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Last Lap: Wednesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Our Wednesday roundup is hip-hop heavy: a shocking assault-related confession, an in-depth profile of Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″‘s duo Bad Meets Evil, and an indie rock Kanye cover:

Betrayed Friend of Former Rap Mogul Jimmy Henchman Claims Responsibility For November 1994 Tupac Shooting
After receiving word that his former associate Jimmy Henchman had accused him of turning state’s witness on him, Dexter Isaac, currently serving life in prison, has confessed to accompanying the shooter of Tupac Shakur at Manhattan’s Quad Studios in 1994?the first act of gun violence in the East Coast-West Coast conflict that ultimately led to the deaths of both Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac. Isaac claims Jimmy Henchman paid him $2,500 for the hit. [AllHipHop]
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Ke$ha Would Rather Hear “Till The World Ends” Than Anything She Sings, But Has No Misgivings About Selling It

Vulture caught up with Ke$ha at amfAR’s NY Inspiration Event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City last night to ask about “Till the World Ends.” Specifically: “Why would she turn over such an obvious smash to Britney Spears, when she could have kept it for herself?” Her answer:

“That song,” Ke$ha explained, “I?ve never been more proud of anything in my career… It really solidifies me as a songwriter in the pop music world, which is what I consider myself first and foremost. So it actually is really, really exciting for me when I hear [Britney] sing it. Like, when I hear my own songs on the radio I have to kind of turn it down or change the radio or whatever. When I hear that, I f****** blow the speakers out and I order everybody to dance.”

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Lady Gaga, Little Monsters Offer “Big Hug” To Clarence “Big Man” Clemons

In the first official word following saxophonist Clarence Clemons‘s stroke on Sunday, Bruce Springsteen released a statement about his ailing E Street Band member stating that “all initial signs are encouraging” and that “this is a time for us all to share in a hopeful spirit that can ultimately inspire Clarence to greater heights.”

Lady Gaga couldn’t wait that long. On Monday she tweeted a request for get-well messages and by this morning the Haus of Gaga had edited together and uploaded a thirteen-minute video of messages from Gaga and her Little Monsters, viewable above. Gaga recorded her introduction just after taping yesterday’s performance, for the French X Factor quarterfinals, of “Edge of Glory” and “Judas.”

In all, the video is a touching tribute, and while young, female fans predominate, the montage does serve to showcase the wide range of Little Monsters out there?like this shirtless bro with the I Want to Believe poster, who jammed Clemons’s “Thunder Road” solo in the background of his message:

We can only echo the sentiments of everyone involved in the video. Get well soon, Big Man.

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Bon Iver Resuscitates The Dark Magic Of The Late 1980s In “Calgary”

Bon Iver may call Wisconsin home, but the dreamlike video for his new single “Calgary” is more Minnesotan. For one, it’s co-directed by Dan Huiting, a Minneapolitan who has shot a ton of concert footage for MPLS.TV. For another, its star is Minnesota native and America’s Next Top Model Cycle 14 winner Raina Hein. The video, largely set in a swampy wilderness, draws heavily on films from the same late-80s period that, musically inspires the song’s smooth-rock sonic textures. Hein’s character descends through smoke, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors-style, into a quasi-magical 1980s everybog (pick your reference point: The NeverEnding Story‘s swampland; Labyrinth‘s Pit of Eternal Stench; The Princess Bride‘s Fire Swamp). She continues to wander through this dreamscape, emerging aboveground, meeting a man, and giving a Viking funeral to a heartlike rock. Then a stuffed bear on a bed gets upside-down un-buried:

We have no clue. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver wrote the treatment?ask him. We just love the song.

Bon Iver, Bon Iver is set for release a week from today.

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Joss Stone Allegedly Targeted In Manchester Duo’s Bizarre Robbery And Murder Plot

Police responding to a call about two men “acting suspiciously in a red Fiat Punto” yesterday morning in Cullompton, a town in Devon, England, found the duo equipped with swords, rope, a body bag, and detailed maps and aerial photos of the nearby property of singer Joss Stone, The Sun reports.

The two men had driven over two hundred miles south from the Manchester area to reach their destination but were spotted slowly driving up and down the lanes in the posh rural area where Stone lives. The singer is estimated to be worth $15 million, but police would not confirm to The Guardian that the plot targeted her in particular, though they did offer assurances that a score of police in both Devon and Manchester were on the case.

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

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Tuned In: Lauryn Hill Speeds Up “Doo Wop” on Fallon

Last month Lauryn Hill made her first late night appearance in years for Bob Marley Week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and she must have had a great experience with the show, because she was back last night to play her classic single “Doo Wop (That Thing).” The very pregnant Hill showed no signs of flagging energy as she and her band (without any need of help from The Roots, even) blasted through a slightly sped-up version of the song. We don’t want to add more weight to the expectations many had (and still have) for Hill as an artist, but we can’t help but note that she remains an extraordinarily talented MC, and her band was right in the pocket.

In January, Hill reportedly arrived hours late for several shows and played her songs faster than usual, though if this was the speed, we’d hardly complain. (Hill would later issued an apology, in connection with the announcement of her sixth pregnancy, for the tour difficulties.) She is scheduled to perform 1998′s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in its entirety at Rock the Bells shows on four consecutive weekends later this summer.

