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Toomba’s Tunes – October

Tunahan Uygun (3L)

 What up everybody it’s your boy Tunahan, aka Tuna, aka El Jefe, aka Toomba & I’d like to cordially welcome you to my monthly music column Toomba’s Tunes. For any of you who know me, you know I’ve always got something bumping through my headphones & I thought I’d share some of the music that I am listening to, inspired by & grooving to. Let’s get down to business. I am hoping the structure of this column will include a review of a new album every month, a new music roundup, wack track of the month, live show of the month, my Put it on Pre-order suggestion and Toomba’s Throwback Jam. Now that that’s settled, let’s get this proverbial bread.

Album of the Month: Norman F*****g Rothwell by Lana Del Rey

Though I am mostly known as someone who enjoys hip hop (this is true), I have a special spot in my musical heart for jams that’ll get me in my sadbag. Of the last decade, few have been as swift with the sadbag as the one and only Lana Del Rey. The first time I started spinning her latest album, Norman F*****g Rothwell, the first notes suggested a potential shift in direction for Lana. Though she hits a lot the classic beats that drew us in years ago, Lana’s growth as an artist is hitting a new peak here. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an album with themes about less-than-stellar men and romanticized ideas of love and sadness, but her approach to these themes comes from a more mature place. It’s a welcome path for what her music may sound like moving forward. Personally, I love this album. The instrumentation and production breathes the cover art and lyrics to life, while Lana’s voice is as angelic as ever. Rothwell is, in my opinion, Lana’s most impressive display of song-writing to date. There are definitely some stand-out tracks for me including “F*** it I love you” and “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it” but the best song of the album easily goes to “Mariners Apartment Complex.” Hot take: I think this is Lana’s best song ever. Just look at this lyricism, “You took my sadness out of context, At the Mariners Apartment Complex, I ain’t no candle in the wind, I’m the board the lightning the thunder, Kind of girl who’s gonna make you wonder, Who you are & who you’ve been.” Where them tissues at? 4 out of 5 stars.

New Music Roundup 

I’m gonna be honest with y’all, I have not been doing nearly enough due diligence on keeping up with new music this month. Was it the wave of events, responsibilities and appearances in September? No. Was it me going back to Igor, The Lost Boy and Bandana? Yes. What can I say? This summer produced some top-notch albums. That being said, I was able to catch up on some of what September had to offer. JPEGMAFIA came out with his sophomore album last week titled All My Heroes Are Cornballs, and although I haven’t given it the share of spins it deserves, I can say that it is an energetic follow-up to last year’s Veteran. There’s a radical uniqueness to JPEGMAFIA that sounds like a fusion of Lil Uzi Vert and Death Grips. If you’ve never listened to him before, and that doesn’t make you give him a chance, then I really don’t know what to say to you. Another album that came out this month was the soundtrack to the Netflix series Top Boy. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Top Boy is a follow-up to the BBC show Top Boy Summer House that follows the lives of London drug dealers in their climb to become “Top Boy” of the mandem. The soundtrack is a collection of songs from a variety of English rappers, and the two standout tracks for me are “Riding on E” by Nafe Smallz and “My Town” by Baka Not Nice featuring Giggs. Though I thoroughly enjoyed both the show and its soundtrack, it wasn’t without its flaws.

Wack Track of the Month – Behind Barz by Drake

I should’ve noted earlier that Top Boy is executive produced by Drake & Future which is very cool. Drake continuing to bite the sound of London rappers — to the point that he raps an entire song with a fake accent — is not very cool. Sorry Drizzy, but “Got all the tea and I’m hottin it up” just ain’t it.

Live Show of the Month – YBN Cordae

Last Thursday young rap superstar (yeah I said superstar) paid Edmonton’s Union Hall a visit, and I went to see if the prowess he showed on The Lost Boy translated live. It did. Coming off of one of the best debut albums in years, Cordae meant business, diving right into his set covering which included most of The Lost Boy, a couple of standout tracks from YBN: The Mixtape and a remixed rendition of “My Name Is.” Even though he is only 21, he had the crowd eating out of his palm all night: the way a veteran performer aspires to. He displayed the charisma of a platinum rapper, maintained his energy and breath control to the point that the set never felt laboured, and showed everyone in the audience why many, including myself, think Cordae is the future of hip hop. Cordae came through with one of the most fun live shows I’ve been to in years, and I’m excited to see what he does next.

Put it on Pre-Order – Jesus is King by Kanye West (release date: TBD) 

I want to put Danny Brown’s uknowhwatimsayin¿ as the Put it on Pre-Order album of the month. Danny Brown doesn’t do things like say the release date of his album is a certain day and then fail to follow through on the album. Danny Brown doesn’t do things like say he has an album coming out in a couple of weeks and then delay it a year. But alas, Danny Brown is not Kanye West. I’ve got my clown makeup ready to apply as I wait patiently for Yeezy’s much anticipated gospel album, Jesus is King. Is it going to be a full gospel album? Is it going to be gospelized renditions of his greatest hits à la Kim Kardashian’s Instagram stories? Is it ever going to actually come out? I don’t have answers to these questions. All I know is that Yeezus has us all waiting with bated breath for his next artistic endeavour like no other artist can. Who knows? Maybe by the time you’re reading this edition of Canons, Jesus is King may have been released.

Toomba’s Throwback Jam  – “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

It’s October, so that means one thing… we are officially in Spooky Szn. For me, nothing sounds quite like October like Halloween jams & the King of Pop is the King of the Scares with this 1984 classic. “Thriller” is the soundtrack to mini chocolate bars, scary movies about possessed houses, and overcrowded Halloween parties with people butchering MJ’s iconic dance. While you’re already there, I’d recommend exploring the rest of the Thriller album and listening to some it’s classics like, “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Human Nature.”