If rocking out to everything from hip-hop to rock to dance to indie music is your forte, Governors Ball this weekend was the place to be. Slews of music lovers headed to Randall’s Island over the weekend for the annual two day music festival that showcased acts such as Passion Pit, Kid Cudi, Fiona Apple, Beck, Modest Mouse, along with several other acts. Live bands were plentiful, and multi-talented artists were in abundance. Good music and fun seemed to be the Saturday and Sunday theme. Crowd surfing wasn’t an unusual sighting for the amped up concert goers; and when artists jump into the crowd it’s usually a sure fire sign that a blast was had. Check out our gallery of artists performing at the Governors Ball. Read more…
Diamonds were up in London this weekend, where Jay-Z and Rihanna played headlining sets at BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend. On Saturday night, the Roc boss wowed the 50,000-deep festival audience with a set that included a surprise appearance by M.I.A., a Watch The Throne detour with Kanye West (much to the enjoyment of Beyoncé, who was caught moshing along to “Ni**as In Paris”), and a performance of “Run This Town” with his onetime protégée.
On Sunday, Rihanna closed the festival with a spectacular set of her own. On an Egyptian-themed stage and in cut-off fishnets and a leather jacket, RiRi surprised the crowd by bringing back Jay – in a black leather Brooklyn Nets cap — out for three songs at the end of her set. They did a reprise of “Run This Town,” and then gave “Talk That Talk” its live debut, before launching into their now-classic hit “Umbrella.” This run of songs, spanning Jay-Z’s 2009 Blueprint 3 to Rihanna’s current Talk that Talk to 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad really goes to show just how deep that Barbadian star’s catalog goes at this point. “The Roc is in the building, and we love you so damn much,” she said, thanking the umbrella-baring audience. After delivering his verse, Jay slipped off and Rihanna sent fans home with “We Found Love” and a fireworks show. It’s safe to say, not Roc fan left disappointed.
Summer, summer, summertime…time to sit back and unwind. Hey, if that’s how Will Smith recommends to spend the months of June, July, and August, who am I to argue? As my colleagues Bené and Zara have attested, summer’s a time to be spent outdoors with friends, preferably with a boombox in proximity. We’re going to start counting down the 2012 Song Of The Summer very soon, but for now, here are three songs that I’ll be hitting repeat on all summer long.
NOMINATION: Icona Pop, “I Love It”
EXPLANATION: Why do Swedes make the best pop music? Someone really ought to research this! While we all anxiously await for someone else to do the heavy lifting with that essay, I’m going to be bouncing around my apartment cranking this electro-pop earworm all the way up to 11, shouting “I DON’T CARE!” like a madman. The pulsating beats that dare you not to bounce up-and-down while pumping your fists (not fist pumping, though, because that’s lame), the crazy catchy sing-along melodies, the fact that it clocks in at exactly 3 minutes … all of these ingredients create a perfect recipe for a summer jam.
Upsetting Erykah Badu, again, must be the furthest thing from Wayne Coyne’s mind. In an interview with Rolling Stone he had a few choice words about the feud between him and Badu that played out quite interestingly on Twitter. If you don’t dabble in the world of social media here’s a brief recap: Badu and The Flaming Lips teamed up for a remake of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Coyne directed the video, which featured Badu, her sister, nudity, glitter and some thick (questionable) substances. Badu initially seemed excited until the video received backlash and criticism for its content. E. Badu took to Twitter to slam Coyne for allegedly releasing the video prematurely and eventually released an official statement telling Coyne to “kiss her glittery a–.” Read more…
Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, you’ll remember, has been signed to Island Def Jam since 2009. After growing increasingly frustrated by how long they were taking to get his album out, Ocean posted Nostalgia, Ultra to his Tumblr and watched the “Like” count soar. Def Jam was watching too, apparently, because this summer they are giving Ocean the record release he has so earned.
Last night, Ocean previewed his major label debut Channel Orange, out officially July 17, for a lucky few journalists at KMA Studios in New York. And from the sounds of it, with amped up production and stronger songwriting, as well as all-star guest spots from fell Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt and Outkast’s Andre 3000, this second round will be even better than the last.
