Ke$ha Gives “Many F***s” About Her New Album

by (@zaragolden)

It’s been two years now that we’ve been brushing our teeth with a bottle of Jack and slathering on glitter each morning, because waking up feeling like Ke$ha sounds at least as much fun as waking up feeling like Diddy. 2010’s platinum Animal LP, and the same year’s Cannibal EP, have so far assured a steady drip of half-rapped and crass to pop radio. As sure as we are that we’ll listen “We R Who We R” until the end days, we are eager also to see what more the shock-pop queen’s got.

There have been whispers about a new album, but save for that snippet Dr. Luke leaked about sexy-time with the supernatural and something about a new genre called c*ck pop is about all she’s afforded the subject. Until now: In an interview in the new issue of Rolling Stone, the wild star talks at length about the project, and promises that, “about 90 percent of the time, I don’t give a f*ck. But I give so many f*cks about this album.”

So there will be no messing with that spirit of hers. Instead, it sounds like she plans to employ her wonderfully unhinged energy for the better. “I said ‘Let’s leave the tricks to a minimum and let me wail,'” she said. “I want it to be a mix of what works on the radio and what I listen to in my spare time,” she added, citing a “steady diet of T. Rex and Iggy Pop.” Fellow weirdo Wayne Coyne might make an appearance, as could The Black Keys‘ drummer Patrick Carney; and according to Rolling Stone‘s report, the 17 songs she’s started work on are “all stomping, ultracatchy dance tracks.” And unlike her records past, things could might deep this time around. “The first two records talked more about partying, which is a great, magical part of life. But some songs on the new record are more personal and vulnerable,” she said. More personal than her illicit morning routine? Until the album’s release, set tentatively for later this year, we can only hope.

Ke$ha Offers New Details On Upcoming Album [Idolator]

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Nas Says ‘Hip-Hop Isn’t Homophobic Anymore,’ Support Of Frank Ocean Shouldn’t Be Surprising

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Nasty Nas has been in the rap game nearly two decades, and with 10 studio albums his longevity is nearly unmatched amongst his hip-hop peers. To say he’s seen it all in the close to 20 years he’s been in the industry is an understatement. On the day of the release of Life Is Good we chatted with Nas about all things hip-hop. As someone who has worked with Frank Ocean on “No Such Thing as White Jesus,” meant for Nas’ current album but the recording session was lost, we asked him his feelings on hip-hop’s embrace of Ocean considering its homophobic past. And as a veteran of this rap thing, Nas wasn’t willing to hop on the “hip-hop is homophobic” ferris wheel. Read more…

What We Want, What We Really, Really Want: Spice Girls To Perform At Olympics Closing Ceremony

by (@zaragolden)

The Spice Girls have been at the center of a lot of rumors lately. In the past few months, we’ve heard word that the Girls will reunite for their musical memoir Viva Forever, if not also for some Olympic fun. Any Spice Girls news is good news, but we’ve been waiting on confirmation to pull out our platforms. Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham addressed some of these rumors yesterday on British radio, where she batted back hopes of a comeback tour before letting slip that the girls are “very excited about the Olympics.” And so are we, especially so knowing that we’ll finally get that Spice Girls reunion we have so long been waiting (and planning our outfits) for!

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the good word on the streets this morning is that all five of the original Spice Girls are “expected to” preform together at the London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony on August 12th. Dusted-off and decked in the Union Jack like Jerri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell always was wont to be, they’ll join the Kingdoms’s finest — Queen, The Who, George Michael, Tinie Tempah, Jessie J and several sheep dogs, to name just a few — for two songs, one of which is likely be “Wannabe,” aka, what we want, what we really, really want! How zig-a-zig-ah would that be?

