Band/Artist Profile

Artist Profile: Amaarae

Written by Miranda

Description of Amaarae

Amaarae is an artist who fully expresses herself through her music. Amaarae is an artist who is never afraid to meld different genres and try new things. Not only is she a singer with a talented voice, she writes her own music and often produces it. She is vocal about many issues and uses her platform to further causes she believes in. Her music often focuses on equal representation and freedom of expression. She often uses social media to advocate for important causes such as gender issues and police brutality. She is also expressive using her clothing: she has been featured in Vogue Magazine online and received an award from the Glitz Style Awards in Ghana. 

Amaarae’s newest single release, “Leave Me Alone – A Colors Show” (stylized in all caps), is an older single by Amaarae performed on the COLORS studio platform. COLORS is a social media platform that focuses on minimalism, showcasing artists all over the world for their talents without distraction. This version of Amaarae’s single is stripped, allowing complete attention on her vocal talents; she also raises awareness of ending SARS and police brutality in Nigeria at the end of the song. You can watch the COLORS show video here. And, if you’re interested in hearing my review of Amaarae’s most recent album, The Angel You Don’t Know, check it out on the WKNC blog here


Heartbreaker Playlist

Written by Miranda

For everyone out there celebrating Valentine’s Day alone this year, this one’s for you.

  • Build – Justine Skye
  • I Wish I Missed My Ex – Mahalia
  • Get Money – The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Single Again – Big Sean
  • Run Me Dry – Bryson Tiller
  • Hardest To Love – The Weeknd
  • Needed Me – Rihanna
  • Beware – Big Sean
  • Undying Love – Nas
  • I’m Out (ft. Nicki Minaj) – Ciara
  • Same Ol’ Mistakes – Rihanna
  • Too Good (ft. Rihanna) – Drake
  • On My Mind (acoustic) – Jorja Smith
  • Damage (ft. Halsey) – PARTYNEXTDOOR
  • Just Sayin/I Tried – The Internet
  • Insecure (ft. Bryson Tiller) – Jazmine Sullivan
  • Normal Girl – SZA
  • Motivation – Normani
  • Sorry – Beyoncé

Listen to the Heartbreaker playlist on Spotify here.

New Album Review

Sound Ancestors Album Review

Written by Miranda

The new Madlib album is something entirely new. Sound Ancestors has more than creative depth; it breaks the boundaries of what a traditional album is. Madlib is a DJ, producer, and occasional rapper most known for his production for albums with MF DOOM, J Dilla, and Freddie Gibbs. Madlib also worked with Kanye West, producing West’s 2016 single “No More Parties in L.A..” His former solo albums have typically been released as the instrumental version of his collaboration projects, but this album the creative project of Madlib. No rapper collaborations or narratives are present, though Madlib received help arranging and editing the album into its final product bu producer Four Tet. 

The album maintains a dynamic between elements of simple production and nostalgic samples. The track “Two for 2 – For Dilla” is a tribute song created for Madlib’s former collaboration partner, J Dilla who passed away in 2006. Throughout the different tracks, this one is the most serious. It also gives an homage to J Dilla through its similar style, bringing nostalgia to any fan of his work. The rest of the album has similar nature but is a bit more playful. It calls attention to the best parts of the songs it samples and breathes new life into them through fantastic drum beats, bass, and a mix of piano and guitar. My current favorite and greatest recommendation to listeners is “Road Of The Lonely Ones” – which I featured on this week’s Friday Favorites as one of the best new songs. I definitely recommend listening to this album while relaxing, doing homework, or any creative activities. This instrumental-laden album is sure to capture your attention and get your brainwaves and creativity flowing.  


Friday Favorites

Written By Miranda

Road Of The Lonely Ones – Madlib

Madlib is known for his production work on major albums with MF DOOM, Freddie Gibbs, and more. His newest project with fellow producer Four Set, “Sound Ancestors,” just released and so far this is my favorite track from the new album.

2hrs – Tobi Lou

This phenomenal and emotional single from Tobi Lou encapsulates a lot of the loneliness, frustration, and exhaustion we can all relate to.

MLK Dr – Smino

A gorgeous, colorful music video pairs so well with this smooth new track from Smino in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Good Vibes (Za) – Wale

A groovy track perfect to relax you or get you dancing, with realness in the lyrics that adds a great depth.

Pomegranate – Kota the Friend

My favorite track from Kota the Friend’s newest release, “Lyrics to GO, Vol. 2.” A simple and short song with beautiful vocals and visual descriptions.

To listen to this week’s Friday Favorites and every song from the past weeks, check out my playlist on WKNC’s Spotify.

Music News and Interviews

Anticipated Albums 2021

Written By Miranda

2021 has already been blessed with some great new music content by prominent artists, and we all have plenty to look forward to in music this year. January 2021 notably saw the release of Madlib’s “Dirtknock,” Jazmine Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” (which you can read my review), and Lo Village’s “Lost In America” so far. We’re all looking forward to more content from our favorite artists. These are the most anticipated albums likely to be released this year. 

