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How Singer Geneses Bello made it from the sidelines to the limelight

As I write this, I hope everyone is staying safe and properly social distancing during these unprecedented times. With that said, can you name a more perfect time to find new hobbies, practice some self-care and…discover new music???!!! Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

YERRRR! NEW ARTIST ALERT: Her name? Gen Bello. Oh, you’ve heard of her? Well, she’s probably already on your playlists, so you can move on to the next article. But…if you haven’t heard of her, then you should keep reading…


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I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Gen Bello for an interview and I was able to catch one of her shows in the city. Before the interview, I was expecting to meet an artist and I ended up meeting an insightful, intelligent and introspective human.

Hailing from Washington Heights, NY, Geneses started dabbling in music in the fifth grade.

The Genesis

Me: When did you realize you wanted to be in music?

Gen: I’ve always been into Art…always loved singing, always loved dancing…I started singing in the fifth grade and I was into it…I just felt super in my element. I feel like it’s for me. I feel like this is my purpose.

geneses bello
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She continued to talk about the inspiration that cultivated her sound…

“My favorite artist was Alicia Keys…I loved Alicia Keys, I was obsessed with her growing up. She’s just mad confident, just powerful, I just love women like that.”

In this, she found inspiration to do her own thing.

Thus laying a foundation for a transition from doing covers of songs on Youtube and acapella in College to writing her own songs after she finished school.

“I’m just really hard on myself, I’m a perfectionist. I wanna be great, you know? I was just going through shit and I just needed to start exploring writing. I needed to be my own artist,” She stated.

The Process

Me: What kind of stuff did you go through?

Gen: “I was more into theatre and I kept on with that all throughout high school, and then I went to college. And college, college was just a lot. It was just a big culture shock. I grew up in Harlem, and I’ve never been to a white space my whole life. It just hits different…everything was just…just different, you know? I went to college for my family. Most of the time I was there, I wanted to drop out. This wasn’t for me, but I did it for my Mom, my family.”

Through the struggle and strife of being a minority, in a predominantly white college, Geneses was able to channel her stress through the lyrics and melody of her music.

Me: Do you write all your own songs…Like all of them?

Gen: Yeah. I need something that represents me instead of singing other people’s shit.

And in 2018, she released her debut EP, Imprints, which houses her No. 1 track, “Sidelines.”

Me: Your two projects [when comparing her new single, desires, and her debut EP, Imprints] are so different, what changed?

Gen: “Well, my first project, that’s my baby…That’s like my first time really exploring writing and exploring my sound…Cause I feel like I spent a lot of time unsure of what I want to be? I don’t want to stick to a genre”

Wow. And stick to a genre, she did not. Her first project echoes of the lo-fi sounds that are so deeply embedded in modern R&B (some foundations of which were laid by Alicia Keys), which are physically manifested in the likes of Jhene Aiko and Kehlani. However, she switched it up to the upbeat sounds of 2010’s Pop, in her upcoming album: Era 2.

She carefully recollected when thinking about a critical difference between her two projects,

“I’m doing a lot better emotionally than I was. I think that contributes to my music being more fun. It’s a different vibe. I love music and I want to dabble in different things. I hate listening to an album and everything sounds the same. I’d rather do something where you’re going to have an experience. I just want it to be an experience for people.”

Photo Cred: @jonas.taghavi

Before the craziness of the pandemic set in, I was able to make it to a show that she recently performed at. Located at DROM in the East Village, NYC, Geneses took the stage for a little over 20 minutes.

In this set, she absolutely KILLED IT. Sheesh! I arrived around 8:00 pm and she went on around 9:40 (The headline set of the night) and by the time she went on, the crowd just about tripled in size. “CAN I GET A YERRR?!?!,” she screamed. as the crowd chanted back “YERRR!!”


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People vibed with her from the jump. This aligns with how she views her purpose for her own music. The purpose for her craft. She imagined this, she wanted this.

“I want people to connect with my music. I want people to have experiences with my music.”

