My First Piece For The FADER

So, I started interning at The FADER this week and, to my surprise, I was asked to write something immediately. So, here it is (also, a big shout out to Aimee Cliff for this one):

You Need To Cop The Latest Issue Of This Soccer Zine Made By And For Women

SEASON’s summer issue include sticker sheets and interviews with soccer moms.

You Need To Cop The Latest Issue Of This Soccer Zine Made By And For Women

Shedding light on the lives of women soccer fans and players, London-based publication SEASON has garnered a cult following in a short time. The fashion-led zine was devised by Central Saint Martins graduate Felicia Pennant, and born out of frustration that women’s perspectives were not being represented in the traditional soccer landscape. “In terms of the culture, there isn’t much that focuses on female fans,” Pennant told The FADER back in November. “When you see a beer advert it’s usually men sitting around [watching soccer]! It’s either sexist, or it ignores women completely.”

SEASON’s third issue, for summer 2017, was released on April 22. It chronicles soccer fandom among women with a range of illustrations of sticker sets, tattoos, and nail art. The issue is themed around “Love,” and explores how fans’ love of soccer relates to other parts of their identity, examining homophobia, self-love, and style. There’s also interviews with model and DJ Bip Ling, and WAH Nails founder Sharmadean Reid.

Order a copy on SEASON’s website here.


Playboi Carti – A Review

I’ve found it quite hard to reinvent myself as a rap fan. In a field where the likes of Kendrick Lamar, J.Cole, Big K.R.I.T. and other lyrical gods are providing that true essence, the frequent itch I need to scratch is this new wave of mumble rappers that aren’t going away. I was ignorant at first, quick to dismiss any and everything they had to offer.

The person who turned the tide happened to be a young man from Awful Records named Playboi Carti, and his viral smash ‘Broke Boi’. Suddenly I grasped the appeal; it wasn’t the substance of what he was saying, but the aesthetic to the record that made me vibe. He made it cool for me to favour the bars but also get down to what the new generation were doing. This is not to say that he is super lyrical spiritual spherical miracle, but more on that later.

Since then, my ear for – for want of a better word – commercial sounding rap was opened and my prejudices began to slip away. Carti was only dropping loosies but his debut project will be fire, I thought.

Well, fast forward a couple years and that young man has settled slowly into the game rather than blowing the door down, stalling on a full-length project until this point. His self-titled debut mixtape illuminates his highlights; namely, his ear for beats. Listening to this tape, my same prejudices threatened to resurface, however.

But I’ll get the good bits out of the way first. Beginning the project is the Harry Fraud-produced ‘Location’, which sounds like what happens when you ascend into heaven and Rick James is waiting for you at the pearly gates. Carti fits his lane perfectly here, with his trademark ‘YAH’ and ‘WHAT’ adlibs weaving between braggadocious diatribes.

The good vibes continue on another highlight, ‘Magnolia’, with Pierre Bourne behind the boards, and it becomes clear that Cash Carti is relaying on the producers to craft the mixtape. Which, for the most part, they do. Other exceptional beats appear elsewhere, such as the A$AP Rocky-assisted ‘New Choppa’, ‘Half and Half’ and ‘No. 9’, and they serve the purpose of keeping things exciting as the lyrics meander from one generic trap theme to another. Carti is vivid despite using little words (literally half of the album is adlibs), and his energy and confidence is reciprocated by the production.

The excitement gets old very quickly, though, and it gets to a point where I can’t rely on the beats anymore. But it began to make sense. Its more than fine to hear one or two tracks at any one time, but a whole 15-track project? The appeal will have lost its lustre after track six at least! Luckily, Playboi Carti managed to keep my attention until track 9, but the lack of sophistication in his songwriting became more grating. It gets to a point where hooks are not clearly discernible from verses, namely on ‘Wokeuplikethis’ with player partner Lil Uzi Vert, the kind of thoughtless methods apparent in no classic album/mixtape ever.

There’s only so much of the same thing I want to hear on a project, no matter how good it sounds. He is describing a lifestyle of carefree innocence, free of consequence, and that is all well and good, but with Lil Yachty, Uzi (who made two appearances on the mixtape) and others above him in the pecking order, Carti has to figure out a way to jettison himself to the top of the pile. Those artists arguably do it better, but there is space for Carti to shine. He has the aesthetic and sound already, so half of the work is already done.

