Frank Ocean’s courage was all the rave on social media as folks were celebrating their 4th of July with booze and barbeque. In light of a few headlines speculating about Frank’s sexuality, he decided to put the rumors to rest by releasing a “thank you’s” letter on his Tumblr that he’d originally intended to include in his upcoming album Channel Orange. In the letter he didn’t officially “come out” as gay or bi-sexual, but he admitted that his first love was a man. Like us, a legion of fans, celebrities included, were overjoyed with his transparency and bravery. Most of all, we were happy he finally could write the words: “I feel like a free man.” Read more…
Mr. Nas Jones comes again with a second posthumous collaboration with his late and great friend Amy Winehouse. Last fall we got a haunting first listen to what the two could do together with “Like Smoke,” off of Winehouse’s posthumous album Lioness: Hidden Treasures. And today, we get a second go with “Cherry Wine,” off of Nas’s upcoming Life Is Good.
The six-minute track is a jazzy and somewhat melancholic affair. It opens with Winehouse singing longingly of the man of her dreams. “Where is he, the man who is just like me? I heard he is hiding somewhere where I can see,” she wallows, her voice as sweet and soulful as ever. Her Mr. Jones, too, is looking for the woman of his dreams, a someone who can “teach me how to life, she’s not afraid of life.” Even though Nas’s verses were recorded after Winehouse’s passing, there is chemistry between the two. Thanks for this is perhaps due to the song’s producer Salaam Remi, a longtime collaborator of both vocalists. It’s hard not to wonder what — as successful as their posthumous collaborations have been — the two might have accomplished together in Winehouse’s prime. But alas this will have to do, and it does well. “Everything is good, everything is fine, pour a little cherry wine,” Nas reminds at the end of his verse. “Life is good, no matter what, life is good.”
It’s the 4th of July, which means that it’s time to wish another happy birthday to the US of A! In honor of our country’s 236th bday, we’ve put together this spectacular, über-patriotic GIF Wall featuring some of the music industry’s biggest stars paying salute the stars and stripes, everyone from chart legends like Bruce Springsteen and Madonna to up-and-comers like Lana Del Rey and Azealia Banks. Ain’t that America?
Just a day after he debuted his verse a capella at the BET awards, Kanye has graced us with the full “New God Flow” track. The song builds a sample of Ghostface Killah‘s “Mighty Healthy” to a piano-driven beat that is about as spare as the one Ye banged out on the BET stage with his foot. It’s patient, too, providing plenty enough space within for West and his guest Pusha T to stack their boasts high while dreaming of piles higher. For these two, G.O.O.D.’s not enough — they want that new god flow. The track is available for full stream or download on West’s website. Read more…
We’d like you to say “Hey” (or even “Ho Hey!”) to July and August’s You Oughta Know artists, The Lumineers. Childhood friends Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites began writing music together after the tragic loss of Jeremiah’s brother and Wesley’s friend, Josh. Eventually growing tired of the Brooklyn gruel, they turned west to Colorado. The move, it turns out, was fruitful. Once there, they picked up cellist Neyla Perkarek and released their eponymous debut album, which has since seen rise on the Billboard charts. “I don’t know where I belong,” goes “Ho Hey!”, “but I can write a song.” And that they can. Like the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons and many roots-revivalists before them, The Lumineers provide solace from the imposing woomp-woomp of radio these days, favoring instead the thump-thump of their feet and hearts. We think you really oughta know these guys, and here’s five reasons why:
1. That Bing Commercial
Many folks first got wind of these guys during this year’s NBA Finals, when a Bing spot with an infectiously hopeful song played during every commercial break. One internet search for “what is that song in the Bing commercial” later, and before the game was even over, many found themselves officially intrigued by The Lumineers.
