- #51 - Just like Chet 🌞
#51 - Just like Chet 🌞
Your Weekly Music Round-Up: ESCAPE ARTIST album review, hip-hop turns 50, Google and music publishers discuss AI licensing, Tory gets 9, Ye is back, Laufey.
Happy Sunlighter Sunday! Friday was a legendary milestone that marked 50 years of hip-hop. It’s hard to imagine what the world would be like without the influence of hip-hop. The cultural fabric of society would be very different… 8 Mile would just be a mere road, Drake might still be acting, streetwear would be a niche subject of fashion, etc. It’s time to pay homage.
Here's what we have queued up this week:
🌶️ Review of ESCAPE ARTIST by MISOGI.
💿 This Week in Music: Hip-Hop 50, AI music licensing, Tory gets 9 years.
📈 Weekly Charts: Artists outta Texas.
🎙️ Laufey is our artist of the week.
Rating Rationale: This week, we’re headed underground to review one of the best albums of the year, focusing on a more niche subgenre of music that we subjectively love, hyperpop. MISOGI, a diverse London-based producer, quintessentially exhibits this style through his unpredictability, versatility, and utter wizardry in his self-referential album, ESCAPE ARTIST. He cohesively combines elements of hyperpop, trap, drum and bass, and shoegaze into an immersive blend that reveals itself as one of the most underrated album releases of the year. Must listens include “SHOEGAZING,” “PINK NOISE,” “GOSSIP” (especially if you like Porter Robinson), and “AFTERLIGHTDARKBLUE.”
🎤 Hip-Hop 50: The genre of hip-hop is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Here’s a look at various aspects of hip-hop, from the past to the present:
🏫 Back-to-School: A party in the Bronx hosted by two siblings started a genre revolution.
🧮 Hustle & Flow: Trap is rooted in Southern rap. It’s birthplace? Atlanta.
🌎 Growth of Hip-Hop: Nearly 25% of all streams on Spotify are from the hip-hop genre. Spotify reflects on the genre’s growth and drops a few names of global hip-hop artists to watch.
Cha Cha Now Y’all: If you’re a millennial, these iconic lyrics reverberated through the gyms of P.E. classes when you were a youth. The memorable tune was originally recorded by Willie Perry Jr. as an aerobic exercise for his nephew. Willie, better known as DJ Casper, passed away this week after a long battle with cancer.
🏆 Women Music Awards: All nominees for this year’s MTV VMAs Artist of the Year award are women, a confirmation that women artists are dominating 2023, in particular, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.
🧑⚖️ 9 Years: That’s how many years Tory Lanez was sentenced to jail after being found guilty of three felonies related to the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion.
😶🌫️ Truth Hurts: At least six additional complaints have come against Lizzo since three former dancers came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and weight shaming.
📺 You Gotta Watch This: In honor of Taylor’s re-release of 1989, we’re dropping a GRAMMYs performance you need to watch.
⚛️ AI Music Licensing: In a bombshell report by the Financial Times, Google, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music have been in discussions to develop a product that supports licensing artist melodies and voices for songs generated by artificial intelligence.
🦉 Music Lingo: According to some expert-level sleuthing by an iOS engineer, it appears that Duolingo is planning to unveil music learning functionalities into their language learning app.
❌ X Marks the Music: Earlier this week, an X (formerly Twitter) employee seized a user’s account that owned the @music handle and moved his data over to @musicfan.
🍎 Apple Discovery: Does an apple a day keep the algorithm away? Not anymore. Apple Music has incorporated a new algorithmic radio station to compete with Spotify’s more tenured discovery algorithm.
🪟 Glass Windows: Lil Baby’s label, Glass Window Entertainment, has partnered with Capitol Music and Motown Records to sign Rylo Rodriguez. Keep an eye on this partnership as we expect big names to surface here soon.
🧪 ENHYBEN: HYBE acquires BeLift Lab from South Korean entertainment company, CJ ENM, which is home to K-pop group, ENHYPHEN. We wouldn’t be surprised if HYBE stays active in the M&A space as they continue to revitalize revenue growth in a post-BTS world.
🌐 Web3 Updates: Limewire announced ad-revenue sharing with content creators, fans, and “promoters.” Sound dropped a new explore page with enhanced search functionality. Nina Protocol now allows you to pay with any major credit card or debit card to collect an artist’s release.
🎪 Circus Maximus: Recent events tied to the release of Utopia have finally culminated in a live performance in the ancient Roman park, which featured a rare appearance from Ye (first since February 2022) along with high praise from Travis Scott.
🇺🇸 MIA: Due to irreparable circumstances, Made in America, a festival run and curated by Jay-Z, was canceled earlier this week and will return to Philly in 2024.
