“By the time Meek started trying to rap himself, the landscape of Philly hip-hop had changed, darkened, shifting toward a model of rappers as gritty, strong-willed realists, morally complicit in the fallen environment they document. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, the Philadelphia rappers everyone idolized were Beanie Sigel and his State Property crew, including locals Freeway and Peedi Crakk. There was also Major Figgas, Gillie Da Kid, Diamond District, Chic Raw, and Vodka. “Everybody don’t always make it,” Meek says of his hometown scene, “but there’s always that guy back in the hood that was the shit and inspired the people that did make it.” If his uncle was that guy for The Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff, early aughts street rappers like Chic Raw and Vodka were those guys for Meek. He watched their DVDs religiously and emulated them.”
“My story is shaped by the reality of colonization and genocide.”
Sicangu Lakota hip-hop artist Frank Waln was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, where his experiences growing up would eventually inform his work. As both a rapper and an activist, Frank campaigns on issues including indigenous visibility, climate change, and environmental racism. Last year, he joined the cast of MTV’s Rebel Music: Native America, one segment of a recurring program highlighting the stories of artists who wield the power of their work for a greater good.
When The FADER called Frank last week, he was parked on the side of the road in North Dakota, on his way to the White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota, where he was due to perform at a banquet for people recovering from alcohol addiction and substance abuse. You can catch him on Rebel Music, whose second season is back on the air this month.
How did you got into music?
I produce, write, record, and mix all my music. I have a degree as an audio engineer that I recently finished in 2014 at Columbia College in Chicago. I’ve been doing music professionally for the past six years, recording and doing shows and workshops. Before that, I was pre-med. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but then I decided to follow my passion. Since I graduated in May, a lot of different, awesome opportunities have come up for me to follow music for a career.
Why did you decide to abandon medicine?
I studied it for two years, and after three years, I hit a rock bottom in general. I was at my lowest point for a lot of reasons. There was stuff going on in my personal life, and I got to my lowest point. And I was just like “Okay, I’m going to do what makes me happy, screw what anyone says.” It took me getting to that rock bottom to decide to do what makes me happy and to follow my passion.
How do you incorporate your activism into your work?
I do it by writing songs about my life and my lived experience. Whether I want to accept it or not, my story is shaped by the reality of colonization and genocide, of that history and that story. So I just make music about my life. What have the reactions been like since you appeared on Rebel Music? It’s been a mixed bag. It’s either people really love me or they really hate me. If i’m pissing off ignorant people, shaking their reality and what think they know about native people, which is often not a lot, then I must be doing something right. It’s always either extreme love or extreme hate.
There’s not much balance in that.
The balance for me is that the people who love me and the people who know me and my home community, they feel like I’m doing something right. The extreme hate and extreme love, it’s a distraction to me. Everything that matters is the music and the message. If the people who have chosen me to represent them tell me I’ve done something wrong, I’ll listen. What has your community’s feedback been like? It’s been for the most part positive. In my lifetime, it’s the first time—well, no, it’s one of the few times I’ve seen young indigenous people and this reality of our lives portrayed in a real way. It doesn’t really fit the stereotypical image; it doesn’t look like a dead people of the past. This country is the result of genocide and this is our story. This is colonized land and every one here is a settler, so they should know our history and their own history. But [my community] treats me with love and admiration. Everyone says that they’re so proud of me, so I’m staying connected. I’m trying to give this country the spiritual spanking it deserves.
As you said, we’re all settlers. But some people, like African-Americans for instance, did not choose to come here. What kind of relationships do you want to see between indigenous and black communities?
I’m figuring that out myself and I’m learning. In South Dakota, it’s only white people and Indians. But living in Chicago, I’ve had to interact with the black community. In my family, there are black Indians, and I’ve learned a lot from my relatives who are black Indians. I kind of see that relationship as one where we should show solidarity and expect nothing in return. As native people, we shouldn’t get caught up in the oppression Olympics, of wondering why black people get this or they don’t get that. I think it’s possible to support each other. We came out of genocide and black people came out of slavery and genocide in some cases. So really our liberations are connected. I’m listening and learning and providing whatever support the community asks of me.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I just want to see a day when me and my family and everyone I love and all indigenous people are happy and healthy, and respected and loved. And also that we realize for ourselves that we deserve that. It took me a while to realize that. Me, I was born on one of the poorest reservations in the country and so I have all this colonial baggage. I only recently started working through that, and music is part of how I do that. I do want to see that day.
Hey guys, all of you are going to the Manchester show for the 1989 tour. I want to organise something similar to at the RED tour in London with the ‘You’ve made us proud’ posters! If anyone thinks it’s a good idea and has any ideas for what to write on the poster or which song to hold it up on, message me or reblog this! I want to try and get as many people involved as possible!
