Frontier Psychiatrist

Posts Tagged ‘hip hop

Kreayshawn_Gucci Gucci_Mouse Ears

Kreayshawn performing “Gucci Gucci”

At some point, every good movement must die. Hippies eventually became less worried about the abuses of government in Vietnam, and more concerned with their retirement accounts. Horrified punks, emo kids and goths were forced to watch their carefully crafted identities become branded, packaged, and sold as Hot Topics sprang up in shopping malls around the country. Hip hop may be reaching its critical mass as we speak, as one-hit-wonder club rap is about the only marketable thing remaining in mainstream music. But with the advent of the internet, and in particular YouTube, new voices are given a chance to be heard, ultimately providing a platform to subvert, appropriate and innovate in whatever way they please. In the crossroads of hip hop and the shape of what’s to come, a number of YouTube emcees have added their voices to the mix. Alternately parodying and lionizing hip hop, these artists exalt the virtues, while lamenting the decline of the genre.

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Lil Wayne_Elvis_Generation Y

Lil Wayne: The Face of a Generation

Last week, Lil Wayne surpassed Elvis Presley to become the single most charted performer on the Billboard Hot 100, with a total of 109 chartings. Because I like symbols and given my penchant for over-generalizations, I believe this moment speaks volumes about the present state of music and how much things have changed since the birth of rock and roll. And, for better or worse, it may be time to start considering Lil Wayne as the voice of our generation.

The mythologies of rock and roll have gradually dropped out of favor, as indie rock frontmen seem to embrace their everyman status (see Vulture’s recent piece on Grizzly Bear). But as the rock and roll mythology has died, so has risen the myth of hip hop figures. Past and present emcees like Jay-Z, Tupac, Nas and Kanye seem to have filled the void for oversized superstars. And, given his critical acclaim and high sales figures, Lil Wayne has earned his place in this pantheon.

The others each have their own role, (Nas the thug poet, Tupac the fatalist prophet, Jay-Z the cool businessman, Kanye the brooding narcissist) each with impeccable flow, each compelling characters and great storytellers in their own right. Lil Wayne does not fit easily into this mold. His trademark voice somehow simultaneously raspy and squeaky, he barely seems concerned with being coherent. What sets Lil Wayne apart is his way with words, simultaneously irreverent and playful. It is not Lil Wayne’s stories that are compelling but rather the story inside of his head. The man is an enigma. An alternately hilarious and head-scratching enigma.

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Ty Segall_Front Psych_Pitchfork_Meatto

Ty Segall @ Pitchfork Festival 2012

Almost at the end of their second decade, Pitchfork Media has changed the way we find, listen, experience, and most importantly, talk about music. The largest force in the music industry of the last 20 years save file-sharing websites and Kanye West’s twitter account, Pitchfork is more consequential to the development of the independent scene than any previous media entity, Rolling Stone and associates included. For starters, there has never been a Rolling Stone Music Festival.

The Eighth Annual Pitchfork Music Festival was a weekend of exploration, a theme consistent with the mission of the site. We drifted through 29 shows at Chicago’s Union Park, led by the promise of indie pop, grunge revival, electronica, hip hop and all things “post-“, and while performances were largely inconsistent, the rewards were greater than the detractors.

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When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and experience fireworks with some cold beer and rock and roll.

In the pursuit of happiness, countless Americans have taken to their guitars and drums, synths and samplers to express their content or discontent with the state of the union. We at FP have turned toward our record collections for a glimpse at the American condition, and found evidence of our national spirit from the 50s through today. The following 27 tracks offer a snapshot at our understanding of the American Experience, as defined by the likes of Nas, John Fahey, James Murphy and Milo Aukerman, among many others. Obviously, this is far from exhaustive or comprehensive, but it’s a good place to start your American reflection and celebration.

What would you add?


Starting this evening, mild-mannered businessmen and dirty, smelly hippies alike will begin the trek to Manchester, Tennessee for the 11th Annual Bonnaroo, which kicks off this Thursday. As always, we’re looking forward to waffle ice cream sandwiches, good friends and the hottest 80 degrees you can imagine. Headliners Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Phish, and a fantastic middle-tier make this year’s Roo perhaps the best lineup yet.

As we learned last year and at SXSW, a fantastic festival lineup creates issues for anyone shooting for the full experience. Below, we have marked what we think are the hardest decisions of the weekend. While most decisions are usually made in the last minute, we’re here to help inform you of the tough choices you’ve got coming.


The Motown Opener
DANNY BROWN – 7 pm @ This Tent vs. DALE EARNHARDT JR JR – 7:15 pm @ The Other Tent

The first matchup of the weekend, positions Detroit madman rapper Danny Brown during the same slot as Detroit indie rockers Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. Despite the clear difference in style, this show presents issues for anyone looking to support the fledgling Motown, which never fails to deliver great music.With his junkyard flow and black humor, Danny Brown is one of those artists we dig and fear equally. His last record, 2011s XXX–Brown stepped out, exploring debauched subjects in an introspective manner. Since then, he’s had great features on tracks from Das Racist, Action Bronson, El-P and Mr. Muthafuckin Exquire: the 2012 hip hop dream team (minus Kendrick Lamar, who plays at 10 pm on the same stage.)

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Like the culture it represents, hip hop music has gone through many changes in the last two decades. Producers continue to push their craft to new heights, while emcees are as nuanced as they are divisive. The free online mixtape formula has done just as many wonders for the proliferation of swag, as it has made it harder for progressive collectives to sustain as businesses. Simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic, R.A.P. Music—Killer Mike and El-P’s first collaboration album—is a product of two thoughtful artists working to question, define and give love to the world of underground hip hop.

Part love letter, part sound progression, R.A.P. Music finds both veterans on top of their game, working off each other as much as the concept itself. Throughout the record, El-P’s production feels like a retrospective of the many eras of hip hop–from the boom bap of the Bronx to the spacey synths of Graduation–with Killer Mike’s thoughtful, and sometimes radical flow. R.A.P. Music is a peak in both artists careers, who are scene and sound leaders in their own right. Which is refreshing, since both artists struggled through the late Aughts and early 10s to keep their relevance.

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The Weeknd at Lincoln Hall in Chicago

Abel Tesfaye is undoubtedly a star in the making. His commitment to quality and character is apparent on all of his free releases. The ongoing question around his art deal with his reality: if these are actually his Thursdays or if he’s just an excellent, disturbed storyteller. If his show revealed anything, it’s that he’s fucking pumped to be doing this well this young. While Abel’s giddiness on stage seems at odds with his recorded melancholy, it also suggests a complexity beyond his deranged, masochistic persona.

On his first-ever tour, 22-year-old Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) celebrated his sensational success in the biggest U.S. and Canada markets, announced less than a month ago. Each show sold out in seconds despite a lack of promotion, much like his records would, should he have decided to sell them. Fans were content to pay the $30+ fees ticket price, disregarding his lack of performing experience and opener: they knew this would likely be a rare opportunity to see the potential superstar in such an intimate space. He delivered.

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Sons of Dionysus

A Transmedia Novel of Myth, Mirth, and the Magical Excess of Youth.