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HBO’s 'Winning Time' isn’t accurate, but that’s not a bad thing

(06/10/22 12:00pm)

HBO’s sports drama series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” appealed to me as soon as I saw the trailer for its first season. The show is a dramatic retelling of the 1979-80 Los Angeles Lakers season, which saw rookie — and future Hall of Famer — Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson help lead his team to the NBA Championship. As a basketball fan, “Winning Time” fed into my fascination for the “Showtime” era Lakers team, a time trademarked by Johnson’s fast breaks and no-look passes. “Winning Time” promised a behind-the-scenes look at the trials and tribulations faced by those who made this era possible, from the players to the coaches to the front office. 

Jack Harlow has nothing new to say on ‘Come Home the Kids Miss You’

(05/31/22 4:00pm)

When Jack Harlow released “Come Home the Kids Miss You,” I was pretty excited to review it. I’ll admit, I have yet to write an overtly negative review for Recess because the artists I sign up to write about are typically artists that I enjoy and expect great work from. More often than not, they deliver. In that sense, I feel like I was tricked by this new Harlow album. Coming off of an immense rise in the past few years, as well as a genuinely insane guest verse in Lil Nas X’s “Industry Baby,” I frankly expected more from Harlow’s new album than what I ended up receiving, but that could be my fault for not managing my expectations properly. The cover art depicts Jack Harlow sitting beside a microphone in a white void, and when he first announced that picture as the cover of his album, I thought it looked boring. In retrospect, I must say that fit perfectly with the blandness that ensued.

What made 'Regular Show' so irregular

(04/18/22 1:00pm)

I don’t watch too many cartoons anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I outgrew cartoons — animation is a medium, not a genre, and there are plenty of animations to enjoy as an adult. I’m just saying that I haven’t been able to find cartoons that have commanded my attention. Despite a few exceptions, adult animation seems so bland, and I haven’t been able to vibe with much childrens’ animation, no matter how acclaimed it is. This is a drastic change from who I was growing up, when I spent my waking hours consuming every cartoon I could possibly watch. I’d split my time between 4Kidz, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, but the king of animation in my eyes was always Cartoon Network. The 2000s belonged to Cartoon Network — between “Adventure Time,” “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and “Scooby-Doo,” I definitely made time in my day for cartoons. There was, however, one show that topped them all — one TV show that remains ingrained in my mind and had a profound impact on the trajectory of my humor and personality as a kid. That show was “Regular Show.”

Sights and sounds at Dreamville Festival, 'a microcosm of the entire music scene'

(04/11/22 12:00pm)

Until recently, I’d never been to a music festival before. I’d been to a handful of concerts before COVID, but festivals are a whole different ball game. From the all-day performances to the abundant food options to the various other amenities, music festivals seemed to me to be a utopia where one could forget about their problems for a shining moment and watch their favorite artists perform. 

Denzel Curry reintroduces himself on 'Melt My Eyez See Your Future'

(04/04/22 12:00pm)

It has been a long three-year wait since Denzel Curry’s last solo album, but it seems that the wait was worth it. The quality of “Melt My Eyez See Your Future” proves that Curry's time away was spent honing his craft. Curry likes to explore different worlds between various albums, ensuring each of them has a particular feel. Usually, his music is marked by his alter egos and the intensity of his flows, but “Melt My Eyez” sees Curry put that side of himself to rest in what is his most mature album to date.

Ballers and beats: Ranking NBA players' mixtapes

(03/21/22 4:00am)

Though it may be blasphemous to say, especially during March Madness, I am a much bigger fan of the NBA than college basketball. The NBA has exciting basketball at the highest level and larger-than-life players who are exciting to follow both on and off the court. Many of these players express their interests outside of basketball, often branding themselves as connoisseurs in fashion. A select few players, however, create music for their fans to enjoy. So, instead of filling out a bracket, I decided to rank some famous ballers’ recent music drops. While this list is by no means exhaustive, I limited myself to my five favorite projects released by NBA players.

Michael Jackson’s 'Invincible' is an underrated gem

(02/07/22 1:00pm)

I have something I need to admit — I don’t particularly like most of Michael Jackson’s music. It’s an unpopular opinion for sure, and it’s not at all an opinion based on anything other than my own personal tastes. I respect “Thriller,”  but I never listen to it for fun. I think “Billie Jean” is catchy, but I’ve never listened to that song outside of social functions. No matter how much I try, I always feel disconnected from his classics.

I went back to my hometown recently

(01/31/22 1:00pm)

June 19, 2001, I was born in High Wycombe, England. My dreams of being the sixth member of One Direction were squashed, however, when my family moved me to Grand Blanc, Michigan at just over three months old. Grand Blanc is a rather small town just a couple of minutes south of Flint. With a population of just over thirty thousand, and a non-existent downtown area, I learned pretty early on that community serves as a link to the outside world. I have fond memories of growing up in Grand Blanc — both in terms of spending time with my friends and finding things to do within my community.

