Jared Star TrekDJ Red drinks more water for this review. Artwork by Sarah Faulkner.Jared Chesnut - BlazeRadio DJ/Operations Manager

Disclaimer: Red Bull kindly and generously provided transport, lodging, and access to Mick Jenkins’ performance in Nashville. That said, the views and opinions of the album are solely those of the author.

My first exposure to Mick Jenkins was a cram study session ahead of his October gig for Red Bull Sound Select in Nashville. For whatever reason his name was one that I hadn’t really paid attention to around the studio. That said, what little I had time to hear from the Huntsville native set up some solid expectations, which were absolutely met on a cold October night in the packed full Exit/In. Between a constant flow between styles, messages, and a treatise to “drink more water,” Jenkins carried a charisma on-stage with him that boosted his material. It was after that fact that I got a hold his late September release “The Healing Component.”

Jared Chesnut - BlazeRadio DJ/Operations Manager

Before we get to the "tale of the tape", perhaps its best to fill you in on what kind of showdown we've got here.

Birmingham Big Battle is a 1v1, winner stays on competition between some of the best local artists and bands. Each week, the champion takes on a new challenger, with the winner decided via voting from our listeners on Twitter (@blazeradio, in case you were wondering). Voting runs through to the next Wednesday, where we'll announce the champ on that week's show.

Coloring Book Album Artwork DJ Swole - BlazeRadio DJ

Chance the Rapper released his highly anticipated third mixtape “Coloring Book” on Thursday, May 12th, through Apple Music. The independent artist who hails from Chicago release 14 songs with features from stars such as Young Thug, Lil Wayne, and Kirk Franklin. This mixtape is a follow up to his very well received mixtapes “10 Day” and “Acid Rap”. I took time to listen to it and this is what I came up with.

Zootopia PosterDJ Taz - BlazeRadio DJ

The Walt Disney Company is well known throughout the world as some of the best creators and tellers of stories known to mankind. Their tales are almost always instant classics, and still manage to capture to the hearts of children around the globe. The latest summer hit from Disney, “Zootopia”, is no different. “Zootopia” takes us to a world of anthropomorphic animals, specifically mammals. Here, every animal has forgone their primal instincts and donned a civilized manner, and they mostly congregate in the main city of Zootopia. Early on in the film, we are introduced to the lore of the world, saying that it used to be just a wild savage land, full of predators hunting and killing prey, until a treaty is struck up which protects the prey and makes the city of Zootopia a gleaming bastion of peace and prosperity. Here, all sorts of animals get along and have a generally peaceful life. Many can draw similarities between the city of Zootopia and modern metropolises like New York. 

The cover for Kanye's new album "The Life of Pablo."The cover for Kanye's new album "The Life of Pablo."Jared ChesnutStaff Writer

There are few certainties in life, death and taxes prime among them. Add to that list “When Kanye does anything, the world takes notice.” The man can go on a nonsensical Twitter rant hitting up Mark Zuckerberg for an investment and everyone will talk about it. He’ll talk about being 52 million dollars in debt then talk about how he’ll never sell his album, and news sites will run it. So it’s really no surprise that when “The Life of Pablo” dropped as a Tidal exclusive (legally, at least) after a bout of brainstorming album names, people were bound to pay attention.

David Bowie (1947-2016). Photo coutesy of SaturnDavid Bowie (1947-2016). Photo coutesy of Saturn.Jared Chestnut - BlazeRadio DJ

onsidering how much the life and passing of David Bowie has become involved in not only my personal life, but my work here with KScope and BlazeRadio as well, I’m beginning to feel like a bit of a Space Oddity. Perhaps I’ll major in this extraterrestrial curriculum, study the Spiders of Mars and whatnot.

As I sit at my computer, ears still ringing just hours after an amazing evening at Saturn, I realize that seems far more interesting than the mundane day-to-day. Gotta let all the children use it, lose it, and boogie, right?

Cover Night SchoolThe cover of Neon Indian's newest album "Vega Intl. Night School." (Photo from Neon Indian's website).Jared ChestnutBlaze Radio DJ

It’s been upwards of four years since Alan Palomo’s Neon Indian released its last album, Era Extraña, a fun, warm little slice of electro-pop goodness that dealt with matters of the heart and featured arcade blues. Since then, it’s been a journey that has included stolen equipment and tracks, treks across Mexico and TED talks about great film producers, composers and their influences on his work as an “auteur.” Along the way, the groundwork for “Vega Intl. Night School” was being laid, and at the tail end of 2015, the project finally broke through to see the light of day. Turns out the album is every bit as quirky and cool as the trek that preceded it.