Author Archives: Baseer Ahmad

[16 to End 2016] Ninja Baseer’s Best of the Year

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Despite all those “2016 was the worst” memes you see floating around these days, there’s at least one good thing we can be thankful for this year: music. Even if 2016 was highlighted by anger, grief, frustration and a cavalcade of other complex emotions, I can easily say this was one of the strongest years for music that I can remember. I tried to do my best here in summing up the songs that soundtracked my year, but this list doesn’t even begin to represent all the amazing artists and projects I discovered throughout 2016. So, just like last year, I’m going to shamelessly plug my “Best of 2016” Spotify playlist in case anyone is curious to hear what other songs could have potentially made the cut.

Kanye West
Ultralight Beam

There’s nothing quite like the experience of hearing the first few notes of this song live for the very first time during Kanye’s album premiere party at Madison Square Garden–not that I was there in person, but the moment still felt very surreal nonetheless.

A Tribe Called Quest
We The People….

The Tribe could not have chosen a more appropriate time to make their comeback. “We The People” fits right in with their established catalog without sounding dated at all. The themes present in the track are unfortunately pervasive throughout society, but Tip and crew have helped us begin the healing the process. Rest in peace Phife Dawg, we’ll certainly miss you.

Childish Gambino
Redbone

I’ll admit, I was skeptical of Donnie’s vocal transformation at first too, but his recent appearance on The Tonight Show certainly made me a believer. Even if you hated the album, you have to respect the man’s hustle.

Mac Miller
Dang! (feat. Anderson .Paak)

Anderson .Paak was unavoidable in 2016, making it nearly impossible to decide which of his amazing songs to include. Here he teams up with Pomo to help Mac Miller reinvent himself on undeniably one of the catchiest tracks of the year.

Chance The Rapper
No Problem (feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)

It would be hard to argue that anyone had a bigger 2016 than Chance The Rapper. “No Problem” is probably the greatest feel good anthem of the year, with Lil Wayne contributing one of his most memorable verses in what feels like years.

MAALA
Feels So Right

It would have just felt so wrong to exclude MAALA from this list.

Khalid
Let’s Go

“Location” may have been the song that first introduced us to the talented 18 year old from Texas, but “Let’s Go” is the perfect soundtrack for the beginning of any adventure.

Atlas Bound
Softer Still

Easily one of the most comforting tracks of the year; I was saddened to hear about the disbandment of the group 2 weeks ago, but at least we’ll always have breathtaking music like this to remember them by.

Joe Hertz
Stay Lost Ft. Amber Simone

It’s unhinkable that someone could drop two amazing, well received EPs and still be overlooked, but the fact that Joe Hertz hasn’t appeared on more end-of-the-year lists leads me to believe that’s certainly the case. One of many talented young producers based out of London, Joe certainly cemented himself at the top of the class when he released this groovy number early in 2016.

Kaytranada
Lite Spots

Kaytranada basically dares you to resist the urge to dance with this one. He’s even got the robots doing it.

Denzel Curry
This Life

Denzel Curry can flat out rap. On “This Life” he crafts one of those hooks that forces you to throw your hands up in the air and sing right along with it, even if this is your first listen.

Danny Brown
When It Rain

Don’t let the squeaky voice fool you. “When It Rain” is Danny Brown at his most vicious, backed by an ominous instrumental that signals a storm is brewing.

Frank Ocean
Nights

This easily could’ve been just about any other track from Blonde, which should tell you how amazing that album was from top to bottom. It would have been unfair though to simply choose Frank Ocean for all 16 tracks. Seriously though, if you haven’t listened to it yet, what are you waiting for?

Jorja Smith
Blue Lights

Incredible vocals combined with indelible lyrics are what make this one so special. Even if you were to ignore the social commentary behind it, this is one song that’ll have you captivated from start to finish.

River Tiber
Acid Test

Nothing describes this song quite as well as its listed genre on SoundCloud, “psychedelic soul rock and roll.” “Acid Test” is so incredibly intricate that you’ll find yourself needing to lay back and listen to it with your eyes closed in order to absorb every single modicum of it properly.