Update: Rap Radar points out that this performance was actually pre-recorded last month on the same day as her Marley tribute. That makes more sense, considering how far into her pregnancy she now is.

Elsewhere on late night?
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by (@unclegrambo)

Mumford & Sons Covers The National For New VH1 Unplugged


 
When Mumford & Sons taped their Unplugged set back on April 13, the Grammy Award winners (and former You Oughta Know selection) elected to play a Contradictions Track as part of the show (which is presented by our friends at Starburst). After banjo player Winston Marshall joked that said cover would be a Britney Spears tune, the band instead launched into The National‘s “England,” a deep cut from 2010′s High Violet that sends up the imperial ordinariness that characterizes what might be called “the English Way.” To Mumford & Sons, choosing the ultimate contradiction was a lyrical, not a sonic, imperative. So there you have it: a London band covering a Brooklyn band’s track about someone in Los Angeles dismissing someone who ran off to?you guessed it?London. We?ve got the clip for you above, and be sure to tune in for their Unplugged performance when it debuts on Friday, June 24 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
 
We also caught up with Mumford & Sons last weekend at the Bonnaroo festival, where they provided us with one of the more surprising tidbits we learned all weekend. You would think that given their old-timey folk sound, the band would have nothing but the likes of the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack on their iPods. Well, it turns out that the musical tastes of Marcus Mumford and crew extend much deeper than one might expect. Check out our video below to find else what else floats their boat.

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Italian-American Rapper G Fella Pens Paean to Mob Wives

Westchester, NY’s G Fella is a rapper who identifies strongly with his Italian-American heritage (and his purported family history of mafia connections). Naturally, then, he recorded a rap ode to Mob Wives. A former member of Confidential (a hip-hop also-ran that came up under Queen Latifah and appeared on the Romeo Must Die soundtrack), G Fella is also a Mob Wives super-fan, judging from his shouts-out to the reality quartet and lyrics like “Jail visits, Fed joints, TV rules for the kids.” G Fella hasn’t gotten much notice in the New York hip-hop scene lately, except thanks to his collaboration with Big Pun’s son. But he sure got our attention with this track. And Drita D’avanzo is a fan, too:
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by (@unclegrambo)

It’s Tough To Find A Show On Broadway, Let Alone In Your Friendly Neighborhood, That’s As Fun As Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Before Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark even held its first preview performance last November, it had the notorious distinction of being one of the most troubled productions ever to hit the Great White Way. The $65 million-plus show had been languishing in development since 2002 and, after a number of delays, had lost two of its biggest stars, Evan Rachel Wood and the Tony Award winning Alan Cumming (who were set to play Mary Jane Watson and the Green Goblin, respectively). Things got worse, though, as soon as the play opened to the public; critics savaged the material, jokes about the production became an unending supply of grist for the late night comedy mill, and, worst of all, multiple performers ended up in the hospital following horrible on-stage injuries.

Yet, as cliché tells us, the show must go on! Except this time, it didn’t. Production of the show –which, it should be noted, was breaking Broadway box office gross records at the time– halted in March when the visionary creator and director of the play, Julie Taymor, was unceremoniously booted from the project after she resisted making wholesale changes to the show that the producers were internally describing “Plan X.” As The Edge, who co-wrote the music and songs with his U2 bandmate Bono, told the New York Times today, “When Plan X was presented, [Taymor] said: ?That could never be achieved in a three-week period. You?d need months to do that, and it probably won?t work anyway for X, Y, and Z reasons.? At that moment, when that was her response, the producers felt that whatever Julie would do with a hiatus was more of a polishing job than a top-to-bottom rethink of the show.? Even Bono admitted that “the first time I loved the play was two-and-a-half weeks ago.”

Why do we bring all this up? Well, after Spidey was benched back in April while the show underwent heavy top-to-bottom reconstruction, the revamped Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark finally opened at the Foxwoods Theater tonight (and the official soundtrack, featuring new songs from Bono and The Edge, also hit shelves today; it’s currently sitting at #12 on iTunes Top Albums chart). Luckily for us, we were invited to a sneak preview of the retooled extravaganza last week, and you know what?

IT WAS VERY EXCITING!

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Last Lap: Tuesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

We try to cover all the music stories that matter here on the VH1 Blog. Sometimes, though, we find too many stories to cover, stories that don’t exactly “matter” but are worth sharing, or even just good stuff from our peers. Here’s your Tuesday roundup:

Amazon’s 99-Cent Lady Gaga Deal Hurt Interscope
On Saturday, Ed Christman at Billboard noted on Saturday that while Amazon’s Born This Way price drop certainly helped increase overall sales figures for the album, it also shifted the balance from physical to digital sales to an extent for which Interscope was unprepared. Now, he calculates, 72% of Interscope’s initial shipment of physical copies of Born This Way?over 1.5 million CDs!?are taking up space on the shelves of retailers eager to return excess stock.

Is Britney Spears‘s Tour Underselling?
One of today’s Detroit Groupon Deals is a half-priced ticket to Britney’s July 28th show at The Palace of Auburn Hills. We can’t determine anything definitively from this, but we can presuppose that presales?at least, in Detroit?failed to meet expectations.

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