Music Video Premiere: Foster The People, “Houdini”

by (@unclegrambo)

Foster The People‘s debut album, Torches, was released on May 23 last year. In that time, the album has spawned one certifiable smash (“Pumped Up Kicks”, which Best Pop/Vocal Duo Performance Grammy this past year) and three other singles that all performed well on the charts, particularly “Don’t Stop (Color On The Walls)” (which has been hanging around the upper reaches of our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown since its release in December). Aside from all of the accolades and the sold-out shows, the band found themselves as an answer on a recent episode of Jeopardy, so what more could they ask for?

Well, from the looks of their new video for “Houdini” —the fifth single off Torches— it seems like what the band is in need most of is a break. The video begins with Mark Foster and his People shooting a music video on a soundstage (meta, right?). Well, the party comes to a crashing halt, quite literally, when a beam comes hurtling down from the rafters and crushes the band to a pulp. Well, we all know the first rule of showbiz is that “The show must go on”; in this case, that truism applies even when the band is, well, dead. A mysterious group of Japanese businessmen —it’s important to note that the band is on Columbia Records, a subdivision of Sony— arrive on the scene, and utilize a combination of CGI, robotics and human puppeteers to film a video and put on a concert with the now deceased members of Foster The People, Weekend At Bernie’s style, with the audience presumably being none the wiser. It’s certainly a bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you kind of statement from the former You Oughta Know group, but one that’s also playful and well-directed. Hopefully, after being worked to the bone for the last year and change, the guys will get to get some time to take a much-deserved vacay this summer.

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Bracket Madness: Are You Riding for the Ladies Man LL Cool J or Heavyweight Champ Rakim?

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Is it really fair to put anyone against Rakim? If there is one consistent name that appears on lists of greatest MCs of all time, hands down, it’s Rakim. We think his contender LL Cool J is up for the challenge. LL may be acting more than rapping these days, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have bars. I shudder just thinking of “Second Round KO” directed at Canibus or “To Da Break of Dawn” aiming shots at Kool Moe Dee, Ice-T and MC Hammer. He’s sold 7.5 million albums with five top 40 hits on the Billboard charts. He’s known for popular tracks like “I Need Love” that show a glimpse of his softer side, and “Mama Said Knock You Out” that solidifies his toughness. Do not get it twisted. LL will wax you on wax. Get it?

Rakim is a legendary emcee. Lyrically, he’s so amazing you don’t feel comfortable calling him a rapper — only emcee will suffice. Not only was his debut album with friend Eric B deemed a classic, Paid in Full was considered the greatest hip-hop album of all time by MTV. There’s no sense in even naming the rappers he’s influenced because it’s pretty much everyone worth their rap credentials. Steve Huey of Allmusic.com said, “Rakim is near-universally acknowledged as one of the greatest MCs —perhaps the greatest— of all-time within the hip-hop community.” That said, whereas LL became a household name, Rakim never reached massive mainstream success. With Eric B., he released four albums, only completing three solo projects. He took a 10 year hiatus between his second (The Master) and third (The Seventh Seal) album. He only sold two million records in his over 20 year career. But what Rakim lacked in commercial success he makes up in talent.

This one’s going to be juicy. Vote to advance your favorite Yo! MTV Raps era emcee to the next round. Voting closes on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET. Read more…

Watch This Sneak Peek Of Behind The Music: Brandy

by (@unclegrambo)

This week on Behind the Music, we put the spotlight on the life and times of R&B superstar Brandy. In this special sneak peek of the show’s entire first act, we first meet Brandy while she’s on the set of “It All Belongs To Me,” her most recent collaboration with Monica. The video was shot just days after Brandy’s role model and close confidant, Whitney Houston, passed away, and the emotional turbulence that she was going through at the time is evident on her face. It’s a powerful moment, just one of many in this week’s episode.

Watch this week’s episode of Behind The Music on VH1 tomorrow night, Wednesday 4/25, at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT.

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Bracket Madness: Why It’s So Hard To Choose Between MC Lyte And Queen Latifah

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It’s always bitter sweet to see the ladies pegged against one another since so few female emcees break through the glass ceiling of hip-hop. Queen Latifah and MC Lyte proved that women had something to say, something worth listening to, and ultimately demanded the same respect as their male counterparts. That’s why precisely why they’ve been chosen for their fans to vote for the Greatest MC of the Yo! MTV Raps Era.

