Nas: Rap’s Self-Proclaimed “Most Mainstream Underground Artist” On What Makes His Life Good

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An iced coffee with brown sugar is the only request of the legend who spent the previous night indulging in cigars and Moet filled champagne flutes at his release party for his 10th studio album. “You love brown sugar don’t you?” the director of Visual Media at Def Jam jokes, responding to his Starbucks request. “Damn right,” he says with a smile as everyone in the room erupts with laughter. That’s the side of Nas the public rarely gets to see.

Nasir Jones is exactly what you’d expect—no fuss, polite, no big entourage, mellow and somewhat quiet—that is until you get him going on something he actually gives a damn about. By mid-afternoon he arrives to the VH1 office still feeling nice from all of the bubbly consumed at NYC’s Bagatelle the night before. He’s dressed in a white and black t-shirt plastered with Mr. T’s face on it, white shorts and black Gucci sneakers. For a rapper his jewelry is modest. The two gold chains he rocks are far from gaudy, and his wrists are adorned with a gold watch and one bracelet. That’s it. At 38 he doesn’t look much older than he did on 2001′s album cover for Stillmatic. You start to wonder if he physically ages.

Bred in the largest housing projects in North America, the Queensbridge rapper dropped out of school in the ninth grade to pursue rap. Although he didn’t always know if it’d pay off, it did, in a big way.

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Tuned In: Jason Mraz “Won’t Give Up” On Conan

by (@zaragolden)

Jason Mraz teared up while talking about “I Won’t Give Up” during his VH1 Storytellers taping. The song speaks to the stagnant points in life and love. “I was really bummed out, and I hate sharing that, because I’ve had everything, I’ve had all my dreams come true,” he said. “And yet,” he continued, “One still experiences melancholy.” And so he set  — or, he says it “was coming out whether I like it or not” — the feelings to song, and it has since become his mantra.

Though there were no tears last night on Conan, he performed still with all the same emotional charge. His long locks tucked underneath his trademark fedora, he played the Love Is A Four Letter Word single quietly at first, then building drum rolls and conviction to the song’s climax — “I had to learn what I got, and what I’m not and who I am” — before jamming it out until the end. We might make this our mantra, too.

Check out Mraz’s Conan performance above, and hear him talk about the song on VH1 Storytellers below.

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Drake’s Taking His Love For Aaliyah To The Next Level By Executive Producing Her Posthumous Album

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Drake to Produce the next Aaliyah album

Drake took infatuation to another level when he tattooed the late R&B singer Aaliyah‘s face on his back last year. And the tat isn’t small. Well the latest news surrounding Drizzy and one of our favorite R&B sweethearts takes his admiration for her to a level above and beyond his back ink. Hip Hop DX reports that Drake is set to executive produce Aaliyah’s forthcoming posthumous album. Drake as executive producer? This could be good, folks. Considering Drake’s ability to tap into the emotions prevalent in R&B music and his ear for hit songs–makes for a good start to cooking up some magic. Read more…

Last Lap: Stephen Colbert Invited Fun. To His Music Festival Cruise

by (@zaragolden)

STEPHEN COLBERT BOOKS HIS SECOND ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL
Set this year aboard the USS Intrepid, StePhest Colbchella ’012: Rockaugustfest will push off on August 10 with Santigold, Grizzly Bear, the Flaming Lips and fun. all aboard. “I love fun.,” says Colbert. [Spin] Read more…

Jams For A Champion: Ryan Lochte Loves Himself Some Weezy

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Olympians, Olympians, Olympians…we really can’t get enough of them! So of course we were excited to hear about who gets Ryan Lochte ready for competition (and we’re not talking about coaches or trainers.) Before hitting the pool deck, Lochte turns up some Lil Wayne in his headphones. We weren’t too surprised to hear that he’s such a huge Weezy fan. It was pretty clear as soon as he flaunted those red, white and blue grills, the fact that he designs his own out-of-this-world shoes (you know, the green the ones completely covered in green rhinestones) and how he calls his style “Rockstar Swagger.”

