Psychedelic drugs have been a highly controversial topic among psychologists since the popularity of LSD in the 1960s. Before LSD became illegal, psychologists used it on college students in countless clinical studies in order to gain perspective on the effects psychedelics have on the human mind. Now, there has been somewhat of a psychedelic revolution due to the perceived benefits that certain psychedelics may have for psychiatric treatment and creativity.
In a summer where everyone is eager to get back outside, but also dealing with an abundance of mental health issues, psychedelic drugs could be the key to pushing creativity to its max. And more importantly, perhaps the psychedelic revolution will be forever known for helping people across the world.
Psychedelic drugs and their effects on people’s minds
A recent New York Times article discussed two psychedelic drugs gaining popularity in the field of psychiatry.
One of the drugs is MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, or molly. Recent clinical studies from the science and health journal Nature Medicine suggest that responsible use of MDMA has shown great promise in the treatment of severe forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
According to the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine, psilocybin, most commonly known as “magic mushrooms,” has also shown remarkable promise in the treatment of depression.
After years of criminalization and negative stigma, psychologists everywhere are now turning to psychedelic research as a means of treating mental illnesses.
Over the past few years, millions have been raised in this field that had once been considered dead and buried. In as little as five years, MDMA and psilocybin may become FDA-approved treatments for various mental illnesses. As a result, investors are absolutely flocking towards these drugs.
How will these efforts impact creativity?
From influential authors like Ken Kesey to music icons like Hendrix and Lennon, creative legends have been experimenting with psychedelics for years.
Brilliant actors such as Jack Nicholson and Susan Sarandon have been forward about their use of psychedelics. Any modern hip-hop fan worth their salt is familiar with A$AP Rocky’s hit song “L$D.”
Even people like Steve Jobs, who aren’t considered artists, have used psychedelic drugs at one point.
Some artists say that psychedelic drugs help you open your mind to new possibilities. Others say they help you understand things you have known all along.
Whatever the case may be, one thing is for sure, there is a strong correlation between creativity and psychedelic use. So how exactly will legalization impact society’s most creative? It is hard to say for sure, But there are a few interesting possibilities about the psychedelic revolution.
What might the psychedelic revolution look like?
Psychedelic drugs may inspire some incredibly influential art. If psychedelics do have the creative influence that some artists claim, artists who indulge in psychedelics may also have more frequent access if they become FDA-approved. With more access, artists who choose to use psychedelics can unlock new ideas to then share with the world.
Many artists struggle with bipolar disorder and depression. Artists who struggle with mental health issues may greatly benefit from the use of appropriately prescribed psychedelics. Their mental health could improve greatly because of psychedelic use.
Artists from troubled backgrounds may also be able to cope with PTSD in a healthier way. Troubled, inner-city youth are a major source of modern art. It is well documented that these influential people are highly likely to have, or exhibit symptoms of PTSD.
Rapper G Herbo even released an album titled “PTSD,” where he details struggles he goes through as a result of the trauma he encountered growing up in South Chicago.
If artists that struggle with trauma had more legitimate ways to deal with issues, the world may thus lose fewer of them to addiction struggles.
The impacts and authorization of psychedelic drugs remains to be seen
Legalization and FDA authorization of psychedelics for the treatment of mental illness seems inevitable. Many people believe still that they are the future of psychological medicine.
Time will tell the impact psychedelic drugs will have on the public, and the impact they will our most influential people. However, this isn’t just an interesting opportunity for influential people.
This could be a great opportunity for anyone with mental illness. Psychedelics may lead to an increase in creativity on a grand scale. It will be interesting to see how psychedelics are stigmatized moving forward on the path to normalization.
If you’ve had your Cartier shades on for way too long, open your eyes, the Babushka is the latest fashion trend to hit the streets.
A$AP Rocky solidified the trend once he coined his Gucci botanical floral print headscarf a Babushka at the LACMA gala back in November.
