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This week, the Breaks eulogizes Howard University Homecoming staple Yardfest, while examining new music from Logic and Kali Uchis.

A Howard University Homecoming Tradition Comes to an End
On the Friday during Howard University’s Homecoming week, I would typically be gearing up for Yardfest, a free concert that serves as a valued moment of reunion for alumni. For the first time in years, that won’t be happening, as the university put an end to the event in the wake of last year’s concert debacle, which left nine people injured.

Yardfest was arguably the crown jewel of Howard’s homecoming celebration, drawing the biggest names in hip-hop (the legendary Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, a young Kanye West, and Drake) on an annual basis. Its cancellation comes as little surprise considering what happened last year, but it indicates the end of an era which, as a Howard alumnus, is depressing.

Replacing the tradition will be a free event featuring DJ sets from DJ Drama, Biz Markie and DJ Quicksilva, as well as the vendors normally present during Yardfest. Meanwhile, MeccaFest, a combination of music and arts that’s unaffiliated with the university, will invade St. Elizabeth’s East campus in Southeast D.C. today in the time slot that Yardfest held for years. The MeccaFest bill includes Atlanta rapper Future, Chicago crooner Jeremih, and Rae Sremmurd, the teenage Mississippi duo famous for their breakout single “No Flex Zone.”

The attempt to carry Yardfest’s torch continues tomorrow night, as a concert featuring Brooklyn rapper Fabolous and laid-back L.A. MC Dom Kennedy will take place at the D.C. Armory. Yardfest may be gone, but it has inspired other events which will try to uphold what made it special. Its end is sad, but will hopefully make students, alumni, and everyone else who experienced it truly appreciate what once was.

Logic, Buried Alive by Fame’s Cost
The reality that Logic’s debut album, Under Pressure, is about to be released is finally sinking in. The periods of silence about the album have been replaced by a nonstop stream of updates, which, thankfully, include a flood of new music. The latest leak, “Buried Alive,” finds Logic coping with the stress associated with being on the brink of stardom.

“Do you really want to be famous? Do you really want to be a superstar?” he asks himself on the song’s opening verse. Fame is alluring when its distant, but once artists get a closer look, its shine can look a lot dimmer.

The other highlight of Logic’s week was his appearance during one of the cyphers at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. It was a pretty good promotional lob for Under Pressure, which is out next Tuesday.


Kali Uchis’ Visual Representation of the Friend Zone
It’s not easy to explain Kali Uchis’ sound, and that works to her advantage. Uchis, who hails from Virginia by way of Colombia, blends hip-hop, R&B, and other genres including doo-wop to produce a sound with distinct character. The pained vocals and ska-like bounce of “Know What I Want” complements her new video, which has the odd feel of a Harmony Korine film. (See Spring Breakers for reference.)

On “Know What I Want,” an exasperated Uchis rejects a former lover’s pleas for reconciliation, affirming what she wants (hence the title). The visual, a collage of memorable images, takes a surprising turn with a gentleman resembling an extra from Allen and Albert Hughes’ 1993 film Menace ll Society bound and gagged in Uchis’ bathtub. She proceeds to taunt him as the video-turned-revenge-flick continues.

Uchis delivers her “Should’ve left your ass in the friend zone” lyric like a knockout punch before deciding this young man’s fate, driving to the desert and depositing him there. This depiction of the friend zone and the definite end of a relationship is a brilliant touch by Uchis and co-director Chris Black. The friend zone has never felt more distant or desolate.

Her Por Vida release is due out early next year.

Photo by Perry Stein