SleepWalker Freshman 2020

By Amari Newman & Quentin Zimbalist

We are SleepWalker Entertainment. Starting off as a radio show on Oberlin College’s WOBC 91.5fm in 2018 dedicated to highlighting underground Hip-Hop and the community that surrounds it, we have expanded into the journalistic side of music, publishing various reviews, lists, and articles related to music. These have ranged from album of the year lists to interviews with different musicians who have performed at Oberlin including Suzi Analogue, VRITRA, Ethereal, NappyNappa, and SIR E.U. Right around this time last year we published our very first “Freshman List,” built off of XXL magazine’s idea of  highlighting artists relatively new to the rap game who gained a lot of attention in the most recent year. Seeing how XXL’s list seemed to increasingly lose touch with the current wave of genuine Hip-Hop, SleepWalker looked to create our own list of new(ish) artists who we believe are making important impacts on the direction of the genre. The following list will highlight the breakthrough rappers, producers and visual artists of this past year, who we believe people are listening to and want to experience.  

Rappers: Pop Smoke (RIP), Baby Smoove, Hook, Baby Fifty, Babyxsosa, Camden Malik, BKTHERULA

Producers: Evil Giane, Adé Hakim, Axl Beats, JWords, Hi-C, DamnJonBoi, GAWD  

Visual Artists: Nitetive Visuals,  Revenxnt, DVD CITY, The Realest Photographer Ever, Brick Productions, 1Drince, She Skin

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A Zoom Call With Auto-Lola

By Amari Newman

On April 17th, I conducted an interview with aspiring Hip-Hop and Experimental artist Auto-Lola. This was the inaugural installment of a weekly series of Zoom interviews that SleepWalker Radio, a show on Oberlin College’s WOBC-FM radio station, will be conducting over the next month. We were also joined by fellow SleepWalker members/affiliates Musa, Quentin, and Sara.

I Zoomed into our meeting room and encountered a smiling Auto eager to discuss. This was the first time either of us had done a virtual interview, and this had been planned since January. The interview was originally scheduled for Mid-March to follow his performance at Oberlin’s Dionysus Disco. Unfortunately, two days before his Friday night show, the College announced that all large gatherings would be canceled and students would have to leave campus by the end of the weekend due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

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Hook: Concert Review

By Amari Newman

On November 21, 2020, Hook and BKTHERULA appeared at the Dionysus Disco for the first night of WOBIE Fest, a three day music festival organized by student union booking organizations at Oberlin College: OHOP, F+ABB and SUPC, and its radio station, WOBC. The festival curates events that cater to all types of students, and encourages them to become involved in college radio.

Hailing from Riverside, California, Hook is a 21-year-old female rapper who hasquickly gained recognition throughout the underground as one of the most exciting artists on the scene. BK, who is from Atlanta, shares Hook’s buzz. Both artists collaborate on songs, appear in each other’s music videos, and perform together. 

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Prisoner Of Mind — Album Review

By Amari Newman

In Prisoner Of Mind (released July 2018), King Carter speaks on the state of being Black in a way that is painfully eye-opening and relatable. The 21-year-old Brooklyn-native touches on his troubled familial relationships, the impact of white supremacy on the Black community, and his battle with depression.

A large portion of the album’s lyrics focus on Carter’s relationship with his mother and father, with one of them being mentioned on every track. Many of the mother-related bars are quick references to her incarceration. In “Sacrifices” Carter raps “The judge wanna give a nigga life my momma.” While other lyrics exhibit the inspiration he has garnered from his mother’s sacrifice. In “My Pain,” he notes “You gave your all in an attempt to give us something better, just know that I’m grateful forever.” The father-related lyrics typically consist of stand-alone bars that touch on his absence throughout Carter’s life, and his son’s continued love for him despite that.

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