Nicki Minaj was serious in her 2010 MTV special “My Time Now” when she said she wanted to be the first female rapper to build an empire. Let’s not forget Queen Latifah already did that, but we marvel in seeing Minaj turning her dream into reality. Her latest endeavor? Glad you asked. This larger than life star landed a global advertising campaign for Pepsi. Scoring big, Minaj isn’t just featured in the commercial — a remixed version of “Moment for Life,” from her debut album Pink Friday , is the spot’s soundtrack.
Everything about the Pepsi promo is fun, light, colorful and conceptual. Various memorable moments are captured and literally frozen in time. Viewer can follow a vibrant couple from the beach to a runway to a concert, and yes, watch them pop open a can of Pepsi at every stop they make. At the end, Minaj is frozen in place sporting her signature long pink wig and in an instant she becomes alive performing for a crowd of thousands, but only for a few seconds (if you happen to have 3-D glasses lying around, you can enjoy this spot in an extra dimension!). Over the course of the last few years, Minaj and all her alter egos accelerated from a mixtape unknown to worldwide rapper. Two chart topping albums, a custom made M.A.C. lipgloss line and a global Pepsi ad later, that mogul thing may not be too far in the wind.
It’s been an incredibly sad 72 hours or so since we learned of the death of The Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, who lost his courageous, three-year battle with cancer at the age of 47. As a means of helping everyone (including ourselves) through the grieving process, we put together this compilation of five moments from MCA’s life that aren’t necessarily the things that you would automatically remember when thinking of him, but moments that are nonetheless essential to capturing who he was as an individual.
1) Before The Beastie Boys Got Famous (1983)
Years before they got signed to Def Jam and became household names with the release of Licensed To Ill, Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz and Kate Schellenbach (later of Luscious Jackson) were a noisy punk outfit. (That’s MCA slappin’ da bass.)
It has been more than 10 years since No Doubt released Rock Steady, their 2001 album that won them two Grammy awards. In the years since that album’s release, Gwen Stefani released two solo records, but as a unit, the group has undergone a series of struggles. Many have wondered if the group was stuck in a similar mindset as Dr. Dre, another artist who has been artistically crippled by (largely self-imposed) creative expectations. However, over the weekend, the band took to YouTube to announce that their comeback record will be released on September 25th (or September 26th).
Stefani, of course, is one of the most influential female figures to emerge from the world of music in the last twenty years. That said, it remains to be seen whether “the kids” will still care about the band after a decade-plus of virtual inactivity. No Doubt has always been known for being forward-thinking, sonically speaking, when it comes to the production of their tracks, but now that we’re in the era where clubby, Eurodance beats rule the airwaves, will there still be room on the airwaves for the ska-meets-dancehall-meets-pop sound that the band pioneered in the 90s? Guess we’ll have to wait until September 25 (or 26!) to find out*.
Leave it to Kanye West to unexpectedly release a video to “Lost in the World” from his multi-platinum album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which was released in November of 2010. It’s not that we’d forgotten about the album, as it is an undeniable masterpiece. But lately we’ve been preoccupied with his new shocking (not really) relationship with Kim Kardashian, and the G.O.O.D. Music cuts “Mercy,” “I Don’t Like” and “Way Too Cold.” However, we’re totally okay with him revisiting his pre-Watch The Throne project, and on this video, he teamed up with with fashion filmmaker Ruth Hogben to create a black and white aesthetic experience, because calling it a music video would be an understatement.
Remember how we were ecstatically anticipating a new solo album from Andre 3000, or even another Outkast album? Well, there doesn’t seem to be any new albums on the horizon for Three Stacks, but IFTN.com reports the Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik rapper is set to star as the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix in an upcoming biopic about the late musician.
According to reports, All Is By My Side will focus on Hendrix’s time in England from 1966 through 1967. It was during that time Hendrix was discovered in a New York night club by the girlfriend of Rolling Stones‘ guitarist Keith Richards. Hendrix then traveled to London, recorded his debut album Are You Experienced and, well, the rest is history. Read more…
This week on That Metal Show, TMS alum Frank Hannon (Tesla) returned to shred as our guest musician. Joining the boys on set were Michael Schenker, of UFO and MSG fame (and, in case you didn’t know, Eddie Trunk’s idol), and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam). Since Schenker has been playing music for the last 40 years, we thought we would dedicate this week’s TMS TOP 5 to him, and come up with a list of The Top 5 Albums that Michael Schenker has played on. Here it is, this week’s THAT METAL DEBATE.