His homie Frank Ocean followed up with support and took to IG to show that even he has fallen to the stylish lure of the Babushka. Still, Rocky continued to push the trend even further by challenging his fans on social media,
“I’m just encouraging all guys to wear babushkas from here on out. Silk gang, silk city. You know how we do it.”
Fellow mob member A$AP ILLZ is another endorser of the latest fashion. He has taken it upon himself to drop his own multicolored headscarves for his clothing brand Disco Inferno. He was seen wearing one of the many colorways at A$AP Foundation’s Christmas toy drive.
It doesn’t stop there. Last week while on his Injured Generation Tour, Rocky did the unthinkable and teased a new track titled “Babushka.” Before he got into it he addressed the Minnesota crowd at The Armory.
While strapping his yellow bandana on Russian Grandmother style, the Babushka boy yelled,
“If you got a babushka, put that shit on right now!”
Since then the Babushka trend continues to go on strong. One thing that still remains in question — how long will the fashion last? Comparing it to other fashionable headwear items like the du-rag this thing could last many lifetimes.
As we continue to tread strong through 2019, we’ll see if this Babushka trend will last. It’s already gotten gas from Rocky and his mob and Frank Ocean.
From a groundbreaking visual album, to explosive videos that garnered up to 450 million views, this year produced some seriously wild music video content.
Whether having million-dollar budgets or getting access to shoot in some of the most safeguarded institutions in the world, artists have leveraged their cultural power and influence to create awe-inspiring visuals to go with their tracks.
This curated list contains music videos from different musical genres that have pushed boundaries, in terms of thematic content as well as the visual medium itself.
1. “This is America” – Childish Gambino (Directed by Hiro Murai)
For a music video that is deeply embedded in exploring what it means to be Black in America, it may come as a surprise that the mind behind the provocative visuals for Childish Gambino’s music video “This is America,” is a Japanese-American director, Hiro Murai.
Yet, Murai — a long-time artistic collaborator with Glover — made an explosive statement on race in America through the music video. His minstrel-like smiles, body movement, and topless dancing take primary focus despite the chaos and violence that explodes behind him.
In doing so, Glover is presenting the way in which black suffering is normalized and highlights the exploitation of black cultural production at the expense of white leisure and entertainment.
2. “APES**T” – The Carters (Directed by Ricky Saiz)
Saiz’s collaboration with The Carters to direct the music video for their track “Apeshit,” may come as a surprise given Saiz is somewhat of a mystery and yet, ended up teaming with the ultimate celebrity power couple.
With the whole of the Louvre at their disposal, the actual museums’ space and the art that resides in it, are continually employed throughout the video. The positioning of both Jay-Z and Beyonce in front of the Mona Lisa is emblematic of the way that their black bodies throughout the video physically intervene in a space that is dedicated to preserving and heralding Western art and culture.
In short, the end result is a powerful piece that affirms blackness’ place in a historically white space. But I guess we wouldn’t expect anything less than Black excellence from The Carters.
3. “FUN!” – Vince Staples (Directed by Calmatic)
Simulating the Google Earth camera, the video for “FUN!,” zooms in, whizzes past, and retracts around the suburban streets of Long Beach, CA, documenting Staples and other local young residents.
The presence of the police in the video draws attention to the issue of anti-Black policing and the way in which black residents, whether in inner-city or suburban settings, are liable to institutional surveillance and violence.
With the video concluding with a shot of a white kid observing the footage on his laptop, Staples powerfully conveys the way whiteness interacts, consumes and commodifies Black cultural production.
4. “Bubblin'” – Anderson .Paak (Directed by Calmatic)
Watching an ATM endlessly dispense cash on a wild and lucrative journey across the cityscape of Los Angeles with Anderson .Paak, prompts one to question, who exactly is the creative mind behind the dope visuals for the music video, “Bubblin?”
The answer is, Calmatic; a Los Angeles born filmmaker and artist.If you do a quick Google search, you will find that Calmatic has an impressive and long list of collaborations with artists.
Calmatic, however, got his start through producing his own music. After acquiring his first video camera, Calmatic was able to marry his love of music with visuals. The music video director is embedded in the West Coast rap scene.
