It’s just over a month until VH1 DIVAS Celebrates Soul airs on VH1, and we’re already doing backflips of excitement about this year’s lineup, which will feature Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Florence + The Machine, Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and Jennifer Hudson. Regarding the latter, we’re excited to reveal this new promo image of the Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer/actress J. Hud! We haven’t heard any advance word about what songs she’s planning on performing that night, but seeing as how one of the featured soul-music capitals we’ll be spotlighting is her hometown of Chicago, we’re sure she’s got some exciting tricks up her sleeve about how to best honor the rich musical legacy of the Windy City.
Be sure to come on back to VH1.com this evening at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT when we reveal the full VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson set. And don’t forget to set your DVRs to record VH1 at 11 p.m. ET/PT tomorrow night to see this truly amazing Unplugged performance in glorious high-definition.
Katy Perry Posts Photos Of Her 27th Birthday Party In LA Last Weekend Katy Perry celebrated her 27th birthday last weekend and with a Wild West themed party. The birthday girl looked uber cute in her pink cowgirl get up and matching pink pigtails. If we were Katy, we’d be living out all our teenage dreams too. Sigh. [Idolator]
Nicole Scherzinger’s Debut Solo Album Is The New Detox X-Factor host and ex-Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger has been working on her debut solo LP since 2006 but, apparently, it still needs some work. Earlier this year, Interscope had announced that it would be released November 15, but then they pushed it back to December. Now, the record is scheduled to come out “sometime in 2012.” [Billboard.biz]
Internet memeRebecca Black has just released a video for her third single, “Person Of Interest,” and we’re scratching our heads about what this all means. After her first single, “Friday,” literally devoured the Internet back in February and racked up 167 million views, Black found a strange sort of fame as a viral sensation. In short, Black didn’t necessarily become famous because people liked her music (although we’re sure there were some who did), but because people were intrigued by her.
In July, Black released her second single, “My Moment,” which was no “Friday,” but not exactly a sophomore slump, either. It has been viewed almost 30 million views, which is less than 20% of her “Friday” total, but still, that’s 30 MILLION VIEWS. But now that’s she’s released her 3rd single under her own label, RB Records, we’re curious to see if the Law Of Diminishing Viral Returns will hold true, or if Rebecca Black can figure out a way to truly succeed.
The main issue at hand seems to be this: Rebecca Black is not content to be William Hung. Instead of embracing (or completely retreating) from her viral infamy, Rebecca instead decided to pursue the path of becoming a “serious” artist. No, not “serious” like a Thom Yorke or PJ Harvey, but “serious” in the way that pop stars like Katy Perry are serious about their brand and the artistic choices they make. To that end, both the video and the song “Person Of Interest” are intentionally inoffensive and innocently youthful, complete with Black’s flair for overly-obvious lyrics and matching visuals. The song seems designed to appeal strictly to tweenagers, and it very well may end up doing so. It most certainly does not, though, hold any sort of appeal for the cooler-than-thou hipster quotient who embraced the over-the-top ridiculousness of “Friday” and helped propel her into the spotlight in the first place. Who knows if this gambit will end up paying off, but at this point, it seems pretty clear to us that Rebecca Black is savvy enough to recognize that in order for her to build an audience, she first has to destroy the one she already has.
Kanye West claims to be the first rapper with a Benz and a backpack, but these days it looks like several backpack rappers are carrying around more than just a pad and a pen. In the past year, there’s been a wave of underground MCs surfacing their way to the mainstream top and collecting checks on their way up. These youthful spitters are penning a modern hook to the already played backpack rap era of the 80s and 90s. With the recent success of backpack rap from such conscious rappers as Kanye, Lupe Fiasco, and Kid Cudi, the new school of backpackers is painting a different, more open road in the hip-hop lane.
So, what exactly is “backpack rap”? It’s a sub-genre of hip hop that’s traditionally known for being void of the glitz and glam that comes with being a rapper, or as rapper Drake put it, “the money, cars, clothes, and hoes.” In other words, it is less concerned with “making it” and instead focuses more on issues surrounding social awareness. However, backpack rap today has taken on a new look. The hip-hop underground scene that’s getting play includes the alternative and indie side of hip-hop, rather than the political, intellectual stereotype of the genre. It’s the youthful sound and mix of genres that takes these MCs from backpackers to Benz owners, not to mention the sound that’s sitting atop this week’s Billboard charts (more on that in a bit).
We love a good hunk of beef, and it seems like veteran rapper Ludacris has slapped new-kid-on-the-block Drake in the face with a big, fat, juicy steak’s worth. On his new track, “Bada Boom”, Ludacris not only samples The Fifth Element with Leeloo’s iconic line, “big bada boom,” he throws down against Drake — lyrically, of course.
The beef began after AllHipHop interviewed Drake and asked, “How much do Young Money artists bounce off each other? I noticed you have similar inflections and cadences or rhyme patterns.” Drake attributed the style to Big Sean and tacked on some cryptic, but not so cryptic so as not to ruffle any feathers, editorial, “I don’t want to offend somebody. I hate that rappers picked that flow up. I wish they had left that for people that know how to use it. [They go like] It’s a parade! MACYS!”?
These Jeopardy contestants have got some catching up to do. When presented with the question “Got that song ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ stuck in your head? Blame this trio led by Mark Foster,” all three contestants were hilariously silent. One of the catchiest songs of 2011, Foster The People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks” has been unavoidable; it was played everywhere, all the time, and as a result, has been stuck in our heads since the spring. We’re finding it hard to believe that these contestants completely missed the boat on one of the most fun, danceable songs of the year. Memo to Jeopardy contesants: add our You Oughta Know section to your bookmarks, stat!
Everyone’s got a dark side, even Kelly Clarkson, and she’s asking if you can love hers. So, can you? We know we can, especially after watching this exclusive sneak peek video of Kelly singing “Dark Side” on VH1 Unplugged, which will debut on VH1.com tomorrow night (Thursday, November 17) at 7 p.m., followed by the on-air premiere at 11 p.m. on Friday. In fact, this is what we love best about Kelly — that she’s just a regular girl. Acknowledging the pitfalls of her personality, Kelly invites us all to be imperfect without letting us (or herself) be any less perfectly loveable.
Did you ever think a Christmas classic like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” could be so sexy? We definitely didn’t; then Michael Bublé came along and made us rethink the whole entire thing. The video for the first single off his new album Christmas finds our hero singing and dancing down a snow covered street, bouncing up and down stoops in front of wreathed doorways and smiling at the present-laden folks passing him in the street. In short, Bublé is divine. In a sharp suit, he jumps about, twisting and shaking in the stylish way that only Bublé knows how, playfully throwing up snow and making us swoon at our desks. We can’t wait for Christmas now, and are going to be good girls and boys right up to the day with the hopes that Santa might pop a little Bublé into our stockings.