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

Continue reading “SleepWalker Freshman 2020”

Programming music by underrepresented groups: how do we reach our new normal?

By Megan McLaughlin

The year 2020 started with even more performances of Ludwig van Beethoven’s compositions than usual — many symphonies, chamber music societies, and organizations announced their plans to perform all of the legendary Romantic composer’s nine symphonies, complete piano sonatas, string quartets, and more in honor of his 250th birthday. It’s a shame that the dead white guy can’t be here with us to celebrate.

In the 2019 report of “The year in statistics” from Bachtrack, a London-based online classical music magazine, Beethoven was listed as the most performed composer of the year, based on the 34,648 concerts the publication listed on their website. Beethoven was also first in 2018 and 2016, and was second only to Mozart — another dead, white, male composer — in 2017, 2015, and 2014. Considering his undisputed popularity in ordinary years, many were not thrilled to hear of a yearlong celebration of a composer who is already given plenty of attention.

Continue reading “Programming music by underrepresented groups: how do we reach our new normal?”

Why 645AR Is More Serious Than You Think

By Jason Kreloff

645AR, despite nobody knowing his real name or identity, deals with a lot of slander everyday on internet blogs, in video reactions, and even on his own Instagram and Twitter pages. Comments range from the simple, “645AR is trash” to backhanded jokes like “645AR makes music only dogs can hear.” However, like any serious artist who truly believes in their craft, he takes all of the criticism and hate in stride.

Motivation during Isolation

By Tyler Smith

For most of my life I’ve been a musician and a runner. Both are things that require lots of self discipline and motivation. But now that we are all stuck at home with all the time in the world, why has it suddenly become so difficult to stay motivated? Why does lying in bed all day watching TV suddenly sound infinitely more appealing than spending my time pursuing what I love?

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Analog vs. Digital and Why You Shouldn’t Care Anymore

Roland Space EchoBy Jason Kreloff

The last thing we need is one more white cisgendered male in the music recording industry giving heated opinions on why your digital plug-ins sound like trash— all the while flaunting complicated pieces of analog equipment that would destroy your bank account.

Chances are, if you heard a song on the radio, it has been recorded, engineered,  mixed, and mastered by a man. Historically, through privilege and generational wealth, white men have used positions of power to monopolize the making of music. This results in the boxing out of those with no access to resources.

Even worse, analog studio equipment is really expensive these days, which makes establishing a professional audio career all the more daunting. However, analog gear ultimately means nothing for the future of music. Continue reading “Analog vs. Digital and Why You Shouldn’t Care Anymore”