Concert Review: Noname at the Chapel on 02/18/2017

In the never ending, open seas of modern rap, Fatimah Warner, known better by her stage name, “Noname” is like a glimpse of land or a taste of fresh produce. She is so many things that I, as a hip hop consumer, crave in modern rap: she is lighthearted and fun while taking on important topics, her songs are complex and beautiful, and more importantly she is having the time of her life doing it.

Noname grew up in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, and her roots are very evident in her music. She takes pride in her hometown, and consistently credits the city for her musical inspiration and success. She began as a slam poet, which led her to many open mics around the city, even bringing her to land 3rd place in Chicago’s “Louder than a Bomb” competition. Before long, she began rapping, and in 2013 she was featured on Chance the Rappers “Acid Rap,” with a verse in his song “Lost.” After this, she became visible to the industry’s eye, and over the next few years she was featured on a number of other artists albums such as  Mick Jenkins’ mixtape The Water[s],  Ramaj Eroc’s track “I Love You More“and multiple tracks on Kirk Knight’s album Late Knight Special. She also released a full unofficial mixtape called What the F*ck is a Noname Gypsy on youtube in 2014.  In 2013, with a name change from Noname Gypsy to just Noname, Fatima Warner announced that she was recording her own mixtape, and three years later, in July 2016, her first full mixtape and biggest hit yet, Telefone, was released.  

Her decision to remove “gypsy” from her stage name in 2016 reflects on Noname’s ability to learn and understand her mistakes. For those who may not know, the term “gypsy” is a derogatory term to refer to the Roma people whom have faced an extreme amount of discrimination; being pushed from nation to nation and often denied legal status. The word has been appropriated in the US to mean “carefree” or “traveler,” however to many people across the globe it is still extremely offensive and hurtful. So if you have an instagram bio or forever 21 t-shirt that reads “gypsy soul” or “free spirited gypsy,” it’s time to toss it. Noname was open, understanding and apologetic about her name change, as you can see from this tweet in March:

In November 2016, Noname announced a US tour and by March 2017 half the shows had already sold out. Queen Beats DJ Jinx, along with KZSC staff member and mentee Kaviar were lucky enough to attend her show in San Francisco on February 18th, and have a quick chat with Noname and her incredible opener, Ravyn Lenae, after the show.

While standing in line outside the venue, and waiting in front of the stage for Ravyn Lenae to come out, the excitement and respect was palpable. It felt like every person present was there to witness Noname and her art, not just for a good time. The venue was packed and people were up to typical concert shenanigans, but there was no shoving or hostility; it smelt like soap and flowers. When the DJ backing Ravyn Lenae came out to hype the crowd (with tasteful yet banging throwback jams) people were getting down and dancing together. Not in a “imma do my thing over here as I try to ignore Steven over there groping Sally-May” kind of way, but just sincerely having a good time together. All of this goes to show that Noname has mastered her art and is speaking truths in a way that is immediately recognizable and impossible to disregard. She talks about tragedy and resistance, but is also honest about her experience and insecurities in a way that makes it easy to recognize her humanity.

You don’t have to see Noname in person to know she’s going to give a good live performance. Her vocal style and lyrical personality set her up to be an incredible performer, and as expected, she didn’t disappoint on Saturday evening at the Chapel. Both her and Ravyn Lenae held a kind of on stage presence that is unforgettable; they interacted with the audience in a genuine, sincere way, and it was easy to tell that in that moment, the Chapel stage was exactly where they wanted to be.


Ravyn Lenae made it a point to talk about each of the songs she sang. She emphasized that her intent was communication and gave her words weight. During her set she projected stars and a moon on the ceiling of the Chapel and it fit seamlessly with her bubble-bath low-fi production. She carried herself with an ease that was admirable and soothing. Similarly, Noname had this endearing way of prancing around the stage while the instrumentation was taking over, her big smile and wide eyes not once slipping from her face. She was so clearly living by her own rules and needs, it’s refreshing to see an artist so unconcerned with fitting into the industries expectations and regulations. Her music speaks to her own experiences and feelings, and that’s what makes it so unique.

Once the show finished and the audience was filing out, we decided to hang around for a bit to see if Noname was planning on making an appearance at any point. We introduced ourselves to the security, and they told us they would send the message along that we would love to chat, despite being previously told Noname was not doing any press that night. While we waited in the main bar, we were lucky enough to catch Ravyn Lenae and ask her about her own work and her experience working with Noname, along with the many other artists featured on Telefone.

