Nas makes New York City proud in his latest video, “The Don,” from his 10th studio album, Life is Good, scheduled for release July 17. Directed by Aristotle, the video to his second single has a familiar feel of a time when NY’s hip-hop was leading the game. On his grown man tip, Nas toasts to the good life with friend Steve Stoute. And how does Nas demonstrate that he’s worth of such a title? Why, of course, tailored suits, antique luxury cars, classic nugget gold rings, champagne and cigars. Executed like a true don.
Although Nas is a boss in “The Don,” he didn’t hide from the troubles he’s had as a father of a teenage daughter. His third single, “Daughters,” is a heartfelt track about the realities of fatherhood, but not everyone is celebrating Nas’ new music. Carmen Bryan, the mother of Nas’ daughter Destiny (and the author of the tell book It’s No Secret: From Nas to Jay-Z, from Seduction to Scandal–a Hip-Hop Helen of Troy Tells All) took to Twitter to express her annoyance with the song, which she says did not depict their daughter in a good light. After the song was released on Thursday, she tweeted: “Just heard ‘Daughters’ by Nas. What a disappointment! He had nothing positive to say about our daughter and his depiction of her is false.”
As The Civil Wars joked during the taping of their VH1 Unplugged set a few weeks back, they’re a duo that already performs “unplugged” most of the time, generally using an acoustic guitar or piano to deliver their songs. Knowing that, you wouldn’t necessarily think that the duo would gravitate towards performing a cover of a 1993 trip-hop classic, but once you hear their take on “Sour Times” (as originally performed by Portishead), you immediately understand how this fits into the band’s repetoire of seemingly offbeat covers.
“We’re lovers of all kinds of different music,” Joy Williams told us when we sat down with her before the show taped a few weeks back. “If we’re able to pick something out of the lexicon where we both go, ‘You listened to that, too?’, it’s really fun for us to say ‘Ok, what can we do with it as a duo?’ The lyrics themselves, to Portishead, I sat down to read them and they’re so mysterious. I still don’t even quite know what we’re actually singing about, but I’m kind of into it. It’s such a moody song!” (VIDEO BELOW.)
Even with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan in attendance at this year’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner, it was Young Jeezy, aka the Snowman, that President Obama shouted out during his pre-written comedic speech. Videos of President Obama’s smooth voice carrying the tune of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” spread like wildfire on the Internet back in January, but over the weekend, the President proved again that he is in touch with today’s hip-hop community. “In my first term I sang Al Green,” the president said in the below clip from CBS News. “In my second term, I’m going with Young Jeezy.”
We’re not sure everyone in the audience caught the reference. But of course, in the ultimate cool moment of all time, Mr. President’s wife knew exactly what her husband meant. President Obama mentioned that “Michelle said, ‘Yeah’ when he joked about singing Jeezy in his second term. “I sing that to her sometimes,” he added. Are they not the cutest couple ever?
Jeezy responded on Twitter after getting word of the President’s nod:
This week on That Metal Show, we were joined by Lemmy (Motörhead), Jerry Dixon and Robert Mason (Warrant), and Michael Schenker, who rocked out as our guest musician for the second week in a row. For our TMS Top 5 segment we decided to have the hosts come up with the Top 5 Albums of this century. There aren’t THAT many bands out there, so it shouldn’t be so hard, right? Let’s get started.
How do you choose from Tesla’s album; Into the Now (with the original band, mind you), Buckcherry’s comeback record; 15, Accept’s; Blood of The Nations, which ended up on both Eddie and Don’s list, it’s a tough choice. You also have the underrated band like Hatebreed, who released Perseverance back in 2002 and The Blackening by Machine Head who is Jim’s “modern day Master of Puppets” (Metallica). Which, of course, is debatable. So, what ended up on the list? We’ve got it for you below.
From eight MCs to one. By popular vote, KRS-One is the greatest emcee of the Yo! MTV Raps era. Of the eight lyricists selected for Bracket Madness, it all boiled down to two greats in the end: KRS-One vs. Rakim. Both legends in their own right, KRS-One takes the crown as being the No. 1 dude from the golden era of hip-hop. In a close call, KRS-One was victorious over his opponent by 20%. Here’s our theory as to why KRS-One won.
Rakim’s influence on cats like Biggie, Nas and Jay-Z is undeniable. And while Rakim mastered the art form of rap, popularizing the hustle element of East Coast rap, Rakim never blew up on a mainstream scale. He remained fairly under the radar, which affects ones popularity. KRS-One, bred of the same time period as Rakim, with just as much influence, had more of a presence. He reached a larger audience with his group Boogie Down Productions and battle raps with rappers like MC Shan and Roxanne Shante. His rhymes were also more controversial. Any song like “Sound of Da Police” in which a rapper takes shots at the 5-o is guaranteed to bring attention your way (and a group of admirers). KRS-One introduced reggae, bridging rap, battle and boasting into the genre. There’s no denying the ways in which he rapped ended up helping to shape what hip-hop is today. When two dope MCs with the stature of KRS-One and Rakim go toe-to-toe for a title, there is no real loser because this is hip-hop at its finest. But only one can wear the crown. Well deserved, KRS-One!
