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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Sounds from the concrete jungle

Just as Grinnell attracts students from every corner of the country, musical artists are making the same trip through the cornfields and taking a chance on small-town Iowa.  This Saturday in Gardner Lounge, beginning at 9 p.m., Grinnell will experience acclaimed rapper Junglepussy, artist DJ Spinn and R&B crooner Ian Isiah.

According to SGA Concerts Chair Moira Donovan ’14, Saturday’s line-up came out of a desire to bring in artists from outside the Midwest.

“We were discussing different locations of music, and how that changes things. We were looking at the difference between the scene in New York, the scene in LA and then the South, like Atlanta; and we were talking about women in rap in different places,” Donovan said. “We get a lot of rappers from Chicago, so I was looking specifically at people from New York, and a lot of people on the committee really liked Junglepussy and we all really like Ian Isiah.”

For Saturday’s show, Junglepussy and Ian Isiah will be flying in from the East Coast, but this is not the first time they have shared a stage. They previously played together with Mykki Blanco—who came to Grinnell in April 2013—at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City.

Isiah is an emerging figure in the modern R&B scene and has been compared to Kelela, who played in Grinnell last spring and is listed in many Top Ten Musicians of 2013 lists. He grew up singing gospel in church and evolved to a danceable and sensuous sound. His sometimes-auto-tuned vocals contribute to blurry and catchy lyrics that flow well, yet seem over the top.

DJ Spinn, on the other hand, is a prominent artist who has been the subject of much acclaim in the past few years. He and DJ Rashad, also from Chicago, are two of the most highly regarded producers in the city. They have collaborated on such tracks as “Holiday,” “I Can Feel It,” “Space Juke” and many more.

“DJ Spinn is a close collaborator with DJ Rashad, and they were suggested to me by J-Cush last semester,” Donovan said. “We were talking to him, and he was like, ‘I could totally get them to come.’ So, we’re trying to bring people in the same vein as J-Cush.”
Spinn’s sound is very percussion-driven, with an array of fast house rhythms supplemented with a repetitive vocal loop. His energetic, almost hyperactive, performances are also a unique element of his act. Recently, Chance The Rapper announced DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad are to accompany him on his North American tour.

Junglepussy has a raw, unique sound; the lyrics have feeling and attitude behind them, and she includes heavy beats that make your head start to bob. This is especially notable in her tracks “Stitches” and “Cream Team.” As a representation of independence and artistic expression, she succeeds to the highest level.

As she said in Mass Appeal Magazine, “My music sounds like your mind. Everything that you think about that you can’t find the words to say or you’re scared to say, everything that your mind says, that’s what my music sounds like. It’s not reading minds, but it’s expressing what’s in your mind and letting it free. I’m saying it for you.”

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