meta-script9 Must-See Acts At SXSW 2023: Wet Leg, Balming Tiger, Armani White, The Lemon Twigs & More | GRAMMY.com
9 Must-See Acts At SXSW 2023: Wet Leg, Balming Tiger, Armani White, The Lemon Twigs & More
Wet Leg performs at SXSW 2022.

Photo: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

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9 Must-See Acts At SXSW 2023: Wet Leg, Balming Tiger, Armani White, The Lemon Twigs & More

As the music showcases kick off at South by Southwest 2023, get a preview of some of the most-anticipated acts who will hit the stage in Austin.

GRAMMYs/Mar 15, 2023 - 03:30 pm

When South by Southwest takes over Austin, Texas every spring, the city explodes with culture, new ideas and fresh sounds. Hundreds of artists descend to perform a variety of engaging showcases, intimate sets and show-stopping performances hoping to make their mark.

Since the festival's inception in 1987, the SXSW music showcase has become one of the largest music festivals in the world; everyone from Patti Smith to Childish Gambino to Garth Brooks has been on the bill. But one of the biggest draws of SXSW is the chance for music discovery, as bands from all over the world travel to Austin each year — and this year alone, 1,400 bands will perform throughout the week.

As the 2023 iteration gets into full swing, check out nine buzzing artists appearing at SXSW, including a recent GRAMMY-winning duo, a viral rapper on a victory lap, and popular English music collective rock outfit who is starting to turn heads stateside.

Wet Leg

Performing as part of the British Music Embassy showcase, the curiously named Wet Leg is composed of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers, who spin bright, buoyant pop that reflects an innocence. As a result, their knack for songwriting and performance garnered them two GRAMMYs in February for Best Alternative Music Performance for single "Chaise Longue"  and Best Alternative Album for their eponymous debut (they were also nominated for Best New Artist). As if that weren't enough, their charming hilarity has helped them they've also become TikTok darlings, collecting over 13 million likes on the platform.

"We're just trying to enjoy where we are and where we're going and see what happens," Chambers told GRAMMY.com last year. "I really can't think too far ahead right now — it's a bit scary."

Sans Soucis

Recently singled out by The Hollywood Reporter as a highlight of this year's festival, Italo-Congolese artist Sans Soucis' sound is branded as a "soul-invigorating" artist. They blend a variety of disparate styles — such as Congolese Rumba, R&B and alt-pop — into a tidy and refreshing sonic package, landing somewhere in between Solange and PinkPantheress. Just listen to the effervescent melodies of the standout track "All Over this Party" for evidence of a sharp talent.

"Sometimes I do solo improvisation sessions," they recently said of their songwriting technique. "I just connect pedals to my synth and record random stuff. On another day, I'll start sampling sounds from them." 

Armani White

Hot off his viral track "Billie Eilish," rapper  Armani White rolls into Texas as one of the festival's more well-known featured performers. It's a victory lap that also marks a new chapter for the 26 year-old Philadelphia native who recently released the follow-up single "GOATED," an extension of what he refers to as "happy hood music."

"You see the smile on my face, you see all my jagged teeth and you have no idea what the hell I've been through," he told Notion earlier this year. "That's really what I want to portray – no matter what you go through, you still find a way to stand up and smile."

Divino Nino

Influenced by '60s-era bands including the Beach Boys and the Lovin' Spoonful, Chicago natives Divino Nino trace their roots back to Bogota, Colombia. As a result, the mix of the music of their heritage along with their various influences from the '60s manifest itself in spirited and catchy songs like "XO" and "Drive" which boast both Spanish and English lyrics.

"When I listen to a good song, my body inherits the feelings of that track," said vocalist Javier Forero to the website 15 Questions. "I just become intoxicated and get inspired to dance or make a track that reminds me of those feelings."

Steam Down

Considered a household name in the busy London music scene, the collective Steam Down makes their American debut at SXSW to demonstrate why their star is rising back home. A music collective founded by the producer Ahanse, their debut single, "Free My Skin," promptly set the internet on fire upon its release. Along with now infiltrating the American market, they're currently prepping a highly anticipated debut album.