STRFKR
Being No One, Going Nowhere

One of the more pleasant surprises of the year, STRFKR’s “Being No One, Going Nowhere” is the perfect soundtrack for all those times you drift aimlessly through space.

Clams Casino
Blast

Signifying the triumphant return of Clams Casino in 2016, “Blast” exemplifies the distinctive sound the brilliant producer first began cultivating back during his introduction to the music scene.

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Lollapalooza 2016: Our Top Takeaways [Event Review]

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As with any music festival, after Lollapalooza is over, it always takes us a few days to digest everything and snap back to reality. For locals, the festival serves as an escape within our own city. For outsiders, it provides them with a completely unique way to experience Chicago. The magic of Lollapalooza is simply unmatched, and despite a weather scare early on, Lollapalooza 2016 turned out to be just as memorable as years past. This year in particular will most likely stick out in the minds of many as it marked the 25th anniversary of the festival. Because of this, much of the weekend was filled with nostalgia as artists reflected on some of their past memories of playing the festival or of their ambitions to take the stage in Grant Park while growing up. For the first time ever, this year also added an additional day of festivities, kicking things off early on Thursday to commemorate the festival’s legacy. On the next few pages we’ve broken down some of our lasting impressions from Lolla 2016.

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Lollapalooza 2016 – Must See Acts [TMN EDITORS’ PICKS]

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If you’re from Chicago, then you know that Lollapalooza is one of the biggest–if not the biggest–weekends of the year. There’s nothing else comparable to being able to see all your favorite artists in the heart of the city, sandwiched between Lake Michigan and the scenic downtown skyline. This year’s Lollapalooza is even more special than usual, considering that the festival will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. In honor of that, an extra day(!) has been added to the lineup, making it one of the most packed, can’t miss events of the year. Because of that, I’m sure the choices of who to see can be a bit overwhelming. Of course, that’s where we come in to help. On the next few pages, we’ve highlighted some of our picks to help guide your decision-making process and possibly influence you to check out some new talent. No matter who you end up choosing, make sure to have fun and be safe out there guys!

(P.S. Even if you won’t be partaking in the festivities this year, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to join in on the fun. The beauty of Lollapalooza is that all your favorite artists are gathered in one location, so chances are there’s another gig in the city you’ll want to be at. You can check out the full list of aftershows over at Do312.)

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Mayowa – Fight This Feeling (Prod. Milo Mills) [TMN EXCLUSIVE PREMIERE]

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(Credit: Malika Favre)
Mayowa
Fight This Feeling (Prod. Milo Mills)

It’s been a while since we last heard from Mayowa (slightly over a year in fact), and a lot has changed in that time. For starters, he’s since opted to use his full first name, adding the “wa” onto Mayo in an effort to get back to his Nigerian roots. Also, after an extended stay in the City of Angels, the Chicago native is back to turn things up in his hometown. Despite the long hiatus, Mayowa is picking up right where he left off, reuniting with frequent collaborator Milo Mills for a bouncy new cut titled “Fight This Feeling”.

Aside from being the potential song of the summer, the genre-bending single also serves as an ode to independent women everywhere, with Mayowa expressing his admiration for one lady in particular, while also urging her to toss out all her inhibitions. Featuring a sample of “Moments of Love” by Art Of Noise, the track itself blends together an eclectic mix of hip-hop, R&B and future bass, as the talented rapper/singer constantly shifts gears throughout–which makes sense when you consider his main goal with his music:

I enjoy stepping outside of my comfort zone and experimenting with different styles. I don’t want to be held in the box of just ‘hip-hop.’

As we mentioned, Mayowa recently made his return back to Chicago, and in order to celebrate his homecoming he’s putting together a show this Friday at Home Bar called “Lituation”, which promises to be a lit situation. If you’re in town make sure to snag some tickets for the show right here.

