On the eve of Nas‘ Life Is Good release, he celebrated like any Don would–with champagne, cigars and friends. Nas had a busy night with a performance of “Daughters” on the Late Show with David Letterman, an interview with Hot 97′s Funkmaster Flex and his album release party at Bagatelle in NYC. When you’re a legend of Nas’ status there’s bound to be a lot of love in the room from peers. Throughout the night he shared laughs with Swizz Beatz, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Q-tip and Jermaine Dupri. Also in attendance were Beyonce, Angie Martinez, Tyson Beckford and others.
Its been four years since Nasty Nas’ last solo album, the controversial Untitled. Early reviews are already pegging Life Is Good as one of the best in his catalog, and potentially one of the best albums of the year. His road to the happy space he’s in of living his best life (word to Oprah) has been one of overcoming many trials and tribulations. But the glow in his eyes at last night’s release is the look of a man that has triumphed. The look of success and longevity. Check out our gallery of a few pictures from last night’s celebration.
Performing in front of glowing climbing nets, the Gym Class Heroes looked and sounded great at their VH1 Unplugged taping here in New York City a few weeks back. Stripped down to acoustic guitars and a brush sticks, they got us going with a set that included new favorites like “The Fighter,” old favorites like “Clothes Off,” and special guests like the beautiful Neon Hitch and Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump (with whom we spoke to exclusively before the show). The Heroes, Stump and Hitch go way back, and so in addition to the unplugging, there was also lots of catching up and goofing off. Our photographer Brendan Tobin was there to catch all. The warm up, the big show, the cool down — check his pictures out below!
VH1 Unplugged: Gym Class Heroes will make its online premiere tomorrow, Thursday, July 12, at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. You’ll be able to catch it on VH1 that night at 12 a.m. ET/PT.
An iconic star was born when Lil’ Kim arrived on the scene in 1995. Not only would the Queen Bee go on to break records, she was the first to successfully define an image with her style that pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be a female rapper during the 90s. Her bubbly personality was matched with over the top fashion–designer of course–that oftentimes put her sexuality on full display. Green, purple and red wigs? Kim was doing that nearly two decades ago. Gasp worthy ensembles at every award show, including the purple sequined pant suit exposing one boob with only a pasty to cover– Kim’s been doing that. Over the years her style has evolved as she evolves. Don’t confuse evolution with conforming to what’s in at the moment though. As she was ahead of her time musically and stylistically she continues to dress to the beat of her own drum. In honor of her 37th birthday, here are 37 of her most iconic fashion choices. Happy Birthday, Queen Bee!
[Photos: Getty Images]
The Lumineers had us at first “Ho Hey,” but their visit to VH1 headquarters a few weeks back really got our hearts and feet thumping. Looking the part in soft chambray shirts and suspenders, and with big smiles on their faces, they played a few songs before sitting down to talk about their move west from Brooklyn to Colorado and about hearing their music on television for the first time. All the while our photographer, Lauren Weissler, was tagging along to catch them setting up, hanging out, plugging in, and playing. We’ve named The Lumineers our You Oughta Know artists for July and August because we just can’t get enough of their warm, roots-revival rock; the rest of you, though, who have helped to propel their album to the #3 spot on Billboard’s Folk chart and #4 on the Indie chart, might have your own reasons for loving them. But check out the photos below and tell us: aren’t you so charmed, too?
But wait, we have a surprise for you! We have a special, free MP3 download of “Big Parade” by The Lumineers here for you!
DOWNLOAD “BIG PARADE” by THE LUMINEERS (right-click, save-as)
I was 5-years-old when The Wall came out in 1979. Of course, I was far too young to grasp any of the deeply adult themes of loneliness, alienation and distrust of institutional power that dominate Pink Floyd‘s masterwork, but that didn’t stop my fellow first graders and I from chanting “We don’t need no education!” and “Hey, teacher, leave us kids alone!” while we walked to elementary school in the mornings. Some musical statements are just universal in that regard, I suppose. Yet, for whatever reason, I was never much of a Floyd fan growing up. Sure, I was familiar with a great deal of their catalog —if you grew up in the 70s or 80s had access to a car and FM radio, how could you not be?— but for whatever reason, my musical attention during my formative years was drawn primarily towards hip-hop and more accessible, distinctly American classic rock staples (Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Eddie Money).
I bring up this confession (of sorts) because I went into Saturday night’s Roger Waters presents The Wall: Live concert at Yankee Stadium without a deep level of knowledge about either the album or the production. I purchased The Wall on iTunes just last week, and only had time to give it one end-to-end listen (which just so happened to be my first time doing so) before hopping on the 4 Train from my home in Brooklyn and making the trek up to 161st Street in the heart of the Bronx. Aside from cursory glances at a few reviews of recent dates on the stadium leg of this particular tour, I went into the evening with an open mind, fully prepared to be blown away. Well, suffice to say, that mission was accomplished. Quite literally, in fact.
