Here are my five all-time favorite rock/rap pairings:
5. “Airplanes,” B.o.B & Hayley Williams of Paramore
This song helped spread Hayley Williams’ wings — at least for me — as more than a front-person in an emo band. Her vocals on the chorus blend superbly with B.o.B’s rhyme flow. This track, about the downsides of fame, was inescapable during the summer of 2010.
4. “Clint Eastwood,” Gorillaz & Del tha Funkee Homosapien
Though we were lead to believe an animated band played this gem in the early ‘00s, it was a genius collaboration between real human beings: Blur’s Damon Albarn, producer Dan The Automator and rapper Del tha Funkee Homosapien. It wasn’t hard for the public to latch on to this one; it clicked on so many levels.
Want to see one rock legend cover the song of another rock legend? Well here you go: Elvis Costello covering Bruce Springsteen‘s “Fire” on Jimmy Fallon’s Springsteen Week (which kicked off on Monday with The Boss & E Street Band playing “We Take Care Of Our Own”). Try not to let your head explode, because that would suck for you and also, gross. But this really is a treat to behold — Costello’s husky vocals fit Springsteen’s lyrics perfectly, and with The Roots providing funky, summery beats, the song transcends either artist, and just becomes something of an icon in itself. Costello’s rendition might not have the raw, gritty sex appeal of Springsteen’s, but it has all the romance and desire, and we’d be happy to just sit here all day and alternate between the two, thank you very much.
Best Coast Launch A Line Of Clothing With Urban Outfitters Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino is collaborating with Urban Outfitters in her first foray into fashion. We’re guessing that the line is going to mimic her indie-cool vintage style, with flirty florals and lots of cute dresses. [Pitchfork]
Listen To Kurt Cobain’s Isolated “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Vocal
This is absolutely haunting to say the least. Kurt Cobain‘s stunning isolated vocal from Nirvana‘s iconic “Sounds Like Teen Spirit” will send chills up and down your spine. [SPIN]
Green Day have sung about a lot of things in their time, from the 90s anxieties expressed in Dookie (apathy, ex-lovers and masturbation, which seemed to be running themes in post-punk at the time), Nimrod‘s self-aware nihilism, and American Idiot‘s culturally and politically poignant post 9/11 statement. Now, Green Day are going where they’ve never gone before — they’re going to sing about sex, or as it’s put so articulately in the above NSFW trailer for their new album (above), “f**king”. Billie Joe Armstrong says in the album teaser trailer that this is, “The first time we ever really sung about f**king”. We’re pleased to see the boys taking a less serious turn and perhaps revisiting their early days as mid-level anarchists, and are slightly enamored by the whimsy of the Peter Pan & Lost Boys theme that seems to be happening with their ninth studio album. As grown men, the band still have that cheeky edge that made them a favorite of confused teens in the 90s, and the teaser for their new album captures that spirit as they hang out and joke around while recording. We’re now filled with Green Day nostalgia, and adding “When I Come Around” to our current playlists.
The track will be the first Cash Money release by Limp Bizkit, and the label’s founder, Birdman, says “It’ll be a great way to let the world know that [the band] is a part of us… It’s rock, but it’s hip-hop-rock. I think we got that hip-hop-rock swagger.” Of the controversial signing, Birdman went on to say, “Limp Bizkit, to me, is just a perfect match for us… It was something that [Durst] was interested in doing, and I was already a fan, and I was like, ‘Let’s do it.’ It’s good for the brand, it will bring a different look for us, and we’re definitely trying to expand on that side of music.” Luckily, we won’t have to wait long to see if this really is a match made in heaven!
The late rapper Tupac Shakur will be memorialized in a musical (cue indignation from conspiracy theorists who think Tupac is alive and well living it up with Elvis Presley in Egypt), called Holler If Ya Hear Me. The musical has been approved by Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, and will be directed by Kenny Leon (who is responsible for the Martin Luther King Jr. inspired play The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett), and is described as an, “American musical inspired by and featuring the music of Tupac Shakur.” Leon says of the musical, “A long time ago, maybe eight or nine years ago, I’ve been talking about that with Tupac’s mother, Afeni, and so we’ve become fans of each other and she sort of entrusted me with her son’s music… The idea was always to make a musical inspired by his music and not to do an autobiographical approach to his life or anything like that. And because I always thought that Tupac was a prophet and I thought if everybody could hear his words and hear his stories, they would see what I see.”
The musical is casting this week in New York City, and we’re interested to see what kind of story it tells, if not a biographical one. Firstly, the casting call is open to those without theater experience, which means that just about anyone could take on the role of Tupac, giving a wide birth for authenticity in the role. And with Tupac’s music being attributed with not only courting controversy in dealing with broad social and cultural issues, but actually provoking listeners to action, surely this is set to be a very moving spectacle. Finally, given Leon’s close and respectful relationship with Afeni, we imagine there will be an element of tenderness and extreme reverence in the production.
