Azealia Banks And Styles P Relish the Haters On “Nathan”

by (@zaragolden)

Self-proclaimed “vocalist” and rap game drop-out Azealia Banks is back on her spit game. The Harlem sensation posted a wily new track to her Tumblr over the weekend called “Nathan.” Trading verses with “literally [her] FAVORITE rapper” Styles P. over a jittery beat, she comes hard with her trademark wordplay, fleshing out that hot dog imagery from “Liquorice” and also also relishing haters with a clever riff on “nothin’” — as in, “you ain’t got nothin’.” “Burn ‘em, boil ‘em, grill ‘em, bake ‘em, nada no problem,” she raps with her trademark verve, just in time for this week’s festivities.

Banks’ much-anticipated mixtape Fantasea is slated for release on July 11th, a week later than it’s originally planned July 4th date. And according to her Twitter, we can expect one more cut before then: “Next and Last mixtape leak will be more dancey – more singey … More core Azealia Banks.” Heads up!

Last Lap: Carly Rae Jepsen’s Album Is “Almost Finished”

by (@zaragolden)

CARLY RAE JEPSEN SAYS HER FULL-LENGTH DEBUT ALBUM IS “ALMOST FINISHED”
“I feel like the songs are mostly there, but there’s still some production and stuff to be done,” the thus-far one-and-one-half hit wonder says. “We’re in the home stretch.” [MTV]

SKRILLEX IS SCORING HARMONY KORINE’S NEW MOVIE
And, diving deeper yet into the pop-culture vortex, the movie is said to star James Franco. [Flavorwire]

MEET THE MAN WHO MAKES JUSTIN BIEBER SING
Kuk Harrell, vocal producer to the stars, is the one that makes sure artists like Bieber, Rihanna, and Jennifer Lopez bring their “superstar performance” to every song. [NYT]

TOM CRUISE GETS M83 TO SCORE HIS NEXT MOVIE
The french electronic band are set to score Oblivion, a sci-fi film that stars Tom Cruise and is directed by Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski. You win some, you lose some. [RS]

Shearer’s Spotlight: On the Road

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Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

As I’m sure you know, summertime is a great occasion for music-filled road trips.

I’ve already gone on a couple, and while enjoying music on CDs (yes, I still represent the format), an overstocked iPod, and FM radio; I observed the following:

Hit Song/Bad Lyrics
Though I respect Sia as an artist and songwriter, every time I hear her following lyrics on Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones,” I wince in agony: If I took you home, it’d be a home run. Ouch.

(A few weeks ago I was on a 1970s music kick, so the next four observations will reflect that era. Groovy?)

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Lauryn Hill Pleads Guilty In Tax Evasion Case

by (@zaragolden)

According to TMZ, the Lauryn Hill has plead guilty to tax evasion, telling a judge this morning that she intentionally failed to file tax returns in between 2005 and 2007, when she earned more than $1.8 million. She was released on $150,000 bail, but will have to return to court in November for sentencing. According to her attorney, Nathan Hochman, Hill plans on paying back the taxes owed before then. But if it’s decided in November that the gesture is to little or too late, she could see up to three years of jail time.

When news broke, the former Fugees frontwoman attempted to temper the charges with a lengthy missive posted to her Tumblr. “For the past several years, I have remained what others would consider underground,” she wrote in defense, claiming to have removed herself and her family from society in order to “keep them safe, healthy, and free from danger.” She goes on to explain that she had filed regularly in the years prior and that, although she she stopped when she felt “it was necessary to withdraw from society”, her intention “has always been to get this situation rectified.”

Unfortunately, potential three years jail time (one for each year’s taxes not filed) and upwards of $75,000 in fines sounds not like the rectification she had hoped for. Hill has been edging herself back into the scene, making semi-regular appearances at big events like Hot 97′s Summer Jam and Rock the Bells the year prior. It was starting to seem like we might get her back! But, as compelling as Ms. Hill’s arguments for hiding out may be, Uncle Sam gets the last say on this one.

Lauryn Hill Pleads Guildy in Tax Case Faces YEARS in Prison [TMZ]

Watch the Awesome New Trailer for RZA’s Kung Fu Movie The Man With the Iron Fists

by (@zaragolden)

Wu-Tang Clan‘s beat master and resident martial arts aficionado, it was only a matter of time before RZA got a ninja flick of his own. And alas, here we have it! RZA makes his directorial this fall with The Man with the Iron Fists, and if this eye-popping first trailer is any indication, it should be all his kung fu dreams fully realized.

