An American Travelogue, As Inspired By Nicki Minaj’s New Song “Beez In The Trap”

by (@unclegrambo)

Nicki Minaj Beez In The Trap

Nicki Minaj‘s highly anticipated sophomore LP, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, dropped last week and is on track to sell 200,000+ copies in its first week on the shelves. Critics are giving Nicki a hard time for the scattershot approach to the album (meaning, the mix of radio-friendly pop songs and hardcore street songs), and we all know J. Lo isn’t exactly a fan, either.

That said, we’ve had the record on repeat virtually all weekend long; we have been pretty obsessed with the “street” songs on the record like “Come On A Cone”, “I Am Your Leader”, “Roman Reloaded” and “Champion”, all of which feature typically tight rhymes from Minaj and top notch production values. Another standout track is “Beez In The Trap”, her collaboration with red hot rising rap star 2 Chainz (see also: His standout verse on Kanye West’s “Mercy”), a song for which she dropped a brand new video on Friday night. We can’t show you the video yet, as it’s currently getting reviewed by our Standards & Practices department. We can, however, talk about the song!

First things first, if you’re wondering what “Beez In The Trap” means, you’re not alone. “Trap” is street slang for a drug house (see also: T.I.‘s Trap Muzik LP), but Nicki isn’t being literal with the reference. In the song’s first verse, there’s a line that goes “I spit crack, like I’m in that trap”; basically, what she’s saying is that her rhymes are highly addictive, and people are lining up to get more of them. In other words, the way she’s flowing is the equivalent to being the kingpin at a trap/drug house; she’s got the BEST stuff, and people just can’t get enough of it.

There’s also the matter of the song’s third verse, where Nicki shouts out more cities than even James Brown in “Living In America” or Huey Lewis did in “The Heart Of Rock N’ Roll.” This got us thinking — What if Nicki took a trip to each of these cities that she references, in the order that they’re mentioned. What we landed at was an EPIC road trip, one that would make Clark W. Griswold green with envy. Won’t you follow along to see what we mean?

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That Metal Debate: That Metal Show Top 5 Guitar Duos

by (@_bobina)

This week on That Metal Show, we had Alice Cooper, Jack Russell (Great White), and Brian Tichy rockin’ out on drums. We also asked Scott Ian (Anthrax) to stop by and be our first ever celebrity guest to participate in the “TMS Top 5,” and he helped us figure out the Top 5 Guitar duos of all-time. With all of the hard rock and heavy metal bands out there, it was pretty tough to come up with just five, but as you know, it’s called the “TMS Top 5,” so we’re keeping with tradition.

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Tuned In: One Direction Set Hearts Aflutter On SNL

by (@unclegrambo)

Today’s millenials are currently facing a rite of passage that every generation since the dawn of time has had to endure: Declaring their allegiance for the Boy Band Of The Moment. Boomers had it with The Beatles and The Monkees, Gen Xers were forced to choose between the NKOTB and New Edition, Gen Y still can’t decide between the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, and now, there’s a war brewing between the supporters of One Direction and The Wanted. While both acts currently have a song in the Billboard Top Ten (“What Makes You Beautiful” and “Glad You Came”, respectively), the boys in One Direction pulled ahead in the awareness game thanks to an appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

As is customary, the band performed two songs: Their current Top 10 hit, “What Makes You Beautiful” and their next thing, “One Thing” (the latter of which is a direct descendant of the BSB classic, “I Want It That Way”). The band impressed by singing their vocals live and not solely relying on backing tracks, but many a snarkster on Twitter gave them grief for their non-existent dance moves.

What say you? Are you impressed by the new generation of boy bands? Which one of the 1D boys is your fave? Are you forever loyal to [insert your generational boy band idols here]? Let us know in the comments below!

