Following Chris Brown’s shocking yet successful collaboration with ex-girlfriend Rihanna on “Birthday Cake,” Brown is working in overdrive to regain his popularity since that dreadful incident in 2009. With electrifying performances like last night’s appearance on Dancing with the Stars, he’s heading back to the top, passing go without collecting $200 (we know you loved Monopoly). The pop star performed “Turn Up the Music” from his upcoming fifth studio album Fortune. Like the high energy dance tune, Brown poured everything in pleasing the crowd with complex footwork, jumps and mini moonwalks. Read more…
We have to be totally honest, we still haven’t fully come to grips with the tragic death of Whitney Houston earlier this year. There’s still a tiny part of us that refuses to believe that we’ll never hear her heavenly voice sing another new song, even though we know that to be the case. On top of that, we still have a bad taste in our mouths about the way that the Grammys failed honor Whitney’s memory in the way that she deserved. Thankfully, this year’s VH1 DIVAS program will remedy all that.
We just got wind of a few details about this year’s program, and although details are scant, we wanted to share with you what we’ve heard so far. Namely, that this year’s VH1 Divas — which will air live from Los Angeles in December — will be framed as a salute to the musical legacy of Whitney Houston. Of course, Whitney had appeared on three prior telecasts of VH1 DIVAS, back in 1999, 2002 and 2003 — you can watch her performance of “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay” from the 1999 show below! Additionally, Rickey Minor —who worked with Whitney for a number of years— will be the evening’s musical director. We don’t have any other concrete details to share with you at this moment, but as soon as those deets become available, you can bet you’ll hear them here first!
When you think of Rick Ross — aka The Boss, aka Ricky Rozay — the first thing that comes to mind probably is not fashion. Actually, it’s probably the last thing that comes to mind, placing far behind cars, drugs, guns, women, money, jewelry, you name it. However, when VH1′s own Janell Snowden caught up with the man that MTV recently named the #1 Hottest MC in the Game on the red carpet for the annual Met Costume Gala last night, we were surprised to learn that the man knows his designers.
“Tory Burch is super cool, know what I’m sayin’?” the Bawse explained to our VH1 News team. “Shout-out to Vera Wang. You know, I’m just a fan of the [fashion] culture.” Rozay also confessed that his all-black outfit was designed by “Michael Kors for the big boys,” which is a hilarious name for a new collection. Kors, of course, is well-respected in the hip-hop community, so much so that he got a shout-out from Nicki Minaj in the verse she contributed to Big Sean‘s “Dance (Ass)” remix. As far as the Tory Burch props are concerned, if you’re wondering why a 300+ pound man is interested in a designer whose main output are flats and handbags for women, it’s because she’s reportedly going steady with Warner music bigwig (and former Def Jam exec) Lyor Cohen.
When I first met Ryan O’Neal, who performs under the monniker Sleeping At Last, on the red carpet of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, I quite literally squealed in his face. His song “Turning Page” had landed a spot on the most exclusive soundtrack in town and was featured in the movie’s most crucial scenes. (The wedding and the sex scenes, duh.) “Oh my god, your song is ah-ma-zing.” I gushed, and he offered up a very gracious and humble reply. I spoke the truth; Twitter was filled with fans detailing the many ways in which “Turning Page” moved them to tears.
I sat down with O’Neal last month at my local Coffee Bean in Los Angeles, where we discussed what comes next after Twilight mania, his big break meeting Billy Corgan as a teen, and touring with songbird Christini Perri. He also refused to let me pay for our coffee — because in addition to being a talented musician, the dude’s also a gentleman. Enjoy our interview below (and his latest video for the song “Emphasis” above).
VH1: Let’s start where we left off – at the Breaking Dawn premiere. Did being featured on the soundtrack change the trajectory of your career?
RO: You know it fit really well with what I was doing, so it didn’t really change the direction as much as it changed the audience. That was a really special thing. The Twilight fans are so sweet and so supportive. So, that’s been one of the biggest things. They’ve been so sweet and so nice about some of my other music as well, not just that song, which has been a really great thing. So I have this upcoming tour coming up, and they’ve been really sweet and supportive about that. I do feel like I’m a little bit a part of their Twilight world, which means a lot.
When G-Dep’s “Special Delivery” came on, no matter where you were, getting hype was the only logical thing to do. That was in ’01, and we haven’t heard much from the former Bad Boy Records rapper since. Trevell “G-Dep” Coleman was sentenced to 15 years in prison for a murder he committed 16 or 17 years ago (he couldn’t really recall when). Last year he turned himself in cold turkey saying he had to make it right with God, according to Global Grind. G-Dep told cops he shot a man three times in a robbery when he was 18 or 19. With his confession on the table, the jury convicted him as guilty.
In a strange turn of events, GQ editor Jim Nelson was on the jury that found G-Dep guilty. In his monthly “Letter from the Editor” for the June 2012 issue, Nelson recalls his feelings about being on the jury that sent a once well known rapper to prison. He writes:
Once the D.A. matched him to the crime, we the jurors wrestled with a mess of things, but couldn’t avoid the evidence. I sometimes wondered if I was fit to judge this man who was capable of acts of public violence and personal honor I couldn’t even imagine having to wrestle with. And I’d think: Hasn’t this man suffered enough? He’s done twenty years in his head already. That’s a slower, more infernal form of justice, the interior kind, isn’t it?
