Ding, ding, ding! Here we are, back for round two. Yesterday we watched with our heads hung low as Angel Haze and Azealia Banks duked it out on Twitter over — well, we’re still not really sure what (and this tweet from Haze’s manager suggests that there might be more to the feud than we’ve yet seen). But then Haze dropped a fiery and undeninable dis-track called “On the Edge” and our ears perked. We aren’t here for the cat fights, but a good old fashion, set it in wax diss duel between two artists each talented and promising in her own right? This could be fun.
Today Banks takes her turn. “Lol I def used that energy to write a fly new jam tho. It’s not even a diss anymore! Haha !!!” she wrote as an introduction to “No Problems,” her biting response to “On The Edge.” “Who her? I’m a true star /This bitch brawl got blue balls/ Hard pressed ’cause I took off/ I’m form fresh from New York,” she shrugs, rounding back to the seemingly innocuous tweet that started this spat.
Baby boy ain’t doing so tough, and so R. Kelly is doing what he can to provide some comfort to Newtown in the wake of last month’s terrible tragedy. The “World’s Greatest” wrote and wrangled a full choir to sing an uplifting song called “I Know You Are Hurting (Tribute To The Newtown, Ct. Kids),” which is now available for purchase from iTunes with all proceeds going to benefit the victims’ families.
The tribute begins with a children’s choir singing heartbreak-y things like “we need your love” and “we need some answers.” We would love to say that Kells then swoops in on one of those epic runs, so great and so sweet, with all the asked upon love and answers, but unfortunately he does not. He doesn’t really sing all, actually. Rather he just sort of coos along agreeing while an adult choir offers well wishes like “I know you’re hurting, I hear your crying/ But come tomorrow, there is a place you can go to find blue sky,” ceding the spotlight to the kids. But as Newtown’s students returned to school for the first time yesterday after last month’s tragedy, it’s hard to deny the gesture. Thanks, Kels.
Last night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, T.I. hooked up with The Roots to perform “Ball,” the lead single off his brand new album Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head. And while he may have been short his collaborator Lil Wayne, he was in no way lacking in energy. The self-proclaimed Trouble Man, keeping it simple in a grey sweatshirt and a single (though thick!) gold chain around his neck, and his hype man threw themselves around the stage all aflutter while spitting as assuredly as ever. Seriously, if there were a way to capture whatever it was T.I. did on that stage last night, you could probably provide power to at least Atlanta, but probably the greater metro area, as well. And then T.I. could take a break from music, take a break from all his television and movie gigs and still be watching those bottles, those models and those stacks multiply. That said, can you blame him for being so excited? We couldn’t, because this song gets us going, too.
Ready, set, set your DVRs! On January 26, Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine will return to Saturday Night Live, though this time to play host. The swoon-y frontman has made plenty of visits to studio 8H with his band — four, if your counting, and including once already this season — but this will be his first time acting as master of the ceremonies. Levine’s The Voice gig has provided him plenty of practice on camera, and he’s busted his comedy chops with plenty of cameos on shows like 30 Rock and One Tree Hill and even SNL (remember this?), soprobably he’ll be great. And as for musical duties, he’s leaving those to Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose early television performances have proven him more than capable.
Before then, on January 19th, Silver Linings Playbook star and Most Desirable WomanJennifer Lawrence will warm up the stage as host with the Lumineers performing as musical guest. Grammy nods, chart-topping albums, all up in your radio and now this? Oh how these You Oughta Know artists have grown!
This afternoon Angel Haze and Azealia Banks — two invigorating female emcees with eagerly anticipated major label debuts near on the horizon, two female emcees who once had plans to hit the studio together — engaged in a nasty back and forth on twitter, most of which has already been well screen shot-ed and filed away as “the first rapper beef of 2013.” The feud began with a tweet from Bank that read, “Seriously, if you were not born and raised in NY …. DON’T CLAIM NY. YOU ARE NOT A NEW YORKER.” Though Banks didn’t name names, the Detroit born Haze assumed the message to be about her and her song called “New York.” Haze fired back with a series of @-replies that began with a knock at Banks’ interest in fashion but quickly devolved into a full-fledged, slurred-fueled and particularly sad spat.
At some point, Haze pulled away from the “send” button for twenty-minutes and a hair flip to record a fiery Diplo-produced diss-track called “On The Edge” that has her more thoughtfully addressing her issues with Banks.
This month we will shine the You Oughta Know spotlight on Allen Stone, an emergent soul singer-songwriter from Washington state who has forgone sleep in an effort to earn your attention. Or at least so he sings in “Sleep,” and given his recent grind — complete with stops at Leno and VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live, as well as that new music video he cut — we’re inclined to believe him.
This morning Stone dropped by The Ellen Show for a mid-morning howling of his aforementioned hustlers anthem. In her introduction, Ellen accurately likened him to Stevie Wonder and to Amy Winehouse, and we might add that he showed up in a Whitney Houston tee that looked rather well loved, which may explain some of his gospel tendencies. There weren’t any stars up in the early hour, but that didn’t seem to stop him from aiming high with his performance. And as always, he nailed it.
Taylor Swift put up a good fight late in the year, as did One Direction (who have two albums ranking in the top five) and Mumford & Sons. But once again none could top Adele, whose much beloved 2011 album 21 sold another 4.41 million copies this year to top year-end album sales for the second year in a row (just as she did on iTunes). The blustery Brit’s staying power is impressive, but we can’t imagine that there are enough people left of this earth of ours still sans 21 to enable her to keep this up for a third year. But perhaps she could put out a new album that might earn her another two years at the top?
Kendrick Lamar spends the better part of his self-directed new “Backseat Freestyle” video wandering his hometown Compton, CA, booty shaking with his beloved Sherane, eating cereal in a living room adorned with a Last Summer replica, checking out Church’s Chicken, chilling in the barber shop, etc. And of course in due time we find him freestyling, and not in the backseat as the song’s title might suggest. Rather he’s in Paris, where he delivers that snarling last verse where else but in front of the Eiffel Tower. He doesn’t put that “pray my d*ck get big as the Eiffel Tower” boast to the test exactly, but this first visual from his maybe-classicgood kid, m.A.A.d city does well enough to show-off just how far he’s come in this past year. Though at one point the song breaks and the video cuts to Kendrick’s dad, calling him from Compton to see where his pizza is. “I don’t give a f*ck about you being in Paris,” he says. “When you get back, I want my goddamn Dominos.” So maybe not everything has to change.
When electro-producer Skrillex and ascendent pop star Ellie Goulding split, most of all what wanted to know was: will we still get to hear any of those bed-room style collaborations they’ve been teasing? Goulding has insisted in interview after interview that “we’re still big fans of each other, and nothing changes that,” and we got a taste of what the two could do together with “Bittersweet,” their dreamy contribution to the Breaking Dawn — Part 2 soundtrack. And last night the visual for “Summit,” the song that supposedly first brought the two together for the first time, arrived.
The video is comprised mostly of his exceedingly attractive friends (none of whom seem to have Skrillex-ed their hair) running around barefoot at night, playing with black-lights, eating glow-in-the-dark cotton candy and just generally goofing off. Skrillex makes a few brief appearances — hanging at a bonfire; dj-ing, duh – but Goulding doesn’t show. We can’t help but wonder when Ellie sings sort of mournfully about how “If you can hear my now, why don’t you recall / I was the one who cared after all,” if it might really mean something now.
Now, as for the rest of those collaborative tracks, guys…