Rebecca Black Is Not Content To Be William Hung

by (@kat_george)

Internet meme Rebecca Black has just released a video for her third single, “Person Of Interest,” and we’re scratching our heads about what this all means. After her first single, “Friday,” literally devoured the Internet back in February and racked up 167 million views, Black found a strange sort of fame as a viral sensation. In short, Black didn’t necessarily become famous because people liked her music (although we’re sure there were some who did), but because people were intrigued by her.

In July, Black released her second single, “My Moment,” which was no “Friday,” but not exactly a sophomore slump, either. It has been viewed almost 30 million views, which is less than 20% of her “Friday” total, but still, that’s 30 MILLION VIEWS. But now that’s she’s released her 3rd single under her own label, RB Records, we’re curious to see if the Law Of Diminishing Viral Returns will hold true, or if Rebecca Black can figure out a way to truly succeed.

The main issue at hand seems to be this: Rebecca Black is not content to be William Hung. Instead of embracing (or completely retreating) from her viral infamy, Rebecca instead decided to pursue the path of becoming a “serious” artist. No, not “serious” like a Thom Yorke or PJ Harvey, but “serious” in the way that pop stars like Katy Perry are serious about their brand and the artistic choices they make. To that end, both the video and the song “Person Of Interest” are intentionally inoffensive and innocently youthful, complete with Black’s flair for overly-obvious lyrics and matching visuals. The song seems designed to appeal strictly to tweenagers, and it very well may end up doing so. It most certainly does not, though, hold any sort of appeal for the cooler-than-thou hipster quotient who embraced the over-the-top ridiculousness of “Friday” and helped propel her into the spotlight in the first place. Who knows if this gambit will end up paying off, but at this point, it seems pretty clear to us that Rebecca Black is savvy enough to recognize that in order for her to build an audience, she first has to destroy the one she already has.

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This Ain’t Backpack Rap: The Emergence of Backpack Rappers in Mainstream Hip-Hop

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Kanye West claims to be the first rapper with a Benz and a backpack, but these days it looks like several backpack rappers are carrying around more than just a pad and a pen. In the past year, there’s been a wave of underground MCs surfacing their way to the mainstream top and collecting checks on their way up. These youthful spitters are penning a modern hook to the already played backpack rap era of the 80s and 90s. With the recent success of backpack rap from such conscious rappers as Kanye, Lupe Fiasco, and Kid Cudi, the new school of backpackers is painting a different, more open road in the hip-hop lane.

So, what exactly is “backpack rap”? It’s a sub-genre of hip hop that’s traditionally known for being void of the glitz and glam that comes with being a rapper, or as rapper Drake put it, “the money, cars, clothes, and hoes.” In other words, it is less concerned with “making it” and instead focuses more on issues surrounding social awareness. However, backpack rap today has taken on a new look. The hip-hop underground scene that’s getting play includes the alternative and indie side of hip-hop, rather than the political, intellectual stereotype of the genre. It’s the youthful sound and mix of genres that takes these MCs from backpackers to Benz owners, not to mention the sound that’s sitting atop this week’s Billboard charts (more on that in a bit).

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The VH1 Tuner Podcast Debuts With Special Guest Kelly Clarkson

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If VH1 were to have its own zodiac, it would be the year of Kelly Clarkson. Tomorrow (November 17), we’re premiering VH1 Unplugged: Kelly Clarkson on VH1.com at 7 p.m. ET. In December, Kelly returns to VH1 for a performance on VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul. And today, we’re happy to present our first-ever weekly VH1 Tuner Podcast, hosted by Jim Shearer of VH1 Top 20 Countdown fame, with an all-Kelly Clarkson edition. In this episode, Jim chats with Kelly about Stronger, her relationship status, wanting to collaborate with Adele, her video for “Mr. Know It All,” and how she feels about being our very first podcast guest. Enjoy the audio now and look for us soon in iTunes.

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Beef Alert! Ludacris Disses Drake On His New Track “Bada Boom”

by (@kat_george)

We love a good hunk of beef, and it seems like veteran rapper Ludacris has slapped new-kid-on-the-block Drake in the face with a big, fat, juicy steak’s worth. On his new track, “Bada Boom”, Ludacris not only samples The Fifth Element with Leeloo’s iconic line, “big bada boom,” he throws down against Drake — lyrically, of course.

The beef began after AllHipHop interviewed Drake and asked, “How much do Young Money artists bounce off each other? I noticed you have similar inflections and cadences or rhyme patterns.” Drake attributed the style to Big Sean and tacked on some cryptic, but not so cryptic so as not to ruffle any feathers, editorial, “I don’t want to offend somebody. I hate that rappers picked that flow up. I wish they had left that for people that know how to use it. [They go like] It’s a parade! MACYS!”?