RELATED: 5 Reasons You Must Know One Direction Right This Instant

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Last Lap: G.O.O.D. Friday Comes Back Just In Time For Good Friday

by (@unclegrambo)

Swerve! Less than 24 hours after “Theraflu” found its way onto the Internet, Kanye’s back with another new track, “Mercy.” It features verses from Big Sean (tight), Pusha T (typically awesome), Yeezy (kinda weak, truth be told), and in a star-making turn, 2 Chainz (off the chains!). [Soundcloud]

Vulture writer (and old co-worker of mine!) Kyle Buchanan was curious how it would sound, so instead of just tweeting that out as a question, he went and WROTE ALL THE LYRICS. “Come on, put your Coke into a cup / Supersize your chicken nuggets up / Mary J. is in the spot tonight / As I’mma make you eat some fries (Make you eat some fries).” It’s so genius we’ve set our hearts on performing it at karaoke tonight. [Vulture]

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John Mayer’s Instrumental Cover Of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” Is Your New Chillout Anthem

by (@unclegrambo)

We’re still bummed that John Mayer was forced to put his plans to tour in support of his upcoming album Born And Raised on hold while he recovers from a pesky throat condition, but we’re glad to see that he hasn’t gone fully dormant. On his Tumblr site last night, he debuted an instrumental cover of Lana Del Rey‘s “Video Games.” As if that song weren’t already haunting enough as is, there’s an otherworldly echo that runs throughout Mayer’s dubbed, guitar-only version of the song. It’s got almost an old-timey western feel to it, like something you’d hear in a saloon while drinking a beer and listening for someone to whistle your name. It’s sort of the perfect way to start de-stressing in the last few minutes before the siren blows on this Friday afternoon, signaling the close of another work week. In other words, this is our idea of fun.

Sounds from Thursday evening [Soundcloud via f*]

Shearer’s Spotlight: The 10 Greatest (Non-Hip-Hop) White-Male Rhymers


Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

Although I try to be colorblind in both my life and musical travels, I can’t help but notice when people applaud a Caucasian dude—especially one outside of the hip-hop genre—when they’re able to deliver rhymes at breakneck speeds. If “white men can’t jump,” I guess they’re not supposed to be able to rhyme either, huh?

In hip-hop, Caucasian MC’s are called “white rappers,” as documented on VH1′s 2007 reality venture The White Rapper Show, but what do you call a white boy who can spit fire on the microphone, one whose music comes from another genre altogether?

For the sake of this list, let’s call them the 10 Greatest (Non-Hip-Hop) White-Male Rhymers of the last quarter century:

10. Andy Grammer
Try singing Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head” the next time you’re at a karaoke bar and you’ll realize how nimble he is on the microphone.

9. Billy Joel
The Piano Man makes this list solely on the merit of “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” not to mention that the Beastie Boys once named Billy Joel as The Fifth Beastie Boy.

8. Pat Monahan
We all know Pat Monahan can croon, but lately, especially on Train‘s last two albums, he shows agility with his rhyme-flow as well.

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Everybody Loves Our Town Author Mark Yarm On The Seattle Grunge Explosion, The Byzantine Stories Of Courtney Love, And The “Missed Opportunity” That Was Pearl Jam Twenty

by (@unclegrambo)

The Seattle scene of the late eighties and early nineties produced some of the most beloved rock bands not just of the last twenty years, but of all-time. The influence and impact that acts like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains had on the world of music, both artistically and commercially, cannot really be overstated. However, there is far more to the “grunge” story than just the rise and fall of these four bands, as author Mark Yarm goes to very impressive lengths to chronicle is his new book Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History Of Grunge (now available in handy paperback form!)

Over the course of three years and change, Yarm interviewed over 250 key players in the Seattle scene of that now historic era, everyone from superstars like Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) and Courtney Love, to the owners of the storied Sub Pop record label, to bands like the U-Men and the Melvins that were very influential in the scene but never quite broke on a national level in the way that the Big Four did. The book was named one of the Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2011 by no less an authority than Time Magazine, and is full of so many entertaining stories and thrilling anecdotes that we have read it cover-to-cover TWICE. You should do the same!

We recently sat down with ELOT author Mark Yarm over a cocktail or two in Brooklyn and talked about many subjects relating to the book, everything ranging from what it’s like to receive manic phone calls from Courtney Love, to Seattle’s well-documented infatuation with heroin, to the “missed opportunity” that was Cameron Crowe‘s Pearl Jam Twenty.

VH1: One of the things that everyone, including myself, finds so impressive about this book is the comprehensiveness. You talked to virtually every major player in the Seattle scene. How did you go about convincing people that you were the person who could tackle this story?
Mark Yarm: The general rule of thumb was that the further away from the white hot epicenter of the grunge explosion of the early nineties, the easier it was. I had the Blender piece that this emerged from, which was an oral history of Sub-Pop on the occasion of their 20th anniversary in 2008. I had already spoken to a lot of the players, and that was a good calling card for me. Some people didn’t talk to me, most notably Pearl Jam since they had their own book coming out. They’re usually not the most accessible guys, anyway. I had spoken to Jeff [Ament] and Stone [Gossard] for the Blender piece, and I also talked to Matt Cameron through the Soundgarden people. I spoke to all their previous drummers, who, if you’ve seen the Cameron Crowe documentary [PJ20], they didn’t bother talking to those guys. They just kind of gloss over them in a funny interstitial.

