Within the last 10 years there hasn’t been a music success story quite like the one of Kanye West. He managed to transform himself from a well respected but not yet household name producer to a global rapper. He began producing in the late 90s for heavy hitting acts and became known for his soulful beats. It wasn’t until 2001 when he got his big break from Jay-Z’s “Izzo (H.O.V.A.).” From there he continued producing but began vocalizing his interest in rapping. Admittedly, no one one believed he could rap, thus labels weren’t willing to take the risk on signing him. Finally he signed to Dame Dash and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella record label and debuted College Dropout in 2004. Kanye had proved everyone wrong, not only showing that he could rap, but that he could be great while doing it (College Dropout debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts).
That was eight years ago when Kanye was a hungry 27-year-old trying to turn his dreams into reality. Today he’s 35 with five albums under his belt, one collaboration album, countless producer credits, a fashion line and his own G.O.O.D. Music record label. Publicly, he’s been scrutinized for his crass statements on live TV. His public missteps and ego aside, Ye continues to be one of the greatest music talents that has emerged in the last decade. To honor his 35th birthday, check out our list of his 35 greatest songs (which we have also turned into a Spotify playlist). Feel free to disagree with our list and add your own in the comment section below.
This weekend we wrapped the 10th Season of That Metal Show with HellYeah (and former Pantera) drummer Vinnie Paul, Tommy Shaw, and James “JY” Young of Styx. We rocked out to legendary guitarist Steve Stevens, who stood in as our guest musician.
In past episodes of That Metal Show, the boys have argued, fought and made the tough calls on the TMS TOP 5 Front men, Guitarists, Bassists, and Drummers. But this week, our hosts paid respect to yet another league of hard rock and heavy metal musicians: the TMS TOP 5 Keyboardists. How do you choose from all of the talented musicians who man the keys? You have the triple-threat Geddy Lee (Rush), who plays bass, sings, and is the keyboardist for Rush. There’s UFO’s Paul Raymond, Derek Sherinian of Dream Theater and Black Country Communion, Michael Kenney of Iron Maiden, and Darren Wharton of Thin Lizzy, to name a few.
But when Jennifer flipped the board, Jon Lord and Don Airey of Deep Purple showed up in ALL THREE of the hosts’ lists, so it quickly became clear who would earn the top 2 spots. After much debate, the guys were able to narrow their picks down to the TMS Top 5 Keyboardists. Here’s who they came up with: Read more…
Last night’s Billboard Music Awards was an exhausting extravaganza, one that lasted for three full hours and still managed to feel a bit incomplete. Of course, it didn’t help the show’s cause that many of the biggest names in the music world — Adele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga, to name just a few — decided that they had better places to be last night than at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the show caught some Twitter backlash for last-minute(ish) tributes to Donna Summer and Adam “MCA” Yauch that fell flat.
That said, there were certainly more than a few memorable moments at last night’s show (which we hope you watched while following our @VH1Music Twitter feed). Here are our Top 5 Moments from the 2012 Billboard Music Awards! (Apologies in advance to all the Beliebers, for young Justin’s mostly lip-synced performance of “Boyfriend” did not make the cut.)
5. Kelly Clarkson’s live television debut of “Dark Side”
Presenter Robin Thicke introduced Kelly’s performance of her new single, “Dark Side,” by stating that she was performing the song “for the first time ever.” Of course, that was not entirely accurate, as Kelly performed an AMAZING version of “Dark Side” on VH1 Storytellers last fall. Still, Kelly looked incredibly gorgeous and, not surprisingly, used her powerhouse vocals to blow the roof off the place. Read more…
This week on That Metal Show, we welcomed The Cult’sIan Astbury and Billy Duffy, as well as German metal vocalist DORO Pesch. We rocked out with TMS alum Frank Hannon, who returned as our guest musician for the second week in a row. We also asked Tom Morello to stop by our TMS Top 5 segment and help us come up with the Top 5 Black Sabbath riffs of all time.
Over the past 40 years, the legendary Tony Iommi has given us such a magnitude of amazing riffs that it’s nearly impossible to cut the list down to a mere five. How do you choose from the iconic “Heaven and Hell” riff (which fans sing along to in stadiums), the punishingly heavy, haunting riff of “Black Sabbath,” and the “Iron Man” riff, which is arguably the most recognizable of all time? After much debate, the boys were able to narrow down the TMS TOP 5 Sabbath Riffs. Here’s what they came up with: Read more…
We here at VH1 are strong believers that mothers are worthy of appreciation 365 days a year. That said, this Sunday is the official day we honor those special women in our lives. Seeing as how music has always been expressive and a reflection of the artist’s own life, it only makes sense that everyone from Tupac to Taylor Swift have created songs expressing their love for the woman that brought them into the world. Those songs cover the entire spectrum, from light and fun to heartfelt and emotional. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve put together a Spotify playlist of our all-time favorite songs dedicated to moms. Since we don’t sing or rap, we’re leaving it to those that do to honor all the mamas. Happy Mother’s Day!
1. “Dear Mama”- Tupac
Tupac’s ode to his mother Afeni Shakur has to be one of the most touching and well known dedication songs in music.
2. “Mama’s Song” – Carrie Underwood
In this guitar heavy country song, Underwood reassures her mom that her husband to be is a great man, and marrying him doesn’t mean her mom is losing her.
