When Jay-Z rapped “MJ at Summer Jam, Obama on the text” on “On to the Next One,” he wasn’t really joking. He really does have it like that. Recently the rapper slash mogul told CNN’s Poppy Harlow he agreed with President Obama’s decision to affirm his belief that same-sex couples should be able to marry. When asked about homosexuals not being able to marry he said, “I’ve always thought [of] it as something that’s still holding the country back. What people do in their own homes is their business,” he added. “It’s no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination, plain and simple.”
In the thick of election season Obama announced his support of same-sex couples having the legal right to marry. His announcement has drawn criticism from both the right and left. As someone who heavily backed Obama in 2008, Hova made it clear he still has the president’s back. Although the criticism has been loud, Jay-Z said it’s not about gaining or losing votes, it’s the right thing to do. “It’s really not about votes, it’s about people,” he said. “Whether it cost him votes or not I think it’s the right thing to do, as a human being.” POW! Jay may have professed his support of the President and gay rights, but according to CNN.com he had nothing to say about Mitt Romney saying he didn’t want to “talk about the man.”
Yesterday Jay-Z announced the Budweiser Made In America festival he will be curating and headlining in Philadelphia. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, next week we will learn of the lineup he’s selected. Fatherhood looks mighty swell on Hov.
When other high schoolers were sneaking on the phone at the wee hours of the morning to talk to their crush, Rye Rye was touring with M.I.A. After DJ Blaqstarr discovered the young rapper at the age of 15, they collaborated on “Shake It To The Ground,” a youthful dance track that caught the attention of M.I.A. only months later. Now, 21, the Baltimore, MD rapper has released her debut album Go! Pop! Bang! that was four years in the making. To appreciate Rye Rye’s music one must understand the oftentimes disparate state of her hometown. Then one must consider the city’s definitive musical sound unique to that place and its natives. The arts was a way for the young funky teen to express herself outside of the confines of the housing projects she grew up in. As much as Rye Rye is a rapper, she’s a dancer. And the latter inspires the sound of Go! Pop! Bang! more than the expected hardened environment she grew up in.
Her first single, “Boom Boom” (video below), is a perfect indication of what to expect from the album. It’s about partying, boys and having a bloody good time. The whole point is not to take herself too seriously. Over the video game beat, Rye Rye raps in her semi-fast, edgy tone about wanting a guy in her room. Tracks like “DNA” featuring Porcelain Black, “New Thing,” “Dance” and “Hardcore Girls” are where her Baltimore club influence is most dominant — a mix of house, D.C. go-go and techno-electro. On “Crazy Bitch,” she teamed up with Akon in a more concept driven track where the beat is slightly slower than the usual uptempo beat. With the help of Akon she pokes fun at being considered the “crazy bitch” in the relationship. “Sunshine” and “Bang” both feature M.I.A. and have the bombastic drum beat M.I.A. tends to love on her own tracks. Both records offer that distinctive voice that only an M.I.A. feature can add. Her rhymes in “Bang” slow the listener down from the natural inclination to dance to actually listen to her rhymes. “Never Will Be Mine” featuring Robyn is one of the slower tracks on the record but still manages to keep the light fun mood of the rest of the album. Read more…
Just when R&B seemed to be dying an unfortunate death, leave it to R. Kelly to resuscitate the genre in a blink of an eye. Soulful and gentle, “Feelin’ Single” incites the urge to dance coolly across the floor. Like “Step In the Name of Love,” “Feelin’ Single” has an infectious softness about it that makes one forget all their worries. His voice is flawless on every note executing perfect harmonies on the hook. Light, fun and disco infused, the self-proclaimed King of R&B does the classic sultry combination like no other.
The timing for the track is perfect as cuffing season (when people find a winter beau to stay warm) ends, and summer fast approaches. Warm weather breeds the yearning for the benefits of being single. Well, for some. Feeling played by his girl the Pied Piper has a solution to deal with her late night hours– “hit the club and take somebody home with me.” This is the second single from his upcoming album Write Me Back, a follow-up to 2010’s Love Letter. A master of evoking something, anything within the listener, this track channels a bit of what makes Stevie Wonder great. It makes you feel the music. “Feelin’ Single” never felt so good.
Rihanna has probably ran out of Fs to give about anyone having an opinion regarding her personal life. That didn’t keep hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons from coming to her defense on his website GlobalGrind.com. Our favorite bad girl has kept quiet thus far about the alleged shadeChris Brown threw her way in his freestyle over Kanye’s “Way Too Cold.” Shortly after 2Chainz’s “No Lie” featuring Drake dropped there was speculation on whether or not Drake was dissing the pop star when he rapped, “Then I f*cked her once and never f*cked again / She could have a Grammy, I still treat that ass like a nominee / Just need to know what that p*ssy like so one time, it’s fine with me.” Annoyed with the alleged attacks on Rihanna, on Mother’s Day Simmons tweeted, “Everyone needs to get off @rihanna’s d*ck…” with the link to a two paragraph post he wrote of the same title. In the letter Simmons calls out the double standard of rappers being able to sleep with a bunch of women without being called a h*, but a woman is scrutinized for her sexual liberation. Uncle Rush has a point, but this is all so…soap opera like. Read more…
He’s Will Smith’s son, son! Of course Jaden Smith would be nice on the mic, but we didn’t imagine he’d have lyrical punchlines that put some of his peers twice his senior to shame. One can hear the adolescence in the pitch of his 13-year-old voice in the short video to “Give It To Em.” But what he lacks in baritone he makes up for in rhymes. When he raps, “Young, black with accessories, and I’m doing well never seen a penitentiary. ‘Cause they can’t sentence the greatest emcee they’ve ever seen. No I’m not but if you gon’ battle me you better be,” all of his youthfulness becomes a distant thought. Read more…
No one but Jay-Z can host a press conference with the mayor of a major city standing next to Freeway and have people in the audience yelling, “Hova, Hova, Hova.” Today, the Brooklyn bred rapper, introduced by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, announced in a press conference that he would not only headline Budweiser’s “Made In America” two day concert in Philadelphia, but that he’s also curating the event.
