​ASTROWORLD And ​Swimming Drop As The Summer Comes To An End

​ASTROWORLD And ​Swimming Drop As The Summer Comes To An End

Friday marked the release of two albums rap fans have been eagerly awaiting: Travis Scott's "ASTROWORLD" and Mac Miller's "Swimming."

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Friday, August 3rd was a big day in the rap community for new music. Travis Scott dropped his highly anticipated album "ASTROWORLD" while Mac Miller released his 13-song album, "Swimming." These are two albums I've been looking forward to for a while so I couldn't wait to dive in and listen.

ASTROWORLD

Named after Houston's former favorite amusement park, AstroWorld was open for 37 years but shut down due to mismanagement and lack of attendance, among other things. Scott sat down with GQ in 2017 and discussed the parks' importance to him. "They tore down AstroWorld to build more apartment space. That's what [my album]'s going to sound like, like taking an amusement park away from kids. We want it back. We want the building back. That's why I'm doing it. It took the fun out of the city."

In Scott's flashy new album, features are the name of the game. There are guest appearances from Drake, Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Quavo, Pharrell, The Weeknd, Stevie Wonder and more layered throughout the 17-song project.

Highlights include "Carousel" with Ocean, who channels some "Biking" vibes on this song. The duo works together better than I anticipated. "Stop Trying to be God" is a melodic ballad bringing in Stevie Wonder to finish off the vocals. It starts off with a creepy, "Insidious" sounding beat which actually runs counter to what the rest of the song sounds like. "Wake Up" features The Weeknd performing his usual finesse style lyrics and as of now it's my favorite song on the album. "5% Tint," "Can't Say" and "Who? What!" are a few other tracks that I particularly enjoyed.

Astroworld had an insane amount of hype built around it, hype that usually sinks a project and leaves a vast feeling of disappointment (see A$AP Rocky's "Testing"). Somehow, Astroworld manages to live up to it. Although it's just my first listen, I can tell that this album will be in my rotation for the next few months, and I'm guessing that's the consensus from the general population of rap fans.

Swimming

Mac Miller has long been one of my favorite artists, and I think one of the most underrated musicians in the game. His music has a personality to it that is way deeper than many surface level rappers out there. He's extremely versatile and can make emotional, introspective songs just as well as he can make a banger. This album seems to be filled with the former, which is where I believe his talent is best utilized.

"Swimming" comes months after the rapper's public breakup with popstar Ariana Grande, who recently became engaged to SNL star Pete Davidson. This album serves as a reflection over the heartbreaking period and although Mac says "I have literally never been more okay," the lyrics on the album delve deep into his psyche and how he's moving forward out of a relationship that he's been in for a large portion of his time in the limelight.

Although talk of relationships bottoming out is run-of-the-mill stuff in 2018 music, Mac does it with more nuance and attention to detail than many of his peers would ever think of. He doesn't pull punches with his subject matter in the slightest.

"Ladders" is a surprisingly upbeat song complete with trumpets and a very solid chorus. "Small Worlds," has one of the dreamiest, most relaxing sections you'll ever hear, which makes for my favorite song on the album. "What's the Use," brings in the talents of Snoop Dogg and Thundercat in a warm and light song. Although the album sounds warm at times, the lyrics delve deep into this turbulent period of his life.

"Self Care," "Conversation Pt. 1" and "Dunno" are a few of the darker sounder songs that would be more in line with what you'd be expecting from the album's topic. The flow between jubilant sounding beats and somber sounding ones gives the album a complexity that is reflective of the transitions that accompany a tough breakup. Miller does a fantastic job of taking a difficult time in his life and using it to reflect and make some great music in the process.

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?

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With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.



We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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