👀 In Taylor Swift fashion, she surprised the world (especially L.A.) on 8/9 by announcing 1989 (Taylor’s Version) coming in October. Dua Lipa’s new album is due in 2024, paying homage to the psychedelic era. It’s Til Next Time with DJ Khaled. V from BTS will be on a Layover in September. Offset plans to show “way more personality” with his second solo album this October. GloRilla is set to release her debut album soon. RL Grime is to PLAY as CamelPhat is to Spiritual Milk. Turnstile and BADBADNOTGOOD dropped a surprise EP collaboration. Fred again.. finally released his long-awaited single “adore u” alongside Obongjayar. Sigrid returns with her first single of the year.
🚶♂️ Artists On Tour: Paramore canceled the rest of their U.S. tour dates after Hayley Williams contracted a lung infection, Bruno Mars added a few additional dates to his 2023 Las Vegas residency, Travis Scott will be going on tour for the first time since his Astroworld incident, Kenny G will be playing an upcoming holiday tour, The Maine will be celebrating their 16 year anniversary, Carly Pearce, Nathaniel Rateliff, Beach Fossils.
📈 What’s Trending? To no surprise, Travis Scott dominated the charts last week with the release of Utopia (all 19 tracks charted in the Top 100). It’s his third #1 album, overshadowing Post Malone’s release of AUSTIN, which debuted in the #2 spot. It’s a great debut for the talent coming out of Texas, especially for up-and-comer, That Mexican OT (Outta Texas).
Primer: Icelandic-Chinese singer-songwriter and cellist, Laufey (pronounced Lo-vay) aims to revitalize the timelessness of jazz music to the younger generations. It’s like listening to the sounds of Christmas and Disney music all year round–wouldn’t that be nice?
An Hour of Practice a Day: Since the age of 4, Laufey Lín Jónsdottír has been entrenched in the world of classical music. Born and raised in Reykjavík, she grew up listening to her father’s obsessive collection of jazz standard vinyl, from Ella Fitzgerald to Nat King Cole. Moreover, her love of classical music came from both her mother’s career as a classical violinist with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and her grandfather’s experience as a violin teacher at a music conservatory in China. Anyone who’s practiced an instrument knows that practice can be the most painful exercise, but Laufey embraced it. From age 4 onward, she would practice her instrumentation, further developing her skills on the cello, every day alongside her mother.
Practice Your Passions: Practice makes perfect, and in Laufey’s case, it helped develop her passion. Not only was she excelling in her artistry of the cello, making her debut with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra at age 15, but she was constantly consuming everything in the jazz genre. Laufey taught herself jazz piano and was inspired by how beautifully jazz was woven into films like Singin’ In The Rain and When Harry Met Sally. When it came time for her to pursue higher education, rather than selecting a university that would ensure a secure job after graduation, it was Laufey’s mother who encouraged her to pursue her passion for music, which led Laufey to accept a spot at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Berklee and Onward: During her time at Berklee, Laufey gained more exposure to the art of jazz. She familiarized herself with the intimate components of a jazz song, notably, how important it was to proliferate harmonies. She conveniently found a producer who was well-versed in the inner workings of harmonies through his experience performing with a barbershop quartet. The pair began working together, releasing a song within 24 hours called “Street By Street.”
Similar to many of the artists we’ve covered, Laufey built her following on social media during COVID, even catching Billie Eilish’s attention after posting a cover of one of her songs. Laufey accelerated her schooling and graduated from Berklee in 2021, releasing her first EP, Typical of Me. That fall, she performed at the London Jazz Festival and was asked to perform alongside the Philharmonia Orchestra. Soon after, she signed with AWAL and released her debut album, Everything I Know About Love.
Genre: Although Laufey insists she doesn’t fit into one particular genre, she describes her music as classical jazz meets bedroom pop. She continues to fine-tune her sound as she progresses her career.
Influences: Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Pied Pipers, Mills Brothers, The Ink Spots, Taylor Swift
Current Label: AWAL
What’s Next: This year, she’s released three songs from her upcoming sophomore album, Bewitched, set to drop on September 8. To celebrate her sophomore album, Laufey is performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. on September 8th Throughout this fall, she has a series of nearly 30 sold-out performances across North America, including one at The Ford alongside the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Wrap Up 👏
We're closing the newsletter this week with a paradoxical quote from Travis Scott’s recent show in Rome: “There is no Utopia without Kanye West. There is no Travis Scott without Kanye West.”
Who’s Burning? 🌡️
The Merch Table 💳
👟 Alpha Force: Billie Eilish has always been a streetwear icon, but her collaboration with Nike on her White and Black Alpha Force’s cements her legacy.
🌸 Dua Manga: If you’re losing your cool and ready for the summer, Dua Lipa manga might be for you.
Sunlighter Playlists 🔀
How do you like our newsletter this week?
We're all ears, click the number of 🔆 you think we deserve and feel free to drop a comment.
See ya next Sunday 😎
Chris and Donya