London 2012: Spice Girls Expected to Perform at Olympics Closing Ceremony [THR]

A Tale Of Two Lovers Committing Suicide Is The Reason For Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness”

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When thinking of summertime the last thing that comes to mind is sadness. But Lana Del Rey‘s got that “Summertime Sadness,” and she makes it sound like something worth aspiring to have. Almost. The beautiful scenery in the opening of “Summertime Sadness” looks like the old photographs you’d click through on a projector. Despite the beauty of nature surrounding her, she throws herself from the cliff, committing suicide. It’s ironic, yet intentional, that the beauty of nature–life–surrounds her as she’s falling from the cliff. Before the suicide there was love. Actress Jaime King, dolled in a red dress, plays LDR’s female lover. Directed by King’s husband, filmmaker Kyle Newman, and Spencer Susser, the video captures the human connection of love. Read more…

Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre Rap Royal On “3 Kings”

by (@zaragolden)

Easily one of the most anticipated tracks off Rick Ross‘s upcoming God Forgives, I Don’t (we’ll have to reuse this line when “Crushed Pineapple” finally leaks), “3 Kings” finds the big Bawse drawing a hand from two of the rap game’s most regal, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre. Rozay has long been teasing this team-up as the “biggest collaboration in hip-hop,” and it’s easy to see why. On the track, each of the three take a turn recounting their rise to glory. For Dre, there were days mopping floors before he made it “front row at the awards.” Ross’ “twenty-stack seats at the Heat game” are a long way from the weed game he used to run. And Jay? He’ll have you know that before he and Oprah were BFFs, he was shopping at T.J. Maxx. The three certainly deserve a beat as soulful and triumphant as the one Jake-One made them, as well as the acclaim their meeting is sure to earn. It does seem fair to ask, though, because they put it out there: are they three really kings?

(And if the embed goes, try Flex.) Read more…

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Jordin Sparks On Whitney Houston Teaching Her Not To Be Ashamed Of Your Past

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Jordin Sparks has come a long way from belting out Celine Dion‘s “Because You Love Me” in her audition for American Idol at 16. At 17, she won that very season. Five years later the big voiced singer has landed the role of a lifetime as Sparkle Williams in the 1976 remake of Sparkle and her duet with Whitney Houston,”Celebrate,” is the lead single from the upcoming film. And in her wildest dreams she never imagined working with the indelible Houston who plays her mother Emma. Although Whitney’s time may have been cut short from us here on earth, we talked to Jordin Sparks about the invaluable lessons she learned from the woman often referred to as The Voice. Read more…

Hip-Hop Accepts Frank Ocean; Now What?

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What does Frank Ocean's acceptance mean for hip-hop?

On America’s Independence Day, Frank Ocean finally got free. He took to his personal Tumblr to clear up the chatter started by an UK journalist’s speculations that songs on his album referenced the pronoun “he” as it relates to love. He wrote a beautiful note, originally intended for the liner notes of his major label debut channel ORANGE, that candidly and masterfully told the story of his first love—a man—who was too afraid to love him back. The shockwaves from this announcement were immediate; thankfully, instead of enduring a tidal wave of negativity, an outpouring of support flooded onto social networks from fans and celebrities (such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, 50 Cent and Rita Ora) alike. His courageous admission was the first time a young, black male R&B singer had openly admitted to loving someone of the same sex.

Given the troubled history that hip-hop, and the community that creates it, has had with homophobia, many are asking whether or not Frank’s revelation points to the genre’s growing acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and, ultimately, individuality.

Well, in the decades before Frank Ocean became a rising star, hip-hop prided itself on hyper-masculinity, and proving one’s manhood, which unfortunately meant disassociating yourself from anything that could be perceived as “gay.” To wit, calling a rapper “gay” was the worst insult you could hurl their way. Even as the culture-at-large became more PC, this stance did not change much in the hip-hop community; petty catchphrases like “no homo” are still used to this day as to tell the world “Hey, I’m not gay. And saying no homo puts me in the clear.” Literally countless rappers have used offensive homophobic slurs in their lyrics, hence the attention being paid to Frank Ocean’s confession.

No one could’ve predicted the massive support Frank Ocean ended up receiving from the hip-hop community. As an R&B artist (not hip-hop artist as he is oftentimes conveniently labeled), his transparency had the potential to end his budding career. Ten years ago, it almost certainly would have. Luckily for Frank, people and the genre are headed in the direction of progression. But I wouldn’t jump the gun to proclaim it’s a new day that left behind the rotten stench of homophobia in rap.

