Brandon "Jinx" Jinkins, Speedy Morman, and Emily Oberg have teamed up on a brand new podcast, streaming exclusively on Tidal, called The Group Chat. For me, this is exciting. I love Tidal, I love music/pop culture talk, and I love Complex (yes, I'm aware you were no longer with the company for a while now, Emily). They discuss topics that I talk to my friends and coworkers about even if they don't care; there's just some stuff I need to say! Now, with a *like* (which I'll take as a blessing) from each one of them, and a response from Speedy himself on a tweet that I sent out, I'll be using my blog to jump in on their discussion and give them my own personal input on key issues that I find intriguing.
Just a quick about me: my name is Justin and I’m from both coasts. I was born in D.C., but was raised in San Diego, CA. Then I moved to the LA area for school/work. I currently reside in Las Vegas. I love going to concerts and festivals, eating all the food, and traveling.
Let's get into it.
Who had the biggest year in in music in 2017?
Kendrick Lamar, by far, had the biggest year out of any artist in 2017, so I’m with Emily and Jinx on this one. DAMN. was a perfectly crafted album that Kendrick himself even calls his best work to date. You can play it forwards or backwards (DAMN. COLLECTOR’S EDITION) and it works either way. I don’t know if any other rapper, let alone any other artist, has ever thought to do that before. On top of that, it was an album that sounded great in a live setting, be it an arena or a music festival. The DAMN. Tour was the best U.S. tour of the year, regardless if he had support from Travis Scott or not. His Coachella set was also just two days after DAMN. had dropped and I was lucky enough to be in that crowd. He basically forced the Coachella crowd to learn his lyrics in 48 hours and, shit, it worked. There’s not one song on his album that doesn't slap.
Who took you by surprise in 2017?
I’m siding with Jinx on this one; Tyler, The Creator caught me off guard the most in 2017. I never was a huge Tyler fan myself. Goblin and Wolf weren't really my thing. Cherry Bomb was a bit better, but it wasn't enough to call me a real fan. Flower Boy is the one that stuck with me and is a Top 10 Album of the year. I was very impressed with what he delivered. It took me five months to finally give it a chance and afterwards, I said to myself, “Wait. This is really fucking good!”
What fashion trend should die?
I related to Speedy on this one with the “only wear Nike socks” thing. Cross branding is usually a no-go for me, but I’m almost always in jeans/pants, so they can’t even see my socks anyway! The only time I'll wear non-Nike socks is when I'm in joggers. Then I'll throw on a pair of reasonably-priced Uniqlo low-cut socks. I also agree with Emily that people dressing like their favorite rappers needs to end, but on the other hand, this is never going to happen. I saw a dude walking by me one day trying real hard to dress like Kanye and it just. didn't. work. I hated it.
What was the worst social media trend?
This is never going to die either , but making everything a “challenge” that’s not a challenge at all. Like, it’s cool and funny the first couple of times it's done, but after everyone and their moms start doing it, it gets so played out and tired real quick. I feel like it started with the Running Man Challenge, then came the Black Beatles Challenge, and now the Tide Pod Challenge (wtf?!). The only one that was worthy of being deemed a “challenge” (that I can think of) was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. That was obviously for a good cause and to spread awareness, but when there’s no goal, then there’s no point.
Also, I hella agree with what Speedy had to say about asking for photo cred on IG posts. As an amateur photographer myself, it makes me cringe when I see someone on my feed ask someone else for the credit when the picture isn’t even all that great and when I know for a fact that the one who took it isn’t even aspiring to be a photographer. Unless you gave the composition of the photo any thought or made any clean edits to it, don’t ask for credit. Just be happy that it was posted. And the “take me back” photos posted one day after someone went on vacation cracked me up because, yeah, shit’s annoying.
Who are you looking forward to in 2018?
Kanye West, Beyoncé, and Childish Gambino.
Ye didn’t drop anything new or noteworthy in 2017 except for his verse on Cyhi the Prince’s “Dat Side”. I think he’s due for a new album and I’m sure he has some project(s) in the works.
I feel like Beyoncé has something up her sleeve (see: dropping her self-titled album with no heads up in 2013). Either new material or a collab album with Jay is what we’re all hoping for. Plus, it’d be kind of weird to headline Coachella in 2018 with Lemonade having aged two years and no new material to present. Then again, she’s Beyoncé and can do whatever the fuck she wants.
Gambino just left his former label, GlassNote Records, and has signed on with RCA with hints of new music coming this year. Though I loved “Awaken, My Love!”, I would love to heard Donald rap again. He can spit. I still find it weird that Emily wasn’t a fan until now. Has she heard ROYALTY or STN MTN?!
What are you looking forward to, personally, in 2018?
Personally, my focus for 2018 was to get my mental health in check. This is a real issue that real people deal with and we need to make it a priority if we want to live better lives. It’s something I’ve been dealing with, but I’m striving to improve on this year.
What are you currently fucking with?
Right now, I’m about to finish up a book called Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. The movie comes out in March and is directed by the great Steven Spielberg. The trailer looks super promising. Almost every nerdy pop culture reference from the 1980s and beyond (Back to the Future, Power Rangers, Overwatch) can be found in this book/film.