MC Lyte’s critically acclaimed first album, Lyte as a Rock, debuted in 1988, while Latifah’s All Hail the Queen was released a year later. “Ladies First” was one of the most popular songs from Latifah’s first project, and still gets crowds bumpin’ when it comes on in the clubs today. MC Lyte’s breakout singles include “I Cram to Understand U (Sam)” and “Paper Thin;” the latter topped the Billboard Rap charts at #1. Lyte made a name for herself with her uncensored lyrics, and we loved every minute of it. Both women continued to make records throughout the 90s, but by the mid 90s, Lil Kim and Foxy Brown had changed what it meant to be a female rapper with their explicit lyrics and barely there outfits.

You can’t mention female emcees without noting the contributions of both Latifah and Lyte. That said, whether it was the woman empowerment vibe Queen brought, or MC Lyte’s unapologetic no nonsense hardcore lyrics, you can only pick one. Vote for the femcee you want to advance to round two. Voting closes Wednesday, April 25 at 4 p.m. ET/PT!

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Bracket Madness: Three Reasons To Vote For Either Chuck D Or KRS-One

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Are you excited yet about Round One of Bracket Madness featuring your favorite emcees of the Yo! MTV Raps era? In this corner, we have the pioneers of this rap thing: Chuck D vs. KRS-One. With their well respected contributions to hip-hop its kind of hard to choose between the two. Both bred in the ghettos of New York in the 60s and 70s, their lyrics reflected the awareness of the world they saw around them. But one would be highly mistaken if they attributed the consciousness in their rhymes for weakness. Each one of their flows are undeniably raw. So who do you vote for? Here’s three reasons to vote for either one.

CHUCK D
1. Two words: Public Enemy.
Dude was a member of Public Enemy. Need we say more? A rap group like that doesn’t come around twice in a lifetime. “Public Enemy #1″ was a classic track from their debut album Yo! Bum Rush the Show in 1987. From 1988-1991, the dynamic group released three platinum albums. The same group gifted the world with “Fight the Power.” This song is better than some cats’ entire catalog. I’m just sayin’. Public Enemy went on to sell four million albums throughout their career. Plus, anyone that could put up with the clock rocking Flavor Flav, has to be one hell of a guy.

2. Distinctive sound.
No one in hip-hop has a voice like Chuck. It’s so distinctive it couldn’t even be duplicated.  He raps, you listen. From the flow to the tone to the speed, Chuck D has a full command of his sound.

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Was Seal, Um, “Clubbing” Himself On Australia’s The Voice?

by (@unclegrambo)

It’s been an especially dirty day here on VH1 Tuner and for that we apologize. First, we had Brian McKnight singing about his desire to show women how their holiest of holies work (!!!), and now comes this little piece of potential nastiness.

So, while Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton are moonlighting as judges on the U.S. version of The Voice, it seems as if Seal is doing the same thing for the Australian Voice. During a recent episode of the show, Seal was caught on camera REALLY enjoying a female contestant performing of Adele‘s “Don’t You Remember?” Talk about a future love paradise! Now, we have no idea if Seal was actually clubbing his seal —if you get our meaning— but watch the video above and tell us what you think he’s doing.

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Critics Won’t Stop Brian McKnight From Showing You How Your Vagina Works

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It’s great that Brian McKnight wants to share his new creative ideas for his upcoming “adult mixtape,” an idea that surfaced after chatting with his fans on Twitter. But we were not expecting the R&B veteran known for hits like “Anytime” and “Back at One” to, err, sing about showing a woman what to do with her vajayjay. (Hey, we’re giving you the PG-13 version.)

In case you’re wondering, this video is not safe for work (NSFW). What starts off with McKnight sitting at the piano in his studio expressing his desire to tackle certain sexual topics ends with a shocking snippet of a new song. “If You’re Ready to Learn,” jumps right into it with some rather vulgar lyrics. “Let me show you how your p**** works. Since you didn’t bring it to me first. I have lots of things to show you if you’re ready to learn.” No, god no. Don’t ruin McKnight for me…for forever.