Lenae, who just like Noname comes from Southside Chicago, was noticeably nonchalant and humble about her impressive success at the young age of 17. When we asked her about working on Telefone, and touring with Noname she explained that it was “all very organic,” going on to note that her and Fatima had been good friends for a while, and working on music together was really just hanging out with a close friend. She said that her part on “Forever” wasn’t even pre written, she just came to the studio and they perfected it together day of recording.

After about ten minutes, Noname came out into the bar and introduced herself to a few fans. We talked to her about KZSC and Queen Beats and what an inspiration she is for the show. She was flattered and happy we were doing our radio show and even though she was clearly exhausted from two back to back concerts, she was more than willing to engage with us (and even take a picture!)

Walking out of The Chapel and  making our way to the Bart that night, it was hard not to feel like we had been imparted with a small piece of Chicago magic. Noname’s Telefone tour swooped through town propelled by respect for craft, words, hip-hop, people, and Chicago. MC Lyte’s utopian view in “If women ran hip-hop” was a reality at Noname’s show, and it was not because she is a female MC, it’s because for that night, she really ran hip hop.

16880581_1383070455120669_1083091493_o

Queen Beats DJs Jinx and Caviar with Noname

— written by Jinx and Kaviar, for more fun articles about the women of hip hop like us on facebook and tune in every Friday night from 12-2!

J Boog Concert Review by riz aka djrsd of KZSC Santa Cruz

On Thursday, February 24, 2017, I attended the Grammy Award Nominee and Island Reggae artist J Boog’s concert for his “Washhouse Ting” Tour here at The Catalyst in downtown Santa Cruz. I was unable to get an interview with J Boog due to his manager and peers saying that he was not feeling well but he did not show any sickness nor illness during his outstanding performance. Attached is coverage of the Wash House Ting Tour: J Boog, Jo Mersa Marley, Jemere Morgan LIVE at The Catalyst Club, Santa Cruz, 2.24.17 – Enjoy the concert review below written by Rizal Aliga (riz aka djrsd)! 

       DJ Westafa got the crowd bumpin’ and feelin’ the island/Jamaican and dub reggae vibe when the doors opened at 8PM and was the DJ throughout the show as he had a stellar night. At approximately 9PM, Jemere Morgan and band members came on stage and there has been no better opening act than Jemere Morgan that I have seen at The Catalyst. Jemere also stated during the show that he was not feeling well either but came out to perform just for the reggae fans in attendance. Jemere Morgan got the crowd involved early during his outstanding set.

         Up next featured the Jo Mersa Marley, and yes he is related to Bob Marley, and happens to be Stephen Marley’s son. Jo Mersa Marley came out to Three Little Birds and obviously paid tribute to his grandfather, singing his world renowned songs. Jo Mersa also performed his own hit songs which the crowd really enjoyed. Before J Boog came on, Cisco of Big Body Radio collaborated with DJ Westafa and played music from the Bay Area to pump up the crowd to another level. Sounds included Tupac, E-40, Mac Dre and Too $hort. Cisco then introduced J Boog’s band which then introduced J Boog.

        J Boog’s band had a sweet introduction as J Boog came out to Nuh Wan Dat which got the crowd groovin’. J Boog had an excellent performance, playing songs like Lifetime Lover and Love Season from Hear Me Roar (2007), and my favorite Coldest Zone. He continued with Sunshine Girl from Backyard Boogie (2011), Rose Petals (2016) and his most recent work Wash House Ting (2016). (I actually tried to take the crumpled paper outline of which songs they performed but they took it lol). He ended the show with his most known song Let’s Do It Again off of his self-titled EP he released in 2011. He engaged with the crowd frequently and the crowd rousingly responded with much love to J Boog throughout his show.

        With this show being the first ever reggae show I’ve been to, it was an unforgettable night for sure. All the artists made the crowd feel the good vibes and there were no instances of violence or negative interactions in the crowd. Huge shout out to Chelsea, KZSC’s Promotion Director, J, KZSC’s New Media Director, and Earl Salindo, The Catalyst Club’s Manager & The Catalyst Club for this opportunity.

       P.S. this show inspired me even more to become a reggae DJ. Be on the lookout next quarter, I could have my first show and who knows in what genre!

