The mixtape has long been a staple of the hip-hop scene, but it has continued to manifest itself in different ways.
Taking the time-tested tape idea in a new direction is 21-year-old Ian Eastwood, who on Thursday released his highly conceptual dance mixtape, AdultLessons, which arrives with an official score from Peter CottonTale and Nate Fox of the Social Experiment.
Featuring music from the likes of Vic Mensa, Chance The Rapper, soX and Childish Gambino, among others, the project calls to mind a Fred Astaire short or Michael Jackson video. A native of Oak Park, Illinois, just west of the city of Chicago’s borders, Eastwood pulls from the illustrious dance scene just over Austin Ave. that has birthed movements like foot working, bop and artists like Do Or Die and Saba. Combining that sensibility with the eye of a director that Eastwood gained while in school, we are treated to a half-hour performance that honestly is surprisingly hard to look away from.
Having choreographed for acts like Chance (“Sunday Candy”), Childish Gambino (“Sober”), Vic Mensa (“Feel That”), Justin Bieber (“No Pressure”) and many more, the kid definitely knows what he’s doing and proves it here. It also is an interesting continuance on the sort of Chicago Renaissance that many around the city here have been talking about as yet another young creative from inside its walls has found a unique way to get his art out to the world.
“Playing off the idea of the musicians that I’m around, typically the first thing you do in a collaborative sense is a mixtape. There’s a lot of comparisons and collaboration between dance and music and I wanted to find a way to bring those two worlds together in a way people hadn’t seen before. I want people to sit back and think for a second and that’s where this idea really came from; we’re going to change culture and put out a dance mixtape, which has never been done.”
The project also has an interesting storyline that is represented through individual tracks, each tracing the path that Eastwood has taken over the years to reach this point. While I can't say the dance world is my strongest suit or biggest interest, this is pretty dope. If you have a few minutes to sit down with it, AdultLessons is certainly worth your time.