Feel like America’s gettin’ a rotten deal right now? You’re not alone. Emcees Damn Skippy (Alex Veazey) and Bad Mojo (Maurice O’Clock) recently formed hip-hop duo DBL DRGN and chose the morning of Inauguration Day to drop their fired-up debut single/video. The track — “Trim the Bushes” — is a political one underlining the state of the world under Trump.
Visually, it’s pretty playful and gleaming with positivity. Lyrically, it gets real, with Damn Skippy, for example, spitting lyrics like, “Separation of power, gettin’ weaker by the hour/ They devour human lives, give human rights a golden shower.”
“We wanted to write a song about our feelings toward how the government seems to operate these days,” Bad Mojo explains. “If you listen to the song you can tell we aren’t exactly thrilled with the current state of affairs, so we wanted to make sure the video was upbeat and positive to make up for our complain-rap.”
Filmed by Veazey on Election Day, the video follows Bad Mojo around the city dressed as a dragon (“It was meant to be a ridiculous image to match the ridiculousness of the current election”), high-fiving and conversing with pedestrians as the song asks, “The world is falling apart, but whose fault is it? The politicians or us for giving them offices?”
The duo also manages to successfully join two unlikely voices as a chorus, mashing up George Bush (“Fool me once ... Can’t get fooled again”) and Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up (“You can fool some people sometimes but you can’t fool all the people all of the time”).
While the video touches on Trump’s many remarks on everything from Mexico, immigration, birtherism, and Putin to Mccain and women, the ultimate message is to “stay positive, keep your head up, and keep working,” Veazey says. “There’s a lot of ways to approach problems these days, and we’re just really fed up with the negative approach toward everything because it just doesn’t get us anywhere. Trump has proven that better than anybody.”
Check the video out here, and stay tuned for DBL DRGN's debut EP this summer.
Local chill-pop artist Diaspoura (a.k.a. Anjali Naik) drops a “pointed” single today that she wrote the day after Donald Trump was elected to be president. “Nobody could really do anything that day but think about the election,” she recalls.
The track “GTF” (‘get the fuck’), evolved from there with additional contributions from experimental artist, emcee, and producer Contour, who did the beat and helped write the music for the song. The goal was to ready the single for release on Inauguration Day — "to help you brave the storm," Diaspoura announced on Facebook.
“It was mostly my feelings evoked after the election just about the state of the nation and my own personal fears with being a queer woman of color in the South and my misplaced trust in people around me — and just like feeling angry about it,” she says. “So it’s very charged, and it’s an explicit song.”
For now, you can find the single on Bandcamp, but the distribution company for online streaming services Naik tried to release the single through rejected it for its cover, which is a collage work featuring Donald Trump, created by the artist herself. “I do a lot of collage art, and you’re supposed to take media and turn it to other things,” she says. But, according to the distribution company, the image of the President Elect was too distinguishable. “They said I needed to get Donald Trump’s permission.”
Naik will create new cover art for the track soon and resubmit, but you can see the original work and listen to/download “GTF” now on diaspoura.bandcamp.com.
Columbia’s Niecy Blues recently released the single “Cut Your Losses,” which was produced by local electronic and hip-hop artist Contour (a.k.a. Khari Lucas).
The two met at one of Black Dave’s Charleston Hype showcases last year. “I was just immediately impressed with her,” Lucas says. “We started talking and very gradually working on music together. We have a grip of songs now but I’m not sure quite when those will start coming out, but she’s really the most unique R&B vocalist I’ve met in the region.”
Niecy Blues (a.k.a. Janise Robinson), who’s originally from Oklahoma, says the single is a reflection of her past relationships, both romantic and platonic. “When I started writing the song I was not in a positive space at all,” she says, so I decided to write it as though I was, so that I would gradually heal from those failed relationships — sort of like a fake it, till you make it.”
On New Year’s Day, Nic Jenkins’ Infinitikiss released Productive Leisure, a joyful 11-song collection of electro-synth grooves that already gives us much hope for 2017.
Jenkins seamlessly switches moods throughout Productive Leisure, from blissed-out chillwave and danceable beats to melodic R&B and fuzzy garage rock. The bulk of it was recorded in Columbia during his brief hiatus from Charleston, taking, in total, just under a year to create.
“The writing for this began as a few meditative motives and noise experiments with microphone placement in a very small bedroom studio,” Jenkins tells us. “The lyrics formed a little later than the music. I really wanted to have a little fun with this batch of songs, which is something I find challenging to do with music. I was trying to reflect the beauty, warmth, encouragement, and newness around me. I was also listening to a lot of Broadcast, Lenny Kravitz, St. Vincent, and Jon Brion during these times.”
During Jenkins’ time in Columbia, he worked at the storied Nickelodeon Theatre, the only non-profit art house cinema in South Carolina. “It serves as a great beacon for creatives and activists to thrive in the community,” he says. “The relationships I formed during that time were nothing less than encouraging, because everyone seemed to be working so intently on whatever projects were on their plates at the time.”
He also worked with dance troupe Power Company Collaborative as a sound designer/performer for a large piece called The Home Project. “I was also doing a lot of work and traveling with Grace Joyner throughout the year,” he says.
“All together I think that my friendships and work dynamics really fueled the writing and recording of Productive Leisure.”