So, Slaughterhouse’s “My Life” video is awkwardly weird…at first. There, we said it. Yet even with all of its awkwardness it’s lovable. Sure, instead of a six and a half minute video it could have been four. At the start of the video Joell Ortiz is watching Eminem on Rappers Are Richer Than You, a Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous-esque program. Since Eminem doesn’t have a verse on the track we probably could have bypassed the wonky show where Em owns 300 Chrysler 300s, and is chills with T-rex dinosaurs as pets in his mansion. But then we wouldn’t have the classic clip of Em dipping his hands in a white bowl while the narrator says, “By bathing in the tears of other rappers.” That alone is worth the two minute Eminem Show intro. Read more…
Speaking with DJ Funkmaster Flex last night on New York City radio station Hot 97, Clipse and G.O.O.D. Music rapper Pusha T let it slip that Cruel Summer — the G.O.O.D. Music all-star compilation that Kanye West has been teasing since last fall — is set to drop later this summer. “August 7, G.O.O.D. Music compliation coming August 7,” he said. “So fitting, right? Cruel! Stifling!” Pusha, tell us more!
Be warned that, as we learned last summer with Watch the Throne, these sorts of album releases don’t always go as planned. That said, Kanye has been teasing this album since last fall, and the lead single “Mercy” has seen heavy-radio rotation already this summer. A summer without the rest of Cruel Summer would be cruel indeed.
Grab your Kleenex, folks. Even as a social media novice, Beyoncé reigns supreme in the way she uses Tumblr. Although one aspect is to give fans an intimate glimpse into her incredibly private life, the other is to inspire. Bey recently used her Tumblr page to pen an open letter to Timmy Kelly, a blind fan with cerebral palsy. She met Timmy Kelly backstage at the GRAMMYs when he was only 13. According to her letter, he inspired her because of his love of music. Five years later Timmy has graduated high school and was accepted to Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. Queen Bey wants everyone to know, if Timmy can do it, you can too. Read more…
Michael Kiwanuka swung by the Late Show with David Letterman last night to share with the late night audience the indelible talent that we were so lucky to have experienced live last week. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a soft-playing backing band, the British singer performed the doleful “I’m Getting Ready.” With a voice soft and soulful beyond its 24-years, watching this made us wish that Kiwanuka would sing us to sleep everynight.
And we suspect we are not alone in that longing. For one, John Mayer – surely a man in the singing song/writing business worth wooing – was impressed. Or, rather, he was “dumbfounded.” “What a voice. What a song. What a vibe. What a soul. What a message,” he wrote breathlessly (or as breathlessly as one can write) on his Tumblr, thusly deeming Kiwanuka “a revelation.” Who are we to disagree?
A$AP ROCKY WILL PLAY JFK IN LANA DEL REY AKA A$AP JACKIE O’S “NATIONAL ANTHEM” VIDEO
Not so sure about this plan? “People are going to get it in three years, and that’s the whole purpose of it,” he assures. [HipHopDX]
“You know, you’re interrupting our afternoon nap.”
Duran Duran has a right to be tired. After all, they arrived at ABC’s Times Square studios at 5:30 a.m. to prep for their appearance on Good Morning America, one of a few stops they’ve made during a brief, whirlwind promotional sojourn for their upcoming concert film release, A Diamond In The Mind. However, when we caught up with Nick Rhodes (synths) and Roger Taylor (drums) in the lobby of SoHo’s Mercer Hotel on Monday afternoon around 2 p.m. — Nick drinking a glass of rosé, Roger making his way through a bottle of sparkling water — the guys were full of energy. Their opening comment about naptime disturbance was presented with a good-hearted laugh and a smile, as the guys were snappily dressed —what else would you expect?— and excited to discuss their new film.
“I think when you make a concert film what you’re always trying to do is capture the energy of the performance,” Rhodes explained, “and the atmosphere and the spirit that was in the room when you actually played the show. And, obviously, that’s very hard to capture on film. But with this one, i think we definitely got as close as we ever have because you can see the intimacy and the interaction on stage.”
“It seems like the further north (in England) you get, the crazier the audiences get,” Taylor told us about the band’s choice to film the show in Manchester. “And on this night, it was Mad Friday, which is the last drinking night before Christmas, so the crowd was good and rowdy.”