Co-written with Eli Roth and presented by king of the shlock Quentin Tarantino, the film finds RZA and his fellow co-stars (Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu) tangled-up in some sort of bloody adventure in feudal China. This is RZA’s first go behind the camera, but having starred also in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes and with Denzel Washington in American Gangster, he is an old pro when it comes to being on-screen. By the looks of the trailer, he really goes for it with this one, bringing all the blood and high kicks and fancy knives you could dream of.

And better yet is the soundtrack, which is rumored to feature new tracks by Kanye West, Wu-Tang Clan, The Black Keys, Wiz Khalifa, and RZA himself — the sort of all-star line-up that could get even a hemophobe excited! Wu-Tang have been sampling kung fu films on their albums for years now,  and RZA helped arrange the soundtrack for Tarantino’s Kill Bill. The bar has been set high.

Kanye West, The Black Keys contribute new music to RZA’s The Man With the Iron Fist [CoS] Read more…

Beyonce And Jay-Z Are Headed To The BET Awards, Will Bey Give A Surprise Tribute To Whitney Houston?

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Beyonce & Jay-Z To Attend BET Awards

For the rest of the year the most anticipated moment of any music award show is going to be the Whitney Houston tribute. It’s no different with this Sunday’s BET Awards. The Associated Press reported that both Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z have been confirmed as guests for the big night. The power couple haven’t attended the award show in years. This year the Carters will be in the building ladies and gentleman. Read more…

Tuned In: Maroon 5 Bring Heat To Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

by (@zaragolden)

Maroon 5 have been burning up the midnight circuit in support of their new album Overexposed, dropping in on Letterman earlier this week and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night. Frontman Adam Levine first sat down with Fallon to talk about his burgeoning acting career and “his homieChristina Aguilera, and then the band played their smash single “Payphone.” As always, Levine — planted at center-stage in just a white tee-shirt, the band rocking hard behind him — made his job look easy, like the Song of the Summer contender works for him. Current chart-toppers Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen should be feeling the heat after showings like this. Next week, things at the top might be looking a little different!

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Alicia Keys Is Like ‘A Caged Animal That’s Dying To Escape’ With New Single “New Day”

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Alicia Keys new music "New Day"

It’s been three years since Alicia Keys last album The Element of Freedom, and in those three years Keys married producer Swizz Beats and welcomed her first child into the world. With all of the exciting changes in her life she is ready to tell her story through the untitled upcoming album. To connect with her fans Keys posted a touching video to YouTube to talk about the journey of making new music. She says she’s been in the studio eight months working on the album because she’s a whole new person. “It’s like I’m a different person, a new person,” she explains. “Everything is new, from being married and having a baby, and what that’s done for me in just giving me a sense of real stability, real connection, grounding, reason, and purpose. So much of the music that you’re going to hear is talking about what that feels like, what we’re all going through, all of us,” she said. Read more…

OMA Report: The Flaming Lips Break The World Record!

by (@zaragolden)

Get More: O Music Awards

It is Guinness World Record official: The Flaming Lips have broken the record for the most concerts in different cities in one day. With about forty minutes to spare, the Flaming Lips took the stage at the House of Blues in New Orleans for the eighth and last time to play “Do You Realize?” Balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling, and Wayne Coyne sounded no worse for the wear of his epic journey. “Finally!” he yelled, urging the crowd to sing along. “Come on come on come on!”

“I feel like I could go another f***ing 24-hours,” Coyne joked as he accepted the record from to Guinness World Record officiants with a half-hour to spare. “I think I’ll get that call from Jay-Z pretty soon.”

Check out the record breaking performance of “Do You Realize?” below, and see more highlights from the day over on OMusicAwwards.com!

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Summer Jams: Lacey Seidman Picks Three Of Her Fave “Song of the Summer” Candidates

by (@Lacezilla)

Music is the best backdrop to our life experiences, and with the Summer solstice now a week or so behind us, it’s time to finalize those party/road-trip/gym playlists and ease into the season that puts sun on our skin and BBQ on our plates. I’m putting my money on the songs below to make it to the winner’s circle this year, but it’s still early, and only in time will the victors be revealed.

NOMINATION: Kanye West ft. Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz, “Mercy”
EXPLANATION: If you don’t act a little bit foolish when this song comes on, I don’t think we can be friends. Kicking-off the G.O.O.D Music relay race, Big Sean hits his verbal stride first, and whether it’s his wordplay, Pusha T’s unique emphasis while using the word “ho,” Kanye’s obligatory “molly” reference, or 2 Chainz’ phenomenal lead-off grunt, this track has something special for everyone. Not only will we hear “Mercy” blasting out of car and house party windows all summer long, but it puts a stake in the ground for Kanye’s squad as they prep for their unified Cruel Summer project, allegedly coming soon.

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