I Found My Next Pregame Album: Guin Records' "Uncharted"

I Found My Next Pregame Album: Guin Records' "Uncharted"

My friend and I listened to some new songs that we think people should know about.

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This weekend as we got ready for a night out on the town, my friend introduced me to some new songs that have a production story equally impressive as the songs themselves. The songs were created by independent young artists and produced by fellow college students!


guinrecords.com

Born out of hours spent in a college dorm room listening to underground artists on Soundcloud and YouTube (can't say I'm not guilty of this either), Guin Records co-founder Milan Kordestani teamed up with his sister, Misha, to forge a sibling venture that combines his business acumen with her artistic vision. I love stories like this from people my age. The brother-sister duo shares a unifying and relatable ideal: Music creation and promotion are based on teamwork, which is integral to discovering new talent. Now Guin Records is a fully operational, U.S.-based independent record label that provides undiscovered young artists access to first-rate production, promotion, and distribution.

The label maked its initial mark in the urban music industry, with its debut hip-hop album "Uncharted" dropping on iTunes and Spotify on July 1st. A watershed milestone for the label, it features a collection of over 14 artists, each track providing an auditory vignette of assorted emcees determined to make a name for themselves.

Guin Records' ambitions are evident in the three singles—"Wave" by Prospectz Nation, "One of Us" by Prophecy and "Still Doin' It" by Surve—released in the weeks leading up to "Uncharted." As my friend and I got ready for the night putting on our lipstick and such, we couldn't help but get down to these catchy songs.

"Wave" begins with some hypnotic, washed out vocals that's quickly subdued by alternating bursts of shimmering synths and punchy baselines, peppered with some opportune spurts of horns to give this smoker's anthem a healthy taste of jazzy flair. Breezy, yet thumping, "Wave" could easily find itself situated in a Majestic Casual or on a summer-themed Spotify playlist. It's almost tailor-made to transcend you into a hazy, sun-tinged daze.

A similar carousel feeling is all over "One of Us." It's the banger of the bunch, the beat mixing an airy, pitched-up vocal loop with throbs of bass pulsating throughout the track, giving it a wistful bite. Prophecy fancies himself as the Mafioso-type, and the images he evokes are well-worn, even if it works off an almost lunatic script, claiming he doesn't "need a hat to know [he's] supreme" and that he's "focused on all this green." With its repetitive hook, wild energy, and tight rhymes, "One of Us" has this lingering dark and ominous swagger, almost like Prophecy has this intuitive sense that he will command the attention of whatever room he steps into. He tells the listener to "run it up," and perhaps we should heed that advice. It is a great addition to my pregame playlist.


guinrecords.com

Of the three singles, "Still Doin' It" is the most rooted in traditional hip-hop. The track is sparse, mellow, low-key, but laced with additional instrumental flourishes, separate melodies in the form of piano keys and picked the guitar to give it a '90s East Coast vibe. Surve's flow is ferocious and unrelenting, gritty but emotional. The cover art's allusion to Sisyphus approximates the song's message "Still do it for the realest, still mixin' lyrics in the lab like a chemist." His verses feel like he's giving it all just to get out of the booth and crank out some more tracks. One may think Yigil's feature could slow Surve's momentum, but the hustle doesn't prove to be zero-sum, it's only invigorated. While the former two singles concern themselves with the you only live once kind of party mentality, "Still Doin' It" is a reminder that the grind to the top continues the day after. It provides an uplifting, motivational compliment to the sun-kissed "Wave" and the shadowy "One of Us," almost like each song was specifically curated to be the ideal backdrops to your morning, afternoon and night.

Where all three tracks differ in ambiance, they are united by the braggadocio that comes with an emcee trying to make a name for themselves. If these three tracks are only a sampling of what's to come, then "Uncharted" is shaping up to be a worthwhile listen. My friend and I enjoyed them and will continue to root for these young artists.

Cover Image Credit: Guin Records

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7 Ways To 'Stay Woke' When Our Political Climate Wants You Asleep

Keeping up with news in the United States alone is a full-time job, and I already have one of those.

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Is it just me, or has the current political climate, globally, made you twitchy?

Unless you live under a rock (sorry, very poor word choice), I'm guessing you've noticed that several headlines cycle through each day, offering further reasons for us to question our faith in humanity and in the world around us.

I mean, I get lightheaded when I start thinking about who's in and who's out of the Trump administration.

Keeping up with news in the United States alone is a full-time job, and I already have one of those.

It's a lot.

It's overwhelming.

But being "woke," or informed, is the most important thing you can do for yourself in changing political and social climates. It's self-preservation, really.

So here are some ways I've found that allow me to stay up to date on current events without losing my shit (all while working full-time).

1. Sign up for the Daily Skimm.

Something to look forward to, the Daily Skimm sends free daily emails that summarize the big headlines of the day. And these headlines will seriously make you LOL.

2. Limit your news apps.

On my phone, I have what I like to call a smorgasbord: a little to the left, a little to the right and a little somewhere close to the middle. To me, that means: CNN for breaking news, Politico for politics and Aljazeera for world affairs.

