Rap for a Reason: A Conversation with Shadower

Shadower is a Nashville-based rapper who released his single "Bully Me" last Tuesday.  All proceeds from the single will go to charity.
Shadower is a Nashville-based hip-hop artist who released his single “Bully Me” last Tuesday. All proceeds from the single will go to charity.

It’s safe to say that regardless of whether or not you think Kendrick Lamar got robbed at the Grammys, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis accounted for a significant shift in the scope of issues dealt with in mainstream rap music.  Into a culture dominated by the elegant hedonism of Kanye West and Jay-Z was infused a dose of reality–”fifty dollars for a t-shirt” (or, as famously offered by Yeezy, $120) is beyond the fiscal considerations of most Americans and shouldn’t be a standard to which ordinary folks are held.  The challenges that The Heist issued to the industry’s status quo opened up lines of dialogue that had been confined to the independent outskirts for much of the past decade, particularly regarding the materialistic, misogynistic, and heteronormative culture that has dominated mainstream rap.

In this rapidly changing paradigm, any social issue can be captured and crystallized into a song with the potential to move millions of affected listeners and inspire the unaffected to take corrective action.  With his new single “Bully Me,” Nashville hip-hop artist Shadower attempts to take the serious issue of childhood and adolescent bullying and preach empathy as the cure.

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Music and Memories

“Taxman” always makes me think of this. (Photo courtesy of Zachary Willis)

I’ve read over and over again that olfaction is the strongest sense at evoking memories. I think it has to do with the amygdala or something — hey, I’m not a neuroscience major. There are certain smells that bring up memories for me, some specific and some general; the smell of pine and sugar cookies makes me think of Christmas; the smell of “Midnight Pomegranate” hand soap, weirdly enough, makes me think of playing Call of Duty 4 back in 8th grade. Growing up in the plains of Northern Indiana, I always looked forward to the first day of summer — not June 21, but rather some Saturday in late April or May when I’d wake up, open the window, and smell the first faint, sweet, loamy scent of soil carried across the fields on the constant breeze. Every once in a while I’ll catch a brief whiff of it in Nashville and it still makes me excited.

Despite all this, one sense evokes more memories than scent for me: hearing. Specifically, hearing music; nothing else so vividly conjures up the events of my life as it does. [Read more...]

8 (+1) MORE Songs That Are Hauntingly Beautiful

Photo courtesy of kicswila.com
Photo courtesy of kicswila.com

So, my friend Lucas did a post on this same subject a while ago; I liked the idea so much, I wanted to create my own spin on the subject of hauntingly beautiful music. Many sources define “haunting” as “remaining in the consciousness” or “not quickly forgotten;” however, the significance of this term surpasses its somewhat shallow definition. Music that is haunting doesn’t just remain in the consciousness for a long time, it transforms it. The moment this music enters our ears, it lifts us to a higher plane of existence. We begin to contemplate, as The Shins put it in one of the songs I will reference, “the bitter mechanics of life.” We forget how and why we exist. The only thing that matters, in that moment, is the music that is filling us, and we are forever changed by it.

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Recent WRVU Rotation Adds Profiled: The War on Drugs, Schoolboy Q, Wild Beasts

As anyone involved with WRVU knows, we’re constantly trying to showcase new musical talent while also keeping our station’s output connected to industry buzz. Let’s take a look at a few of the recent albums that have made it onto the airwaves at WRVU.

The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

The War on Drugs specialize in their own unique brand of “heartland rock” that is a little like Bruce Springsteen mixed with a more urgent version of Real Estate. Lost in the Dream stands as their best release yet, from rip-roaring cuts like “Red Eyes” to more pensive jams like “Suffering”.

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Irish Music Is Alive

24075_1167251239917_1787018830_318342_7210598_n copyDidn’t get enough Irish this St. Paddy’s Day?

Yes, I know, St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday. Believe me, I don’t think the holiday should be dragged out any longer (especially after the endless weekend of St. Fratty’s Day celebrations) buttttttt I do think the day after St. Patrick’s day, while the orange and green dust settles, is a great time to discuss Ireland’s impact on modern music.

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Remixes of Four Tracks You Need

Photo courtesy of daily-beat.com

Alright, spring break is long gone, St. Patty’s Day has past, and Rites is a whole four weeks away, not to mention that the weather in Nashville has been the biggest tease ever, giving us 70 degree weather one day and then cold rainy weather the next. What is there to look forward to anymore??? Well don’t worry, I’ve collected some fresh new remixes for you all to listen to when you’re writing that essay or studying for that quiz. These tunes will get your spirits up and remind you that the weekend is never that far away.

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Under the Covers: Part 1

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pictogram-free.com

Doing a cover of  song can be risky business. There is the constant threat for comparison, and if the cover does not live up to a certain standard in comparison to the original, most people do not even give it a second thought. With that being said, here are some covers/remixes/arrangements that I find do a great job of updating an old idea into a new product. These new renditions are not necessarily better than the original, but they do seamlessly incorporate another person’s work into the new artist’s own style to make an interpretation of the song that is worth our attention.

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