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Xxxtentacion

Controversial Rapper XXXTentacion Shot Dead in Florida Aged 20

Chart-topping US rapper XXXTentacion was shot dead in South Florida on Monday, June 18.

The rapper’s latest album debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, making it his second consecutive hit record.

The murder

XXXTentacion, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was gunned down outside of a motorcycle dealership in Deerfield Beach, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office announced.

He was taken to hospital soon after where he was pronounced dead.

XXXTentacion had been at RIVA Motorsports checking out inventory, the sheriff’s office said. He was in a black luxury vehicle and preparing to leave when two armed suspects approached him. At least one of them fired, and then both suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV.

Investigators say the attack may have been robbery, as a Louis Vuitton bag was taken from the back seat of the rapper’s car.

The controversy

Despite his huge popularity, XXXTentacion was often described as one of rap’s most controversial artists and was facing domestic violence, aggravated battery and false imprisonment charges stemming from 2016.

According to the Miami New Times, his ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala’s depositions “detail a pattern of regular, torturous abuse that summer, with daily verbal attacks and physical incidents every three or four days.”

According to Ayala’s statement, he beat her at times, choked her, broke clothes hangers on her legs, threatened to chop off her hair or cut out her tongue, pressed knives or scissors to her face, and held her head underwater in their bathroom while threatening to drown her.

From tough upbringing to number one

XXXTentacion had a troubled upbringing and was expelled from middle school for fighting, but he channelled his energy and fury into music.

He quickly cemented himself as the most popular artist within the SoundCloud Rap genre, defined by its languid, hazy beats and wide-ranging influences.His surging popularity was noted by the music industry and, by October 2017, he had scored a distribution agreement reportedly worth $6 million.

But his career was already being overshadowed by his legal problems. Fans were apparently unswayed, sending his latest album to number one in the US.

The tributes

The rapper, who first found fame by uploading his music onto online music platform SoundCloud, has been hailed as a breakthrough talent as tributes pour in from hip-hop luminaries in the wake of his death.

Kanye West tweeted: “I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.”

While rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs described XXXTentacion as “one of the most interesting people I have met.”

Among others, rapper J Cole’s tribute read: “Enormous talent and limitless potential. God bless his family, friends, and fans.”

Documentary maker Louis Theroux said: “Notwithstanding personal demons, he was a huge talent & bringing a beautiful new feel to hip hop. So sad.”

Bo Turnham Eighth Grade

Bo Burnham on Eighth Grade

Comedian, musician, actor and writer Bo Burnham talks with College News about the upcoming release of his directorial debut Eighth Grade, anxiety and life as a comedian.

College News: Let’s talk about your directorial debut, Eighth Grade. What has the response been so far?

Bo Burnham: The response has been really lovely so far. We’ve only shown it at a few festivals, but it feels like it’s connecting with people which is very, very nice and relieving.

CN: Eighth Grade centres around shy 13-year-old Kayla. You have spoken often about the character being the vessel with which to voice your own thoughts and feelings on the world. Were there any challenges you faced when it came to writing her character and how did your initial character ideas evolve as you wrote the film?

BB: The challenge was always trying to capture this voice authentically. My disconnect from her was two-fold: I was never a 13 year-old girl, and I was never 13 years old right now. And I knew both of those things lent themselves to a specific experience that I couldn’t fully understand. And the answer was just to research—and Generation Z is very easy to research. They post literally everything about themselves in real time online. As far as the ideas evolving, it all evolved once Elsie Fisher [actress who stars as Kayla in Eighth Grade] got involved—I told her every day that I wanted this movie to come to her and not the other way around. Once real kids got involved I deferred to them for the sort of nuts and bolts “truth” of the thing.

CN: When conceptualizing and writing the screenplay for Eighth Grade, what themes and topics were you keen on portraying through the characters and the plot?

BB: I wanted to talk about the internet and about anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety a lot in my life and have felt that my anxiety has deep ties to the internet in some way. And this story felt like the best way to explore it. I think the internet makes eighth graders out of us all.

CN: There is a pivotal, sexually awkward scene during the film that sees Kayla apologise to older character Riley for not being intimate with him. Was this scene written with the current political/social climate and #MeToo movement that’s currently engulfing Hollywood in mind?