And yeah, tell that to the guy he killed.
We found him guilty, because he was, and no one’s excusing anything. (After the trial, he talked to MTV and, sounding like a man unburdened, thanked “everybody that was involved in the case.”) Still, it’s a heavy feeling: I helped put him away, and yet when I think of someone who did his duty, I think of Trevell Coleman.
Wow. Everything about this story is tough no matter how you slice it. We’re not sure it’s appropriate to give G-Dep props for turning himself in since he did murder someone. But the growth apparent by that decision is at least notable. Kudos to Nelson for his transparency. Unfortunately, no one really wins in the end.
[Photo: Getty Images and GQ.com]
Many of our favorite musicians were all about glitz and glam at last night’s annual Met Gala in New York City. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, hosted by Vogue, is a night celebrating the opening of the museum’s fashion exhibit. Celebrity, fashion, couture, oh my! Think of the Oscars mixed with NYC Fashion Week and you have the visual of the red carpet at the Met Gala.
Artists from Beyoncé to Mick Jagger to Lana Del Rey to Kanye West turned heads on the red carpet with their stunning attire. It’s totally cool to see your favorite musicians taking a break from their walk-around-the-streets-of-LA gear and see them dolled up in Valentino and Rachel Zoe and Givenchy. Beyoncé, in particular, was a show stopper for the night in her sheer Givenchy gown. Solange was absolutely stunning in an all yellow Rachel Roy dress. Justin Timberlake kept it classic with an all black tux. Take a peek at some of our favorite musicians that put the “S” in stunning.
[Photos: Getty Images]
Nicki Minaj was serious in her 2010 MTV special “My Time Now” when she said she wanted to be the first female rapper to build an empire. Let’s not forget Queen Latifah already did that, but we marvel in seeing Minaj turning her dream into reality. Her latest endeavor? Glad you asked. This larger than life star landed a global advertising campaign for Pepsi. Scoring big, Minaj isn’t just featured in the commercial — a remixed version of “Moment for Life,” from her debut album Pink Friday , is the spot’s soundtrack.
Everything about the Pepsi promo is fun, light, colorful and conceptual. Various memorable moments are captured and literally frozen in time. Viewer can follow a vibrant couple from the beach to a runway to a concert, and yes, watch them pop open a can of Pepsi at every stop they make. At the end, Minaj is frozen in place sporting her signature long pink wig and in an instant she becomes alive performing for a crowd of thousands, but only for a few seconds (if you happen to have 3-D glasses lying around, you can enjoy this spot in an extra dimension!). Over the course of the last few years, Minaj and all her alter egos accelerated from a mixtape unknown to worldwide rapper. Two chart topping albums, a custom made M.A.C. lipgloss line and a global Pepsi ad later, that mogul thing may not be too far in the wind.
It’s been an incredibly sad 72 hours or so since we learned of the death of The Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, who lost his courageous, three-year battle with cancer at the age of 47. As a means of helping everyone (including ourselves) through the grieving process, we put together this compilation of five moments from MCA’s life that aren’t necessarily the things that you would automatically remember when thinking of him, but moments that are nonetheless essential to capturing who he was as an individual.
1) Before The Beastie Boys Got Famous (1983)
Years before they got signed to Def Jam and became household names with the release of Licensed To Ill, Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Kate Schellenbach (later of Luscious Jackson) were a noisy punk outfit. (That’s MCA slappin’ da bass.)
It has been more than 10 years since No Doubt released Rock Steady, their 2001 album that won them two Grammy awards. In the years since that album’s release, Gwen Stefani released two solo records, but as a unit, the group has undergone a series of struggles. Many have wondered if the group was stuck in a similar mindset as Dr. Dre, another artist who has been artistically crippled by (largely self-imposed) creative expectations. However, over the weekend, the band took to YouTube to announce that their comeback record will be released on September 25th (or September 26th).
Stefani, of course, is one of the most influential female figures to emerge from the world of music in the last twenty years. That said, it remains to be seen whether “the kids” will still care about the band after a decade-plus of virtual inactivity. No Doubt has always been known for being forward-thinking, sonically speaking, when it comes to the production of their tracks, but now that we’re in the era where clubby, Eurodance beats rule the airwaves, will there still be room on the airwaves for the ska-meets-dancehall-meets-pop sound that the band pioneered in the 90s? Guess we’ll have to wait until September 25 (or 26!) to find out*.
Leave it to Kanye West to unexpectedly release a video to “Lost in the World” from his multi-platinum album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which was released in November of 2010. It’s not that we’d forgotten about the album, as it is an undeniable masterpiece. But lately we’ve been preoccupied with his new shocking (not really) relationship with Kim Kardashian, and the G.O.O.D. Music cuts “Mercy,” “I Don’t Like” and “Way Too Cold.” However, we’re totally okay with him revisiting his pre-Watch The Throne project, and on this video, he teamed up with with fashion filmmaker Ruth Hogben to create a black and white aesthetic experience, because calling it a music video would be an understatement.