Already announcing that she’s working on two new albums for 2013, there’s no stopping Beyoncé, even after the recent birth of her first baby, Blue Ivy Carter. She really is the woman who can do it all, and we’re starting to wonder if she doesn’t have a secret twin, or if maybe she’s a robot, or some kind of lovely alien from a planet where everyone has eternal stamina. Arousing our suspicions about the lovely alien theory even further, now Mamma B has signed on for a new musical comedy called One Hit Wonders, that will be directed by Glee creator Ryan Murphy. The film will tell the story of several “one hit wonders” who all had but one hit song in the 90s, and the cast is reported to include Cameron Diaz, Reese Witherspoon, Andy Samberg and Gwyneth Paltrow (who will also act as a producer). While Bey’s role in the film is unclear, we’re looking forward to her return to the big screen, and hope that it involves some awesome costumes and plenty of booty shaking.
Earlier this week, Frank Oceanposted to his Tumblr that Don Henley was threatening to sue him if he played “American Wedding” (a track from Ocean’s mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra that heavily samples The Eagles‘ “Hotel California”) ever again, but today modified the post to confirm that it’s Henley’s label, Warner Music, and not Henley himself that is threatening legal action. Ocean updated his Tumblr to say, “Don Henley(’s label — Rhino) is apparently intimidated by my rendition of Hotel California… He (They) threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s f**kin awesome. I guess if I play it at Coachella it’ll cost me a couple hundred racks. If I don’t show up to court, it’ll be a judgement against me & will probably show up on my credit report. Oh well. I try to buy my sh*t cash anyway. They also asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible. Sh*t’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as f**k? Why sue the new guy? I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything I’m paying homage.”
Apparently, however, Warner Music doesn’t see it the same way, with Larry Solters, a representative for the Eagles, telling SPIN, “Frank Ocean did not merely ‘sample’ a portion of the Eagles’ Hotel California; he took the whole master track, plus the song’s existing melody, and replaced the lyrics with his own. This is not creative, let alone ‘intimidating.’ It’s illegal. For the record, Don Henley has not threatened or instituted any legal action against Frank Ocean, although the Eagles are now considering whether they should. Any further questions regarding this matter should be directed to Warner Music Group as it is the entity that currently owns the master recording and made the contact with Frank Ocean’s representatives concerning his infringement of the master recording.”
While Ocean hasn’t actually made any money from sales of “American Wedding” (Nostalgia, Ultra was released as a free mix tape) it seems that Warner Music is ready to contest the use of “Hotel California” regardless. So Ocean’s not going to be forced to cough up any royalties for sales because there are none, although we question whether he’s liable to pay for performances of the song, given that he’s been paid for touring. Or worse yet — could Ocean be forced to delete “American Wedding” from his repertoire all together? Given that Nostalgia, Ultra was released over a year ago on Feburary 18th, 2011, it seems like Warner Music might have been a bit slow on the uptake — although given Ocean’s ever-growing profile and forthcoming official debut album, it seems like a pertinent time to curb the use of “Hotel California” especially with Ocean set to hit the tour circuit again, including his Coachella performance and mysterious Kanye West and Tyler The Creator collaboration.
At last night’s NME Awards, Kasabian won the Best British Band Award, and used their moment to pay tribute to the late Davy Jones of The Monkees. Front man Tom Meighan declared, “This award is for Davy Jones of the Monkees” before bursting into song. Singing an a capella version of The Monkees’ Theme, it wasn’t long before the rest of the band joined in, clapping along to the beat and inciting the audience to sing along. It was a touching moment, but also a joyful one, as the cheekiness and energy of the tribute bought the room together in a very appropriate ode to The Monkees.
Rita Ora Cover’s Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”
What do you get when the hottest young act of the moment covers the other hottest young act of the moment? Pure wonderfulness, we think — have a listen to Rita Ora‘s cover of Gotye‘s “Somebody That I Used To Know” below, and tell us if you don’t agree. [YouTube]
Patrick Stump Laments The Failure Of His Solo Album Fall Out Boy‘s Patrick Stump has a reflective moment, posting on his blog about his feelings about the failure of his solo album. He says, amongst other things, “What I wasn’t prepared for was the fervor of the hate from people who were ostensibly my own supporters (or at least supporters of something I had been part of). The barrage of “We liked you better fat,” the threatening letters to my home, the kids that paid for tickets to my solo shows to tell me how much I sucked without Fall Out Boy, that wasn’t something I suppose I was or ever will be ready for.” [Patrick Stump]