Spring Break is upon us and as student prepare to let off steam on vacation or prepare for the NCAA tournament, the KJHK staff thought to provide the masses with a collection to keep you hyped and raging through the break.
Name: Lily Grant (DJ Lil G)
Position: Local Block & Breakfast for Beatlovers DJ, Content Staff
Rager Recommendation: “Tell Me” – RL Grime & What So Not
“Tell Me” by RL Grime was the song I blared through the speakers of my red PT Cruiser with the windows down in mid-August three years ago as I rolled through North Lawrence for the very first time, bound for my freshman dorm on move-in day. I thought I was pretty cool then, and I had just discovered the world of EDM. “Tell Me” was the first electronic song I loved and thoroughly overplayed (and still do). The initial drop is surprising, and each one after that is unique, yet they all work together. A few months later, RL Grime came to Lawrence and played a show at The Granada, and that was the first time I truly got HYPED AF. I still remember the moment during that show when RL Grime played “Tell Me,” and I, for lack of a better phrase, lost my sh*t. These days, when I’m trying to get hype, all I have to do is play that song, and it instantly takes me back to that moment at the Granasty.
Rager Recommendation: “Take Me There” – Adore Delano
If you want an upbeat, feel-good song, with maybe a touch of androgyny, look no further. Drag queen Adore Delano, who competed on RuPaul’s Drag Race season 6 and American Idol season 7 (as Danny Noriega), sings this song, perfect for a nice, chill party or just getting yourself pumped to crush your midterms, just remember, “we’re the kids who would bring the world to life.”
Position: Breakfast For Beatlovers (9am-12pm Tuesdays)
Rager Recommendation: “Side B (Dope Song)” by Danny Brown
I first came across this song at KJHK when someone requested it during one of my first shows, and holy crap, From the moment the luscious horns that open the song stop, Brown and his trademark yelp-laced rapping become a building force until the eventual beat drop that will have even the squares at the club moshing. Only Brown, with his unique style of high pitched yelling and rapping could pull off such a potent, party-ready combination. This song is perfect for getting hyped to go out, watch the big game or just to get the anger out after a bad day. I almost wanted to choose the entire album “Old” as it has a similar atmosphere to “Side B (Dope Song)”, but I feel no song on the album better blurs the line between hype and rage than this one.
Rager Recommendation: December, 1963 (Oh What A Night) -Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Italian-American mastermind Frankie Valli and his group The Four Seasons lay out a funky, ‘60s vibe. If you’re anything like me, you don’t get hyped up by just any average song. It takes the most upbeat, rhythmic and carefully syncopated beats to really get me going. 5 seconds into listening to “December, 1963,” I turn into the best version of myself. Oh what a night, indeed.
Position: Station Manager and host of Plow the Fields (Saturdays 8-10PM)
Rager Recommendation: “Dance This Mess Around” by The B-52’s
What is rage? Why does one feel the need to rage? What motivates people to get hyped? Is raging even a cool thing to do? When thinking of this prompt, I went to the first band I could think of when it comes to getting HYPED: The B-52’s. They know it all when it comes to get HYPED. I scoured through all of their classic, harder songs (“Rock Lobster” and “Private Idaho”) and through their huge, party encouraging pop-hits (“Love Shack” and “Channel Z”) to find my favorite B-52 song of all time, “Dance This Mess Around.”
“Dance This Mess Around” is a harrowing story sung by Cindy Wilson. Cindy sings as someone who is still sore over the break of losing her romantic other. Cindy is on the verge of thinking that she lacks self-worth. At the end of the first she states, “Why don’t you dance with me? I’m not no limburger!!”
Cindy’s character is not just some stinking block of cheese! She is fun, she knows how to have a good time, and she is going to do exactly that! She is going to do what everybody else does at parties…dance this mess around. She is a mess. She recognizes this. A great way to escape the mess you create is by temporarily forgetting what binds you and just RAGE. This is the common narrative painted in the college environment. Procrastinating? Need a job? Just get drunk with friends and worry about it later. Everybody needs to blow off steam.
However, near the end of the song, the same question is asked over and over again: “Say, don’t that make you feel a whole lot better?” The gut punch is that you don’t get a clear answer. All the dancing, raging and escaping eventually just ends you back to the same spot. Sure, you might have a new revelation on life, you might feel refreshed or you could possibly feel bored. But you still have to deal with the mess that existed prior to the escape. And that is life in a B-52 song.
The B-52’s are well-associated with hard, repetitive melodies that are incredibly catchy and hypnotic. But when you combine these aspects with the story being told here, you end with the feeling that raging can’t really do a lot, especially if you find yourself creating a habit of it. If you repeat this escape far too often, that mess is just going to get messier. And it will be on you to clean it all up.
Position: Live Music Committee/ Jazz In The Morning DJ (Thursdays 6AM-9AM)
Rager Recommendation: “Me and Your Mama” by Childish Gambino
Despite the fact that many had harsh words for Donald Glover’s album for not being traditional “rap”, this soulful musical odyssey still gets my juices flowing every time I click play. I will never forget where I was the first time I heard this song. Sitting in my car with friends, we waited through two minutes of mellow build-up. Then, the 2:01 mark of the song hit bringing a powerful guitar riff along with it, something I had never experienced on a Gambino track. As Glover’s voice came screaming through the speakers, I swear I had a transcendental experience, riding a wave with the ghosts of Prince and James Brown. That same feeling arises every time I play this song and go on a musical journey of rise and fall. This song really has a hold on me, and it isn’t just puppy love.
