A WECB Show Profile: H2FLOW
by Emily Bunn
H2FLOW is WECB’s self-proclaimed “high-class hip hop” radio show, hosted by Anton Lee. Though his show typically features hip-hop and R&B, Anton took inspiration from Spotify to give this week’s show a twist. He began his show by discussing Spotify’s recently released “Your 2018 Wrapped” playlists. These playlists have been popularly shared all over social media lately as a way to share and compare music (likely, persuaded by Spotify’s FOMO guise at the end of their Wrapped review: “If you listen to a year’s worth of amazing music and don’t post about it, did it really happen?”). Users are able to show off their most listened to songs of this year, all wrapped together into a personalized playlist. Some of the other highlights of this Spotify widget include being able to see your “Firsts”(the first song you listened to in 2018, and the first new artist you discovered this year using Spotify), getting to see how many minutes of music you listened to this year (and, this statistic in comparison to last year’s number of minutes), your most listened to artist and for how long you listened to them, along with your top songs, genres, and other statistics. One of the most interesting statistics is showing which astrological sign the majority of your music taste leans towards (as for me, I mostly listen to cancer artists, like Lana Del Rey and Post Malone). Additionally, Spotify even puts together a playlist of “Tastebreakers”- a playlist of songs and artists from genres users don't typically listen to, but might still enjoy. Lee admitted that he actually uses Apple Music instead of Spotify, but took inspiration from Your 2018 Wrapped to create his own heavy rotation playlist. Jokingly, Lee hints that there is no doubt some Post Malone is bound to come on, already a prominent artist on H2FLOW.
Lee begins his playlist by playing “The Ways” by Kendrick Lamar, featuring Khalid and Swae Lee, off of this year's Black Panther album. This song has a very chill, mesmerizing vibe to it, and the trifecta of prominent hip-hop artists create a beautifully-strung narrative about their “power girl”. Secondly, Lee plays “No Fear” by DeJ Loaf, which Lee comments is a personal favorite of his despite not being very well known. DeJ is a female rapper, who creates very upbeat, positive tracks. “No Fear” sounds similar to what could be heard blasting over the speakers of a Forever 21, but in the most fun, girl-power way possible.
Moving in a completely new direction, Lee plays “Toes” by Zac Brown Band. Lee admits that country is his guilty pleasure, and Zac Brown Band is actually his favorite band. Once “Toes” began to play, it is evident why this song is a favorite. The song repeats “life is good today” and sings of beautiful women, beer, palm trees, and not having a worry in the world. What could be better? Though this song differs from the hip-hop geared songs at the beginning of the show, the upbeat positive messages of DeJ Loaf and Zac Brown Band make this transition smooth.
Lee continues by moving on to the first song he played all year, a song by an artist he saw at Jingle Ball, who we all know and love… Post Malone. Lee highlights the song “Paranoid”, a more melancholic Post song. Still, the track keeps with the typical rhythmic, grooviness of all of Post Malone Beerbongs and Bentleys. After Post Malone, he plays “3:15” by Bazzi, which Lee claims is Bazzi’s best song. This song also traces back to H20’s show roots by broadcasting an R&B artist, though Bazzi has pop roots that are especially prominent in this song. The track sounds like a mix of very soft-core Post Malone and Justin Timberlake.
After these songs, Lee begins his first intermission to speak about his Starbucks experiences. He talks about working at Starbucks and his experience with a frustrating customer who requested “a mocha, without mocha sauce”. On another occasion, an angry barber lady chastises Lee for not having store stock of eggnog, and for not having banana bread ready for her mobile order just one minute after she places her order. Lee’s vented frustrations are both hilarious and relatable and make an entertaining intermission to his radio show.
After this intermission, Lee plays “Super Hero” by Lauv, which he describes as being “very good” and “super chill”. Although, I do have to disagree with Lee on this assertion. “Super Hero” is an acoustic song about chasing after a girl, and while it starts off as a typical acoustic track it quickly becomes corrupted by awful mixing and mastering. The song features acoustic guitar, with unnecessarily added backbeats. Lauv’s voice is whiny and when it becomes autotuned, the vocals sound overproduced. But, of course, there is no perfect playlist and music taste is subjective.
The next song Lee plays is “Unforgettable” by Thomas Rhett. Lee continues to highlight country music from his Spotify wrapped, which this song definitely represents as Rhett croons about “blue jeans” and cheap “mango-ritas”. This track doesn’t stand out from any other country music. However, the next song Lee plays does. “Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band is an excellent choice by Lee, is a song that stands out in its upbeat tempo, cleanly-produced vocals, and interesting fiddle accouterment. “Chicken Fried” is an undeniably feel-good song, and pushes past the typical confines of blase country music. Though H2FLOW typically highlights hip-hop music, this eccentric last episode is a fun accumulation of feel-good songs.
After, Lee dives again into story time. He talks of a female friend who he helped with physics homework, and how doing this reminds him of learning algebra as a child. Lee’s experience learning math with his dad was frustrating, and he sees his own frustration expressed in his friend. Next, Lee tells of him and his friend watching 90 Day Fiance. While they’re watching, his other friend, Cory, stumbles in the door. Though this story has no conclusion, Lee moves into a food review of microwaveable Barilla pasta, which he rates a 3/10. These ramblings are incohesive and random, but add flair or character to H2FLOW and allow listeners to get into the headspace of its amusing DJ.
Following this, Lee plays “Saturday Nights” by Khalid. This track is acoustic and relaxed, and Khalid’s smooth vocals create an immersive, atmosphere. Contrasting, the next song is Walk it Talk it” by Migos which is starkly less pacifying. This song is definitely meant to be a “hype-song”, with memorable lyrics and its fair accumulation of “SKRT”s. Both of these songs are more characteristic of the show’s typical hip-hop tracks.
Following this, Lee plays “Santa Tell Me” by Ariana Grande. This track is ebullient with Christmas cheer, and as Grande sings of mistletoe and snow it's impossible not to feel festive. Though this is the one Christmas song on Lee’s queue and only the second female artist he plays, this song fits well with the rest of the show.
After Ariana Grande, Lee plays short, 1-minute snippets of the next two songs to fit them into his show. He highlights “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa, which sounded straight out of the ’90s with its funk, and “It's Tricky” by Run-DMC, which similarly brings up childhood memories from the early 2000s of elementary school dance routines and middle school mixers.
The last song Lee plays is Born to Run by “Bruce Springsteen”, which Lee dedicates to his Mom as being her favorite song. This declaration is heartfelt, as is the classic song. The track is an open love letter, and Springsteen pours his massive voice over the track.
Though Lee’s show was intermixed with many different genres, it was interesting to his own, self-created “heavy rotation playlist”. As many music-lovers lately have been broadcasting their own yearly favorites, it was remarkable to hear a playlist as varied in the genre yet sound as congruent and upbeat as Lee’s. The mixture of hip-hop, R&B, pop, and the country remained upbeat and easy to listen to, and Lee’s commentary between songs was hilarious and fun. The H2FLOW December 8th episode allowed me as a listener to feel like I had my own casual conversation with Lee that left me with some great music to add to my next party playlist. If you’re interested in listening to H2FLOW, be sure to keep an eye out for the schedule next semester.