Thanks to all and One love. – Riz aka djrsd 

(references: http://www.laweekly.com/music/reggae-got-samoan-singer-j-boog-out-of-compton-and-into-the-spotlight-7616049

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brad-puet/j-boog-island-reggae-boom_b_5980716.html)

Santa Cruz Music Festival at Downtown

Santa Cruz Music Festival
February 18th and 19th in Downtown, Santa Cruz

One of the most exciting events to hit Santa Cruz is the one and only Santa Cruz Music Festival hosted downtown this February 18th and 19th. The event is a multi venue two day festival with over 250 artists most of which are local artists! The venues include The Catalyst, Motiv, Blue Lagoon, San Lorenzo Park, Safe Mare, and more all along and around Pacific Avenue. The concerts begin at 12pm on Saturday and Sunday and continue past midnight. Stay connected to find out when and where your favorites are playing with the SCMF Facebook page.

This year KZSC will be at the event interviewing artists, photographing and broadcasting the event for those who want to listen and cannot make it out to the event. We are very excited to be teaming up with the SCMF which represents so much of the music we support at our radio station. Follow KZSC and the SCMF to stay updated during the event.

Get your tickets and all the information at santacruzmusicfestival.com.

Santa Cruz Music Festival
Site | Facebook | Twitter

protest signs in DC today

Reporting Unbiased News in a Divided Country

protest signs in DC today

Only some of the messages from Washington, D.C. Independence & 7th – Live from D.C.

Today marks a moment that is simultaneously the culmination of nearly two years of presidential campaigns and elections, and the beginning of new leadership in the United States of America. The international interest in American politics presently speaks to one overarching theme: almost no one remains opinion-less. In looking at mainstream media’s portrayal of American politics, can we honestly continue to call the United States of America “united”?

The news we all receive from mainstream media is seldom unbiased, or whole. What are we, as consumers, to do when watching reports from events focused only on one perspective? If mainstream media attempted to fill this gap by reporting tit-for-tat, as most pro-con conversations between any two people from opposing parties goes, the news would be saturated with exaggerations of events. And isn’t that what we’ve all been consuming this entire 2016 election: exaggerated highlights?

Where do we turn in times like these where the sources we once knew and trusted reveal their true biases, and is it enough to accept the media that matches your biases? KZSC is located on the campus of UC Santa Cruz, where students tout the slogan “The Original Authority on Questioning Authority.” We are asking that you join us in pushing back against sources heightening sensitivities and division. We strive to provide unbiased news and reports, this time, from Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tune in this Friday and Saturday to KZSC for updates from DJs who will be in our nation’s capital, as well as our home of Santa Cruz, CA and the greater Bay Area. No exaggerations, only eye-witness accounts from us to you. KZSC’s students are teaming up with Student Media at UCSC to send student reporters to D.C. and create multimedia projects based on these events and more. “Like” Santa Cruz Media Coalition on Facebook for more unbiased media that’s to come. And, of course, keep an eye out on KZSC’s Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter for more reports and photographs.

How the Internet revolutionized the way we consume music

Some people say that the dawn of the digital era is synonymous with the end of traditional radio. The rise of Internet radio stations would have made the original ones become obsolete. Their emergence, at the beginning of the 90’s, have been compelling : in 2007, Olga Kharif wrote in ‘’The Last Days of Internet Radio ? ‘’ that the number of online radio listeners was more substantial than the combination of satellite radio, high-definition radio, podcasts, and cellphone-based radio: it was representing more than 57 million weekly listeners in the United States. It is estimated that this number is now more than 176 million. Why is web radio such a great success? What does that change for the listeners and for the artists? What does that mean about our culture?

The term ‘’Internet radio’’ designates all media that can be accessed instantly by anyone, everywhere in the world, as long as an Internet connection can be reached. For the most part, web radios are using streaming, podcasts, and playlists. But these technologies do not only make them possible to be autonomous from broadcast waves  – it also makes possible more independent in regards to time for listeners, record labels for artists, as well as the rules, money, and space for broadcasters (or, here, webcasters). One more time, the Internet is claimed to be the prophet of liberty.

Web radios were permitted by the creation of MP3 music files in 1992, that gave birth to a revolution of downloading and music file sharing started by Napster. From one day to an other, people did not need to buy cassettes and CDs anymore: they could find the song they wanted to play for free, simply using their computer. Plus, if you could acquire those files, you could also share them very easily. This was certainly one of the greatest inventions of all time, and people saw this as a real revolution. Webcasting requires much less material than broadcasting – a computer, a downloading software and a good Internet connection are everything you need. Which means that you do not need a lot of money, you don’t have to become popular to survive, you do not have to sell your soul to the devil; playing commercial music that would attract an audience that is not necessarily interested in your initial artistic identity.