The profile of The Civil Wars has been raised considerably over the course of the last year. In fact, it was one year ago when the band was named our You Oughta Know artist and performed an intimate set here in our lobby on the 20th floor of VH1 headquarters here in New York City. Since that fateful day, the band has exploded in popularity, taking home two Grammys and recording not one but TWO songs for the wildly popular soundtrack to The Hunger Games. Their full VH1 Unplugged set (brought to you by State Farm) will premiere here on VH1 Tuner tomorrow, but until then, we have this sneak peak of their song from said soundtrack, “Kingdom Come,” for you above.
When we attended the taping, we asked them about the refrain of the song, which goes “Don’t you fret, my dear / It’ll all be over soon / I’ll be waiting here for you.” Clearly, this line can be read a couple of different ways, from the very optimistic to the, well, sorta haunting. What was it that inspired this particular line?
“The first thing that came to mind was this overwhelming sense of ‘survival mode,’” John Paul White explained to us. “We knew that we wanted that to be the overlying theme of what we did. We didn’t want to be completely specific as to who we’re singing about, or who is singing to whom. And that’s the way we went about it.” (Video of this moment below.)
Over the last year and change, we’ve been all too happy to see Lil’ Kim doing interviews again and making new music. And the new club banger “Countin’ Money”, off the I.R.S. South mixtape Tax Season, doesn’t disappoint. It’s reminiscent of the hardcore flow she killed the game with in the 90s. She’s back to street lyrics, and the Queen Bee wants you to know she’s the “realest b—- up in the industry.” She’s coming for blood.
Lil’ Kim’s Paypal released mixtape Black Friday (we’ll act like that never happened) was not the smash hit we were hoping for. But with her BET Rip the Runway performance, forthcoming documentary and Return of the Queen tour beginning May 11, Kim seems to be back on the fast track to making hits (it also doesn’t hurt that her long simmering beef with Nicki Minaj is helping her in the headline department). “Countin’ Money” resembles the NOTORIOUS K.I.M. sound her fans love. Raw, real and hungry. Very befitting of a Queen in hip-hop.
It pays off after all to drop an X-rated song for the ladies, if your name is Brian McKnight that is. TMZ is reporting McKnight has been asked to perform “If You’re Ready to Learn” at Adult Video News’ (AVN) porn adult industry award show. Hi, haters. And other companies are placing bids on purchasing license rights for the songs use on its websites, according to TMZ.
McKnight quickly became a trending topic on Twitter after debuting his “If You’re Ready to Learn” song from his potential upcoming adult mixtape. Critics attacked the R&B singer who is known for subtle love songs that typically don’t suggest “let me show you how your p—- works.” Typing that with a straight face was quite the challenge. As hilarious as the entire debacle is, the song doesn’t sound half bad. Perhaps McKnight will receive offers to become a spokesperson for one of the large XXX brands. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby. Well, maybe not for Brian McKnight. He told TMZ he has no interest in performing the song. “I don’t know what specifically I will do with this track in the future . . . and I don’t even see myself ever performing it live,” said McKnight. “I am flattered that people have embraced it and are having as much fun with it as I am.” That’s not a definitive no. Sounds like he may be open to the possibility.
Who doesn’t love blue jeans? Both the ones you wear and the “Blue Jeans” tune by Lana Del Rey you turn on when drowning your sorrows over a love lost. In the umpteenth (who’s counting anyway?) remix, Azealia Banks jumps on the track adding her “212″ flavor in an uptempo dance track. Indie pop band members of Foster the People, Mark Foster and Isom Innis, released the remix as a part of their DJ project Smims& Belle. It’s a stark difference between the original that has the power to make you feel the lyrics. Imagine the night Samantha from Sex and the City went to the club and popped an ecstasy pill. We could totally hear this version of “Blue Jeans” playing in a club under similar circumstances.
Banks’ speed raps about being a bad girl and liking a bad boy. How gangster. There’s a certain type of party one could zone out to while grooving to this electro-pop. But for those of us who don’t go to raves (hey, no judgment), we’d love to hear this pair on a track that sounds a little like the soulful Lana Del Rey we’ve become accustomed to. Just a little. Read more…
Not everyone thought Tupac’s hologram performance at Coachella was brilliant. And it was inevitable that one holds no barred person was going to publicly state something to the effect of letting the dead rest in peace, blah blah blah. But who would’ve guessed Waka Flocka would be the one to dismiss Dr. Dre’s revered idea of digitally bringing Tupac on stage to VIBE.com? Whoa Flocka. Pump those breaks, buddy.
The ATL bred rapper known for club anthems like “No Hands” and “Round of Applause” didn’t hesitate to answer when the reporter asked him what he thought of the hologram. “I hated it,” he responded almost before the question was finished. “That s— whack.” His criticism didn’t stop there though. “I don’t think they should be doing that. ‘Cause they getting paid off a dead man’s body.” The interviewer pries a bit more telling him Tupac’s mom got over it, but Flocka was not moved. “You don’t know what a dead man be wanting to do…You gotta let that man rest in peace. He’s a great.”
Well, there you have it. Although we thought the hologram was amazing, we can appreciate when artists say what they feel. Being politically correct is so overrated. Read more…