EXECUTIVE STAFF GENERAL STAFF
Editor-in-Chief Editorial Design
Managing Editor Michael Elsanadi James Oh
Leka Gopal Natalie Silver Maya Valluru
Copy Editor Walker Spence Chris Yeon
Veronica Irwin Anthony Vega Emma O'Mara
Treasurer Gabriel Giammarco Matt Crabbe
Sophia Leswing Dylan Medlock Jessie Yang
Photography Lead Celia Davalos
Rebekah Gonzalez Shayan Shirkhodai Marketing
Design Leads Makaila Heifner
Jackie Nam Marta Meazza Sophia Leswing
Alli Blythe Everett Williams Nikita Tyagi
Web Lead Jack Austin Ray Dahlstrom
Connor O’Shea Claire Winthrop Nach Mehta
Marketing Lead Julius Miller Sophie St. Clair
Yaseen Azzouni Josh Hauser
Communications Lead Kieran Zimmer Communications
Gaby Fooks Madeline Rohner
Michelle Castillo Addison Rina Lu
Alice Markman Danielle Kalcic
Sophie Turovsky Isaiah Acosta
Erika Badalyan Hanna Biabani
Sunny Sangha Nikita Bhatia
cover photo by Rebekah Gonzalez
cover design by Jackie Nam & Alli Blythe
TABLE OF CONTENTS 4
GUITAR GODS OF THE 21ST CENTURY 8
Shayan Shirkhodai 12
Vivian Chen 19
KIERAN LISTENS TO KRAUTROCK 24
Kieran Zimmer 26
AN EVENING FROM CHEAPSKATE HILL 30
Tovah Popilsky 34
THINLY VEILED: DISCRIMINATION WITHIN INDIE
STOP LISTENING TO RAPPERS WHO COMMIT...
A DYING BREED: THE END OF RECORD LABLES
BIRDS OF BERKELEY
Josh Hauser & Kieran Zimmer
REGINA SPEKTOR AND RUSSIAN HERITAGE
POWER OF MUSIC: MA RAINEY
ULTIMATE LOVE SONGS PLAYLIST
LIZZO: BRIDGING THE 90S TO MODERN RAP
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
The 21st century has been criticized by many #5
as one that lacks game-changing guitarists. The Annie Clark
60s had Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton; the 70s
had David Gilmour and Carlos Santana; the 80s Coming in at number 5 on the list is the incredibly powerful and innovative
had Slash and Van Halen; the 90s had Tom Annie Clark (A.K.A. St. Vincent). She is pretty much as versatile as it gets, drawing
Morello and Mike McCready. However, this comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Kurt Cobain — three very different,
narrative could not be further from the truth. yet influential and amazing guitarists. Although a lot of her songs are not necessarily
Since the turn of the century, there have been guitar-driven, she finds the perfect places for her unique riffs to accompany the rest
multiple guitar virtuosos: this is a list of my top of her music. In a way, she has almost redefined the role of guitar as just another
5. noise-making machine. Her music demystifies the prestige of the instrument and
she breaks it down as another tool that just happens to have six strings. This
approach, coupled with her wide variety of styles, has led to a quasi-pop/indie vibe
that has so much more soul in it than most other artists.
written by SHAYAN SHIRKHODAI | designed by CHRIS YEON
Now I know what you’re thinking — John Mayer is more of a popstar than anything
else. This may be true, but he is still one of the most talented guitarists of the 21st
century. For someone who gets a lot of criticism for being a sell-out, he feels and
plays the blues like few other musicians ever have. This can be seen in pretty much
any live performance he has had with the John Mayer Trio. His facial expressions
move with the notes as he guides perfectly crafted blues solos time and time again.
If anyone doubts his appearance on this list, I urge them to listen to his live jams
with other musicians on Youtube. Most times, he outshines every other guitarist
with his feel and the precision in which he hits his notes; every other time, he is
playing with undisputed legends like B.B. King, which already solidifies his status
as an all-time great blues guitarist. Overall, I do not think it is much of a stretch to
say he is one of the best blues guitarists ever, even if he chooses to mostly write pop
songs instead. In terms of pure ability, he may even deserve to be higher up on this
list; however, his reluctance to consistently play great guitar (in favor of writing pop
songs) is what keeps him at the number 4 spot.
berkeleybside.com | #4
Of course Jack White was going to make this list. His combination of power, creativity,
and pure skill knows no bounds as he is always pushing himself to make better music.
Ever since his days in The White Stripes, Jack White has rightfully earned a reputation
of playing an aggressive brand of guitar. His rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”
shows just how creative and dynamic he is musically. Not only this, but Jack
White’s unique approach to the instrument has led to songs that would
be near impossible to mimic, and that is one of the highest compliments
any guitarist can receive. He makes sounds with his guitar that do not
seem physically possible — and he does it with atomic precision;
just listen to any of the solos in “Ball and Biscuit.” Another facet
of Jack White is that his guitar genius does not only present
itself during solos. Over the years, he has written countless
riffs that simply blow me away with their sheer
power, such as the recently released
“Over and Over and Over” and
“Corporation” (both singles
off of his 2018 album,
Boarding House Reach).
Hands down the most prolific musician on this
the 43 year old has released over 45 solo albums (not
including his work in other groups such as At the
and The Mars Volta). Though he is often criticized — by
himself in many cases— for not being the most technical
guitar player, his creativity and passion for music drives his guitar
playing to another realm. In some ways, he could even be seen as
antichrist to the instrument; not only does he drench his sound in
distortions and other effects, but he constructs a dissonance that seems
almost sacrilegious in terms of how perfectly the chaos is crafted.
It was difficult to place him higher on this list than 3 guitarists who
undoubtedly have better technique, but I think the utter uniqueness in
the sounds he creates helps him earn the spot. There may always be
great guitarists in the future, but there will definitely never be another
berkeleybside.com | #5
Yes, John Frusciante may have technically began his
musical career in 1989 when he joined the
Red Hot Chili Peppers and released Mother’s Milk,
but a vast majority of his material has been released
in the 21st century, so he gets to be on this list.
Placing him at number 1 was an absolute no-brainer.
There is a reason that four of the five albums Frusciante
wrote with the Chili Peppers have the group’s top four
most sold records to date — the man is a guitar god.
Not only can he play multiple different styles,
but he has actually mastered pretty much all of them.
Frusciante is hands-down the best funk guitarist ever;
Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) is proof. Since the 2000s
though, he has generally written less funky material.
This has not slowed his genius in any way. His chord
progressions are often simple, yet hauntingly beautiful;
his less-is-more approach has led to iconic guitar parts
such as “Scar Tissue”; and he has countless solos that
belong in museums to be preserved forever. Still, most
people may only know him as a former Chili Pepper.
In my opinion, much of his best work comes from his
solo albums. The Empyrean (2009) consistently displays
some of the best guitar parts I have ever heard;
his side project, Ataxia, released two albums that rival
some of the best raw, psychedelic music ever produced.
Frusciante’s approach to music is partially what allows
him to be in such a league of his own. Not only can few
musicians relay their emotions through an instrument
as effectively as he does, but the technical ability and
technological know-how to do it is also largely unmatched.
He may not be the flashiest guitar player, but he is
definitely one of the most — if not, the most —
passionate guitarists of all time. John Frusciante is the
greatest gift to music in the 21st century, and I would
even make the argument that he is in the top 3 guitarists
of all time.
Notable guitar tracks with the Red Hot Chili Peppers:
“Wet Sand,” “Turn it Again,” “Hey,” “Dani California,”
“Sir Psycho Sexy.”