To see what's going on with the Democrats, I go to NPR. And for that alt-right gobbledygook (sorry, now MY bias is showing), I reluctantly go to Fox. But, hey, don't take my word for it. Check your sources.

Everyone has a bias, and every corporation has an agenda. As much as we'd all like to take our favorite news anchor's word for it, we live in a world of alternative facts. So it's imperative that we, as consumers, trust but verify. Always verify.

3. Practice yoga.

A happy society is an informed one, but lately the news has become a point of contention. And, for me at least, it induces stress. That's why it's important to remove yourself from it every once in a while.

Not a fan of tree pose? Take walks or read fiction. Do something — anything — that's not related to current affairs. And I don't mean checking social media.

4. Talk to people.

Folks, our country is seriously divided right now. But progress, however you define it, cannot be created without some semblance of unity. I mean, imagine a group of friends unable to decide where they should eat out. Unless some compromises are made, a decision is pretty much impossible.

And if we don't actually want to live in a fascist society, we've really got to start listening to one another.

My advice? Get talking. Talk with people you agree with and people you don't. Talk with people whose ideas you've never even considered. Yes, even if they seem a little like a conspiracy theories. Just do it. Trust me.

5. Set aside time.

Staying woke takes time, y'all. It just does.

But as I've said, it is important that you do so. Sorry, I know there's a dead horse somewhere and I am responsible for beating it. Wow, I do dislike that saying...

Anyway, just set aside ten minutes a day. Don't have ten minutes? I don't believe you.

6. Click on uplifting stories.

I'm looking at you, Ms. Negative Nancy. There are positive things happening around the world every day, multiple times a day.

For example, check out the amazing SEAL team that rescued those boys and their coach from that cave in Thailand.

7. Avoid clickbait.

If you're reading this, I can only assume that you are not a fish but a human being. Therefore, with your opposable thumbs and pretty large brain, you should be able to distinguish between a headline that's being marketed toward your beliefs and an actual news story.

For example, I care about the environment. And because I have clicked on and searched items related to the environment, stories geared toward that topic pop up on my Facebook news feed and elsewhere on the internet. And we should all know that just because something is on the internet doesn't make it true, I'm looking at you, Wikipedia.

Do you know that there are countries that make a profit from selling Americans fake headlines? Well, it's a thing.

So be a human and don't go for the bait.

Phew, I feel more woke already. How about you?

Cover Image Credit:

GencoSidlePhotos / Flickr

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self-care isn’t Just bath bombs and face masks

Self-care is simpler than you think.

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What's first comes to mind when you hear the words "self-care"? If it's photos of glamorous celebrities, showing off their fluffy white robes, while wearing a face mask and holding an expensive bath bomb, you're not alone.

Recently, self-care has become so trendy that posting videos of your bath bomb dissolving into water or showing off your freaky new face mask look receives praise and increases your social media likes exponentially.

It's hard not to feel slightly deflated if you're unable to practice self-care in a way that's been so glorified and saturated all over social media. To start, self-care doesn't have to be expensive, and if the price stresses you out, it's doing the opposite of its intention. There are a lot of different ways that you can take care of yourself and are little self-care practices that you can do every day that aren't quite as glamorous or Instagramable. And that's okay.

Self-care has helped me do more than simply exist in the chaos that is NYC and life as a full-time graduate student. I want to emphasize that like many other skills, self-care is a practice and takes time to get the hang of, and therefore it is important not to be too hard on yourself while you're just starting out.

Self-care looks different for everyone. It's about nourishing yourself throughout the day—both physically and emotionally. This helps me feel less burnt out, more energized, and more able to do everything that I need to do. I often feel anxious, drained, and irritable when I haven't engaged in enough self-care. In these times, it's glaringly obvious to me that I need to make myself more of a priority and slow down, even just briefly.

As someone who struggles with mental health, it is important that I prioritize my well-being and take care of myself. I've done the "too busy to slow down, never stop, never take care of yourself" thing before, and spoiler alert-- it doesn't end well. By not actively engaging in self-care, I'm passively hurting my mental health.

There are a number of simple things I do for self-care that do wonders for me. This means remembering to take my medication every day, morning and evening, even when I'm in a rush. It means that I always make sure I'm eating consistently throughout the day and that I drink lots of water. It means that sometimes I need to say "no" to plans so that I have time to rest and recharge. It also means setting boundaries in my relationships and working on my communication with others. And sometimes, it can be as simple as taking extra time when I get home at night to take off my makeup with a face wash that smells good instead of using a makeup wipe.

I encourage you to find a self-care routine that not only feels accessible and simple to do but something that's unique to you. That could mean that you decide to spend a little extra time in the morning making yourself a cup of tea and reading or going for a run, or painting. The point is, self-care is necessary and unique to each individual person. I've noticed that my mental health has improved and I've felt happier as I engage in self-care. It takes time to find the right balance, and again, that's okay, but you'll never know what will work and make you feel great if you don't try. It's important that we take care of ourselves for all of the time that we have here in this world.

Cover Image Credit:

Pexel

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