"How can we live in a more harmonious way?" says Ahnase of his overarching goal to Sussex Jazz Magazine. "How can we create the feeling of what that can be? That inspired what Steam Down is now, which is: how do we start thinking about how music can be the tool for creating harmony between people?"

Balming Tiger

From a London music collective to a South Korean one, Balming Tiger is made up of a ragtag group of creatives (including rapper Omega Sapien and the singer/songwriter Sogumm). Their esoteric production and melodically adventurous songs may make you think of BROCKHAMPTON, but with a K-pop twist. The group heads to SXSW riding high on their biggest success to date, the popular "섹시느낌 SEXY NUKIM" which features BTS member RM and has collected 52 million streams on Spotify alone.

"We are pushing our agenda to broaden the genre of K-Pop," frontman Omega Sapien told High Snobiety last year. "The world is not ready for this part of K-Pop yet. Welcome to the dark side."

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

With a name like that, you could have perhaps guessed that the group is a stoner-rock band. Hailing from Newcastle, England, the eccentric group — also known as Pigs x7 — has been steadily rising since the release of their quirky 2017 debut Feed the Rats, which began a fearless hard-rock reputation. The group rolls into Austin weeks after the release of their fourth album, Land of Sleeper.

"As a band we're constantly playing on the edge of absurdity and absolute commitment to seriousness," guitarist/producer Sam Grant recently told The Line Of Best Fit. "Somehow we're constantly trying to sit in the middle of it..."

The Lemon Twigs

Hailing from Long Island, New York, this duo made up of brothers Brian and Michael D'Addario was born out of a childhood as Broadway performers. Now in their late 20s, the pair later zeroed an artist project of their own and set to release their fourth studio album, Everything Harmony, in May.

As a result of their indie-slash-glam rock sound, the group has won praise from everyone including Iggy Pop and Elton John, the latter of whom raved of the group: "They're so out of left field in their songs. They don't have any rules and that's sometimes the way it should be."

Baseball Gregg

After California native Samuel Regan met Bologna, Italy-born Luca Lovisetto while studying abroad in Italy, the two became musical partners — and now, they're eight years and four studio albums in. The shimmering sounds of Baseball Gregg will be on display all over Austin, including a showcase presented by the Italian Trade Agency. Their music, meanwhile, has inflections of sunny California pop; take for instance "Sad Sandra" which opens with a glistening synth and is complimented by falsetto vocals that joyfully shine like the sun.

Get Hyped For Ultra Music Festival 2023 With Sounds From Carl Cox, Kx5, Nicky Romero, Claude VonStroke & More

2024 GRAMMY Nominees For Best Remixed Recording Discuss The Art Of The Remix
Joshua Omead Mobaraki of Wet Leg

Photos: Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images

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2024 GRAMMY Nominees For Best Remixed Recording Discuss The Art Of The Remix

In a roundtable discussion, 2024 GRAMMY nominees Dom Dolla, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Wet Leg, Terry Hunter and BADBADNOTGOOD share the processes behind their nominated songs, what makes a great remix, and their favorites remixes of all time.

GRAMMYs/Jan 23, 2024 - 02:10 pm

Given that a remix is an edit of an existing, complete song, one could assume it's easier to craft than an original track. The 2024 GRAMMY nominees for Best Remixed Recording prove otherwise: When done right, the remix is a rather painstaking craft that can give entirely new life to a song, even ones you already thought were perfect.

The nominees for Best Remixed Recording demonstrate the breadth and magic of the remix. Alt-jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD amps up and expands on Turnstile and Blood Orange's "Alien Love Call," while DJ/producer Dom Dolla turns the Gorillaz collab with Tame Impala and Bootie Brown, "New Gold," into a trippy dance floor heater. Chicago house legend Terry Hunter gives an unreleased '90s Mariah Carey track, "Workin' Hard," a timeless house groove. Dance pop artist Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs speeds Lane 8's instrumental piano house ballad "Reviver" into a bright jungle gem, and Wet Leg's debut remix is a dark dreamy disco edit of Depeche Mode's "Wagging Tongue."

GRAMMY.com recently spoke to all six nominees about their nominated songs, what constitutes a great remix and their favorites remixes of all time.

Congrats on your nomination! What does it mean to you to be nominated for the GRAMMY for Best Remixed Recording and to be acknowledged by your peers in this way?