Notable guitar tracks outside of the
Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Central,” “Unreachable,”
“Look On,” “Dust,” “Before the Beginning.”
Matthew Bellamy (Muse)
Tash Sultana (Tash Sultana)
berkeleybside.com | #6
written by VIVIAN CHEN | designed by EMMA O’MARA Seconds to get all your affairs in order ,, Sir.
The ride doesn’t seem to be in a rush but when does it ever
Listen to the downbeat
of dirty carpets, seem like it is
sweaty kids, I don’t think that’s the way I want the rest of my life to go but
walk the bass to the tune of
my anxiety. if you’re going to do that that’s fine
Flugelhorns whine ,, lounging — I love you —
in the backseat
with the windows fogged up. Darling, I”d stare at you forever if I could but there doesn’t
Trumpets sound like they’re yelling at you all the time seem to be enough TIME to do so right now
and that’s because they are.
Excuse me,, Sir,, if I held my breath during your solo I
I’m sorry but I do love Count Basie more than Miles would’ve died what’s the point of pianississimo if you can’t
Crucify me if you have to.
Also, Paris is overrated. even hear it I honestly hate how
POP GOES THE WEASEL. hours move like seconds and time never freezes.
AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY
One of these mornings you’re gonna
wish for more
time to spend with those who love you ,,
Because you never gave them enough.
Why not take
berkeleybside.com | #7
written by KIERAN ZIMMER | designed by JACKIE NAM
I recently started hearing a bunch about this whole “krautrock” thing, either from friends, bands I already
know and love, internet memes, or all of the above. So, I decided it was time to drop everything and get
into this crazy German genre. I listened to these six records in the order they appear here, and wrote
down my first impressions, staying away from any Wikipedia definitions of what this genre actually is.
After hearing this all, the definition I can provide is a subgenre of avant-garde music that originated in
West Germany in the 1970s, that ran the gauntlet from instrumental droning synth music, to full blown
psychedelic proto prog, all while maintaining a sense of angularity and high level of general weirdness. At
my time of writing, I’ve become a Krautrock fan.
Tago Mago (1971) CANThere’s a lot of swirling in the beginning of this one. Tremolo-laden guitars, and a stoned sounding voice
singing in a language I can’t understand. Oh, and synth. Lots of synth. This gives me major psychedelic,
proto-prog vibes, with some really spacey sounding melodies and quick arpeggiated keyboard lines. I like
it. Time signature changes too! Big ones, speed and time both change here. The musicianship is very very,
good, a good blend of psych rock solos and weirder overall riffs than more or less every classic rock band
I can think of. I think King Gizzard would have been into these guys. Oh my, and they know to rock too!
Can turns up the speed and the volume every now and then and it kicks ass! All to then drop into slower,
weirder, experimental sections, this gets more alien every minute and I love it. The groovily titled “Oh
Yeah” immediately pulls a Marty McFly on me with a massive blast of noise that gives way to a lurching
bassline and cool, restrained drumming, as strange vocal effects linger in the corners. Another standout
track for me is “Halleluhwa,” and the fact that it’s 18 and a half minutes long allows it to get close to
jamming territory, and normally I’m not a jamming guy, but hey, this is cool. It relies on almost ritualistic
drums over a funky bassline and eventual panning guitar noise. The bassline then changes and sixteenth
note drum lines come in and we’re in a prog rock song that drops out and turns mellow for a little while
before they fly to Mars again. In conclusion, just the right base of psych, the right weirdness of early
prog, and the kickass catchy rock to make this one a major winner for me.
berkeleybside.com | #8
Neu! (1972) NEU
I’m pretty sure I thought this band was somehow associated with Neutral Milk Hotel the first time I
heard of them. How wrong I was.
“Hallogallo” kicks this classic off with some funky wah-ed out dead note strumming on the right as a
cool, spacey rhythm line owns the zone. Hypnotic drums hang in the middle as cavernous string and
synth patches float over everything. The beat never changes, and the patterns left and right repeat over
and over, seemingly forever, as more weird sounds hang in the air. No vocals here, just driving - I’m
tempted to call this psych, but it’s more focused, and a little more angular, with lots more synths and
stuff. I guess that’s what Krautrock is?
I must confess, I’ve tried to listen to this album before, but never made it past the eleven minute first
track. And guess what my reward is? Four minutes of ambient synth noise. Nice. It sounds like I’m
joking when I say I like it, but I really do.
My favorite song so far is “Negativland,” also the name of a Bay Area experimental group I’m a fan of.
Their name makes sense now. Some good noise sets the scene, before a head-bob-worthy drum and bass
line makes an appearance. Some nice guitar drones round out the mix, until everything drops out entirely
and we’re left sitting in a puddle of guitar flange. Soon enough the beat comes in and we’re on a particu-
larly German moon, sitting around stoned in our spacesuits.
The over the top, pink lettering of this album cover set atop a black background gives the impression of
some synth-crazy West Germans trying to break into the American glam rock scene. I love it. According
to somewhere else on the internet, they pioneered the “industrial electronic” side of krautrock, from
which I’m immediately hearing similarities to Kraftwerk. The rhythmic subtlety of the drum machine
combined with futuristic synth lines gives me the impression of Germans clubbing in space. The same
angular, psyched out leads are still here, just entirely electronic now, and it’s really cool. Highly
berkelbeyebrkseidleey.bcsoimde|.c#o9m | #9
After seeing that both Tangerine Dream and Cluster used the word “zeit” in their album covers, I had to
bust out some quick internet translation. Turns out it means “time,” which is appropriate because this
album is really long. An hour and 14 minutes long, spread out over four nearly twenty minute each epics.
Tangerine Dream was a band name I always heard but couldn't pin a sound to, because I never listened to
them. I always had the Brian Eno association with their group for some reason, which apparently doesn’t
exist, but they usually get mentioned alongside each other when discussing ambient electronic music,
which Krautrock apparently also spans.
No drums on this one, just expansive synths and weird space noise sounds. I feel like with each release I
listen to I get further away from angular prog-psych and deeper into electronic weirdness, but I’m okay
with that. All these albums, in addition to being really cool and weird, have that same angular,
non-traditional, somewhat rebellious feeling to them, no matter their sound libraries or instruments of
Each of these songs is beautiful and otherworldly in its own way, really giving the impression of spinning
around alone somewhere in space watching planets float by, just like one would think from the album
cover. These Germans really like the cosmos, huh?
I’d heard of Popol Vuh around the internet and hearing one of my friends talk about Werner Herzog,
but I had never given them a proper sit down listen until now. Definitely synth-based soundtrack music,
which makes sense as this, in fact, is the score for Herzog’s Nosferatu. It’s steeped in evil atmosphere and
the feeling of ancient occult rituals, but it still has that distinctly German charm. Seeming to take the
droning synths of Tangerine Dream and the arrangements of classical composers, Popol Vuh apply the
kraut to neoclassical, making for one tasty album.
Not far in, Nosferatu breaks into one of the most palatable melodies I’ve heard thus far, setting the stage
for a distinctly different record. The German Expressionism is thoroughly channeled, invoking the
beauty of the count’s mansion set atop the countryside, and the palpable sense of fear that only intensi-
fies throughout the movie. Not only that, but this music feels timeless in a very strange way. Its synths
and acoustic guitars don’t invoke a certain era too immensely, even though I’m well aware this came from
Wolf City (1978)
West Germany in the mid-late 1970s. Beautiful, melodic, dark, good listening.