3. “Hey Mama”- Kanye West
“It don’t got to be Mother’s Day or your birthday for me to call and say, ‘Hey, mama.’” When Kanye made this fun track for his mother, we never imagined it’d be the very song he’d perform in her honor after her death. Counting our lucky stars that she was able to hear it before she passed.
4. “The Best Day” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift probably has a lot of great days seeing as how she’s one of the biggest country singers and all. But spending quality time with her mom tops the list of best days she’s ever had.
When Boyz II Men’s “A Song For Mama” played on the popular late 90s movie Soul Food, eyes welled with tears. Soulful voices singing lyrics that helms mothers as Queens would make any mama proud. Read more…
It’s been an incredibly sad 72 hours or so since we learned of the death of The Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, who lost his courageous, three-year battle with cancer at the age of 47. As a means of helping everyone (including ourselves) through the grieving process, we put together this compilation of five moments from MCA’s life that aren’t necessarily the things that you would automatically remember when thinking of him, but moments that are nonetheless essential to capturing who he was as an individual.
1) Before The Beastie Boys Got Famous (1983)
Years before they got signed to Def Jam and became household names with the release of Licensed To Ill, Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Kate Schellenbach (later of Luscious Jackson) were a noisy punk outfit. (That’s MCA slappin’ da bass.)
Earlier today, we passed along the unfortunate news of the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch, one of the co-founders of the Beastie Boys. MCA’s mastery rhyme pattern, gravelly voice and bad boy edge is what made him a legendary MC; even though he is gone, there’s no denying that he has left an indelible imprint in hip-hop forever. The Beastie Boys’ catalog of classic tracks are too numerous to list out, and and the same goes for MCA’s best verses. It was hard to choose, but we’ve narrowed down Adam Yauch’s most unforgettable rhymes into this Top 10 List of the Best Verses of MCA’s Career.
1. “Sure Shot” (Ill Communication, 1994)
“I Want To Say a Little Something That’s Long Overdue / The Disrespect To Women Has Got To Be Through / To All The Mothers And Sisters And the Wives And Friends / I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End.”
2. “Intergalatic” (Hello Nasty, 1998)
“If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked/I’ll stir fry you in my wok/Your knees’ll start shaking and your fingers pop / Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock.”
3. “Pass the Mic” (Ill Communication, 1994)
“If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a Musical masterpiece/ But if you can ear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least/ What’s running through my mind comes through in my walk true/ Feelings are shown from the way that I talk/ And this is me, y’all/I M.C., y’all/ My name Is M.C.A. and I still do what I please and/ Now I’d Like to introduce I’ll pass the mic to D. for a fist full of truth.”
For each and every show that airs on VH1, a team of music supervisors here at the network have spent countless hours determining exactly what pieces of music best complement the footage that we have shot. This team—the CMI (Creative Music Integration) group—listen to thousands of songs each month in an attempt to figure out how best to utilize musical cues to reinforce the emotion and drama on shows like Mob Wives and Basketball Wives, so we thought it would be a cool idea to give you an inside glimpse into their world.
Each month, we’ll put together a list of all the songs that have been featured on the programs and promos that you see on VH1, which will be accompanied by two things: Specific commentary from the music supervisor as to why they selected a particular song for a particular scene in a show, as well as a Spotify playlist for you to sample these songs. Without further ado, here are all the songs that we featured on VH1 during the month of April!
If we were to put together a complete list of songs that sampled the work of James Brown, it would easily run over a thousand songs. Of course, the magic that he made on wax is why RollingStone.com labeled him “the most sampled man in the biz.” No one executed funk and soul the way James Brown and his band did.
The man, perhaps best known for classic hits like “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Say It Loud,” would have turned 79 years-old today. With that in mind, we’d like to wish a happy birthday to the Godfather of Soul! In honor of this special day, we’re giving you this list of 10 incredible songs that never would have been if it wasn’t for the work of JB.
Ye and Jigga were watching the throne alright. James Brown’s musical throne, that is. Along with the Otis Redding (how noble of them to name the song after him) sample of “Try a Little Tenderness,” Brown’s “Don’t Tell a Lie About Me and I Won’t Tell the Truth on You” can be heard right when Kanye appears to be beautifully screaming. Yep, that’s James Brown screaming all over a smash record by two of hip-hop’s biggest stars.
Uprising: Hip-Hop & The L.A. Riots premieres on VH1 tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and is the latest entry in VH1′s award-winning Rock Docs series. The documentary film, narrated by Snoop Dogg, takes a look back at the riots that occurred in the wake of the Rodney King verdict exactly twenty years ago this week, and the role that hip-hop played in both predicting and ultimately chronicling the tension between the residents of South Central and the police.
The film premiered in Los Angeles last week, and our colleagues over at VH1 News got some 1:1 time with Arsenio Hall before the film began. He detailed for us a story of how Ice Cube passed along a cassette tape to him with an early version of “F*** The Police” on it, which led Arsenio to (ultimately unsuccessfully) lobby his corporate bosses to book N.W.A. on his eponymous talk show. It’s a fascinating anecdote, and one that reflects a time that’s increasingly hard to remember, a time when hip-hop hadn’t yet fully made its way into mainstream American culture.
We also put together a Spotify playlist for you below, Music from Uprising: Hip-Hop & The L.A. Riots, which contains most of the music that you’ll hear in the documentary film tonight, songs like N.W.A.’s aforementioned “F*** Tha Police,” Ice Cube’s “We Had To Tear This Mothaf***a Up” and Dr. Dre’s “The Day The N***** Took Over,” among others.