On this week’s episode of the VH1 Top 20 Countdown, we’re rolling out the Top 20 videos of the year from Herald Square, New York City. That’s right, all the videos that have led the countdown throughout the different seasons of the year will now battle it out for Top 20 supremacy. But before the show airs on Saturday at 9am EST, you can still cast your vote for the video you think should take the crown for 2012. Who will it be? You’ll have to tune-in and check back with us on Saturday to find out!
Posts By Lacey Seidman
Whenever anyone brings up hip hop’s golden era, chances are they’re talking about the ’90s. Originating in the Bronx in the 1970s, the genre that would later become a global phenomenon grew substantially in the ’80s and, by the time the ’90s rolled around, had fully matured both artistically and commercially.
2012 has been an interesting year for the music business. As chart genres shift and technology continues to influence how and what we consume, in-flux trends seem to fly in out of nowhere.The viral sensation breakout star, for example. But can we go back to basics for just a moment? These people are here to entertain us and sing, right? Like, into microphones and send sound waves into the universe. Whether their songs permeated the charts all year or their pipes are ones to keep an eye out in the future, the following 15 voices were the most noteworthy in 2012.
In addition to being the voice behind David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” this year, Sia also wrote the lyrics and melody for Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and her talent should be recognized, damn it.
3. Kendrick Lamar
Through storytelling, K-Dot has the versatility to sound nervous, vulnerable and shrieky, macho and intimidating, soft and robotic, Compton tough, and instructively monotone.
“Diplo and an Orthadox Jew walk into a studio” sounds more like the opening line of an off-color joke than a surpisingly fruitful musical pairing.
While most people were likely introduced to British vocalist Alex Clare through a commercial for Internet Explorer 9 wherein his addictive single “Too Close” captivated unprepared television viewers’ eardrums, they may not have been aware that he actively studies the Talmud, has indeed collaborated with Major Lazer, or that he even used to date the late Amy Winehouse. Now happily married and tight-lipped on the latter, the electro-soul singer sat down with VH1 Tuner this week to candidly discuss the opportunity that saved his career, and the whirlwind that has been his last few months.
“I was stuck in a bit of a career rut,” remarked Clare on the period before radio would touch “Too Close,” a Mike Spencer-produced song that has since charted internationally and hit #7 on Billboard’s Hot 100 domestically. “Without [the IE9 commercial], I definitely wouldn’t be sitting here right now… No one was really listening to my music, and now people are.” It’s been quite the 180. When his debut LP The Lateness Of The Hour dropped in the UK in July of 2011, incorporating electronic elements into soul music was more rare than it is now, but Clare has since surrendered to the fact that, as we approach 2013, “everyone’s doing it.”
After taking five weeks off to observe Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot in Israel, celebrating Hanukkah while on the road is “easy” for the gritty-voiced singer who performed at Irving Plaza on Tuesday night. “Wherever you go, you just light your menorah, sing some songs, eat some donuts – happy days.” But seeing an Israeli flag lifted in the show’s crowd on that fourth day of the Festival of Lights was a first for Clare, who could only really make sense of the incident with a geographical explanation: “I guess it’s New York and there’s a lot of us here.” Despite the venue’s sound being quite a bit off, Clare’s live show showcased his versatile voice well, and he was able to execute a wide variety of covers including Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” Etta James‘ “Damn Your Eyes,” and Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh” – a version of which he was forced to re-write since an actual cover of the dancehall song would be both “inaudible and slightly obscene.”
Hip hop caught a really big L at last night’s 12.12.12 Concert For Sandy Relief. In a perfect world, where music fans’ interests were in harmonious alignment, Kanye West performing between The Who and Billy Joel would have been a well-received and seamless transition. In reality, however, Yeezy seemed to hit wall with the big-ticket 12.12.12 audience, performing a set that — for an artist known for cultivating fan enthusiam at his shows — was not only incapable of fully forming a connection, but also appeared to drain Kanye and chip away at his normal passionate delivery. There solely to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy, it soon became clear that the G.O.O.D. Music capo was frustrated with the room.
Back in February, Kanye’s big brother Jay-Z hosted two consecutive nights in New York City’s distinguished Carnegie Hall. Bringing out the city’s uppercrust, Beyonce’s husband joined hands with the United Way and sold out both shows to raise money for a cause of his own, the Shawn Carter Foundation. But last night was different. The baby boomer crowd at MSG didn’t buy tickets to see Kanye West like folks did for Hov at Carnegie — they came to bathe in the nostalgia of beloved rock acts that they’ve been playing for decades. Unfortunately for Kanye, the booking itself was a recipe for rejection.
