The late rapper Tupac Shakur will be memorialized in a musical (cue indignation from conspiracy theorists who think Tupac is alive and well living it up with Elvis Presley in Egypt), called Holler If Ya Hear Me. The musical has been approved by Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, and will be directed by Kenny Leon (who is responsible for the Martin Luther King Jr. inspired play The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett), and is described as an, “American musical inspired by and featuring the music of Tupac Shakur.” Leon says of the musical, “A long time ago, maybe eight or nine years ago, I’ve been talking about that with Tupac’s mother, Afeni, and so we’ve become fans of each other and she sort of entrusted me with her son’s music… The idea was always to make a musical inspired by his music and not to do an autobiographical approach to his life or anything like that. And because I always thought that Tupac was a prophet and I thought if everybody could hear his words and hear his stories, they would see what I see.”
The musical is casting this week in New York City, and we’re interested to see what kind of story it tells, if not a biographical one. Firstly, the casting call is open to those without theater experience, which means that just about anyone could take on the role of Tupac, giving a wide birth for authenticity in the role. And with Tupac’s music being attributed with not only courting controversy in dealing with broad social and cultural issues, but actually provoking listeners to action, surely this is set to be a very moving spectacle. Finally, given Leon’s close and respectful relationship with Afeni, we imagine there will be an element of tenderness and extreme reverence in the production.
Already announcing that she’s working on two new albums for 2013, there’s no stopping Beyoncé, even after the recent birth of her first baby, Blue Ivy Carter. She really is the woman who can do it all, and we’re starting to wonder if she doesn’t have a secret twin, or if maybe she’s a robot, or some kind of lovely alien from a planet where everyone has eternal stamina. Arousing our suspicions about the lovely alien theory even further, now Mamma B has signed on for a new musical comedy called One Hit Wonders, that will be directed by Glee creator Ryan Murphy. The film will tell the story of several “one hit wonders” who all had but one hit song in the 90s, and the cast is reported to include Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, Andy Samberg and Gwyneth Paltrow (who will also act as a producer). While Bey’s role in the film is unclear, we’re looking forward to her return to the big screen, and hope that it involves some awesome costumes and plenty of booty shaking.
Earlier this week, Frank Oceanposted to his Tumblr that Don Henley was threatening to sue him if he played “American Wedding” (a track from Ocean’s mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra that heavily samples The Eagles‘ “Hotel California”) ever again, but today modified the post to confirm that it’s Henley’s label, Warner Music, and not Henley himself that is threatening legal action. Ocean updated his Tumblr to say, “Don Henley(’s label — Rhino) is apparently intimidated by my rendition of Hotel California… He (They) threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s f**kin awesome. I guess if I play it at Coachella it’ll cost me a couple hundred racks. If I don’t show up to court, it’ll be a judgement against me & will probably show up on my credit report. Oh well. I try to buy my sh*t cash anyway. They also asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible. Sh*t’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as f**k? Why sue the new guy? I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything I’m paying homage.”
Apparently, however, Warner Music doesn’t see it the same way, with Larry Solters, a representative for the Eagles, telling SPIN, “Frank Ocean did not merely ‘sample’ a portion of the Eagles’ Hotel California; he took the whole master track, plus the song’s existing melody, and replaced the lyrics with his own. This is not creative, let alone ‘intimidating.’ It’s illegal. For the record, Don Henley has not threatened or instituted any legal action against Frank Ocean, although the Eagles are now considering whether they should. Any further questions regarding this matter should be directed to Warner Music Group as it is the entity that currently owns the master recording and made the contact with Frank Ocean’s representatives concerning his infringement of the master recording.”
While Ocean hasn’t actually made any money from sales of “American Wedding” (Nostalgia, Ultra was released as a free mix tape) it seems that Warner Music is ready to contest the use of “Hotel California” regardless. So Ocean’s not going to be forced to cough up any royalties for sales because there are none, although we question whether he’s liable to pay for performances of the song, given that he’s been paid for touring. Or worse yet — could Ocean be forced to delete “American Wedding” from his repertoire all together? Given that Nostalgia, Ultra was released over a year ago on Feburary 18th, 2011, it seems like Warner Music might have been a bit slow on the uptake — although given Ocean’s ever-growing profile and forthcoming official debut album, it seems like a pertinent time to curb the use of “Hotel California” especially with Ocean set to hit the tour circuit again, including his Coachella performance and mysterious Kanye West and Tyler The Creator collaboration.
At last night’s NME Awards, Kasabian won the Best British Band Award, and used their moment to pay tribute to the late Davy Jones of The Monkees. Front man Tom Meighan declared, “This award is for Davy Jones of the Monkees” before bursting into song. Singing an a capella version of The Monkees’ Theme, it wasn’t long before the rest of the band joined in, clapping along to the beat and inciting the audience to sing along. It was a touching moment, but also a joyful one, as the cheekiness and energy of the tribute bought the room together in a very appropriate ode to The Monkees.
