Some hip-hop heads like to talk about the “four pillars” of hip hop, as defined by Afrika Bambaataa: rapping, DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti painting, as an all-encompassing view of hip-hop as a culture (and sometimes, a nostalgic lament for what’s been lost). But for a kid nearly three thousand miles away from hip-hop’s South Bronx birthplace, like, say, Ice Cube in South Central Los Angeles, the pillars were signifiers for those seeking information about the nascent musical style. In this exclusive sneak peek of Behind the Music: Ice Cube, which premieres Wednesday, July 6 at 10PM ET/PT, Ice Cube talks about being a curious kid in those days, after first hearing “Rapper’s Delight” and becoming obsessed with rap: “I used to be in the TV Guide, looking for anything that had anything to do with graffiti, breakdancing, rapping, scratching.”
UPDATE (6:00 p.m.): Sorry to spoil your holiday weekend, but as we exclusively reported earlier, Watch The Throne will NOT be coming out on July 4th.
Speculation about Watch the Throne, the hotly anticipated full-length collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West, has reached a fever pitch as the holiday weekend approaching, with a combination of non-denials and excitement adding fuel to the rumor that the album will be released on Monday, July 4.
When The Source first reported on June 9 that the album was due out on Independence Day, the announcement seemed no more official than the March 1 date that was allegedly announced by Def Jam after Kanye misspoke on New Year’s Eve and said the album would be out in January (he meant Lex Luger-produced lead single “H.A.M.”). Sure, a purported tracklist had surfaced two days earlier, but there wasn’t anything even supporting the claim until Tuesday, when AllHipHop claimed that a different source had also confirmed the date, adding that the initial release will likely be digital-only, to prevent leaks.
Yesterday, when CyHi Da Prynce appeared on MTV’s RapFix Live, Sway pressed him to speak on the July 4 release date, and while CyHi claimed not to know, his “I can’t say” grin/grimace was confirmation enough for some:
In July of 2009, a video with the innocent title “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” was posted to YouTube. The video showed an exuberant wedding party shimmying down the aisle before that day’s ceremony to the strains of Chris Brown‘s “Forever,” and quickly hit the viral jackpot. The video was viewed over 67 million times, and was even replicated in the “Niagara” episode of NBC’s The Office, which centered around the largely depressing wedding ceremony between Jim and Pam. Ever since then, scads of newlyweds have been trying to achieve that same kind of viral buzz with wacky first dance choices (with varying degrees of success). Until now, it seems.
According to “research” conducted by the British jewelry chain H. Samuel, some newlyweds of late have been eschewing both traditionally romantic and viral buzz generating first-dance songs in favor of unconventionally ironic choices. The chain speculates that joke selections are more memorable, and lists a number of very odd yet unmistakably British selections, including U2‘s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” Morrissey‘s “You’re the One For Me Fatty,” Roy C‘s “Shotgun Wedding,” and Joy Division‘s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Even their most popular, traditionally romantic choice is really British: the version of Cole Porter‘s “You Do Something to Me” performed by Paul Weller.
Below we’ve embedded the least appropriate first-dance song we can think of; if you can top it, mention your choice in the comments!
Javier Colon got a fresh shot at music superstardom when he was announced as the winner of NBC’s The Voice last night. But before he caught his (second) big break, he recorded two albums with Capitol Records, 2003′s Javier and 2006′s Left Of Center. While he was working the promotional circuit in support of his eponymous self-titled album back in ’03, he stopped by our VH1 offices for a lively Unplugged show. We decided to unearth two of the clips from this session, his cover of Bill Withers’ “Use Me” (above) and his very first single as a major label recording artist, “Crazy” (which is below). As you’ll see, even then, his trademark cap was in place.
The season finale of The Voice and the season premiere of Behind the Music (now streaming in full on our site!) stole the thunder of the two bands that performed last night on television, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them. Parachute, a band of University of Virginia graduates whose blend of Something Corporate emo-pop piano balladry and soul-band backup vocals and bass guitar works way better than it has any right to, kept the crowd excited on Jimmy Kimmel Live! with their single?”Something to Believe In.” The track has gained some traction on adult pop radio, even as the band is wearing t-shirts for bands like Snapcase while playing for rooms full of kids on their first headlining club tour. Before the show, lead singer Will Anderson tweeted, “My goal on?@jimmykimmel tonight is to always be staring into whatever camera is on. Seriously. Watch for it.” We’d say he was fairly successful.
Meanwhile, on Late Night with David Letterman, Marty Stuart cranked out “Country Boy Rock & Roll,” a barnburner of a single from Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions. Stuart is a country traditionalist, which describes not only his sound but also his look. Did you ever think you’d see hair like this on television in 2011?
A hearty congratulations are due tonight to Javier Colon, the winner of the first season of NBC’s The Voice. The 34 year-old, who was dropped from his label Capitol Records after releasing two albums under their watch, triumphed over his competitors Dia Frampton, Vicci Martinez, and Beverly McClellan.
We first felt like the Javier wave was about to crest last week after his stirring rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” a performance which also saw him shed his (then trademark) cap for the first time. At the time, we opined that he might have pulled this maneuver a week too soon, but you know what they say about hindsight.