Noname’s “Factory Baby”

Noname teased the release of this album in 2020 but ended up pushing the release date back and will instead likely be released during this year. As fans, we’re all hopeful to see her next project after “Room 25.” 

Lorde, TBA

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly four years since the release of Lorde’s last project, “Melodrama.” The pop singer has been discussing the release of new music since 2019 and is likely to release her newest album this year. 

slowthai, “TYRON” 

slowthai’s singles from his new album have left fans excited for what’s to come. The album “TYRON” is coming February 12th. The album is sure to be interesting, with features from rappers including Skepta and A$AP Rocky. 

Kendrick Lamar 

It’s been three years since Lamar’s last release with the film Black Panther and his Pulitzer-winning “DAMN.” He has appeared on a few features but fans are anxious to hear the next project, hopefully coming in 2021. 

Frank Ocean, TBA

Fans of Frank Ocean have been waiting for new content from the visionary, who hasn’t released an album since 2016. Initially, Frank Ocean planned to release a new 7” but scrapped the idea, so we’re hoping to see this content make its way onto a release this year. 

Ani Defranco, “Revolutionary Love” 

Feminist icon Ani Defranco’s newest project, “Revolutionary Love,” will be released this Friday, January 29th. Defranco says the album will vocalize the world’s deepest frustrations and tensions through an alchemy of folk and soul. 

Adele, TBA

Fans of Adele have waited nearly five years for a new project from the beloved pop singer. In 2020 the singer stated she was still working on her newest album and teased its possible release for 2021. 

Which albums are you most excited to see release this year? Let us know on social media! 
Sources: I, II

New Album Review

Heaux Tales Review

Written By Miranda

My favorites: Lost One, Girl Like Me, Bodies – Intro 

Listen if you like: SZA, Summer Walker, H.E.R., Jorja Smith

Jazmine Sullivan, typically most well-known for her hit 2008 single “Bust Your Windows” has again created new music worthy of our attention. Since her 2008 “Fearless” which earned her seven Grammy nominations, Sullivan has only released two full-length projects before “Heaux Tales.” However, she has performed many notorious features with artists such as Goldlink and Bryson Tiller. “Heaux Tales” has quickly risen to the top of R&B charts – for good reason. 

“Heaux Tales” perfectly encapsulates all the talents Sullivan offers: versatility, depth, and realness. Sullivan’s purpose? Portraying “today’s women standing in their power and owning who they are.” She delves into relationship issues, love, and sex while utilizing the stories of other women as anecdotal tracks throughout. Sullivan navigates these topics with care and honesty, making each track delectably real and showing off the conflicts brought about by being a woman in the 2020’s. Sullivan’s “Heaux Tales” contains a mixture of catchy rhythms with Sullivan’s velvety vocals. She also features several artists which complement her style well including Anderson .Paak and H.E.R.. The album features prior-released singles, “Lost One” and “Pick Up Your Feelings,” released in 2020; and released in 2021, “Girl Like Me (feat. H.E.R.)”. The most popular song from the album currently is “Pick Up Your Feelings.” This song is catchy and playful, but meaningful. Sullivan discusses getting cheated on and how she “doesn’t need it” and deserves better. I know that’s true. “Lost One” is emotional and raw. Sullivan reflects on losing a good relationship: “And if it’s too late, I understand/Sometimes it’s too late to make amends.” Another notable track is the last one on the album, “Girl Like Me” which features vocals from R&B artist H.E.R.. The song follows a woman after a breakup rejected by her lover. The vocals include soft, beautiful harmonies; Sullivan and H.E.R. play off of each other’s energies beautifully. 

I highly recommend giving this album a listen, especially the three pre-released tracks which showcase the versatility that makes Jazmine Sullivan so appealing as an artist. I predict Sullivan to rise to ranks of other female R&B artists like SZA and Jorja Smith in the coming year. 


Aging Up Playlist

Written By Miranda

Since my seventeenth birthday I’ve collected songs about the age I was turning for every birthday and made a playlist each year to assist the transition between my ages. There’s something comforting about knowing that the artists you identify with have also gone through the same things you are currently going through. This playlist is a collection of all the songs about being between the ages of seventeen and twenty-three. You can listen to the playlist here

  1. Seventeen by MARINA
  2. Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks 
  3. Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl by Broken Social Scene 
  4. Seventeen by Kevin Abstract 
  5. Dancing Queen by ABBA 
  6. 8TEEN by Khalid 
  7. Eighteen by Joyce Manor 
  8. 18 by One Direction 
  9. I’m Eighteen by Alice Cooper 
  10. Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over by Fall Out Boy 
  11. Nineteen by Tegan and Sara 
  12. Perfect Places by Lorde 
  13. Pushing 20 by Sabrina Carpenter 
  14. 20 Something by SZA 
  15. Twenty One by Khalid 
  16. 21 and Invincible by Something Corporate 
  17. Leaves That Are Green by Simon & Garfunkel 
  18. 22 by Taylor Swift 
  19. What’s My Age Again? by blink-182
  20. Maintain Consciousness by Relient K

Friday Favorites (1/22)

Written By Miranda

Girl Like Me (feat. H.E.R.) – Jazmine Sullivan 

This track from Sullivan’s new album, “Heaux Tales,” is my favorite. If you love this song, check out my review of the album also on WKNC’s blog. 