This is definitely the most prog I’ve gotten off a definitively “Krautrock” album thus far. Clear,
overdriven electric guitar riffs maintain a feeling of classic heavy rock, while synths, acoustic guitar, and
operatic, falsetto vocals make it both abstruse and distinct. It seems to me from my very limited
knowledge of this genre that it generally spans from avant-electronic to angular guitar-based rock, and
this record is firmly in the guitar camp. However, it doesn’t come by way of big dumb riffs; rather, Wolf
City relies on intricate arrangements, and ridiculously catchy vocal melodies. This brings to mind an
image of long-haired, charismatic metalheads with a simultaneous love for fantasy novels and leftist
manifestos, except they get transported back in time to West Germany with nothing but their guitars and
a couple Kraftwerk records. Love it.
berkeleybside.com | #10
written and photographed by TOVAH POPILSKY | designed by JACKIE NAM
If you are a music lover like myself, there are countless concerts you want to attend. You may be struggling to fit
all of them in because of your schedule, but for me going to three concerts a month is not really in my
college-student budget. Although scrounging up the cash for a concert every month may be doable if you have
some sort of money flowing in, this isn’t always the case. So for those of us who are desperate for some live
music and a fun night, but are sitting on the edge of broke and even more broke, I’ve got the solution for you:
You’ve probably heard of it before — it’s the large hill behind the Foothill Residential Building that has a nice
view of the Greek Theater. From here, you can sit and listen to the live music being performed by your favorite
bands that are featured at the Greek.
I asked a few people from the UC Berkeley community what they would bring to a day or night up at Cheapskate
Hill and gathered a list of the essentials.
All you need is pictured below...
berkeleybside.com | #11
On February 13th, 2019, the New York Times released a report Adams only begins to outline the issues found within indie rock. Part
that detailed how Ryan Adams allegedly used his power within the of indie music’s relative “innocence” can be attributed to its
music industry to demand sexual favors and emotionally abuse over obscurity, but perhaps more attention should be paid to how
seven women, including one minor. Adams is the perfect example white the genre is. Artists like Tyga and R. Kelly have been scruti-
of “indie innocence,” the bad-boy rocker who can disappear within nized for years over their misconduct, and for good reason. They’re
the shadows of giants and avoid accusations of abuse. Indie music both predatory monsters but, in comparison with Adams, they have
has a widespread issue of misogyny and racism, thinly veiled by received much more attention and criticism. Moreover, Adams
so-called deep lyrics and an acoustic guitar. Indie music’s portrayal serves as an example as to how racism can permeate even the most
of women begins to reveal some of the genre’s underlying issues “progressive” genres. Artists like Tyga and Kelly act as the media’s
with sexism. A significant portion of the genre plays into the same perfect assailants because they are hip-hop and R&B artists. Adams
cliched trope of a broken, beautiful girl that somehow saves the performs as the kind, sensitive indie songster while black artists are
frontman from himself and another broken heart. It has successfully called out more frequently and swiftly, underpinning a present but
painted a one dimensional female heroine whose only purpose is to undiscussed form of privilege within indie rock. It is vital that
save the leadx singer. It fails to recognize women as equally complex women are not only artists, but also work behind the scenes. Women
as their male counterparts. News flash: a woman’s purpose is to not are not common names in the boardroom, on festival lineups, or as
save a man. It is time to burn the narrative that it is a household names within the music industry. Unfortunately, this is
woman’s responsibility to rescue an adult from himself. due to powerful men using their power to tear women
Additionally, the underrepresentation of women in indie music (and down instead of to build them up. The fewer women that are visible
music as a whole) has been dramatically displayed through the within the industry, the easier it is to target them. Women begin to
Adams controversy. We’ve seen it in the past two years in be seen as smaller percentage, and suddenly we become prey rather
Hollywood— a woman wants to be successful, a powerful man than a part of the conversation. The more women we have involved
offers to mentor her, but then uses this power to coerce her into in the music industry, the less sexualized and obscure the idea of
sexual acts. The woman remains powerless and, chances are, never women within the industry will become. We need to have more
gets her break. So why is it that the indie scene has remained women to hold men accountable and show that we have a lasting
relatively unscathed from the #MeToo movement? How has Adams and important role in music. We need to uphold the women who
been able to keep this secret for years without repercussions until come out against these men, believe them, and refuse to make
now? excuses for the offenders. Look at yourself and ask how many
Adams has had a reputation as a volatile womanizer for many years. stories you have to hear before you try to enact change. Consider
However, he was able to continuously portray himself as an how you are playing an active, or even a passive, role within this
advocate for young women within the industry, and this same system. At what point do you call abusers out? Once you’re the
attention was also what empowered him to reportedly abuse his victim?
power. Adams was able to sidestep possible backlash by using the I’m tired of this narrative. Enough is enough.
internet to his advantage to attack critics and silence accusers, in
addition to continuing to work with a number of well-known artists
to bolster himself as a champion for women in music.
berkeleybside.com | #12
berkeleybside.com | #13
written by ANTHONY VEGA | designed by JAMES OH
I would just like to preface this by saying that I am not particularly a proponent of what
people my age and younger are labeling “cancel culture.” If you are unfamiliar with the term,
it is essentially synonymous with people--mostly young people online--boycotting any
celebrity who is found to have done bad things in the past. To me, it’s an unproductive means
of asserting social justice, as it is usually dismissive of the idea that people grow and change,
and it often uses things that a celebrity did in their teenage years or younger to justify their
bad image (as if most of us aren’t little degenerates in some way shape or form during this
time of our lives). I tend to think that most things, with human growth, can at least be made
up for, if not forgiven. However, there are things that some people do that can’t be amended,
that make me think only a truly evil person could do. The people that commit such atrocities
are the ones I’m talking about here, not some dude who Tweeted edgy Goblin-era Tyler, the
Creator lyrics when he was fifteen.
I’m sure if you’ve even moderately kept up with contemporary rap in the past few years, your
brain has been saturated with controversies around newer artists like XXXTentacion, Kodak
Black, and 6ix9ine. And you’d know, then, that we live in an era in which many, many music
fans are not okay with artists acting poorly towards other people, especially when it involves
sexual misconduct. And rightly so.
However, there seems to be a divide between people that think that abusive artists should not
be tolerated, and those who are able to convince themselves that no harm is done by listening
to an abuser’s work. The people in the latter categorization tend to believe that there’s no
moral choice involved here, and that it’s not only possible, but perfectly fine to “separate the
art from the artist.” It’s not.
Before moving on, let’s go over the basics. Separating art from artist — as if every emotion
and idea of art is not a direct reflection of the artist themselves, as if consuming their art
doesn’t directly support them — is an extremely privileged position to have. It’s comes from a
place of nothing if not absolute selfishness and willful indifference to the plight of others.
I’m sure if the victims of an artist’s actions could choose to “separate” themselves from the
trauma they’ve experienced, they would. But they can’t; you are the only one in this situation
who possesses a choice. No one can reverse the past, but you can choose to support those
who have been the victims of acts of violence, rather than those who you are only only
keeping in your Spotify library because you think their shit bumps. If you are an individual
who can’t let go of an artist whose work you enjoy despite their inhumane behavior, I urge
you to reconsider your position. No amount of mastery or excellence in a certain craft should
grant moral impunity to anyone.