As the curator, Jay-Z will select all of the musical acts, which puts the power in his own hands for presenting the type of show he’d want to see if he was an attendee. As someone who has been in the music industry for over 15 years and collaborated with artists that reach all across the spectrum, the choices are limitless. On September 1 and September 2, the festival will take place in Fairmount Park and will include other musical acts that haven’t been announced. Tight lipped as usual, Jay would only say that 70% of the musical guests have been confirmed. According to the New York Times, the “concert will assemble an eclectic lineup of rock, hip-hop, R&B, Latin and dance musicians, according to a news release from its organizers.” Read more…
When Nicki Minaj performs one never knows whether to expect Roman, Martha, just Nicki or all three. Usually all three make an appearance at some point, which makes for a thrilling and versatile set. Over the weekend Minaj performed at Wango Tango, the 15th annual all-day concert hosted by LA’s KIIS FM. A white long tutu clad Minaj performed “Did It On ‘Em,” “Beez In The Trap,” “Right By My Side,” “Roman’s Holiday” and a remix of Big Sean’s“Dance (A$$).” So far this year Minaj’s performances have been somewhat of a doozy. Remember the creepy exorcism at the GRAMMY awards? Well, for this performance Minaj channeled Roman, but also brought the element of hip-hop that we’d love to see more of. Read more…
We here at VH1 are strong believers that mothers are worthy of appreciation 365 days a year. That said, this Sunday is the official day we honor those special women in our lives. Seeing as how music has always been expressive and a reflection of the artist’s own life, it only makes sense that everyone from Tupac to Taylor Swift have created songs expressing their love for the woman that brought them into the world. Those songs cover the entire spectrum, from light and fun to heartfelt and emotional. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve put together a Spotify playlist of our all-time favorite songs dedicated to moms. Since we don’t sing or rap, we’re leaving it to those that do to honor all the mamas. Happy Mother’s Day!
1. “Dear Mama”- Tupac
Tupac’s ode to his mother Afeni Shakur has to be one of the most touching and well known dedication songs in music.
2. “Mama’s Song” – Carrie Underwood
In this guitar heavy country song, Underwood reassures her mom that her husband to be is a great man, and marrying him doesn’t mean her mom is losing her.
3. “Hey Mama”- Kanye West
“It don’t got to be Mother’s Day or your birthday for me to call and say, ‘Hey, mama.'” When Kanye made this fun track for his mother, we never imagined it’d be the very song he’d perform in her honor after her death. Counting our lucky stars that she was able to hear it before she passed.
4. “The Best Day” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift probably has a lot of great days seeing as how she’s one of the biggest country singers and all. But spending quality time with her mom tops the list of best days she’s ever had.
When Boyz II Men’s “A Song For Mama” played on the popular late 90s movie Soul Food, eyes welled with tears. Soulful voices singing lyrics that helms mothers as Queens would make any mama proud. Read more…
Buzz around upcoming Harlem rapper Azealia Banks is not overhyped considering she creates music like the new track “Jumanji” she dropped today. This is why the uber talented fire spitter doesn’t need beef on her climb to the top. Produced by Hudson Mohawke and Nick Hook, “Jumanji” is enticing with its blaring horn and African drum sound. Frankly, the beat is bananas, and definitely nod your head worthy. And her riveting flow is speedy, aligning itself perfectly with the instrumentation. When she raps, “Don’t make me remove your kufi, I do it because it’s my duty,” you hear the hunger in her voice, that unrelenting passion and confidence in what she has to say. And we’re listening.
“Jumanji” is the first single from her Fantastic mixtape set to be released this summer. Banks’ debut album Broke With Expensive Taste has been pushed back for a potential fall release, but in the meantime she tweeted she will drop her LP “1991” within the next month. As Banks slowly but surely gains more attention we hope she steps away from Twitter feuds and sticks to dropping bombs in the studio. Let the music speak for itself. Check out a few of our favorite lines from “Jumanji.”
“They want my photo and pictures inside of they candid cameras/flawless, critics and scandals/man handle savage I damge ya/Real b*** all day/Uptown Broadway
“Reefer and cabanas/all my vehicles handsome”
“These b*** and their banter/f*** is up w/they grammar/they never talking money/I can’t never understand ‘em.”
“All of my b**** bougie/designer vagina Gucci/These n**** all kind of groupies/they flying they trying to scoop me.”
When she’s not on the tennis court serving her opponents Serena Williams is in the studio pouring her aggression into rap songs. On the court she’s no nonsense so we can totally see her releasing her inner #THUGLIFE on wax. TMZ posted her new untitled song, and it’s actually not horrible. A few lines are cliched like her opening, “I ball hall hard, no tennis racket,” but she has flow. Then there’s the unexpected slick line that makes you giggle, “Schooling these rappers, they should pay tuition.” We see you Serena!
Hands down the funniest lyric is when she slightly channels her inner Nicki Minaj and raps, “I ain’t never been a loser. And I’m always on top. Roofer.” Oh, Serena. You’ve been listening to Nicki’s “Hang it up. Flatscreen” punchline, haven’t you? This isn’t the first time the tennis champ has laid down a couple of bars. Last year TMZ reported she had recorded a couple of tracks with B Major Music Group, which is owned by Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie. With the right production and practice Serena may take the rap came by storm. When she adopts her new rap name (hmmm, maybe S-Dub) it’s officially rap city, rap rap city.