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Britney and Nicki Get Along Fine Onstage Together in Los Angeles

If there was any truth to the rumors of a Britney-Nicki beef, it was nowhere to be seen last night in Los Angeles. Reviews from Evelyn McDonnell at Spin, Keith Caulfield at Billboard, and August Brown at the Los Angeles Times were unsparing in their praise of Britney’s set. While all three mentioned Spears’s angel-winged exit after closing the show with “Till the World Ends,” what Caulfield noted?and what Rap-Up caught on video, embedded above, flies in the face of reports of backstage drama: Nicki Minaj joined Britney live onstage for her “Till the World Ends” verse. Previous shows, as we’ve noted, featured only an on-screen Minaj (see footage from Saturday’s show in San Jose).
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First Look: Foster the People Play “Helena Beat” For You Oughta Know Live

Foster the People came to our offices for an exclusive four-song performance earlier today. In-house performances always draw a crowd, but for a new artist, the trio (lead singer and guitarist Mark Foster, backed by bassist Cubbie Fink and drummer Mark Pontius) drew a particularly large and excited group of MTV and VH1 employees out of their cubicles and offices and into the foyer where the band was playing. That’s yet another sign of the momentum building behind the band, whose first single “Pumped Up Kicks” just unseated Foo Fighters‘s “Rope” at the top of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart after over a year of slowly-building word of mouth. In an MTVHive interview Matt Pinfield conducted, Foster even mentioned Hype Machine, the mp3 blog aggregator that tracked tens of thousands of streams of their single and other tracks. Their debut album just came out last month, and the word is, they’ll be announced as our next You Oughta Know artist next week.

The set sounded great, but we won’t tease you too much with descriptions until we can share footage with you. We will say that they played the three songs from last year’s self-released EP (re-released by Startime in January)?new single “Houdini,” Song Of The Summer contender “Helena Beat” (a sneak preview of which can be seen above) and of course “Pumped Up Kicks”?plus an early fan favorite from the new record, “Color on the Walls (Don’t Stop),” which has a bassline that resembles Nirvana but with an entirely un-grungy guitar melody over it.

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DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince Kick Off Another Summer With “Summertime”

It’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere?officially the first day of summer?so even though the season’s lazy days are ahead of us, what better time to start looking back at the evergreen songs of summers past? This morning, the Village Voice‘s Sound of the City blog ran an extensive Q&A with DJ Jazzy Jeff about one of the most enduring summertime songs, his own (with the Fresh Prince) “Summertime,” which turns twenty this year. Will Smith channeled his own nostalgia for Philly summers past (while in Los Angeles shooting the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) into a timeless nostalgic anthem.
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Tuned In: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Wow Lopez Tonight Crowd

Yesterday was surprisingly strong for late night music on a Monday. Bon Iver kicked off “StePhest Colbchella ’011: Rock You Like a Thirst-icane” on The Colbert Report and Mint Condition slayed the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon crowd as Weird Al Yankovic, sitting in with the Roots, looked on. (Panic! at the Disco weren’t bad on Kimmel either.)

The best performance of the night, though, belonged to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who burned up the Lopez Tonight stage. The whole crowd clapped along with the punchy throwback-soul number “Without a Heart,” thanks in no small part to the Dap-Kings’ sharp playing. Were Sharon Jones a James Brown-style bandleader, she wouldn’t have needed to fine any of the Dap-Kings a cent. As it is, Jones is a much less harsh figurehead than Brown ever was, though her gruff vocals hardly have less power for it (though she definitely leads the way?the band stops on a dime on the line “I could be cold as ice”). Of course, the band nods to their roots by ending the song with a mini-riff of Brown’s soul classic “I Don’t Mind.”

Elsewhere on late night?
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Last Lap: Monday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Renee Graziano Styles Ghostface Killah
In case you missed yesterday’s Mob Wives and haven’t caught up with Liz Black‘s recap yet, make sure you do! Staten Island’s own Ghostface Killah met up with Staten Island’s own Renee Graziano in one of the episode’s few lighter moments for Graziano.

Jeremih Covers Adele‘s “Rumour Has It”
“Down On Me” songster Jeremih tried his hand at a cover of “Rumour Has It,” from Adele’s still-chart-topping 21, for Billboard today. He even dropped a bit of “Ice Ice Baby” and “Under Pressure” into a breakdown.
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Britney Spears’s Mic Is For Swinging And Singing In “I Wanna Go” Teaser

Amid rumors that she nearly fought Nicki Minaj backstage, Britney Spears turns her microphone into a weapon?literally?in this interesting teaser for her new video “I Wanna Go,” which premieres Wednesday. Aside from the obvious allusion to Gogo Yubari, the schoolgirl character from Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (see below), (and the McTiernan joke on the theater marquee: CROSSROADS 2: CROSS HARDER) the most interesting visual aspect to this teaser is the appearance?on Britney’s shirt and on a wall?of a skull with Mickey Mouse ears.

2011 seems a strangely belated time for former Mouseketeer Britney to be making any sort of statement with this Shepard Fairey-style graffiti combination, but we’re curious where (if anywhere) the video goes with this, not to mention that the notoriously litigious Walt Disney Company could argue that the imagery doesn’t fall under fair use.

Still, seeing Britney as a rather believable warrior on the New York City streets (deadlier than even Adam Lazzara) speaks to the continuing rehabilitation of both her self-representation and her public image. At the very least, the video looks to be better than “Hold It Against Me.” We’re looking forward to Wednesday’s premiere.

Britney as Gogo Yubari:

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Are Britney Spears And Nicki Minaj Already Beefing On The Femme Fatale Tour?

The first two stops of Britney Spears‘s Femme Fatale Tour are in the can, and the reviews are in. Is the tour a success? It depends whom you ask (or maybe which night you attended).

Carla Meyer raved at the Sacramento Bee about Spears’s tour kickoff on Thursday night, a “relaxed” yet “excited” performance that was no less professional for the “fun” Spears had while “hitting all her marks.” Barry Walters, who attended the same show for Rolling Stone, reported the same: “She’s wisely focusing on the present…while offering possibly her flashiest, fastest moving, and most entertaining production yet.” He complimented her agility and showpersonship.

The two reports disagree on opener Nicki Minaj; Meyer praised her “magnetism” and “attention to detail” while Walters thought the set “lacked in commitment.” Both did find it (understandably) strange that Spears’s “Till the World Ends” performance featured an onscreen Minaj instead of an in-person one.

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Tipsy Amy Winehouse Booed Off Stage in Belgrade, Cancels European Tour Dates

Amy, Amy, Amy. We thought you were getting better, not worse! Just two weeks ago, after a short stint in rehab and a clear-headed, successful performance at London’s 100 Club, it was reported that the British songbird’s sobriety was finally on the mend. But in Serbia on Saturday night, Winehouse kicked-off what was supposed to be her European tour, showing up visibly inebriated on stage. Not only could a stumbling Amy barely sing for her Belgrade audience of 20,000 ticket-holders, but her cringe-worthy “performance” was heavily booed in what local press is referring to as “the worst in the history of Belgrade.” An apologetic statement has been issued from her camp, speaking to the incident and canceling her next two shows in Turkey and Greece:
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