What to Read:
WARNING: Some reviews may contain spoilers.
Kabbalah is true, all patterns are meaningful, and the world runs on a combination of strained analogy and wordplay. Big Silicon Valley corporations copyright the Names of God and make a killing. International diplomats transform the ancient conflict between Heaven and Hell into a US-Soviet proxy war. An autistic archangel and his eight-year old apprentice laboriously debug the laws of physics. A group of billionaires hire a magical ship to go find God and tell Him what He’s doing wrong. Cells of militant Unitarians harbour dangerous placebo terrorists. And amateur kabbalist Aaron Smith-Teller, distant relative of nuclear physicist Edward Teller (“Not ushering in the apocalypse is not really a family strong point”) discovers a legendary Name of God and hatches a plan to usher in the Messianic age from his home computer, which goes exactly as well as you would expect.
To be honest, I've not finished this serial novel [I'm only up till chapter 32 so far] but in the simplest words I can put it...it's pretty damn good. As a bonus, you don't need to splurge money in order to be able to legally obtain it.
What to Listen:
Brockhampton is a hip-hop group (or boyband, as they prefer to call themselves), comprising of fourteen twenty-somethings, most of whom met on a Kanye West forum. They exploded onto the rap scene in 2017, dropping three critically acclaimed albums in six months, the Saturation trilogy. Armed with an incredible work ethic, Brockhampton delivers a truly end-to-end product - the boyband includes producers, rappers/vocalists, video direction, photographers and web developers, who live together in a house in LA and make music whenever they’re not touring. They are led by the enigmatic and unapologetically gay Kevin Abstract (his line “Heath Ledger with some dreads, I just gave my ni**a head” is a crowd favourite).
In a genre which has recently been dominated by generic trap beats, Brockhampton has some of the most exciting and experimental production in hip hop, frequently switching between aggressive, energetic bangers (STAR, HEAT, GUMMY), chill and enjoyable tracks (SWEET, GOLD) and more soulful and melodic tunes (LAMB, FACE, RENTAL). The rappers talk about their individual struggles - such as Ameer’s history of drug use (JUNKY) and Dom’s depression (“last year I was suicidal, took those thoughts and tried to kill it” on BOYS) - while many songs have angsty themes such as loneliness and being an outcast (TRIP), which are shared across the three albums. Their songs are accompanied by low-budget yet creative music videos, mostly shot in their neighbourhood in South Central LA. Having dropped so much music in such a short span of time, Brockhampton is not looking to stop, having already announced their next album, ‘Team Effort’. Their fanbase is currently mostly restricted to Internet forums such as reddit and tumblr, but if they are similarly proficient in 2018, don’t be surprised if the “best boyband since One Direction” becomes a household name.
Saturation II: https://open.spotify.com/album/0XnqQzdSFAml08XZoRt1St
Saturation III: https://open.spotify.com/album/5c2AzoNyr46fCQM5d8mxE0