French Montana’s star studded “Pop That” debuted this week on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart at #57, landing Lil Wayne on the charts for the 69th time as a feature. Combine this with his 31 chart entries as a lead act, and – voila! – Lil Wayne has racked up an astronomical 100 appearances on Billboard‘s R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Only Jay-Z and the late James Brown have done that before him.
Is Weezy on track to be the best rapper alive? A quick look at the numbers behind his first 100 suggest that it might me so.
Whatever you do, don’t call Leah LaBelle an overnight success. While it’s true that she walked into an audition for LA Reid last year and was given a deal with Epic Records on the spot, she’s been putting in work to become an artist for the better part of the last 10 years. A former Berklee College of Music student, LaBelle was a contestant on the third season of American Idol back in 2004, but even with the support of Paula Abdul, wasn’t able to advance past the semifinal round. She kept grinding, though, posting covers of artists like Beyoncé (“Sweet Dreams”) and Frank Ocean (“Thinking About You”) on her MissLabelle1 YouTube Channel, eventually catching the eye of superproducers Pharrell Williams and Jermaine Dupri.
The trio of music industry heavyweights — LA, JD and Pharrell — have been working on material for Leah LaBelle’s debut album (release date still TBD) for close to a year now, and the stunning LaBelle decided to give the new songs a live trial-run during a 6-song showcase in front of 200 or so sweaty onlookers at New York City’s Tribeca Grand Hotel last night. Before she took the stage, each one of these gents took some time to explain what they see in LaBelle, where LA explained that “She has soul. She has real soul, like real, real bonafide singer soul, like you don’t hear. And you especially don’t hear this from girls that are so cute.”
You would expect that kind of praise from a born promoter like LA, but once LaBelle hit the stage, she more than delivered on that promise, both in the voice and looks department. There’s no use tiptoeing around the fact that LaBelle is gorgeous —the moment she hit the stage, we witnessed a hundred or so jaws simultaneously dropping to the floor— but to LA’s point, her vocal chops are legit, and she’s got that charismatic “it” factor as a performer. Truth be told, she kind of reminds us a bit of a female Robin Thicke, in that her sound is perfectly suited for the urban market in a way that feels both wholly authentic and completely organic.
“Shame when trade magazines turn tabloid,” tweeted Katy Perry last night, likely in response to The Hollywood Reporter’s June cover story about her. Pegged loosely to the release of her 3-D concert-umentary Katy Perry: Part of Me (opening July 5), the story looks back on her rise to fame and finds a savvy star (“She knows her fan base so well, and her business acumen is incredible”) with a winning vision, and a killer work ethic. Mostly, it’s flattering. Though as her aggravated tweet suggests, the story occasionally strays from the shop talk when they ask about her faith, her family, and her estrangement from Russell Brand. And now Katy’s feeling twisted!
And so, putting ourselves into Katy Perry’s sparkly and probably candy colored shoes:
The top five parts most cringeworthy parts from THR‘s “Katy Perry: Confessions of a Pop Princess:”
- Before it even begins, the story compares her public split with Russell Brand to Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries‘ much questioned split. Who would want that?
“Nobody knows what really happened except the two people who are in it.” It’s June 6, and Katy Perry is talking about Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to NBA up-and-comer Kris Humphries, unsure where her empathy lies with regard to the media-saturated spectacle of the split — or whether she feels any at all.”
- Labeling her a “survivor of her own short-live whirlwind romance gone wrong,” they suggest that “differences of intellect” may have fueled the divorce. I am not sure if they are trying to imply that Perry is intellectually superior to Brand or vice versa, but I can’t imagine it’s flattering to be called dumb or to be told the person you once loved was dumb. Ouch!
Things you don’t expect to see: Lebron James partying and rapping with LMFAO. Well, that’s exactly what happened last night after the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship game against OKC. Sidebar: now that Lebron has a ring we wonder what will happen to all those “Lebron doesn’t even have a ring, so he’s not that great” memes. To celebrate their new championship title the Heat headed to club LIV for spirits and libations. On one end of the stage was electropop group LMFAO. On the other end was James, Dwyane Wade and other teammates. When the DJ puts on 2 Chainz “Riot” LMFAO starts rapping and so does James. Read more…