Dom Dolla: I mean, it's the highest honor in music. I never thought it would be something that I would be considered for. Funnily enough, my manager said his gut feeling was it would have been for a remix first because that's where I started. I started as a DJ and when I moved into music production, I started off by remixing things and became known within the scene for remixes. This was before I delved into learning to be a lyricist and a songwriter. It's kind of like finally getting the nod for all of those remixes I punched out over the years.

Terry Hunter: Man, it is really dope to go back-to-back with this [category] with two major, iconic artists. [Editor's note: Hunter earned a nod last year for his remix of Beyoncé's "Break My Soul."] Each time, I wasn't expecting it. 

Most of the Best Remixed Recording [2024 nominees] are dance records. I'm from Chicago, the city that birthed house music, so to have that represented on such a major level is really amazing. That's a great achievement in my opinion.

Wet Leg guitarist Josh Mobaraki: It's f—ing crazy, so cool. We had literally no idea that was gonna happen. We had so much fun making it. We'd never done a remix before; we're a band and were just wondering what people might expect. It's really encouraging and exciting. 

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: First of all, it is my second nomination in my career, so I can persuade myself that it's not a fluke…it makes me think that maybe I do have a seat at the table. Also, the track that got nominated is surprising to me. It's not something I thought a lot of people would understand and certainly not put forward for a GRAMMY nomination. It's not a commercial remix or a style that's often recognized by institutions. I'm really pleased about that, because I think the only way that this could have got through is that people really listened to it.

BADBADNOTGOOD producer and drummer Alexander Sowinski: It’s a huge honor! We honestly never thought we would achieve something like this and to be recognized by an institution like the GRAMMYs is amazing.

How did you approach remixing the nominated track?

Dom Dolla: This was actually one of the most fiddly remixes I've ever done. I'm a huge fan of Gorillaz, Booty Brown and Tame [Impala] and I just wanted to get it right. Knowing that it was the only remix that they were going to do for [2023's Cracker Island], I was like, I can't f— this up. So, I approached each section individually. I had one entire Ableton session built upon drums and toms, one for sound design, one for sampling the record and using interesting delays, one for chords, and then I put them all together. There were hundreds of channels as opposed to 40 or 50 like I would normally have.

It was the third attempt [that finally worked]. It took a bit longer than a remix normally would for me. At my first solo show at the Shrine in L.A., I opened with it and the crowd reaction made me feel, Yep. We're onto something.

Terry Hunter: I got the call that [Mariah Carey] was working on this 30th anniversary remix project of the Music Box, her first album. [They asked me to remix] "I've Been Thinking About You." I love that song. I mean, Mariah is the diva of all divas, and she shows it in every way with her amazing vocal performance. When Mariah came out [onto the music scene], I had a major crush on her, so that made it even more special.

I was even more humbled and shocked that once she had heard what I did, they called me to remix another record for an unreleased song that she recorded in 1993, produced by C&C Music Factory. In the '90s, C&C Music Factory ran it — they were the number one guys to go to for production and remixes — I had to do them justice on the unreleased track. The original has that classic '90s C&C feel to it and to go more house, more soulful, a more gospel feel with it was really amazing. It's a reproduction in my opinion.

Wet Leg (Josh Mobaraki): Hester [Chambers] was like, "Let's do a disco song," which is basically her response to quite a lot of "What are we gonna do?" I'd seen other remixes of Depeche Mode, which are a lot of quite long electronic tracks. We found another way to do something in a similar vein but a little bit closer to us. We just played and experimented and that first session was really great and fun. 

Then Ellis [Durand] came around to do the bassline and we spent the whole evening trying every single different bassline that we could come up with and ended up on a single note. Hester wrote and performed the new vocal on the remix. And she picked up a flute — really, a piece of bamboo with some holes in it — and it just happened to fit. We wrote around that and then plopped the lead vocal. Rather than affecting it loads and loads, we sped the whole thing up and that brought a new timbre to the vocal.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: I get asked to do a lot of remixes and there has to be a few things that are right for me to say yes. I have to like the project and want to be part of it — because you're then forever part of it — and I have to like the music. I have a lot of respect for Lane 8 and the world and career he's built. I liked the song because it was a very upfront EDM track, in the original form of EDM from 2010, 2011: big drums, big synth melody, what I would call kind of trance-y and very emotive. 

