The Best New Artist prize is one of the more divisive categories at the annual Grammy Awards. The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) has been famously hit or miss with their selections, which include a healthy dose of monster talents (Adele, Alicia Keys, Sade) as well as a startling number of embarrassing, wholly forgettable choices (Milli Vanilli, Arrested Development, Starland Vocal Band).
Well, while it’s still a few hours until we learn who the 2012 Grammy nominees for Best New Artist are going to be—we’ll have the nominees for you tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT—we thought we’d pull together a few of the most likely contenders for you. This year, they include:
It’s been Nicki Minaj‘s year to shine, as the young star has been party to high profile collaborations with superstars like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Drake and Britney Spears. Not only does she got that boom-ba-doo-doom, boom-ba-doo-doom super bass, this melding of Lady Gaga, Lil Kim and an anime princess is the most exciting thing to happen to hip hop this year.
Remember when Hanson used to be all cute and innocent? Well, we’ve got news for you buddy, THEY’RE NOT ANY MORE! The boys are back on the radar and this time they’re not releasing a new song, but their very own beer brand. THAT’S RIGHT, THOSE LITTLE CUTIES YOU REMEMBER ARE HOPHEADS! GASP! They probably even drink the stuff, too!
All kidding aside, their new Indian pale ale, which will be available early next year is called — wait for it — “Mmmhop.” If you were too young or too old or too cool to care about Hanson in the 90s, the beer is named after their career defining hit, “Mmmbop.” This makes us think the brothers haven’t lost their boyish charms after all, the pun being so obvious it’s painfully perfect. As they say, you can take the boy out of Tulsa…
VH1 You Oughta Know alum Dawes got into the festive mood recently, covering “Christmas Time Is Here” for The A.V Club. And when we say festive mood, the boys went all out, complete with Santa hats, tinsel and stars. Dawes’ rendition of the Christmas classic hold true to Vince Guaraldi‘s original, with only hints of the L.A sunset folk sound Dawes are known for peeking at the edges. We loved Dawes’ version, and the chilled out, melodic tune matched their vibe perfectly — but wouldn’t have been upset if the boys infused it with some more laid back, surfer beach vibes either.
This holiday season it’s snowing Bublé, as Michael Bublé‘s album Christmas scrapes into the number 1 spot this week on the Billboard 200 chart. Ousting Nickelback‘s Here And Now by a freckle, Bublé’s Christmas reached the top spot by selling 227,000 copies, a mere 0.18% more than Nickelback (which is the closest race since 2007). While we’re huge supporters of both artists, as November ends and the festive season is well and truly upon us, we can’t stop humming Bublé’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” so we think it’s pertinent that the Christmas themed album should inch ahead. “Christmas” is Bublé’s third number 1 album and marks his best sales week ever — Merry Christmas to you, Sir Bublé!
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s Talk That Talk shifted 197,000 units, good for third place. This debut is a smidge off her first week sales of Loud last year, which sold 207,000 units, but with “We Found Love” firmly entrenched at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “You Da One” steamrolling its way towards the Top 10—it’s sitting at #14 this week—RiRi’s camp is sitting pretty for an extended chart run.
Sometimes “movements are bigger than single records,” says Jay-Z in Young Jeezy’s new biographical film, A Hustlerz Ambition; a comment that can easily summarize the Snowman’s rise to fame. Last night, in two theaters at New York City’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema, the documentary tied to the release of Jeezy’s fourth album, Thug Motivation 103: A Hustlerz Ambition, was unveiled and screened for the very first time by Def Jam and the man of the hour himself. Chronicling the drug-slinging trap rapper’s evolution, the film documents both sides of Jeezy’s (real name: Jay Jenkins) personal and professional lives, focusing on painful, comedic and triumphant moments while on his path to becoming a bonafide player in the rap game.
Making the audience privy to many intimate details of his life, the film delves into Jeezy’s childhood, how his uncle “Bo” first gave him forty dollars to flip at age 11, the divorce of his military father and substance abusing-mother (who he later saw buy and be high on crack), living with his grandmother in Hawkinsville, Georgia and utilizing her stove to dominate the streets, fighting for paternity rights to his son, and battling severe health problems like Bell’s Palsy and polyps on his vocal cords. While the glimpse into his personal history is informative and helps to understand his overall story, the film, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Chris Robinson, is mostly geared toward shedding light on Jeezy’s relentless drive to achieve everything he wants in life, plus much more. Read more…
Promoting his hit single “Without You,” David Guetta appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, joined by Usher, who brough some serious dance moves to the stage. Spinning, u-turning and collar-popping, Usher employed all the signature moves he’s known for, all the while singing over Guetta’s trancetastic beats. With a team of back-up dancers, flashing lights, psychedelic visualizations and shooting flames, the stage was transformed into a Euro-techno party with Usher and Guetta revving up the audience. No wonder this song is shooting towards the top of our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown!
