VH1 and Pepsi Want You To #PLAYNOW

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With the Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, it means that the glorious perks of summertime —like beaches, barbeques, road trips, outdoor concerts— are almost here, too. Since you’ll no doubt be documenting your summer activites on Twitter and Instagram, VH1 and Pepsi would like to make sure that you get rewarded for doing so. As you upload your photos to either of these popular social networking services, simply use the hashtag #PLAYNOW and your photos might end up appearing on VH1′s Top 20 Video Countdown.

Additionally, one lucky winner will get to attend a top secret A-list concert event this summer, one where you’ll get special photo access! We can’t announce the headliner of the show yet, but trust us, it’s a doozy!

Remember, all you have to do to enter the contest is to upload your photos to either Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtag #PLAYNOW, and that’s that. (For a complete list of contest rules, click here.) This summer, don’t forget to LIVE FOR NOW!

Jay-Z Selects Eclectic Group Of Artists For Made In America Festival: Pearl Jam, Odd Future, Rick Ross And The Return of D’Angelo

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Lineup for Budweiser Made in America Festival Curated by Jay-Z

Since Jay-Z’s press conference in Philadelphia last week we’ve been on pins and needles anticipating the announcement for the lineup of the Made in America festival he’s curating and headlining on September 1 and 2. Jigga man delivered on the goal he’d set for himself asking, “Is it going to push the culture forward?” With such a diverse selection of musical acts crossing multiple genres, we’d say the answer to Jay’s query is unequivocally, “Yes!”

For the two day festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philly, music lovers can enjoy the tunes of Pearl Jam, Afrojack, Odd Future, Skrillex, Miike Snow, Dirty Projectors, X, the Knocks, Calvin Harris, Jay’s artist Rita Ora, Prince Royce, Janelle Monae, Santigold, Passion Pit, Wale, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, the DJ set by Savoy and the return of D’Angelo. Let’s not forget Hov will also hit the stage as the headliner. As with everything he does, Jay-Z took his job as curator seriously, and created a highly anticipated festival.

Oh, can we talk about Jay sangging R&B singer D’Angelo (who hasn’t released an album in 12 years) for a minute? Over the weekend D’Angelo made headlines when a GQ profile hit the net with him looking rather scrumptious. The singer is working on an album, and whatever Jay did to get him to perform at Budweiser’s Made in America, we salute you, Jay. As diverse as the list of performers is, even more acts will be announced next week. Jay-Z can check off successful curator from his bucket list.

Official “Made In America” Lineup Announced [Complex.com]

[Photo: Getty Images and GQ magazine]

Destruction In “Take It To The Head” Video Featuring Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj And Lil Wayne

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DJ Khaled has the most incredible musical superpowers because only someone superhuman can consistently get all of the hottest artists on one track. This go ’round he brought together Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross for the Colin Tilley directed “Take It To The Head.” Not to mention Drake, Busta Ryhymes and Baby (aka Birdman) make cameos. Next time there’s a hip-hop beef, we must call Khaled. He can get everyone toghether! Complete with crashing buses, graffiti and fire, the video is all about destruction. If the setting looks familiar perhaps it’s because you’ve been to Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. Per Stereogum.com, the set was in fact shot at the Earthquake ride at the popular amusement park. Now, if the rappers could’ve rapped their verses while on the ride, that would have been impressive. Read more…

25th Anniversary Of Michael Jackson’s Bad Honored With An Assortment Of MJ Goodies

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MJ 25th Anniversary deluxe package

We still have a hard time believing its been almost three years since the incomparable Michael Jackson passed away. To think it has been 25 years since the King of Pop’s seventh album Bad, makes us feel, let’s just say, wiser. Epic/Legacy Recordings and the Michael Jackson estate has partnered together to release the Bad 25 deluxe package on September 18 to honor its 25th anniversary. This is like having Christmas in September! Read more…

VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott Exclusive: “Le Boom Vent Suite”

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All Jill Scott has to do is start singing, “boom, boom, boom” and the audience immediately claps as they immerse themselves into the feel good melodies of “Le Boom Vent Suite.” From the balcony to the front row attendees sang along with Jill about wanting a guy that doesn’t want her back. Similar to “Quick” in that the words aren’t necessarily describing an ideal situation, but the music makes one want to groove. It’s a soulful jazz sound with Jill’s one of a kind voice. And check out the man in the balcony jamming as if he were in the living room of his home. That’s what “Le Boom Vent Suite” performed live does to the crowd.

If you missed the show last night, you can watch the entire episode of VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott right now on VH1.com..

