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by (@unclegrambo)

Gym Class Heroes Discuss Their All-Time Favorite Unplugged Performances

Only a few more hours until VH1 Unplugged: Gym Class Heroes premieres exclusively on VH1.com. At 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT today, you’ll be able to have full access to their entire Unplugged set, which includes their biggest hits (“Stereo Hearts”, “Ass Back Home”), some deep cuts/fan faves (“Cupid’s Chokehold”, “Clothes Off!”), and even one of Travie‘s solo smashes (“Billionaire”). At the taping of this show a few weeks ago in Manhattan, VH1 Tuner sat down with Travie, Matt, Eric and Disashi (clockwise from lower-left) to talk about their own personal favorite moments in Unplugged history.

“Off the top, Jay-Z‘s Unplugged performance was phenomenal,” Travie told us. “The transitions, so crisp. In the same vein, Nirvana‘s was monumental. Seeing Dave Grohl kind of lay back and get in the pocket as opposed to [make's Dave Grohl/Animal drummer face], was really awesome.”

“I agree with Travis, the Jay-Z Unplugged session was incredible,” GCH co-founder and drummer Matt McGinley explained. “I always say that my favorite Roots album is Jay-Z Unplugged. They sound SO good, all the arrangements are incredible.” Read more…

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Meek Mill And Local Philly Pastor Have A Shouting Match On The Radio Over “Amen”

Meek Mill's "Amen" Causes Controversy With Local Pastor

Recently we picked Meek Mill’s “Amen” featuring Drake as one of the contenders for VH1′s Song of the Summer. Well not everyone is on the amen choir praising the organ laced track that shouts “amen,” “preach” and “church” to some questionable things that we’re not so sure is praise worthy in the traditional sense. All Hip Hop reports Philadelphia pastor Jomo K. Johnson (admittedly a hip-hop fan) got wind of “Amen” and called for a boycott of the song. Pastor Johnson called into Philly’s Hot 107.9 and said, “As a hip-hop fan I decided to check it out and listen to the lyrics. I was just completely shocked that Meek Mill, knowing that Philadelphia is a highly religious community, he would choose to make a song thanking the good Lord, for things that are completely contrary to the holiness of God.” We’re guessing a rendition of Meek’s infectious hit from his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape won’t be played at church this Sunday. Read more…

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Life Is Good For Nas And Swizz Beatz’s Performance At The ESPY Awards Despite A Boring Crowd

Life is good was the appropriate theme for last night’s ESPY Awards where accomplished athletes were recognized for their athletic successes. Gearing up for the release of his tenth studio album, Nas was the perfect person to invoke the feeling of living good with a medley of singles from his forthcoming Life Is Good. Like a true class act, dressed in a black tux he performed “Nasty,” “The Don” and was joined by Swizz Beatz for “Summer On Smash.” With DJ Lantern on the 1′s and 2′s accompanied by the live band, it felt like a classic hip-hop moment where the instruments were blaring and the lyrics meant something. Swizzy in a white tux elevated the energy on stage. Despite all of those things the ESPY Awards crowd seemed so…dry. We’ve seen grandmas less bored while watching The Price Is Right. Someone should have whispered to them, “Hey, you’re witnessing greatness.” Read more…

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Vocal Injuries Strike Again! Florence and the Machine Cancel Two Festival Dates

Florence Welch is going to need a generous dosage of green tea to go with her two festival date cancellations. Florence and the Machine will no longer be performing in Benicassim in Spain on July 12th and Optimus Alive in Portugal on July 14th because Flo has “sustained a vocal injury” according to her personal twitter. She said of her famously eerie voice that she “felt something snap, it was very frightening..” She later tweeted thanking her fans for their love and support.

We’ve seen what can happen when artists don’t take care of their most prized possession — their vocal cords. We’ve watch Adele fall victim to this again and again, having to cancel tours left and right, although it hasn’t exactly stunted her climb to the top of the charts. John Mayer had to cancel appearances as well and wasn’t able to promote his May 22 release, Born and Raised.

All we’re saying is take all the time you need, Flo, and rest up your perfect pipes! Everyone here at VH1 is wishing you a speedy recovery.