This is a solid if not contrived first outing for an artist about whom we still don’t really know much (other than his extracurricular activities with the opposite sex), and there is potential if the vocals can match the beats, but the Atlanta rapper represents the best and worst of new age rap. With better lyrical output, he could become one of its focal points.

Dazed 100

I recently contributed to the Dazed 100, a list compiled by Dazed & Confused Magazine of the top 100 most influential figures across music, art, photography, film and culture overall.

Check out my profiles on Lil Yachty, Princess Nokia, Yung Beef and Bala Club.

Lil Yachty

Dazed 100 Lil Yachty 2

Atlanta has a new hero in the youthful, exuberant and charismatic rapper Lil Yachty. Not since Andre 3000 has an artist from the Dirty South capital transcended rap and pop culture so effortlessly, pinballing between both with such ease.

A true figurehead for the carefree, statement-making youth of today, Lil Boat’s self-described ‘jingle bell rap’ has garnered tens of millions of YouTube views and sold out shows. Packed with relentless, playful positivity, the red-braided rapper has earned the respect of his peers (despite early criticism of his easygoing style), stealing the show on tracks with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Charli XCX and D.R.A.M.

“I just want to be on every lane. Pop, EDM – I want to be genre-friendly,” Yachty told Dazed in 2016. “Do a song with Madonna, then do a song with Taylor Swift, then I’ll do a song with Lil Wayne – just cross (them) all over.” The wide scope of his artistry is evident in his work: his debut mixtape, Lil Boat, and follow-up Summer Songs 2 experimented with a multitude of genres, excelling in precisely the sort of areas where other rappers fear to tread. With plans to release his debut album in 2017, expect Yachty’s positive rhymes to trump the critical downpour.


Princess Nokia

Album cover

Princess Nokia, the barrier-breaking, Afro-Latina goddess from Spanish Harlem, is one of the fiercest rappers in the game today.

Demonstrating a desire to unite all women of colour, Nokia (real name Destiny Frasqueri) channelled the potency of New York and black women more generally with “Brujas” and “Kitana”, two of 2016’s most politically-charged music videos. At the heart of her brash, alluring lyrics is a spirituality that comes with being at one with herself and her Puerto Rican roots.

“How I’m seeing myself now is kind of starting a new era of alternagirl, this whole new, epic, brown girl rock, girls with skateboards, moshing topless, girls who do what they want thing,” she told Dazed, undeterred in her mission to empower women of all walks.

Nokia, who projects her identity with absolute grace, never graduated high school, turned down five record deals, and grew up without her mother moving between East Harlem and the Lower East Side. Yet she remains a soldier whose story serves as an inspiration for girls of all backgrounds.


Yung Beef

Yung Beef (No credit needed) Dazed 100

In just over two years, Granada native Yung Beef has fast become Spain’s pre-eminent rapper, picking up his musical tastes while working odd jobs in Marseille, London, and later Barcelona, where he is now based.

Beef’s geographically diverse sound is unapologetic, with piercing, incisive lyrics over trap beats fused with reggaetón, salsa and more besides, and characterised by its shout-outs to various fashion brands. That all makes sense, as Beef has become a poster boy for labels like Calvin Klein and Givenchy.

Few rappers have been bold enough to parade around in a skirt and high heels on a runway, but the ease with which Beef flits between men’s and womenswear is almost unrivalled, as is his flair for breaking down musical barriers. Standouts include “Givenchy Dons” with fellow PXXR GVNG member Kaydy Cain, “A.D.R.O.M.I.C.F.M.S.” and “Beef Boy”. With recent collabs with Metro Boomin, Lex Luger and 808 Mafia also in the bag, Beef’s mind is back firmly on the music.


Bala Club

Bala Club Dazed 100

Electronic music collective Bala Club have forged a lane for themselves in London’s underground through radio sets on NTS, infamous beer-soaked club nights and a slew of individual and group releases both via the internet and London label Hyperdub.

Comprised of Chilean-British brothers Kamixlo and Uli K and their friend Endgame, each member brings an unmistakable sound to the overall repertoire; Kamixlo’s blend of dancehall and reggaetón, Uli K’s low-key, melodic ballads and Endgame’s glacial tones means that many bases, and dancefloors, are covered.

In June 2016 the squad dropped their debut compilation, a collection of tracks from each cohort under the Bala name. It was an expertly constructed, super-condensed voyage into their collective psyche, and the inclusion of sad- rap poster boy Yung Lean shows that the Club’s waters run deep. Batting away the idea that you can’t do it all, the threesome are the shot in the arm London’s crumbling nightlife so desperately needs.