Posts By Matt Muro

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Two Poets Win Madonna Tickets

Madonna A couple of weeks ago, we asked you to write four lines of poetry for a chance to win tickets to Madonna’s April 30 concert in New York. We received a whopping 7,669 poems. Some are funny. Some are serious. We wish that we could give all of you a pair of tickets, but then Madge would have to move her show from the intimate Roseland Ballroom to Madison Square Garden. Here are the talented (and lucky) winners.

Jordan, from Illinois

I distinctly remember a road trip reflection
And the moving, grooving sounds of an Immaculate Collection
I’d cry “Track 15!” like a backseat DJ
Letting my Baptist minister father know his son was so gay

Bradford, from New Jersey

Through the years worship forced me to wear everything from jelly bracelets to Kabballah strings
I sported some really bad roots and even rocked some tooth bling
Blew my paychecks on Pilates to look lean and mean
But through it all, Madonna is and always will remain my mother_@#_ing Queen

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Nas Controversy Fizzes Up

nas-n-word.jpgThe controversy over Nas‘ forthcoming ablum, Nigger, is growing more intense with news that one of its songs subverts the old Dr. Pepper jingle by replacing the word “Pepper” with the N-word:

“I’m a nigger, he’s a nigger,
she’s a nigger, we’re a nigger
Wouldn’t you like to be a nigger too?”
- From Nas’ “Be A Nigger Too” (Listen here)

Before this latest shocker, a lot had been written about who is in support of Nas’ album title (Jay-Z, Common, Alicia Keys, Don Imus) and who isn’t (NAACP, Jesse Jackson, 50 Cent). 50 Cent, among others, says Nas is going for “shock value.” The fact that rappers have embraced the word and rendered it less hurtful and more banal through overuse for at least two decades may lend some credence to his claim. Maybe this is why Nas’ earlier statement seemed kind of weak:

“I wanna make the word easy on muthaf***ers’ ears. You see how white boys ain’t mad at ‘cracker’ ’cause it don’t have the same [sting] as ‘nigger’? I want ‘nigger’ to have less meaning [than] ‘cracker.’”

But Nas’ new song could pull more people into his corner and back up Jay-Z’s earlier statement: “I know he’s very intelligent and there’s a reason behind what he’s doing.” Pairing a once-omnipresent commercial song that is childlike in its simplicity with one of the most incendiary words in the English language raises so many questions that it could make heads explode. Could Nas be commenting on how big business packages and sells just about anything to kids — from soft drinks to gangsta rap? Could he be attempting to hit back at the very commercialization that has damaged hip-hop as an art form? Could he be doing all of the above and stirring up controversy to sell albums, too?

Nas’ intentions may not yet be totally clear, but we’re all waiting to hear more. — Matt Muro

[Photo: Getty Images]

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New Kids Get Back on the Block

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Yeah, people keep on fronting on the Beantown posse
But it’s time to step up to the stand
‘Cause we ain’t going out like that
Back, huh, stronger than ever, did you think we’d sever?

New Kids on the Block are living up to the lyrics of their 1990 song “Games” by reuniting after nearly 14 years. The jury has yet to assemble on whether the ’80s/’90s boy band that sold more than 70 million records is “stronger than ever.” Either way, you know that NKOTB are braced for some major fronting. In fact, let’s start it off right now by observing that they look more like “Middle-Aged Men on the Block” or even “Wall Street Executives Going to Lunch on the Block” than kids making bubblegum-pop. To the band’s credit, this reunion isn’t just about nostalgia. A brand new album is in the works and NKOTB will embark on a worldwide tour this fall. Hopefully they’ll perform “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” — only this time in their business suits. That would be a hoot!

Before and after pics after the jump.

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Key to Snoop’s Success: Sex, Weed and Fighting

Snoop DoggIt seems like Snoop Dogg strolls down every red carpet that is rolled out in every corner of the world, not to mention he just taped a new Storytellers for VH1. (Coming Friday: a sneak peek and exclusive online clip.) How did the rapper/actor become such a pop culture fixture? To answer this question is to lay out a blueprint for struggling artists and actors everywhere.

