New Album Review

The Truth Hurts Album Review

Written by Miranda

LA-based Drakeo the Ruler debuted in 2015 after being discovered through his mixtapes by DJ Mustard. Drakeo the Ruler, known also as Darrell Caldwell, then released his first project “I Am Mr. Mosely” followed by a second release a year later, “I Am Mr. Mosely 2.” Caldwell’s music gave him an in to the genre of underground rap. In 2017, Drakeo the Ruler’s home was raided by the Los Angeles Police Department and he was subsequently arrested. In 2019 he was again arrested and charged. While in prison, he wrote and recorded the album “Thank You for Using GTL.” His newest album, “The Truth Hurts,” follows “We Know The Truth”, which was his first album since his release from prison.

On “The Truth Hurts,” Caldwell bares his soul to the audience. He pairs his well-known muttering linked verse and allows his words to take the lead. He presents a variety of topics, seemingly anything he has his mind on. Some of the songs, like “Exclusive” seemingly flout the system that kept Drakeo in and out of jail for years. Others are more material and pleasure focused. All of the songs flow together smoothly and effortlessly.

Most of the other artists featured are also Californian underground rap artists. However, the last track on the album (Talk To Me) deviates from the traditional style Caldwell has followed. Drake’s feature on the track gives it a mainstream feel, and in fact, the song has gained the most popularity of all his new releases on the radio and music streaming platforms. Four of the tracks on “The Truth Hurts” feature Ketchy the Great, who sadly passed away in February. To pay tribute to his friend, Caldwell wrote and released a song in his memory.

Listen to Drakeo the Ruler’s “The Truth Hurts,” out on all streaming platforms now.


Friday Favorites

Written by Miranda

do it right (ft. Aminé) – REI AMI 

A beachy easy listen with a beat I’m obsessed with. Aminé’s rap verses add the perfect complement to this gorgeous track. 

Maybe Chocolate Chips (ft. Ric Wilson) – CHAI 

This track from CHAI’s recent EP is playful and vibrant. The music video released along with this track features really beautiful, unique animation style by Callum-Scott Dyson. 

Japanese Word for Witch – of Montreal 

Pretty, esoteric instrumentals paired with chill vocals make this song an instant favorite, especially if you’re a fan of of Montreal. 

Seamstress – Little People

Vibrant and chill new track perfect for relaxing or listening while you get your work or studying done. Check out the newest Little People EP if you enjoy it, too. 

Sunblind (Acoustic Version) – Fleet Foxes

A lovely folk-style song from the most recent Fleet Foxes album. Their new album, “Shore”, brings me back to my roots in the North Carolina mountains. 

Listen to this week’s Friday Favorites, as well as my favorites from past weeks, on WKNC’s Spotify.

Music Education

Music and Mental Health

Written by Miranda 

Any casual listener can tell that music can help improve your mood. Listening to songs can help you process what you’re going through, give you new perspectives, or distract you from the difficulties you face. Music allows us to relate to one another, whether we are creating our own music or enjoying others’ performances. Most music lovers know the helpful effects of music on mood, stress, and mental health, but what does science say about this relationship? 

Researchers from New York studied stress levels of surgical patients. They compared the stress levels of patients who listened to (self-selected) music during and after their surgical operations and measured the differences. On average, their research showed lower blood pressure and reported stress levels for the patients who were listening to music. Other related studies gave similar results. 

According to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, music therapy is beneficial for multiple mental health conditions such as depression and PTSD. Music therapy is the process of using “musical interventions” to accomplish therapeutic goals and is performed by a credentialed professional. According to NAMI and the American Music Therapy Association, Inc., music therapy can help explore mental illness issues and meet the needs of many different people. This therapy involves exploring expression of thought and feeling, focusing on positive moods and emotions, and developing coping and relaxation skills; among other opportunities. 

It’s clear that not only is music beneficial to the casual listener, there is evidence-based research showing that music is helpful to improve stress levels and mood and through musical therapy can improve one’s mental health. 

I will always be so grateful for the artists who created music that helped me through difficult times; I also have increased appreciation for musical therapists and those participating in the music and musical education industries. 
Sources: I, II, III


Friday Favorites (3/19)

Written by Miranda

MANGO (Remix) [ft. Adeline, Masego] – KAMAUU

The Masego remix of KAMAUU and Adeline’s gorgeous single, MANGO, adds an extra special layer of appeal. Masego’s vocals added to this track is just what it needed to make it an instant replay every time.

Good Girls (Don’t Get Used) – Beach Bunny

Pretty bedroom pop meets surf rock in this new Beach Bunny EP. This opening track is so catchy, it’ll stay in your head all day. I can’t get enough of this band and especially this song.