It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to see Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Dave Grohl, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Chris Martin, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, Kanye West, The Who, Paul McCartney and – just added! – The Rolling Stones perform in one night. But next Wednesday December 12th at 7:30pm EST, 121212 – The Concert For Sandy Relief will be broadcast from New York City’s Madison Square Garden to over one billion people in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, and you shouldn’t miss it!
Performing together on 12.12.12 to raise awareness for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, these world-renowned, A-list artists will all help The Robin Hood Foundtation raise funds to rebuild communities and lives of those affected by the disastrous storm. Here at @VH1, we’ll be live-streaming the 5-hour long concert at 121212concert.vh1.com, so bookmark the page and feel free to donate what you can as you catch the historical night right here alongside us. If you can’t find an internet connection, tune-in to VH1 Classic or Palladia to watch the show over good old-fashion television airwaves!
It’s often said that timing is everything, and Meek Mill’s debut album couldn’t have arrived in a more luckless moment. The eve of his Dreams & Nightmares release brought him eclipsing circumstances in the form of Superstorm Sandy hitting the East Coast, and while folks in the Northeast were battening down the hatches and preparing for the worst, the Philly spitter promoted his album on Twitter heavily, all while sheltering a house full of relatives from the storm.
A number of @-replies and retweets attacking the rapper for being insensitive to the tropical cyclone reality at hand spilled into my Twitter timeline, and I myself, stuck in the house and concerned for friends and family, admittedly thought that maybe the active promotion was in poor taste. And I’m a fan. But can we blame him? Meek Mill had been waiting to release his first full-length album since he was 16-years-old and, conflicted by an influx of somber reports on flooded communities and power-loss, wasn’t about to allow the building odds to thwart his momentum. Read more…
I often find myself feeling grateful for the little things that make me pause to smile. These days, those things aren’t always as clichéd as rainbows and finding expected loose change in coat pockets. It’s also within the stuff we come across every day. That’s right: social media. Rappers happen to be more active on social media platforms than ever before, and I’m not just talking about vain Instagram selfies (Hi Rihanna). I’m talking about quirky posts that open the door to reveal something truly genuine or endearingly silly about the artist’s personality.
I’m not even going to tell you who to follow, because this post is about what makes me happy, but the Instagram antics of the following four rappers are notorious for making me giggle in public.
Jay Electronica (@jayelectronica)
When he’s not sharing images of his LDN surroundings, dog, or super-wealthy lover Kate Rothschild, Jay Elec is likely to tout his spiritual acumen for his 47,000 followers. Be still my esoteric heart. The best part of these non-album related posts? They always generate hundreds of “but where’s your record?” comments. True love.
This Thanksgiving, we all have something to be thankful for. Just as you’re waking up from your post-meal nap to snag some second-plate leftovers from the fridge, Spike Lee’s Bad 25 will hit ABC’s airwaves to make it’s nationally televised debut at 9:30/8:30c. Chronicaling Michael Jackson’s 45-million-copies-sold second album and corresponding tour, I can say with full conviction that the documentary is not to be missed. Trust me, I saw it twice. For those who may not be MJ fans or perhaps need some convincing, I present you with a list of 25 Reasons You Should Be Watching Spike Lee’s Bad 25. Not completely spoiler-free, however, I urge all the purists out there to tread lightly with this list if you’d prefer to see the film without advance info!
- 1. Mariah Carey makes an LOL-worthy joke about being a fuss-causing diva when she threatens to scold Clive Davis.
- 2. The film summons nostalgia for an era when music was successfully flourishing and record sales were at their peak. Ah, those were the days.
- 3. Viewers receive a non-verbal explanation of the infamous “Smooth Criminal” dance-lean.
- 4. Martin Scorsese watches his old footage and breaks down the making of the “Bad”
- 5. Quincy Jones’ wacky 80s sweater during an interview. You’ll see what I mean.
Once again, fall transitions into winter, and once again you’re in the house looking at your ex’s Facebook page. Not that you wouldn’t look at your ex’s Facebook page during other seasons, but it’s cold(er) and you’re more apt to have aimless web browsing nights where you just happen to end up there. Not your fault!
Friendly reminder, all you Drakes out there: being miserable is a choice, and if you want to take steps to cultivate some holiday cheer, you can start right now. In a baptism-by-fire sort of way, let’s begin by getting the remaining sad ickiness out of your system, and go full-throttle into the carefully crafted playlist below, shall we?