Although I try to be colorblind in both my life and musical travels, I can’t help but notice when people applaud a Caucasian dude—especially one outside of the hip-hop genre—when they’re able to deliver rhymes at breakneck speeds. If “white men can’t jump,” I guess they’re not supposed to be able to rhyme either, huh?
In hip-hop, Caucasian MC’s are called “white rappers,” as documented on VH1′s 2007 reality venture The White Rapper Show, but what do you call a white boy who can spit fire on the microphone, one whose music comes from another genre altogether?
For the sake of this list, let’s call them the 10 Greatest (Non-Hip-Hop) White-Male Rhymers of the last quarter century:
10. Andy Grammer
Try singing Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head” the next time you’re at a karaoke bar and you’ll realize how nimble he is on the microphone.
9. Billy Joel
The Piano Man makes this list solely on the merit of “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” not to mention that the Beastie Boys once named Billy Joel as The Fifth Beastie Boy.
8. Pat Monahan
We all know Pat Monahan can croon, but lately, especially on Train‘s last two albums, he shows agility with his rhyme-flow as well.
Norah Jones describes her video for “Happy Pills”, the first single off her forthcoming …Little Broken Pieces LP, as “a murder-not-so-much-of-a-mystery.” By our count, it’s the second music video to premiere in the last month that deals with females exacting revenge on men who did them dirty. However, unlike Brandy and Monica‘s “It All Belongs To Me” video (where the only victims are a man’s pride and a rather expensive Porsche), Norah takes it a step further and straight up MURDERS her cheatin’ hubby. Guess she really meant the “Until death do us ‘part” portion of her vows, eh?
Let’s talk about this chain of events for a moment! If we understand the video correctly, Norah suspects that her husband is making time behind her back with a ginger seductress, so she hires a private detective to investigate the matter. Said P.I. —who, quite frankly, is no Magnum— brings Norah back a picture of a redhead who accompanied Mr. Jones (let’s just call him that) on a picnic. Not a picture of them kissing (or even a pirated RedTube video of them doing the nasty!), mind you, just a picture of the girl’s face! Norah, it’s fair to say, WILDLY overreacts: She chloroforms Mr. Jones after a front-seat makeout sesh, then pushes his car and his unconscious body into a lake, where he presumably drowns. THEN she lies to the cops, calls her ginger rival on the phone to rub it in, and then invites her male accomplice over for dinner and some Michelle Pfieffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys action on top of her piano. Call us crazy if you must, but we’re pretty glad that the Ghost of Mr. Jones is haunting his ex for all eternity! Let’s hope he doesn’t heed her pleas of “Please just let me go now.”
It’s an inspirational track, one that’s very reminiscent of last summer’s big hit for Eminem, Royce da 5’9″ and Bruno Mars, “Lighters.” Both songs feature a simple piano loop sitting on top of a thumping backbeat, lyrics about overcoming adversity, and a soaring vocal hook that is impossible to resist singing along with. “The Fighter” seems well-positioned to do well on this year’s Song Of The Summer charts, and seems like a no-brainer to be prominently featured during musical montages during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Melanie Fiona, who is currently supporting her new album The MF LIFE, recently visited VH1 and performed her latest single “4AM,” a track that questions the whereabouts of her boyfriend.
While she was singing, other early morning/late night songs came to mind.
Taking a cue from Melanie, here is a soundtrack for the night—where monogamous relationships go to die and booty calls blossom:
“Midnight City,” M83
Apparently M83 likes to party deep into the night, because at midnight, a time when many of us are sleeping, he’s still waiting: in a car, for the right time, for a roar, and a ride in the dark.
“Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
The alcohol buzz and drunken dialing commence as Lady Antebellum harmonize over the following chorus: “It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk, and I need you now.”
If you missed this week’s VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, you’re in luck. Not only is it re-airing tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. on VH1, but we’ve got this week’s complete list of the week’s 20 hottest videos for you. Katy Perry‘s wistful “The One That Got Away” may not have reached the #1 position on the Billboard charts yet, but she can rest easy knowing tonight that she’s captured the #1 spot on our first Top 20 Video Countdown of 2012.
