VH1′s latest You Oughta Know artist is 21-year-old Ed Sheeran, a U.K. based troubadour whose appreciation of musical theory and craft is light years beyond most artists his age. He’s a real throwback to singer-songwriters of yore, the kind of artist who crafts highly detailed and personal stories, as well as someone appreciates those musicians that paved the way for people like him to be successful many, many years before he was even born.
Take, for example, his cover of Nina Simone‘s “Feeling Good.” The song has undergone a bit of a rebirth of late, thanks to being sampled by Jay-Z and Kanye West on the RZA-produced Watch The Throne track “New Day.” Sheeran is able to successfully channel the raw emotion of Simone original, utilizing nothing but his soulful voice and trusty acoustic guitar. It showcases his vocal range in a way that we had not really witnessed before, and is easily one of our all-time favorite You Oughta Know Live performances.
We paired this incredible cover with a series of incredible photographs by VH1′s own Michele Crowe, who trailed Ed for an entire day here in New York a few weeks back to produce the latest addition in our long-running Music Seen series. Enjoy!
Rihanna rocks to the beat of her own drum, and, well, everyone else must fall in line. According to TMZ, the Bajan beauty’s third appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend got off to a rocky start when she called in sick to dress rehearsal. The show’s producers were not happy about the no-show, including the head honcho Lorne Michaels. The singer claimed to be too sick to sing or dance in the final rehearsal (done before a live audience), but she was well enough to walk around between songs eating an apple. Hey, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Her apple eating (the nerve of her!) didn’t sit well with producers, as they apparently can’t recall the last time someone skipped dress rehearsal. In other words, it’s taken very seriously, and missing it is a cardinal sin. Rihanna’s rep told TMZ, “Rihanna was sick and needed to save her voice for the live show.”
Beef is the new come up for newcomer Azealia Banks. Following the public spat she had with Iggy Azalea and T.I., she now has a bone to pick with Lil’ Kim. Over the weekend, Banks sent a series of tweets expressing her frustrations with Lil Kim for not getting back to her about the collaboration the two had planned for Banks’ upcoming debut album Broke With Expensive Taste. Initially she sent out a subliminal tweet leaving everyone wondering who she was referring to. Finally she named Lil’ Kim and wrote, “Okay so true tea is that Lil’ Kim got mad that I wrote a verse for her on a record I wanted her on,” Banks tweeted. “Everyone knows Lil’ Kim doesn’t write her own raps and I saw this as a faster more efficient way of getting the track done.She then had her assistant write me some long ass offensive email about how Lil Kim writes her own raps and doesn’t need anyone’s help. So….. My question was and is still… IS SHE DOING THE TRACK?”
The Harlem rapper’s fingers didn’t stop typing there. Directly replying to Lil’ Kim she said:
So far the Queen B has remained quiet probably somewhere rapping her own lyrics, “You wanna rumble with the Bee huh? Throw a hex on your whole family.” Her publicist, however, released a statement on her behalf to AllHipHop.com. The statement reiterates that there is no friction since Lil’ Kim and Banks have never met or spoken directly. And taking the high road CJ Carter ends the statement wishing Banks the best, “It seems that this is another sad attempt by someone trying to use my client for publicity. We wish her nothing but the best.”
The last rapper to successfully build a career based on beef was 50 Cent. And he had a handful of hot singles and a hit album before he did it. Banks’ talent is undeniable. We just want her to pump her brakes just a little bit. If this is how Banks comes at her “idol,” we’re scared, very scared, of what she’ll do to someone she doesn’t like. Yikes.
Lead singer Chris Martin, not exactly known as being a party rocker, came up with an arrangement of “Fight For Your Right” that expertly played to Coldplay’s strengths. The big, boozy classic rock riffs of the Rick Rubin produced original were replaced by a plaintive, almost spiritual piano melody. Martin sang the lyrics in a wholly different manner than the brash Beastie style, trading snotty obnoxiousness for a vibe that’s more respectful in nature. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea —we saw just as many snarky reactions to it on Twitter this weekend as we saw celebratory ones— but we definitely salute the gents for paying tribute to a music legend in a way that felt both thoughtful and unique.
As news broke this morning of Adam Yauch‘s death, countless fans and celebs shared memories of MCA on Twitter — sparking trending topics like “Paul’s Boutique” and “No Sleep Til Brooklyn.” But VH1 also wanted to take to the streets of New York City, where the Beastie Boys were born and bred, to talk to people face to face. We can’t say we were surprised to hear how sad New Yorkers are to lose someone so “legendary” and “iconic.”
“Everybody from New York can identify with the Beastie Boys,” said one passerby. “They represented New York so well.” Many mentioned how “shocked” they were to hear the news of Adam’s passing, also unsurprising as there were rumors last year that he had beaten the salivary gland cancer that he was diagnosed with in 2009. One man pleaded, “I hope all his fans will keep him alive.” We definitely will.
VH1 Classic will air two Beastie Boys video blocks on Saturday, May 5 from 7 – 8PM*, and on Sunday, May 6 from 11 AM – 12PM*. Additionally, VH1.com will post special interviews, features and memories over the weekend and is currently calling on fans to tweet their memories of Yauch with the hashtag #MCAmemories.
Jim Shearer interviewing the Beastie Boys in 2004 for MTV's "Live to the 5 Boroughs" special.