But in addition to all of those clues, there were some more obvious ones. The number one song on his pregame playlist is “Sky’s The Limit” by Lil Wayne and also on there is “Shine.” Did you know Lochte has a dog? Well, he has a Doberman that he loves more than anything whose name is Carter. Yes, named after Dwayne Michael Carter, aka Lil Wayne. After a disappointing loss last night, Lochte took to Twitter to show his Weezy love: “everyone is selling dreams until you can buy one” and “all my problems would be second and all my worries would be gone.” They’re both lyrics taken from the “Fire Flame Remix” by Birdman featuring Lil Wayne. Lochte’s expressed time and time again how badly he want to meet his favorite artist. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports Fourth Place Medal, he said “I still haven’t to this day met Lil Wayne. And I’m dying to meet him.”

After all the ass-kicking that Lochte’s team is doing in London, how could Weezy not fulfill this wish?

 [Photos: MTV/Getty Images]

Norah Jones Takes Quiet Revenge In New Video For “Miriam”

by (@zaragolden)

“Miriam,” off of Norah Jones‘ recent Little Broken Heart, is as leaden a lullaby as a lullaby can be. In the new Phil Andelman-directed video, Norah sits alone in row boat, floating quietly on a twilight lit Texas pond and singing about just how nice a name Miriam could be. But, pretty as could be in her red dress, she is a woman scorned, and nothing else is so peaceful as it seems. “Never been the killing kind, but I know what you did,” she warns. “Now I’ve saved the best for you.” And well, what was started in the “Happy Pills” video gets finished and we are reminded that no water should sit so still.

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Keyshia Cole’s Gone Mad In “Enough Of No Love”

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Insanity ensues in Keyshia Cole‘s “Enough of No Love” video featuring Lil Wayne. Sick and tired of being sick and tired has landed her in a padded room that looks rather enticing given the circumstances. When she spazzes out her emotions range from anger to hurt as she works through the feelings in unpredictable body movements. In the outside world there’s flying shoes, jewelry and roses that land in an empty suitcase. Although Keyshia’s too preoccupied with her fits in the psych ward to physically pack her bags, it’s understood she’s hitting the road, Jack. Read more…

Carly Rae Jepsen Ties With Gotye For Longest No. 1 Reign This Year

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Carly Rae Jepsen Ties With Goyte For Longest No. 1

A nod from Justin Bieber on Twitter can literally change your whole life–it did for Carly Rae Jepsen. The popularity of the infectious pop tune “Call Me Maybe” has resulted in countless hilarious, good and bad covers of the 26-year-old Canadian’s song. From Katy Perry to .fun singers have taken a shot at covering the pop phenomenon of the year. CRJ gets major cool points in the form of Big Sean choosing “Call Me Maybe” as our Song of the Summer, which you can vote for here, but her latest accolade is measured by its rule on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Read more…

Miguel Wants To “Adorn” You, Yes You

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Miguel embraces the mystique and fantasy of potentially unattainable women in “Adorn.” Or maybe the cheerleader and gymnast in a yellow leotard (shoutout to the U.S. women gymnastics team for winning the gold medal!) are women fighting for his affection, but he’d rather save his adoration for the lady in black in the bathroom. That’s the thing about the Jason Beattie directed video released to coincide with the debut of part one of his sophomore album Kaleidoscope Dream, which will be released in three parts. It’s neon bright colors and cryptic message can mean just about anything. The only thing certain about the artsy visual is that Miguel is amazing at adorning. Read more…

Justin Bieber Takes A Punch For Love In The “As Long As You Love Me” Video

by (@zaragolden)

Justin Bieber is campaigning hard for his adult credentials, and he’s roped real-grown man Michael Madsen into this latest effort. The video for Believe‘s second single, “As Long As You Love Me,” features the Resevoir Dogs actor as the enemy, aka the father of Justin’s love-interest (who, unlike videos past, doesn’t look that much like Selena). Madsen suggests that Justin keep a distance from his daughter because, he warns, “I know what type of guy you are, once upon a time I used to be the same thing.” Young still and virile, Justin insists that they are in love and that he doesn’t “know us,” and then he steals her way with all the blinding confidence his proclamations of “as long as you love me” afford.

There are fancy cars and kisses, an empty garage dance sequence and Big Sean in a black leather hoodie. And then, at the end, the return of Madsen, back to teach Beiber a painful lesson. Growing up is tough, and when those bruises fade, Justin — desperate to be rid of his baby face — might just like what he sees. Read more…