change Their Perception of Kanye West→
The Maryland branch of PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) held a panel on Monday, bringing together politically minded people from Capitol Hill and the classroom to talk about campaign finance reform on both the local and national levels. The panel included Congressman John Sarbanes, UMD government professor Michael Spivey, former Montgomery County councilman Phil Andrews, and PIRG director Dan Smith. The four discussed everything dealing with campaign finance, ranging from the problems caused by 2010’s Citizens United case to future possibilities to control where campaign money is coming from.
The night was introduced, however, by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the delegate for Maryland’s eighth district on Capitol Hill. Van Hollen began by putting the problem on the table, stating that “in order to make sure we have a political system that reflects the public interest, we do need to fix our campaign finance system.” Playing on words, Van Hollen told the audience that though we believe our government is “for the people, of the people, by the people,” we didn’t mean to spell “by” “b-u-y,” insisting that government is bought by campaign donations given through corporations and wealthy members of society. Van Hollen, a Democrat, went on to explain what needs to be done in order to combat such a system. He laid out a couple of goals, including overturning the Citizens United ruling, which he described as a “Supreme Court decision that took a bad campaign finance system and made it much, much, much worse.” Van Hollen also said that our government needs to implement a new campaign finance system, and that it must work to get rid of secret money in politics. Van Hollen, however, could not participate in the panel, and after he signed off, the four speakers began with Professor Spivey.
Where I’m from in Massachusetts, few people, to my knowledge, have ever heard of the Firefly Music Festival. It started one July weekend in 2012, and this summer will once again be at the Woodland’s of the Dover International Speedway in Delaware, and it is sure to be phenomenal.
Though I’ve never been to a music festival, I like few things more than I do live music, and could not be any more excited for Thursday, June 18th when the journey will begin. But like most other college students, throwing down hundreds of dollars on anything is a very difficult thing to do, and you have to make sure it’s worth it. So that’s why I’ve written 10 good reasons that you have to be at Firefly this summer.
This list is in no particular order:
Paul McCartney is a Beatle
The Beatles to music are, in my opinion, beyond anybody or anything else in any other industry. Paul McCartney is the face of the Beatles – if you could ever say there is one – and will be on-stage Friday night singing to what I imagine will be the biggest crowd of the entire festival. And not only that, but he is going to perform Beatles songs. There is not a single old dude in music that I’d rather see than Sir Paul McCartney, and I think, after seeing his show, you will probably agree.
Mad Terps will be there
Like I said, no talk of Firefly in Boston. But I’ve heard a lot of talk about the festival in College Park, and I know at least 20 people that are going to be there in June. I look forward to a lot of Terp-Pride in Dover and I know we’ll be repping the hardest.
Kendrick Lamar, a rapper who needs no introduction, followed in the footsteps of Drake on Sunday night after dropping his third studio album, To Pimp A Butterfly, a week before its previously announced March 23 release date. And while it may have come as a shock to those who woke up and found Lamar’s album available on iTunes Monday morning, it should come as no surprise at all that To Pimp A Butterfly is one of the best rap records to have come out since 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city. Once again it proves that Kendrick Lamar stands atop the entire rap game with few others by his side.
Whereas good kid, m.A.A.d. city told the plight of a young K-Dot in Compton, To Pimp A Butterfly tells the plight of the black American in an album deeply embedded with passionate comments on race and its role in America. But amidst the 16-song record that could very well be deemed as “conscious rap,” the album is wildly entertaining, lyrically savvy, and it manages to be extremely multidimensional while at the same time maintaining a cohesive and well-flowing sound and vibe from start to finish. Continue reading “To Pimp A Butterfly” and how it elevates Kendrick Lamar into Rap-Divinity (REVIEW)→
If you haven’t been on campus all week or live in a cave without a smart phone, Tuesday night was one of the best nights to be a Terp, as the men’s basketball team beat #5 ranked Wisconsin in a hard fought game that ended with fans storming the court.