“We Are Young,” the anthemic single from New York indie pop outfit fun., was released in September without a great deal of fanfare, but quickly exploded in popularity when the song appeared on a December episode of Glee. The Gleeks consequently stormed the iTunes store en masse, rocketing the song straight to #1 in the Alternative category. And now, with the group’s second LP, Some Nights, due for release in February, there’s an official music video to whet your appetite.
Each week here on VH1 Tuner, ourVH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Your regularly scheduled Top 20 Video Countdown show is on a break until 2012, but be sure to tune into the Top 40 Videos of 2011 tomorrow evening when it airs on VH1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. This week Jim gives us his top 10 albums of 2011.
10.) Love & Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation, Murs
Sometimes Murs’ albums have the propensity of being too laid back, but on Love & Rockets he strikes a nice balance, weaving between more chilled out tracks like “Remember 2 Forget” and heavier callouts like “Let’s Go.” The highlight of the album though is its closing track “Animal Style,” the boldest hip-hop song I’ve heard about homosexuality (which sadly, is traditionally never discussed in hip-hop).
9.) The Road From Memphis, Booker T. Jones
Indeed, this is the same Booker T. from Booker T. & the MG’s, an outfit responsible for making one of the greatest instrumentals in modern music: “Green Onions.” Jones’ trademark Hammond organ licks backed by The Roots’ rhythm section and legendary funk/soul guitarist, Dennis Coffey, play out splendidly on the all-too-fun covers of Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything,” Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” and Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend.” And not to diss, but Lou Reed’s collaboration with Jones on “The Bronx” sounds better than anything he did with Metallica this year.
8.) Watch The Throne, Kanye West & Jay Z
At the beginning of 2011 word on the street was that Kanye West & Jay Z were going to release an album together, while Dr. Dre was set to put out the final recording of his stellar career. I was skeptical of both, but at year’s end I’m happy to say we did get a solid debut from hip-hop’s premiere super-group, although I’m still waiting for Dre’s Detox, which is quickly, or slowly, becoming hip-hop’s version of Chinese Democracy.
What a year, right? As we get ready to put the finishing touches on the year that was, it’s time to look back at the music videos that define the year 2011. Tonight, we’ll be airing a supersized edition of the VH1 Top 20 Music Video Countdown that takes a look back at the Top 40 music videos of the year. Be sure to tune-in to VH1 tonight at 7 p.m. ET/PT to see your favorite videos of the year in all of their widescreen, HD glory, but we couldn’t resist giving you guys a sneak peek at the list here on VH1 Tuner this morning.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the Top 40 Videos of 2011…
If you missed this week’s VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, you’re in luck. Not only is it re-airing tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. on VH1, but we’ve got this week’s complete list of the week’s 20 hottest videos for you. After narrowly missing out on the top spot to Usher and David Guetta last week, Katy Perry‘s wistful “The One That Got Away” has snatched this week’s top spot. Check out the complete list of videos in the final Top 20 Video Countdown episode of 2011 below.
A reminder: VH1′s Top 40 videos of 2011 will be airing at a special time: Wednesday night, December 14, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Watch this space for more details!
Because December is a month full of year-end lists, for your blog-viewing pleasure, today I give you my favorite singles of 2011:
10.) “Blow,” Ke$ha
Yes, this single was featured on Ke$ha’s 2010 mini-LP, Cannibal, but the track didn’t fully explode (or blow-ow-ow) until the beginning of this year. Because “Blow” stayed away from Ke$ha’s polarizing sing-annunciate-rap formula, it became her first single that I couldn’t stop listening to.
9.) “Michael Jackson,” Das Racist
For some reason, underground/indie-minded hip-hoppers tend to shy away from slick production and repetitive hooks, but on “Michael Jackson” Das Racist embrace these elements with fantastic results.
8.) “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
Dan and Pat of The Black Keys add bass and keys to their two-man sound, creating one of the most fun rock tracks of the year (which will surely still be in heavy rotation come 2012).