Last Lap: Monday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

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Boyz II Men Join NKOTBSB Onstage For 2-Song Medley
The combined forces of over a decade of talented-vocalist guy-groups sang “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road” and turned an entire generation into mush for four and a half minutes Friday night in Orlando. [Vulture]

Noel Gallagher Debuts Single And Video
Watch and hear “The Death of You And Me” from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds above. [Guardian]
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UK Rapper Tinie Tempah Gets Help Transitioning To America From The Script, Eminem and DMX

by (@Lacezilla)

With such an oversaturation of music from ?up-and-coming? rappers these days, it?s a constant struggle to differentiate the rookies with potential from the mediocre flashes in the pan. Every day, it seems, there?s a new solo artist, duo or squad that you’re compelled to listen to, and just keeping track of the influx of talent calls can be exhausting for listeners. If you?re a rapper or emcee trying to penetrate ?the game,? it must be intimidating, right? Now imagine you?ve got an extra handicap: You?re British.

With an alley-oop assist from Eric Turner?s booming ?Written In The Stars? chorus, the Capitol-drafted English import rapper Tinie Tempah is gaining early momentum on this side of the pond, and remains determined to do something that very few UK spitters have done before: “break” in America. Tinie has done quite well for himself in his native U.K., as his most recent album Disc-Overy debuted at #1 on the British charts and launched four Top Five singles (including two number ones), and was England’s top-selling debut album by a Brit in 2010. Two BRIT Awards, a recent BET Award for Best International UK Artist and a well-reviewed performance at Glastonbury later, it appears the young rapper is getting on the board fast. But even with those accolades under his belt, finding quick success in America isn?t a given, and Tinie knows that. Between breaking the barriers at crossover radio without getting “too pop” while also getting acclimated with our snooty, regionally-structured hip hop scene, it would appear that his path is a bit steep.

When we sat down to interview Tinie earlier this month, he told us all about his transitional journey from overseas thus far. Lucky for him, some friends of ours helped him mentally prepare for this moment. While supporting The Script on tour in Australia, Tinie received a much-needed pep talk from the band that had experienced some tough American crowds of their own when they first made the North Atlantic journey. ?Just brace yourself,? they told him, ?some of the shows are going to be a little bit gun-wrenching.? The coached warning was helpful and wound up serving as an airbag when Tinie performed before crowds of ten to twenty thousand people one night, and then under one hundred the next. ?It has been fun, and more than anything, it?s a humbling experience ?cause is just shows that, you know, that you?ve never really made it until you?ve made it, and there?s always something more you can be doing, so, yeah, I like it? it?s all part of the game.?

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Gaga A Fish Out Of Water In Nebraska Video For “Yo? and I”

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Lady Gaga‘s new music video shoot finds her someplace unexpected. We’re not referring to Nebraska, where the “Yo? and I” video is being filmed, but to the local nightly news. The Mother Monster herself did not appear in the report from Nebraska’s NBC affiliate WOWT (nor its follow-up story about fans hoping to get a glimpse of the star), but plenty of information about the video was revealed.

A crew member identified the new single to WOWT as “Yo? and I,” which makes sense given that song’s references to a “cool Nebraska guy,” and its exhortation to “put your drinks up for Nebraska.” A sequence inside a barn may feature Gaga’s mermaid character Yuyi, who, it’s been reported, will appear in this video. Another sequence will feature Gaga playing piano in the middle of a cornfield. As to whether the apparently very literal tribute to the hometown of Gaga’s old beau L?c Carl (the reason for the umlaut in “yo?”) has anything to do with a rekindled romance is anyone’s guess. As per any Gaga-related material, though, the news segment has been rehosted on YouTube on a new Gaga-themed account that may or may not be another web-promotional arm of her Haus.

Lady Gaga’s New Video, Probably For Yo? And I,” Involves Cornfields In Nebraska [Popdust]

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News Of Amy Winehouse’s Passing Continues To Ripple Through Community Of Performers, Fans

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Ever since news broke that Amy Winehouse had been found dead at 27, the outpouring of grief (including dozens of comments on our announcement) has been a stark reminder of how much, and to how many people, Winehouse continued to matter as an artist. Fans have left tribute comments not only on Winehouse’s own videos on YouTube, but also barely-related ones like Britney Spears’s “If You Seek Amy,” just because they’re looking for any outlet to grieve. As we noted earlier, a range of performers voiced tribute on Twitter, but for some, 140 characters wasn’t enough.

Big Boi shared a previously unreleased Dungeon Family remix of her song “Tears Dry On Their Own”:

Another musical tribute came courtesy of M.I.A., who’d recorded a demo of a tribute to friends who’d died at 27, and when she heard about Amy Winehouse, tweeted a link to the (unfinished and unreleased) track as a tribute to Winehouse, yet another friend who’d passed at that age:

Several performers blogged touching tributes. Adele‘s “Amy Flies in Paradise xx”, praised the way in which both her sheer talent and her unwillingness to compromise led to a minor sea change in British pop: “Amy paved the way for artists like me and made people excited about British music again whilst being fearlessly hilarious and blas? about the whole thing. I don?t think she ever realised just how brilliant she was and how important she is, but that just makes her even more charming.”