But what about the artist friends of abusers? What do we make of these musicians who
either undyingly support their shitty friends, or, perhaps, remain silent on the matter,
continuing the same patterns of collaboration and “brotherhood” as they had before word
got out? You may see any number of alleged abusers become the targets of criticism in the
media, whether these abusers are artists or not. But the conversations I never see are the ones
that lambast the equally-as-popular, if not moreso, rappers and rapper affiliates who make no
effort to condemn their abusive friends, often covering for them instead. A$AP Rocky and
the rest of the A$AP mob, I’m looking at you. I’ll be using A$AP as a loose case study here.
berkeleybside.com | #14
It’s been nearly two years since the footage of what is undeniably A$AP Bari sexually assaulting
a woman in his hotel room leaked. Aside from some slaps on the wrist--like when Rocky called
Bari a “bitch” during a festival performance (wow, nice Rocky, you really got him there; I’m
sure he’ll never do anything like it ever again)--nothing has been done. Nothing has been done
since Bari pleaded guilty for the charge of this assault just a few months ago. (Even the courts
just decided to look the other way about it; Bari got no jail time, and he can make the amount
he was fined off a couple of hoodies). Bari somehow still sports A$AP in his alias.
What I find even more unsettling is how Rocky’s indifference toward the situation has been ignored by his fans
completely. Sure, Rocky is still likely the best looking, most fashionable figure in rap, and he’s got a collection of good
songs under his Balenciaga belt (though I must say, I find him overrated from a musical standpoint). But how does any
of that excuse his reluctance to take action against a friend and groupmate who without a doubt violated a woman in
such a despicable way? The listener needs to take responsibility just as much as Rocky and the rest of A$AP do. If you
are running around in 2019 still claiming that you’re a “Vlone thug” and wearing gaudy, overpriced streetwear made by
an abuser: just stop. And the next time you feel like listening to an A$AP affiliate, think about what A$AP as a brand
represents: keeping known abusers in your circle because they’re financially beneficial to the brand. Now I know Rocky
is not going around openly praising such behavior, but his silence on the matter is deafening.
Silence ultimately translates to, “I am okay with what my
associate is doing, I am willing to look past it.”
If that isn’t bad enough, there’s always the fact that Rocky has openly vouched for Ian Connor, a young mogul in the fashion
industry who has been the target of a whopping 21 rape allegations from 21 different women since his meteoric rise just a few
years back. In a mere three to four year period, the dude has accumulated more allegations of sexual violence than Donald
Trump--yes, the p*ssy-grabber himself--has garnered in his whole life. Even if you are an advocate of “innocent until proven
guilty” when it comes to sexual violence (a position that I would ultimately advise you to rethink given the scarcity of false rape
accusations and how dismissive it is of women’s struggles), it’s pretty difficult to deny the probability that Connor is a serial rapist.
All things considered, it is absolutely baffling to me how
Connor continues to have a spot on the starting team of
modern fashion, and Rocky’s protection of him is
utterly disappointing. In an interview with the Rap
Radar podcast, Rocky had the nerve to call Connor his
“little brother,” say that the allegations are “all word of
APOLOGI$Tmouth shit,” and then go ahead and insert a last-ditch
“be careful and treat women nice” in the same
conversation. No, how about instead of victim-shaming,
you consider the possibility that your “little brother”
might be a disgusting pig, and no amount of industry
giants hailing him as a “young visionary” will change
that. (Side note: I completely disagree with Connor’s
status as a “creative mastermind,” as all of his peers
APOLOGI$Twould say. The dude took Vans Old Skools, replaced the
signature wave with a lightning bolt, rebranded them as
his own Revenge Storms, and proceeded to charge $200
for them. And he’s somehow lauded as anything other
than a good marketer with a decent sense of how to
exploit his dumbass, apologist fans? What?) But I guess
Rocky’s attachment to Connor is too much for him to
APOLOGI$Tlet go. That’s what A$AP represents to me these days,
and it’s what it should represent to you. Again, this is
where the listener/consumer needs to take a stand.
APOLOGI$Tberkeleybside.com | #15
Before coming to college, I thought the only people that still supported “creatives” like Connor were 15-year-old
white boys from either flyover country or the suburbs. But I’ve seen more people on the UC Berkeley campus
wearing Connor’s Revenge Storms than I would ever care to. Maybe you’re like me in immediately assuming that
anyone who still wears these is morally reprehensible. But then maybe you go home and stream Rocky’s newest work
with a clear conscience. It sucks for me to have to rain on your parade, but what sucks even more is when people like
Connor get away with rape, and when people like Rocky are complicit in his friend’s actions. Supporting Rocky and
supporting Connor should ultimately go hand-in-hand, as Rocky has consistently shown that he cares more about
covering for his friends than he does about the victims of sexual violence. All this and I haven’t even mentioned that,
on Rocky’s latest record, he collaborated with Kodak Black, who is currently in the midst of a case regarding his
alleged rape of a teenage girl. It’s greatly unsettling to me that people indisputably accept Rocky’s self-established
image as mainstream rap’s champion of respecting women. I get it, he’s charming. His teeth are super white and he
has an angelically structured face. But for God’s sake, take your eyes off his braids and look at what how shady he
continues to act right under your nose.
And as I’m sure you know, this isn’t just an A$AP thing. This happens across the board among mainstream rap circles,
so much to the point that sometimes the hip-hop industry seems like a giant cesspool of degenerate pieces of
garbage having each other’s backs — and it probably is, to some extent. I think it’s also worth noting that, aside from
those whose unfavorable actions have been brought into the public eye, there are undoubtedly many more whose
abhorrent behaviors remain hidden or undetected by the public. I think about this a lot when it comes to celebrities
and artists. Anyone’s favorite artist could be a monster behind closed doors; it’s the main reason why I refuse to go
ahead and get an artist-related tattoo plastered on my body forever. Abuse is ever-present in contemporary rap. So
before you stream that one banger that you think you can’t live without from [insert any artist who has consistently
shown they are complicit with sexual violence] and ultimately line their pockets, think about it. Maybe find other
means of listening to their music that don’t involve directly giving them money. Or better yet, find someone better.
And believe me, I know this is hard if this person is your favorite artist. How can you just sacrifice albums like My
Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or College Dropout merely on the basis of how Kanye West has acted in the past few
years, not only in regards to his support of Trump, but also in terms of his collaboration with artists like 6ix9ine and
Chris Brown and his public defense of A$AP Bari?
berkeleybside.com | #16
I’ve experienced an extent of this moral dilemma myself. I’ve never been an outright Kanye fan, but I’ve been a huge fan oft opportunist,its aw
Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator since their Odd Future days. Frank Ocean in particular has progressively become my
im a morally bankfavorite artist of all time; I’ve even written a piece on why I think he’s so important, and I still stand by every point I made in“p*s sy gr abbin’ ”
that article. But I’ve been downright frustrated with his recent involvement with Rocky. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
Frank doesn’t seem like the type of person to shy away from criticizing his artist friends when he disagrees with them.
Despite Frank being a long time collaborator and friend of Kanye, Frank used his Tumblr to publicly denounce Kanye’s
continued support of Trump. Despite not being a fan of the spotlight, Frank has publicly spoken about many other political
issues as well. From such statements, I can assume he subscribes to a very progressive, liberal point of view when it comes to
the pursuit of equal rights for people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and women. So then why is he hanging out with a guy
who’s cool with his friends raping and assaulting women? I ask myself this every time I see a picture of the two together, or I
find out that they’ve collaborated on a new track (“Raf,” “Purity,” and an alternate version of “Chanel” all come to mind).
And the fact is that if Frank himself were to suddenly start behaving like Rocky or Kanye, I wouldn’t be able to stand
listening to him anymore, despite how good “Nights” is.
My point is this: It’s okay to be critical of your favorite artists.
Sometimes I think people forget that.