As a teenager in high school—one who obsessed over music and the Beastie Boys (not necessarily in that order)—I began to seriously think about what I’d do for a career when I got older. As stupid and/or as awesome as it sounds now, I chose my future profession based solely on getting to meet the Beastie Boys.
I figured being an on-air VJ was my best shot.
In late 2001, my high school aspirations didn’t seem so lofty when I began hosting music video segments for MTV2. In 2003, the dream was in reach as I was scheduled to interview the Beastie Boys at the Field Day Music Festival.
Long story short, certain residents of Long Island protested, the promoters could not secure a permit, and the festival was moved up a day and a state away, inside of Giants Stadium in New Jersey. Sadly, my brother’s wedding was on the same day and I missed making my teenage dream a reality.
Fortunately, a year later the Beastie Boys were on the verge of releasing their new album, To The Five Boroughs, and had signed on to do an MTV2 $2 Bill concert in Las Vegas, which was going to be hosted by guess who?
Long gone are the days everyone waited for an official statement from celebrities’ publicists. With social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, celebrities can use 140 characters to instantly send a message for anyone to see. Today, the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys is a tremendous loss to music. With the impact MCA made in music, it was inevitable celebrities would tweet their condolences as they, too, mourn with the rest of the world. Celebrities who honored Yauch via Twitter ran the gamut of everyone from Jonah Hill to Q-Tip to Cypress Hill. Judging by his peers, MCA was a well respected musician, father, husband and human being. We’re happy these stars decided to share.
Earlier today, we passed along the unfortunate news of the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch, one of the co-founders of the Beastie Boys. MCA’s mastery rhyme pattern, gravelly voice and bad boy edge is what made him a legendary MC; even though he is gone, there’s no denying that he has left an indelible imprint in hip-hop forever. The Beastie Boys’ catalog of classic tracks are too numerous to list out, and and the same goes for MCA’s best verses. It was hard to choose, but we’ve narrowed down Adam Yauch’s most unforgettable rhymes into this Top 10 List of the Best Verses of MCA’s Career.
1. “Sure Shot” (Ill Communication, 1994)
“I Want To Say a Little Something That’s Long Overdue / The Disrespect To Women Has Got To Be Through / To All The Mothers And Sisters And the Wives And Friends / I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End.”
2. “Intergalatic” (Hello Nasty, 1998)
“If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked/I’ll stir fry you in my wok/Your knees’ll start shaking and your fingers pop / Like a pinch on the neck from Mr. Spock.”
3. “Pass the Mic” (Ill Communication, 1994)
“If you can feel what I’m feeling then it’s a Musical masterpiece/ But if you can ear what I’m dealing with then that’s cool at least/ What’s running through my mind comes through in my walk true/ Feelings are shown from the way that I talk/ And this is me, y’all/I M.C., y’all/ My name Is M.C.A. and I still do what I please and/ Now I’d Like to introduce I’ll pass the mic to D. for a fist full of truth.”
Terrible news to pass along. We’re getting word that Adam “MCA” Yauch, one of the three members of the Beastie Boys, has passed away at the age of 47 years old. Yauch had been fighting cancer since a diagnosis in 2009, and it appears that the terrible disease got the best of him today.
The Beastie Boys began their career in the late 1970s as punk group playing hardcore thrash music in underground clubs in New York City, but when they teamed up with NYU student Rick Rubin circa 1984, they began experimenting with the fledgling sounds of hip-hop. Nobody quite understood the group’s potential at the time, but by the time 1986 rolled around, thanks to the Beastie Boys’ good looks, dangerous-yet-radio-ready rhymes and the trademark Def Jam sound that fused classic rock riffs with huge breakbeats, the threesome — Adam “MCA” Yauch, Michael “Mike D” Diamond, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz— became breakout superstars with the release of Licensed To Ill.
From the outset, Adam “MCA” Yauch’s distinctive, gravelly voice was the element that prevented the Beasties from being viewed at the outset purely as a cartoon-y, novelty “white rapper” act. Both Ad-Rock and Mike D had slightly nasally voices, but MCA —the eldest Beastie— provided the group an air of machismo and danger. “Born and bred Brooklyn U.S.A. / They all me Adam Yauch but I’m M.C.A.,” he sang in “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” as a formal introduction to his character. “Like a lemon to a lime a lime to a lemon / I sip the def ale with all the fly women.”
Jennifer Lopez has come a long way from the self-proclaimed Jenny on the block, or Fly Girl from “In Living Color.” She teams up with reggaeton duo Wisin & Yandel in the action packed video for “Follow the Leader” directed by her 25-year-old boyfriend Casper Smart. And every last one of them turn the heat all the way up! The 42-year-old mother of twins still got “it,” evident by her incredible athleticism as she runs through Acapulco, Mexico. Her acting chops are nothing to snuff at either. From hopping over a pickup truck, jumping through a window feet first, swinging from stairwell bars and jumping from roof to roof eventually escaping the guys chasing her, J. Lo knows how to make even the action shots look hot.
J. Lo oozes sexy without much effort. She enticingly sings, “I’ll make you lose your cabezo.” Not to mention she’s topless with fake tattoos around her neck and mid-back. Both Wisin & Yandel elevate the flavor with their beautiful Spanish verses. The reggae, dance pop song explodes on the screen because of its up tempo sound and high energy video. The video is only a glimpse of what’s to come from these three because this summer J.Lo co-headlines a summer tour beginning July 14 with Enrique Inglesias, and Wisin and Yandel are the openers. How’s that for some summer heat!