“The current paradigm in the art field is that art is autonomous, and needs to constantly reclaim and and demonstrate its autonomy from external forces: the state, capitalist forms of industry, all that stuff. But the autonomy notion is the same thing as the escape notion—that art is always escaping its forces of restraint, its institutional powers and so on. I guess this happens everywhere, in music as well, with people always dissing “the man” and so on. I think that’s just escapism. The notion of the exit is that we need to get out of the escape model—we need to get out of contemporary art, but we’ve got to be really careful. Because if you try and get out of art in the escape model, you repeat it.”
FKA Twigs' New Show Presents A Utopian Vision Of Human Sexuality
The experimental artist gathered a legendary crew of bone-breakers, krumpers, and voguers for her RBMA show, Congregata.
The only earthly approximation for the dancers in FKA Twigs’ Congregata, a three-night run of shows presented as part of RBMA’s Festival New York, is Dhalsim, the Street Fighter character whose chief power was to stretch his limbs beyond the limits of biology and imagination. But, unlike the crew of krumpers, bone-breakers and voguers that joined her on stage last night at the Brooklyn Hangar—a vast, sweaty Sunset Park venue usually reserved for raves—Dhalsim was made up of pixels. The bodies that surrounded Twigs as she ran through reimagined versions of songs from her EP2 and LP1 projects were all muscle, bones, and coiled joints. The sexuality of Twigs’ music, visuals, and performance aesthetic are oft-discussed, and are a product of both the thematic content of her work and the fact that she often appears more expressive with her body than she is with her music. On stage last night, the sexual energy was palpable, as she falsetto-ed her way through songs like “Papi Pacify” and “Pendulum,” on which she sings, You forgot how we fell in love/ I’m your sweet little love-maker. But much of that sexuality had little to do with Twigs herself; unlike other artists, whose performances center themselves as vessels of the audience’s desire, Twigs’ interaction with her dancers—and the dancers’ interactions with each other—pointed to an idea of human intimacy that goes beyond the act of actually having sex. With limbs entangled, simultaneously pushing and pulling, the choreography created pure physical tension. While in her recorded output Twigs regularly addresses her own sexuality and sexual encounters, which are often interpreted as heterosexual, Congregata’s influences and its strongest points are decidedly queer. Intentionally or not, she wound up presenting a sort of utopian version of the world, in which gender and sexuality are truly accepted as fluid, along with the more tangible concepts of genre and art.
As much as the syncopated, breakneck choreography that earned her her stage name, it’s Twigs’ ability to catapult the Hangar into another dimension that impressed most; throughout the nearly two-hour performance, she transformed the space into a 13,000 square-foot version of Escuelita, the famed 39th street nightclub that has housed much of New York’s ballroom scene for decades. For many of Congregata’s 2,150 attendees, it was likely the closest they’ll ever get to the community whose art, fashion, and slang is so often mined by pop culture—a truth Twigs directly addressed by ending the show with a claim that she “doesn’t believe in stealing things” without properly acknowledging their origin, hence the involvement of krumpers like Dominant of UK dance crew Wet Wipez and legendary New York voguers like Leyomi Mizrahi and Alex Mugler. The show takes its name from the Latin word meaning “to gather.” But more than simply bringing together her collaborators with a couple thousand zealous fans, she also drew on the many storied influences that led her to this point. From running around East London as a kid with big ideas to dancing back-up for popstars like Ed Sheeran and Jessie J, all of the elements that prepared her to pull off a show of this magnitude so early in her career are represented in Congregata. As the show enters its second sold-out night tonight—not even a full year after a considerably smaller gig headlining Webster Hall—Twigs is asserting herself as neither dancer nor singer nor music producer, but an artist with a vision that’s bigger than herself.
I’m sure you recognize these people. It’s Margaery and Gendry!!! So since everyone is jumping off the GoT bandwagon (finally) You should totally check out The Fades. Where Natalie Dormer is part of an underground resistance to stop rogue spirits and the antichrist from destroying the natural order of spiritual ascension.
Also, Gendry is naked. Multiple times. (blurred for suspense)
A couple bars for yall off my newest song Who Else? Click the link in my bio to hear the whole song and be on the look out for when it hits iTunes! #LegendLee #WhoElse? #Life #FreeMusic #NYC #EastCoastRap #IndieArtist #DMV #DMVhiphop #IndieMusic #GoodMusic #Ambient #Soundcloud #BetterThanAverage #Potential4Greatness #P4G #XXL #TheFader #TheSource #GlobleGrind #XXLmagaxine #ComplexMagazine
#MTVjams #BET #ThankYou #MusicFans #RollingStoneMagazine #Tidal #TidalWaves
Scroll down you will see a link to listen to #DOCTORPEPPER
CL, Diplo, RiFF RAFF, and OG Maco unite on “Dr. Pepper,” a new
collaborative single that’s also a taste of what’s to come from CL, the
K-Pop star who’s unleashing the freak
as she prepares to launch an English language album. CL sounds
immaculate here, and the song seems to mean almost nothing at all.
“Diplo canceled a session on me, and I was so mad at him. I was drinking
a can of Dr. Pepper and wrote the song so I could go home as soon as
possible,” CL told The FADER, explaining the song’s glorious nonsense
refrain. “Diplo ended up loving it!”