In the moments before Rita Ora took the stage at S.O.B.’s in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan last night, there was a palpable buzz in the air. The packed-to-capacity club had just patiently waited through a middling set from former OFWGKTA member Casey Veggies, and people were buzzing with anticipatory glee for a few reasons. Of course, people were excited to see the artist that is being described as “the new Rihanna” make her New York City debut, but we heard more than a few people in our immediate vicinity wonder aloud whether or not her mentor, one Mr. Sean “Jay-Z” Carter, would be making an appearance at the tiny club where artists like Kanye West, John Legend and Erykah Badu caught some of their first big breaks. Well, spoiler alert, Hova did not make an appearance, but by the end of Rita Ora’s 35 minute(ish) set, no one seemed to care.
Ora bounded onto the stage just a few minutes after 10 p.m. wearing an orange knit hat, a blue jacket, a white midriff-revealing crop top and black tights. Her outfit was colorful and playful, much like Ora’s personality, with a dash of Stefani-esque sexiness thrown in (that is to say, she’s an undeniable beauty that projects a certain wholesomeness). She led off with a song that we had not heard before, but one that contained the line “It’s the kind of beat that will make your face melt.” Normally, we associate the concept of facemelting to metal riffs, but in this particular case, her description of the roaring synths was entirely appropriate. Considering this was her first showcase in NYC, we expected to see a hint of nervousness from her when she first hit the stage, but that never came to fruition. Instead, she commanded the stage like a veteran rock star, prowling from side to side, even occasionally indulging in a bit of headbanging.
Like a school girl geeking out over the boy band heartthrobs Immature of the 90s, I’m having a moment with the premiere of Brandy’s “Put It Down” featuring Chris Brown. Written by Sean Garrett and produced by Bandgladesh, on the first single from her forthcoming album Two Eleven, Brandy has all the ingredients necessary for a hot song — a booming beat, her deep distinctive voice, sexy lyrics and a guest feature from one of the biggest male pop singers. Don’t call it a comeback, call it a reminder. Brandy is showing folks why she’s been in the game for over 15 years. After the song dropped Brandy tweeted to her fans:
Both artists traditionally known for singing are giving rappers a run for their money in Brandy’s hot new record. At the beginning of her second verse, Bran tries her hand at rapping, again (we haven’t forgotten about that rapping alter ego), but only briefly, “I hope the chivalry ain’t dead to you boy ’cause I’m grown. Like to pull up in that, come up with that, when I see what I want,” she raps before jumping right back into her soulful signature sound. And Chris’ rhymes aren’t too shabby either. One of our favorite lines: “I’m sipping on that Brandy, this liquor comes in handy.” Simple, yes, but using her name as a double entendre was a nice touch.
In last night’s Behind the Music, Brandy’s brother said she is finally listening to her inner voice and doing what she wants. If this is any indication of where her album is going, all we can say is, Brandy’s back!
Everything about the Rakim vs. MC Lyte match up for Bracket Madness is so hip-hop. Legendary rappers who’ve been around since hip-hop’s nascence? Check. Male and female? Check. And lyrics that cannot be denied? Check. As it stands now, MC Lyte is trailing behind Rakim, but we have a feeling her fans won’t let her go down without a fight. Anything can happen between now and Friday, April 27 at 11 a.m. ET/PT when the votes are closed.
Being the hip-hop enthusiasts you are, we know we don’t need to remind you of the fire both rappers have spit in their prime. But we will anyway. Listen to MC Lyte’s master storytelling in “I Cram to Understand U (Sam)” : “‘Cause to me, oh my gosh, he was one in a million. I shoulda knew the consequences right from the start. That he’d use me for my money, and then break my heart. But like a fool in love I fell for his game. But I got mine, so I show no shame.”
Now, if Rakim & Eric B’s“Paid in Full” doesn’t remind you of a time rappers told a vivid picture with lyrical poetry, we don’t know what will: “A pen and a paper, a stereo, a tape/ of Me and Eric B, and a nice big plate of fish, which is my favorite dish/But without no money it’s still a wish/’Cuz I don’t like to dream about gettin’ paid/So I dig into the books of the rhymes that I made/So now to test to see if I got pull/Hit the studio, ‘cuz I’m paid in full.”
You decide. Voting for this round ends on Friday, April 27 at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
Usher’s smash hit “Climax”, produced by Diplo, shot all the way to #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart shortly after it was released. It was a burning slow jam with electronic flourishes, but with his second single from his upcoming album Looking For Myself, Usher’s looking to switch things up a bit. No stranger to making songs that appeal to your inner dancer, “Scream” reminds us a bit of his past hits like “OMG”, “Hey Daddy” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love.” In other words, his latest will surely be a club banger.