BB: Definitely not. This was written two years ago and shot last summer—but I’m happy that people see that scene as in alignment with the values and concerns of the #MeToo movement—as I think it’s a vital and insanely overdue public conversation. And we still have a long way to go, especially with young people, in educating them on consent and sexual behaviour.

CN: You have had an extensive and thriving career as a comedian. How would you describe your comedic style?

BB: Trying very, very hard. Effortful!

 “I have struggled with anxiety a lot in my life and have felt that my anxiety has deep ties to the internet in some way”—Bo Burnham

CN: A common reaction that comedians and comediennes receive is backlash and criticism for using un-PC language or satirising socially sensitive topics. Has there been a particularly standout moment where this has happened to you? How do you deal with that kind of backlash personally?

BB: Oh sure I’ve dealt with backlash for things I said, especially when I was younger, 17 or 18 years old just trying to say the most offensive things because that’s what I thought comedy was. I tend to only look back on that stuff cringing at myself, not at the people objecting to it. I feel like comedians get to express themselves all the time, so they shouldn’t start complaining when the audience wants to express back.

CN: Can you tell our readers about how you got your break in the industry and how your career evolved into the realm of film and television?

BB: [I] started posting videos on YouTube and those sort of took off. And then it was just a sort of long, weird journey of performing stand up everywhere and quietly writing scripts in my free time. And then when it felt like I had gotten enough momentum in the comedy world to justify getting a small budget for a movie, I dropped stand up and started working on this movie. And here we are! And death next, I think!

CN: Writing is very much central to your career having written for your own comedy performances, television shows and now film. Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process for you? How do your ideas emerge and manifest into full-rounded projects?

BB: Honestly, they are often not full-rounded until the very end—if they get there at all! The initial point for me, usually, it just reading books or watching movies and just getting excited about things I like. And then trying to daydream and find any sort of ledge I can grab onto to start climbing towards something. My ideas usually start very specifically with an image or a scene or a moment—not with a THEME or some BIG SWEEPING IDEA. I like to start from a moment or image that I really love and then work outward. Because it’s really the moments that I’m going to be working on, and it’s the moments that people will experience, so if a moment can’t work out the gate, it feels not worth the time. That may make no sense.

CN: What three key pieces of advice would you give to budding young comedians, actors and writers that you wish you had been given yourself when you were starting out?

BB: I would say relax and enjoy it. I do believe that the best part of the creative process is available to everyone—just doing it. Just starting the process of picturing things and making things and seeing how they turn out and editing and making yourself better. Just start and jump in and don’t worry if you suck out the gate. This is what I try to remind myself of all the time. Just focus on what you can control which is your work and your ability to get better by your own standards. Just do the work and enjoy it. The whole reason to do creative things is to be able to do something interesting and enjoyable and the interest and enjoyment is available right away!

CN: Do you have any new and exciting projects on the horizon for 2018 and early 2019 that our readers should keep an eye out for?

BB: Just Eighth Grade. Hopefully in the next few months I’ll bang my head against a wall and something will fall out. But I’m only seeing tumbleweeds at the moment. Help!

> Watch Eighth Grade at cinemas from July 2018.

Further reading: Summer Blockbusters 2018

Don Diablo

Don Diablo Announces Biggest Solo Show Ever

Don Diablo has announced his biggest solo show to date will take place on December 8, 2018.

FUTURE XL will be a one-night-only experience held at AFAS Live—the flagship concert venue in Don Diablo’s hometown of Amsterdam.

Hot off the heels of his sold-out Future tour in the US and his European Better Future tour, Don Diablo’s FUTURE XL promises to deliver a whole new level of mind-blowing production and showmanship.

To celebrate the momentous occasion, Diablo will play the longest set of his career, featuring hits Cutting Shapes, On My Mind and Chemicals, his remixes of artists such as Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Rihanna and Madonna, as well as premiering exclusive new tunes.

“FUTURE XL will be the biggest show I have done in my career. I will be doing a very special extra long set, showcasing all of my biggest hits from the last years and premiering lots of new music in a show setting that will be my personal vision of the future,” Don Diablo said.

“I look forward to creating a memorable night that will take things to the next level with all my Hexagonians from around the world. And… last but not least: where better to do this than in my city, Amsterdam?”