Regardless of your disconnect from their extraordinary talents and sometimes lavish lifestyles, artists are not gods walking the
earth; they’re all humans who have lapses in moral judgment, just like the rest of us. And they should face the consequences
that are the direct result of their actions, just like the rest of us. When you turn your head to an artist’s atrocities and continue
to listen to their albums, buy merch, and attend concerts, you are not only supporting an abuser’s bank account and their
ability to continue working unscathed, you’re affirming their behavior. Your dollar is the most powerful--and likely the
only--way to assert that you think their behavior is unacceptable and that you would like them to change.
berkeleybside.com | #17
written by MICHELLE CASTILLO | designed by CHRIS YEON
On May 13, 2016 Chance the Rapper 3
released his mixtape Coloring Book
exclusively to Apple music. A few days later,
the album was available on all streaming
sites. This was the first album exclusively
accessible by streaming to not only reach
the top 200 Billboard chart in 2016, but
also win a Grammy for Best Rap Album in
2017. Chance the Rapper is still an
independent artist even after all his success.
But the question remains: How is this all
Record labels have gotten a lot of flack
recently. In 2015, Prince infamously stated
that signing to a record label is like Before its release, Beyonce’s record label told
“slavery” and warned young artists not to her she didn’t have one hit single on her first
get into them. In 2016, a video of Lauren solo album, Dangerously in Love (2003).
Jauregui of Fifth Harmony leaked with her The five iconic singles released from the
stating that their record label was “treating 4-time Platinum record would say otherwise.
them like slaves.” The old manager of This is another piece of evidence that record
BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, had labels are holding artists back. If Beyonce
threatened physical abuse on multiple listened to her label, she would not have
occasions. Jungkook, a ember of the become the iconic artist we know today.
group, collapsed on stage from exhausting Up-and-coming talents have started to see
due to their former label oveworking these limitations and the harsh treatment
them. Frank Ocean deliberately went these corporations inflict on their signed
against his label by releasing his critically musicians, thus deciding to turn to alternative
acclaimed album Blonde (2016) as an modes of music promotion and publication.
It’s a trend now for artists to release their music
exclusively to streaming sites. Jay-Z and Beyonce
only had their albums available through Apple
Music and Tidal, the latter owned by Jay-Z
himself. The abundance of online platforms such
as Apple, Spotify, and even Soundcloud have
allowed for artists to easily publish their own
content without the middle-man. This gives
complete artistic freedom over their creations.
Online platforms make it easier for creators new
and old, to comfortably dump or deceive their
labels and post the content they want. With the
constant multitude of new artists popping up,
wanting fast and wide reach, record labels may
very well be becoming obsolete.
berkeleybside.com | #18
written by JOSH HAUSER and KIERAN ZIMMER |
photographed by MARK SELDEN |
designed by ALLI BLYTHE
Next time you’re walking to
your 8:00am, stop and close your tired
eyes for a few seconds. Listen for a call.
Not a call from a friend, not from God —
from the birds. One of the most
underappreciated aspects of Berkeley is the
birding opportunity. Let me set the record
straight: we are not professional birders by
any means, but we value a tweet or the sight
of a raptor circling in the sky a little more than
the average Joe would. Over the past few
months, we’ve been taking some time to tune our
ears to the calls of some of the most common (but
nevertheless brilliant) birds that share our campus with
us, and albums that we think they’d enjoy. Below are some of
our friends that we think you should familiarize yourself with
that way the next time you see or hear one, you can say hello —
or kee-aah, whatever you’re into. Remember to lift your head up
to the sky and look around. There’s a lot happening.
berkeleybside.com | #19
California Towhee — Self Portrait (1970) Bob Dylan
This bird’s call might not sound like the country crooning
voice that Dylan highlights on Self Portrait, but there’s something
about the bird that reflects both the introspection and universality
of this album. Dylan covers pop and folk songs like “The Boxer,”
“Blue Moon,” and “Copper Kettle”; alongside some originals
including “All the Tired Horses” and “Wigwam.” The California
Towhee hangs out on the ground a lot, eating a variety of seeds, just
like we suspect our favorite folk singers do. You’ll surely see this one
around, just like an everlasting Dylan folk song.
American Crow — Lungs (2009) Florence + The Machine
We all know them, we’ve all seen them. The American Crow is one
of the most widespread species in America. They’re also one of the
smartest. But what would it be like being a common bird that no one
has any regard for despite your intelligence, potential, and super nice
iridescent black feathers? This may sound eerily relatable to a
Berkeley student you know, minus the feathers, probably. For this
juxtaposition of resplendence and dejection, I think of none other than
Florence + The Machine’s Lungs. The eccentric beauty of crows is overlooked
so often that the only time most notice them are when the “caw” pierces through
buildings during a midterm. Before I am attacked, I must note that I’m certainly not
comparing Florence Welch’s vocals to the obnoxious cawing of crows by any means. Yet,
there’s some surprise that comes from both of them when they make noise — a punch
from an extraordinary being like no other.
Red-shouldered Hawk — Led Zeppelin IV
(1971) Led Zeppelin
Suave, ruffled, and badass, the red-shouldered
hawk has the confidence we all wish we had, and the
skill to back it up. They soar high above us mere
humans, feeling the tantalizing sensation of flight which
we will never know. I know that if I were them, the second
half of “Stairway” would be playing the whole time. And if I was up there, circling around,
flashing my handsomely striped wings, looking for some dinner, I’d certainly have “Misty
Mountain Hop” bopping in the background. If you want to feel as jealous as I do of these
raptors, head over to the eucalyptus grove by Valley Life Sciences Building. I’ve seen these guys
ganging up a bunch this semester, screaming kee-aah and just having a good time. If you’re
lucky, they’ll take a stop on a low hanging tree branch like I did to snap this photo before
running away scared of what it might do to me.
berkeleybside.com | #20
Fox Squirrel -- Mr. Bungle (1991) Mr. Bungle.
This bird is an odd one out, mostly in that it’s not a bird.
It’s a fox squirrel, which according to Wikipedia is “the
largest species of tree squirrel native to North America.”
Oh, and the one that rustles through your belongings when
you’re not paying attention outside Dwinelle. Just like the fox
squirrel isn’t a bird, Mr. Bungle isn’t a ska band, or a noise band, or a
death metal band. The weirdest child of the nineties doesn’t fall
comfortably in any section of the record store, just like how I don’t why this
squirrel is in an article about birds. As this sly dude is scoping out free snacks in the
bushes, you know that the schizophrenic ska of “Squeeze Me Macaroni” is playing
somewhere nearby. When he’s twitching and scurrying around the trees that border glade
at top speed, he’s slyly headbanging to the pseudo-metal of “Slowly Growing Deaf.” Mr.
Bungle knows what it’s like to be a squirrel in Berkeley, as well as what it’s like to not be a
Chickadee -- Northwest Passage (2007) Striborg
According to the National Audubon Society, the seventy-first rule of birding is to always
figure out what Chickadees you’ve got. The problem here is, I cannot seem to figure out
what chickadee I’ve got. This one has an all black head, with the same wings and breast
coloring as chickadees that have big white stripes on their cheeks (which this one doesn’t).
The one thing I do know? That brooding posture, habitation in a tree, and black and
white coloring only reminds me of one thing: a one-man black metal. Take Striborg, the
cheesy Australian act that Vice did a documentary on not that long ago. His album
“Northwest Passage” is a prime, buzzy, treble-filled slab of nature-themed misanthropy, the
exact same vibe I get from this brooding Chickadee. Is Striborg black metal? Is he darkwave?
Are they a Mexican chickadee, or a Carolina chickadee? The world will never know.