5. “Hostage” – Billie Eilish (Directed by Henry Scholfield)
Billie Eilish is a serious talent. Not only is her voice stunning, but the haunting tonality in which she delivers each lyric line would suggest she is drawing from years of life experience. Shockingly though, Eilish only turned 17-years-old this week.
Dressed in all-white Eilish is trapped in a large white room. In a beautifully choreographed piece, Eilish and her partner dance and move through space until it begins to blanket her. Speaking on the video, Eilish applauded her creative team, stating how they,
“captured the feeling of trying to be so close to someone that you can end up suffocating them and destroying the very thing that you wanted so much. I think it is something everyone can relate to. Loving someone so much that it hurts. That it becomes overwhelming and unhealthy.
6. “SICKO MODE” – Travis Scott ft. Drake (Directed by Dave Meyers and Travis Scott)
From drone shots, shots embedded with Nintendo-like animation, neon lights, to visual glitches and sonic breaks, and so much more, this video has just about everything.
The color coding is highly saturated as we move through the cityscape of Houston. At one point, Drake is carpeted by red smoke and the next, a close up of the rap superstar’s face is fragmented like a shattered mirror.
It’s said that the concept behind Scott’s album, Astroworld, was to be a sonic journey back to the rapper’s home of Houston.
7. “Tints” – Anderson.Paak ft. Kendrick Lamar (Directed by Colin Tilley)
Paak. and Lamar team up for a prolific video to explore what it means “to live in an unmasked world,” — where everything is transparent, where there are no filters, shades, and “tints” to skew reality and hide our daily vices.
Hailing from Berkley, California, Colin Tilley is directing some of the most influential and biggest artists of the industry right now. Tilley has been able to collaborate with some pretty damn famous names; from RiRi, Kendrick Lamar, Selena Gomez, DJ Khaled & Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, DJ Snake, and Nicki Minaj to name a few.
8. “Whack World” – Tierra Whack (Directed by Thibaut Duverneix and Mathieu Léger)
The Philadelphia artist has garnered a lot of attention as her flow got nods from the likes of A$AP Rocky and Meek Mill.
The 15-minute long audiovisual album, Whack World, offers a perfect surrealist aesthetic to go alongside the experimental sounds and tracks of the rapper, singer and songwriter.
The self-released debut album is composed of a series of 1-minute long vignettes that leave a big impression on listeners.
9. “Make Me Feel” – Janelle Monae (Directed by Alan Ferguson)
Earlier this year, Janelle Monáe released the sci-fi and Afrofuturist time-space that is her newly released visual album, Dirty Computer. To be a ‘Dirty Computer’ in Monáe’s future time-space is to be the ‘Other;’ a marginalized body.
“Make Me Feel” is one of the songs to be featured in the visually dazzling album. Plus, the song has a guitar riff that echoes the groovy funk sounds of Monáe’s musical mentor, Prince.
In the video, the fluidity of Monáe’s sexuality is on full display and is representative of how Monáe, throughout the visual album, refuses to present gender identity and sexuality as fixed or static. Her conscious lyrics elevate and herald the idea of being who you are and how you chose to identify.
10. “All The Stars” – Kendrick Lamar, SZA (Directed by Dave Meyers and the Little Homies)
Continuing on the Afrofuturist theme, Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s track “All The Stars,” was not only another incredible collaboration between the two labelmates but it was the first song to be released ahead of the smash Marvel hit, Black Panther.
In the video, viewers watch SZA dance amongst a galaxy of stars, that when zoomed out, shape into the continent of Africa. When we zoom in, viewers observe Lamar on a voyage throughout the continent, dishing out conscious lyrics and moving through spaces laden with African imagery and iconography.
Lamar ended up co-producing the entire soundtrack to Black Panther in collaboration with Top Dawg Entertainment president Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith and the film’s director, Ryan Coogler.
11. “Tongue” – MNEK (Directed by Bradley and Pablo)
The music video for MNEK’s “Tongue,” by the directing duo Bradley & Pablo, presents a total subversion of the gaze, more specifically, the straight white cis-male gaze. In a series of shot-reverse-shots, the camera conveys the sexual tension between MNEK and his love interest in the narrative of the video.
