Like true royalty, Lil Kim is back to reclaim her throne. Not that anyone should need a reminder of the Queen Bee’s iconic status when she entered the rap game in the mid 90s, but just in case, her performance Friday at the Paradise Theater in the Bronx served up a bit of nostalgia and excitement for what’s ahead.
On the New York City leg of her “Return of the Queen” tour, Kim hit the stage with a massive entourage and a crew of talented hip-hop friends. Dressed in a shiny beige pants paired with a jeweled bra the Queen Bee took the stage royally with flower petals at her feet while men held flagstaffs with her logos. Her fans welcomed her with deafening screams as she performed “Black Friday” from the mixtape of the same name. Although the mixtape received mixed reviews, this was not evident by the crowd’s enthusiasm to see Kim in her element. Read more…
For the third time in less than a month, the music world has lost another legend to cancer. After the tragic deaths of Adam “MCA” Yauch and Donna Summer, Bee Gees co-founder Robin Gibb is the latest musician to succumb to the dreaded disease.
“The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery. The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”
California-based buzz band Best Coast earned across-the-board raves for their lo-fi debut album Crazy For You, which was released back in 2010. This week, the band’s sophomore LP, The Only Place, was released. This time around, the band traded the fuzzy, surf rock vibe present on their first record for a cleaner, more aurally immersive sound, courtesy of super producer extraordinaire Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Kanye West). While it remains to be seen which version of Best Coast fans will remember more fondly, the band’s new single, “The Only Place,” is undeniably one of this summer’s sunshineiest melodies.
Lead singer/rhythm guitarist Bethany Cosentino and lead guitarist Bobb Bruno swung by the Ed Sullivan Studios earlier this week to perform their new single on The Late Show With David Letterman, and they turned in a cool, confident performance of this ode to the joys of the great state of California. “‘The Only Place’ is supposed to mean my bedroom, my home, Los Angeles, California,” Bethany told us when we caught up with her at SXSW in March. “It’s the place where I feel the most comfortable and confident. I wanted to make a record that reflected that this place is my safe place, and all these songs that are written about more darker, kind of lonely feelings, those all go away as I get back to this only place.” Well, after finally hearing the whole record, we can attest that the current of loneliness runs through it loud and clear. In this regard, the title track stands in complete contrast to the rest of the album in that it positively shimmers, both live and on wax, not unlike the sunshine bouncing off a tasty Pacific Ocean wave.
A rapper hasn’t earned his or her stripes until they publicly announce that they’re leaving the rap game for good. Like Too Short, Jay-Z, 50 Cent and The Game who’ve all threatened to retire, T.I. went on Power 105′s The Breakfast Club and said he wants out because the game has changed. How many times have we heard this song and dance before from other rappers? On The Breakfast Club video interview posted on HipHopDX.com, T.I. said he would be more than happy to fade to the background. “This is what everyone fails to realize. I want out. I want out, man,” he said. “What the game is going to and what has evolved into from a personality standpoint, it goes against what I represent.” By that he means he’s real and the industry is fake. “What I embody, this game contradicts that. I want out. I’m in it because I love music and I have obligations, contractually,” he disclosed. So, if it wasn’t for those contractual obligations T.I. would be perfectly fine focusing on his artists and other endeavors. Read more…
How does one become the richest musician in the world? Simple, if you’re rich and famous: invest $90 million in Facebook. U2′sBono will be the world’s richest musician because of a 2009 investment he made in Facebook. NME reports, Bono owns 2.3 percent of Facebook’s shares through his private equity firm Elevation Partners. Only three years later the rockstar will earn $1.5 billion from his initial $90 million share purchase. This gives a whole new meaning to balling. No one that makes less money than Bono can consider themselves “ballers.” We’re looking at you, rappers.
Facebook’s IPO is currently valued at over $100 billion as the second biggest IPO in history, according to HuffingtonPost. Bono was a genius for foreseeing the return on his investment. The lead U2 singer will surpass Paul McCartney as the world’s richest musician. McCartney is reportedly worth $1.05 million. Rockstar lifestyle isn’t all about groupies, booze and drugs. Let’s hear it for the money, money, money, money.
Top: Black Sabbath shot (minus Bill Ward) that currently appears on BlackSabbath.com; Bottom: The original photo, which includes Bill Ward
We must admit, we were pretty excited to hear that the original Black Sabbath line-up was supposed to reunite this year for a tour and a new album. However, due to guitarist Tony Iommi’s cancer treatment, the tour was scrapped and replaced with a few gigs in the U.K. and one in the U.S. The U.S. date was confirmed by the founder of LollapaloozaPerry Farrell, who explained to us that the reunited Black Sabbath would headline at this year’s festival in Chicago. Which of course, excited a lot of fans. (Us too!)