The fans, however, were quickly attacked by sports media on both a local and national level. Radio show hosts and journalists criticized us for storming the court because the game was not a major upset. Maryland, critics say, is the second best team in the Big Ten conference and only nine spots below Wisconsin in the national rankings going into the game. ESPN’s Seth Greenberg headlined the criticism. He expressed his anger with the following tweets:
Maryland fans this would be an illegal court storm. Wisconsin is not Duke. @ESPNCBB
Radio host Danny Rouhier of 106.7 The Fan in DC explained on a similar argument on the air, stating:
“I just think you should have an expectation. I think you should carry yourself as if you’ve been there.”
While I can recognize and understand all the criticism that is coming our way, I still think we had to storm the court after the game against Wisconsin. I think Tuesday night was a culmination of an entire season that surprised many people, including the students in College Park. The Terrapins have been awesome this year, and are right now looking at a number three seed in the NCAA tournament.
In the past four seasons, the Terps did not make the tournament once, finishing at the seventh or eighth position in the ACC. No matter how strong they have been this year, few expected the team to win against Wisconsin. I definitely didn’t. But the fans storming the court was about more than just a singular game.
This Maryland team is legit, and Tuesday night did everything to prove that. Though beating Wisconsin may have been different than our past home wins against Duke and Virginia, winning that game proved that Maryland could not only hold on, but actually be a threat in the Big Ten.
At the beginning of the season, most analysts expected the Terps to stumble into the conference and struggle in their inaugural campaign. That has clearly not been the case, and storming the court on Tuesday night was a celebration of all of their success and the hopeful success to come. The Terps, throughout this season, earned that court-storm for their fans, and the fans earned it on Tuesday night with their wild support for the team.
The team’s home schedule is officially over with Saturday’s win against Michigan, but after Tuesday night’s victory, one thing will certainly remain true: no amount of criticism can dispute the fact that Maryland’s fan section is one of the best in the Big Ten. With the fans on their side this team is just as, if not, more competitive on the basketball court.
There are few names in the past five years that have been hotter and more prominent in the entire electronic music scene than Skrillex and Diplo. Skrillex, the king of dubstep and master of the drop, and Diplo, the mind behind Major Lazer and some of my favorite hits, like “Boy Oh Boy” and “Pon de Floor,” formed as Jack Ü in the summer of 2013. Before last night, they only released one single, “Take Ü There,” in September. But with their debut album, Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü, released as a surprise around 8 p.m. EST on Thursday night, the superstar duo satisfies the long anticipation, supplying a record that cannot be better described as anything other than “really f**king awesome.”
Jack Ü creates a unique and new sound that resembles both Skrillex and Diplo in a way where the two, who began on far different sides of the electronic music spectrum, mesh perfectly, as if it were one entirely new artist. After the album’s introduction, “Don’t Do Drugs Just Take Some,” the first musical track, “Beats Knockin,” features the build-up of your common Skrillex song with a Diplo-style rap flowing through it by Fly Boi Keno and a more energized version of a drop that one would hear in Skrillex’s most recent solo-album, Recess, or in most of Diplo’s recent work. It’s a jam, as Skrillex and Diplo tell the world that they have no boundaries, no genre. Continue reading Jack Ü’s “Skrillex & Diplo Present Jack Ü” combines electronic music’s two biggest names in the best way imaginable (REVIEW)→
Drake, one of the hottest and most popular names in all of music, surprised the world on Thursday with If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Though Drake deemed the 17-track record as a mixtape, it’s been selling on iTunes and is streaming through Spotify, currently standing as the #1 most popular album on the iTunes charts.
Get On Up, while carrying all the components of a great movie – phenomenal acting, passionate dialogue, and precise directing – is missing the base of all great movies, and therefore is doomed from the start. The film lacks a substantial plot, nothing that the audience can sink their teeth into, and instead delivers an excellent portrayal of the life and times of James Brown.
Chadwick Boseman, who starred as Jackie Robinson in 42, once again plays a historic character in a way that makes him seem as real as James Brown himself. Due to the film’s meaningless and motionless plot, however, the film leaves the viewer unsatisfied, wondering why they just sat through those 2 hours of bright lights, funk music, and not much else. Continue reading Get On Up REVIEW (OPINION)→