On April 10, Duke University Union (DUU) announced this year's slate of LDOC Artists: headliner NLE Choppa, supported by solo artist 070 Shake and indie-pop duo Cafuné. While the Chronicle’s news team already briefed said announcement, I wanted to dive a little deeper into the artist's backgrounds and music and provide some representative songs students can listen to leading up to the big concert.
Born in 2002, Bryson Lashun Potts grew up in Southeast Memphis, making his first foray into music at fifteen when he started freestyling with friends. At sixteen, he began taking his music more seriously and decided to pursue it as a career with the help of his mother (and manager), Angela Potts.
Initially going by YNR Choppa, he released his first song, "No Love Anthem," in March 2018 followed by his debut mixtape, "No Love the Takeover," in July. His career took off after his feature in the group Shotta Fam's song "No Chorus Pt. 3," with his verse and dance moves being singled out for praise.
He capitalized on this sudden popularity by releasing his single "Shotta Flow" in 2019, which racked up millions of views, got platinum certified and became the first of his "Shotta Flow" Series. Following the release of the even more popular “Shotta Flow Two” a few months later, he became the subject of a bidding war between major labels like Republic Records and EMPIRE. Ultimately, Potts partnered with independent distributor UnitedMasters in 2019, allowing him to retain master recordings and publishings.
Since then, he's released many singles and two more mixtapes, his debut studio album "Top Shotta" (which was released under his label No Love Entertainment) and his debut EP "Cottonwood." His music is best known for his freestyling ability, his energetic and animated delivery of his lines and his melodic but hard-hitting sound, while his performances are known for their energy and dancing.
For a better understanding of his music, I'd recommend you listen to at least some of his "Shotta Flow" series as well as top hits like "Slut Me Out," "Do it Again" and "Walk Em Down."
Compared to NLE Choppa, Danielle Balbuena is a bit older (born in 1997) and a bit more Northern, born and raised in North Bergen, New Jersey. She began her career in 2015, recording "Proud" and "Swervin" and becoming affiliated with 070 music collective (named for North Bergen’s 07047 Zip Code.) Her songs blew up on SoundCloud and caught the attention of promoter and social media personality YesJulz, who signed on as her manager.
Her popularity continued to rise after she released "Trust Nobody" and "Honey," the latter being a collaboration with other 070 members and the production trio The Kompetition. In 2016, she signed with Kanye West's GOOD Music Label after Pusha T., the labels president, heard her music being played by YesJulz at a Yeezy fitting.
She spent the rest of 2016 opening for the American leg of The 1975's tour before headlining her own tour in 2017. 070 Shake followed this up with the release of her first solo EP, "Glitter," in 2018.
Since then, she has released her debut album "Modus Vivendi" and her second album, "You Can't Kill Me" – which includes “Lose My Cool,” a collaboration with NLE Choppa. She also featured on Raye's song "Escapism" in addition to opening for Kid Cudi on his To The Moon World Tour.
Her music has been described as pop, alternative, ambient and hip hop, and she counts Michael Jackson, Queen, Lauryn Hill, Paramore and My Chemical Romance amongst her influences.
For a better idea of what her music sounds like, I'd recommend listening to songs like "Escapism," "Morrow," "Under The Moon" and "Guilty Conscience."
Cafuné is a duo composed of singer-songwriter Sedona Schat and producer Noah Yoo, who met at NYU in 2012, where they studied recorded music at the Tisch School of the Art's Clive Davis Institute. They proceeded to bond over a shared love for the Irish band Two Door Cinema, and Yoo helped Schat with one of her songs, which lead to them launching Cafuné as a side project the following year. The name came from the Brazilian Portuguese word for running your fingers from someone's hair, a word mainly used as a term for a caring gesture.
They released their debut single, "Letting Go," in 2014 and followed it with their debut EP, "Love Songs for Other People," in 2015. Over the next few years, they worked on their debut album, "Running," before releasing in 2021 through their self-owned label Aurelians Club. The album included the singles "High" and “Tek It”, the latter of which blew up in 2022 due to its heavy inclusion in TikTok anime edits. This virality led to the duo being signed by Elektra Records in 2022, after which they spent the summer of 2022 opening for Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches.
Their music has been described as alt-pop, indie pop, dream pop, and indie-rock, and for a better idea of what their music sounds like, listen to songs like “Tek It”, “Perspective”, “High”, “Friction” and “Reconsider”.
If you want to listen to any or all of the songs mentioned in this article, Recess created a Spotify and a Youtube playlist containing them.
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Zev van Zanten is a Trinity sophomore and campus arts editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.