Earlier in the week, though, former Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward posted a statement on his official website to announce that he’s definitely not reuniting with Sabbath for the upcoming shows because he feels the contract they offered him was unfair. The rocker explained that after a final effort, he still hasn’t reached an agreement with the band and therefore won’t be playing at the three shows Sabbath has lined up. Bill explained, “It is with a very sad heart that I bring you this news. I am sincerely passionate in my desire to play with the band and I’m very, very sorry that it’s fallen to this.” Ward added that he doesn’t blame his band mates but feels it’s “sad that it’s come to this.” Read more…
Serena Williams doesn’t play when she feels she’s been disrespected or stabbed in the back. Nobody is off limits (umpires included) from feeling her wrath if they cross the line. Ms. Williams is not too happy with the recent leak of her spitting rhymes in a studio, according to NecoleBitchie.com. We thought she sounded good though! In the song she raps, “I ball hard, no tennis racket.” Whether anyone likes it or not didn’t make much different to this all-star tennis player. As far as she’s concerned the track wasn’t supposed to be leaked at all.
At a press conference forthe Italian Open earlier this week a reporter asked her about the song, and Williams had some choice words for the anonymous song leaker. In the interview she said, “Well, I was in the studio with friends and I wanted to do something and so they said, ‘Do this’ and it was for me. The next thing I know — that was one or two years ago and then I read online that I was a rapper, and so my back-stabbing friends did that to me and so if I see them, I will act like a rapper — if you can get my drift.”
That sounds like a threat “if you can get my drift.” Rappers are notorious for beefing or rapping about slapping someone (or doing worse) if they feel disrespected. Don’t mess with Serena, on or off the court. With her track record, whoever this alleged backstabber is better make nice with her or it’s on.
The Billboard Music Awards may not be known for scandalous surprise girl-on-girl kisses like the VMAs or interesting collaborations like the Grammys, but the 2012 Billboard Music Awards is offering performances by the hottest artists of today. Carrie Underwood, Linkin Park, Nelly Furtado and Kelly Clarkson are only a few of the A-listers hitting the stage this Sunday at MGM in Las Vegas. We’re curious to find out if BMA can pull off a tribute to the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, in just three days. Watching how artists bring their songs to life at a major award show is always exhilarating, but here’s the five singers we’re most excited to see and why.
Finally, a full Whitney Houston tribute. Jennifer Hudson did an amazing job at the Grammy Awards, but we were left wanting so much more. Thanks to Billboard, our wish came true in the form of John Legend and Jordin Sparks (who actually co-starred with Houston in the remake of Sparkle). It’s no easy feat to cover The Voice’s songs for even the best vocalists in the business. We’d love to hear the two sing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or “How Will I Know” as they are Houston’s earlier songs that are light and fun. It was announced that Bobbi Kristina and Cissy Houston are making special guest appearances to accept awards on Houston’s behalf. Will the gospel legend sing and take everybody to church? A lot is riding on this tribute, we’re hoping they nail it. Read more…
When we saw Van Halen perform in front of an audience of 300 people at the tiny Cafe Wha? back in January, there didn’t seem to be any noticeable tension between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. The duo appeared to have put their legendary differences aside in advance of the release of A Different Kind Of Truth, the reunited group’s first studio album since 1984, and the massive North American tour that they had planned. Fast forward five months and change, though, and now it appears that the second third honeymoon between Diamond Dave and Eddie has come to a crashing halt.
Rolling Stone reports that Van Halen has “abruptly postponed” 30 North American tour dates that were recently added to the the original schedule that was announced back in December. The tour’s promoter, Live Nation, did not comment on the matter, but a source told Rolling Stone that Van Halen’s members are “arguing like mad” and “hate each other.” Not surprising news, exactly, but definitely disappointing for fans of huge riffs and karate kicks. Speaking of which…
Falling head over heels in love with Kim Kardashian isn’t the only thing Kanye West is up to. According to MissInfo.TV, West is screening his short art film “Cruel Summer” at Cannes Film Festival in France, which is open to the public on May 24 and May 25. As if being a super producer, rapper and fashion designer weren’t enough to keep the superstar busy, he’s moving forward full throttle with his interests in filmmaking and directing. He’s taken a stab at directing before with his 35 minute video to “Runaway” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. What exactly “Cruel Summer” will be about was left a mystery. But it’s Kanye West, so we’re confident it’s going to be an explosion of abstract art following a concept that is provocative. It will get the people going!
Per the Def Jam released press release, Kanye and his creative collective DONDA are screening the film out of competition. It promises to deliver something unlike anything we’ve seen from Yeezy before. The press release stated, “Inspired by the new G.O.O.D. Music album of the same name, CRUEL SUMMER is a fusion of short film and art installation; an immersive ’7 Screen Experience’ for the eyes and ears unlike anything West has attempted before.” If you’re in France, the RSVP details are on Mr. West’s website.
For those of us that can’t make it to Cannes, France, we’ll have to live vicariously through YouTube (at least we hope it ends up on there anyway). The possibilities of what Yeezy will do are endless. And considering he’s working on an upcoming album of the same title makes it all the more sweet. Let the “Cruel Summer” begin.