Having signed his first record deal when he was just 15, Don Diablo was ranked 11th in the Top 100 DJs by DJ Mag in 2016, he was also ranked the number one Future House Artist of the Year on Beatport in the same year.

Also known as Origin Unknown and 2Faced, Don Diablo founded his own record label and event brand, Sellout Sessions, in 2005, raising his profile in his native country, the Netherlands.

Don Diablo is also known for his philanthropy; he was made the first ambassador for Dance4Life, an international UN-backed action campaign to fight against HIV and AIDS.

And his 2018 tour has a major charitable aspect—all ticket proceeds will be donated to the Dutch Cancer Charity.

Don Diablo has won several major awards including EMPO’s Producer of the Year in 2016 and WDM’s Best Remix award in 2018.

Further reading: Martin Garrix and Loopers Release Game Over

Summer Blockbusters

Summer Blockbusters 2018

So far, 2018 has been a stonker of a year for film—read on for the most anticipated upcoming summer blockbusters releases this year.

Major production companies and indie production houses across the board have already presented cinema-goers with an incredible slate of films so far this year. Marvel’s Black Panther alone served to be one of the highest grossing movies of all time, racking up over $1 billion at box office. So, what does summer 2018 have in store?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom 

Dinosaur fans rejoice! The second in the Jurassic World franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, will hit theaters come June 22. This time around, the story follows Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) on a mission to rescue dinosaurs from Isla Nublar under the false impression that they will be saved from extinction. It’s not until later on that they learn that scientists want to genetically mutate these rare creatures in order to turn them into living weapons.

Hereditary 

Set the be the scariest film of the year, Hereditary first debuted at Sundance festival in January of this year and has received major critical acclaim at advanced screenings ever since. When the grandmother of the troubled Graham family passes away, dark family secrets slowly unravel. Starring Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Alex Wolff, Hereditary is set to hit theaters June 8.

Sorry to Bother You 

Starring Lakieth Stanfield from the wildly successful Get Out (2017), Sorry to Bother You is a comedy that follows telemarketer Cassius Green, who discovers that sounding ‘white’ over the phone is the secret to his success. A film with a stark underlying comment on one of the biggest political discourses in America today, this film is likely to become one of the biggest summer blockbusters to date. See it in cinemas from July 6.

Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade is comedian Bo Burnham’s first foray into directing, and will hit the big screen from 13 July. This slice-of-life movie follows teenager Kayla (Elsie Fisher) as she tries to survive the last week of an abysmal eighth grade year before finally heading off to high school. Already causing a stir in the movie scene, this highly anticipated film is a wonderfully frank look at the life, anxieties and worries of a 13-year-old in the internet age.

Crazy Rich Asians

Based on a novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians follows economics professor Rachel Chu as she accompanies her partner to Singapore to attend his best friend’s wedding. It is not until she lands in Singapore that she discovers her boyfriend comes from an extremely wealthy family and she is unwittingly thrust into the world of Asia’s rich and finest. This romantic comedy will be released in America August 17.

Further reading: Ocean’s Eight Confirmed for Release This Summer

Fortnite Battle Royale

Sports Scholarship for Fortnite Battle Royale

Ohio’s Ashland University will be the first university to offer a scholarship for Fortnite Battle Royale as part of its eSports program beginning Fall 2018.

The 100-player online shooter game, in which players fight to the death, has been the most watched game on the Twitch streaming platform in recent months. So popular is the title, online organizations including The eSports Hub and MLG GameBattles have established ladders and tournaments for the game.

Josh Buchanan, who will be the head coach for the program, told Variety, “I think Fortnite has a lot of room for players to get creative.

“There’s a lot of teamwork in [the game’s core building mechanic] that’s really untapped. A lot of players kind of do fancy stuff, and it looks cool, but it might not be the most efficient. I think it’s a game that, due to how creative you can be, there’s a lot of potential to get really, really skilled in the game.”

The eSports team will arrange four-player teams who will begin competing in the Fall, with the program offering up to $4,000 in scholarships. Applications will be based on player skills and academic requirements.

“As part of the program, you’re going to have coaches and a staff dedicated to helping you succeed—not only in the game but also in your academics,” Buchanan said to Variety.  