Michael Stipe Channels Obi-Wan Kenobi At Local Multiplex
Retirement seems to be treating the former R.E.M. frontman well, wouldn’t you say? [Confessions Of A Michael Stipe]
Scarlett Johansson Duets With Dean Martin (!!!) ScarJo sings with the dead on the new edition of the late Dean Martin‘s album, My Kind Of Christmas. The actor-come singer’s vocals appear alongside Dean Martin’s on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” and it’s quite lovely, really. [Stereogum]
Ever since Beyoncé announced that she was pregnant during this year’s Video Music Awards, fans, the press and naysayers alike all want to know the same thing: Is Beyoncé’s baby bump for realsies? In one corner, fans are rooting for Beyoncé, standing by their girl and her proclamations that she is indeed carrying Jay-Z‘s baby. But in the other corner, naysayers are calling shenanigans to Bey and her bump, convinced that there’s no bun baking in her oven. We have no idea what is true and what isn’t, but we have been curiously inspecting the evidence and have decided to round up all the conspiracy theories to see if we really do have another Roswell on our hands…
CONSPIRACY THEORY #1: THE DUE DATE
In October on the Australian TV show Sunday Night, Beyoncé announced that her child was due in Feburary 2012. According to the naysayers… Sorry Bey, but the math just doesn’t add up! A video released today (above) shows Bey gushing about her pregnancy and showing off a rather large baby bump on the set of “Countdown,” which was filmed on September 23, 2011. In the video, Beyoncé states that she is 6 months pregnant… which would make her 9 months pregnant in December… and 9 months is traditionally the point at which the baby decides to emerge from the womb… so it looks like Mamma Bey needs to get her story straight! “Don’t be ridiculous,” say the fans… Beyoncé is known for being extremely private, and any discrepancies here can be explained away by the simple fact that Bey wants her real due date to remain a secret. There’s a reason this video came out, and moreover a reason why Bey is so careful to state the date at the start — Beyoncé doesn’t do anything by accident, and fans believe this is perfectly engineered to keep the birth as private as possible, much like her wedding to Jay-Z, the actual event of which was kept closely under wraps.
VH1′s You Oughta Know Artist, Scars On 45, stopped by the VH1 headquarters recently to play a short set of songs for us. We’re brimming with excitement to have the British quintet join our You Oughta Know stable, as we’ve been loving their new EP, Heart On Fire. The band was formed by former professional soccer player Danny Bemrose after an injury sidelined him from the game, and his new career direction is off to an incredible start. Scars On 45 have already had their songs featured on hit TV shows like CSI: New York, Grey’s Anatomy, and One Tree Hill, and their debut LP is set to be released sometime in early 2012. With a certain sincerity, Scars On 45′s sentimental brand of music embraces both the bleeding heart and classic rock, with an earthiness that speaks to the elemental qualities of the natural environment of their homeland in England.
During their stripped down set here in the heart of Times Square, between their endearing banter and heartfelt performances of their own songs, the band took a moment to cover Rihanna and Calvin Harris‘ number one smash, “We Found Love”. Admitting to the audience that they’d forgotten the words to the song when performing it live in concert the night before, Scars On 45 seemed confident regardless, and although they expressed a giggly trepidation, they took on Rihanna’s dance anthem head-on and didn’t miss a beat. However, Scars On 45′s rendition was no dance anthem — quite the opposite really, pairing a guitar-led, folksy sound with Rihanna’s lyrics, giving the song a completely new dimension. Pared back, slow and melodic, the song, but for the words, was barely discernible from the original, taking on a new, powerfully romantic poignancy. The rest of Scars On 45′s live performance will be coming soon, and we’ve got plenty of more whimsy where this came from! Read more…
Another year, another 50 albums you need to know, according to Paste Magazine. Yep, 2011 is coming to a close, and we’re about to be slammed with the “tops” and the “bests” of the year, not to mention the “musts” and the “watch this spaces” for 2012. Paste Magazine has kicked off the festivities with their top 50 favorite albums of 2011, and while 50 seems like a big number, it’s certainly not enough.
Of the lesser knowns, how could Youth Lagoon, The Weeknd and Atlas Sound fail to make the cut? It’s been a big year indeed, and it looks like culling a list down to even a generous 50 is a ruthless task. Hats off to Paste Magazine for taking a decisive plunge into rating 2011′s vast and amazing releases.