Iggy Azalea and white rappers

SALIL CHAUDHRY

Over the past year, Iggy Azalea has been ripped to shreds. Hip hop and rap fans have made fun of her, laughed at her, and examined her. Memes have spread across the internet and we’ve even witnessed a Vine of her falling off stage. Why has all recent hate been centered on Iggy? It’s a question that can’t fully be answered, but it is a topic that should be discussed. Iggy Azalea is an Australian rapper and songwriter who rose to fame in early 2012. In 2006, she moved to America at the age of 16 and slowly worked her way to a major record deal. She rose from literally nothing, bouncing around from Houston to Atlanta and finally to L.A. She eventually made a breakthrough and the rest is history. You must give her credit. In 6 years, she rose from no name to big name.

People attack the color of her skin. Yes, she is a white rapper. But it is so incredibly wrong to judge a person’s musical ability based on their skin color. Eminem, The Beastie Boys, Mac Miller, Action Bronson, Hoodie Allen. Each and every one of these rappers, music talent aside, have made it big. No matter if you like them or not, they are successful big-name rappers in the industry. Nobody questions these rappers and their color. Yet Iggy is singled out from the rest and she is targeted.

Iggy is picked apart for the content in her songs. Over the past couple of months, I have heard numerous radio stations and websites criticize Iggy for not discussing black culture in her music. I do agree that hip hop and rap are symbolic in the black community. These genres have served as platforms for blacks to describe and depict their struggles within society. Beginning in the 90s, with the famous NWA, blacks have been able depict gang violence, drugs and racism vividly through rap and hip hop. Rappers such as Nas and Kendrick Lamar have exemplified this type of expression.  These genres are truly revolutionary and special, yet, when Iggy raps about something that doesn’t regard black culture, she is criticized. Numerous rappers have existed that rapped about non-street culture topics. Eminem has rapped about his personal struggles. Hoodie Allen has rapped about laid-back partying. But, when Iggy gets on the mic, the entire hip hop community goes haywire. Why? She is held to a double standard.Yes, she rants on Twitter. She is sometimes rude, and tends to ridicule strangers and critics alike. Many celebrities abuse social media, not just Iggy. I don’t condone this behavior, but Iggy shouldn’t be held under a microscope when celebrities like Amber Rose and Kanye do the same.

I want to establish that I don’t really enjoy Iggy’s music. Correction: I don’t like her music at all. Compared to the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Kanye or J. Cole, she is an amateur. But, I do think it’s unfair how an artist in today’s modern music industry is being held to a double standard, specifically because of her skin color and even gender. The big name rappers I have listed are all men. Iggy is pinned against a wall. She is a white female trying to make it in a genre dominated by black males. Yes, we all know Nicki Minaj has done well, but can you name another female rapper? So cut Iggy some slack. Her rise to fame has impressed me. There’s no need to be racist or sexist. Let Iggy express herself.  You don’t have to be a fan of her music. I am not one. But you need to realize that she is free to express herself musically as she wants and there is no reason to destroy her character because of it. Yes, she can’t freestyle compared to Logic, and she doesn’t have the best flow, but at least show her some respect, just as you did with Mac Miller, Hoodie Allen and most of all, Eminem.

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Preview: Dave Matthew’s Band comes to SPAC this summer

BY JAKE WHEELER

Every year, kids on social media say something like “FriDave” or “SaturDave.” These posts are referring to the days of summer that the Dave Matthews Band plays in the capital region. Composed of many artists, DMB is known for being unique. Infusing jazz with a grindy rock. A jam band at roots, DMB is known for their instrumental talent. The band is made up of a drummer, saxophonist, trumpet player, guitarist, bassist and violin player. Dave Matthews himself sings and plays acoustic guitar. Residing from Charlottesville, Virginia, the band is immensely influenced by classic jazz, funk and cajun music.

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2015: A year to look forward to

BY SALIL CHAUDHRY

Yes, 2014 was spectacular, it was beautiful and it was brilliant. Yet, 2014 was sad and dark and somber. There was light and dark, peace and war, smiling and crying. You should pat yourself on the back, you’ve done well this year. All of us should really pat ourselves on the back. Two thousand and fourteen years of human society is quite an achievement. It’s no small feat, yet we have triumphed and survived. Things have changed over these two thousand years but one thing has not: expression. Humans are creatures that have always and will always continue to express themselves through the arts. We sing and we dance. We film and we present. We write and we draw. That’s what makes humans so incredibly special and intense.