Stellar’s Jay - Kind of Blue (1959) Miles Davis
This jay is cool. Not some sort of wannabe leather type, but
genuinely someone who is cool as can be. Not only this, they’re kind
of blue. Not unlike Miles’ Davis jazz classic, Kind of Blue (cue
laughter). But really, this comparison didn’t come around just
because of coloring. Davis’ trumpet playing is a certain kind of
suave: smooth and masterful, tasteful when it can be and unhinged
when it wants to be. Just like this Stellar’s Jay: calm, cool, and
collected, perched on that windowsill like nobody’s business. She
could fly away if she wanted to. But she doesn’t. She doesn’t care that
you’re watching, and if she wanted to she could bust out a bitchin’
trumpet solo. But she won’t. Cause she’s just too damn cool.
berkeleybside.com | #21
written by ALICE MARKMAN | designed by CONNOR O’SHEA
When I first heard your dreamy voice and playful piano tones, I couldn’t help but root for you.
I didn’t expect you to be famous. Granted, I was 11, so my concept of fame was hardly grounded. But
somehow, I was sure of it. If I was this ashamed of my grandfather’s thick accent, if I felt like I had to
pretend to know English better than I did, if I had to lie about my summer vacation plans, then you and your
shameless trumpeting of our heritage didn’t stand a chance. I may have been rooting for you, but I didn’t
necessarily believe in us.
Needless to say, I was wrong.
My parents emigrated to the U.S. from a collapsing Soviet Union, entering the country as refugees. I
was born shortly after, and grew up with a sort of fusion of the two cultures. I went to an American school
with American kids, but at home, I watched Russian cartoons and ate Russian food. During school,
Lunchables were a delicacy, saved only for field trips and special occasions. If I was lucky, I got to feel
American. But otherwise, my lunch box was filled with borscht, blini, and olivier salad. While my friends
discussed the previous night’s Spongebob episode, I sat silently, having just rewatched Karlsson on the Roof for the
fifth time. And despite how hard it made me laugh, I knew I could never share it with them.
I suppose I should have been grateful, and I could hardly say that I was ever ostracized for this, but I
always knew I was different, and not necessarily in the best way.
Growing up in a post-Cold War world did not mean the propaganda was over. My friends and every
James Bond plotline taunted me. When my cousin and I watched From Russia With Love, we couldn’t wait
to watch our people in action. But it didn’t take long to realize that to them, I wasn’t a hero, fighting
alongside James Bond; I was a spy, a commie, a villain. That movie is not alone, however; one quick
Google search yields six examples of James Bond movies with a Russian villain. The jokes never
seemed to end. And so I hid. I lied. I pretended to be something I was not.
But then I heard your music for the first time. I was 11 at a Russian party, where
the adults monopolized the living room. Holed up in my best friend’s room, she takes out
her computer and pulls up “Two Birds,” a song her sister, who grew up in St. Petersburg,
showed her. Expecting a Russian folk song I’ve already heard my parents play, I
sat disinterested. But then I heard English. This English, however, was
different. Your playful piano melodies and slightly accented voice did not
berkeleybside.com | #22
sound American; it sounded like something in
between, an area that I had come to be very familiar. I was enchanted.
Every song was a story, each album a book. Not just any story, but it felt like
my story. As I learned more of your story, I was drawn:
She’s Russian, just like me.
She’s Jewish, just like me.
She is the first in her family to really test out this whole America thing, just like me.
And she is a singer-songwriter, just like me.
The title of your debut album, Soviet Kitsch (2004), is evidently inspired by our
history. In this album, and in many of your works to follow, you weaved the Russian
language into some of your songs (most notably, “Apres Moi” and “Don’t Leave Me [Ne Me
Quitte Pas]”) and alluded to Russian folklore. These allusions are subtle — and perhaps
purposely so, to emphasize a former sense of necessary identity concealment similar to what I had
been going through — but they are enough to label you as greatly, unapologetically Russian.
Furthermore, you have also maintained your Americanness, ultimately placing yourself in that gray
territory by my side. You embrace the duality of your Russian-American identity, and you inspired me
to do the same.
Granted, you’re not the first Russian musician to break ground in the global charts. I grew up with
female rockstar Zemfira, legendary rock band Aquarium and, more recently, pop band Leningrad
that’s famous for their shameless vulgarity. But your popularity in the States (possibly a result of
your feature on the critically-acclaimed (500) Days of Summer soundtrack) pushed me towards
pride. Because of you, I stopped thinking that my heritage was an obstacle in my childhood
pursuit of musical stardom. Because of you, it became an advantage. Because of you, I was
no longer left out; I stood out.
My childhood desire for rock stardom may be gone, but the pride you instilled in me is
not. I’m Russian-American, I’m Jewish, and I’m a woman. And just like you, I’m not
going to let my identity stop me from living out the life my parents fled their
homeland to give me.
I thought that being Russian was a crime, but you made it okay.
berkeleybside.com | #23
berkeleybside.com | #24
written by SUNNY SANGHA | designed by ALLI BLYTHE
Art has held great influence all throughout history, finding its presence in almost every
era in human existence. Like Cesar Cruz once said, “Art should comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” It was the
use of artistic expression in a variety of venues that helped forward the liberation of the LGBT+ community before and after
Stonewall. The launch of Gay and Lesbian magazines such as One Magazine and The Ladder completely revolutionized the
way American society viewed indivuals belonging to “alternative” seuxalties. Performance culture was, and still is, a pivotal
means of expression for the LGBT+ community; and it is what truly allowed America to understand queer culture and propel
itself towards social reform.
Music is one of the most popular forms of artistic expression, and is credited to be an outlet for many varying
communities, serving as a voice for the marginalized. During the early twenties, the blues genre had the most visibility for
invisible sexualities because of its preconceived “edgy” nature. One of the most famous and iconic blues singers of the twenties
was Madam “Ma” Rainey, also referred to as “Mother of the Blues.” Ma Rainey was one of the earliest African-American
professional blues singers and was apart of the first generation of blues singers to actually be able to record their music.
Rainey’s career spanned the first three decades of the twentieth century, but gained heightened accolation during the blues’
craze of the ‘20s. Rainey’s music was deeply rooted in day-to-day experiences of black people from the South and had an
enormous impact on the musical community — going on to inspire many future musicians and poets, such as Langston Hughes
and Sterling Brown.
Rainey’s sexuality wasn’t public knowledge, but she didn’t try too hard to hide it. Rainey
lived during a time when homosexuality was illegal, seen as a “mental illness,” and if one was
caught to be a homosexual they would be scrutinized and criminalized without proper reason.
Yet, Rainey did not allow social oppression to blockade her from self expression. In 1925, Rainey hosted a party between her
and a group of young lady friends which got too loud and eventually led to the cops being called on the event before the party
got intimate. Everyone except for Rainey fled, and she was arrested for “running an indecent party” (but was
bailed out the following morning). Many speculate that this incident catapulted inspiration for Rainey’s hit
song, “Prove it On Me.” In the iconic song, Rainey parades her sexuality, and that if they want to
detain her for being a lesbian, they would have to “prove it on her.” She sings the lyrics, “Went
out last night with a crowd of my friends / They must’ve been women, ‘cause I don’t like no
men” followed by, “Say I do it, ain't nobody caught me / Sure got to prove it on me.” Ma
Rainey’s song had enormous social implications due to the way it went against the grain and
challenged homophobic ideals of the time. The song, released in 1928, would
have still caused commotion if produced in the early 2000s; so it’s clear how
“Prove it On Me” served as a powerful component in social liberation for
the queer community at the time, and how it aided significantly in the
progression of civil rights. It served as a lesbian anthem during a time
where being lesbian itself was just a dream. Ma Rainey proves how
innumerable the power enlisted in music is: music has the power to change
minds, influence people, and make the world a better place. Ma Rainey’s
artistry serves as proof of just that.
berkeleybside.com | #25
PLAYLIST make out with me? :-)
Love songs that aren’t love songs.
