Will Mullany


Turning up the sounds of summer

It was a summer of waiting: waiting for the hot sun to go down, relieving us of its unapologetic rays; waiting for noon, only after which is it socially appropriate to start drinking.

Creating More “Achy Breaky Hearts”

Dear Billy Ray Cyrus, I am writing to you on behalf of the entire human race concerning your recently released hip-hop remake of your 1992 song “Achy Breaky Heart,” as well as the accompanying video, and would just like to ask you a few questions.

Folkin’ good

When you go to see a Coen Brothers’ film, you usually know roughly what you are getting into. You can expect the movie to be somewhat funny and somewhat dark, with the respective levels of each varying from time to time.

Weird music

Remember the days when musicians used to keep to themselves and genre-lines were always clear cut? Yeah, me neither, but it seems like these days especially, genres, labels and categories in contemporary music are in their most nebulous state; previously segregated styles are being mixed, and styles and trends are being imported and exported at an alarming rate.

Raising the roof

The dingy basement of a frat house would not necessarily be one’s venue of choice for a nice Saturday night concert, but given the nature of this particular concert, the low ceiling and tightly packed quarters served as a suitable setting for what was about to transpire. The event, a performance by South Florida rapper Denzel Curry at Theta Delta Chi, was organized by the University of Virginia chapter of Student Hip-Hop Organization, a CIO dedicated to spreading and celebrating the music and culture of hip-hop.

Tom Breihan provokes C-ville audience with blunt talk

It’s amazing what credentials can do. Last Tuesday, credentials proved the only way to differentiate between a lengthy diatribe on pop culture from a man on the street and a thought-provoking discussion led by famed media critic Tom Breihan at Open Grounds.

A different kind of rapper

Rappers these days can be put into a few different camps: the hold-overs from the golden age of hip-hop, emcees who emphasize lyricism, storytelling, technical dexterity, and often some sort of message and, on the opposite spectrum, energetic rappers who rely on adrenaline and sonic bombast, rather than lyricism, to make loud, instantly gratifying music.

Weird Music Wednesday: You're in the Jungle Baby...you're gonna die...

UK Jungle is a harsh, uncompromising, disruptive form of music. And that’s probably exactly why it sticks. Typically conceived by low-income black youth in Britain and born into the London club scene in the early 90s, jungle was a piece-by-piece reversal of the dominant European dance-music paradigm, which consisted of simple, trance-like, 4/4 disco-esque music and over-the-top melodies and harmonies.

Weird Music #8: Algorithms we live by

For those of us who find it difficult to do go about our everyday tasks without the assistance of a computer, it’s a constant struggle to maintain a safe distance from technology and convince ourselves we could operate without it.

Weird Music #7: Blimey...It’s Grimey!

In the United States, listeners typically perceive a divide between electronic and hip-hop music scenes — an opposition of cultural values and aesthetic preferences.

Weird Music Wednesdays #6: Wu-Tang Clan and the Great Hip-Hop Swindle

In today’s music business, artists must take steps to protect their necks against early release, copyright infringement and other musical pitfalls. That’s why the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan will be producing only one copy of their next studio album, eventually selling it in an extravagant silver box for a multimillion dollar price. In a recent interview with Forbes, frontman RZA said the group intends to reinstate the idea of music as “a piece of art” or “a collector’s item,” and thus, the album will be taken on a tour of museums and galleries where fans can pay an admission fee — about 30 to 50 dollars — to listen to the album inside the venue.

Weird Music Wednesdays #4: Madlib’s mad, mad world

A few days ago, “Cocaine Pinata,” the collaborative effort by beat-auteur Madlib (also known as Otis Jackson, Jr.) and hard-boiled gangsta rapper Freddie Gibbs, was finally released and is, in my opinion, one of the best hip-hop records in a very long time.

Weird Music Wednesdays #1: Weird Genres

Popular culture has developed an obsession with dividing up the musical world into arbitrary little pieces and calling them genres. What practical utility do all these genres, sub-genre, and sub-sub-genres serve?