The King of Carrot Flowers. Pt. One – Death Cab for Cutie 

Death Cab’s new “The Georgia EP” was released last week and features very well-done covers in the classic Death Cab style. I particularly like their Neutral Milk Hotel cover as their style complements the original song and definitely does it justice.  

Atomic Vomit – Steve Lacy

Steve Lacy’s recent album, “The Lo-Fis,” is filled with groovy alt-R&B, with this song in particular being especially appealing. I love the beat and vocals on this track and definitely recommend it. 

Good Days – SZA

SZA recently confirmed a new album release coming in 2021, and delighted fans with the drop of “Good Days” which seems to blend together her style from 2017’s “Ctrl” with her older projects such as “Z.” We’re all looking forward to her newest project. 

He Said (feat. Miguel) – dvsn

R&B fans will love this slow-jam from the very new release by dvsn on “Amusing Her Feelings.” 
To listen to this week’s Friday Favorites and every song from the past weeks, check out my playlist on WKNC’s Spotify.

Non-Music News

National Blood Donor Month

Written By Miranda

January has been observed as National Blood Donor Month since the 1970s in an effort to increase winter blood donations. The winter months, specifically following the holidays, are one of the most difficult times for blood donation centers to recieve needed blood donations. Inclement weather and seasonal illness often prevent donors from their donations, and thus winter is one of the most difficult times of the year to collect enough blood to meet the needs of patients. 

Donating blood is extremely important and can save lives. Blood donations from a single person can save multiple lives. Donations are essential for trauma patients, transplants, chronic illnesses, and more. Less than 10% of eligible donors actually donate in the United States. Typically eligibility requirements include being above 18 years old and above 118lbs and free of any major diseases.  Personal benefits of blood donation include not only the satisfaction of providing blood to patients who need it and saving lives, but also finding out your blood type and receiving free blood tests and having reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. The blood donation process is regulated by the FDA. You can trust blood donation centers to maintain a safe environment for donations.

NC State students can call 1-800-RED CROSS to make an appointment at the North Raleigh Red Cross Donation Center to donate blood, platelets, and plasma. Remember to ask about COVID-19 precautions being taken to ensure your and others’ safety. Be sure to also bring  a driver’s license or passport with you. The center is about a 20 minute drive from campus. Be sure to also look out for blood donation drives on campus in the coming year, if restrictions allow. 

Sources: I, II 

Band/Artist Profile

A Tribute to MF DOOM

Written By Miranda

The face of underground hiphop since the 2000s was a man in a mask. Daniel Dumile, more commonly known as MF DOOM, had an immeasurable impact on hiphop and the entire industry. Dumile was born in London to Trinidadian and Zimbabwean parents and grew up in New York. Dumile’s first foray into the world of music began with the pseudonym Zev Love X, and his formation of the hiphop group KMD with his younger brother, among other artists in 1988. They were signed to Elektra Records, but just prior to the release of their second album, Dumile’s younger brother was tragically killed in a car accident. This incident sparked Dumile’s hiatus from music and also his relocation from New York to Atlanta. In the late 90s, Dumile returned to the music scene, producing and releasing three singles and then his first LP as MF DOOM: “Operation: Doomsday.” Four years later, he produced and released “Take Me To Your Leader” under the pseudonym King Geedorah, and a year later released “Venomous Villian” under the pseudonym Viktor Vaughn. Also in 2004, Dumile collaborated with the producer Madlib under the name Madvillian, and created the extremely notorious “Madvillainy.” This album came to be known as a masterpiece and likely the magnum opus of Dumile’s music career. Dumile continued to produce and release great albums throughout the 2000s, including working in the group Danger Doom and the album “Born Like This.”

Despite MF DOOM’s general rise to notoriety, he remained a mysterious figure within the music business. Part of his enigmatic nature comes from the fact that Dumile used the MF DOOM pseudonym as a character, or alter ego. MF DOOM’s character constantly wore a mask, and thus Dumile never performed or was photographed without it on. In an interview, Dumile explains that he began wearing a mask to shed focus more toward his sound and talent, rather than. He dons the mask in order to rebel against, and it fits in with his character as the Villian. “Villian represents anybody…anybody could wear the mask.” Dumile continuously kept up his act as MF DOOM, sometimes even sending impostors to perform at his shows. Sadly, MF DOOM passed away on October 31, 2020. The public was informed about Dumile’s passing through social media two months later. The news of his death spread throughout social media with multiple artists and celebrities paying tribute to him and offering well wishes to his family. This great artist who shaped modern hiphop and modern music will be remembered as long as time.