The frequently shirtless Chris Cornell of SoundgardenChris Cornell is one of the figures in the book that gets some crap because he was always ripping his shirt off. A lot of people, including people in his own band, didn’t like that he presented himself in that way. What was your sense of him, and did he ever tell you why he chose to be the shirtless guy?
There was a Mudhoney song, the song that this book gets its title after, called “Overblown.” It takes kind of a veiled jab at him (“And you’re up there, shirtless and flexin’ / Display of a macho freak”). I asked him about that song, and it didn’t really bother him. If you’re gonna be The Shirtless Guy, you gotta own it, I guess?

I don’t know, I’ve never been The Shirtless Guy!
Me neither! Not since infancy. But yeah, it was a small bone of contention because it was so ostentatious, and this was a scene that in many ways —not all ways, but in many ways— rejected that as “rock star behavior.”

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“Theraflu” Proves That Kanye West Is Still Sick (In A Good Way!)

by (@unclegrambo)

Sometime during the wee hours of the morning last night, Kanye West dropped a new song, “Theraflu”, on an unsuspecting populus. We say unsuspecting not because Yeezy is anything other than prolific, but because NO ONE HAD ANY IDEA IT WAS COMING. (And, judging by the speed from which copies of this song are disappearing from the Internet, we’re guessing he didn’t, either.)

Not much is known about the eventual home for the song —Will it end up on his rumored G.O.O.D. Music compilation? Is this a leaked DJ Khaled track? Is it something that Funkmaster Flex simply WILLED into existence?— but what everyone does know is that Kanye is using the song to woo Kim Kardashian. “Can I have a bad bitch without no flaws / come to meet me without no drawers?”, Ye opines early on in the track, before confessing that said bad bitch is none other than the recently divorced Kimmy K. “And now I admit I fell in love with Kim / Around the same time she fell in love with him,” Yeezy raps, “Well that’s cool babygirl, do your thing / Lucky I ain’t had Jay drop him from the team.” The “him” he’s referring to here is, of course, Kris “The Hump” Humphries, who plays for the New Jersey Nets under owner Jay-Z. Well, a quick check of shows The Hump is still gainfully employed, but that doesn’t mean that Kanye’s braggadocious ways didn’t end up paying off.

Quite the opposite, in fact: According to TheFABLife, Kanye and Kim have been on one long, very public date all day long today. A date that included a stop by FAO Schwartz, no less! Just as he prophesied in “Theraflu”, we can almost guarantee that Kanye’s romp is going to be headline material for tomorrow’s Paris News!

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That Metal Show: Take A Special Sneak Peek At This Weekend’s Alice Cooper / Jack Russell Episode

by (@_bobina)

Season 10 of That Metal Show got off to a thrashing start last week when Lars Ulrich (Metallica) and Robb Flynn (Machine Head) stopped by to hang with Eddie, Don and Jim. (Did you miss it? No sweat, you can watch it online right now!)

As you’ve come to expect, more great guests will be stopping by the set this week. Specifically, we’ve got Scott Ian (Anthrax) stopping by, Jack Russell (Great White), Brian Tichy on the drums, and we also welcome back Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member Alice Cooper (who, as you’ll learn in our video clip above, apparently once pointed a loaded gun at Elvis!). The new episode of That Metal Show airs this Saturday at 11/10c on VH1 Classic.

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Rock Guitarists Mourn The Death of Jim Marshall, “The Father Of Loud”

by (@BHSmithNYC)

Jim Marshall With Slash

Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash with Jim Marshall, circa 2002.

Jim Marshall, founder and namesake of Marshall Amplification, died Thursday morning at the age of 88 after a prolonged illness. His innovations changed both the sound and appearance of guitar amplifiers and had a profound effect on rock from the 1960s to the present day. The “Marshall stack,” two square cabinets containing four 12″ inch speakers each stacked on top of one another with the actual amplifier in a separate unit on top, became the ubiquitous symbol of loud and dangerous rock n’roll and the actual sound of Marshall amplifiers matched their imposing visage.

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