MUSIC

"Look Mom I Can Fly" Is a Win for Travis Scott Fans—and No One Else

The 28-year-old rapper's new Netflix documentary is a rare and personal (albeit sloppily executed) glimpse into the life of a superstar.

Love him or hate him, we can all agree on one thing: Nobody knows how to hype up a crowd quite like Travis Scott.

That's why it's far from surprising to see that his Netflix documentary, Look Mom I Can Fly, has garnered a great deal of attention. The 85-minute film only reinforces Scott's reputation as a world-class performer. In addition to numerous heartfelt clips of impassioned fans discussing what Scott's music means to them (many of whom say that his music helped usher them through dark times and, in some cases, that it saved their lives), the movie is comprised of awe-inspiring moments in which Travis Scott is able to command enormous crowds to go wild at his concerts while still connecting with them on a deeply personal level. This is a rare ability that few artists ever manage to cultivate to the same effect—even less frequently does this happen at such a relatively early phase in a musician's career. There is clearly something special about Travis Scott, who is not quite as crazy about being in the public eye as some of his peers, which makes such an in-depth documentary about him a welcome glimpse into the rapper's personal, creative, and professional life.

The film includes decades of footage. From home movies of Scott's childhood to scattered clips of his astronomical rise to fame over the last few years, Look Mom I Can Fly is essentially a collage of personal and professional milestones. We are brought into the doctor's office with Scott and Kylie Jenner to see an ultrasound of the couple's baby, Stormi. We follow Scott around on tour, get to see plenty of never-before-seen live footage and behind-the-scenes moments in which his meticulous approach to live shows is displayed with candor. We are invited into the studio with Scott and his crew during the recording sessions of his breakout album, Astroworld. And we follow him through a tumultuous night of three Grammy upsets in 2018. This unflinching and candid approach makes Look Mom I Can Fly a refreshingly authentic and honest portrayal of a celebrity—something that is exceedingly uncommon in today's hyper-mediated social media landscape.

The one downside of the film's fragmented nature, however, is that it often feels a bit disjointed and disconnected. There is no readily discernible narrative through line. Sure, there is the story of Scott's rise to superstardom and his various achievements and obstacles along the way, the birth of his daughter is briefly touched upon, and the entire movie is thematically centered around Scott's lifelong love of amusement parks and music in light of Astroworld; but, the jigsawed nature of how all of these elements are presented leaves much to be desired in the way of cohesion. After a while, it begins to feel less like a behind-the-scenes look at one of rap's biggest names and more like an hour-and-a-half long Instagram story.

Its not quite clear what viewers are supposed to take away from the movie—especially if you aren't already a big Travis Scott fan. Large portions of it feel somewhat self-indulgent and redundant. Instead of elaborating on some of the personal threads introduced throughout—perhaps via interview or some kind of off-the-cuff conversation—the movie merely presents events, rapidly moving onto something unrelated from one frame to the next.

Look Mom I Can Fly is truly a gift for the hundreds of thousands of Travis Scott fans around the world, but it's something of a disappointment as far as documentary film-making is concerned. When you are making a film in a genre dominated by the likes of Martin Scorsese (and more recently lit aflame by the critically acclaimed Beyonce music doc, Homecoming), the bar is set extremely high. Look Mom I Can Fly may not go down in history as one of the greatest music documentaries, but it is an interesting watch nonetheless—and it's required viewing for anyone who likes Travis Scott's music.

MUSIC

Filous' "Monday" Is a Quirky, Heartfelt Search for Love

The 22-year old Austrian producer teams up with singer Ashe and director Tobias Pichler.

Flaunt.com

Filous is known for crafting lush, indie-driven electronic soundscapes.

His songs are as unique as they are dance-able, and he stays true to the emotional core of a song without letting his production overpower the overall artistic vision; rather, he compliments and enhances it. His latest single, "Monday," featuring San Diego-based singer, Ashe, is no exception.

The video for the song opens on the set of a fictionalized VHS dating profile show called "Who Wants Me?" The host introduces us to Percy (played by Filous), an awkward 22-year-old hopeful romantic with, according to the host, "beautiful, sad eyes." After she finishes introducing Percy, she cuts to Percy's home-made video introduction.