The statement for the scholarship by the university says that a gaming center will be placed at the school with “25 gaming stations, complete with gaming PCs, accessories and peripherals.” 

The National Association of Collegiate Esports stipulates that Ashland University is the first college to officially announce a Fortnite Battle Royale scholarship, but Missouri Baptist University has announced their plans for adding a Fortnite team.

Further reading: AAA Video Game Titles: A Look Ahead in 2018

Jessie J

Jessie J Wins China’s Singer 2018 Talent Show

British pop star Jessie J has won major Chinese singing talent show, Singer 2018. The program, which can be likened to television shows like American Idol, is a singing contest for already-established artists.

The London-born artist was one of the first international contestants to ever appear on the show and won the competition with a staggering 48 percent of the vote.

Jessie J sang a selection of her own hits including Domino (2011) and Flashlight (2015), as well as a cover of Whitney Houston’s blockbuster hit My Heart Will Go On.

Many fans of the pop star were initially confused as to why she would enter a singing competition in the first place. “I know a lot of people were shocked when they found out,” she said. “Like why would I compete in a singing competition… I’m probably the least competitive person I know.

“I said yes because I LOVE to do the unexpected and I LOVE to represent the UK and singing everywhere I go. I LOVE to sing. But also it was an opportunity to bridge a gap between two cultures.”

The platinum-winning star added, “Chin is an amazing place and so different to anywhere I have ever been. I have never been made to feel more welcomed and loved as I have done here.”

Jessie J’s appearance on Singer 2018 followed the failed launch of her latest album R.O.S.E at the end of 2017.

Further reading: David Guetta and Sia Release Flames

Kate Nash

Interview with Kate Nash

Kate Nash rose to the heights of fame in 2007, dominating the UK charts with her debut album Made of Bricks before hitting 20 years old. More than 10 years later, the musician and actress is back with fervour and busier than ever with her first studio album for five years, Yesterday was Forever, and her dazzling role in Netflix favorite, Glow.

New Wave Nash

Nash tells me that Yesterday was Forever was recorded over four years. “I started recording it in 2014, but it’s been really challenging… I went through this period of kind of writing pop songs again and trying to write songs for other people… There’s a massive scene of writers and producers and song-writing camps and rooms that are really draining and confusing. But I also did find some really cool people that i worked with individually from those sessions and so I worked primarily with two producers.” She tells me that while some of the tracks on the record were written as little as two months ago, some were recorded at the very beginning, four years ago. “I was worried when we were recording it that it wasn’t going to sound like a record,” she remembers. “But when we were mastering it, I was like, ‘Wow. This is a record, this sounds like an album.’” Recording a record this time round wasn’t the stressed out, time-strained process it once was. “Putting together the album was really chilled because I’m not attached to everything in the same way [as in the past] because I have changed a lot since I started writing it… There’s this journey throughout the album from where I was when I started and where I am now and that’s really cool as well. It wasn’t the way I chose to do it, but I do believe everything happens for a reason and I think, you know, that this is that album that’s supposed to exist and I’m really excited about it.”

Nash shot to pop stardom rapidly, having recorded and distributed Made of Bricks before even turning 20. Was fame a difficult thing to cope with? “Yeah, definitely. How can it not be?” The artist replies. “You’re trying to figure out who you are and everyone is telling you all these things… and you’re like, ‘I literally don’t know who I am yet, leave me alone!’ Just being so young, managing all of these people and being a boss and being in control of something that feels really big but also felt like it was controlling me for a while.” Nash credits her close-knit network of family and friends for keeping her stable and grounded during such a crazy time in her career. “Fame is it’s own beast, so you really have to manage it carefully and know what it is. It comes with the job and there’s benefits but it’s not something I’m ever desiring. Fame itself is just very rapid and empty and it doesn’t really do anything, you know? It’s sort of confusing and it sort of creates weird social environments. But I think it’s just changing your idea of how you measure success, which I think is really important in this industry.”