Rita Ora Cover’s Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”
What do you get when the hottest young act of the moment covers the other hottest young act of the moment? Pure wonderfulness, we think — have a listen to Rita Ora‘s cover of Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know” below, and tell us if you don’t agree. [YouTube]
Patrick Stump Laments The Failure Of His Solo Album Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump has a reflective moment, posting on his blog about his feelings about the failure of his solo album. He says, amongst other things, “What I wasn’t prepared for was the fervor of the hate from people who were ostensibly my own supporters (or at least supporters of something I had been part of). The barrage of “We liked you better fat,” the threatening letters to my home, the kids that paid for tickets to my solo shows to tell me how much I sucked without Fall Out Boy, that wasn’t something I suppose I was or ever will be ready for.” [Patrick Stump]
When you first heard Jay-Z‘s “Glory,” did you imagine Jay-Z penning the track as Beyoncé pushed and groaned, tiny baby Blue screaming as she emerged from the womb? Or did you imagine the little bundle of joy, peacefully sleeping in the nook of her glowing father’s arm as he whispered lyrics to her? Whatever fantasy you had, forget it, because “Glory” collaborator Pharrell Williams has just dropped a truth bomb, revealing that Jay-Z was working on the track before baby Blue was even born. Pharrell said, “[Jay-Z and Beyoncé], they live a different lifestyle, and it was important for him to stop everything that he had going on and just sort of make statement to his baby and his wife.” He added that when they wrote the song, they had Stevie Wonder‘s “Isn’t She Lovely” in mind, and that Jay-Z underwent a similar process for his first son, but that he’s “more quiet and private about his life”. We don’t think the dream need be entirely shattered though — now we’re imagining Hova in the evening, maybe by a fireplace, resting his head on Bey’s full belly while he jots down words about the bundle of joy inside.
Of the track itself, “R.I.P.” is set to be a pop anthem. With synth led beats, the song is a powerful dance number following in 2011′s trend towards club fueled pop, but this time with a grittier edge that takes shape with Ora’s sexy vocal and Tinie Tempah’s energetic verse. With a girl power theme, the track makes happy bedfellows with other hits of the season including Katy Perry‘s angry, moving on, triumph against heart break, “Part Of Me.” At only 21-years-old the British/Alabnian Ora should be both revered and feared. As Jay-Z’s newest protegee, it seems like Ora’s destiny is written, so prepare yourself for Ora to be the number one lady in pop this year.
Davy Jones, the pint-sized Englishman who became a teen idol for the Baby Boom generation as the lead singer of The Monkees, died today at the age of 66. TMZ is reporting that Jones, whose lead vocal propelled “Daydream Believer” to the top of the pop charts in December of 1967, suffered a heart attack in his Florida home.
Jones rose to fame in 1965 when he was selected to become a member of The Monkees, a group that was originally constructed to be a made-for-TV replica of The Beatles. Jones, along with Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork, proved to be a hit on both the small screen and the radio; the group churned out a number of wildly successful pop songs, including the #1 hits “Daydream Believer”, “Last Train To Clarksville” and “I’m A Believer.” Despite their prefabricated origins, The Monkees were eventually able to break free from their pop shackles; aided by the heady times and hallucinogens, the group released the experimental film and album Head in 1968, which has come to be recognized as essential documentation of the psychedelic era.
As if you weren’t excited enough about seeing Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band playing their new single, “We Take Care Of Our Own” live, add to that Jimmy Fallon’s giddy introduction to the performance on his show last night and you’ll be positively psyched. As usual, Bruce and the band bring high rock energy to the stage, and Bruce himself is simply charismatic. Maybe your heart is racing after watching the performance — we know ours are. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the import of a song until you hear it live, and the life the The Boss and Band breathe into the stage is nothing less than essential to their All-American rock music. Watch it, and feel yourself being taken to the good place.
Rihanna Is Being Considered To Play Whitney Houston In A Biopic About The Singer’s Life
Apparently a biopic about Whitney Houston‘s life is in the works, a mere week after the late legend was buried. Reportedly, Rihanna is a candidate to play the role, although some of the parallels in the two performers’ lives (can anyone say abuse at the hand of a man named Brown?) hit a little bit too close to home for our liking. [Pop Dust]
Azealia Banks Reveals Details Of Debut Album Azealia Banks‘ debut album will be called Broke With Expensive Taste and it will be out this September. She said, “I’m not trying to withdraw, but I am trying to find that personal space again because I have an album to finish… All the praise from the fashion world is great but now everybody wants a piece and everybody wants an interview, but I need to step away and get my music done.” We can’t wait! [Pitchfork]