Apparently there has been a lot of public opinion (read: criticism) about what he’s now calling a parody video. Over on the TheYBF.com, they’re reporting McKnight got wind of the chatter and took to Twitter to say this:

I was just having some fun and look what happened…it’s for all those women who keep getting disappointed by their partners period it was a parody about that

It’s funny how we listen and let our kids listen to songs about killing people and selling drugs and calling women bitches…I wrote this song crude as it may be about satisfying all women and look what happened…I’m not being defensive it’s just sad to think that one parody could wipe out 25 years of work

He has a point. Lighten up, people. Geeez. Of course it was a little weird to hear the 42-year-old musician I grew up listening to sing about women’s private parts. But it’s funny! In the office its been said,”this is going to become a karaoke anthem.” Bring on the “Let me show you how your…” karaoke nights. We’re so ready. Read more…

Gotye Draws The Wrath Of Glee Fanatics, Backs Off His “Dinky” Diss

by (@unclegrambo)

Hell hath no fury like a Gleek scorned! After Australian artist Gotye, whose song “Somebody That I Used To Know” is currently sitting atop the Billboard Hot 100, told the Australian Sunday Mail newspaper that the Glee cover of his song was “dinky” and “ultra-dry”, he encountered a swift backlash from enraged musical theater enthusiasts. For a show that talks so much about the evils of bullying, Glee fans can turn quite nasty themselves. Here are just two of the hundreds examples we saw on Twitter:

After realizing that he had put his foot in his mouth and angered one of the few groups of people who still buy music, Gotye retracted his diss at an concert in Los Angeles last night. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Gotye told the audience during the show that “the nature of using reverb and space in a recording can change your perception of how a sound appeals to you … I thought it was really clever to transpose the song to two guys … It was a great idea.” While it’s always essential to maintain one’s integrity, in a case like this, there’s more to be won from a strategic backpedal than there is to be lost. Gotye may have lost the fight, but his decision to play nice in the sandbox with Gleeks shows that he’s got every intention of winning the war.

Gotye Clarifies ‘Glee’ Comment; Calls Darren Criss-Matt Bomer Cover ‘Clever’ [THR]

[Photo: Colin Gray/VH1, Fox]

Azealia Banks Goes In On T.I., Calls Him A “Clown” And “Snitch”

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The saga continues like a played out soap opera between Azealia Banks and T.I. In the latest episode of Azealia/Azalea gate, Bossip reports that T.I. stopped by Chicago’s Morning Riot to promote his new album Trouble Man, and once again he commented on the “beef” between his artist Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks. In a non-politically correct move T.I. added his two cents. When asked about the girl drama T.I. responded with a rather interesting response:

“Now you see the thing is about that. Guess what. I didn’t even know nothing about it to just now. I ain’t even see it. Now I know they going through they thang. But the fact that she’s speaking upon me and mine. And I never, I ain’t even see it. That is what I consider and excuse my language, but that’s bitch sh*t. I’m a man. You ain’t got no business addressing me. You got a man, get him to address me and he and I can speak on it. But you and me – naw, keep dealing with that woman. Y’all handle that. Me and you we ain’t got nowhere to go with that. I do what men do.

Everyone needs to just breathe. Remember: “No comment” is a sufficient answer. Use it; it is your friend. Not one to stand by idly while being talked about, Banks took to Twitter and replied to T.I. directly. And she did not bite her tongue, calling T.I. both a clown and a snitch.

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Rita Ora Gives Us The Skinny On Her Summer Jam, “How We Do,” And Drunk Sex Feelings

by (@unclegrambo)

We’re not sure exactly where you live, but here in New York City, there’s a palpable feeling of excitement coursing through the streets. After dealing with (an admittedly mild) winter for the last few months, the sun has begun to creep out, resulting in people shedding their winter coats and gearing up for warm weather. With the summer months rapidly approaching, the jockeying for this year’s Song Of The Summer has already begun. British singer Rita Ora is one of the first artists out of the gate to stake a claim in the race with her infectious hit, “How We Do (Party),” a song that is built off the Notorious B.I.G.‘s high-life anthem “Party And Bullsh*t.” (We’ve got the official video for “How We Do” below.)

“To me, ‘party’ and ‘bullsh*t’ summed up a party,” Rita told us when she swung by our VH1 headquarters a few weeks ago. “So we took the quote and turned it into a summer jam.”

The song, which made a huge splash when Jay-Z and Rita showed up to debut in on Z100 back in February, is already stirring up a significant amount of heat, particularly it’s refrain of “Cause when the sun sets baby, on the avenue/I get that drunk sex feeling, yeah when I’m with you.” The hashtag #drunksexfeeling has been popping up on Twitter repeatedly, so we asked the Roc Nation artist if she was ever concerned with that phrase becoming a lightning rod for controversy.

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