Rock Docs

by (@unclegrambo)

Uprising: Hip-Hop & The L.A. Riots: The Spotify Playlist

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.

Read more…

by

Celebrating The Life of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes 10 Years After Her Untimely Death

Ten years ago today, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was taken from the world far too soon in a tragic car accident in La Ceiba, Honduras. She lived a vibrant life in her short 30 years. Left Eye was the eclectic rapper in the influential trio TLC with members Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins. Selling over 50 million records worldwide, TLC is the second best selling American female girl group of all time. Outspoken and incredibly cool, the tattooed bad girl was captivating from the moment we laid eyes on her. She was among the new wave of female artists who determined for herself what identity she wanted in the industry. And we loved her for her unapologetic authenticity.

In 2002, Left Eye traveled to Honduras for a spiritual retreat away to take a break red carpets, media and her troubled relationship. Surrounded by close friends, Left Eye recorded the journey of what would be her last days. Lopes’ family granted VH1 her personal film archive, which was used to make the Last Days of Left Eye documentary in May 2007. For her musical contributions, accomplishments and fearlessness to be herself, we honor her. Gone too soon but never forgotten.

View Photo Gallery

[Photo: Getty Images]

by

Snoop Dogg, Ziggy Marley Weigh In On VH1 Rock Doc Marley‘s 4/20 Theatrical Release Date

For all you proud weed heads, today is puff puff pass day, also known as 04/20 (see our playlist of the top 25 songs about weed). Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the latest addition to VH1′s award-winning Rock Docs series, Marley, is opening in select theaters today. The documentary tells the story of the revolutionary and legendary musician Bob Marley, who was definitely known to smoke a joint or two in his day.

Directed by Bob Marley’s son Ziggy and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, the project is special because it has the unprecedented support of the Marley family. The film contains rare footage, photos, interviews and performances by the people who knew him best.

Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

SXSW 2012: The Top 5 Most Controversial Things Sean Parker Said During The Downloaded Panel

Downloaded Panel Discussion at SXSW Featuring Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker

It’s an overcast Day Two for VH1 down here at the 2012 South By Southwest Festival, but we’re not complaining. Every minute that the sun isn’t shining is a minute where we don’t mind being inside, nerding out listening to some of the most influential and interesting people who operate in the music world.

Case in point, today’s panel discussion about the new VH1 Rock Doc Downloaded. We mozied our way over to the Austin Convention Center to watch Downloaded director Alex Winter moderate a discussion with the two co-founders of Napster, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. This full length documentary film will premiere on VH1 later this year — the only footage screened today was a five-minute long teaser clip — but Fanning and Parker had a lot to say about their invention, their company, the effect that it had on the music business, and companies —like Spotify and iTunes— that were launched in their wake.

In particular, the always controversial Sean Parker made a couple of statements during the panel discussion that made the audience gasp and will certainly get tongues wagging. Here’s a sample of his five most controversial quotes.

“There’s definitely some sort of dissent brewing between record labels, publishing companies and artists [about the compensation they get from streaming services] … Spotify is returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]. If we continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.” —Sean Parker throws down the gauntlet that Spotify will drive more revenue for the record industry than iTunes

“Even the iTunes store, to this day, is SO SLOW [compared to Napster]. I’m amazed. It’s like this embedded website within their client that when you click buy [makes spinning motion with his hands].”—Sean Parker on Apple’s laziness with regards to improving the iTunes Store

“In some sense, YouTube is much more liable [than Napster]. If you’re hosting the content, you’re liable, potentially, for direct infringement. We had to be sued for the much more esoteric contributory, vicarious copyright infringement … The funny thing about YouTube is that all of the user-generated content was accounting for such a small fraction of [their traffic]. In reality, it was a smokescreen. They had all this UGC, tons of it, and they were able to make a case in the various lawsuits against YouTube that that was the bulk of their content. When, in actuality, the traffic was largely being generated by SNL clips and other copyrighted content.” —Sean Parker on the injustice and inconsistency of the United States legal system

“Suddenly, [Napter] was taken over by lawyers. Our CEO was literally an attorney. Not to begrudge our CEO at the time, but one of our important lessons learned is that your CEO should never be an attorney. It became like a law firm.” —Sean Parker on how NOT to run a business that depends on creativity and innovation

“The record business was terrified of it. And there wasn’t even room for conversation. These guys were such dinosaurs that they were just for the first time waking up to the idea of digital media. They hadn’t even considered the implications of what was coming … [But during our meetings with the major labels], they were grinf*cking the sh*t out of us.” —Sean Parker on the record industry’s reaction to Napster

And one bonus quote for you after the jump!
Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

Get Your Nineties Nostalgia On With Our Spotify Soundtrack For The TRL Decade

VH1′s latest entry in the award-winning Rock Docs franchise, The TRL Decade, premieres tonight at 9:30 pm. The hour-long special takes a look back at the colorful history of the long-running MTV video request program and the effect that it had on the music industry, and features insightful interviews from former VJs like Carson Daly and Dave Holmes, as well as some of that era’s most popular musical acts.

In order to get you in the mood for tonight’s premiere, we built this special
Spotify playlist for The TRL Decade
, which features many of the songs that you’ll hear in this documentary feature. Get your ’90s nostalgia on with boy band faves like “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys, rap-rock smashes like Korn‘s “Freak On A Leash”, hip hop hits like P. Diddy‘s “Bad Boy For Life”, sugar coated girl pop classics like Mandy Moore‘s “Candy”, and many more.

The TRL Decade [Spotify]

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

VH1 Rock Docs: Carson Daly Talks About Lady Gaga On The TRL Decade Sneak Peek

Do you know what Lady Gaga was doing when she was in high school? Probably the same thing as every other tween growing up in New York City — hanging out in Times Square trying to get a glimpse at TRL. In a sneak peek clip from VH1 Rock Docs: The TRL Decade, Carson Daly recalls interviewing Lady Gaga about her TRL experience as a teenager, and how she and her girlfriends took to Times Square with a sign that read “Carson Let Me Up!” It’s an endearing anecdote, and a great insight into the importance of TRL and the motivations of a young Stefani Germanotta.

VH1 Rock Docs: The TRL Decade, premiers on VH1 on Sunday the 29th of January at 9:30 PM.

Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

Napster’s Shawn Fanning And Sean Parker To Be Interviewed By Downloaded Director Alex Winter At The 2012 SXSW Festival

On Wednesday, March 14 at the Austin Convention Center, as part of the 2012 SXSW Festival, Napster co-founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker are going to be interviewed by Alex Winter, the director of a brand new VH1 Rock Doc called Downloaded. The Downloaded documentary explores the rise of the digital music era, and specifically the role that Napster played in dragging the music industry kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

As the legend goes, Shawn Fanning launched Napster from his dorm room when he was enrolled at Northeastern University, and shortly thereafter, met up with the controversial Silicon Valley figure Sean Parker, who helped turn Napster from a project and into a real company. (You might recognize the name Sean Parker from the award-winning film The Social Network, where he was portrayed by Justin Timberlake.) Downloaded will look at the way in which Napster, as one of the first file sharing devices for music to gain a foothold in the culture, essentially paved the way for digital music consumption today, making it possible for online file sharing to be realized without all the legal controversy that Napster faced (and which ultimately led to its demise).

Downloaded is scheduled to premiere on VH1 in mid to late 2012. That said, we’ll be down in Austin in March covering the 2012 SXSW Festival, so we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of how this panel conversation goes! You can check out more information about this exciting event on the official SXSW website.