Florence Welch suffers vocal injury, cancels shows [Rolling Stone]

[Photo: Getty Images]

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Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange Won’t Be Sold At Target, Def Jam Says Early Release Was ‘Always Part Of The Plan’

Def Jam Says It Wasll All A Part Of the Plan, Target Refuses To Sell His Album

Frank Ocean is winning! Following the buzz around his sexuality Ocean decided to use his own website to address the rumors once and for all. Days after revealing he’d fell in love with a man at 19, Ocean shocked everyone by releasing the digital version of his debut album Channel Orange a week early. The Internet went bananas quickly making it the No. 1 album on iTunes a couple of hours after its release. While we were busy indulging in the Stevie Wonder-esque voice over eloquent songwriting in Channel Orange, speculations were made regarding if Ocean’s early release was due to the massive support he received in opening up about his sexuality. ‘Was it a publicity stunt?’ was a common question tossed around like rice thrown at weddings. According to EW.com, Def Jam claims the early release was “all part of Channel Orange‘s unusual marketing strategy.” A marketing strategy that worked, might we add. Read more…

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Chris Brown’s Winning A “Fortune” With No. 1 Album

Chris Brown Fortune No. 1

From F.A.M.E. to Fortune, Chris Brown lands his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 charts with Fortune. According to Nielsen SoundScan, Fortune has already sold 134,000 copies. Popular songs like lead single “Turn Up the Music,” which reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “Till I Die” encompassed the diversity of dance, pop, R&B and hip-hop that Breezy’s fans expect. Two No. 1 albums in two years is a success worth celebrating, especially considering both his past missteps and current drama with Drake, but could there be a decreased interest in the pop star? Comparatively 2011′s F.A.M.E. dropped atop the list with 270,000 units sold, which is more than double the sales of Fortune. Read more…

by (@zaragolden)

Britney Spears Gets Mean In New The X Factor Promo

Based on this new promo, The X Factor will not be all fun and games and Vanilla Ice for Britney Spears. This first footage of Britney at the judges’ table finds Britney shooting down contestants, one after another after another. “Very predictable,” she tells one. “Bad to the bone,” the next. And then, one hand in the air, she snarls devastatingly, “You can’t destroy that song, sweetie.” Look out, Simon Cowell! Brit, apparently, has got a prerogative. Read more…

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How Old Is Lil’ Kim, Exactly?

In honor of Lil’ Kim’s birthday today, VH1 took a look back at 37 iconic fashion moments throughout her career. However, after quadruple checking various sources to verify her age, we had a minor heart attack when our research did not yield a conclusive result.

Wikipedia —not the most reliable of sources, we know!— pegged Kimberly Denise Jones birth year as 1975, which means she’d be 37 today. However, her IMDB bio states she was born in 1974, putting her at 38-years-old. Her bios on Billboard, TV Guide, Yahoo Movies and Starpulse corroborate Wikipedia’s 1975 birth. On the other hand, AOL Music’s bio page for the BK rapper is in line with IMDB’s 1974. In 2005, MSNBC wrote, “Lil’ Kim, who turns 30 next week…” which would again make this a happy 37th birthday. And People.com in 2003 referred to her as a then 28-year-old making her 37 today. All of this begs the question: How old is the Queen Bee really? Read more…

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Azealia Bank’s Fantasea Expected To Make A Splash, Complete With Mermaids

Fantasea Mixtape To Be Released Today

The wait is finally over for the release of Azealia BanksFantasea mixtape. At 12:00 p.m. EST the Harlem rapper will release the 19 track mixtape that has been pushed back more times than we can count. For the true A. Banks fans the mermaid themed mixtape will be well worth the wait. Despite the skepticism around whether she’d ever release her debut album (which has also been pushed back) or a mixtape, Banks continued to release dope music keeping the peaked interest of music critics and fans. In the interim she released the four song EP 1991, the video to “Liquorice” and songs from the eagerly awaited Fantasea. Read more…

by (@Lacezilla)

The Top 5 Most Entertaining Essence Music Festival Moments

Beside’s Kevin Hart’s hilarious set Saturday night, there were some pretty LOL-worthy instances at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans this past weekend, and even though it was impossible to be everywhere and see everything, we put together a short list of our Top 5 Most Entertaining Moments for you all to experience vicariously.

1. LisaRaye McCoy Makes A Ca$h Out Joke
If you haven’t heard Ca$h Out’s “Cashin’ Out,” you’re missing out. Luckily for us, LisaRaye is hipper than most and made a delightful joke to VH1 News’ Janell Snowden on Friday morning, that went something like this:
Janell: I wish I had all the men that you do, LisaRaye.
LisaRaye: Shoot, I do too. We all need to be “smokin’ on that Keisha.”
If you don’t watch Single Ladies, this may not seem funny, but I assure you, it was. LisaRaye plays a Keisha Green on the show, and in real life, can pun on the character by referencing one of the most ratchet tunes of the summer; adding to the growing list of reasons that she’s a true she-ro of mine.

Read more…