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Salil’s Top Picks: Best Concerts of February 2015

BY SALIL CHAUDHRY

Flyleaf – This heavy metal band from Texas will perform on February 6 at the Upstate Concert Hall.

Kongos – The four brothers of this South African alternative rock group, made famous by their hit song “Come With Me Now,” will perform on February 23 at the Upstate Concert Hall.

Consider the Source – This unconventional instrumental trio will perform on February 27 at The Hollow in Albany.

Opinion: North Korea wrong to attack cherished American pastime – our movies

BY MARIA NEELY

America, the land of democracy, fears the word “censorship” more than anything. After all, America’s intrinsic values are based on the idea of freedom of press, freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

By becoming the world’s first self-appointed censorship police, North Korea obliterated one of America’s most cherished pastimes: movies. As SONY employees logged onto their computers on November 24, a sinister red skull appeared on the screen, warning the employees that the computers had been hacked by the elusive Guardians of Peace. Personal emails of SONY top executives were leaked, which contained comments involving racial slurs about Obama, and blasphemy about Hollywood’s most famous stars. Immediately, suspicions were pointed at North Korea.

How was a silly movie the cause of such international dispute?

“The Interview”, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, is about two talk show hosts and their attempt to assassinate North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong Un.

It was a shoo-in for the comedy of the year, as America was anxious to laugh at the ridiculous notion of two bumbling idiots dabbling in the art of “taking out” the infamous world leader. However, the feeling was not reciprocated. North Korea had released disgusted statements before the attack, and after the attack, North Korea denied being involved in the hack but stated the hack was a “righteous deed.”

The hack evolved into a threat on the American public, stating, “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

This prompted movie theaters nationwide to refuse to play the movie, and the following day, SONY made the executive decision to pull the movie. It was later discovered that it was indeed North Korea behind the attacks. The question if the movie will be released at a later date is yet to be determined.

First North Korea, then Hollywood; it seems Kim Jong Un is on the fast track to become the dictator of the world. He has egotistically decided to impose his ideals onto the United States with seemingly no consequences. It’s scary that at the click of a button, SONY’s deepest and darkest secrets were at Kim Jong Un’s fingertips. But it’s even scarier that North Korea could so easily blackmail the United States to submit to their demands. This crisis is not simply about a movie’s termination, but the notion of North Korea censoring America, one of the most anti-censorship countries in the world.

Review: This year in music

BY BENJAMIN ROWE

2014 was a rolling dumpster fire of a year for music. Pop music saw some of it’s most bland and uninspired releases to date, and hip-hop saw some of it’s most laughable new stars in years. Take a look at Pharrell Williams, who delves into both genres. Pharrell is struggling to remain modern and relevant on G I R L, his new album that is filled with unneeded features and boasts an apparently feminist concept. How is “Just because it’s the middle of the night/That don’t mean I won’t hunt you down” supporting feminism? On the other end of the pop spectrum, we have Beck’s new album. Over a 15+ year career, Beck has shown his prowess with psychedelia, hip-hop, and anti-folk. Why  does he tone it down so much on Morning Phase? Beck reverts back to his style from his 2002 album Sea Change, which ranges from time-wasting acoustic folk to bombastic string arrangements.

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Taylor Swift’s “1989”

BY JAKE WHEELER

Taylor Swift is know for her beautiful blond hair, nice white smile, and romantic country lyrics. Swift is changing her music from romantic soft country into modern pop. Her newest album, “1989,” was released on October 27. “1989” is one of the hottest albums of the year and sold over a million copies in the first week. Swift’s breaking hearts while she’s breaking the charts. “1989” is directed at a different audience than Taylor’s earlier albums. Changing her audience, Swift has landed herself on top of Billboard’s top album chart for three weeks and counting.

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Review: Boyhood

BY JAKE WHEELER

“Boyhood” is one of the most anticipated films of the year. The movie was filmed over twelve years with the same actors. The film is about a boy’s life and all the things he has done and seen over that time span. Directed by Richard Linklater, it’s a long-term project that stars actors like Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane. This movie really shows the transition from boyhood to manhood.

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