The song's dreamy, colorful synths begin as we fade in on Percy watering his lawn (which is littered in garden gnomes), and Ashe's wispy voice floats in to set the stage, singing, "Oh, when I first saw you / With those Levis 'round your waist, and those freckles on your face / I knew, I told my best friend / Before I leave here tonight, he will have me on his mind."

filous x Ashe - Monday (Official Video) [Ultra Music] youtu.be

The rest of the video sees Percy really getting into his element. He deals cards to an empty seat at his table, plays the guitar while walking down the street, and even shows off his flute skills.

In a statement provided via email, Filous said of the video, "This is my favorite video we ever did for one of my songs. The director, Tobias Pichler, and I spent months together brainstorming ideas for the song as we really wanted to do something special for it. One day, Tobias sent me the treatment that ended up being the video. I absolutely loved the idea instantly. The only problem was it was 4 days before a video shoot we already scheduled for a completely different video idea. We ended up deciding to take the risk and go for the new concept, having to do the whole pre-production for the video in only a few days. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such incredibly talented people on this project, and I am once more blown away by Tobias Pichler's dedication and his precise creative vision. Hope you like the video as much as I do!"

Sometimes, it truly is those last-minute creative efforts that really pull a project in the right direction. "Monday" is the perfect end-of-summer love song.

Follow Filous online: Spotify | Facebook | Twitter

MUSIC

"I Wanna Thank Me" Is Everything We Love About Snoop Dogg

Listening to this album, you lose track of what to expect next.

When talking about the legendary "Doggfather" of rap, it is nearly impossible to boil his music down to a singular sound.

Snoop Dogg - I Wanna Thank Me (feat. Marknoxx) (Official Video) youtu.be


Snoop Dogg has reinvented himself time and time again since he first burst on the scene as the young, slick companion to Dr. Dre's classic G-Funk sound. Then there was the Snoop Dogg of the Death Row Records days, ever in a mafioso suit and fedora and taking the gangster aesthetic to a whole new level.

We've also had the pleasure of seeing Rastafarian Snoop from when he went to Jamaica and was Reincarnated as Snoop Lion; full-on funk Snoop for his project with Dam-Funk, Snoopzilla; and, more recently, gospel Snoop on 2018's Bible of Love. He has been criticized for jumping genres and appropriating cultures for quick cash grabs, but every time Snoop has forayed into a new or foreign sphere, he fully embraces the genre. As a result, Snoop Dogg has morphed into one of the most creative musicians in the world.

On his latest album, Snoop Dogg acknowledges all of these identities. As he said while accepting his Hollywood Walk of Fame star, "I wanna thank me. I wanna thank me for believing in me. I wanna thank me for doing all this hard work. I wanna thank me for having no days off." (To be fair, he also thanked his family, his wife, Warren G, and Dr. Dre). This sentiment has become the inspiration for his new album, aptly titled, I Wanna Thank Me. The 22-track album is a musical journey through almost every landmark of Snoop's 27-year career. There is a little bit for everyone to enjoy on this album, no matter which version of Snoop you like best. Much of it is steeped in that classic West Coast, G-Funk sound that rocketed him to notoriety and put the LBC on the map. But there are also reggae undertones here and there as a nod to Snoop Lion, most notably on the Russ and Wiz Khalifa-assisted "Take Me Away." There are funk-fueled tracks like "Wintertime in June," which features a posthumous chorus from longtime Snoop collaborator and friend, Nate Dogg.

It is a bit ironic, then, that I Wanna Thank Me should sound so much like a return to form for Snoop. He strips away the personas, one by one, and delivers candid, unapologetic, and sometimes vulnerable bars. On "Bygones Be Bygones," for example, he reflects on his sordid relationship with former Death Row Records Exec, Suge Knight, who is currently serving a 28-year prison sentence for murder. "So through the ups and the downs / Real ones know not to kick n****s when they down / Especially when we was down, that n**** picked n****s up / G*ngb*ng on NY stages, hit n****s up (Death Row) / Y'all remember that? (Yup) / Yeah, he did some bullsh*t, I'm admitting that / But coming at a real Crip, like he ain't one? (What?) / Especially when he helped f*cking make one," Snoop raps.

