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Nicki Minaj Enlists Rihanna, Learns Martial Arts In Order To “Fly”

Pink Friday is nearly a year old, and its biggest single, “Super Bass,” was a bonus track, but the Nicki Minaj album still has legs. Witness “Fly” (featuring Rihanna), the newly minted single whose video just premiered during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards pre-show. A late-breaking entry in the “Music Video with a Message” pantheon (whether that brand-new VMA category will return in 2012 remains to be seen), “Fly” witnesses Minaj, first in her Bride of Frankenstein guise, then with a pink pixie haircut and white-rose-print-and-chiffon dress, then with leopard-print hair, and finally suited up in padded white garb to fight off hater-ninjas. The all-grey-everything airplane-fuselage landscape feels a little unreal, like she and Rihanna have wandered into the Resident Evil town somehow. Worry not, though: it gets better, as evidenced by the vines and flowers blooming by video’s end.
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Video Music Awards All-Stars: The 10 Biggest-Winning Music Videos (Did They Deserve It?)

Nearly every truly iconic music video since 1984 has been nominated for at least one Video Music Award in its year of eligibility, but in the twenty-seven years that the ceremony has been held, only ten individual music videos have won five or more Moonmen. (This year, Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” and Katy Perry‘s “E.T.,” featuring Kanye West, could potentially join the club.) These videos got the attention and praise of everybody in their respective years of release. But do they stand the test of time? What about their competition? Here’s our look at the ten most-lauded videos in VMA history.

Madonna, “Ray of Light”: Five VMAs (of eight nominations)
Concept: Madonna raves on fast-forward all over the planet.
Competition: “Ray Of Light” wasn’t the only video with eight nominations: Garbage‘s video for “Push It” had as many nods (though, ultimately, no wins). We’d totally forgotten about “Push It,” actually, and its stocking-masked nun heist/exorcism would be huge today, because it looks like a Lady Gaga video from the 1990s, and if there are two things music fans like these days, they’re Lady Gaga and the 1990s. The year of eligibility for this ceremony was also the height of jiggy rap, but while Diddy‘s five nominations were split among four videos (Puff Daddy and the Family: “It’s All About The Benjamins”; Notorious B.I.G. Featuring Puff Daddy: “Mo Money Mo Problems”; Mariah Carey Featuring Puff Daddy and the Family: “Honey (Remix)”; Puff Daddy & Jimmy Page: “Come With Me”), Will Smith got as many nominations just for “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” (though the video only won one Moonman).
Verdict: While we love “Push It,” the fact that we had to refresh our memory sort of proves that “Ray Of Light” was simply the stronger video that year. As for jiggy rap? Hype Williams was robbed, sure?none of the Best Direction nominees, even, were jiggy rap?but Diddy has gotten his fair share of VMAs over the years (and even hosted one of the ceremonies). HOLDS UP
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Sara Bareilles Previews Greaser Look From Jonah Hill-Helmed Music Video

When we spoke to Sara Bareilles about her upcoming stint as a judge on NBC’s The Sing-Off, she also spilled some details about her upcoming video for “Gonna Get Over You”?most interestingly, that Jonah Hill would be directing it. Now she’s on set and tweeting pictures, and it looks like the Grease theme has been augmented by the accoutrements of a Mexican supermarket, a lot of confetti, and some sort of dance sequence (by five-time Choreography VMA winner Michael Rooney). We officially have no idea what to expect from this video (besides, presumably, soda made from sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup). After seeing these photos (of Bareilles and Hill above, and of her dance teachers posing with a sombrero and an inflatable hula girl in a market aisle below the jump), we’re officially very intrigued.
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Shearer’s Spotlight: Hoping Against Hope That These Things Don’t Happen At The 2011 VMAs

Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

No lie, I haven?t missed a live viewing of the MTV Video Music Awards in 21 years. In college, when our dormitory only carried three television stations, I even managed to squat out the TV-set in student union for four consecutive years.

As someone who takes their VMA?s very seriously, here are three things I?m hoping will not happen this Sunday night:

1) We Don?t Lose Power in NYC
Not only am I missing two of my favorite shows for the VMA?s this Sunday night?Curb Your Enthusiasm and Breaking Bad?but I?m hoping to keep my VMA streak intact by actually getting to watch them live. If Hurricane Irene hits NYC hard on Sunday, electricity may be at a minimum, which would even negate a DVR viewing of the VMA?s. Yes, MTV will re-air the show, but I want to see it before it?s edited down into a TV-friendly, two-hour chunk.

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Fight Night: Top Ten VMA Beefs

The Video Music Awards are a celebration of the best music video work that musicians and technical personnel have to offer. They’re also a live event attended by more than a few outsized personalities, all interacting with each other in close proximity. Part of what makes the event so exciting to us is the tension that proximity creates. Sometimes, though, it boils over past professional rivalry into personal beef.

With that in mind, here is a look back at the ten most memorable VMA fights. Will anyone get into it this year? (Pitbull and Lindsay Lohan?) We’ll be tuning in to MTV on Sunday at 9 p.m. to find out.

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[Images: Getty Images]

by (@unclegrambo)

Pitbull Was Trying To Keep Lindsay Lohan “Relevant,” Not Degrade Her, By Referencing Her In “Give Me Everything”

Now that Lindsay Lohan has become an uninsurable pariah in Hollywood, which has all but destroyed her ability to earn income through acting, she is now forced to rely on the legal system to generate the revenue it takes to maintain her lifestyle. To wit, she successfully sued E-Trade for calling her a “milkaholic” (Ed. Note—Our legal system is in severe need of an overhaul), she’s suing the jewelry company that she stole a necklace from, and now she’s suing music superstar Pitbull! The freckled felon filed suit against Pitbull (real name: Armando Christian Pérezin) in New York for defamation, among other things, for mentioning her name “without compensation” in his runaway chart-topper “Give Me Everything.”

