Lil Wayne‘s dedication to the skate-life knows no end. The rapper-turned-skatboarder rang in the new year with a brand new face tattoo, presumably because just enough un-inked skin remained between the cross on the bridge of his nose, the three tear drops on his cheek, the Fleur de Lis by his ear, the “I am music” over his eye, the “fear god” on his eyelids, the smiley face inside his lip, the “misunderstood” on his hairline and all those incredible glow-in-the-dark stars. This latest reads “BAKED,” and is a homage to Baker Skateboards and probably to one of pre-probation Weezy’s favorite past-times, too. We aren’t sure as to why Wayne didn’t go with his own skate-wear company Trukfit’s logo, but we also don’t have even one face tattoo yet, so what can we really know?
And the really good news is that, a mother’s warning be-damned, this newest face tat will not inhibit Lil Wayne’s acting career. Rather, it seems that Weezy has been voice-cast in an upcoming Pixar film about a boy and his pet brontosaurus called The Good Dinosaurs. No word yet as two what role Wayne will be playing, but he has that great, croaky voice that should be just perfect for any of the dinosaurs — even the ones that would straight crush his five and a half feet of height!
Azaelia Banks sees Rihanna‘s diamonds and ups her a whole Diamond District in “BBD,” the new track she shared on all her internet channels — check her Twitter, check her Facebook, check her Tumblr — in the early hours of the new year. “BBD” has Banks going off in her usual tongue-twisty way about how bad bitches do it over a hydraulic beat that is, by her own accurate description, “Trap, but Rave. it’s Banjee, But still a lil classy.” We might also point out that there’s an almost comedic bellowing horn and a wormy synth line, and that there’s a nice nod to ’90s new jack swing heroes Bell Biv Devoe (another BBD) and New Edition.
Banks’ much hyped debut full-length Broke With Expensive Taste is supposed to drop February 12, and “BBD” may or may not be on there. It’s definitely not an “official single”(that’ll be a song called “Miss Amor”), and while “BBD” may or may not be on the track list, it sure does all the right work to get us hyped. “Fine, feminine — I whip that whoop,” she warns before firing off a truly bad bitch challenge: “Damn fam, what ya man gon do?”
“We want to thank everyone for hanging with us for the last few months,” the band writes in a note posted to their website on New Years Eve. And then, for the first time since his breakdown, Armstrong chimed to personally thank fans, friends and family for support. “I’m getting better everyday,” he writes. The re-booted tour begins again in Chicago in March and will wind through North America and Europe. Tickets for shows that had been postponed will be honored at the new dates. As Armstrong himself says: “So now, without further ado, the show must go on.”
The most-cute moment came at the end of what we can only assume was a rousing set (the only sort Delta Rae know how to play, as far as we’re concerned). Elizabeth Hopkins and Brittany Hölljes hopped into the crowd and pulled Ian Höllje‘s girlfriend of seven-years onto the stage, Ian serenaded her with a verse before getting down on one knee — and this is where she, the band and the entire audience really lost it — to propose. Obvs she said yes, and then there was a lot of grinning, some more singing and a very happy couple caught kissing:
Happy New Year! While we were out celebrating, many musicians hit stages across the country to help ring in 2013 in grand style. Let’s relive the magic of the eve with a few of our favorite performances:
Taylor Swift rang in the new year in Times Square, wearing a glittering red moto-jacket and black leather pants, and with just a dash of trouble. A very hyped up version of “I Knew You Were Trouble,” her new single and her foray into dub-step, that is. The chorus’ much ballyhooed about wubb-wubbs were dialed all the way up for the occasion, and matched with some impressive pyrotechnics. There was also a little calypso added to the second verse, because why not? Then she transitioned into “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” not a beat missed and the cute “this is exhausting” skit and all. And of course she and her new beau, One Direction‘s Harry Styles, sealed the night with a kiss. Aww!
