FRANK OCEAN AND ABEL TESAYFE, better known as The Weeknd, are far from the best singers in R&B. Numerous performers, both mainstream and underground, are miles ahead of them in terms of technical ability. In spite of this, they are still currently the best two artists in the genre. When it comes to lyricism, perfectly complementing their production with their voices and consistently adhering to a thought-provoking artistic aesthetic, they’re without a doubt the two best doing it right now. They’re disciples of soul music in its truest essence, creating art that directly reflects their emotions and mentality.
Where they differ from other experimental R&B artists who also operate on a deeper level is the fact that their songs sound so good. It’s one thing to make raw and intellectually stimulating music; it’s another thing to make it accessible enough for radio play without sacrificing its integrity. I won’t bother arguing who’s better, which really comes down to stylistic preference. Instead I’ll compare the personas they establish on their most definitive works thus far, Ocean’s Nostalgia, Ultra and The Weeknd’s House of Balloons.
RISE AND SHINE, FELLAS – it’s breakfast time! Today, we’re bringing you a meal from our francophone friends across the Atlantic. Well, actually it’s probably not. Just like with French fries, the French-ness of the “French” toast we’ll show you how to prepare is very questionable, but it’s delicious all the same. And with breakfast being the most important meal of the day, we figured it was time to help you get your morning grub game together.
Once again we’re bringing you a Momma Wolf special. Fortunately for all, she lets us in the kitchen one more time to get a peek at her preparing her own flawless French toast recipe.
So get that kitchen apron on and get ready to serve your lucky lady a tasty and sophisticated breakfast in bed.
WITHIN THE WALLS OF A CASINO, there is a natural order. A gambling ecosystem, if you will. Even the most inexperienced players find themselves instinctively drawn to a particular game that reflects their personalities and betting styles.
The inherently competitive types will scurry over to the poker table, where it’s every man or woman for their life. If you find yourself on a short visit from China or the-area-known-as-Siam-on-Risk-game-boards, there’s an Asian game room tailored precisely to your gambling addiction. Do you like being part of a group, getting caught up in mass hysteria? Answer yes, and you’re probably betting ‘Pass’ in Craps, and then making ridiculous betting combinations on a pair of dice. If your answer is no, you’re probably playing Lucky Luau or some other themed slot game. (Warning: if you are under fifty years of age and want to get laid, do not play slots.)
Me? I play blackjack, because I like to feel like I know what I’m doing. Blackjack has a finite number of scenarios, giving it the best odds in the casino without having to beat other gamblers. Also, thanks to the smart people up in Cambridge, Mass. and their supercomputer simulations, there is a specific way to play that can give you nearly 50-50 odds against the house. We call this ‘Basic Strategy,’ and it’s pretty robotic about which cards to play and which to stand on. Play everything correctly, and you’re sure to hover around for a while—you might even win enough to pay for your drinks.
This week, Bon Iver and James Blake serve up Hurricane Irene mood music; Blackthorn is the Western we’ve been waiting for; Red Tails wallows in mediocrity; Hey Arnold! makes a triumphant return to television; and the next “Star Wars Kid” emerges.
THE “HAND-ME-DOWN” IS a time-honored familial ritual—an old sweater or well-worn pair of jeans passed along from sibling to sibling, generation to generation. It isn’t quite as common, though, for family members to bequeath entire clothing companies upon one another.
In 1997, Japanese designer Kiyofumi Awai founded an innovative women’s line called Creep in his hometown of Osaka. Though the company found a fair bit of success domestically, in 2008 Kiyofumi made the unusual decision of handing the reins over to his Toronto-based little brother, Hiroshi, with the hope of breaking into the North American market. The younger Awai, in true hand-me-down fashion, quickly put his own individual stamp on the brand, reimagining Creep as a cutting-edge menswear label.
“I hadn’t really designed anything before, so I wasn’t confident enough to do women’s clothes,” Hiroshi says of the switch. “But I’m a man and I know what I like.”