Virgil Griffith is a CalTech student who set out to find the correlation between average SAT/ACT scores and favorite bands, because life is short and we've all got to fill our days the best way we know how. Using Facebook, CollegeBoard stats and his own know-how, he put together this chart, broadly correlating bands' fan bases with their intellect. Of course, as he notes on his site, correlation does not equal causation, so the chart might not mean anything at all, but it's interesting. As you might expect, Beethoven fans are the smartest, followed by Sufjan fans. Meanwhile, Lil Wayne fans are solidly in last place. Among Christian bands, Jars of Clay fans rank smartest and as for last place, well, don't take it personally, Casting Crowns fans ... Discuss
For only the fifth time in Billboard history, a Christian album is sitting at the top of the charts this week. And you can probably guess who's behind this feat: Lecrae's been quietly building a hip-hop empire for the past few years, recording music where the faith is forceful instead of forced, and the beats are compelling instead of corny. If you haven't heard Anomaly yet, you're missing out on one of the better hip-hop albums to be released this year. Luckily for you, the whole thing is on Spotify. Check it out here. It makes excellent background music for our conversation with Lecrae from the latest issue of our print magazine ... Discuss
On Sunday night, Kendrick Lamar dropped a sonic bomb on America, releasing his wildly anticipated To Pimp a Butterfly a week before its intended release date (or having it accidentally leaked, depending on who you ask). In any case, it's here now and, along with it, a fascinating New York Times profile that tries to unravel just what it is that makes Kendrick the most gravitational rapper on the landscape right now. He speaks openly about his rough home life in Compton, Calif. He talks about how he became a Christian (a friend's grandmother led him to Christ in the parking lot of a Food 4 Less), his vices (or lack thereof—he "rarely" drinks or smokes) and how he perceives himself.
For many fans, “I’m the closest thing to a preacher that they have,” Mr. Lamar, 27, said from the couch of a Santa Monica studio where he recorded much of the new album. “I know that from being on tour — kids are living by my music.” However, he added: “My word will never be as strong as God’s word. All I am is just a vessel, doing his work.”
Of course, To Pimp a Butterfly comes with a parental warning sticker for a reason—this is definitely not Lecrae's Anomaly—but it solidifies Lamar's status as a breathlessly talented voice that will be shaping the future of hip-hop for some time. We at RELEVANT will post a full review later this week. Discuss
Not terribly surprising, but still sad: the excellent folk duo Civil Wars, who've been on a hiatus since 2012, have officially and permanently parted ways. In a statement released via the band's Facebook page, Joy Williams said that
I am saddened and disappointed by the ending of this duo, to say the very least. JP is a tremendous musician, and I will always be grateful for the music we were able to create together. I sincerely hope that ‘You Are My Sunshine’ will be accepted as a token of my gratitude for every single person that has supported our duo throughout the years. I’m so thankful and my heart is full. Looking ahead, I’m excited to share the music that I am writing and recording in the midst of this difficult transition. I’ve loved being back in the studio, and have missed performing live. I look forward to seeing you soon.
For his part, John Paul White added
I would like to express sincere thanks to all who were a part of the arc of The Civil Wars—from the beginning, to the end, and all points in between. My deep appreciation goes out to all who supported, disseminated, and enjoyed the music. Whatever shape or form the next chapter takes, thanks for being a large part of this one.
As a parting gift, the band released a digital version of "You Are My Sunshine" ... Discuss