The Oberlin Review

SleepWalker Freshman List 2020

Amari Newman and Quentin Zimbalist

July 3, 2020

We are SleepWalker Entertainment. Starting off in 2018 as a radio show on Oberlin College’s WOBC 91.5 FM 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 XXL magazine’s idea of highlighting artists relatively new to the rap game who gained a lot of attention in the past year. Seeing how XXL’s list seeme...

Imperfect and That’s OK: Deem Spencer Brings Introspective Rap to Oberlin for Orientation

Gabriella Spielberg

September 7, 2018

Deem Spencer put on an entertaining show at the ’Sco Saturday night, with his jerky and frenetic dancing and many bottle-flip attempts. His work is introspective and powerful, and his music high quality; however, his performance fell a little short. The show got off on an awkward foot — when it started at least half an hour late, the audience had already begun to dwindle. When Spencer did appear on stage, a beat started, and then stopped, and then started again, and then stopped, before he requested that the stage lights be dimmed and the audience be quiet, saying something to the effect of, “I’ll wait.” “He wasn’t like ‘ah, love you guys’ like the way you’d expect, but I kind of appreciated...

Lamar’s Lyrical Genius Impresses Again on “DAMN.”

Daniel Markus, Arts editor

April 21, 2017

As Kendrick Lamar finished a stunning set in the waning hours of Coachella Sunday night, diehard fans and internet detectives alike were left slightly disappointed. After releasing a new 14-track opus, DAMN., last Friday, fans desperate for even more music found themselves spurred on by a rapidly spreading internet theory that originated on Reddit; according to the sleuths, another album was imminent. The theory began with the fact that DAMN. was released on Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion. DAMN.’s first track, “BLOOD.,” ends with Lamar being shot and killed, and in “The Heart Part IV,” a single released ahead of DAMN., Lamar raps, “I said it’s like that, dropped one classic, came...

Rap artist and wordsmith Milo will perform at the ’Sco this Thursday. His two releases this year, so the flies don’t come and Plain Speaking, both received critical acclaim.

’Sco Continues Year of Impressive Acts with Hellfyre Club Rapper Milo

October 30, 2015

Next Thursday, Nov. 5, Oberlin will bear witness to a performance by the one and only rapsmith Milo, aka Scallops Hotel, aka Black Orpheus, aka Rory Ferreira. The ’Sco show will feature an opening performance by local experimental hip-hop collective Bémbe. Born in Chicago and raised in Maine, Milo has proven himself to be one of the most consistent forces in underground hip-hop, releasing a multitude of mixtapes, EPs and studio albums since he broke onto the scene just a few years ago. The...

Liturgy stares contemplatively into the distance. Fresh off the release of their electronic-tinged third album, The Ark Work, the Brooklyn-based black metal outfit will play at the ’Sco this Saturday at 10 p.m. Support will come from Sannhet and Horse Lords.

Controversial Band to Combine Disparate Styles

April 10, 2015

“Some people think the record is a joke,” Liturgy frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix said of his band’s just-released third album, The Ark Work, in an email to the Review. “Others describe it using phrases like ‘mad genius,’ ‘masterpiece,’ ‘ahead of its time’ and so on. This is certainly the type of record that is aiming for that type of status, for better or for worse.” Liturgy will likely perform cuts from the album at the ’Sco this Saturday at 10 p.m, giving attendees a chanc...

Criticisms of Hip-Hop Reflect Misconceptions

James Tanford, Contributing Writer

February 27, 2015

I see the small, judgmental glint in my friend’s eye as he looks over my music playlist. Common. The Roots. Kanye West. Joey Bada$$. Lupe Fiasco. Hopsin. Black Star. He’s thinking, he listens to rap? He hands me my phone back, disgusted, and proceeds to lecture me on how this “music” is degrading, unintelligent and how, because I’m white, I shouldn’t really even be listening to it. Um ... excuse me? In five seconds, he just exemplified every misconception people hold about rap: that it is a skill-less mishmash of sex, drugs and misogyny. This is unfair. Hiphop gets a bad rap; at its best, it’s skillful, poetic and politically aware commentary that has messages for everyone. Think it doesn...

Devoted Crowd Flocks to Mick Jenkins’s Raucous Underground Concert

Jake Frankenfield

February 13, 2015

Content warning: This article contains a racial slur printed in full. The word is part of an artist’s stage name. Mick Jenkins’ most recent record, the widely acclaimed The Waters, is known for its submerged, atmospheric production and intricate wordplay. Hailed as one of the best mixtapes of 2014, The Waters established Jenkins as a preeminent Chicago MC. Jenkins is currently touring with Saba Pivot, Noname Gypsy and a budding rapper affiliated with the Joey Bada$$-helmed Pro Era collective, Kirk Knight. Chicago has been central to the development of hip-hop as a genre since the early 1990s. In the ’90s, Chicago offered Twista; in the early 2000s, the city produced Kanye West and Common. Today, as hip-...

Rapper on the Rise: GoldLink Commands ’Sco Stage

Sam Winward, Staff Writer

November 21, 2014

Whether his attempt to conceal his identity is based in humility or a calculated marketing scheme, GoldLink wants his music to speak for itself. Either way, the artist revealed a previously covert identity to an excited audience Saturday night at the ’Sco. The unassuming 21-year-old is fresh off his critically acclaimed debut mixtape, The Gold Complex. While many rappers are eager to bask in the limelight, GoldLink has been deliberately secretive about his identity. Strangely, he is nowhere to be found in his recent music video for “When I Die,” which features fellow rapper Black Zheep as the lead actor. “A lot of the homies I grew up with listen to GoldLink and don’t know it’s me,” he sai...

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