Underground Spotlight: Dreb by Elijah Powell

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No matter what you rap about, all I ask is that you can actually rap. You wanna talk about politics? Fine. You wanna make love ballads? Cool. You wanna talk about the horrors of the ghetto? Do it. Just make sure you can properly execute lyricism on full songs that sound distinct from each other that each touch upon the various components of whatever subject matter you choose to rap about. That is the key to a good rap project.

 

Dreb, one-half of the rap group OTO (Out of The Ordinary), is an emcee hailing from Englewood, New Jersey. The duo’s latest release, Dead Weight 2, is a mixtape project that exploits well known beats and combines them with lyricism that brings the beats new life. It’s also amazing that they go harder on the beats than the actual artists who originally used the beats for their copyrighted songs. It shows skill when you take someone else’s work and do it better. DW2 is an example of that skill on all eight songs.

 

If you’ve ever heard Troy Ave’s All About The Money track, produced by Roofeeo, you’d probably agree that its a lyrically underwhelming song that had potential to be a smash hit record. OTO took the beat and saved the day: “Before these people even utter out a word, I’m bound to press em’/ Run down, put this forty to work like a Drake session/ My recreation, my territory no playground/ Like a lullaby, my forty be singing until he lay down”. Dreb connects Drake’s producer, Noah Forty Shebib, to his glock forty firearm, and connects the action of firing it to “singing” until his enemy dies, or lays down. If you want to talk about murder, thats the way to do it.

 

In an interview  with Dreb I listened to what the young emcee had to say:

 

What is your age?

 

I’m 19.

 

What inspires you to make music?

 

What inspires me to make music was the feeling of helping people get through things…So many people deal with different things everyday and I figured why not help the next person’s day become better? No matter what genre.

 

How long did it take to complete the mixtape?

 

It took us about 2 months to create Dead Weight 2. We had this idea of bringing back that raw lyricism that the game is kind of lacking right now and snap on every single [track].

 

How was the creative process for you?

 

The creative process was actually rough because at one point so much was going on that we lost focus but we bounced back strong and were able to come together and complete the tape.

 

What do you see for your future as a musician?

 

My future will consist of constant dedication and love of the game…Don’t get me wrong, yeah the money, cars, and clothes are great things that come along with it, but there’s nothing like having passion for the game. I want to be known as not only one of the greatest artists to ever touch the mic but I want to be remembered as the most impactful.

 

In a way the mixtape is a musical embodiment of classic gangster films: well written and to the point. Its been a long time since I’ve been drawn into such a well crafted explicit release. I give it a 6.9 out of ten. It’s not for everybody, but if you appreciate raw lyricism with no filter, you’ll enjoy OTO’s Dead Weight.

 

You can download or stream the mixtape for free here.

 

Peace.

 

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Summer Skin Care for Teens by Marcia Silverio

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Summer heat means going to the beach, swimming in pools and, of course, the hot summer sun. While all of these things are great, the chlorine, salt water and sun can be harmful to our skin. To maintain fresh skin, and to keep it glowing and healthy, we have to follow these steps.

 

In June, July and August the sun’s rays are very hot and if you don’t wear sunscreen you will get sunburned easily. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen whether you are going to the beach or taking a stroll in the park. If you do happen to accidently get sunburned the best remedy is to rub aloe on your skin. You can get aloe vera gel in any local drug store.

 

Getting some color on your skin is nice but red skin doesn’t look good on anyone but a lobster. A bit of sun can be beneficial for skin but too much is unhealthy. Sunscreen wears off, sweats off, and washes off no matter how high your SPF is, so reapply sunscreen often.

 

For young ladies who like to wear makeup, remember to go light on the makeup. In the summer you sweat which opens up your pores. When you have makeup on and those pores open up, the makeup on your skin seeps into those pores. That gives you clogged pores, lots of break outs, and a dull complexion. If you feel you really must wear makeup, use a blemish balm cream with SPF, and water-proof mascara. The BB cream moisturizes and gives you the coverage you need. You don’t need bronzer or blush or anything else to give color because you will get natural color from the sun.

 

As itchy as they are you must remember that scratching leaves scars! Mosquitos are pesky little summer bugs but don’t scratch. Vicks VapoRub is a great product to stop the itchiness of a bite.

 

With everything you do and apply during the summer, make sure to wash it all off. When washing your face do not use soap bars because our skin has a normal balanced pH level of 5.0-5.6. Bar soap’s pH level is higher than our balance. Soap strips the skin of it’s natural oils and makes it tight and dry no matter what type of skin you have.

 

Most importantly stay hydrated from the inside out. When you’re feeling parched it shows on your skin, making it look dull and dry. Moisturizers and lotions can only do so much. Stay hydrated by drinking water or even eating fruits that are high in water like watermelons.

 

Be ready for the summer heat by following these simple rules. Your skin will thank you for it.

 

 

Midterm Problems by Marcia Silverio

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Midterms are less than a week away for New Milford High School students which means it’s time to buckle down and study. The question is, have students reviewed their study guides with teachers? Have students even received a study guide yet? The school and teachers want us to study hard and they want us to do well. The big problem is we only get one day to review with many teachers who made or helped make the test.

For some subjects it’s alright to have only one day to review, such as English or History. On your own you should be able to review a book with the notes that you should have taken when you were originally reading the book. A subject like Math or Science can be a bit more difficult.

In the subjects Math or Science, if you don’t understand how to do something, it can be very confusing and complicated. Those subjects require teachers to explain steps and different methods to achieve the correct answers.

Picture a classroom of 22 students. Each student in that class has a different question for a different problem. You can imagine that 48 minutes of class time is just not enough.

Most teachers will stay on track with their normal teaching routine for the week, which does not help students. Midterms start on January 30th and review day is January 29th. A majority of students feel that with only one day to review with teachers they will not be ready for midterms.

Because of this students should make sure to go to extra help as much as possible to get the studying they need done. Even if it is for 15 minutes or an hour, it will help you and prepare you.

Expectations of the Holidays By Malvina Giannoulis

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On Thanksgiving Day everyone is thankful for their friends, family, and everything they have, yet the next day, Black Friday, is when people wake up at four o’clock in the morning and go shopping the rest of the day. Up until Christmas, malls and stores are packed from when they open until they are finally closed. The question is why does everyone have such high expectations of the holiday season?This time of year has seemed to become more about presents rather than spending time with your family and celebrating. Not saying that no one should be given a present around the holidays, but some people go to the extreme. Personally, I think that presents are more about the meaning and less about how much it costs or what brand it is.

Besides buying and receiving presents you should give back to the people who need it the most. For example, you could volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate clothes and toys. All year round there are Salvation Army bins that you could drop clothes in, but around the holiday season you will hear about something called Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots is basically the collection of toys by schools, girl scouts, and other organizations to give back to kids’ parents who don’t have a lot of money to buy presents for the holidays. This is just one of the many examples of places where you can give back.

Instead of buying loads of expensive gifts for people you can make something yourself that’s meaningful and the person still loves. You can make a scrapbook, piece of jewelry, or even just a nice card.

After asking freshman, Danielle Kelly, about who she exchanges gifts with she said, “A few of my closest friends and family members. Last year I bought too many gifts and it was too expensive.”

Many people around the holiday season expect extravagant gifts such as new phones, computers, and other expensive items, when really it should be more about family. Of course, it is nice to receive many gifts, but you have to be thankful for what you already have and help others who need it more.