Indeed, online radio also represents a way to escape from the music industry and the rules that it had established. In the early 1900’s, the market was almost exclusively controlled by six major record labels. In the 50’s, they were only three. But the Internet opened an access to every music that was created and shared on the web, without any filter – at first.

However, this new ability of downloading and sharing music files for free became very controversial: artists and record labels were seeing it as stealing their property. After years of debates, Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in 1998: like AM/FM radios, web radio stations would have to pay royalties for the music that they would find online, and for the music that they would share. The price would vary according to the popularity of the artist.

This might be, or might be not, a reason why many online radios started to play obscure small rock music bands: to avoid paying royalties. But it is for sure that one of the reason of the great popularity of this new technology is that it was offering new artistic alternatives to traditional corporate and standardized radio, for people who would not share the common tastes or who would like some variety: it became easy to create your own website to share very specific music that might not be played by local radio stations, and to attract an audience that would be curious about special interests. This way, DJs could corner new markets, and individuals are now able to choose to listen to a specific genre he wants to listen to, or to a mix of different kind of musics, or to artists that are unsigned by labels…  In fact, it plainly changed the culture and consumption models.

Playlists have become the favorite way of listening to music. Why ?

First, because most of the principal radio stations are extremely conservative. A Wall Street Journal article revealed that ‘’the top 10 songs in 2013 were played twice as much as the leading songs in 2003. […] The reason for this increasing repetition comes down to data, which suggests that replaying top songs keep listener engaged.’’ This sad assertion is based on the observation that the majority of the listeners do not want to listen to unfamiliar music. This way, playing more experimental genres would mean taking the risk of seeing the audience shrinking and, of course, of loosing money. The New-York radio programmer Ebro Darden testifies: ‘’Taking risks is not rewarded, so we have to be more careful than ever before’’.

But what about the people who are curious about being surprised by new talents ?

That is where Spotify, Pandora, and all those on-line music recommendation services have been clever. They are using downloading technology to provide millions of streaming music protected by Digital Right Management Act. Their method is largely criticized, because the royalties that they pay to artists are ridiculous (between $0.0006 and $0.0084 each time that a song is played, before the label takes its part). But there is something even more vital than money that these services can provide to new artists – it is exposure. Today, being exposed is the only way to access popularity if you can not afford a powerful record label. And popularity leads to ticket sales, album sales, and Internet streams.

An other reason of the rise of web radio at the expense of traditional radio is that, contrary to territorial radio, it made the consumers confronted to their own personal choices. Instead of listening some music imposed by a DJ, they had to think about what genre, what band, what song, they want to listen at this exact moment, at this exact place. And if you do not want to have to take any decision, you can just select a web radio that you know is playing music that you like. This is a possible thing to do with traditional radio, but you have to find the specific DJ, playing on the specific local radio, and after you found it, you would only be able to listen to his music for one to three hours – during the time of his show. And you would have to adapt to his schedule. An other way to discover new music can be to browse in the gigantic discovery source that the Internet is representing : MySpace, Soundcloud, YouTube, Tumblr, Mixcloud… We are spoiled for choice. But having too much choice can be discouraging for some of us.

Today, with the reign of Pandora and Spotify, the best playlist that you could ever imagine can appear in a fraction of second, just by selecting an artist that you like. If you want to discover new songs, these services propose you a panel of tracks that perfectly fit your tastes. Those « On-demand services » do not even require you to demand anything anymore — they are anticipating your desires. That can even be disturbing – sometimes it feels like our Internet radio better knows our own tastes then ourselves.

Last week, I was doing some shopping in a vintage store. I thought that the music that the shop was playing was amazing. They were playing only songs from my favorite albums of my favorite bands. During one hour, I could have sung by heart every lyric of each song. Before leaving, I asked a staff member who created the playlist (I absolutely wanted to meet him/her – he could become my best friend, that was for sure). The seller answered me that the playlist was made by Pandora. I left the store, without knowing if the idea that I just met my ideal musical algorithm instead of my musical soul mate was something I should be excited about. Then, I realized that, in contrast to my Spotify radios recommendations, the playlist that I was just listening to was not made for me. It was representative of a community of people who have the exact same musical taste as mine. 

A lot of people blame web radios that are using algorithms because « it is so impersonal ». I don’t think it is. It is probably because it is so personal that it can be disturbing. I love listening playlists that are created by people, podcasted or broadcasted. But they will hardly fit my artistic personality the way algorithms do.

However, it should not be a reason to erase territorial radios from our listening habits. In fact, it is even a very good reason to keep listening to them.