SHELTER (ft. Wyclef Jean, Chance The Rapper) – VIC MENSA

VIC MENSA takes on a whole new style in this new single. Raw lyricism and relevant themes including COVID and Black Lives Matter makes for a beautiful track. Chance The Rapper and Wyclef Jean’s additions to the song just add to the appeal.

Think About It – Verzache

Verzache’s new album is everything an anti-pop lover looks for. Chill enough for your daily car ride but upbeat enough to keep you coming back for more.

Trophy – Crumb

A dreamy, chill song to invigorate your morning. If you like Crumb, you’ll love this new single.

Listen to this week’s Friday Favorites, as well as my favorites from past weeks, on WKNC’s Spotify.


Musicians and Their Pets

Written by Miranda

Everyone has a special relationship with their pets, and musicians are no exception. As fans it’s heartwarming to see our musical idols caring for and loving their pets. Check out these five musicians who adore their pets.

2 Chainz and Trappy

Trappy is a bulldog 2 Chainz adopted in 2015. Trappy and 2 Chainz together co-host “Most Expensivist” where the two try extremely rare and luxury items. 2 Chainz continuously spoils Trappy, including in 2017 when he ordered a $15,000 birthday cake for Trappy. See more pictures of Trappy and 2 Chainz on his Instagram, @trappygoyard.

Thundercat and Turbo Tron

Thundercat’s pet, a cute little cat, is named “Turbo Tron Over 9000 Baby Jesus Sally Uzi Clip.” Thundercat rescued Turbo Tron as a tiny kitten and immediately fell in love with her. In an interview with Pitchfork, Thundercat reminisced about bringing Turbo Tron to an Odd Future pop-up shop inside his hoodie pocket. 

Greta Kline and Joe 

Frankie Cosmos’ Greta Kline adored her dog Joe, who is featured on the “Zentropy” album cover. Kline said in an interview that many of her early songs featured Joe in the background. Sadly, Joe passed away, but Kline dedicated much of the “Zentropy” album to Joe. 

Mitski and Midori 

Mitski adopted her kitty Midori when she was in 7th grade. Her now-senior kitty is loved and spoiled by Mitski. She says Midori adores food and warmth, but that “there is no love in a cat’s heart.” 

Phantogram and Leroy Brown 

Currently the Phantogram duo is enjoying their quarantine by spending it with their puppy Leroy, who is a Yorkie/Maltese mix. Leroy is a rescue pup who often joins Phantogram on tour. You can see more cute pictures of Leroy on Instagram, @leroythegoodboy.

Blog Playlists

Friday Favorites

Written by Miranda

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’m featuring some of my favorite female artists and favorite songs they’ve done.

Spend Some Time (ft. Wade Coal) – Amaarae

One of my favorite artists, as you can probably guess by the album reviews of hers I have covered and the artist spotlight I wrote last month. Amaarae has done a lot for the advancement of women through music and advocacy, so she’s the perfect choice for Women’s History Month.

Beef FloMix – Flo Milli

Flo Milli is a bada** woman who is taking the rap genre by storm. From popping up on TikTok to running the “e-girl” scene, Flo Milli transcends the traditional limits of how rap is defined and truly makes it her own.

Good to Love – FKA twigs

FKA twigs is an extremely talented artist who is also a talented songwriter, actress, and dancer. She has gone through a lot in recent years including alleged abuse from a past partner but has remained strong in the face of everything.

Nunchucks – Doja Cat

Doja Cat has evolved immensely and increased her notoriety throughout recent years. Since her 2014 EP Purrr!, Doja Cat has been a strong female rap figure and has changed the way women are viewed in the industry.


Tips for Training Your Puppy

Written by Miranda

*Disclaimer: I’m not a dog trainer or professional by any means, these are just some tips I’ve found that worked with my 10-week old puppy.*

Sleep and Crate Training

Encourage your pup to view their crate as a “den.” Make it comfortable, quiet, and safe. The first few days our puppy was not willing to sleep on her own but we used a snuggle puppy toy, a blanket over her crate to block out light, and treats when she stayed in the crate quietly. Our trick is to keep the puppy awake two hours before bedtime by playing with her, training her, and walking her. Sometimes giving a big treat or flavored bone to chew on will help keep them occupied and awake. After two hours of being awake our pup willingly goes into the crate and sleeps through the night. If your puppy cries in the crate, try to ignore it for 10-15 minutes (as long as all their needs are met). Saying “hush” or getting them out of the crate will encourage them to whine for attention in the future. Usually puppies will settle down after about 15 minutes of whining and fall asleep.

