What Donald Trump learned about politics from pro wrestling


“Trump might not have been playing by the rules of politics, but he won the game. So how did he do it? Those looking to his career as a developer or reality TV host came up short in predicting Trump’s survival and eventual victory, because those are only part of the story. The most important lessons Donald Trump ever learned were in a pro wrestling ring.”

Read more in the Washington Post.

Are Abhi//Dijon R&B’s Next Breakout Stars?


“Last month, Abhi//Dijon tweeted, “we are r & b to the core and will wear that label if people need it but trust we intend on turning the genre and everything else inside out.” It was a bold, confrontational statement from the duo, which is comprised of Ellicott City-raised, Los Angeles-based musicians Abhi Raju and Dijon Duenas. But with the release of their latest EP, Montana, it definitely reads as a mission statement.”

Read more in the Washington City Paper.

The good and the bad of mixing classical music and electronica


“These days, the venues DJs play aren’t limited to clubs, bars and warehouse parties. You’ll also find them — armed with laptops and turntables — in restaurants, art galleries and a variety of urban outfitters. You’ll also find one at the Kennedy Center: namely DJ Masonic, better known as Mason Bates, the venue’s 39-year-old composer-in-residence. Bates, at one point the second-most-performed living composer in America, is best known for bringing electronic music into the orchestra, which he has continued to do with his KC Jukebox events.”

Read more in The Washington Post.

How a small D.C. record label became a hotbed of modern Ethiopian sounds


“In its first two years, D.C.-based record label 1432 R has stood out for its ethos and its ear, but also for a more curious reason. Even though 1432 R takes its name from a District street address, its catalogue is dominated by music from more than 7,000 miles away — Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Launched in summer 2014, 1432 R has released nine records, almost all featuring Addis Ababa-based producers Mikael Seifu and Endeguena Mulu; one is by Ethiopian American co-founder Dawit Eklund. Their music seamlessly brings together house music grooves, the stutter of U.K. garage, an uneasy electronic ambience, and — perhaps most notably — Ethiopian folk music.”

Read more in the Washington Post.

The pure and joyous uplift of Chance the Rapper


“He’s only 23, but Chance the Rapper has already outgrown his moniker. After breaking through with his instant-classic “Acid Rap” mix tape in 2013, Chance dabbled in band-leading on last year’s “Surf,” an album credited to collaborators Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment. But it is “Coloring Book,” a mix tape he released in May, on which Chance has found his true — or at least next — calling: spiritual leader of a gospel-rap revival.”

Read more in the Washington Post.

Danny Brown hits a vicious new high on his psychedelic cocaine saga Atrocity Exhibition


“When Danny Brown announced the title of his fourth album, Atrocity Exhibition, commentators were quick to connect the dots to two other works with the same name: the opening track of Joy Division’s 1980 album Closer and J.G. Ballard’s surreal 1970 story collection. While Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition has a touch of the Burroughs-esque stream-of-consciousness and non-linearity which Ballard experimented with in his book, the Joy Division song is more instructive.

Brown finds an analogue with Ian Curtis, who sang obliquely of his mental turmoil on ‘Atrocity Exhibition’: “Asylums with doors open wide / Where people had paid to see inside / For entertainment they watch his body twist / Behind his eyes he says, ‘I still exist.’” The song finds Curtis both encouraging and castigating audiences who saw him as a sideshow, echoed decades later in Brown’s experience of being framed as rap’s hedonist-in-chief: some of Joy Division’s audience were gawking at Curtis’ epileptic fits in the same way that Brown’s fans have fetishized his drug use and abuse.”

Read more at FACT Magazine.

Farm Aid weaves blues-country-rock tapestry at Jiffy Lube


“There were plenty of paper cowboys in attendance on Saturday — people donning the hats, boots and denim of country-western dress-up — but most were good ol’ boys (and girls) dressed for a moderate September day, lounging in a sea of captain’s chairs and picnic blankets. Most opted for T-shirts dedicated to musicians, college sports and the American flag, but there was also a smattering of political messages, befitting the final stretch of the 2016 election: a Donald Trump shirt here, a Bernie Sanders shirt there, and even a few Ronald Reagan shirts.

But by wearing a Reagan shirt to Farm Aid, one is perhaps missing the point. The concert was born of the farm crisis that accelerated during the Reagan years; weeks after the first Farm Aid, Neil Young took out a full-page ad in USA Today that asked the president, “Will the family farm in America die as a result of your administration?”

That kind of disconnect was an undercurrent of the festival. Concertgoers sang along to John Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses” and rocked out to Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” but did they understand that those songs are sarcastic critiques about the death of the American dream, not rah-rah anthems about patriotism? When Young told the crowd that Farm Aid is a “revolution” wherein we “let the Earth bring us all together,” were they getting the message? Environmentally, perhaps not — at least judging by the empty beer cans and cigarette butts that littered the lawn.”

Read more in the Washington Post.