Exactly two weeks ago, Donald Trump was elected to be the new President of the United States of America. Billions of people from all around the world threw up their hands in horror, wondering how such an unbearable thing did happen. The most surprised were the American people themselves. One question came to our mind : how is it possible that I did not realize how much Trump supporters I am sharing my own country with ? How was I so certain that the majority of my fellow citizens was approximately sharing my representation of life ?

That is how we began to hear about « filter bubbles ». The day after elections, Mark Zuckerberg was accused to have a great responsibility in Trump’s victory. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat are representing a great part of our social life, and for most of the users, they are the place where to access to all other media. But the articles we are reading on social networks do not appear by accident, and that is why it is so controversial. Using a very similar algorithm as the one that Spotify is using to offer a playlist designed to measure, Facebook is selecting the pieces of information in which the user might be interested. Which is actually comfortable: we do not have to research news to stay informed – they are coming to us, through our « News Feed ». It is very satisfying. But it is also very blinding.

Indeed, the idea that the individuals do not bother to choose the way they want to receive their informations is problematic. Because, apart from the fact that, this way, we are giving to social networks the opportunity to manipulate our opinions, we are above all disconnecting ourselves from the reality that is unfolding before our eyes. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is collecting data about links that we read, posts that we share, comments that we like. Taking account of these pieces of information, it will, then, propose you to read articles that will please you, so you want to like, share, consume more news. Facebook’s purpose is not to depict a realistic representation of what is happening in the world, but to make us feel comfortable with your Facebook environment. But Facebook is not the only one to blame — it only makes the process, that we would make by ourselves anyway, easier. Who never deleted a social network « friend » because he was making statements that sounded improper to you? Each fascist, insulting, disgusting message is perceived as an aggression. And nobody likes feeling attacked in its opinions.

Yet it appears to be very wholesome, to say the least. First, because facing different opinions is challenging ours, and, by this way, either reinforces them or makes them evolve. Plus, because confronting them make us realize that they exist. And the only way to fight ideas that sound wrong to us is to localize them and take stock of how powerful they are.

Even though the issues are not proportional, social networks’ game of filters operates in the same way as big streaming radios do. Snubbing musical genres that we are not familiar with, leads us to focus only on what we know and are sure to like. It means closing doors to new potential areas of interest.

Thus, if web radio is an efficient way to « balance the audience desire to discover new music while belonging to a tribe » (one of the subjects of the Music 4.5 Smart Radio seminar 2012), tuning to traditional radio stations that are offering a wide variety of musical programs, with educational goals, stays the best way for individuals to open their horizons and to emerge from their cultural cocoon. The Internet can be the greatest opportunity to open our minds, but the reality is that we are often reproducing social and cultural patterns that we are experiencing in the society we are evaluating in. A more human and less maths-based approach to music seems essential for our ears to remain alert, and, by this way, to have a better understanding of the different cultures that are interacting in the world.

by DJ Choking Hazard, recent Intro to Radio graduate! You may be able to catch her on the airwaves next quarter, bringing contemporary psychedelic rock to the Great 88! Visit the Facebook page for a taste of what’s to come.

Wiki Wiki Wednesday, Grateful for Artful Waves of Generosity

img_2326-redwood-board

Visiting Doug Haut’s Shop, where they shape ’em in the back & sell ’em in the front.

Hi, Your DJ Lani B., here with a super surprise. If you tune in early on a Wednesday morning, Wiki Wiki Wednesday plays music from Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands. These are the Islands, and these the Islanders, who were were the originators of the Surf culture in the Pacific.

surfah-boyz

The gift, art board, ‘Alani, J.D., Lani & Fletch at KZSC

Santa Cruz has a long history of connection with Hawai’i, from the 1885 visit by the three Hawaiian princes who were attending military school in California, who surfed the San Lorenzo Rivermouth, to Duke Kahanamoku, among many others.  Santa Cruz holds a unique place in the popularization of surfing on the West Coast of the American Mainland.

The Santa Cruz and Hawai’i surf connection was solidified again, recently. Fletch and JD, of the Santa Cruz Board Builders Guild and Jeffery Devine Rockets, who work out of Doug Haut’s surf shop on the Westside of Santa Cruz, conspired with Wiki Wiki Wednesday music program founder MB for a tremendous surprise.

This gift, the original art surf board,  ‘Alani” with the graceful image by Danvers, was an absolute surprise. I’m so grateful for the gesture and goodwill for the music we love to share.

Mahalo nui loa, gentlemen of the Santa Cruz Board Builders Guild! Thank you very much for this beautiful gift of your hands and skill.