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Cultural Cadence: Weekly Music Anthology

Week of April 15, 2024 - April 21, 2024

Welcome to "Cultural Cadence: Weekly Music Anthology," a curated exploration of sounds that resonate with the rhythms of our times. Each week, we dive into a selection of ten songs that not only reflect the current cultural climate but also evoke the spirit and challenges of the moment. These tracks span culturally relevant music from across genres, eras, and geographies, offering a mosaic of musical insights into the world as we experience it today.

Here, music is more than just melody and rhythm—it's a narrative woven through chords and lyrics, speaking to the heart of societal shifts, personal triumphs, and the universal human condition. Each entry in our anthology is accompanied by a discussion on why these particular songs have been chosen, revealing the deeper connections between the music and the movements shaping our collective experience.

Join us as we tune into the echoes of now, finding context and meaning in the harmonies that define our era.

Cultural Cadence Week 1: April 15, 2024 - April 21, 2024

From Coachella to the Middle East: May Peace & Creativity Reign Supreme

We start with Hot Wind Blows, the vibrant track from Tyler, the Creator’s latest album The Estate Sale featuring Lil Wayne. Fresh off his headlining performance at Coachella, Tyler continues to push cultural boundaries with his unique blend of music and fashion, recently highlighted by his collaboration with Louis Vuitton. Our journey through sound ends with Marvin Gaye’s timeless voice in What's Going On, an album that has resonated through decades as a soothing balm during times of social and political unrest. This playlist weaves together voices old and new, each echoing the universal desire for peace and the power of creative expression to challenge and change our world. Join us as we explore the depths of these messages through melody and lyrics, hoping for a future where creativity and peace can flourish in every corner of the globe.

Listen along to this week's playlist on Apple Music:

This week’s “Cultural Cadence: Weekly Music Anthology” playlist takes us on a poignant journey through the sounds of conflict and creativity, embodying both the struggles and the dreams of our contemporary world.

We kick off with Tyler, the Creator’s "Hot Wind Blows", featuring Lil Wayne. This track epitomizes Tyler’s growth and his ability to blend opulent, adventurous sounds with sharp lyricism, setting the stage for a playlist that challenges and provokes. But it was also deserving of the lead spot on this week's list because of Tyler's cultural impact across industries showing that creativity knows no bounds and that you can push yourself to bring your perspective into a new industry and remix it which is what Culture Remix as a company is all about. The song is then layered with Lil Wayne's creative genius mixing with his old partner in crime DJ Drama. This song is itself meta on the album The Estate Sale because Tyler was influenced by DJ Drama and Lil Wayne mixtapes during the Dat Piff era of hip hop. And it shows respect for the influences that are getting remixed for today's audiences and is a good lesson on how to faithfully honor legacies and pieces of art but re-create or remix them in a way that brings new life to the works. We thought this song set the tone for the vibrant creativity we've felt the past few weeks as well as the power of collaboration that will be highlighted many times this week.

That Mexican OT’s "02.02.99" follows, bringing a raw, autobiographical perspective that adds depth to our theme of individual narratives within broader societal frameworks. It’s a reflection on personal history amidst the backdrop of cultural heritage and societal expectations. But it also embodies in it that slightly egotistical part of rap where you know and prove your great with every bar you write and sometimes it's the repetitiveness of something in the chorus that catches your ear and wiggles your toes and reinforces that greatness such as with this song especially as it explodes in an epic build up and drop before the final chorus. Virgil's legacy is once again on display in this song as That Mexican OT raps:

Virgil, you have everything under control
It is all in your mind
The world is now in your hands
Finish him

Can't nobody tell me shit 'cause I got cutters, motherfucker
Bitch, I'm Virgil 'til I die, no, I can't be nobody other
Told my chopper that the only thing we got is just each other
I'm the type that need the walls up when they bowlin' 'cause I'm gutter (Uh-huh, uh-huh)

With "The Root of All" by DJ Premier and Slick Rick, featuring Lil Wayne, we delve into the roots of societal issues through powerful beats and storytelling, emphasizing the influence of historical contexts on present challenges. Musically this song was released on the Hip Hop 50: Vol. 1 - EP which had new tracks released by DJ Premier in collaboration with other fellow artists celebrating 50 years of hip hop. So not only is this track culturally relevant to hip hop's legacy in our culture but it begins our playlists turn into examinations of some of the not so beautiful aspects of our lives that we have to contend with. As it was tax week, the Bitcoin halving and since it [money] is always on our minds, this song struck a chord as we drew a line between Wayne's appearance on the first track and now on the third, and begin to feel the vibes and influence of the world around us in our music.

Future, Metro Boomin, & The Weeknd's "We Still Don't Trust You" offers a modern anthem of distrust and disillusionment, a fitting soundtrack for the complexities of modern societal and political landscapes. But it's also part of the backdrop of Drake and Kendrick's feud that has ignited hip hop culture over the past few weeks. I didn't include any of the actual diss tracks on this playlist, not because they're not relevant, but because there is so much ambiguity around the beef itself and even which diss tracks are legit versus AI etc that I thought we would dance around the beef's more direct entries for now. But this song has had us hauntingly dancing across our bedrooms at 2am in the morning as we see three standout collaborators do their thing and deliver a vibe.