This year a handful of artists surprised us by up and changing their lanes. There were rap stars gone skate stars, name changes, game changes and bass drops, and (mostly!) better. Four, for example:
The Year Of 2 Chainz; or, The Most Successful Rap Name Change Ever
Nobody was more productive than Tauheed Epps in 2012, who, according to some records, tallied something like 98 singles, a BET Rookie of The Year trophy, a No. 1 album and three Grammy nominations to his new name. To his new name, 2 Chainz, that is. Prior to this year, he was going by Tity Boi, one half of Playaz Circle or “Duffle Bag Boy,” or he was simply hanging somewhere off our radar. So why the name change that wrought this best year ever? As he explained once and for all to Shade 45 — “Every single interview I do they like, ‘What’s up with the name change?’ This is the universal answer,” he said — earlier this year, the motivation for the moniker change was threefold: 1. He likes jewelry; 2. It’s more “family friendly;” and, 3. He was ready for a second act. “You know,” he said, “like 2 Chainz, second chance. So I thought that that would have a little more substance.” And what a substantive second chance it has been. 2 CHAAAAINZ!
Everyone knows that albums don’t sell — exceptions granted to all British neo-soul performers whose names begin with the letter “A” and end with “dele,” because their albums go Diamond — and so tasked with the challenge of assuring that their albums actually sell, artists have done away with the televised performance here, album singing there promotional tours of old in favor of elaborate stunts that include breaking world records, reuniting with abusive boyfriends, large pizza pies and selling at least a few extra records. Here are five of the wackiest pulled in the last 365 days:
Would you like to see something that you’ve never seen before? Open YouTube in a new tab and search for “Psy” — chances are good that you’ve done this before, but stick with us! — and his “Gangnam Style.” What the video until you’re all “Oppan!”-ed out, and then shift your eyes to where the view-counter below the video. Do you see that? A ten-digit number, punctuated by a very cute animated Psy, because “Gangnam Style” has become the first video in the history of the internet to reach one billion views and what better way is there to celebrate than with a giddy-up GIF! WE DID IT!
Last month The Civil Wars left their growing cadre of fans brokenhearted when they cut their North American tour short over “internal discord and irreconcilable difference of ambition.” However, we were touched by their generous return policy, and we were able to take solace in the fact that the announcement didn’t disqualify new Civil Wars music in the future. And so it seems a little time off the road was all it took to reconcile ambitions, because as Rolling Stone points out, the duo seem to be back at work on new music!
It’s not exactly an official announcement or anything, but last night Joy Williams let slip during a Twitter interview with Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy that she was in the studio and — better yet! — listening to new Civil Wars songs. Then later on in the evening, Williams’ husband and the band’s manager, Nate Yetton, posted a photo of a studio (above) with the caption that read “Today.” Good thing that Mayan Apocalypse was a bust, because 2013 is shaping up quite nicely.
Evidently, January’s You Oughta Know spotlight artist Allen Stone has already made himself right at home in VH1 headquarters! You see, today mtvU has premiered the new on-the-road video for his “Sleep” and it begins with footage of the funky troubadour cruising, guitar in hand and his trademark fedora atop his head, up a set of escalators that looked awfully familiar to us because we take them to work everyday. Very cool, because — Allen, feel free to drop by and play us a little diddy or whatever whenever, you know?
Really, though, this is a nice example of a video that’s perfectly set to a song and its star. Stone is a star hard at work on the come-up, and “Sleep” is more or less a song about his kindhearted hustle; or, as he puts it: “trying to change the world with his guitar/ And I know it’s a long shot, but it’s working so far/ So I spend my nights shooting at the stars.” The video gives us a glimpse at what all this “shooting at the stars” business is about, cutting together actual footage of him on the road, in dressing rooms, performing, signing autographs and — oh hey! — hanging out at VH1/MTV headquarters. Catch a quick glimpse of him dosed off in the van at around the :50 mark, but otherwise you’ll see that he really means it when he says he “never gets sleep.”