The song’s lyrics convey the coded language typical in queer erotic interaction. In short, there is some serious eye-fucking going on!
12. “Bloom” – Troye Sivan (Directed by Bardia Zeinali)
It’s fitting that the video is directed by frequent Vogue contributor Bardia Zeinali since a lot of the shots in the video resemble an editorial shoot.
Sivan’s music video is loaded with queer references and imagery that will have every queer person screaming “YAAAS.” For example, the opening 20 seconds of the video are a series of still life shots of flowers that make a historical reference to the artist, Robert Mapplethorpe. The artist was known for intertwining the eroticism of the male body with flowers and was famous for his portraits of the gay S&M community of 1970s New York.
13. “Tony Tone” – A$AP Rocky (Directed by HIDJI FILMS)
A$AP continues his insane run of music videos with “Tony Tone.” While the video begins at a birthday party, the video transitions to viewers following Rocky and his crew cruising on their bikes through the streets of New York City.
The shots of the group riding through the streets are intercut with Rocky and a group of Black men dressed in all-white, standing stoically in front of a judging panel of white folk. At one point, the music stops, and Rocky makes a direct address to the audience — but you will have to peep to see what he has to say!
13. “Praise the Lord (Da Shine)” – A$AP Rocky Ft. Skepta (Directed by Dexter Navy)
The director employs a split screen to not only set up the different storylines of Rocky and Skepta, and settings of New York and London. Rather, this visual effect shows these environments and their experiences as analogous, as being a young Black man in both of these locales leaves one to be subject to surveillance and policing.
Talking to Genius about the record, Rocky described that the track was created via taking hallucinogens, recalling how both rappers “did the rhymes tripping balls.” Braze.
15. “King’s Dead” – Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future, James Blake (Directed by Dave Free and Jack Begert)
From the opening shot of this video, viewers know that they are in for a wild ride. I mean, Kendrick Lamar is straight up eating corn up in the canopy of a palm tree.
Transitioning through long camera zooms, we follow each of the artists in different settings, from a corporate office that resembles the chaos of a scene from The Wolf of Wall Street to building rooftops, confetti field barber shops, and so much more.
In discussing the video, the directing duo was committed to using visual effects as little as possible. The song was released fresh off Lamar’s soundtrack album for Black Panther.
16. “A$AP Forever” – A$AP Rocky ft. Moby (Directed by Dexter Navy)
Capturing daily life in Harlem, the video transitions through a seemingly endless spiral of frames that fold into one another. The fast pacing and movement between the shots produce some trippy visuals that borderlines on a feeling of vertigo, as we move between street corners, apartment complexes, the pier, elevated rail lines and more.
A$AP Rocky’s creative team have produced some of the dopest visuals of the year that definitely require more than one viewing. Sampling Moby’s song, “Porcelain,” the track appears of A$AP Rocky’s third studio album, Testing.
17. “God’s Plan” – Drake (Directed by Karena Evans)
Moving through the ranks as an intern for big-name music video director, Director X at his production company Popp Rok, Karena Evans has recently made waves in the industry by landing the opportunity to direct Drake’s music videos for the tracks “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What.”
In “God’s Plan,” viewers are set up with the preface of Drake having a million dollar budget to shoot the music video. Evans, however, ends up following the rap star around the city of Miami and we watch as Drake redistributes the money for the video shoot instead to those in need.
18. “Proud” – 2 Chainz ft. YG, Offset (Directed by 2 Chainz and Howard Ross)
If there was ever a video that is a visual shout-out and celebration to the unconditional love mothers show us, it is 2 Chainz’s music video to his track “Proud.”
Each of the featured rapper’s mother’s star in the video and lip-sync the lyrics as the rappers dish out their flow. The track appears on 2 Chainz’s new EP, The Play Don’t Care Who Makes It.