Position: Music Staff and Rotation DJ (Fridays 10-midnight)
Rager Recommendation: “Odd Toddlers” by Tyler the Creator ft. Casey Veggies
My love for this song goes back to sophomore year of college when I had a roommate who was a huge Tyler fan. Since then I’ve always felt a rush of electricity surge through my body every time the beat starts and you get a taste of Tyler’s low-toned voice. The song features a sample from Cortex’s 1971 tune, “Huit Octobre”, which had been originally used by MF Doom on “One Beer” and also sampled by Wiz Khalifa on “Visions”. Although I’m a fan of all these songs, I personally enjoy Tyler’s use of the sample on “Odd Toddlers” the most. The flow in both Tyler and Casey’s verses is on point and it’s hard for me not to recite the lyrics as I listen. Additionally, Tyler has a general ruthlessness to his musical persona which I think it’s another part of why this song gets me so hyped. “Odd Toddlers” is a great example of Tyler the Creator’s skills as a producer/lyricist, and is sure to get your blood pumping.
Position: Music Staff and Rotation DJ (Wednesday 3-6 a.m.)
Rager Recommendation: “Miami Ultras” by Yung Lean
There is a simple proverb I have been trying to convince every single hip-hop head of for the last three years or so: Yung Lean is more original and interesting than your favorite rapper. Part of me just want him to be taken seriously, and boosting him is the only way for me to do that sometimes, but another part of me actually believes that statement I just wrote.
Let me just recall a few of his most legendary lyrics, part of what has cemented him as a pillar of hip-hop in 2017: “I don’t give a motherf***, watchin’ Star Wars smokin’ pot” (most notable in “Miami Ultras”); “molecules expand, molecules exist, I’m a molecule but I stand in the mist”; “I’mma peel banana skids while listening to R. Kelly’s greatest hit”; “peeing on old people’s houses is an inflict,” before he goes on, in the same song, to use his own name as the staple of the hook. And these are only the ones that I thought were appropriate enough for KJHK.org. Seek Yung Lean lyrics, and you will find poetry — he’s William Shakespeare in the flesh.
Now that I’ve validated Yung Lean and compared him not only to your favorite artist, but widely accepted as the greatest poet and playwright of all-time, let me tell you about “Miami Ultras,” the pinnacle of Jonatan Leandoer Hastad’s career and my favorite hype song. What’s most impressive, maybe, about this banger, is that it’s about Lean’s multiple personalities, an addiction to drugs and painkillers, and being hospitalized after he couldn’t keep his life in check. But don’t panic about the serious nature of the song. It’s easily the best, most mature beat Lean has ever encountered, with a punk flare accentuated by Lean’s angsty vocals. The song is aggressive, undoubtedly, but not so much so that the beat and Lean’s personality don’t shine through, carrying anyone who encounters it into an entranced, hype state with an artist that is unlike anything else the world has heard.
Position: Music Staff and Rotation DJ (Sundays 6am-9am)
Rager Recommendation: “Wtf Right Now” by Tyler, the Creator
I realized I was Kanye’s son in grade school when I first heard “The College Dropout.” In high school, I realized I was also Tyler’s son, so it was to nobody’s surprise that I was overrun with excitement when I heard that Tyler made a song to the instrumental of “Freestyle 4″, my favorite song off of Kanye’s “The Life Of Pablo”. It was everything I figured it would be and more. The eerie beat combined with Tyler’s energy is impeccable. A$AP Rocky (who is one of the coolest rappers in music) adds to the lively track by being an exceptional hype man. The buildup is as catchy as they get while it simultaneously has you itching for the drop of the beat. Rocky and Tyler’s yelling right before the drop will have you at the edge of your seat every time. AND WHEN THAT BEAT DROPS, I LOSE MY MIND EVERY TIME. The hook. Oh my. The hook just adds to the flavor and makes it that much sweeter; it’s one of those hooks that you, as well as all of your friends, shout out the words to when you listen to it together. Tyler’s verses really complete the track, adding an element that tends to be forgotten or ignored in many hype songs: great rapping. His witty wordplay and rhymes about his success remind us of how Tyler got to where he is now: by being better than everyone else, and being himself while doing it.
Position: Live Music Committee/ Rotation DJ (Saturdays 3-6AM)
Rager Recommendation: “Black Skinhead” by Kanye West
This is a classic hype jam for me. I first heard this song in a mini-van filled with student council members and when one played this, I say we all became insanely pumped for going to a children’s hospital on a school night.
Although Kanye has many hype-worthy songs, this one sticks out to me with its alternating beats, causing the beat to drop more than once. The tune rotates between a drum-heavy beat for the verses and one with a strong bass for the hook. The lyrics are very scream-worthy™, following West’s common theme of anti-racism and anti-establishment.
A version of this is played at every KU football game. As a member of the Marching Jayhawks, you can catch me jamming in the sea of blue and red, with the scoreboard having no influence on how hype I am.