Everywhere Justin Bieber shows up you can expect a host of screaming young girls hoping to have one glance at the 18-year-old heartthrob. But young girls aren’t the only admirers of the pop sensation. When Bieber stopped by The View the admiration of the hosts was as obvious as his teeny bopper fans. Biebs kept it simple for his performance of the ballad “Die In Your Arms,” which seems to be the fan favorite from his album. Instead of gliding across the stage as he did for “Boyfriend,” he sits on a stool next to his guitar player and sings. The girls in the audience cry, sing along and reach out to touch him. Read more…
With or without the facepaint, Cincinnati indie-rockers Walk the Moon‘s “Anna Sun” sounds like a party. More specifically, the sort of party we want to drive us into the melting 90-degree days that are upon us. The lead single off their eponymous new album —which hit shelves yesterday— – “Anna Sun” takes its name from a professor at Kenyon College who was inspiring, lead singer/keyboardist Nicholas Petricca tells us, and it tells a story about growing up. The song mourns a race lost, a house falling apart, an a time when summer could erase it all. And then, over sun-drenched synths, the chorus signals a charge regardless. “We’re gonna rattle this ghost town,” Petricca sings in a falsetto that recalls the Killers’ Brandon Flowers. And “Anna Sun” is going to rattle our summer.
In the video for “Anna Sun,” Walk the Moon used facepaint to give the project a feeling they describe as “Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Neverland sort of vibe.” Forever after, though, it’s like the paint hasn’t quite washed off. Instead, it’s kind of become their thing. “We tried to recreate the video in a live setting, and it was just so much fun that we did it again and people started coming to shows in facepaint,” Petricca says, warning also that unknowing concert-goers might get a pre-show, endoctrinating slather. “It’s kind of a thing to get you energized and ready to go,” explained bassist Kevin Ray.
Despite performing on the Late Show With David Letterman AND in front of a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last night, these four Ohio boys showed up to our Times Square offices bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And soon as the driving beat of “Anna Sun” hit, we fell immediately into the performance, which was pared-down slightly from the album version — less synth, more thump, all the same soaring energy. “We want it to be fun,” Petricca says. “We want the record to be a party as much as the concert is.” The facepaint may be optional, but the fun? That’s inescapable. Read more…
Along with cocktails on rooftops and sunbathing by the pool, summer grants the official ok to zip by in your car with windows down blaring music from the speakers. Whether hearing someone’s music blasting from their headphones on the A train, or eating outdoors at my favorite low-key Brooklyn cafe, I look forward to observing what music gets the people going. Only hours into the official first day of summer there are already countless songs that are on constant replay on iPods or car stereos. For whatever reason, warm weather tends to bring proper music odes to the beauty of the new season. Cheers to this summer being one of producing music that makes you feel something. Here are three songs that I plan to have in heavy rotation over the next few months…
NOMINATION: Meek Mill ft. Drake & Jeremih, “Amen”
EXPLANATION: Summer time is when I indulge in rap music. The beats, instrumentation, samples and lyrics boost my energy for jam packed days. Unless you were a music journalist or a diehard hip-hop fan, it’s likely you hadn’t heard of Meek Mill at this time last year. That all changed with his successful single “I’m A Boss” and later the Dreamchasers mixtape. The buzz around the Philly rapper grew with praises of his storytelling ability in tracks from the mixtape like “Tony’s Story.” He signed to Maybach Music Group where his buzz blossomed due to his first mixtape, but it’s the followup, Dreamchasers 2, that was the real attention grabber. “Amen’s” church choir sound can be attributed to the organ, a common instrument that has been used in black church spirituals for forever. Although “amen, preach and church” are rattled off through the chorus, don’t expect to hear anything church-y. The only thing spiritual about “Amen” is its divine sound.
The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up this summer. Rita Ora‘s career is clearly about to boil over. The soulful Roc Nation rookie is already hot back home in the U.K. where her Drake-penned single “R.I.P.” reached No. 1. The Tinie Tempah featured record is the second chart-topper for the Kosovo-born, London-raised Rita whose own guest spot on DJ Fresh‘s track “Hot Right Now” landed her atop the UK Top 40 back in February.
Despite capping all the accomplishments of the past four months by opening up for Coldplay’s European tour, 21-year-old Rita is determined to go global. Boss man Jay-Z‘s ringing endorsement plus heavy-hitter collaborations with producers like Will.I.Am, The-Dream, and Stargate to name a few, almost guarantees Rita’s eponymous debut album will officially usher in the Ora era in the States.