I took bars two to six of the eight-bar chord sequence and built my remix around those bits because that's where the lush stuff was for me. Once I found my mood with it, I went to 165 BPM or so — it was probably 120 to start. I tried doing a couple of house mixes which didn't feel exciting to me at all, probably because he'd already done a big four-four version of his idea. I basically did a (melodic) jungle remix, which is really fun for me because that's the first type of music I started making when I was a teenager and the thing that got me into music. I'm really grateful that he allowed me to take that risk because now there's a GRAMMY nomination. [Chuckles.]

BADBADNOTGOOD: The track came together in a pretty informal way. We were sent the stems for the Turnstile song and ended up jamming with a few friends in our studio in Toronto.

How do you generally approach remixes?

Dom Dolla: You're a lot more limited. When I'm listening to something someone asked me to do a remix of, I'll often listen to the vocal and the main hook elements, to see if there are things that stand out. As I'm listening, I try to delete the other elements in my mind.

If it's a melodic vocal like Damon Albarn's sung part in ["New Gold"], I'll imagine the mood I want to convey by changing the chord progression behind it. [The song has] these little ad-lib vocal rap parts and little grunts as well that I liked. I pick the elements that I really like and compound all my favorite sections and delete everything else that I don't think I'll use in the remix and limit myself to the sections that I love. Then I change the chords and get weird with production and stuff. And then drums are a whole other thing. I treat drums separately.

Terry Hunter: I still have the same formula. With a remix, for me, everything starts with the drums. They have to be in the pocket and then I start building from there. If I'm sitting down with any of my musicians, we may come up with a bassline or some chords. But before any of that, I gotta have the drums 75 percent done, because that's gonna tell the direction of where we're gonna go with the remix.

Wet Leg (Josh Mobaraki): Obviously, we [haven't made other remixes]. I've been making beats in my bedroom for 10 years and when I was younger, I was doing the band thing. [With this remix], I got to do my thing, in a way. Like every other bedroom producer, I spend a lot of time making four- or eight-bar loops. I love writing music with a computer. I've spent ages trying to work out how to make the sounds that I really love from other records, or even sounds that I don't really like so that I can sort of like them. 

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: I'm looking for what I love in the original and I try to focus on and build something around that. For me, it's a really fun opportunity to do a particular kind of creative work where you kind of kick a ball of string down a hill and see where it ends up. I don't go into them knowing exactly what I want to do. You're re-presenting somebody's musical idea through a new lens, and I think it should feel like you've really gone there creatively and intellectually and pushed it. I think even the remixes that appear very simple still do that, the good ones.

It's definitely a big creative endeavor for me, maybe more so than writing original music sometimes. With original music, you might not turn an idea upside down and shake it out as much. With remixing, I'll take every sound that the artist gives me and I'll try and make something new out of it. I imagine other people approach it very differently.

BADBADNOTGOOD: Generally, we like to isolate the vocal track and take it out of context as much as possible. For this one, we thought the tone and timbre of Brendan [Yate]’s voice really sounded interesting over our groove and gave it a different feel. We also had a lot of fun with the dancey section over Dev Hynes’ [a.k.a. Blood Orange] bridge.

Does remixing feel like a separate muscle from making your own productions or collabing with another artist?

Dom Dolla: Remixing is a similar creative muscle but with a bit of a different mindset. It’s often a balance of re-imagining the hooks within the original record by surrounding them with a different mood or energy. I’ve always been super selective about remixing tracks for that exact reason, I never try to force it or use elements from the original that I don’t love. Writing original music is much more of a blank slate, which can make it as daunting as it is exciting.

Terry Hunter: It definitely is a different muscle that you're using because with remixes you have no control over the song. You have to make your idea of what you're feeling with the song and you have to work around that. And sometimes you have the pleasure of working with artists where the vocals were a little different and you ask if they can recut them to the music. That sometimes gives it a better feel to make it sound more original or organic. In the case with Mariah and Beyoncé, the vocals were perfect so there was no need to recut.

When you're collaborating with people, it's always great. It's a different energy because someone might come up with a sample or a bassline and that might trigger some drums and a chord progression.