Accepting Frank is one thing. It’s quite another to talk about how homosexuality is/was/will be addressed by rappers in the future. Supporting the channel ORANGE singer does not mean that the F word —the six letter one, not the four— will not be used in rap records. It also doesn’t mean that mindsets have completely changed. If artists publicly root for Frank, but covertly wouldn’t have a close gay friend because of fear of turning gay (as if there’s a such thing), or still say no homo, or still rap lyrics laced with derogatory remarks about gay people, then is the acceptance really a facade?

Hip-hop as a genre has changed; hip-hop as a culture has changed too. In an interview with MTV.com, Juicy magazine Editor-in-Chief Paula T. Renfroe said, “Hip-hop also has grown, society as a whole has grown and that’s the beauty of hip-hop, it reflects our culture and our society.” The fact that there is room for a male singer to sing about loving another man without backlash is an example of a huge stride both genres—R&B and hip-hop—have made.

Maybe Ocean’s bravery is huge step toward the right direction, or perhaps behind closed doors (which is likely) the hip-hop community’s feelings toward the LGBTQ community doesn’t mirror the hurtful ugly slurs. Whether hip-hop is forever changed by such a historic moment is unknown. But it is worth the question: Where do we go from here?

Tuned In: Hot Chip Won’t “Don’t Deny Your Heart” On Fallon

by (@zaragolden)

London’s Hot Chip dropped in on Jimmy Fallon last night to dispense a hit of synth and a dance break to late night watchers. Recently drawn forth once more for the release of In Our Heads, the deep thinking dance fiends performed “Don’t Deny Your Heart” with house band the Roots and a mess of instruments and equipment. Alexis Taylor led the unapologetic 80’s jam, pleading that you “don’t deny your heart, don’t destroy your heart (say yes).” Hot Chip have made a name for themselves by using the dance floor’s dark corners to explore those in their mind. You know, like this. But here they beg otherwise, suggesting that “You’ll see, we take fun seriously.” And — with jingling synth, disco keys, and a Questlove led drum break — that they do.

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Florence Welch Returns From Vocal Injury on Good Morning America

by (@zaragolden)

Florence and the Machine‘s Florence Welch had us worried when she, complaining of vocal injury, cancelled a handful of scheduled appearances. Artists like Adele and John Mayer past have sidelined for far too long by similar injuries, and we didn’t want to see our dear VH1 Diva Flo suffer the same fate. So she skipped the Benicassim Festival in Spain and the Optimus Festival in Portugal and rested her voice. And then this morning, just a week later, she showed up on the Good Morning America and out of her mouth came a voice as beautiful and earth shaking as ever. We are not worried anymore.

“It’s almost like being an athlete, you strain a muscle and I just couldn’t really speak,” she explained after she wowed the crowed with harp-and-all performances of “Spectrum” and “Shake It Off.”  “It seems to still work,” she laughed. And good thing, Florence and the Machines kick off their North American tour this weekend in British Columbia.

Florence Welch Talks Vocal Injury, Performs on ‘Good Morning America’ [RS]

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Two Door Cinema Club Have The Twitterverse Buzzing With Their New Single, “Sleep Alone”

by (@zaragolden)

Two Door Cinema Club have the internet buzzing this afternoon. The Irish trio debuted “Sleep Alone,” the first single from their forthcoming sophomore album Beacon, and now both “Sleep Alone” and “Two Door Cinema Club” are trending on Twitter as evidence of a world as excited about these You Oughta Know alums as we are! Back again are the jangly guitars and danceable beats that remind us almost of New Wave, if only Ian Curtis could have had access to a MacBook, and we are so glad. Have a listen below, or download it for free off of their website.

VH1 News caught up with the guys last month in L.A., where they were still hard at work on their new album — and on a new diet. “We spend the first hour or so just drinking coffee and watching YouTube or something, and then we’ll just take it as it comes and work until 11 in the evening and then go home and do it all over again,” they said of their process. And in the off hours that they weren’t in the studio? They were out enjoying Southern California’s hills, sunshine and preferred roughage. “The most L.A. thing we’ve been doing is just eating really healthily,” guitarist Sam Halliday admitted. “I’d never heard of kale before.”

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