Snoop Dogg - One Blood, One Cuzz (feat. DJ Battlecat) (Official Video) youtu.be


He also addresses Nipsey Hussle's murder and the impact it had on his community, particularly on the Bloods and the Crips of LA. The late rapper's murder brought these perennially warring gangs together in grief, which has since led to talks of peace. On "One Blood, One Cuzz," after dedicating a full verse to Nipsey, his legacy, and his family, Snoop goes on to rhyme, "Ain't nothin' greater than when we unite as one / Ain't got no ulterior motives and no other agendas / Fakin' like you with us just like some puppet pretenders / We ready to end this / For every eye that still cries / It's time to realize God will rise when we tie us."

I Wanna Thank Me is, in some ways, a microcosm of Snoop's career. Listening to it, you have no idea what to expect next. But with Snoop, no matter what you get, it is always entertaining and authentic. This album is a culmination of every step Snoop has taken over nearly three decades, paying homage to his roots and, ultimately, himself.

Young Thug has been one of the most prolific rappers of the last decade, yet he just released his first solo album on Friday.

Since 2010, Thugger has put out 18 mixtapes, 3 EPs, and a collaborative effort with Future, and he's made more than enough guest appearances to have secured himself a venerated space within the rap industry. He has slowly built a reputation for providing smooth melodies and amassed a loyal fanbase in the process.

But Young Thug has zero concern for the old-school hip-hop heads. He has never catered to a more mainstream, pop-centric rap sound; he's untethered—freely flowing however he sees fit, frequently over unorthodox instrumentals. The broken melodies are Thug's recipe for success, as people have gravitated towards his devil-may-care approach and raw creative energy. In a genre that has become increasingly fractured over the last few years—with hip-hop purists on one side of the divide and mumble rap fans on the other—Young Thug's refusal to conform is refreshing.

When you hear the first few seconds of "Just How it Is," the first track of So Much Fun, it's clear he's still not taking himself too seriously. He wastes no time before coming in over a laid back instrumental, finding a unique cadence and melodic flourish. Experimentation with melody has always come naturally to Young Thug. He croons on the chorus: "Ooh-woo, diamonds peek-a-boo / Ooh-woo, I done f*cked her crew / Ooh-woo, I done did the robbin' / I done did the jackin' / Now I'm full rappin'."

The emcee brings a few familiar faces to the party, too. One of the album's highlight bangers, "Sup Mate," features frequent Thug collaborator, Future. You can hear Gunna's calm and effortless swagger on "Hot" and "Surf." Lil Uzi Vert shows up on "What's the Move." 21 Savage goes in alongside Doeboy on "I'm Scared." Plus, you'll hear Quavo, Juice WRLD, Lil Keed, Lil Duke, and Lil Baby throughout. Oh, and of course we can't forget about the J. Cole and Travis Scott assisted hit, "The London," which closes out So Much Fun on an upbeat note.

In a 2016 interview with GQ, writer Devin Friedman asked Thug a fruitful but straightforward question: "'People probably ask you the same sh*t all the time. What's something you wish people would ask you?'"

"'Do I care?'" Thug replied.

"'Okay, do you care?'"

"'No. I don't give a f**k.'"

Young Thug revels in not caring. All Thugger cares about, at least on his latest effort, is having a good time. In an interview with No Jumper from July, he prefaced the album's release with some cautionary words to would-be listeners. "If you not having fun or in a fun mood," he said, "don't even play this album."

So Much Fun

MUSIC

Rick Ross's "Port of Miami 2" Is Stale and Overrated

The 43-year-old emcee's latest effort is mostly a tepid recycling of the same thing he's been at for the last 13 years.

Rick Ross, if nothing else, loves to repeat himself.