The dark side

When Nash’s second album didn’t hit the same dizzying heights of success of Made of Bricks, she was dropped by her record label. “It felt really fucked up because I found out by text message and no one was there to talk to me about it—and no one really ever talked to me properly about it. I still feel like I don’t really know what happened, but I also don’t mind.” Even after such a crushing time, Nash remained admirably positive. “I feel very lucky to be an independent artist… Being on a label is really great, but there’s also a lot of stuff that comes with being on a label that’s controlling and there’s so much pressure and so many people involved in your vision. I’m in a different place now, but at the time it felt really, like, ‘What the fuck just happened?’ It felt like no one really cared. All these people came and found me when I was really young and wanted to get in on the hype of my MySpace and the shows I was doing in London, but really, they didn’t care about me as a person or as an artist.” Nash tells me how important she thinks it is that artists in the industry have an open dialogue about the negative side to the industry. “It’s important to talk about so that it’s normalised, because I think everyone in the music industry is having a fairly hard time at the moment… We can [artists] all learn from each other’s experiences.”

The topic of conversation progresses to the star’s upcoming North American tour in April. Contrary to usual tour-type questions, I want to know about the dark side of being on the road. “The dark side of touring is how many people on tour are addicts and have ended up in dark situations because of how you party every night and how you’re expected to drink and do drugs and have this adrenaline boost that not everyone can do naturally. There’s a lot of mental health issues on the road; it’s a lifestyle that isn’t suited to everybody. I’m really lucky to have found such great people to go on the road with.” Her advice for budding musicians? “Build your family on the road, build people that make you feel fucking joy and excited to play music because it is such a privilege. It’s just the best job ever; it’s such a cool thing to be able to do. I’ve had times when I’ve been on tour with people who didn’t make me feel good and that’s horrible. But now I have this amazing girl band and all my lighting girls on tour with me. Just making sure you’re curating the environment and bringing only positive vibes—anyone with any negativity just gets, like, fired immediately from now on,” she laughs. “Because it poisons an environment really fast; everyone’s tired and run down, if there’s any negativity then it’s east to become negative. Whereas if everyone’s positive, then even when you’re tired and stressed out and confused about which time zone you’re in, you are still having an amazing ride with people who are filling you with excitement.”

“Fame is it’s own beast, so you really have to manage it carefully and know what it is”—Kate Nash

Girl Talk

The pop star has always been vocal when it comes to talking about being a woman constantly in the eye of the media. The new shift in the entertainment landscape makes it feel like women are having their moment; they’re finally being taken seriously. Does she agree? “I don’t know yet,” she says. “I’m not sure the effects are happening yet but I think people are really inspired to see that we can really change things. Ten years ago, it was not a great environment to be female… [But] I think there has been growth and we should always be striving for growth. Because 10 years ago, it was definitely a different scene for me. I’m seeing changes that are positive; teenage girls have reclaimed their voice and they’ve demanded that they’re taken seriously and they rule the internet and that’s the most powerful thing ever. I think young people are really doing something completely iconic.” I agree, vehemently. “The pendulum is swinging,” she muses, “but it’s also transitional. It’s going to be a painful shift, but there’s definitely been a positive change.”

Way to Glow

In the summer of 2017, Netflix’s smash comedy, Glow, streamed for the first time. Nash landed the role of spunky Rhonda after a pilot she shot with director Jenji Kohen starring Eddy Izzard failed to get picked up. “Because I’d done that, Jenji wanted me to read for the part of Rhonda in Glow, so I auditioned.” Glow is set in the 80s and sees a group of misfit women reinvent themselves in the form of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. “We trained to be wrestlers, we trained to be stunt women and wrestlers. The two best things about the show have been learning how to wrestle and doing it with the most amazing group of women and having this insane bond over our physicality and having a bunch of new female friends who I feel I can really lean on and trust. It’s such a fucking dream job.” She speaks with such verve that I wish I was a part the empowering group of women, too. “Honestly, I can’t believe it sometimes, because I have so much fun with a bunch of ridiculously funny and talented women who I love and are actually my friends. We’ve learned to do really amazing things with our bodies and we feel really strong and powerful. I have such a connection with my physicality that I’ve just never had before; I never thought I’d have it.” I make a mental note to learn to wrestle before asking if TV will take precedence in her career now, or whether it’ll run side-by-side with her first passion, music. “I’m think I’m going to have to find a way to be parallel. I guess that it’s going to be depending on my commitments. Sometimes I have to take a dip out of each one. You know, when I’m shooting Glow, that’s extensive, like five months of physical wrestling and long hours. My time is really taken up by that. I was actually doing stuff for the record on the weekends which was intense. I want to do both, but I’m just going to have to learn how to balance them. I think that it’s key to carve out personal time and healing time, so that I can give my energy to both in a fresh way each time I come back to them.”