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[Giveaway] Indy 500 Snake Pit w/ Skrillex, Martin Garrix, Zeds Dead & DJ Mustard – 5/29 @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Snake Pit 2016
Hundred Waters – Show Me Love (Skrillex Remix) ft. Chance The Rapper, Moses Sumney, Robin Hannibal
Martin Garrix – Now That I’ve Found You (feat. John & Michel)
Zeds Dead – Back Home (feat. Freddie Gibbs)
DJ MUSTARD – Whole Lotta Lovin

Racing fans, start your engines! If your need for speed runs as deep as your love for EDM, there’s no better place for you to spend your Memorial Day Weekend than the Indy 500 Snake Pit with Skrillex, Martin Garrix, Zeds Dead & DJ Mustard. Our friends over at React Presents have provided us with the distinct opportunity to give away TWO tickets to this very special event during the landmark 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 29th, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Here’s how to apply; just fill in your first and last name, and enter your email address in the form below. It’s really that simple. The show is intended for audiences of all ages, but you must have a valid photo ID with you on the day of the event to redeem your prize.

All entries must be in before May 9th, when the winner will be notified by email and provided with ticket vouchers that they will have to take to the event and exchange for wristbands. The vouchers are good for entry to the speedway and will provide them with instructions on how to redeem the tickets. You are responsible for your own transportation to and from the race.

For more details and info on The Indy 500 Snake Pit, go here. If you would like to purchase tickets yourself, make sure to head over to the official event page, and follow React Presents on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud to keep up with all the latest news and announcements as well as hear what they’re listening to at the moment.

Check out the teaser video below, and don’t forget to enter for your chance to win!

ENTER GIVEAWAY TO WIN TIX FOR THE INDY 500 SNAKE PIT

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The Code’s Music Ninja Mix [TMN EXCLUSIVE]

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The Code
The Code's Music Ninja Mix

Although The Code‘s residency here at The Music Ninja might be over, the mysterious duo were still kind enough to drop off another little surprise for all their fans. While their own music is generally steeped in a darker, edgier soundscape, here they’ve cooked together a sultry mix of upbeat R&B and pop jams for your enjoyment. As you can see from the tracklist below, the mix features a diverse selection of artists, meaning there’s something for just about everyone here. It also makes for a perfect listen any time of the day, from the moment you wake up to the moment you decide to rest your head back down on your pillow–and everything in between. Why not hit play and kick your Saturday off the right way? We promise your toes will be tapping before you even realize what’s happening.

TRACKLIST

Daniel Johns – Aerial Love (Memeb Remix)

Set Mo – Chasing Forever ft. ALPHAMAMA (Jafunk Remix)

AlunaGeorge – I’m In Control

Jessica Sutta – Forever

Kygo – Stay (ft. Maty Noyes)

Years & Years – Shine

Zayn Malik – Like I Would

Disclosure – Omen (Dillon Francis Remix)

Justin Bieber – Been You

Majid Jordan – Something About You

Rudimental – Rumour Mill ft. Anne-Marie & Will Heard

Tinie Tempah – Girls Like ft. Zara Larsson

Pia Mia – Touch

Jeremih – Oui

Bryson Tiller – Self Righteous

Drake – How About Now

Phazz – About Her

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[Trap/R&B] Falcons & Ekali – I Won’t Lie feat. Vanessa Elisha

I Wont Lie
Falcons & Ekali
I Won't Lie feat. Vanessa Elisha

We won’t lie, this latest offering from Falcons, Ekali and Vanessa Elisha is an international collaboration of epic proportions. “I Won’t Lie” is the epitome of style and substance. What seems like a party jam on the surface is undermined by a darker message behind it, as the desperate songstress vexingly struggles with all the doubts surrounding her relationship, forcing her to sputter into utter madness. It still makes for a pretty killer break down though, comprised of hypnotic pan flutes and ingratiating trap snares, with Vanessa’s seductive vocals coiling around the beat beautifully. Kick your weekend off the right way and make sure to grab a free download of this one as soon as possible.

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