Wet Leg (Josh Mobaraki): I over-intellectualize it a bit and then the girls are both, "Let's just have fun." And then I'm like, "Oh, yeah, let's do that."

[The remix] felt a bit like when we started making "Chaise Longue" and Wet Dream. That was me, Hester and Rhian [Teasdale] in this flat that we're talking to you from now, and that's the same place that me and Hester started this remix. 

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: Yeah, it does. I think I have a remixing style that's separate from my original music production stuff. I think it's a part of my character as a musician that's slightly different from my other bits, if that makes sense. [Laughs.]

BADBADNOTGOOD: Absolutely, it’s a nice in-between because we can lean on the artist’s vocals and figure out a unique way to support it. It makes the initial writing process fun because you have such a strong starting point already. 

What do you think makes a great remix?

Dom Dolla: It depends on the intention, I suppose. If we're talking about house music, I think it's about great drums, great bassline, great hooks and it working on the dance floor. I think the intention of a great remix is giving it a new direction and introducing it to a whole different audience who wouldn't normally listen to it. For me, it's What are the parts of the song that I love and how do I introduce that to the house music world?

Terry Hunter: When you remix a record, the [original] artist or label is calling on that particular remixer to try to adapt what it is that you do sonically so you can stay true to yourself and your fans but also pay respect and complement the original. A remix is a hard thing to do. But technology allows people to make, in my opinion, lazy music. It can be quick and onto the next, but the feeling is not there, it's kind of cookie cutter-ish.

I think as long as you pay homage to the original and stay true — and even if you don't, sometimes you can just strip everything from it, and just come up with your own creative ideas. There's no right or wrong way. I feel there's no rules in music. It's just, when you hear that song, does it do anything for you?

Wet Leg (Josh Mobaraki): Sometimes a remix or a mashup almost feels like a magic trick. If you can make that feeling, that's really amazing. Usually that [happens by] recontextualizing a song that you really love. 

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: When something really has its own flavor. A [good remix] takes a step back from the original source material, and you can hear that. There is always an element of deconstruction and reconstruction, and I think people like hearing that. Even with the very first ideas of the remix with the 12-inch mix and singles in the '80s and '90s, people enjoyed hearing the extended intros and outros. We still enjoy that; hearing the ideas spread out and chopped up.

BADBADNOTGOOD: Really just hearing elements of artists’ work taken out of context and infused with the energy of whoever is doing the remix is so fascinating.

What are some of your favorite remixes of all time by other artists and what makes them special?

Dom Dolla: The trentemøller remix of "Moan" is one of my favorites. It has really interesting sound design that stands the test of time. It's always just been really quirky and interesting. I feel like if it came out now, it would be really relevant and cool. The Thin White Duke remix of "What Else Is There" by Röyksopp is a melodic, euphoric, favorite moment of mine, I love playing that in sets.

Terry Hunter: I'm gonna have to shout out Masters at Work. They're good friends of mine so I'm being biased but not really because I get inspired from their work. They've remixed Saint Etienne, BeBe Winans, Madonna, Roy Ayers; everybody under the sun. Also, big shout out to David Morales and the late, great Frankie Knuckles, all of who are both GRAMMY winners and an inspiration for me for remixes and DJing.

[Picking] a favorite remix is so tough. It's not a remix, but it's a cover of a song by Rotary Connection; "It's All Right, I Feel It" by Masters at Work [as Nuyorican Soul] featuring Jocelyn Brown is probably one of my favorites. And Frankie Knuckles' remix of "The Pressure" by Sounds Of Blackness. David Morales has done a lot of major things but his remix of Jamiroquai "Space Cowboy" was massive.

Wet Leg (guitarist and vocalist Hester Chambers): That's a tough question. The Soulwax remix of "Midnight Dipper" by Warmduscher is a great remix. Soulwax in general, obviously. Also, the Soulwax remix of ["A Hero's Death" by] Fontaines D.C. is one of my favorites. My favorite part about that one is the steely synth line — it's a new addition, a new melody from the original song, but it's so catchy and really rad. Maybe that's what's so special about remixes is you can love a song and then somebody remixes it and it's a new interpretation and a new interaction for your brain with the song that you already love. 

