By Matthew Freeman, Staff Music Reporter
It seems year after year that hip hop icons and trap stars are getting younger and younger. Brian Imanuel, an indonesian, American born viner now trap artist released his first hit “Dat Stick” at 16. Now, after two years, many singles, and many collaborations, Brian has released his first official album named “Amen.” This is undoubtedly a very big step for the young artist. With an ambitious fourteen songs, featuring artists big to small like Offset, Joji, NIKI, and AUGUST 08, this album experiments a lot with the traditional hip-hop/trap formula.
The style and flow switches almost entirely at times, going from “Introvert,” a mellow, harmonic melody with Joji about depression, loneliness, and lack of love, to “Attention,” a trap heavy flow with Offset about the trap lifestyle. The album tracks rebound, though,and go right back to a track about heartbreak, and right back to another trap heavy track. Perhaps it’s meant to represent the dichotomy of his feelings. Struggling between the glamour of his newfound lifestyle, and his youthful heartbreak.
The lyrics aren’t anything out of the ordinary for a trap artist. Thankfully, his lyrics are clear and on pace, unlike a lot of the “mumble rappers” who rely heavily on their beat and lack proper annunciation. Many of his tracks are rely on the glamour and superficiality of his lifestyle, but he does break that mold to speak about his parents, his childhood, home schooling, his race, heartbreak, and his rapid emergence to fame the music scene. The rhymes aren’t extraordinary, but the message he portrays, the great melody of the beats, and his flow change make up for it. My personal favorite tracks were “Cold” and “Glow Like Dat” because of their harmonic, synthesized beats and unique flow. They’re a great add to a hip hop playlist to break up the monotony of traditional hip hop tracks.
Overall, I decided to give this album 4 out of 5 stars. My rating is based off the production value, the variety, and how the album expands the genre. Rich Brian has the production value, most of the variety, and I think he's done something to expand the hip hop/trap genre with the addition of original harmonic melodies. However some of the songs sound too similar to each other to feel they really add to the variety of the album. I was also impressed by the sheer number of songs he managed to pack into his very first album. The features definitely added to the album as they incorporated tons of diversity, but still felt like they belonged. From Offset to Joji, Rich Brian manages to make all these different artist styles work on a single album in a unique, intriguing way. I felt that even people who don’t enjoy hip hop or trap could find a song they enjoy on this album.
Afiya Jaffer, Staff Music Reporter
Have you ever had an overload of all your senses at once? Have you ever experienced energy and vibes running through your veins and sinking into your brain? I never thought such a feeling existed; I never believed anything could make me feel this way. Little did I know that “never” was and remains to be a very strong word. Of course, I’m writing about the Guns ‘n’ Roses with Alice in Chains Not in this Lifetime Tour. Together, Guns ‘n’ Roses and Alice in Chains brought together a community of over 50,000 people who all love the same music, live by this music, and honor these two bands beyond description.
Alice in Chains set the tone for the evening. Lead singer William Duvall’s voice filled soldier field and everyone was clapping along and singing at the top of their lungs. The band played hits such as Man in the Box, Rooster, Down in a Hole, etc. I loved the way Duvall sang the lyrics with so much passion and power, and I could tell by his facial expressions during each song that he was putting in his all to the music and just letting himself become one with the lyrics and instruments. Duvall and the rest if the band made that stage their home, and made all of us in the audience feel at home by performing the songs that half of the people in that arena grew up listening to.
Next was Guns ‘n’ Roses. The amount of energy in Soldier Field when Guns ‘n’ Roses came out was indescribable. It was the moment we were all waiting for, and for some of us (like me) it was the first time ever seeing them live. I was sitting next to a man who was talking to me a bit before concert began; he told me this was his 7th time seeing them, and that when he was younger he used to chase them around city to city with his friend just for the laughs. Hearing stories like this filled my heart because I love when people at the show are crazy for the band playing - real love. Every time Axl sang or Slash or Duff Mckagan had a guitar solo, the crowd was wild. Guns ‘n’ Roses knew exactly how to make the audiences feel like we were one big family. Many times throughout the show, Axl would take breaks between the songs and just takes 5 minute and see how we were doing, talk to us, and make us all feel connected. Axl and Duff both made a lot of jokes and were so very welcoming to us all.
Something else I loved a lot about this concert was their set list. When you go to a concert, a lot of the times the artists mainly plays the big hits, songs that everyone is familiar with, but they did not do that. Of course they played your usual Sweet Child ‘o’ Mine, Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain, etc., but they also included songs which I didn't even know, hidden gems they wrote when they first got together. That is what I loved so much, hearing new things and hearing Axel tell us the backstory of who, what, when, and where. Not only did they have amazing guitar solos and vocal power, they always had these amazing stage effects that you do not see everywhere. Fire was shooting out of places on the stage, flames that looked so powerful that they could devour you in one second, smoke machine with so many crazy colors, strobe lights with crazy patterns stretching across the entire field, and of course at the end, the amazing fireworks. The concert may have ended after a short couple hours, but they brought a vibe into me that I know will never leave, and that is what made this concert very memorable and powerful to me.
Out of a possible 5 stars, I give the Guns ‘n’ Roses with Alice in Chains Not in this Lifetime Tour or Summer 2016 a solid 5 out of 5 stars for high energy, great performance, and a concert experience that will stay with me for a lifetime.