Eddie, Don, and Jim each listed UFO’s Strangers In The Night on their Top 5 lists, so it was unanimous when deciding it was worthy of a Top 5 position. Though deciding how far up on the list is a different discussion as Eddie argued that the Scorpions Lonesome Crow wasn’t Schenker’s best album due to him only being 17 years old when it was recorded. As much we all love that album by the Scorpions, can you say that it is Schenker’s best work? What about UFO’s Obsession or Force it? With Schenker making music for over 40 years it’s a tough list to put together. After much debate and Eddie physically taking Lonesome Crow off the list (and throwing it into the crowd), the guys finally decided on their Top 5 Michael Schenker albums.
VH1’s latest You Oughta Know artist is 21-year-old Ed Sheeran, a U.K. based troubadour whose appreciation of musical theory and craft is light years beyond most artists his age. He’s a real throwback to singer-songwriters of yore, the kind of artist who crafts highly detailed and personal stories, as well as someone appreciates those musicians that paved the way for people like him to be successful many, many years before he was even born.
Take, for example, his cover of Nina Simone‘s “Feeling Good.” The song has undergone a bit of a rebirth of late, thanks to being sampled by Jay-Z and Kanye West on the RZA-produced Watch The Throne track “New Day.” Sheeran is able to successfully channel the raw emotion of Simone original, utilizing nothing but his soulful voice and trusty acoustic guitar. It showcases his vocal range in a way that we had not really witnessed before, and is easily one of our all-time favorite You Oughta Know Live performances.
We paired this incredible cover with a series of incredible photographs by VH1’s own Michele Crowe, who trailed Ed for an entire day here in New York a few weeks back to produce the latest addition in our long-running Music Seen series. Enjoy!
Rihanna rocks to the beat of her own drum, and, well, everyone else must fall in line. According to TMZ, the Bajan beauty’s third appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend got off to a rocky start when she called in sick to dress rehearsal. The show’s producers were not happy about the no-show, including the head honcho Lorne Michaels. The singer claimed to be too sick to sing or dance in the final rehearsal (done before a live audience), but she was well enough to walk around between songs eating an apple. Hey, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Her apple eating (the nerve of her!) didn’t sit well with producers, as they apparently can’t recall the last time someone skipped dress rehearsal. In other words, it’s taken very seriously, and missing it is a cardinal sin. Rihanna’s rep told TMZ, “Rihanna was sick and needed to save her voice for the live show.”
Beef is the new come up for newcomer Azealia Banks. Following the public spat she had with Iggy Azalea and T.I., she now has a bone to pick with Lil’ Kim. Over the weekend, Banks sent a series of tweets expressing her frustrations with Lil Kim for not getting back to her about the collaboration the two had planned for Banks’ upcoming debut album Broke With Expensive Taste. Initially she sent out a subliminal tweet leaving everyone wondering who she was referring to. Finally she named Lil’ Kim and wrote, “Okay so true tea is that Lil’ Kim got mad that I wrote a verse for her on a record I wanted her on,” Banks tweeted. “Everyone knows Lil’ Kim doesn’t write her own raps and I saw this as a faster more efficient way of getting the track done.She then had her assistant write me some long ass offensive email about how Lil Kim writes her own raps and doesn’t need anyone’s help. So….. My question was and is still… IS SHE DOING THE TRACK?”
The Harlem rapper’s fingers didn’t stop typing there. Directly replying to Lil’ Kim she said:
So far the Queen B has remained quiet probably somewhere rapping her own lyrics, “You wanna rumble with the Bee huh? Throw a hex on your whole family.” Her publicist, however, released a statement on her behalf to AllHipHop.com. The statement reiterates that there is no friction since Lil’ Kim and Banks have never met or spoken directly. And taking the high road CJ Carter ends the statement wishing Banks the best, “It seems that this is another sad attempt by someone trying to use my client for publicity. We wish her nothing but the best.”
The last rapper to successfully build a career based on beef was 50 Cent. And he had a handful of hot singles and a hit album before he did it. Banks’ talent is undeniable. We just want her to pump her brakes just a little bit. If this is how Banks comes at her “idol,” we’re scared, very scared, of what she’ll do to someone she doesn’t like. Yikes.
Lead singer Chris Martin, not exactly known as being a party rocker, came up with an arrangement of “Fight For Your Right” that expertly played to Coldplay’s strengths. The big, boozy classic rock riffs of the Rick Rubin produced original were replaced by a plaintive, almost spiritual piano melody. Martin sang the lyrics in a wholly different manner than the brash Beastie style, trading snotty obnoxiousness for a vibe that’s more respectful in nature. It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea —we saw just as many snarky reactions to it on Twitter this weekend as we saw celebratory ones— but we definitely salute the gents for paying tribute to a music legend in a way that felt both thoughtful and unique.