With an immediate stage presence, her voice seemed to get larger as the night went on. She performed a five-song set including “Sauce,” “All That Talk,” “Desire,” “Sidelines,” and  “Lowkey.”

People were dancing and having a good time…YOU ALREADY KNOW THE VIBES!! As we venture further through 2020, there are so many unknown variables; however, one thing is clear, Gen… It’ll definitely be a new era.

To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway is definitely worth the pull up

If you are in New York City and wanted to see a play, you should reach into your mind for that bag of nostalgia and choose To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway.

Atticus Finch, Scout, Boo Radley, and Thomas Robinson. All words that have been etched into the halls of history by Harper Lee in her social commentary of the 1930s, with a harshly, unapologetic plotline.

If you haven’t read it by now, you should probably go grab your friend’s Kindle. This novel has been remade into different iterations countless numbers of times all centering around the small, fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama.

The tireless narrative of trying to make something new from something has been exhausted; however, Aaron Sorkin has different plans. Writer and producer Aaron Sorkin (notably, The Newsroom and The Social Network) envisioned a take on Harper Lee’s brilliance in his own way.

It was a cast filled with brilliant actors who were to take the solemn tone that was the backbone of the original novel and sprinkle in humor to defuse tensions that would be naturally created within any one watching it in the audience.

With an amazing stage design and a stellar cast, he was able to portray his own version of the “Tired Old Town’s” people and landscape. But how did he channel this on stage? Through none other than Jeff Daniels, himself.

Actor Jeff Daniels (notably The Newsroom) was already working with Sorkin. Taking one of HBO’s most powerful shows and delving deep into the mind of its writer.

Upon entrance, as you could probably guess, he was met with a LOUD ovation…and his performance did not falter. He took the stage, his presence felt, words heard, and his actions seen.

He commanded the audience, through the lens of Atticus Finch (not a perfect man) but a model of the progression of civilization and society that Lee saw through her eyes.
The most interesting aspect was the timing of this production.

As our polarized world hurdles into an uncertain future, one thing remains constant, there are two sides to a story, two sides to a problem, but we, as a people, cannot seem to meet in the middle.

More so than the production itself, Sorkin decided to add his own social commentary, not just by creating a screenplay that was adaptable to all audiences, but by releasing at a time in history when we are unstable. I couldn’t love that idea more if I tried.

Thank you, Mr. Sorkin, and thank you, Jeff Daniels, for bringing a timeless masterpiece to life one more time.

Lil Skies debuts ‘Shelby’ for TIDAL X, everyone rages over his new album

It was just an ordinary Tuesday night for a lot of people but for those that had an opportunity to go to The Schimanski Theater, it was a window of opportunity to view an up and coming artist named Lil Skies.

The smell of trees filled the small room at the Schimanski to create an intimate viewing of the new XXL Freshman inductee. For an hour, people slowly crawled in, filling space towards the front; however, the second Lil Skies was in view, it was a full out mosh pit…

One that engulfed the entire back half and pushed the entire front half onto the stage almost.

For many Lil Skies is a household name and after dropping a debut studio album last Jan., he’s back again with his new album drop titled Shelby.

As he made his way on stage, excitingly waiting the crowd was and anticipating a SHOW…but what they got was a full on concert.

Even though Lil Skies said at the beginning of his Tidal X album release concert, “I’ve been on IV’s all day and shit” it made no difference because like a true rock star he was there for the fans.

Now listen, there was skepticism about his inclusion in the XXL freshman class that includes Gunna, Juice WRLD, Lil’ Baby and Sheck Wes (all of whom have dropped singles or albums worthy of a No. 1 spot on any metric).

Yet, he crushed the hopes of doubters that believe he isn’t for real. His wordplay is better than that of many mumble/trap rappers of today.

Lil Skies rap is unique and his sound is like that of a lovechild between the melodic beats of Juice WRLD with the cadence of XXX (relax, I am not, in any way, saying that he is XXXTENTACION reborn).


