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To many people “The McConaissance” started with the 2012 film “Mud”. This film that stars Matthew McConaughey as the eponymous character is a coming of age/crime drama set on the Mississippi River. McConaughey plays a drifter whose past captures up when he  befriends two boys named Ellis and Neckbone.

Ellis is an introspective and naive teenager who wants things to be alright between his quarreling parents. He meets Mud on a deserted patch of land off of the Mississippi River and quickly takes to the man’s ideas of love and wanting to do the right thing. Ellis goes out of his way to help Mud get back to his lost love Juniper (Reese Witherspoon) who seems to be more trouble for him than he wants to believe. Ellis’ world is shaken when all his ideas about love proves to be what he never expected.

I have always been of fan of director Jeff Nichols’ work since I saw “Shotgun Stories” last year. Each one of his films has a naturalistic and grounded feel to them. These are ordinary people who are trying their best to take care of the ones they love anyway that they can. This movie delves even further in showing the innocence lost when what you expect life to be doesn’t turn out to be true.

McConaughey delivers a great performance as a man who would do anything for the woman he loves and pays the price for it. But the movie goes to Tye Sheridan as Ellis. Ellis is a hopeless romantic who believes that love can conquer all but awakens when he sees so much lost around him.


Vince Staples & Larry Fisherman: Thought About You

Vince Staples mixtape “Stolen Youth” which was produced by Larry Fisherman a.k.a. Mac Miller shows the young rappers stepping up to the plate. Vince delves into a variety of topics such as his father’s addiction, senseless violence and striving for more. Mac Miller’s production for the album is quite impressive with gloomy and atmospheric beats.

One of the best songs on the album is “Thought About You” which has eccentric sounds and a looped voices and is Miller’s best beat on the album. Staples rides the beat bar after bar. Check it out.

Ben Nichols: Shelter

I seriously just listened to this song a few minutes ago and I felt like I had to post in on the blog. Ben Nichols like Brian Fallon are able to create songs that are just soul-crushing with their ability to hit you when you least expect it. Nichols’ Lucero has released album after album of incredible songs that feature that one acoustic song that wraps you up.

“Shelter” is one of those acoustic masterpieces by Nichols who lets it all out in his raspy and soulful voice. Check out this live performance.

Mac Miller: I Am Who Am

So I finally listened to Mac Miller’s “Watching Movies with the Sound Off” and I am quite surprised by how much he has grown. I still like his ‘Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza” song but I must say I like this album in its entirely than any of his previous albums. The album has a psychedelic feel to it with atmospheric beats and trippy sounds. Miller’s lyricism has improved tremendously with more of a reflection on his life and how things have changed since he entered the rap game.

“I Am Who Am” is one of the best songs on the album with its heady beat and intricate flows. The music video has Mac rapping in a room filled with lights as a mysterious woman darts about and swims in water. Check it out.

90’s Nostalgia: Wu-Tang Clan- It’s Yourz

Drake’s song ‘Wu Tang Forever’ off of his “Nothing Was the Same” album is one of the best songs from that record. He quotes several lines from Wu Tang Clan’s “It’s Yourz” and “C.R.E.A.M.”. I took it upon myself to revisit Wu Tang Clan’s first and second album and I was reminded why they are staples in the hip hop genre. Lyrically they are phenomenal and their music production is on point. Check out the video for “It’s Yourz”.

90’s Nostalgia: Goo Goo Dolls- Iris

When I first started listening to the Goo Goo Dolls, I had become a listener of Top 40 radio.  I had developed an interest in other music outside of hip hop and the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” was one of the songs that I latched onto. The song was released in 1998 as a single on the “City of Angels” soundtrack. It took me a while to see the film but the song itself was played continuously in my home especially when I recorded it on cassette. Check it out.

Earl Sweatshirt: Chum

Without a doubt Earl Sweatshirt’s “Doris” was one of the best albums released last year. The 20-year old Los Angeles native released a stellar record that featured a dense lyrical ability and diverse music production. One of the best songs on the album is “Chum” which has Earl rapping over a piano and slow steady drumbeat. The music video is shot in black and white and features a frog that continues to grow in size. Check it out.