19. “Mo Bamba” – Sheck Wes (Directed by Tyler Ross, Nick Walker, & Sheck Wes)
Harlem Rapper, Sheck Wes, took the internet by storm after releasing the video for his track, “Mo Bamba” earlier this year. Making the video in 20 minutes and in one take, the set for the music video was the streets of Harlem.
The release of the video has been a serious moment in the young rapper’s career –moving from relative obscurity to taking the stage at a Drake concert.
Though the song isn’t an industry endorsed rap anthem, nevertheless, you’re bound to see people turn up this song at every party. The video proves that you don’t have to have a million-dollar budget to produce a successful video to accompany your track.
20. “After the Storm” Kali Uchis ft. Tyler, The Creator, Bootsy Collins (Directed by Nadia Lee Cohen)
With Nadia Lee Cohen’s videos lending the feeling of viewers being transported into a bizarre surrealist dream, the artist certainly knows how to make a statement.
Her vibrant visuals are steeped in color and produce a level of eccentricity that just exudes out of the screen. The British artist pairs Kali Uchis’ funky and soulful track to a series of stunning and bold tableaus that reimagine 1950’s suburbia.
Using her artistic license to the utmost degree to create a crazy set design, Cohen has Bootsy Collins appear as an animated logo on a cereal box, vegetable soup can, and hot sauce bottle.
Plus, since Tyler, the Creator is known for his daringness in his own music videos, I am sure the rapper was game to emerge out of the yard to ultimately be a part of Uchis’ nuclear family unit.
What would you do if you were getting hella bands as a 15-year-old?
Well, it’s safe to say South Bronx rapper Smooky MarGielaa is not having the average teenage summer. Recently receiving an A$AP Rocky co-sign, Smooky MarGielaa is young, fly, and coming for ya neck. MarGielaa is all about his shmoney.
Straight out of 169th and Morris Ave., MarGielaa saw a lot that influenced his career from his work ethic down to his name.
In a recent meeting with Kulture Hub the young rapper touched on what inspires him to go hard,
“It was crazy stuff going on in the Bronx especially where I grew up at, 169 and Morris, it’s crazy out there. I’ve seen crazy stuff out there. I used to know people that rapped. My bro named Tay Mufasa used to rap before he passed away. So, for me that made me want to go hard and keep carrying on.”
MarGielaa also discussed the story behind his name,
“Smooky MarGielaa! One of my cousins got locked up and his name is Smoke. I haven’t seen him since like 2011. Yeah, his name was Smook, so I started off with Smooky and then I did a song called Margielas then after that song that’s when it all started Smooky Margielaa. You feel Me?”
MarGielaa broke through the sound waves at just 13 years old.
Smooky listened to Rocky coming up and he knew it was a wrap once the AWGE CEO gave him the co-sign. That was the first huge artist MarGielaa had ever met. He told us what it was like,
“Getting the co-sign from Rocky was crazy, I went to my moms like, ‘Mommy look’ and she was like ‘Wow, thats Rocky!’ My whole family was hype, my sister was going crazy. Everybody in my hood listens to Rocky. So, once they saw that, they knew it was over.”
Flacko has really taken the young blood under his wing
According to Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser, Rocky will take over as leader of the brand’s lifestyle category.
Why would you sign a rapper to a sportswear brand and not an athlete?
Under Armour’s stock isn’t doing too well as the company reported disappointing Q1 earnings. The company’s shares dropped 7 percent at Thursday’s close.
With Rocky’s new endorsement deal, along with partnerships with Famous Footwear and DSW, the sportswear brand could do better in Q2. According to Poser, Rocky would create “floor for the stock.” Hopefully Rocky can do more than just bring in the dough.
In a Forbes interview back in 2013 he called his aesthetic “ghetto hipster,”
“I think ghetto people don’t get the tastemaker side of me and I think hipsters don’t get the reckless side of me, Rocky mused. And I’m both: I’m like a ghetto hipster.”
