New sounds: Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper

From the moment the first trumpet slices though the silence and leads us into the soulful rhythmic chant…”And we back…”, Chicago MC Chance the Rapper has your ear. And he doesn’t give it back until nearly an hour (57 minutes) later.

Chancelor Bennet’s follow-up to 2013’s Acid Rap starts off like any other Kanye West produced CD opener – with a grandiose orchestra and the Chicago Children’s Choir. Chance’s Gospel influenced crooner-rap works well against the sound of horns. It’s a versatile style that allows him sing-rap on tracks on like “No Problems” with Lil Wayne and Two Chainz. The second track on Chance’chance-the-rapper-chance-3-new-album-download-free-stream-640x640s third mixtape. The single released a [month ago] and it definitely painted an appropriate preview of what to expect with this tape. This is feel good music.

“If one more label try to stop me, it’s gon be some dread head niggas in the lobby,” Chance screams into the mic.

This can be looked at as a reference some of the difficulties Chance faces as an independent artist. In a recent AMA on Reddit the hip hop artist acknowledged rumors that he record labels give him a hard time recording with their artists due to his independent status. The artist refuses to sell his music to a label, saying in the same AMA that “this is the future” and that one day “all artists will be free”. Continue reading

How To Make it in America: As an E-sports Broadcaster

casting3This is an excerpt from a magazine feature I created on Justin and the E-Sports scene in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metro area.

In November of 2014, Justin Varghese made a decision that would change the trajectory of his life forever. He sat down behind the counter at the Plano, TX based FX Game Exchange and watched contestants in a Super Smash Brothers tournament duke it out. He sat down next to a few guys he didn’t know that well and narrated the frantic happenings onscreen while critiquing the player movements. Justin did this all on camera. And he loved every minute it.

Since then, the University of Texas at Dallas graduate  traded in his keyboard and mouse for a controller and a headset. Varghese is now the Head of Strategic Partnerships at Tourney Locator LLC. (TLOC), the very company for which he stepped onto the mic for. Varghese and his on-air partner, Nabil Pervez, operate as the main two faces of TLOC, a DFW company that organizes and stream video game tournaments via their Twitch channel. The duo broadcast weekly as JV and Nebtune. Along with a weekly series at the Exchange, TLOC sets up yearly and monthly tournaments, at times sponsoring players and traveling throughout the region.

Prior to joining TLOC and signing a Major League Gaming contract, Justin had extensive video game experience but no broadcasting or recording experience. It all happened kind of fast for Justin, so I asked him to break it down for me.

Continue reading