Earl Sweatshirt continues to impress with 'SICK!'

(01/24/22 1:00pm)

Earl Sweatshirt is a unique rapper. His music, which oftentimes feels more like spoken-word poetry than traditional rap bangers, enriches hip-hop as a genre. The story of Earl’s career is also paramount to understanding the trajectory of his career thus far, and how he ended up in his current artistic era. Exploding onto the scene as part of the rap collective “Odd Future” —  once home to Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean, among others — Earl released his self-titled mixtape to fan acclaim. After this, his mother abruptly sent him to a correctional camp for troubled youths in Samoa, citing his increasingly rebellious behavior and violent lyrics. Upon his return, he resumed creating music, but his lyrics took a darker turn. 

Deluxe albums: Commerce before art?

(01/10/22 5:00pm)

In the modern music landscape, there seems to be one constant: an influx of ever-growing “deluxe” albums that have little reason to exist. June 11, 2021, Migos released “Culture III” after three years of anticipation. Six days later, they dropped the deluxe version of the album. June 25, 2021, Doja Cat released “Planet Her.” Only two days later did she drop the deluxe version of that album. Some albums, such as Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City,” received three different deluxe treatments. 

On the record: Catching up with Small Town Records' newest artists

(12/03/21 1:00pm)

Since its founding, Duke’s student-run record label, Small Town Records (STR), has given student-artists an opportunity to explore and develop their musical passions while balancing their academics. The label consistently seeks new talent of every genre, giving students the experience of making music in a professional setting. 

JPEGMAFIA's "LP!" proves he is an artist like no other

(11/15/21 5:00am)

JPEGMafia, also known as Peggy, is perhaps one of the most unique voices in the experimental hip-hop scene. I first became acquainted with his music when I heard his 2018 album, “Veteran,” followed by 2019’s “All My Heroes are Cornballs,” each unique and fantastic in their own ways. “Veteran” has “Baby I’m Bleeding” and “All My Heroes are Cornballs” has “Jesus Forgive Me I am a Thot,” both of which have never left my rotation since my first listen. Both albums have entirely different vibes, yet fit distinctly in JPEGMafia’s style. With this momentum, I was interested to see where he would go artistically when he released his follow-up album, “LP!”

With its recent re-release, now is a great time to revisit Mac Miller's “Faces”

(10/25/21 6:00pm)

Mac Miller has always been one of my favorite artists. Fresh in my mind is the excitement I had when he released what turned out to be his final album, “Swimming,” wondering about the potential he had for growth as a musician. Tragically, just over a month after the album’s release date, Miller would die at the age of 26, victim to a drug overdose. His recreational use of drugs often came up in his songs. His music often dealt with difficult subject matters, which is what was so appealing about Miller. His sheer emotional honesty was refreshing, and his music evolved with his maturity. His first, and only posthumous album, “Circles,” is a benchmark for respectability — it’s a posthumous album that doesn’t exploit a dead artist’s unfinished music just for quick cash. As such, it served as the perfect send-off for Miller’s legacy — that was until “Faces” was re-released for streaming services.

36th NC Latin American Film Festival shines a light on Latin American stories and voices

(10/21/21 11:00am)

Running throughout the month of October, the 2021 North Carolina Latin American Film Festival celebrates Latin American perspectives in cinema, showcasing feature-length and short films. The festival invites filmmakers from across the region, showing films in 13 languages, and serves as a bridge between various cultures of the 26 countries. The festival features both in-person and virtual events, with the films being shown over Zoom. All events are free and open to the public.

The Muslims' new album is 21 minutes of politically-charged punk rock rage

(10/07/21 12:00pm)

The Muslims, a Durham-based punk rock band, may have started in “a backyard shed,” according to their Spotify page, but their latest album is an indication that they have bloomed beyond their initial label. Describing themselves as a band of all Black and Brown queer Muslims, they formed in 2017 shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president — an event that motivated the initial theme, a rejection of all forms of oppression, of their first four studio albums. Their recently released fifth studio album, “Fuck These Fuckin Fascists” is a continuation of the initial four albums in a 12-track record.

The Black Eyed Peas' 'The E.N.D' and the power of nostalgia

(09/27/21 4:00am)

Over twelve years ago, one of the most ubiquitous albums of the late 2000s was released to much commercial success, Grammy nominations and enough attention for the artists to be chosen to headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Now, “The E.N.D.” by The Black Eyed Peas is often disregarded, relegated to a footnote in contemporary musical history. Seen as nothing more than the home of “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling,” the bulk of the work as a whole faded into obscurity during the last decade despite the cultural throne it once held.