Whatever you do, don’t call Leah LaBelle an overnight success. While it’s true that she walked into an audition for LA Reid last year and was given a deal with Epic Records on the spot, she’s been putting in work to become an artist for the better part of the last 10 years. A former Berklee College of Music student, LaBelle was a contestant on the third season of American Idol back in 2004, but even with the support of Paula Abdul, wasn’t able to advance past the semifinal round. She kept grinding, though, posting covers of artists like Beyoncé (“Sweet Dreams”) and Frank Ocean (“Thinking About You”) on her MissLabelle1 YouTube Channel, eventually catching the eye of superproducers Pharrell Williams and Jermaine Dupri.
The trio of music industry heavyweights — LA, JD and Pharrell — have been working on material for Leah LaBelle’s debut album (release date still TBD) for close to a year now, and the stunning LaBelle decided to give the new songs a live trial-run during a 6-song showcase in front of 200 or so sweaty onlookers at New York City’s Tribeca Grand Hotel last night. Before she took the stage, each one of these gents took some time to explain what they see in LaBelle, where LA explained that “She has soul. She has real soul, like real, real bonafide singer soul, like you don’t hear. And you especially don’t hear this from girls that are so cute.”
You would expect that kind of praise from a born promoter like LA, but once LaBelle hit the stage, she more than delivered on that promise, both in the voice and looks department. There’s no use tiptoeing around the fact that LaBelle is gorgeous —the moment she hit the stage, we witnessed a hundred or so jaws simultaneously dropping to the floor— but to LA’s point, her vocal chops are legit, and she’s got that charismatic “it” factor as a performer. Truth be told, she kind of reminds us a bit of a female Robin Thicke, in that her sound is perfectly suited for the urban market in a way that feels both wholly authentic and completely organic.
We’re not gonna lie, everyone here at VH1 is pretty smitten with Elle King. So much so that from the moment our Creative Music Integration (CMI) team heard this 23 year-old’s raw, soulful-beyond-her-years voice on “Playing For Keeps,” they knew that it would make the perfect theme song for Mob Wives: Chicago. Elle came by our offices last week to celebrate the release of her brand new, eponymous EP, and our own Lauren Weissler spent the day trailing Elle and taking these gorgeous photographs —some of which come with commentary from Elle herself!— for the latest entry in our ongoing Music Seen series.
“Usually at 7 am my make up is the same from the night before. I was also really excited that for the first time I got to look and dress how I wanted and really be myself.”
When our June You Oughta Know artist Emeli Sandé isn’t making people cry from the beauty of her voice and lyrics, her cool, mellow demeanor makes you feel at ease. On the day she stopped by VH1 Headquarters she was spunky and full of energy. Her smile was radiant, her laughter infectious. There was no inner diva with this British soul singer whose debut album topped the UK charts at #1. Our photographer Michele Crowe captured a range of Emeli, from the songstress cackling with laughter before a pose for her live set to prepping for a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg earlier this month. Speaking of live sets, the strength of her vocals are exemplified in her performance of “Heaven.” The clarity and sound of her voice, yes, heavenly indeed.
While Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have been melting the faces off audiences all over the country for a decade, they didn’t hit the mainstream until last year’s sexy single “Paris Ooh La La.” From their start on the jam band circuit to being a VH1 You Oughta Know artist in 2010 to collaborating with The Black Keys‘ Dan Auerbach on their latest album The Lion The Beast The Beat, the tight-knit, fun-loving, ridiculously talented band has plenty of stories to tell.
As a GPN superfan, it was a test in my professionalism to contain my excitement as I trailed them all day, camera in tow, from the Lucerne Hotel on NYC’s Upper West Side to Metropolis Studios in Harlem for rehearsals and what turned out to be one hell of a rock show. Insidery highlights of the day included Grace singing Nicki Minaj‘s “Starships” en route to the taping, her gushing about a recent splurge on a hot plate for her gourmet tour bus cooking, drummer Matt Burr revealing his colorful sock fetish, and the enthusiasm when Grace revealed new album art to bandmates Benny Yurco, Scott Tournet, and new bassist Michael Libramento. Below you can take a sneak peek at Grace prepping for the show, the gorgeous Storytellers set, some goofy backstage antics, and of course, plenty of rockin’ out goodness.
Be sure to tune into VH1 Storytellers: Grace Potter & the Nocturnals on June 15th at 11 p.m. ET/PT, but for now, please enjoy the latest entry in our ongoing photographic series, Music Seen!
The 16th season of VH1 Storytellers got off to a rousing start a few weeks back when Jill Scott blew the roof off New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. After taking a break for the Memorial Day weekend, we’ve got three incredible performances lined up for you to enjoy over the course of the next three Friday nights: Jason Mraz (6/1), Norah Jones (6/8), and Grace Potter (6/15).
We can’t wait for you to see Jason Mraz’s emotional VH1 Storytellers set, which will premiere this Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/PT. He played a rich assortment of songs from his truly outstanding body of work, including a few stunners from his brand new album, Love Is A Four Letter Word. We’ll be bringing you a few sneak peeks at his set as the week progresses, but for now, we just couldn’t wait to share these photos of Jason getting prepped for his set a few weeks back. Our ace photographer Jen Marigliano took all of these photos, which is the latest entry in our ongoing Music Seen series. Enjoy!