Kenny Mason, Paris Texas, & See You Next Year’s "Big Bank" merges energetic beats with critiques of materialism and capitalism, echoing the conflicts between wealth, power, and integrity in our society and hails back to The Root of All's interrogation into money's effect on culture, how lifestyle is perceived, what is valued materially and immaterially in our society and takes the vibed out dancing from the last song and amps it up a notch. I also wanted to highlight this collaboration and How to Cry later on the playlist as they were a result of epic collaborations between multiple artists across genres at Rick Rubin's place! It's the second album these artists led by See you Next Year have put out and highlights the amazing power of collaboration and locking into a creative process and goal.

A$AP Rocky’s "Fkin' Problems"**, featuring Drake, 2Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar, captures the internal and external conflicts of success and the personal issues that accompany public life. It is also just our little jab at this whole industry war versus Drake that we are seeing. Here is K Dot and Drake on a song together from awhile ago that has entendres on entendres and continues the lyrical and beat energy of previous entries in this playlist. It shows how sometimes friendships and collaborations can change to competitions, jealousy, and other emotions over the years as people express their creative potential. It will be interesting to see if this particular hip hop beef will have staying power or fade away in the depths of the subliminal seas but for now we can continue thinking about all the "f**kin problems" that life throws our way.

Denzel Curry’s "Walkin'" is a raw, introspective piece that walks us through personal and communal struggles, emphasizing resilience and the ongoing journey towards understanding and justice. It's here where our playlist shifts carrying on the thematic elements of looking at life's more challenging moments and the causes behind them but introducing wandering and rhythmic forests in the beats for us to wander through. Yet there is a consistency to Denzel's bars that sees him and us walking along and keeping going despite what's in front of us in terms of challenges - systemic or otherwise.

Clear a path as I keep on walkin', ain't no stoppin'
In this dirty, filthy, rotten, nasty little world we call our home

In "How to Cry" by See You Next Year, AG Club & ICECOLDBISHOP, there's an exploration of vulnerability and the catharsis that comes with expressing pain—an essential reminder of the human element amidst global unrest. We've had quite a bit of personal and individual pain hit the Culture Remix team recently, due to illnesses, deaths of family and friends, work stress, etc. It's important to leave space in life to work through pain and be open about it. In our society we often try to keep pain at bay, hide it, don't cry in public, don't talk about it with others (even others are often experiencing the very same pain). This song interrogates that in a beautiful and poetic way.

[Pre-Chorus: Baby Boy]
We don't feel no more
We don't try
We don't feel no more
We don't cry
We don't feel no more
Oh, na, na, na, na
Na, na, na

[Chorus: Jody Fontaine]
Take it easy on me
Just take it easy on me
Just take it easy on me
'Cause I just learned how to cry

J. Cole’s "Pi", featuring Daylyt & Ab-Soul, combines mathematical metaphors with social commentary, providing a cerebral twist to our contemplation of order, chaos, and the human condition. It resonates with the emotional intelligence of the previous two songs and combines it into an incredible cypher that highlights the power of collaboration yet again in this playlist, particularly as Daylyt & Ab-Soul banter in the first two verses.

The criteria for this tier is just a open pride
Hope and cries, but so can I
I drop the unprovoken crimes
Pray to the heaven, God, with no disguise
We roll the dice and hope the soul unties
Reap the fruit with no bow tie, Sensitive Pisces, still thuggin', baby, ain't 'fraid to cry

It also concludes our triad of songs on this playlist that circle around the feud between the Big 3. This one featuring J Cole who fired shots, later regretted it, deleted his diss track off the internet and then reappeared on Part 2 of Metro Boomin' and Future's recent joint venture seemingly taking shots at Drake. All in all, J Cole has always been a lyrically gifted MC who's impact on hip hop culture has been debated throughout this era of the Big 3. Here we see culture, hip hop history, and societal and personal pain and anguish being interrogated on wax with beautiful juxtapositions of energy levels that takes us nicely into our final entry in this week's playlist.

We conclude with Marvin Gaye’s "What’s Going On", a timeless plea for understanding and peace that continues to resonate through the ages, reminding us of the recurring cries for harmony and the enduring spirit of hope. As we saw Iran launch retaliatory attacks against Israel this past weekend, we were once again reminded of the fragility of peace in our society. It's very clear that there is instability in multiple pockets around the globe, domestic instability in the US with the upcoming election and personal instability that comes in and out of each of our lives. It's at these times we have to use culture to interrogate what's going on and offer up better and more hopeful paths forward in our society!

This playlist is not just a collection of songs but a narrative of our times—each track weaving into the next, forming a tapestry of profound sounds that reflect our world's complexities, challenges, and the ceaseless hope for a better tomorrow. We hope you'll join us this week and every week as we use the musical tapestry around us to interrogate culture, our world, and remix it through lyrics, rhythms, and beats!

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#music#culture remix#politics#coachella#hip hop#rap#soul music#r&b
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