Meet Rebecca Ferguson, one of our two You Oughta Know artists for July and August. Hailing from Liverpool, the 25-year-old singer made her first big splash on Britain’s The X Factor‘s seventh season, where she won-over the usually salty Simon Cowell and placed second overall. Her successful showing subsequently earned her a record deal. And although her debut album Heaven only hit shelves stateside in May, the lead single “Nothing’s Real But Love” has already found its way to both the top of the UK charts and deep into our hearts. Ferguson’s belting recalls the classic soul of Aretha Franklin as well as that of the quirkier Macy Gray, but she cites also acts like Mike Posner and rockers Kings Of Leon as influences. Here are five things that make us proud to have her as our latest You Oughta Know artist:
1. Earning It On The X Factor
As she explains in her audition tape for The X Factor, Ferguson assumed her dreams derailed when she got pregnant at the age of 17. “I thought, well, maybe I won’t be able to become a singer. Who’s going to want me, now I’ve got a kid? I lost me confidence,” she shared through tears. Not yet ready to put aside her life long dream of being a singer, she climbed the audition stage and hasn’t looked back since.
For her audition, she sang “A Change Is Gonna Come,” and, oh boy, did a change come. Not even the notoriously difficult Simon Cowell could say no to a voice like hers. “You’re voice is totally on the money,” he said. “Let me try to restore that confidence for you,” he told her, sending her forward to reclaim her spirit as well. It was a long time coming, but she knew a change was going to come.
As a promotional stunt, Pitbull plans to visit whichever Walmart store can accumulate the most “likes” on Facebook before July 15th. in order to “share the experience of using Energy Sheets with my fans.” Pitbull was probably envisioning a quick trip to some superstore in a populated place like Dallas or Southern Florida, somewhere he could “share the experience of using Energy Sheets with my fans” and then be back on his Mr. World Order way. But a writer for the Boston Pheonix and the humor website SomethingAwful.com, has a better idea: why not jam the system and send the sun-bred, Miami boy and his energy strips to a land most forbidden? Or at least most far off.
Using the hashtag #ExilePitbull to rally the troops, troublemaker David Thorpe has earned some 45,000 ‘likes’ for the store in frozen Kodiak, Alaska, some 5,000 miles and many climate zones away from Pitbull’s Miami. A chilly bon voyage it may be!
You Oughta Know artist, Unplugged veteran and history maker — remember how she performed pregnant? — and one-half of the Grammy Award winning duo Civil Wars Joy Williams has added “Mother” to her already impressive résumé. Williams and her husband, the Civil Wars’ manager Nate Yetton, brought a baby boy into the world on Saturday. Welcome, Miles Alexander! “Now I really know what love at first sight means,” she gushed on Twitter. “All happy and healthy.” A hearty congrats to all!
Outkast‘s Andre “3000″ Benjamin will play Jimi Hendrix in the upcoming biopic All Is By My Side, but he won’t actually get to try on any of the psychedelic guitar god’s originals on for size. According to Rolling Stone, Hendrix’s estate has put the kibosh on that. And so, as it turns out, Andre Benjamin’s Jimi Hendrix experience might be Hendrix-less after all. Sort of.
Experience Hendrix, LLC, the family-owned company that over see’s Hendrix’s legacy, has asked that the biopic — which is currently in production in Dublin — not include original music or copyrights created by Hendrix. Because the film is meant to cover the years ahead of Hendrix’s landmark debut, Are You Experienced?, director John Ridley has opted instead to use some of Hendrix’s most famous covers. And so in lieu of Andre Benjamin remakes of “Purple Haze” and “All Along The Watchtower,” we’ll get Andre Benjamin covers of Jimi Hendrix covers of the Beatles, Elvis, Muddy Waters, and more. Not such a bad compromise, if you ask us! Read more…
It’d be a lie if we said the opening of Willow Smith’s “I Am Me” didn’t sound like Rihanna. Within seconds it’s blatantly obvious it’s not Riri because Willow has her own sound, but the similarity in sound is there, even if only for a moment. New York City is a perfect place for a video titled “I Am Me” because it’s a place where individuality is celebrated. In the middle of Washington Square Park Willow sports blue jeans and an oversized shirt toting her keyboard and skateboard. And the whole point is she just doesn’t care what anyone has to think, whether it’s about her clothes or her shaved head. Read more…