Monthly Mix: Wivve

AT THE START OF EVERY MONTH, WE’LL BE FEATURING A MIX OF SONGS FROM DJS, WHIPPED UP ESPECIALLY FOR POPSCURE

The secret’s out – Wivve put out the call for this special mix on Instagram last month, and we took the bait. Hip hop heavy with house elements, it’s a guaranteed crowd pleaser to thrown on at any function.

The Virginia-based DJ spins all over the 757 and helps put on poppin’ events through Extra Company. In the past, he’s teamed up with Shake, and working with No Preserves this weekend for a stacked lineup, featuring session scarlet Opal and Stones Throw Record’s Simulator Jones.

 Don't miss this one, secure your tickets now at  nopreserves.org
Don’t miss this one, secure your tickets now at nopreserves.org

tracklist

Breathe (Bass Mix) – Hollaphonic
Blazin feat. Sophiegrophy – Airwolf
Ultimate (Yung Noize Remix) – Denzel Curry
I Want (Braveaux Mod) – MADEINTYO
Na Hora (Ft Faktiss & Chris McClenney) – Sángo
Russian Cream – Key Glock
Move – Key! & Kenny Beats
Love Hurts (feat. Travis Scott) – Playboi Carti
Live SheckWes Die SheckWes – Sheck Wes
Hater – Key! & Kenny Beats
PHARMACIST – NOLANBEROLLIN
PHARMACIST [UZUMI EDIT] – NOLANBEROLLIN
DOESKIFROMDAPACK – DOE$KI
New Slaves – Kanye West
Nonstop – Drake
Skateboard P – elijah who
Get It (4801 FREESTYLE) – Kyere

TBT: Kelly Herring Explores The Strength In Vulnerability With Intimate Portraits

by Shannon Jay, originally for Veer

Three years ago, I found a friend in longtime acquaintance Kelly Herring for my first published piece outside of my college paper. Our interesting conversation over beers at Taphouse sparked my love of divulging creative’s processes and exploring the work-art balance all artists struggle with.

She’s got a cushy city job now as Norfolk redevelopment housing authority’s graphic designer. “Got out of Whole Foods a year before Amazon took over and got rid of the artist job,” she said, “so good timing on my part.” Finding the balance is still hard, but she’s been able to make some headway on pieces she foreshadows in our 2015 interview (see progress above).

Her style is developing and changing, with time on her side. Keep up with her upcoming works at her website, kherring.com


With a full-time job as a designer at Whole Foods, Kelly Herring’s art engulfs her free time, with intricate drawings taking anywhere from a few weeks up to a month. Colorful paintings take a whopping three to six months to complete, each session lasting about six hours.

“If I wasn’t working 40 hours a week and trying to have a social life and relationship,” she said, large-scale oils would probably be her sole medium. Alas, bills must be paid, so Herring’s currently focused on drawings and watercolors to get her ideas out swiftly.

Herring’s new works also incorporates old family snapshots, exploring the idea of family, and learning to love kin purely.

“A lot of it is about… the need to be able to love and accept yourself but also figuring out your own identity,” she said, “and the need for other people to love and accept you for who you are.”

For Herring, this collection has a paternal focus. “A lot of the issues I have with [my dad] are a lot of the same issues I have inside of myself, and I know are the same issues he had with his dad, and probably his dad had with his dad, and so on and so forth.” Her new mixed media work hopes to explore a “generational cycle that makes us who we are,” underlying recurring issues in each upbringing.

Themes in newer work change the context of what she’s explored in past oil paintings, which take a close look at what she calls “pure and utter love” that’s “beautiful and wonderful.” Her nude subjects and empowering symbols highlight an oxymoronic strength in vulnerability, lifting daily veils for an intimate look at relationships.

One symbol she uses often is a cigarette to signify power and addictiveness. “When you’re in the early stages of love,” she said, “it’s this addictive rush.” Others include geometric symbols and icons of evolution, such as the Metatron’s Cube and magnolias, that convey a collective connectivity. “Everything [in nature] evolved to work together,” she said, “and I like to think that all of us on some level are connected that way.”

Each painting starts with a half-baked plan and Herring hitting up her dearest friends to model for a photoshoot. To be a subject, they must have “something they can share and bring to the table…something I’m trying to say and explore inside of myself as well,” she said. However, shoots always change Herring’s original vision when the model brings their personality to the table.

Plans deviate even further with each layer of oil, figuring itself out along the way. “Things build, relationships you didn’t see at first start becoming apparent the more paint you add,” says Herring, “every time you look at [a portrait], you see things in a new way.”

A two-year gap between Herring’s current and past works was filled with empty inspiration, riddled with frustrations and no outlet. “I didn’t know entirely know what I wanted to say… which made struggling so much harder,” she said. This rut was void of exhibitions, which she hopes to get back into before the years is up.

To get back into her grid, Herring turns to music to get brushes moving. For intimate portraits, she throws on classic soul like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, or “anything really sexy like that.”

Herring likes Tune-Yards’ unadulterated messages, and, much like her subjects, she “has something to say, and I like when people keep it real like she does.” The biggest inspiration for her recent project came from the latest Thao and the Get Down Stay Down release, which chronicles the troubling relationship between frontwoman Thao Nguyen and her father, who abandoned her at a young age.