Created by BSIDE • 11 songs, 40 min
written by LEKA GOPAL | designed by JAMES OH
LLLLLLOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEE Not to be a cynic, or turn this into a Miss Havish
am-esque spiral of being forever jilted by love, but
most love songs are not good. Not that they don’t have
the potential to be good, or the soul, but just that
most of them turn out to be really lazy, or boring, or
just not good. Which isn’t too helpful when you’re
trying to woo your crush that isn’t catching on to the
acrostic hints in the Spotify playlist you sent them that
says “make out with me.” For that, I give you the
ultimate love songs playlist, that, at the same time, are
the least and most romantic songs you could ever
think of. If this doesn’t get someone to fall in love with
you, then the problem is clearly your disgusting
personality that you need to work on. Sorry.
berkeleybside.com | #26
written by JULIUS MILLER | designed by ALLI BLYTHE
WELCOME TO DOCTOR
In 1979, a group of MC’s out of New Jersey
known as the Sugarhill Gang dropped “Rapper’s
Delight,” the first hip-hop record to penetrate
the top 40. Upon boasting style, sex, and
charisma, amidst comparisons to Johnny
Carson, Giacomo Casanova, and Frankie
Crocker, and through the MC’s playful
tongue-in-cheek punchlines, we arrive at the
single line that changed hip-hop forever:
I don't mean to brag I don't mean to boast
But we like hot butter on a breakfast toast
Hot butter on a breakfast toast. And if you got a glass jaw you should watch
your mouth. My chain too cold, chandelier, pretty boy, huh, manicure.
Sugarhill Gang (hot butter on a breakfast toast) brags by what they’re
munching on. 50 Cent (glass jaw) brags by letting you know how he’s
going to beat you up if you step to him. And Playboi Carti, well he’s just a
genius. Alas, it was the Sugarhill Gang, who showed us that food and rap
are a beautiful coexistent relationship, a more honest and playful way of
showcasing lyrical weight and identity — and thus we were inspired to
create an establishment that honors this glorious duo. Of course, Sugarhill
Gang’s food references were not long lived, so instead we look to MM…
Food, a culinary masterpiece to lead the way. You’ll find that this menu
attempts to show the ingenuity of wrapping about food.
So, please allow me to welcome you to Doctor Doom’s Delight where we
serve rap’s facile wittiness and curb its braggadocious self-importance
through some cheeky edible metaphors from our favorite chef:
Hailing from the mountainous tribe of the Romani people where rustic
undertones bleed through audacious livestock dishes, this chef devises
elaborate and villainous tastes to formulate complex double and even
triple metaphors: MF DOOM
Note: We ran out of grey poupon
berkeleybside.com | #27
**Most Ordered Item and probably the only thing people care about, so why is
there an entire menu on this guy
***Cue the twitter fingers
Deep Fried Frenz - MF Doom, “Deep Fried Frenz”
C’est un beer-battered, deep fried dish of frenz will ask you to pay the check… and
according to Doom, might even come around when they need some money.
Rap Snitches Knishes** - MF Doom, “Rapp Snitches Knishes”
Known to be Chef Doom’s most famous concoction and his magnum opus as a
rapper, this Jewish snack pastry epitomizes the villain's stance on rap as well as the
motivation for why he mainly poeticizes food, comic book antics, weed, and
booze. But, this dish is oh so very deeper than that; at first bite, it’s quite
banal. But, on second taste, it’s an ode to the multicultural streets of New
York and a warning to the all the chefs of the world who are constantly
incriminating themselves with flavors that come off as a bit too real (see
MasterChef YMW Melly’s “Murder on My Mind” featured at rival restaurant,
“Puff ’s Meatpacking (shhh code word for cocaine) Co.”
Coco Bread Kon Queso - MF Doom, “Kon Queso”
Being that Doom’s mother is Trinidadian, this Carribean-styled appetizer skilfully entwines
Doom’s biological background with… cheese. No, not that cheese, and no, not that coco
bread. Prepared by “heating it like a beef patty” and then infused with “lacing the whole
case load,” MF Doom’s Coco Bread Kon Queso will have you walking around with
“pitchforks and halos.”
Halal Veal - MF DOOM, “Beef Raps”
Arising out of the beef that dually motivates Meek Mill’s career and MF Doom’s edible
metaphors, this one of a kind Halal Veal is clandestine to the normal palate. You
probably won’t find Halal Veal anywhere (considering its religious connotations) as you
most definitely will never find the identity to the mythical villain.
Horsemeat Chalupa - MF DOOM, “Hoe Cakes”
As most of us know, Taco Bell has stolen our very own secret ingredient: horsemeat.
Little did we know, MF Doom was using it in 2004 for his fatherly recipe: teaching his
daughter self-defense by using a gun without using the word gun but instead… horsemeat
Jumbo Chicken Mumbo* - MF DOOM, “Potholderz”
So, we’ve gotten some backlash from this option apparently and it’s really not supposed to be on
the menu but we forgot to take it down. According to some really angry paleolithic dieters, large
bundles of crack cocaine — which is how MF Doom interprets “jumbo” in Potholderz — were
found in people’s chicken mumbo. That’s not vegan, our apologies. MM… Chicken.
berkeleybside.com | #28
Orange Peel Stoges - MF Doom, “Vomitspit”
It’s late, it’s been a long night. Well, looky here — born in London, England, MF Doom occasionally honors his
UK roots. In following European fashion, try chef Doom’s Orange Peel Stoges, a perfect post-meal smoke for any
herb connaisseur. Doused with vibrant orange zestiness and maybe even something tastier (Orange Peel/Orange
Pill), I’d recommend pairing this up with Coco Bread and Jumbo Mumbo Chicken.
Assorted Cookies from our local vending machine: Ritz Bits, Wheat Thins, Saltines, Triscuits, Matzos, Cheez its,
Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Famous Amos, Grandma’s. - MF DOOM, “Kookies”
Ok, so we got a little lazy but so did Chef Doom when in this verse he was caught by HTTP “Cookies” and his
wife while spilling his dipping sauce (milk) on his bedsheets. Recalling the original poets of NY, MF Doom
Virginia Dare wine / All those sweet colors / Flavor Harlem of mine!” to quite clearly describe the possible
“Carpal tunnel syndrome” one might contract from eating too many cookies… if you catch my drift.
Fig-Leaf Bi-Carbonate Antioxidant Drink - MF DOOM, “Fig-Leaf Bi Carbonate”
Astrology Readings. Acai Bowls. Vegan Chicken Tenders. Oakland Gentrification. Aloe Vera Cocoa-Butter Infused
Nitro Blend Dark Coffee. This ingenious mix of flavors and samples — all the way from the wise words of
Sesame Street to the classic fight scenes in Fist of the Northstar — warns people of the world to watch what they
eat cause it may be the government poisoning us… or even worse, the Hayward Fault. It also highlights MF
Doom’s tantalizing collage sampling packages, a concept that is finally entering the world of cuisine (see Earl
A Single Bottle of Our Finest Ensure*** - KANYE
WEST, “Through the Wire”
Ensure, our finest protein drink for picky eating
children or for picky selective sports parents, is
endorsed by one of our more common chefs here:
Kanye West, who preached in “Through The Wire”
that the tasteful amalgamation of Boost, Pancake
mix, Ensure, and Sizzurp makes for a lethal mix
but nonetheless a super fun head-high. Wait,
how did Kanye get here.
