Above: Photo via ChanceRaps.com
By Arts Editor Brendan Barlow
Well, we’ve been away since April, and so you haven’t had your trusty copy of The Navigator to let you know what is awesome and what is not; as a result, your trusty arts editor has assembled this handy guide of things you might have missed (and one thing it seems NO ONE missed) to get you back on track.
Gamers: Inside (PC)
Developer Playdead, who recently brought the monochromatic nightmare that was Limbo, returned in June with Inside. The game combines the deceptive simplicity, and vague story that Limbo had, with visuals and mechanics that are guaranteed to make your skin crawl. This is a game that made quite an impression on many players, and recieved hugely positive reviews. It also made yours truly feel deeply uncomfortable well after I had finished playing the game. If you’re a fan of Limbo, a fan of the bizarre and the unsettling, then you need to pick this up and experience it. I’ve already said too much, go play Inside.
Music Lovers: Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
Chance the Rapper gained some serious and well deserved, recognition after the release of his 2013 mix tape Acid Raps, one of the best hip-hop mix tapes I’ve ever heard, and has only continued to impress as the years have gone by. His most recent effort is another mix tape called Coloring Book, and it may very well join Acid Raps as one of the strongest, most interesting things to come out of hip-hop, or music in general, in recent memory. Chance shows his range of talent from rap to gospel, and Coloring Book showcases his unique style of songwriting, and features some huge guests including: Kanye West, Young Thug, Justin Bieber, Future, and plenty more. Even if you feel like you’re not a hip-hop fan, I urge everyone to give this a chance, it’s just phenomenal.
Cinephiles: Green Room
I’m cheating a little bit on this one, because it came out negligibly close to our last issue, but we finished up before I was able to cover it and, if I’m being honest, it was easily the best film that I watched all summer. Released in April, Green Room tells the story of a punk band who find themselves playing a Nazi bar in the middle of nowhere. All goes as well as that scenario could go, until the band witnesses a murder and must fight to survive while the Nazi group tries to cover up the crime. It’s brutal, intense, and extremely well-made by writer/director Jeremy Saulnier (who has a near-perfect streak going with Blue Ruin and Murder Party under his belt already). Green Room also features one of the final (and strongest) performances from Anton Yelchin, who tragically passed away this summer. Not for the squeamish, or the faint of heart, but one that absolutely should not be missed.
Readers: Kanye West Owes Me $300 (and other stories from a white rapper who almost made it) by Jensen Karp
While Jensen Karp may not be a household name, his alter ego Hot Karl very nearly was. Kanye West Owes Me $300 was released in June, and tells the true (and unbelievable) story of the author’s time as a rapper in the 1990s. The story includes everything from: a record exec bringing a briefcase of money to Karp’s mom’s home, a house party in a bad neighbourhood, and interactions with some of the biggest names in hip-hop (and even in film and television). The story is honest, well written, and deeply funny, and something that should be read by everyone. Karp even released a fun “companion” to the book on his podcast, Get Up On This, for those who are looking for some more to the story. One of the best books I’ve read all year, you need this in your life if you like to laugh.
Binge Watchers: Stranger Things (Netflix)
It would be impossible not to include this particular gem. There’s no denying that Stranger Things has become a bit of a phenomenon since its release in July, with fans of horror, science fiction, and even just the ‘80s, singing its praises. Why is everyone so excited about this series? In short, because it is the best television show of 2016, and joins the ranks of the best shows I’ve ever seen. It combines elements of my favourite genres, and manages to do something that so few movies or television series can muster: getting good performances from children. In particular, twelve year old Millie Bobby Brown is spectacular in her role as Eleven, a telekinetic young girl who escapes captivity in the beginning of the series. Stranger Things is scary, funny, sad, and entertaining, and also boasts one of the best soundtracks a television show has ever had. If you’re not sold yet, you can read a full review of Stranger Things on Page 14.