Chewing and Biting

I am fortunate that because of COVID, I’m able to work and study from home and can be with my dog during the entire day. Since she is either with me or in her crate, I usually don’t have to worry about her chewing cords or furniture. For the spots where she loves to bite, I have sour apple spray that is safe but tastes bad to deter chewing. As far as biting, I always try to redirect her biting me toward a chew toy. If she presents purposeful biting or aggression I either redirect it or give her a tap on the nose and a firm “no.” So far she is getting a little better about it, but don’t fret, most puppies will grow out of by six months. 

House Training

I live in an apartment and I’m not on the ground floor, so instead of needing to take my puppy outside every hour, I use pee pads. I created a small, secluded part of my living room that she can access by herself whenever she needs to. During times where I can’t take her outside, like in the middle of the night, I place her there and let her pee. I always give her a treat after she uses it. I also make sure she doesn’t have accidents whenever possible by sticking to a regular walking schedule. I take her outside after sleeping and napping, before and after meals, and after playtime. Whenever puppies are sniffing the floor or walking around aimlessly, that’s a sign they probably need to use the bathroom. Generally puppies younger than three months need to go out at least every two hours. If you are taking them outside enough, they will have dramatically less accidents. So far house training has been a slow process but we’ve seen a lot of progress by giving her treats every time she uses the bathroom outside or on the puppy pads and making sure she gets enough chances to go outside.

These are the main things I’ve learned recently that have been helpful while navigating having a new puppy or dog. Happy training!

Classic Album Review

Classic Album Review: Zentropy

Written by Miranda

Frankie Cosmos, also known as Greta Kline; a well-loved indie artist, has been making incredible music since “Zentropy”, her first studio album. Not only is this album well-done for a 19-year-old independent artist (at the time), it remains one of my favorite works. “Zentropy” helped set the stage for future success for Kline in subsequent years and helped establish her within the indie pop scene. 

The album begins with an ode to the dreariness of school and ends with the sadness of a dog’s passing away. It’s strange, girlish, experimental, but simple. The beauty of this album is highlighted in its simplicity. A mixture of mediocre electric guitar and drum beats are all that makes up the melodies on the album, but sweet-sounding vocals entice the listener. Frankie Cosmos gives a solid look at the life of a nineteen-year-old girl. Issues of love flings, loss of pets, and disinterest in school make up most of the album. Her ability to use simple lyricism to convey these ideas gives an easy glimpse into her life and what is most important to her. The emotional depth of this album and its catchyness as an indie pop-adjacent style of album makes it one that is so easy to return to again and again. Even seven years after its release, I find the lyrics stuck inside my head while I go about my daily life – thinking of lyrics like “I’m the type of girl/Buses splash with rain” or “This is when I say my I love you.” Surprisingly (or not), “Zentropy” ended up gaining 

Frankie Cosmos has come a long way since this first studio album, since creating three more albums and dozens of music videos. Her latest album was released in 2019, and she has teased fans throughout quarantine with Instagram performances of her music and hopefully a new album coming soon.

Band/Artist Profile

Band Profile: Flatbush Zombies

Written by Miranda

Flatbush Zombies Artist Zombies

Flatbush Zombies, stylized Flatbush ZOMBiES, are a hip hop group active since 2010. They first became noticed within the East Coast rap scene in the 2010s with the release of multiple mixtapes; since then they have produced three albums. Their most recent work is their 2020 EP, “now, more than ever,” and new single “Afterlife,” which has quickly become a fan favorite. Members Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliott met in grade school and have been great friends and co-performers since.

Flatbush Zombies have also produced interesting media. Their NPR Tiny Desk Concert and YouTube music videos are very entertaining. The group continues to create music together and build upon their previous discography with new and exciting styles.

I recommend checking out their most recent EP, “now, more than ever,” which they created in response to the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. Their song “Big Shrimp” from their first album is another favorite of mine. Give Flatbush Zombies a listen and let us know what you think.


Friday Favorites (2/26)

Written by Miranda

Tides – Men I Trust

This song is very classic Men I Trust vibes, if you like the band you’ll love this new single. 

yesterday – frumhere

A new single from my one of my favorite lo-fi beat makers. 


A chill new song from KAYTRANADA; perfect for working out to. 

Gang Signs (ft. ScHoolboy Q) – Freddie Gibbs 

Another great single from Freddie Gibbs since his recent album, “Alfredo.” ScHoolboy Q brings more of a top-100 vibe to the song but Gibbs keeps it unique. 

Jealous (ft. Rico Nasty) – Mahalia 

Mahalia’s strong, sweet vocals perfectly complement with Rico Nasty’s harsher rapping. You can definitely see how Mahalia’s style has evolved recently through this song.