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VH1 Storytellers Online Exclusive: Jill Scott’s “Quick”

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Ever so often Jill Scott’s spoken word roots find their way into her songs or songwriting. That’s exactly the case for “Quick,” a song about a relationship ending too soon. We have an exclusive clip of her performance of “Quick” on tonight’s VH1 Storytellers: Jill Scott. Like its title, the song moves and ends quickly. But the fast pace doesn’t take away from the lyrical content. Due to its fast tempo we’re almost certain this is one of the happiest songs about an ending relationship. Read more…

Liz Phair (Finally) Releases Her Revenge-Fueled Video For “And He Slayed Her”

by (@unclegrambo)

Liz Phair is one of the most enigmatic musicians of our time. She became a near-overnight phenomenon and an indie rock goddess back in 1993 when she released Exile To Guyville, an LP which is universally acknowledged to be one of the best albums of the Nineties. She graduated to becoming a Buzz Bin and 120 Minutes staple with her two follow-up albums, Whip-Smart (1994) and Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998), before becoming the Most Hated Woman In Rock when she dropped the slick, unabashedly commercial self-titled Liz Phair LP in 2003. The album was not well-liked nor well-reviewed —we should take a moment to pause here, a moment in which we’ll go on record as being among the few that will go to our graves defending of the merits of this record— and turned Phair into a figure that is even more maligned than even Courtney Love in some circles.

Even Phair herself would likely admit that her career and reputation has never been the same since she worked with The Matrix, but we give her points for settling into a respectable groove as an elder stateswoman of indie rock, one who seems to have (mostly) gotten over her careerist desires and has once again embraced the experimental. She’s completely off-the-radar as far as major labels and radio are concerned, but her latest album, 2010′s Funstyle, was fairly well-received by her core constituency. Due to the fact that she wasn’t being bankrolled by a major label, she didn’t do much in the way of “traditional” promotion for that record (ie, shoot a music video); that is, until now. Nearly 23 months after Liz dropped Funstyle, she finally got around to shooting and releasing a video for “And He Slayed Her.” Read more…

Katy Perry Is “Wide Awake” After Her Divorce From Russell Brand

by (@unclegrambo)

At the moment, there is no more formidable team in music than Katy Perry, Bonnie McKee, Dr. Luke and Max Martin. During the 2009-2010 writing/recording sessions for Perry’s Teenage Dream album, this group wrote four songs together — “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream”, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and “Part Of Me”. All four of those songs went to #1.

So when it came time for Katy to put together Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection earlier this year, she made sure to enlist the help of her dream team when it came to writing the sole “new” track for the record, which ultimately was titled “Wide Awake.” Back in March, she told our friends over at MTV News that the team wrote and recorded the track over the course of just four days. “I can’t wait eight months to be able to put out this feeling that I’m feeling right now,” she explained. “Not only did I write the song because I needed to flush that out of my system, but I wrote it for the film as well.”

Katy debuted “Wide Awake” at the Billboard Music Awards last night, and then dropped a brand new lyric video for the emotional track after the show. There is a “real” video for the track on the way, but as a way to satiate the masses until its release, this lyric video was released. It does not refer to the lyrics of the song directly — lyrics in which Katy comes to painful grips with her recent divorce from Russell Brand — but is notable in that it’s the first video to take on the look and feel of Facebook’s new(ish) timeline feature. And hey, if you pay close enough attention, you’ll see that VH1.com even gets a shout-out in it. Look ma, we’re finally famous!
Read more…

Will Smith Raps “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” Theme Song While Gary Barlow Plays The Keyboard

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To some Will Smith will always be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. On a recent visit to the British talk show The Graham Norton Show, Smith said he’s best known for the character he played in the 1990-1996 hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Good thing his name in the show was the same as his real name, as he was warned by former co-host Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), it was what people would call him for the rest of his life. “[In] every country in the world that is the thing I am most known for, no matter how big the movies get,” said Smith.

Smith was in Europe to promote his movie Men in Black III when the host asked him to rap the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air he happily obliged. Gary Barlow from the British boy band Take That played the keyboard as Will rapped the song with the audience who seemed to know every word (thanks to a teleprompter!). Tom Jones looked on while bopping his head as the two jammed out to one of the best 90s television theme songs. Enjoy!

Will Smith Raps Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme Song

Will Smith Raps The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme [Eonline.com]

Whitney Houston’s Last Song “Celebrate” Is A Vibrant Duet With Jordin Sparks

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Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston "Celebrate" Song

We were impressed with Jordin Sparks heartfelt tribute to the late Whitney Houston at last night’s Billboard Music Awards. According to Radaronline.com, the last song Houston recorded was released today. Produced by R. Kelly, “Celebrate” is a happy upbeat duet Houston recorded with her Sparkle co-star Jordin Sparks who plays her daughter in the upcoming movie. If Whitney’s strong vocals in this song are any indication of the direction she was headed in prior to her untimely passing, it indeed proves what many have already said–Whitney Houston was ready to make a big comeback.

Houston opens the track sounding nearly as good as she did before her vocals became strained. “Everybody’s been so uptight. Everybody forgetting to live their life,” she sings. Sparks’ higher octave is a beautiful complement to Whitney’s lower gospel tone. “It’s time to celebrate, come on and celebrate,” the duo sing together. This song seems like a perfect embodiment of Whitney Houston–celebrating life and taking in the younger generation of singers with open arms.

Whitney Houston’s Final Song Released [Radaronline.com]

[Photo: IMDB]