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Shelby!—🦋 comment your fav tracks❣️

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As he went through his set list, he interacted with fans, taking their phones and snapping Instagram videos and Snapchats alike which was awesome to see live. It is also important to note that his crowd knew a lot of his lyrics which means that he has replay value and isn’t just dropped off after one hit single.

From the more 2019 trap sounding bangers like “Nowadays, pt.2” and “Stop the Madness” to the more lo-fi new-age, conscious rap that can be found on “Highs and Lows”, his eclectic discography and sound was on full view last night.

Lil Skies brought his Mom out on stage to express his love for her and how much she meant to his success and him as a whole. This was a heartwarming part of the concert that I did not expect.

Honestly, my skepticism has been crushed. I think Lil’ Skies knows how to rage. I’m bumpin him on the regular now. You should too.

Peep his new album Shelby below.


Drippin not Drownin: How Gunna crushed his TIDAL X album release party

Gunna pulled up to the Gramercy Theater last night for what turned out to be an intimate serenade by Atlanta emcee himself.

As he has stated many times before in his hit singles “Top Off” he was “drippin’ in hot sauce” cause he was on fire last night. Instead of over-saturating the current No. 1 album, Drip or Drown 2…Gunna gave the crowd what they wanted.

If you were unable to attend press play on the live stream below.

He played some of his standout singles from past mixtapes, most notably “Drip Season 3.” In recent interviews, he has stated that a lot of people around the US know him as the feature on Travis Scott’s track, Yosemite, but he proved to be much more than that.

Running up his set list to include the playful melodies of “Pedestrian” and “Helluva Price,” while seamlessly transitioning into the more rap-centric “Drip Too Hard,” Gunna proved he wanted all the smoke from anyone who was questioning his legitimacy of being the artist behind the No. 1 album in the US.

All his hits, mixed in with the tracks from Drip or Drown 2 gave the audience exactly what they asked for. And then, without any notice…it happened…Jeffery (Young Thug) pulled up on stage!!! What!?!?!?

The mentor himself ended up performing, with Gunna, a medley of tracks that turned the crowd ALL THE WAY UP…Tracks such as “Oh Okay” and “Chanel (Go Get It)” were just a couple of tracks that they used to warm the crowd up. But at this point, this concert was a two for one event, that was truly worth a listening experience.

The craziest part about Gunna’s talent was his voice…it is not enough that you come across an artist who sounds better on stage, then in their professionally mixed albums. However, in this case, it was true.

Gunna’s voice is, arguably, one of the most unique voices in the game right now. A voice that artists are trying to get on their albums as features.

If last night proved anything, it’s that Gunna is not only an amazing performer, but he will forever stay drippin’.


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Who is SABA? The Chicago rapper who pivoted out of the whisper scene

The real question is – who is Saba? If you don’t know, then this article probably isn’t for you. HA! Just kidding, but seriously…please reconsider what music you’re listening to.

Here’s the breakdown: Saba is a preacher, not a rapper. He is a teacher on his way to teach a nation about the intricate details of his own life while fluidly incorporating jazzy beats to deliver his message in a way that entices you to listen. Think of a hypothetical version of Chance that chose a different path after Acid Rap. 

Now for all of you reading this saying, “CHANCE!?!?” The answer is yes. Chance. But aside from this analogy, Saba has no place being in the shadow of another behemoth of a force in rap; it was merely a comparison of someone that you’d definitely know.

Saba came out of the underground in Chi-town, gracefully etching his name into the whisper scene. What is the whisper scene, you ask?

It’s the foundation of all artists who are about to “blow the fuck up.” It’s the period of time where all aspects of the artists sound like their own…where they have grown from a mosh posh of the past and starts to develop a clear future. It’s the point that they are whispered about in rap circles all over the US. The point before the whispers become YELLS!!!

Yeah, the guy is really that good. If you haven’t listened to any of his albums or projects, you should probably begin with The Bucket List Project.