Normally, defense lawyers tell their clients to keep their lips publicly zipped when it comes to matters like this, but the always dapper club sensation took to his website, PlanetPit.com, to tell his side of the story. He admits that when he first heard news of the lawsuit, he thought “it was very ironic,” but once he understood the severity of the allegations, he changed his tune. Pitbull claims the whole thing is just a misunderstanding over misheard and misinterpreted lyrics. “I didn’t look to defame, hurt or degrade someone else’s career,” he tells an off-camera honey. Rather, he explains that he was just attempting to keep her “relevant” and, furthermore, it’s considered a compliment to be “locked down” where he comes from. We’re not sure where you stand on this, but after watching Pitbull’s faux deposition, we’re officially on Team Pit on this one.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Exclusive Video: Gavin DeGraw Checks In After His “Little Incident”

It has been fourteen days since Gavin DeGraw was hospitalized after being assaulted by a group of men in New York City’s East Village. VH1′s August Posted artist reached out to us last week to let us know that he was recovering, and as a follow-up, he just sent us this video message from Columbia, Maryland, which was recorded yesterday. DeGraw got back on stage yesterday for the first time since his awful assault, an event that he refers to in this video as “my little incident.” He’s currently on tour with Train and Maroon 5, and it’s great to see him fully recovered and back in high spirits.

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Watch The Trailer For Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation

Hip-hop has long drawn inspiration from the drug culture, from the stories of iconic dealers like Ricky Ross (many of whom were profiled in BET’s series American Gangster) to portraits of drug-ravaged communities, and everything in between. Yet the particular connection between the rise of crack in the mid-1980s and the culture of burgeoning hip-hop scenes remains under-explored (one notable exception: Ethan Brown‘s 2005 book Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler). We were pleased, then, to announce earlier this month that VH1′s Emmy Award-winning franchise Rock Docs was exploring this topic with Planet Rock, a documentary narrated and executive produced by none other than Ice-T. The trailer, which premiered today and is viewable above, just stoked our interest that much more. Be sure to tune in to Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation on Sunday, September 18 at 10 PM on VH1.
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by (@unclegrambo)

“Pumped Up Kicks” Has Officially Captured The Zeitgeist, As Demonstrated By Vinny From Jersey Shore

Last week, ‘influential’ music blogger Carles of Hipster Runoff fame coined a new term to describe songs that “you’d imagine a group of suburban girls driving around suburbia blasting while they pour vodka into their Sonic slushies.” He (somewhat derisively) categorized songs like “Kids” by MGMT, “Sleepyhead” by Passion Pit, “Home” by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn And John and “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People as “bubblegum indie,” going as far as to break down their common traits as follows: “Vocal FX on some cool sounding voice. Sweet ‘dancey’ bassline. Synthiness. Whistling.”

NPR’s Ann Powers veered in a slightly different direction in her essay on “Pumped Up Kicks” yesterday, describing it as the “ideal summer song for a crash-and-bounce year.” However, she also made sure to call attention to reference Foster The People’s lead singer and songwriter Mark Foster‘s background as an advertising jingle writer and insistence on working whistling into his Song Of The Summer contender (“Because these days there is always whistling,” she sagely notes).

Though these two writers took different tacts at getting there, each acknowledged that Foster The People’s bouncy anthem has officially crossed over from the “indie” world and into the mainstream. This is further evidenced by the video you see above, in which Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey Shore fame dances to “Pumped Up Kicks” with a coterie of adorable moppets in his living room. (We also noted that it was used to score a scene in the Fright Night remake that hit theaters last week, too.) We knew that when we selected the band as a You Oughta Know artist back in June that they were headed for big things, but we had no idea that they would get this big, this quick. At this point, only one question remains: Will the band be able to build on the success of this smash hit with a second single off this record, or will the band veer off into one-hit wonder status? Regardless of that outcome, there’s no denying that “Pumped Up Kicks” has captured the zeitgeist during the summer of 2011.

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by (@Lacezilla)

Aaliyah’s Music Industry Friends and Fans Take To Twitter To Mourn Her Loss

Aaliyah’s mystique was transcendental even before she tragically passed ten years ago today, so it’s not surprising that the impression she left and music she made continues to cause a rippling impact on music culture. For fans, her music was the backdrop to their lives, scoring everything from fun-filled rooftop dance parties to the moments when boots were knocked. Her peers in the music industry held her in the highest of regards, and those close to her have, for years, commented on her spirit’s ability to penetrate and inspire.

Having never met R&B’s trail-blazing beauty, Young Money’s Drake tweeted to Aaliyah just last night, nodding at his belief that she is, like an angel, actively guiding him through his career. But Drake is certainly not alone in sending messages out into the ether to celebrate the late singer; in an era where grieving is often done in a public forum, we’re lucky to be privy to a layer of digital mourning that, before social media, we may not have experienced. We’ll be adding to this post throughout the day, so take a look at the tweets and iconic photos below from the likes of close collaborators like Timbaland, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, and more. And please, by all means, feel free to share your memories and tweets of Aaliyah with us in the comments as well.

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