Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Artist to Watch: 070 Shake

Soulful Jersey native is making her mark
(Courtesy of 070 Shake official Facebook page)

This week’s artist to watch is ​Danielle Balbuena, who works under the alias of 070 Shake. The artist is a member of the 070 Crew, a collection of singers, rappers and producers from New Jersey. The title 070 came together from the first three numbers in different Jersey City area codes. The group displays an incredible amount of camaraderie and family, which is something we’ve seen time and time again in hip hop, and dates back to the origins of hip hop culture.

The level of family exemplified by 070 is akin to ASAP Mob or even Odd Future and is truly what could lead any to believe that they are striving for longevity. Shake, the most successful so far from the group, has had a more than exceptional year. The singer/rapper was featured on projects by Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Pusha T, and released her debut EP,“Glitter” (2018).​

Shake was discovered by influencer and talent manager Julieanna Goddard, also known as YesJulz. YesJulz started managing Shake after hearing a recording of the talent and learning that she was a fellow New Jersey native. Shortly after this bond was established, Shake was then contacted by the people at G.O.O.D. Music, Kanye West’s label, to be signed and flown out to record in Wyoming. Shake had prophetically said just two weeks before that she was not interested in being signed to anyone but Kanye, and now she had achieved just that.

Shake was featured on not one, not two, but three albums from her time in Wyoming, Kanye’s “​Ye”(2018), Kid Cudi’s “​Kids See Ghosts” (2018) and Pusha T’s​“Daytona”​(2018). She spoke about her time in Wyoming in an interviewwith Highsnobiety, where she discussed how rewarding the experience was.

“Helping out with someone else’s stuff taught me a lot about how to work on my own stuff, and how it’s cool to use different people’s opinions and ideas to form a masterpiece from that,” she said.

While all of the tracks Shake appears on in these three albums are incredible, nothing tops the work that she executes on “Ghost Town.” The sixth track on Kanye West’s ​“Ye”​album, and by far the strongest track on the entire project, “Ghost Town” stands apart from the rest. The song is an ode to relaxation and freedom, a stark contrast from the rest of the album. The track opens with a sample from Shirley Ann Lee’s “​Someday​,” and includes a feature from rapper PARTYNEXTDOOR. While Shake is only on the outro of the song, her vocals steal the show as the most momentous part.

She wails, “Nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free/We still the kids we used to be.” She’s equating the feeling of liberation to childhood. As kids we don’t have the same societal pressures and demands and therefore we are more carefree.

Her EP “​Glitter​”showcased her potential as a writer and as a vocalist. Throughout the album Shake discusses issues of depression and loneliness, while also celebrating her crew and her success. In interviews she talks about wanting to be an artist who speaks about more than just money and fame, she aspires to impact.

The first track on the EP is bluntly titled “I Laugh When I’m With Friends But I’m Sad When I’m Alone.” There, off the bat, listeners get a feel for the hauntingly sad aesthetic of Shake. She sings “It’s not just you and me the whole youth is depressed/Living with the devil constant battle everyday.” The vulnerability of these lyrics stand out tremendously from the mainstream superficiality of music today. She ends the song on a more uplifting note, pointing again to her 070 Crew, and the youth as the future.

The third song on ​“Glitter,​”and one of the more upbeat songs, is titled “Lost in Love.” The song discusses Shake’s sexuality as a queer woman and someone in love. She starts by hinting at how she first became comfortable with her own sexuality and seeking acceptance. In the catchy hook she sings “And my eyes start to wander, to the other girls, to the other side/And my heart starts to wonder, is it okay? Is it alright?” The beat accompanied by these lyrics is absolutely exciting. She also exemplifies softness by singing about not wanting to fight and falling in love.

The fifth track on the EP titled ​“Stranger”​ is a critique on society and social media culture. The title might be pointing out how even though we have all these followers and supporters online, how many of them really know us? She repeats the line “Designer b—–, hope you know you signin. Designer b—–, she just want the finer things.” This clout chasing mentality is discussed over and over in media and here Shake is simply critiquing this mindset. She even questions our blind acceptance as society of things that we see online to be true, also known as “fake news.” She repeatedly asks “How you know” and “Tell it to me straight.” She is truly fed up with it all and wants to see some change.

Eden Bekele can be reached at [email protected].

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