AN EXCLUSIVE WEEKLY COLUMN BY ITEM MAGAZINE, OFFERING AN ARRAY OF NEWLY SELECTED UNDERGROUND & MAINSTREAM MUSIC TO BRING MUSE TO YOUR MONDAYS!
BY CONTRIBUTOR TRE FLOREZ
1. Cardi B - Bickenhead
Cardi B’s much anticipated debut non-mixtape album, Invasion of Privacy, was released last Friday and we must say, it’s a banger. According to Billboard, Cardi’s instant classic “Bartier Cardi (featuring 21 Savage) officially went platinum Thursday (April 5th), right before the drop of the new work at midnight Friday (April 6th). While many amazing artists, such as Chance The Rapper, Kehlani and SZA, are featured on the album, it’s the songs where Cardi is alone that stand out. In particular, track three with the title, Bickenhead, is very reminiscent of her past mixtapes, in that it has a hard beat and “i’m the shit” lyrics. Cardi’s empowered attitude and confidence on this song is not lacking in the slightest and she is here to let everyone know:
“Slim waist, ass fat, my shit is caked up
“...Knick-knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone (bone)
Cardi knows she’s hot, and knows not to feed into the hater’s negative energies, and simply dismisses them as “unimportant.”
This is a hard song, one that you expect to turn all the way up in the car or at the gym during your run. There’s also a fittingly Cardi verse in there about popping your lady parts, that gets you ready for a night out in hopes doing, well, probably that. While the album does have some more emotional tracks, such as Through Your Phone, it is not lacking in amped-up bangers, one bit. Also give these notable tracks a listen Money Bag, She Bad (with YG), I Like It (with Bad Buny & J Balvin), and I Do (with SZA)
2. Kali Uchis - Just A Stranger (feat. Steve Lacy)
We are very pleased that another one of our personal favorites, Kali Uchis, also released their debut album, Isolation, on Friday. We have reviewed every single she released leading up to this album (like we absolutely LOVE her) and she has failed to disappoint, track after track. Kali continues with her very classic, groovy, 70’s-esque sound throughout, and gives us summertime vibes we have come to expect from her. Track number three, Just a Stranger, is no exception to these rules, as her raspy vocals go hand in hand with the consistent bass line that steadies the chill vibe. One of many features on the album, Steve Lacy, from the band The Internet, adds his vocals to the track, where he also helped to write alongside Kali.
The track is somewhat vague, but is about surely a girl who is after only one thing: money. The first verse, sung by Uchis, is describing the girl as wanting just fun:
“She's a hurricane, feel the earth shake
The chorus, sung by both Uchis and Lacy, solidifies that she is not interested in love:
“She wants my hundred dollar bills, she don't want love
Kali’s aesthetic is almost centered around this song’s theme of no man, no problem, and has a lack of focus on love. Could Just A Stranger be semi-autobiographical? While Isolation does also have some emotionally charged songs, most about how trash the men in her life are for hurting her, she also has no problem singing about what makes her happiest. This album, truly, is a work of art. We also recommend listening to the songs Miami (feat. BIA), Dead To Me, and Killer, if not, the entire album.
3. Alina Baraz - I Don’t Even Know Why Though
The last of our three chart smashing artists, Alina Baraz, also released her debut this past Friday, titled, The Color Of You. The nine-track album features Alina’s unique sound and vibes, and also features two songs with Khalid, including their popular collaboration, Electric. Originally working with producer Galimatias in 2015, Baraz keeps a familiar Electronic-R&B hybrid sound throughout this body of work; however, her lyrics and sultry, velvety vocals, are more prominent here. Track five of the album, I Don’t Even Know Why Though, is the most upbeat song on the album, and is definitely a little outside of what we have come to expect from Alina. Keeping us guessing, she sings of a lover that she has come to crave, even once after they have left. However, this lover seems to know exactly how to pull the strings to get back in her bed in verse one:
“You know what to say on my way out
And the pre-chorus after this verse continues the narrative:
“High hopes, I fall for the cycle
Girl, we have all been there. Not a love song, however you can feel the desire in her lyrics. The song has a slight sped up sample of What Kind Of Man Would I Be by 90’s boy band Mint Condition, and is turn, becomes a very synthesized sound, paired with a hi-hat and snare trap beat. Again, much more of an upbeat song than the rest of her catalogue thus far. While we completely love this album in the entirety, we also hope that Baraz continues to explore the different avenues that R&B has to offer as she evolves (maybe, even do more collaborations, wink-wink). We also recommend the tracks Tainted, Fallin, and The One (feat. Jada).
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE,
a poet and freelance fashion writer, photographer and abstract visual content producer.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University, where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column For
The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first of 25 Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early. Bringing him to four degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, from commercial retail management to corporate level ghost writing. Now - he the poet - T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent launch of the urban California lifestyle based fashion-art movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.