Miley Cyrus dragged up the VMAs, Young Thug kept it eccentric and FKA twigs blew them all out the water
Miley “what’s good?” Cyrus may be one of the most polarizing figures in pop music today, but it’s hard to deny that she keeps things interesting. In this article for Pitchfork, writer Andy Emitt gives quite a hilarious critical analysis of Miley’s glitter-soaked performance at this year's VMAs (where she danced alongside RuPaul’s fiercest queens), while also pointing out her strength and boldness. “In many ways, Miley Cyrus gives a fuck in more real, artistic ways than her politically tepid contemporaries,” he writes. “Miley may not be the ideal candidate for political pop’s potential to make social change for the disenfranchised, but she’s the most likely to even have a platform.”
Earlier this month, Dazed interviewed Atlanta’s most flamboyant and off-the-wall Hip Hop pioneer Young Thug for our Autumn 2015 issue, and it’s definitely worth a read. In it, Young Thug takes writer Patrik Sandberg house shopping in Georgia and introduces him to the entire family. “I think as I go,” he says in the interview. “I can’t remember 16 bars… I thought everybody could write songs that fast. Wayne and Drake, it takes them so long to do a song. I understand why, because they want it to be perfect. But I think I can do a perfect song in ten minutes.”
In this fascinating discussion for Paper magazine, electronic visionary Holly Herndon interviews Chelsea Manning, the former military intelligence analyst who is currently serving 35 years for providing WikiLeaks with classified documents. The pair are joined by other musicians and activists in a far-reaching conversation about the government, technology, culture and gender. “Read everything,” advices Manning. “Absorb everything that is out there and act as your own filter. Hunt down your own answers to questions. This is the only advice that is actually worth anything. If you don't read these things yourself, then you can't say that you truly understand what humanity has done, and where we are going.”
At a time when the struggle of racist police brutality continues, and people of colour are still subject to discrimination and violence, rising networks of African and Afrodiasporic artists are disrupting structural oppression through music. This article in The Fader explores these ideas, and hears from the artists at the forefront of the movement, from Philadelphia art and sound duo SCRAAATCH to Mykki Blanco’s new label Dogfood Music Group and NON Records artists Angel-Ho and Nkisi. As the writer points out, “The music in this article – which is all linked by the multifarious connective tissues of underground culture – is not necessarily of the same belief or aesthetic, but can all be seen as resisting the supremacist paradigm in its many different ways and contexts.”
We’re still not quite over FKA twigs’ 16-minute visual EP M3LL155X, and we probably won’t be until she releases more material. If you haven’t seen the visual yet (which you definitely have), the avant-pop star gives birth to multi-coloured paint, renders her head onto a sex doll and vogues as if her life depends on it. There’s a lot to be said about the clip, like how it’s her strongest feminist statement to date, or how her unique and striking aesthetic has been meticulously crafted. As ever, twigs is continuing to alter the landscape of pop music, one figure 8 at a time.
In this engrossing piece for the New York Times, writer Matthew Schneier points out how Beyonce has stopped talking publically, even for this year’s coveted September issue of Vogue. “At some imperceptible point around 2013 to 2014, she appears to have stopped giving face-to-face interviews,” he writes. “Despite numerous appearances, she has not answered a direct question in more than a year.” He then goes on to ask various specialists about her silence, including one Yale professor who views it as empowering, saying that “Beyoncé’s reticence in the news media would challenge her listeners ‘to think about the art first’ as opposed to fostering a presumption about “getting closer to the entertainer.”