Some might believe Snoop is so ubiquitous because he’s sold millions of albums. This is not the case. There’s plenty of multi-platinum selling rappers that aren’t household names. Others believe Snoop’s fame comes from hustling. Pimp C hustled. Was he invited to red carpet events around the world?

The answer, I believe, lies in Snoop’s face — his bold, cinematic face. When Snoop scowls, the paparazzi goes crazy. His meanly-contorted face, backed up by run-ins with the law, adds a sense of danger and excitement to otherwise drab events. But in order to emulate Snoop, it’s critical to understand what drives those theatrical expressions.

To this end, I spent hours studying hundreds of Snoop Dogg photographs. At first I was bewildered, reading emotions into his face that simply aren’t there, including self-doubt, happiness and remorsefulness. You see, Snoop has three — and only three — thoughts that drive each and every look on his face. (Although sometimes they cross over with one another, producing facial contortions that are slightly harder to interpret.) If you are a wannabe pop star or actor, then think about one of the following lines whenever you’re in front of a camera. Like Snoop, you might end up with the career of your dreams.

Snoop Dogg’s Three Thoughts:

1. I’m About to F*ck You Up

2. You Gonna Get It, Doggystyle

3. Bitch, Roll Me Another Blunt

To prove my point, I’ve paired 16 images with Snoop’s thoughts at the time of each shot.

“I’m About to F*ck You Up” and “Bitch, Roll Me Another Blunt”

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“I’m About to F*ck You Up”

Snoop: ?I?m About to F*ck You Up?

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Hottie of the Year? Jes!

Jes from Rock of Love.

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We asked you to name the hottest human being of 2007 and we have sampled more than half of your 800 responses. Our tally shows Jes narrowly edging out New York to become the year’s hottest, finest, cutest, sexiest person. Rock of Love winner Jes and our H.B.I.C. reality diva New York had approximately 150 votes each. But New York attracted dozens of harshly negative comments, and so we’ve crowned Jes our first-ever Hottie of the Year! Here is the list of candidates (in order of hotness, according to you) with some of your positive and negative comments.

1. Jes

Positive:

“Jes all the way! She is so hot I?d consider switching teams!”

Negative:

“She’s ugly and has rat nest hair.”

2. New York

Positive:

“New York … the other girls are boring.”

“Are you kiding me New York is hot dang she is smokin hot and that’s real.”

Negative:

“Looks like somebody hit her in the face with a shovel and just wouldn?t quit.”

“New York looks like a sick horse.”

“New York looks like a horse. Better yet, a horse crossed with a dog.”

“I would have picked NY if we were voting on best transvestite of the year but we?re not so I pick Kim!”

3. Kim Kardashian

Positive:

“Kim is sexy as hell. No one above could compete with her … just look her body.”

“Armenians are the most beautiful people she’s freakin fine.”

Negative:

“Kim sounds like she’s on helium.”

4. Chris Brown

Positive:

“Boy u so sexy if u were a pie i would eat you.”

Negative:

None, at least that we can find.

5. Vanessa Hudgens

Positive:

“I think Vanessa is the hottest. She is so adorable and I think she has a head on her shoulders – although it is said that there are naked pic of her. Who doesn’t make mistakes?”

Negative:

“Vanessa is so ugly and it looks like Fidel Castro is hiding down there.”

Related Content
Rock of Love Show Info
I Love New York Show Info

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Hot Searches: Cholos and Tequila

Through an algorithm we keep under lock and key at our editorial labs, we have collected info on the search behavior of our savviest pop music fans. Here’s a selective guide for VH1.com queries covering Oct 15 through Oct. 21.

Down AKA Kilo Leans Like a Cholo

The Cholo Phenomenon

For months, countless users have been typing “Lean Like a Cholo” into our search box. This single from the Down AKA Kilo (pictured above) album Definition of an Ese was released last April. Our algorithm, advanced as it is, fails to explain the song’s high popularity relative to its unimpressive position at No. 53 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. But we’re guessing video spoofs related to the song (? la gangsta chipmonks and cholas) may be keeping interest strong.

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