This is probably his most easily digestible for people who want to get a good grip on his past while still being able to feel the present scene of music. Once you’ve graduated from this phase and start to develop Saba fever, the only cure is caring for yourself in the form of Care For Me.

“The best song is probably on the B-side. Won’t be surprised when the label deny. Disagree—grey. The best song was probably on the demo. But that’s not the one that got you your limo. Limousine—grey. The single the one that wasn’t as honest. But this is what they say make you the hottest. In the game—grey—grey.”

What did you just read? Well, that’s for people who take advice. Go listen. Please. Seldom are the days that fully fleshed out projects, like Care For Me, come out. Give his stuff a listen, and you will not be upset.

Disclaimer: If you become addicted, DO NOT BLAME ME.

The Grammy Rant: When will the recording academy finally get it right?

Picture this: It’s 2014, you’re sitting in your car and “Get Lucky” is blasting through the radio. You go home, after a long day of school (at least for me, high school) and you flip on the TV. What’s that? The Grammy’s are on, awesome!

You stay glued to the TV, while you eat dinner. All these big categories and huge winners…then it happens.

Macklemore takes home Best Rap Album over Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, M.A.A.D city”, which is arguably Kendrick’s greatest album to date. You look at the TV, astonished at what just happened. You question the Grammys as a whole and begin to wonder if they’ll ever get it right

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*FLASH FORWARD to 2019* and not much has changed…

It’s that time of year again. The Grammys have some of the greatest musicians and creative minds together under one roof, the Staples Center (home of the Los Angeles Lakers). All this collective brilliance bound together by “Music’s Biggest Night”.

But… I have lost faith in the show completely. The Grammy’s are supposed to be representative of the spirit and times of the era/year we are living in. Peep this statistics report based on the demographics of the United States and the music listened to.

It shows that the most widely streamed and listened-to genre in the States is Hip-Hop. Largely attributed to forces such as Kanye West and Drake paving the way (I know I didn’t mention a LOT of other names, calm down), Hip-Hop has been interwoven in American society and popular culture.

But did a Hip-Hop album win Album of the Year? NOOOO. Do you know who did? Kacey Musgraves. KACEY MUSGRAVES!!!????!!!!????

You better stop playing with me, Grammy’s…cause right now, you’re telling me that, in a year where Country music is not even in the top 3 genres of music that was most listened to, it somehow overrides the main demographic and wins best Album of the Year!?

What metrics are you using to make your judgment? Because I’m looking at facts. I’m using the spirit of my generation, the millennials, to let you know, that we love and listen to HIP-HOP and RAP.

You have consistently used your “best rap album” award to dodge the real issue. You don’t want to vote for the genre that has been laying the foundation for culture since the late 70s.

You don’t want to delve into the nitty-gritty details and insightful truth that rap brings to light, in regards to the current socio-political situations happening in America. The Grammys want to paint a picture-perfect image of American society, but this is all wrong.

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For God’s sake, there wasn’t even a picture of 21 Savage, to talk about the inequality that he and millions of other AMERICAN’s are experiencing every day. The man is literally in solitary confinement and taken away from his children.

For an award show that is dedicated to music, which to many is defined by its openness, love and emotional catharsis, the Grammy’s have proven once again that they’re not ready to change with the times.

Let me be abundantly clear, that this is no slight to Kacey because she absolutely murdered her performance and has a stunning voice. However, when you have the “album of the year” winner muttering, “what?” “how?”, under her breath, while on live tv, then there’s an obvious issue.

Luckily, the overall hosting by Alicia Keys, along with the performances from the likes of Janelle Monae, Post Malone, Travis Scott, H.E.R. and Miley Cyrus kept this from being a completely abysmal night. So, enough of my ranting and I will end on this note:

Dear Grammy’s,

Please get up to speed with society. I know we move a million miles a minute, but so does music. Please adopt a more equal way of voting. We know it’s subjective, but it should be subjective of the objective, which is that Hip-Hop and Rap should be the album of the year winner.