[I also love] the Confidence Man remix of CHAI ["END"]. Deftones put out a really fun remix album a couple years ago of White Pony. I have so much nostalgia for that album, so it's lovely to have a new experience of it.

Wet Leg (Josh Mobaraki): This is an answer to a different question, but my first favorite remix was that Linkin Park and Jay-Z [EP], Collision Course. I think my mom was listening to loads and Linkin Park at the time. and stuff like that. I was like, Whoa.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs: For me, one of the kings of remixing is the producer Shep Pettibone. He's kind of the godfather of the original pop dance floor remix. That sometimes is about just making a slightly punchier 12-inch version of the track and sometimes it's about really turning it upside down. His remix of "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order is one of the best songs of all time, really, and his remix is better than the original. His remixes are about maximizing the pop song in a dance floor context. His Paula Abdul "Knocked Out" remix is a bit crazier and dubby and strange.

He's a big inspiration for me and one of the people I heard in my late-teens, early-20s that made me think I could get into four-four music, like house and disco, because I was very against that. I was all about breakbeats and hip-hop beats and jungle as a teenager. He was also a producer-producer and did a lot of Madonna's stuff. His remix of Jane Child's "Don't Wanna Fall in Love" is so good.

BADBADNOTGOOD: Some of our favorite remixes are the versions of songs that draw you further into it with fresh energy and feeling. A few of them: D’Angelo "Lady (feat. AZ) [Just Tha Beat Mix]", Björk "I Miss You (Dobie Rub Part One - Sunshine Mix)," Janet Jackson "If (Kaytranada Remix)," Sade "By Your Side (Neptunes Remix)," De La Soul "Stakes is High (J Dilla Remix)" and Nas "The World Is Yours (Q-Tip Remix)."

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Hip-Hop Re:Defined: Armani White Gives Lil Wayne's "A Milli" A Fresh, Personal Twist
Armani White

Photo: Courtesy of Armani White

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Hip-Hop Re:Defined: Armani White Gives Lil Wayne's "A Milli" A Fresh, Personal Twist

Philly-born newcomer Armani White personalizes Lil Wayne's GRAMMY-winning 2008 smash "A Milli" by shouting out his hometown in the lyrics.

GRAMMYs/Sep 27, 2023 - 05:00 pm

Lil Wayne had already hit a new high point when he released "A Milli" in the winter of 2008. "Lollipop," the single that directly preceded "A Milli," had scored the rap legend his first hat trick by hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Rap Songs charts.

With "A Milli," the rapper born Dwayne Carter Jr. continued his chart-topping success by capturing yet another No. 1 on the latter two tallies and winning him the GRAMMY for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 2009 ceremony. The modern classic also heralded Wayne's blockbuster album Tha Carter III, which became the final album of the decade to sell more than a million copies in its opening week.

In this new episode of Hip-Hop Re:Defined, rising rap star Armani White tackles Wayne's noughties smash, with the Philadelphia-born newcomer building his flow over the same stuttering sample of A Tribe Called Quest's "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo" as the original.

"A millionaire/ I'm a West Philly millionaire, tougher than Nigerian hair/ My criteria compared to your career just isn't fair," White raps, personalizing the lyrics with a shout-out to his hometown while still echoing Weezy's trademark cadence.

In May, White dropped his major-label debut, Road to Casablanco, with the EP led by his viral single "BILLIE EILISH" and its official remix featuring Ludacris, Busta Rhymes and N.O.R.E.

Press play on the video above to watch White rip through "A Milli," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Hip-Hop Re:Defined.

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Introducing Hip-Hop Re:Defined, A Limited Online Series Paying Tribute To Hip-Hop's Greatest Hits

Image courtesy of the Recording Academy

Introducing Hip-Hop Re:Defined, A Limited Online Series Paying Tribute To Hip-Hop's Greatest Hits

The new series Hip-Hop Re:Defined asks an artist to perform an original, live cover of a classic hip-hop song. The series launches Aug. 9.

GRAMMYs/Aug 7, 2023 - 06:46 pm

The Recording Academy has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop year-round — now, it's joining in the celebration via its bounty of video content.

