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Kanye West, Halsey, The Bug & OutKast: New Music Friday

Halsey, Kanye, The Bug, and OutKast this week on New Music Friday.

The Bug Fire Album in Gray Vinyl

It’s almost hard to believe that September is upon us and that college is back in session. Hurricane Ida did its worst in New Orleans and the Garden State and very few people have the patience for the Artist Formerly Known as Kanye right now. His mega-hyped Donda was finally released and has already started to fade in the rearview mirror.

Kanye West: Donda (Release Date: 08/28/2021, Rock the World – IDJ – Kanye LP7)

If it hasn’t become obvious to all at this point, Kanye West no longer cares what anybody thinks anymore; he moved the release date of Donda multiple times and even held a highly publicized release party with family in tow and left attendees with nothing. Kanye has always proven to be a savvy marketer and his new album named after his late-mother, Donda West, who passed away in 2007 after complications from plastic surgery — is a massive letdown.

The opening track “Donda Chant” features a repetitive chant of “Donda” over and over again that becomes so annoying that it wasn’t worth a second listen. Ye’s sample of Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” on “Believe What I Say” is the definite highlight of this overly long mess that feels like a harsh goodbye to Kim. Nobody needed Kanye to release a 10th studio album that is 108 minutes long.

Stream at: Amazon Music

Halsey: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power (Release Date: 08/27/2021, Capitol Records)

You can tell that an artist has moved well past the awkward stage and feels confident when she can release an album like this with such a provocative cover. Halsey clearly no longer feels that she has to play it safe and the album is an evolution of her music that was so influential when I was in high school.

Her risqué cover draws your attention but it’s just the bond between a mother and daughter; the reason for the cover and the emphasis on family and having a mother-child relationship is because she was told she there was a 2% chance she could have children due to endometriosis. The album details her pregnancy and the struggles that she endured; all of the physical and emotional pain from start to finish.

The music is far more sophisticated than her previous work with more complex instrumentals and harmonies; the maturation of her songwriting and musical creativity shows that she’s only begun to show what she is capable of.

Where to buy: Amazon

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The Bug: Fire (Release Date: 08/27/2021, Ninja Tune)

Kevin Richard Martin (AKA “The Bug”) is better known for the artists that he has worked with over the years; God, Ice, and Techno Animal, among other collaborative guises and musical styles ranging from free jazz and hip-hop to noise and dub. His discography of recordings has expanded with King Midas Sound, Zonal, and a collection of ambient recordings under his full name, Kevin Richard Martin. Fire is a collaboration between Martin and a wide range of artists that crosses over into multiple genres; the pacing is fairly consistent and upbeat throughout. A really interesting work-out mix but not necessarily something cerebral worthy of anything more than that.

Where to buy: Amazon

OutKast: ATLiens (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, Release Date: 08/27/2021, Legacy Recordings)

I wasn’t even born yet when OutKast delivered this best-selling album back in 1996 which hit #2 on the Billboard charts. Their mix of Southern soul, rap, and hip-hop sold more than 350,000 copies in 10 days and cemented their status as a force in the genre. ATLiens featured the gold-selling single “Elevators (Me & You)” (number 12 pop, number one rap), as well as the Top 40 title track. The newly released 25th Anniversary edition delivers better sound quality than the original release and features a number of instrumental versions that feel very fresh in 2021.

Where to buy: Amazon

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