Despite it’s personal subject matter, Herring wants people to relate. She paints her subjects as honestly as possible, and desires viewers to let themselves feel and experience the paintings instead of scanning the didactic panel for meaning. “What people take away from it is entirely up to them, and not up to me at all,” Herring said, her biggest hope being her blend of colors and images can make viewers look at the world a different way, if only for a moment.

Monthly Mix: FAKE UZUMI

EVERY MONTH, WE’LL BE FEATURING A MIX OF SONGS FROM DJS, WHIPPED UP ESPECIALLY FOR POPSCURE

Benji Uzumi has already been noticed by bigger outlets for his remixes and edits, but is still down to give our humble blog a taste of his unique, seamless blend. He’s already worked with pretty major artists like Opal as a producer, but still finds time to spin around town. He’s at GameWorks every Wednesday to soundtrack free adults-only arcading, and can be seen around town any given weekend.  

This mix celebrates his hard work and could be considered an ode to other Virginian artists who work just as hard but still stay humble. Along with VA artists featured like Masego and N.E.R.D, Uzumi proves 757 stands against top hip hop and house music real well.

tracklist

N.E.R.D. – Everybody Nose (Remix)
KP & ENVI – Shorty Swing My Way
Erykah Badu – On & On (Remix)
Yaeji – drink I’m sippin on
Barbara Tucker – Everybody Dance
Yaeji – Raingurl
Masego – Girls That Dance
Azealia Banks – Licorice
Les Sins – Bother
Aaliyah – One in a Million (Remix)
Nightcrawlers – Push the Feeling
Azealia Banks – Van Vogue
Nightcrawlers – Fall in Love
Lakim – The World is Yours
Theophilus London – TNT
Goldlink – Meditation
Duckwrth- I’m Dead
The internet – You Know
Kaytranada – I Can Love You
Chynna – Switch It Up

Spinnin’ A Soulful Stew: Sitting Down With DJ Soup

by Jerome Spencer

While hip-hop has always given shine and recognition to the producer, it’s only in recent years that instrumental hip-hop has risen to prominence. Certainly, my go-to when I’m trying to chill out and find my inner peace, I tend to go for the sample-based tranquil stuff I can nod out to and get lost in my thoughts; Sunday morning vibes all week.

Norfolk’s own Richard Soup has seemingly come out of nowhere to become the Sunday morning favorite of hip-hop heads everywhere. The son of Vietnamese refugees, Soup didn’t have the same musical upbringing that many of us take for granted.

“Up until I was like 6 or 7, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of English-speaking music,” he tells me via phone, “most of the music that I heard was either my parents singing old Vietnamese folk songs or they used to get these really cheesy variety show cassette tapes from Vietnam. Pretty much Vietnam was two decades behind, so whatever was going on musically in the late-80s/early-90s hadn’t caught on yet so they were featuring artists like Boney M. Disco was huge in Vietnam in the early-90s so my first exposure to English-speaking music was disco, which I still really love.” Soup’s musical palette soon branched out to whatever he could find at the thrift store; “The Carpenters, The Beatles…” (the guy talks real highly of The Carpenters).

Left Unspoken by Soup

It’s important to mention that Soup was taking music very seriously in high school.  He played viola in the orchestra and was taking courses in music theory and composition, but he also started getting really into hip hop. “De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and Digable Planets was my favorite stuff.” And while a lot of his friends were rapping and beat boxing, Soup had no interest in rapping and couldn’t beat box (who can beat box, really?) so he took to producing, naturally.

“I started using the software that we had in our music theory classes to write beats using sheet music and assigning instruments to make beats that way.” Let’s pause here because how cool does that sound?

In college, Soup was a music minor and got to study under a visiting professor who was really into electronic composition and specialized in arranging field recordings into more traditional sounding compositions.  This is also when Soup got his first MPC and started sampling. Soup can talk for hours about all of the great experimental things he learned and did with sound in college, but one of his beats tells the same story. His music is purposefully repetitive so that you can zone out and just catch the vibe, deceptively simple boom bap that comes from a deep understanding of what makes a song work.

Soup took an inadvertent break from music to go to law school and practice environmental litigation in New York, but started making music again when he moved back to Norfolk about three years ago.  He met other supportive hip hop producers, started doing “For the Record,” a producer event at The Groove that grew into family-friendly party/cypher, and has recently  collaborated with Better Beat Bureau’s Ologist and Thank You Gift Shop to organize Thanks For Listening, a “producer open-mic” at Selden Market.

But let’s not let his community contribution distract us from his tapes. His tapes are incredible. On the surface, 2016’s “Left Unspoken” and this year’s “Together” can simply come off as stellar beat tapes; just some head-nod beats with deep pockets to freestyle along with. And, honestly, that would be enough, but there’s so much more.

While the obvious influences are there (Pete Rock, Dilla, No I.D.), there’s a certain brightness and innovation that transcends a standard hip-hop instrumental album. But it’s not the kind of thing one can put into words. It’s kind of like how Picasso understood painting so well that he could no longer adhere to the rules and produce a traditional painting.

Soup paints soundscapes the way Pablo attacked a canvas, with ease and vibrant imagination. Perfect for cruising in your Jeep or watching the rain with a cup of tea, Soup has filled the void that was left when trip hop went mainstream and hip-hop found that sizzle pad on the drum machine. Whether you knew it or not, it’s something we all needed.