Sonically, it’s closely similar to “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” where Usher’s voice rides the uptempo beat. We can totally imagine people doing the Jersey fist pump when this comes on in the club. For a pop sounding dance track, it has all the essentials. And although his R&B ballads tickle our fancy a bit more than this, an Usher album isn’t complete without something to dance to in the mirror when you’re home alone. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the record.
Ice Cube and KRS-One are such different rappers that the only way to match up the two are literally comparing bar for bar. While Ice Cube’s catalog may ring more bells for most folks (because who doesn’t know “It Was a Good Day”), KRS-One’s “The Bridge Is Over” is a classic in its own right. Ultimately, whether KRS or Cube make it through to the next round of Bracket Madness to battle it out against either MC Lyte or Rakim for the best emcee of the Yo! MTV Raps era, is up to you. Before you decide, check out three verses from each that emcee that get get the people going…because it’s provocative! Read more…
Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of the tragic passing of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and TLC fans spent the day both celebrating her life and mourning her loss. Capitalizing on the media attention, a spokesperson for Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas announced yesterday that TLC is currently making plans for a “massive reunion tour” of the United States later this year. Does this mean that Left Eye will be coming back, a la Tupac, in hologram form?
Well, not exactly. According to a report by TMZ, the surviving members of TLC plan to incorporate Left Eye into their concerts by “projecting her image on a big screen and working her vocals into the live performances.” Now, we love us some TLC —always have, always will— but this leaves us wondering:
This week, we welcome back Lemmy Kilmister (Motörhead) who will be joined by Jerry Dixon and Robert Mason (Warrant) as well as Michael Schenker, who will be returning as our guest musician. The guys from Warrant discuss the untimely loss of Jani Lane and the last time they saw him alive, and Lemmy weighs in on why hard drugs were never for him. A brand new episode of That Metal Show airs this Saturday at 11 p.m. ET/10 CT on VH1 Classic.
There are many things that we know the Black Keys don’t like: Spotify, Sean Parker, and Nickleback. Despite their general grumpiness these days, we have a feeling that Deb “Spoons” Perry will turn their frowns upside down.
You see, Mrs. Perry is an sexagenarian Australian lady who has a lifelong obsession with percussion (at least, that’s what we learned on her official website, Spoonsperry.com.au). Her love of making noise has led her to a place where she plays the spoons with the kind of reckless abandon that Chris Cornell had in mind when he wrote “Spoonman.” Her cover of choice, however, is not the Soundgarden classic, but rather “Lonely Boy” by the Black Keys. Thankfully, she took a break from feeding kangaroos —watch the video, we’re not exaggerating!— to break out her video camera and put her cover up on YouTube. Put some spoons on the barbie, mate*!
The results are in from the Round One match up of the best MCs of Yo! MTV Raps era. The king of battle rap KRS-One beat Chuck D by about 34%. Listen, that’s better than the landslide win Ice Cube had over Fresh Prince racking up 84% of the votes versus 14%. We still love the freshest prince of Bel-Air, and he could rap the theme song to “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” to us any day.
With only a six percent difference, it was a close call between LL Cool J and Rakim. Ultimately, one of the greatest emcees of all-time, Rakim, came out victorious. Queen Latifah lost to MC Lyte, which we think has everything to do with Lyte’s indelible first album that has been deemed a classic.
It’s getting down to the nitty gritty in round two with only four emcees left gunning for that #1 spot. East Coast word slayer KRS-One knuckles up on West Coast reformed gangster Ice Cube. Meanwhile, the street poetry spitting Rakim takes the raw female emcee MC Lyte.
What are you waiting for? Vote for the emcee you want to see advance to round three. Voting ends Friday, April 27 at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
The Wanted’s long-awaited U.S. debut finally dropped this week, and with its release came the return of the UK boy band to American soil. One of their first stops? VH1, of course, for an interview plus acoustic-style performances of rising Billboard Hot 100 single “Glad You Came” and latest release “Chasing The Sun” on our morning show Big Morning Buzz Live. We grabbed some bonus time with The Wanted, who were still hilarious and full of energy despite just flying in from London the night before and crooning all morning (do they make a special Red Bull in England?).
The guys opened up about everything from what music they’re listening to on those long, cross-continental flights —Siva Kaneswaran’s a Skrillex fan, Tom Parker has Coldplay on repeat, Nathan Sykes digs UK singer-songwriter Labrinth— to sexual advances from fans and secret guilty pleasures (Two words: Gossip Girl). The fab five even teased a forthcoming single off their US debut EP that features a bridge solo from Nathan who “sings the best vocal you’ve ever heard,” according to Jay McGuiness. Sold!