Is there anything on the horizon for the artist that we should keep an eye out for in the coming year? She tells me that season two of Glow will be released this year (“that’s gonna be fucking epic,” she says) and her tour is coming up in April. “At the moment, it’s sort of unknown to be honest with you.” But here’s something you didn’t know: Nash is about to study mycology, the scientific study of mushrooms and fungi. “I’m obsessed with nature and just learning about it. I think being in nature is so fucking important, like, it keeps me sane. But yeah, I’m really fascinated with mushrooms.”

> Yesterday was Forever is to be released March 30 and will be available to buy online and in stores nationwide.

Further reading: Dates for Kate Nash’s North American Tour Confirmed

Panic! At the Disco

Panic! At the Disco Back with New Track

Internationally acclaimed award-winning band, Panic! At the Disco, performed their brand new single Say Amen (Saturday Night) on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday March 20.

The single is the first to be released from the highly-anticipated sixth studio album by the rock group, entitled Pray for the Wicked. The album, produced by Jake Sinclair, will be released June 22 2018 via Fueled by Ramen/DCD2 Records and is available for pre-order online now.

Pray for the Wicked is due to be celebrated by a full US arena tour produced by AEG events. The band will begin with their first performance July 11 2018 in Minneapolis, MN, right through the summer before finishing on August 18 2018 at the band’s hometown in Las Vegas. Panic! At the Disco will be joined by ARIZONA and Hayley Kiyoko for the 28-city tour.

Fans who pre-order Pray for the Wicked via the band’s webstore before March 29 at 9pm ET will be entitled to receive a unique presale code for first access to the tour tickets. Tickets for the tour will be available to the general public beginning March 30.

Panic! At the Disco have enjoyed an illustrious and successful career since the release of their debut smash album, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (2005) which achieved a double-platinum award. The band have achieved chart-topper status with several hits and albums since their inception, including their most recent album, Death of a Bachelor (2016) which debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

With nominations for much coveted awards including a Grammy, Teen Choice Award, Alternative Press Music Award and the Kerrang! Award, the band have long been on the tip of the tongues of fans and critics. In 2006, Panic! At the Disco won the Video of the Year award for I Write Sins Not Tragedies from their debut album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out at the MTV VMAs.

Listen to Say Amen (Saturday Night) on YouTube, here!

Further reading: David Guetta and Sia Release Flames

Video Game

AAA Video Game Titles: A Look Ahead in 2018

Move over Hollywood, Silicon Valley has taken over the entertainment industry.

Each year it seems the revenue gap between video games and movies widens, and the video game industry is the reigning champion. In North America alone, video games grossed more than $30 billion, while movies limped in with under $12 billion. Gone are the days of waiting for the next Hollywood blockbuster to drop. For 2018, it’s going to be all about those AAA titles.

It’s important to remember that video game release dates are very fluid. They’re ever-changing and delays happen often. With that in mind, here’s what you can look forward to for 2018—with rough estimates of when to expect them.

Monster Hunter

The first half of the year has historically been the slowest and 2018 looks to follow that same path. For the first time the Monster Hunter series will be available on a console other than Nintendo. Monster Hunter World (PS4, XBO) has a heretical following worldwide and, with the expansion to Playstation 4 and Xbox One, will continue its conquest.

Far Cry 5

Ubisoft will be releasing Far Cry 5 (PC, PS4, XBO) early in the year as well, helping to quench the thirst of what could be an early drought for gamers. The free roam, sandbox gameplay should provide hours of entertainment while waiting for the next wave of games to release. Additionally, Far Cry has a history of creating despicable, charismatic bad guys that add extra depths your adventure.

Super Mega Baseball 2

An honorable mention goes to Super Mega Baseball 2 (PC, PS4, XBO), an indie darling that won’t get the same attention as some of these other games, but should be viewed as a diamond in the rough all the same. Delayed from 2017, SMB2 will be launching just in time for Major League Baseball season and provides wacky, fun, arcade-style gameplay.

