#86 - Writing the future 🌞

Your Weekly Music Round-Up: Radical Optimism review, Drake and Kendrick feud, Stagecoach recap, TikTok & UMG new deal, 1999 WRITE THE FUTURE.

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Happy Sunlighter Sunday! We thought we were writing the future, but turns out, it’s been 88rising all along - more on that below. Let’s first talk about how Kendrick is standing on business and the collective rapper community going against Drake, with Ye even mentioning that it’s been energizing. While it’s likely not a PR stunt, this does feel good for hip-hop…

Rating Rationale: In Dua Lipa’s first album in four years (yes, it’s been that long since you’ve done the push-up challenge to “Physical,”) she reveals her conscious choice of embracing “radical optimism” as a way to improve her own wellness while simultaneously interpolating its philosophy via a psychedelic-driven sound. Inspired by Britpop and UK rave culture, Dua and her supporting class, which includes Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), Danny Harle (ex-PC Music, producer for Caroline Polachek), and co-writer Tobias Jesso, have procured an album that feels like natural maturation. We think it’s a good album and marries the vocal delivery of her self-titled debut with the dance production of Future Nostalgia, but unfortunately, it still lies under the umbrage of the magnum opus that is Future Nostalgia. Aside from the singles, we suggest listening to “Anything For Love” and “Falling Forever.”

Kendrick Lamar & Drake fuel their feud with more diss tracks

The saga has heightened between Kendrick Lamar and Drake. Following the release of “Push Ups” and the since-deleted AI-generated “Taylor Made Freestyle,” (the estate of Tupac Shakur threatened to sue), we’ve seen at least six tracks contributing to the feud between the two rappers. On April 30th, Kendrick Lamar released “euphoria” and then followed up with “6:16 in LA” before Drake escalated their dispute with more personal attacks on “Family Matters.” In keen anticipation, Kendrick released “meet the grahams,” and “Not Like Us” within hours before Drake finally responded with “THE HEART PART 6” (a clever play on Kendrick’s “The Heart” series). Now that you’re up-to-date with the timeline, we suggest heading to Genius to get the full context of the feud from the crowd-sourced sleuthing from both camps.

Country & Folk

Stagecoach surprises, Randy Travis sparks rumors on AI-generated vocals

Last weekend was one laa “yee-haw” for Coachella Valley as artists took the stage for Stagecoach. Here are a few highlights and surprise guests:

  • Eric Church sparked controversy with his non-traditional headlining set.

  • Post Malone performed a series of country covers, including one with Brad Paisley.

  • After Morgan Wallen surprised fans by bringing Post Malone on an encore performance, the two teased (and later announced) the official release of their upcoming single, “I Had Some Help.”

  • Paul Cauthen brought out Lana Del Rey for a performance of “Unchained Melody.”

  • Jelly Roll brought out T-Pain to perform a cover of the late Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been A Cowboy.”

  • Miranda Lambert brought out Reba McEntire for a duet of “Mama’s Broken Heart.”

  • Nickelback brought out HARDY and Jelly Roll.

Back to country classics, Randy Travis released his first song in over ten years after he experienced a debilitating stroke in 2013. This is a significant moment for Travis and fans as many are speculating the vocals on the new track, “Where That Came From,” might be AI-generated. Amidst the debate on the ethical use of AI in music, it’s worth wondering - wouldn’t we rather keep the artists’ music going as long as we can?

Lovers & Friends Festival canceled, Slipknot plans Knotfest 2024

In a last-minute announcement, Usher and Live Nation’s Lovers & Friends Festival was canceled due to inclement weather conditions in Las Vegas, NV. Although it was set to be a showstopping lineup, ticketholders won’t be leaving empty-handed. The festival has promised to issue ticket refunds within the next 30 days.

Meanwhile in Iowa, Slipknot will bring Knotfest 2024 to their hometown of Des Moines on September 21 to celebrate their debut album’s 25th anniversary.

Rock & Alternative

Linkin Park planning 2025 tour, Ra Ra Riot drops “The Wish,” and Local Natives co-founding member departs

All signs point to Linkin Park planning a tour in 2025, potentially featuring a new female vocalist, leaving fans to speculate what else the band has planned. Ra Ra Riot returns with their first new single in five years, titled "The Wish," produced by founding Vampire Weekend member, Rostam Batmanglij, and hinting at a new direction for their upcoming music. Lastly, Local Natives announce the departure of co-founder Kelcey Ayer and pay tribute to his contributions to the band's journey, signaling a new chapter for the group.

Primer: If you’re wondering… “what kinda artist name is this,” we’re in the same boat, so we did some research for you. After surprise releasing their first internet culture-laden album, hella (˃╭̣ ╮˂̣)✧♡‧o· ̊, the 88rising hip-hop music collective, with any given artist lucky enough to be invited to collaborate, has remained relatively secretive. The group is evidently paying homage to ‘90s hip-hop, but from an angle of futuristic experimentation, showcasing both brazenness and intrigue. Stylistically, we believe this is the RIGHT type of innovation that will help progress and evolve the hip-hop industry - you know, like writing the future.