Last night, though, Javier proved himself to be one of this competition’s frontrunners with an engaging performance of his original song, “Stitch By Stitch” (which we have for you below). And tonight, he proved he had nerves of steel when he stood toe-to-toe with Stevie Nicks during a duet of the Fleetwood Mac classic, “Landslide,” never losing confidence despite Stevie’s not-so-subtle direction on how he should inflect his vocals. Judge/coach Adam Levine described it, perhaps with a smidge of hyperbole, as “one of the most beautiful duets I’ve ever heard in my life,” but there is no denying that Javier Colon is having one of the best nights of his life. He’s got a second chance at music superstardom, but only time –and perhaps the ticket sales for this summer’s The Voice multi-city tour– will tell if he’ll end up making Capitol Records regret their decision to let him go.
MISSY ELLIOTT SPEAKS ON HER BEHIND THE MUSIC EPISODE: “I THOUGHT, ‘LET ME REINTRODUCE MYSELF’”
Missy Elliott talked to Gerrick D. Kennedy at Pop & Hiss about her ongoing collaboration with Timbaland, the legacy of Aaliyah, and her Behind the Music episode, which premieres tonight at 10PM ET/PT. Also check out our sneak peeks of the episode, which will get you excited for the episode, and also remind you that Missy looks like a Gmail Robot in the video for “Sock It 2 Me.” [Pop & Hiss/LAT]
International superstardom is exhausting, especially if you’re Beyonc?! After a fierce Sunday set at Glastonbury, Beyonc?’s 4 finally hits shelves this week, and yes, we’re absolutely ready for this album’s off-the-charts intimacy levels to stupefy our senses. As a hard-working entertainer dedicated to her craft, it’s no surprise that the talented renaissance woman needed and deserved a break from years of relentless recording, promoting and touring prior to releasing this record. But what, exactly, did Queen B do during her year away from the music business?
Premiering tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. on VH1 and Palladia (7 p.m. ET/PT on MTV and BET), VH1 special Beyonc?: Year of 4 arrives just in time to bring the icon’s year-long adventure to light. (If you miss it, we’ll have it streaming on VH1.com for 24 hours, too). Capturing her many experiences while traveling the world and re-examining her career, the film is equipped with footage taken with Bey’s camera and her own very-personal narration. Truly bringing us into her often-private world, Beyonc? ruminates on her life thus far, her marriage to rapper Jay-Z, her company and brand (after parting ways with father and former manager, Matthew Knowles), and the future she intends on building as a role-model for women around the world. In the sneak above, we follow Bey as she toboggans down the Great Wall of China, hangs with friends and family, and recognizes how taking time off never even occurred to her.
Ke$ha and Conan O’Brien are really running with their collaboration. When she returned to his show on Monday for its summer concert series, she also curated her own installment of It Came from the Intertubes (a Best Week Ever-type feature that Conan’s site launched last month), and taped the above sketch about Auto-Tune. Gags about the oft-used software are a little played out, but voice modulation is always at least a little funny, and Ke$ha really sells it, so it works. She neighs!
She also takes the opportunity to slip a little actual criticism into the bit. After facetiously explaining that Pavarotti, Bob Dylan (ha!), and The Beatles all used Auto-Tune, she flatly intones, “Being against Auto-Tune is like being against the idea of a DJ. It just lets people know you’re old.”
And on that note, here’s Dylan rapping the first verse of “Mama Said Knock You Out”:
When we first heard “This City”, the new single from Patrick Stump‘s forthcoming solo album Soul Punk, we realized it was entering an exclusive club. The song, which premiered on the A.V. Club and features Lupe Fiasco, is an ode to the city of Chicago, an underheralded American metropolis if there ever was one (musically, anyway). Certainly, the Second City has its regional anthems, like the Chicago-house dyad of “Can You Feel It” and “The Percolator” (not to mention Frankie Knuckles tracks like “Your Love,” which was sampled for Animal Collective‘s “My Girls”) and the gotta-dance juke-gone-pop freakout of Dude ‘N Nem‘s “Watch My Feet.” But while New York City, for example, has been a musical muse to practically everyone from Tin Pan Alley to the present (including the band Chicago), the city of Chicago is, for its size, lacking in crowd-unifying refrains.
Which is not to say that there are none. Chicagoans need not resort to the Chi-town rework of LMFAO‘s “I’m In Miami, Trick”; there is a small but significant pantheon of Chicago songs, which Stump’s new single joins:
5. Sufjan Stevens, “Chicago”
The centerpiece of Sufjan Stevens‘s 2005 concept album about Illinois, aptly titled Illinois, “Chicago” quickly became a fan favorite that closed out the artist’s live sets, despite never being a “single” as such. Stevens would release three alternate versions of the song on the b-sides collection The Avalanche. The song resonated outside the city as well: Snow Patrol mentioned the song in the lyrics of their own “Hands Open,” Little Miss Sunshine featured the song on its soundtrack, and Chiddy Bang sampled it for “All Things Go.”