Whether it's his famous "Maybach Music" adlib or the endless repetition of themes and rhyme schemes, Rick Ross has struggled for years to be original. Ross's imaginative shortcomings even seep into his persona. In 2010, the rapper was sued for $10 million by former drug kingpin, Rick Ross, who claimed that the emcee appropriated his name and criminal history, which resulted in a rather lucrative music career. Ultimately, though, according to The Independent, California judge Robert Baron ruled that "Roberts [Ross, the rapper] created a celebrity identity, using the name Rick Ross, of a cocaine kingpin, turned rapper. He was not simply an impostor seeking to profit solely off the name and reputation of Rick Ross. Rather, he made music out of fictional tales of dealing drugs and other exploits..." Either way, 13 years is a long time to be churning out tales of drugs, opulence, and promiscuity, especially when these subjects are not being offered up in any new, daring, or innovative ways.

The creative stagnancy of Ross's latest album, Port of Miami 2, is seen early on. On "Act a Fool," which features Wale, Ross raps, "10 stacks on the stage cause a whirlwind (Whirlwind) / Take a couple stacks and give that to your girlfriend (Woo) / Love to see pretty bitches kissin' on pretty bitches / Number one in my book is all the realest bitches." Ross's stale rhyming of "whirlwind" and "girlfriend" could probably be overlooked if he was leaning on the tired rhyme to say something new. But he isn't. It's the message of 'I'm so rich, I could steal your girl."

To add to this barrage of antiquated sentiments, Ross follows it up with a declaration of how much he loves attractive lesbians (or, at the very least, girls who are willing to engage in bisexual behavior solely for his viewing pleasure). The other 14 songs on the album, unfortunately, do not show much in the way of departure from these bars in "Act a Fool."

The project has some occasional highlights, but those moments have little to do with Ross himself. The production, for example, is on point, thanks to beat-making masterminds like Just Blaze, Jake One, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Beat Billionaire. And there are some head-turning features from heavy hitters like Meek Mill, Jeezy, Nipsey Hussle, Teyana Taylor, Lil Wayne, Drake, and John Legend. Rick Ross is at his best when he's surrounded by talented artists that force him to step up his bars lest he be outshone.

While Rick Ross shows little growth as an artist on Port of Miami 2, that's never been his aim. He has always (and likely always will) continue his one-note shtick of drugs, sex, and violence. And it can be fun in the right context: at a club or a house party, where you will likely only hear a song or two throughout the night. And most of the songs on this album could easily slide into rotation at a wild Miami night club. So, in that regard, Port of Miami 2 sees Rick Ross at his best--making background music to party to, as opposed to crafting innovative and creatively satisfying albums.

Port of Miami 2

MUSIC

Anie Delgado's New Video "Galaxy" Is a Joyride Through the Cosmos

Singer-Songwriter Anie Delgado's new music video is a mix of cosmic collisions, kismet, and 1980's aesthetic.

Anie Delgado's music video for "Galaxy" opens on a scene at a house party.

A man looks bored, sitting on a couch while people play beer pong and party all around him. In walks Delgado, who immediately grabs his attention. Without a second thought, he gets up and approaches her, whispering something into her ear, accidentally turning off the lights in the process. This causes them both to discover that their bodies are speckled in glow-in-the-dark body paint, like neon-lit galaxies splattered against their skin. They are connected for a brief but profound moment, exploring each other's glowing bodies in the dark, until someone turns the lights back on and Delgado is pulled away by a friend.

The man goes to find her, wandering into a hallway and stopping in front of a closed door. Finally, Delgado reappears and opens the door out onto the depths of space. Together, the two enter a breathtaking, cosmic dreamscape of supernovas, floating auroras, and shooting stars. They become shimmering celestial beings as they explore their new surroundings. They embrace, they enjoy their moment, they kiss, and then they depart once more, fading away from each other into their own separate galaxies unseen.

Interspersed with this story of two strangers unexpectedly transcending time and space together, clips of Delgado dressed in various versions of an '80s diva flicker across several stacked televisions. The video's deep-space imagery is tied together perfectly in a cohesive aesthetic vision, as Delgado's infectious and lulling voice glides over sparse and airy instrumentation.

The two characters in "Galaxy" collide and explode for a brief and beautiful moment. They shine bright together for a time and then eventually fade away, just as bodies of matter collide to form galaxies in brilliant bursts of energy and light but also come undone with time. Delgado's vision leaves no sense of sadness, though, as the connection is nothing more than the awesome force that is the universe at play—as amazingly wonderful and strange as it is ephemeral.

Galaxy by Anie Delgado (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com