In honor of hip-hop's 50th Anniversary, GRAMMY.com has created a limited online series, Hip-Hop Re:Defined, a series paying tribute to some of hip-hop's greatest hits. In this new series, artists will perform an original, live cover of a classic hip-hop song. 

This 10-episode series launches on Aug. 9. Armani White, Bizzy Banks and Asha Imuno are among the artists included in Hip-Hop Re:Defined. 

Artists could pick a GRAMMY-winning or -nominated song, but hip-hop was around for 15 years before the Academy made a category for it, so artists were welcome to pick from the entire hip-hop catalog.

Hip-Hop Re:Defined will be posted weekly for six episodes and then begin posting every other week for the remainder of the series. 

Performances will be published to GRAMMY.com, as well as the Recording Academy's YouTube channel, Facebook and Instagram, with additional support from Twitter. Watch this space as this limited series flourishes and develops in service of a quintessential American artform!

Listen To GRAMMY.com's 50th Anniversary Of Hip-Hop Playlist: 50 Songs That Show The Genre's Evolution

6 Female-Fronted Acts Reviving Rock: Wet Leg, Larkin Poe, Gretel Hänlyn & More
(Clockwise from left) Larkin Poe, Gretel Hänlyn, BRATTY, Olivia Jean, Dutch Mustard

Photos: Jason Stoltzfus; Jasper Cable-Alexander; Christian Alanis; Jada + David; Courtesy of artist 

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6 Female-Fronted Acts Reviving Rock: Wet Leg, Larkin Poe, Gretel Hänlyn & More

Long a staple of the form, 2023 sees even more women leading the hell out of rock bands. Read on for six rising acts whose bold sound and brash energy are taking rock to new heights.

GRAMMYs/Apr 21, 2023 - 01:54 pm

Neil Young once proclaimed that "rock and roll can never die," and while the genre isn't necessarily topping charts or playlists today, there are signs that rock music is coming back in a big way. In 2023, Neil's truth is being upheld by female rockers.  

Long a staple of the form — rock was pioneered by a woman, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, iterated on by female-led groups like Heart and Jefferson Airplane, revived and reformed by the likes of Bikini Kill, and onward to Paramore — women's contributions to rock remain less feted than those of their male counterparts. 

Yet female rockers and female-led bands are resonating with today’s younger audiences in big ways, following a culture shift that has resulted in more space for young women to express themselves. Gen-Z and younger millennial artists such as Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and boygenius are known for their honest lyricism; it’s only natural that they’ve gravitated toward the fiery release of rock to further reflect their own individual experience.

Eilish’s GRAMMY-nominated breakup anthem "Happier Than Ever" invokes the classic rock format of beginning acoustic and swelling into an epic band finish complete with a guitar solo and a final 20 seconds of feedback-driven noise. Rodrigo has several rock songs on her smash hit debut album SOUR including "good 4 u," another enraged breakup song with emo tinges that is currently sitting at 1.7 billion streams on Spotify. 

Finally, while the debut album from boygenius, the record, is mostly in the indie wheelhouse of members Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus, the single "$20" is an alt-meter rock song. The trio details the stories of early youth wherein all it takes to avoid responsibility is $20; Bridgers literally screams her request for money at the song's close.

But how to define rock —  is it a feeling or an attitude? A sound or a set of instruments? For the purposes of this list, rock is categorized as guitar-forward and band-based. First and foremost, guitar is at the forefront — generally distorted, though an acoustic or clean sound can lend an upbeat energy or psychedelic quality. Second, rock is a band genre, even if a group is named after one person, the band creates real cohesion (e.g. the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Steve Miller Band).  In 2023, women are leading the hell out of these bands.

Read on for a list of rising artists whose sound and spirit rock.

Wet Leg

As Wet Leg, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers took home a number of golden gramophones at the 2023 GRAMMYs: Best Alternative Music Album for their self-titled debut, and Best Alternative Music Performance for "Chaise Longue." 

Although they didn’t win in the "rock" categories, their guitar-driven success defines the current generation of rock music (to the point that they even beat out well-established acts like Arctic Monkeys and Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

Utterly simple in its song form, "Chaise Lounge"  captures Gen Z's disillusionment about college, viewing it as more of a gateway to light-hearted debauchery than a path to vocational freedom. Then they tear through the disillusionment with a high-energy, limb-shaking guitar riff.