Who is MF Doom by the
way? Can’t tell you, I only
work here, man. Some
comic book character.
berkeleybside.com | #29
photographed by MARK SELDEN
berkeleybside.com | #30
written by NATALIE SILVER | designed by MAYA VALLURU
I’m in the backseat of a beat-to-shit 2001 Mustang convertible with the top down — the only automobile that could convey the truth
that, “Yeah I’m a tourist, but I also live here now” — blasting through the technicolor backside of Hana’s fairyland. Justice, our
shirtless 17-year-old driver and the human embodiment of “shaka,” drifts every corner and honks at passing tourists.
The sun is setting, the rain had just stopped, and shitty fucking trap music is playing at full volume. In other words, I’m almost in
Maui boy, who is kindly driving us through his homeland, lights a joint and passes it to Charlotte, my best friend from college and
fellow shaved ice connoisseur, who then passes it back to me.
I’m the type of person who “hates weed” but will 100% take a hit if you pass me the J. So, in other words, I’m the worst type of
human that exists.
I inhale, taking in my surroundings. We’re whizzing
through electric greens, deep blues, and blotches of
citrus neons that blur into every cloudy exhale, when the
bass drops one too many times and I snap into a
moment of existential dissociation.
I gather myself and assess my current situation. I was
months deep into a (temporary) phase of college
drop-out nomadic bliss, shaving ice for a living and
hanging out with local boys during every moment in
between. We were listening to some shit trap playlist,
which eventually morphed into Kendrick’s entire
discography, played in reverse chronological order. But I
couldn’t have told you any of that at the time.
“Who’s this?” I ask in the most stoned way possible,
attempting to change the music using my “charm”
instead of my words.
“WHO IS THIS?!” My de-facto mom and dad
screamed from the front seat, Charlotte literally
Justice accelerates and barks, “YOU, my friend, are
uncultured swine.” He reaches for the volume knob and
cranks it to the right with the same intensity and focus
that he exhibited while drifting turns.
Whatever. I tried for the next hour to like Kendrick. I
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tried to love Kendrick actually, and maybe that was my problem, because I just couldn’t. To be honest, he was annoying me — pulling
me out of paradise rather than enhancing it, reminding me of the pseudo-intellectual fuckboys that I’ve fucked with too many damn
times before. And quite frankly, I was over it. Why do you think I left the mainland in the first place? Crucify me. Call me a fascist. I
don’t know what to tell you. I want to hear a fucking female voice.
I keep my mouth shut as the sun sets and Kendrick blabs in my ear “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe.” The word “IRONY” is branding itself
into my frontal lobe while Charlotte and Justice manage to simultaneously roast me and jack Kendrick off in the same, never-ending
and redundant conversation.
The outside world is getting darker, as is my own. My eyes were closed and my aperture to the outside world creaks smaller and smaller.
Suddenly, the beat changes and they flutter open.
“What is this??” I ask, breaking my 80-minute vow of silence.
“Lizzo…duh,” Justice says smugly, as he turns the volume up and up and up…
And just like that, paradise came flooding back into me, with the 30-year-old hip-hop artist’s maniacal beats and vocal richness.
I was hearing “Ain’t I,” a single off her 2015 album Big Grrrl Small World which acted as the critical link I needed to eventually
understand and enjoy modern hip-hop (including fucking Kendrick — who, by the way, I eventually grew to love and appreciate). I
needed a voice that combined the gangster rap conventions and style that I trusted with an artistic range that yields transgression into
pop, R&B, soul, and contemporary hip-hop. Basically, I needed a killer to guide me into some of the softer stuff, because I’m the type
of girl who claims to hate weed. In other words, I’m pretentious.
“Ain’t I” is laced with tenacity and melody, perfectly lubricating my psyche into a state
of perpetual island bliss. I welcome the track into my fantasy as I continue to float
down the backside of the island.
Lizzo became the perfect fairy godmother to me, guiding my exploration of
contemporary hip-hop and pop music, and drawing my attention to the intersection of
soul and old school tenacious hip-hop with pop melodies and sugar-sweet runs. Lizzo
is a quintessential embodiment of this
21st century phenomenon, brilliantly
delivering feminist lyrics in all forms —
from explicit “fuck yous” directed at
problematic men, to seemingly
superficial inflations of the self that,
when striking the right chord, actually
render a feminist and highly intellectual
It is not necessary, or even productive,
to throw around social justice rhetoric,
cite intersectionality, or deliver militant
dissertations about why women have
been oppressed to empower listeners.
Lizzo’s method is badass; in her success,
tenacity, and sneakily earnest words, she
lifts herself up and bashes those who are
foolish enough to pose obstacles to that
process. She savagely — both implicitly
and explicitly — tells women that being
confident and image-oriented is
something to celebrate, and to validate
others for if it makes you feel like a
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Bobbing my head as
violently as a white
girl in a bikini can, I
smile and settle back
So yeah, I do strongly believe that lines such as “I be drippin' so much sauce/ Gotta been lookin’ like RAGÚ” are more digestible and
accessible to younger women and to the general public than reading Judith motherfucking Butler!
And she can fucking SING! In the song’s second act, where she sinks into the line, “It don’t matter how deep your pockets are,” she
briefly slips into a wholesome, lullaby-esque refrain, seducing the listener with her gospel before transitioning into a psychedelic outro
back into the aggressive “A” section of the song. She ends with the sneering title line, “Ain’t I a woman?”
The ending is savage and aggressive. She repeats it until the song fades out, which on a subliminal level represents the underlying
anger and feminist voice that is consistently muted by external forces. This is a narrative that all women can share.
The aggression of her delivery, despite a global fade-out, questions this metaphoric boundary and this existential silence. She sonically
pushes the threshold of vocal liberation, and in doing so, lures in everyone who wants to hear whatever else she was going to say,
including me. I was hooked.
The two eclectic sections of “Ain’t I” represent the dichotomous genres shaping her unique and genre-transcendent sound that
morphs millefleur and lullaby with raw, hard gangster rap — an experience that captivated me in a moment of unusual
“AIN’T I A WOMAN?” she absolutely demands, and I bowed down as the curtain closed on my introduction to my new favorite
Bobbing my head as violently as a white girl in a bikini can, I smile and settle back into paradise. Laughing, Justice passes me the joint
again, muttering with a smile, “uncultured…fucking…swine.”
Inhaling I roll my eyes and realize…I have a lot to learn.
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Letter from the Editor
The B-Side has been my home for the past three and a half years, and it’s
honestly quite painful to have to say goodbye to it.
I started as a staff writer for The B-Side my first semester in January 2016.
I was (still am) shy and awkward, but in this club, I found a comforting
companionship with those who shared the same passions about music as
I did, and wanted to express those passions in the creative mediums we
knew and loved. I’ve had experiences I never thought I’d be able to have
because of this club, and I’m thankful to everyone who participated in
letting me live out my dream.
The B-Side is made up of students across all types of studies, from STEM
to humanities, and most of them join The B-Side because there, they
renew their love for the last creative endeavour they were not willing to
At The B-Side, we encourage people to be as innovative and imaginative
as they want with the skills and tools they have, whether that be a camera,
a sketchbook, or a pen. Our purest objective is to continue having a
publication dedicated towards students, their passion for music, and their
creative means in expressing so.
It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to have worked with such
an incredibly talented group of people. Thank you to the Editorial, Photo,
Design, Marketing, and PR teams for all the work you have done for this
club and the people in it. I truly appreciate it all.
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