We’ll see if Pretty Flacko’s “ghetto hipster swag” can work with Under Armour as well as it has with brands he’s worked with in the past. Let’s peep a couple of these associations:
The 21-year old Atlanta native has a relatively modest 290k twitter followers, released his second ever complete project in an eponymous debut commercial mixtape on April 14, 2017, and has the clubs, festivals and any venue that dare play his songs, on SMASH.
Whether it’s DJ’s at Coachella, on stage with ASAP Rocky at Rolling Loud or even the Cavs during a routine lifting session, he has this infectious sound that makes you, no matter how hard you try, lose your fucking mind.
A post shared by DJ Steph Floss (@djstephfloss) on
And the numbers reflect that, too. Playboi Carti debuted at number twelve on the US Billboard 200, with 28,000 album-equivalent units, of which 21,000 were streaming units and 7,000 were pure album sales. And two of the biggest songs from the project have debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—”Magnolia” (obviously) at No. 91 and “wokeuplikethis*” featuring Lil Uzi Vert at 100.
That’s more than what the far more established Wale did with his recent release Shine, despite the fact Wale has the backing of MMG and 5.3 million twitter followers.
So, again, I think it’s fair to ask. Who is this Playboi Carti and where did he come from?
Well, I guess you can start with his first viral success, “Broke Boi” in 2014, which gained a fair amount of internet hype. The melodic tune made it way around house parties and social media, but I, like the rest of us, didn’t know we were dealing with a phenomenon.
The beauty of making good and authentic music is that you never know who may latch onto it and share it with others. In Carti’s case, his buzz in Atlanta caught the attention of fellow Atlanta native, promising fashion designer embattled ex-A$AP affiliate, and promising fashion designer Ian Conner. At SXSW in 2014, Ian introduced Carti to A$AP Rocky where he saw him perform, and a relationship grew from there.
Two years after “Boke Boi”, Carti signs a deal with Interscope and became the newest member of A$AP Mob. From there Rocky and Carti their synergy further, connecting on A$AP Mob’s debut studio album, Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends, on the tracks “London Town” and “Telephone Calls”, the latter being released as the second single from the album.
Now here we are in mid-2017 and we can’t get enough of the kid.
Beyond his very small catalog and famous ass friends, Carti’s lack of public appearances and interviews also adds to his mystery.
As opposed to his “mumble rap” compatriots like Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, and Rich The Kid, Carti stays away from the limelight, only releasing music and performing shows. Carti doesn’t really have any social media presence, beyond vague and mysterious instagram posts, which only added to the hype gaining steam around him.
His recent sit-down with Hot 97’s Ebro In The Morning was his first interview in a couple of years.
In the interview, Carti speaks on his influences, which surprisingly included the likes of Curren$y, one of the most lyrically respected MC’s in the game. Real recognize real.
The crazy thing about Playboi Carti is that it’s hard to imagine what he’ll do next. He’s shown strong interest in fashion, even landing a spread in GQ, and has even spoken of interest in entering the film world. And judging off his movements thus far — both unpredictable and sporadic — who’s to say that he can’t make that happen?
What we can do for now is enjoy this gift Carti has given us. Even though it’s right up the alley of every other turn-up song that is the craze right now, it still somehow stands out. The way it captures crowds, when his producer Pierre Bourne’s drop first comes in, people can’t contain themselves and that’s something special.
What I learned from unicorns such as Playboi Carti is to not put too much pressure on what you want them to do. Just let them cook.
In the meanwhile, I’ll be riding the wave. Wherever it takes me.
Rap game done turned into the NBA. Instead of working on their own projects, artists would rather just all jump on a fly beat and just take turns saying fly shit. I ain’t really complaining though.
A$AP Rocky just dropped some new heat on the track “RAF” featuring Uzi, Quavo and a very rare Frank Ocean rapping. I’m pretty sure I hear Playboi Carti wildin’ out in the back too but they all snap on this shit and you definitely hitting repeat.
Right now only the ripped version has been going around and so there ain’t no cursing and the quality is a little shaky. Shit is still tough though.
Frank Ocean premiered the new track late last night on his Blonded radio on Beats 1 but Rocky low key previewed the track at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami recently too.
This was the first version without any features but Carti.