Crackdown 3

Looking into the last half of the year is nearly impossible. However, there are games slated for a 2018 release that don’t have dates yet, but even a casual observer could guess that we’d see them in the latter part of 2018.

Exclusive to Windows 10 and Xbox One is video game Crackdown 3, created for anybody who wants to be a crime-fighting super-soldier. Jumping tall buildings, throwing cars, and running down vehicles is just a fraction of the amount of awesome typically included in a Crackdown game. Throw in a sprawling map, collectibles, ridiculously designed weapons and sparkling visuals, Crackdown 3 has high expectations for Microsoft and gamers alike.

God of War

Playstation 4 isn’t without its own exclusives, either. With God of War, we’re finally going to get a chance to play a new story on the most recently released console. Moving on from Greek gods, players will experience a wider open world and a story that focuses on Norse Mythology.

Spiderman

Spider-Man is the other video game exclusive to PS4 and, since the trailer at E3 in 2016, has had fans champing at the bit for a chance to play. Because it’s not tied to a movie, comic book, or television show, the developers behind Spider-Man have been given the chance to tell a story on their own terms and fans should be excited.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Developer Rockstar announced the sequel to their wild west hit with Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, XBO), but the studio has a history of delays with most of their games, so that’s worth noting. Still, if RDR2 hits their 2018 release date expectation, gunslingers will get a chance to see life through the eyes of a new outlaw, Arthur Morgan. The game takes place prior to Red Dead Redemption, so expect to see a few nods to John Marston and his story as well.

Anthem

It’s worth mentioning that, to this point, every major video game title is one of an already established series. Game developers and publishers seem to be taking less risks, but 2018’s most anticipated title of the year is only new IP on this list. Bioware has teamed up with EA to release Anthem (PC, PS4, XBO), a third-person, online multiplayer, action RPG, and it looks breathtaking. Players are essentially mercenaries who use exo-suits (called Javelins) to complete contracts in an open world. Character roles are determined by which Javelin is equipped and players will need to work together to maximize their abilities. From what has been seen, Anthem’s environment goes from the depths of the seas to the tops of mountains and includes every ecosystem in between. EA’s own VP, Patrick Soderlund, has commented that he expects Anthem to be “the start of maybe a 10-year journey,” for the players.

Given EA’s recent bad publicity over loot boxes and micro-transactions in their video games, most notable Star Wars Battlefront II, one has to wonder how much influence they’ll have over Anthem. Bioware is a veteran studio though, and one with a solid reputation. Watch for Anthem to top the charts in 2018.

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish to Perform on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

16-year-old musician Billie Eilish is to perform her single Bellyache on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, March 22.

Bellyache has been written from the perspective of a conflicted psychopath. The dark, gritty pop song—described by the BBC in 2017 as the “pop equivalent of a Tarantino movie”—features on her critically-acclaimed debut EP Don’t Smile at Me.

Currently on her sold out Where’s My Mind North American tour, Billie Eilish has proven to be a formidable talent since signing with Interscope Records. Following her performance at this year’s South by South West (SXSW) festival, Billie Eilish was listed in The New York Times’ Acts that Stood Out coverage. “This 16-year-old singer has a misty, sleepy voice that can take on a jazzy quaver—part Lana Del Rey, part Amy Winehouse. Onstage, there was absolutely nothing complaisant about her. As her band played folk-pop tinged with some hip-hop bitterness, Ms. Eilish strolled, slouched and crooned with precisely gauged insolence and nonchalance.”

Bellyache has also featured the latest Music Issue in The New York Times magazine’s 25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music is Going. The piece describes Billie Eilish’s music as “otherworldly”, saying that “our culture demands that young girls crave validation, but Eilish and her cast of characters feel no such thing. There are no apologies in her songs about the disappointments of love—only poetic quips about potential lovers tripping over knives or the subject of a song remorselessly burning the car of an ex-flame.”

Last month saw Ocean Eyes, another track from the highly applauded EP, officially certified with the RIAA GOLD in North America. The EP has, at the time of writing, surpassed more than 300,000,000 streams globally, proving the young star to be a musical phenomenon—and the artist shows no sign of stopping.

Catch Billie Eilish’s performance on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday March 22 at 11:35pm/10:35pm CT.