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“Who Are Foster The People, Alex?” These Jeopardy Contestants Are Drawing A Blank

by (@kat_george)

These Jeopardy contestants have got some catching up to do. When presented with the question “Got that song ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ stuck in your head? Blame this trio led by Mark Foster,” all three contestants were hilariously silent. One of the catchiest songs of 2011, Foster The People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks” has been unavoidable; it was played everywhere, all the time, and as a result, has been stuck in our heads since the spring. We’re finding it hard to believe that these contestants completely missed the boat on one of the most fun, danceable songs of the year. Memo to Jeopardy contesants: add our You Oughta Know section to your bookmarks, stat!

Foster The People Confuse Jeopardy Contestants [Stereogum]

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Learn To Love Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side” As She Performs On VH1 Unplugged

by (@kat_george)

Everyone’s got a dark side, even Kelly Clarkson, and she’s asking if you can love hers. So, can you? We know we can, especially after watching this exclusive sneak peek video of Kelly singing “Dark Side” on VH1 Unplugged, which will debut on VH1.com tomorrow night (Thursday, November 17) at 7 p.m., followed by the on-air premiere at 11 p.m. on Friday. In fact, this is what we love best about Kelly — that she’s just a regular girl. Acknowledging the pitfalls of her personality, Kelly invites us all to be imperfect without letting us (or herself) be any less perfectly loveable.

Along with Kelly’s moving performance of “Dark Side,” Unplugged will feature Kelly’s cover of fellow Idol Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t” and yes, that gorgeous red dress Kelly wore on the day. If all this is starting to make you impatient, you can watch more sneak previews of Kelly talking about her ominous dreams and forgetting lyrics, as well as gushing over Mumford & Sons and Adele.

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Michael Buble Is Singing In The Snow In His New Video For “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”

by (@kat_george)

Did you ever think a Christmas classic like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” could be so sexy? We definitely didn’t; then Michael Bublé came along and made us rethink the whole entire thing. The video for the first single off his new album Christmas finds our hero singing and dancing down a snow covered street, bouncing up and down stoops in front of wreathed doorways and smiling at the present-laden folks passing him in the street. In short, Bublé is divine. In a sharp suit, he jumps about, twisting and shaking in the stylish way that only Bublé knows how, playfully throwing up snow and making us swoon at our desks. We can’t wait for Christmas now, and are going to be good girls and boys right up to the day with the hopes that Santa might pop a little Bublé into our stockings.

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Tuned In: The Foo Fighters And Joan Jett Don’t Give A Damn About Their Reputation On Letterman

by (@kat_george)

Last night, the Foo Fighters took to the stage on Letterman with special guest Joan Jett for a rendition of her classic “Bad Reputation.” The energetic performance sounded like a return to the early days of the Foo Fighters (even though they were performing a cover), with rough, garage sounds and Dave Grohl‘s frantic, rebellious head banging. The presence of Jett spoke for itself — the rock veteran completely stole the show with her gravelly vocals, rock style and oozing attitude. It was a pretty epic moment, and now we’re wondering if maybe jealousy had something to do with Courtney Love’s public outburst against Grohl over the weekend…

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Rebecca Black Has A New Song, “Person Of Interest” (Yes, This Is Completely For Realsies)

by (@kat_george)

What’s an Internet meme to do when her “Moment” seems like it might be over? Release a new song, of course! Viral sensation Rebecca Black sure doesn’t quit — just when you think the teenager is about to disappear into obscurity, BOOM! she comes back with yet another song. Maybe appearing in Katy Perry’s video for “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” bolstered her resolve, maybe she has an over zealous stage-parent team, maybe despite her small years she’s already ravenous for money or maybe, just maybe, we’re tired old cynics and the girl is just doing what she does because she loves it, she can, and why the hell not?

The new track, “Person Of Interest,” is sort of upbeat, but not particularly inspiring. Firstly, Rebecca Black is fairly flat (come on vibrant, perky teenager, we know you’re hidden in there somewhere!) and secondly, whoever is writing her music isn’t really helping her bring the attitude. With lyrics like, “There’s a chalk line on the dance floor in the shape of my heart / Crime scene tape on the front door,” Rebecca Black is probably as confused as us. The lyrics suggest a distinctly stalker vibe and there’s not much that’s particularly sexy or celebratory about crime. But maybe that’s just Rebecca “thing” now — weird lyrics. Listen to the new track below and tell us what you think!

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Amy Winehouse’s Posthumous Album Is Set To Be A Brilliant, Emotional Affair

by (@kat_george)

With the release date of Amy Winehouse’s first posthumous album, Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures creeping up, emotions are raw. The release, due but 4 months after the singer’s untimely death, is revealing itself to be part of a very important healing process for Amy’s friends and family.

A far cry from a cash-grab, the album is reportedly an incredibly emotional, not to mention immpecably produced, project; not just for those surriving her, but for Amy herself, as friend and collaborator Salaam Remi recounts to Rolling Stone how the troubled performer broke down during their recording sessions. “Playing guitar and singing into a small hand-held mic, Winehouse unleashed a devastating version of “A Song for You,” Leon Russell’s pained ballad about an entertainer’s regrets. As she sang, Winehouse began to cry. “It’s as if she was literally singing about herself,” Remi recalls. “She was really putting herself into it.””

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