Gretel Hänlyn

Rock and roll was certainly invented by Black American artists, but British musicians have consistently innovated and expanded the genre —  from the Beatles launching the British invasion, to Sabbath morphing rock into heavy metal, to Pink Floyd’s exploration of progressive psychedelia. Coming out of London, Gretel Hänlyn (pronounced hen-line) is upholding all the best traditions of British rock. 

Hänlyn explores every current corner of rock on her recently released EP, Head of the Love Club, and her previous, Slugeye

With a uniquely deep and resonant tone, Hänlyn has the power and versatility of a crooner. That ability defines the sound of "Dry Me" and other works throughout Hänlyn's catalog. She alters her delivery to befit the yelping and joyful side of rock on "King of Nothing" as well as the seething and scary side on "Drive." 

BRATTY

Coming out of Sinaloa Mexico, BRATTY is one of the female rock artists playing Coachella 2023, sharing her invigorated brand of the languorous sound of surf rock.

BRATTY's seaside exploits surely influenced the loungey and chilled-out feel of songs like "Honey, No Estás" and "tarde." With swells and sustains that are reminiscent of ocean sounds, BRATTY’s music transcends language barriers. 

Given that the festival has been without a major rock headliner since Guns ‘N Roses in 2016, the rock artists on the lineup this year are there to demonstrate the lifeblood of the genre. BRATTY’s contribution demonstrates that rock can be slower, softer, and just as effective. 

Olivia Jean

Olivia Jean isn’t just a former member of Jack White’s touring band. She’s not just his wife, either. She’s an artist all on her own, and she rocks hard

As a solo artist, Jean has released two albums, an EP, and a single on White's Third Man Records. Prior to that, she was releasing on the label via The Black Belles, her all-female garage-goth project, which put out a self-titled album in 2011 along with four singles.

Jean’s fingerprints go even deeper into the Third Man archives via her session contributions to different releases like Tom Brosseau and John C. Reilly’s seven-inch single, Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar.

No matter where she’s lent her vocal and instrumental talent, her loud yet bubbly sound is a welcome addition to the catalog.

Jean’s forthcoming album, Raving Ghost, (out May 5 on Third Man), and its first single, "Trouble," touches on all the traditional rock favorites like pentatonic power chords and call-and-response guitar squeals. You can check out Oliva Jean's rock on her American tour in May and June.  

Larkin Poe

Fun fact about the sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell of Larkin Poe: They are distantly related to Edgar Allen Poe. With that kind of connection, it’s only natural their rendition of rock carries a certain connection to the sounds of generations past. Many of those older sounds of rock and roll stem from their native American South, and manifest in influences of blues and Americana that were born of the same region.

Larkin Poe's Venom & Faith was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 2019 GRAMMYs. Grounded in swinging rhythms and twangy notes that have hallmarked the blues since its inception, the Lovells demonstrate their understanding of the music’s roots on a technical and emotional level, alongside their ability to carry the genre into the present.

Their latest album, Blood Harmony, follows the hereditary thread of blues giving birth to rock and roll. Larkin Poe dial back the swing just a bit and turn it up to 11 for hot and distorted tracks like  "Bad Spell," which features guitar breaks that will have Stevie Ray Vaughn jamming along in his grave.

Dutch Mustard

Another product of London, Sarah-Jayne Riedel fronts the just-out-of-the-gate alternative rock band, Dutch Mustard. Last year Dutch Mustard released their debut EP An Interpretation of Depersonalisation, and was quickly featured on BBC, getting airplay on Radio 1’s Future Artists and being selected by none other than rock's enduring sage Iggy Pop on 6 Music.

Dutch Mustard produces a sound that is as dreamy as it is heavy, finding that middle ground in guitar tone between fuzzy and pristine. Then on songs like "Something To You," vocal layering adds a hopeful flavor. Dutch Mustard, like the other artists on this list, make listeners feel hope not just for the band, but for the future of rock.

That future is especially bright considering Riedel wrote all the songs and demoed all the instruments herself in her bedroom before bringing in other musicians. The first EP was written entirely during the first COVID lockdown as well.

With that kind of creativity and versatility coming from her, there is no telling where she’ll take her music as her career moves forward into an open industry.

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