What’s Next: With 88rising’s annual music festival, Head In The Clouds, occurring next week in New York City, we suspect there might be some surprise performances or announcements involving 1999 WRITE THE FUTURE. Keep your eyes peeled.

☝️ One More Time: After cutting ties earlier this year, Universal Music Group and TikTok have reached a new licensing agreement. Sir Lucian Grainge, the CEO of UMG, confirms that this deal will result in greater compensation for their artists and songwriters, addressing his longstanding commitment to fair compensation in the digital era.

👻 Snap Nation: Snapchat extends its partnership with Live Nation through its new Snap Nation public profile, aiming to bring exclusive artist and concert content and allowing users to form deeper connections with their favorite artists.

🐝 Music Discovery is Buzzing: SoundCloud unveiled its fan-powered “Buzzing Playlists” feature, which aims to spotlight emerging artists by empowering listeners to influence playlist placements based on their engagement. Meanwhile, Qobuz's integration with Android TV enhances music discovery by providing users with a seamless interface to explore new releases and curated playlists.

🌐 Web3 Updates: Boombox.fm recently launched its music app to uphold the power of tastemakers and fan communities by allowing users to share their favorite artists. Powered by Base, Privy, and Neynar, users can earn BOOM currency when fellow fans add their favorite artists.

🍦 All In on $25 Tickets: Live Nation is “All In,” not only on its biggest-ever first quarter with record-breaking revenue, but in offering tickets at $25 for select concerts to encourage attendance and support live music events. To make things extra sweet, they also plan to offer soft-serve ice cream at summer concerts, through a partnership with CVT Soft Serve.

😬 Manchester Miss: Manchester's Co-op Live faces significant challenges as it cancels and postpones several concerts, including those of Olivia Rodrigo and Keane, due to ongoing construction issues and operational chaos. Liam Gallagher voiced frustration, suggesting he might perform at a local Lidl supermarket instead of the Co-op Live Arena if it's not ready soon. Amidst the turmoil, Co-op Live apologizes for its troubled opening and agrees to meet with the Music Venue Trust to discuss implementing a £1 ticket levy. 

🤖 Music & AI Progress: Amid the Grammys on the Hill advocacy event, where artists gathered to share thoughts on ethical AI practices and ticketing reform, FKA Twigs revealed an initiative to create an AI deepfake version of herself to interact with fans as she focuses on making new music. 

🧠 Playing Mind Games: To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, John Lennon’s estate has partnered with Lumenate to introduce nine new psychedelic, meditative remixes of his song, “Mind Games.”

💰 Securing the Bag: Warner Music Group’s subsidiary Songkick has partnered with Shoobs, a ticketing and marketing company, to enhance its offerings in the live events space, aiming to provide a more comprehensive platform for artists and fans alike.

Taylor Swift sets new records with The Tortured Poets Department

📈 On the heels of releasing her 11th studio album, Taylor Swift is really only competing with herself on the charts. Not only is The Tortured Poets Department #1 on the album charts, but fourteen of her songs (almost her magic number) hold the top 14 spots on the Billboard Hot 100.

Gracie Abrams announces new album, Gunna and Kings of Leon to release albums this week

📅 For upcoming albums, tours, and festivals access our comprehensive music calendar here.

📣 Album Announcements: Gracie Abrams announced her upcoming album, The Secret of Us, while Channel Tres revealed his debut album, Head Rush. Both will be released in June.

⏩ Here are album releases to look out for this week: 

  1. Gunna, ONE OF WUN

  2. Kings of Leon, CAN WE PLEASE HAVE FUN

  3. Alec Benjamin, 12 Notes

  4. The Chainsmokers, No Hard Feelings

  5. Destroy Lonely, Love Last Forever

  6. A.G. Cook, Britpop

  7. Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Love Hate Music Box

  8. Judah & The Lion, The Process

  9. Chief Keef, Almighty So 2

  10. Dehd, Poetry

  11. Orville Peck, Stampede

  12. Incubus, Morning View XXIII

The Merch Table

  • 🍗 Open Wide: Longtime music producer and collaborator, Benny Blanco, has published his first cookbook, Open Wide.

  • 🔊 SoundZ: That’s right, not SoundY but SoundZ… and it’s oddly an AI instrument created by Coca-Cola. Unfortunately, physical versions aren’t accessible to the general public, but you can download the digital app version!

  • 🥣 Back for More: Through a collaboration with General Mills, TOMORROW X TOGETHER will be on the covers of your favorite cereal boxes starting May.

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See ya next Sunday 😎

Chris and Donya

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