And although the autopsy has just begun today, and toxicology reports will take weeks, the popular consensus is that Winehouse’s death was caused, directly or indirectly, by her struggles with addiction. Dr. Drew tweeted, “SO sad, another lost to addiction. A reminder this is often a fatal condition. Recovery is possible, but sadly not for Amy Winehouse.” But perhaps the most touching tribute on this subject comes from Russell Brand, a fellow performer who famously struggled with issues of addiction. His post For Amy, about the inevitability of one of two types of “the phone call,” is a must-read. We recommend you click through to it, but the multitude of hits has swamped his site, so just in case you can’t get through, we’ve reposted his tribute in its entirety below.

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Jay-Z And Kanye West Are “The Throne”; Watch Them On Tour This Fall

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Fueled by the exuberant response to last week’s premiere of “Otis,” (a marked departure from the mixed reviews “H.A.M.” got in January,) Jay-Z and Kanye West have announced that their Watch the Throne collaboration has a name?fittingly, The Throne?and that the duo will be touring together this fall to support the album. Tickets for the tour dates will go on sale the same day that the album becomes available for digital purchase: Monday, August 8, and online ticket purchases will come with a copy of the album. The Throne must not be too concerned with first-week album sales, because any albums that come with a ticket purchase won’t count towards their sales total. Then again, The Throne will probably hit #1 on the Billboard charts even without these “sales.”

Full list of confirmed tour dates below (with more likely to be added).
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Sneak 30 Seconds of The Script’s New Music Video, “Nothing”

by (@Lacezilla)

Unless you’re an android, breakups are never easy. Although a bit tumultuous, The Script’s first video from Science & Faith was predominantly romantic and lovey-dovey (which matched with the song’s themes). But for the album’s second single, it seems the the Irish imports decided to go in a different direction.

A boys night out gets a little sloppy when lead singer Danny O’Donaghue drunkenly exits a bar with his loyal bandmates behind him. Stumbling and wasted, Danny surfs the wave of intoxication, screaming the lovesick lyrics to “Nothing” down the street to his (presumable) recent ex, who in this clip, doesn’t appear to be present. And hey, we’ve all been guilty of engaging in or receiving such behavior before, right? Drunk dialing, bitter Facebook posts, longing latenight email drafts… it happens! But what will come of the boys’ debauchery-ridden evening, Script fans? Come back on Thursday morning to see, when we’ll have the exclusive premiere for the full “Nothing” video here for you.

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Amy Winehouse Dead At 27

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“Rehab” singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment today. The cause has not yet been determined. For those who have followed her longstanding battle with depression, eating disorders and substance abuse (a constant source of fodder for tabloids), this sad news may not come as a huge surprise. In August of 2007, Amy came close to death after overdosing on a cocktail of heroin, ecstasy and cocaine – and later that year was found wondering barefoot outside in nothing but a bra and jeans. These incidents were preceded by Amy’s marriage in May of 2007 to Blake Fielder-Civil, who was quoted by a British tabloid as saying he introduced Amy to heroin and crack cocaine. Earlier that same year, Amy performed for VH1 Unplugged. Blake and Amy divorced in 2009.

The singer dominated the 2008 Grammys with five awards for Back to Black, her sophomore album, winning in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Known for her singular voice and unorthodox retro look (tattoos, extreme cat-eye makeup and beehive hairdo), Amy is said to have paved the way for artists who wouldn’t previously have fit into the mainstream. Lady Gaga, for one, famously told AOL: “Because of Amy, very strange girls like me go to prom with very good-looking guys. She’s a different kind of woman. I don’t believe that what I do is very digestible, and somehow Amy was the flu for pop music.” Regardless of whether this is true, Winehouse certainly seemed to pave the way for fellow British songbirds Adele and Duffy, both of whom share Amy’s ’60s soul vibe.

In June, YouTube videos surfaced of an intoxicated and discombobulated-looking Winehouse forgetting her own lyrics and getting booed off stage in the first stop of a European tour, which subsequently had to be canceled. Amy was reportedly working on a third album. She joins a long list of musicians who have died at 27. A phenomenon known as The 27 Club, Brian Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain are among those who died at the same age. Let her legend begin.

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Shearer’s Spotlight: Early Favorites For The 2011 Video Music Awards

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Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, 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 Top 20 countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.

The nominations for the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards were announced this week, and here are three categories that I?ll be paying particularly close attention to:

1.) VIDEO OF THE YEAR
?Rolling In The Deep,? Adele
?Yonkers,? Tyler The Creator
?Firework,? Katy Perry
?Grenade,? Bruno Mars
?Make Some Noise,? Beastie Boys

If you?re going to hand out an award based purely on song alone, than Adele?s ?Rolling In The Deep? will have no problem winning. Video-wise, ?Make Some Noise? seems to be the most eye-catching clip of the bunch. I?m not thrilled with the other three nominees: the poignancy of Katy Perry?s ?Firework? evaporates once sparklers start exploding from her bosoms; Tyler The Creator?s ?Yonkers? video is Nine Inch Nails-lite, and Bruno Mars? ?Grenade? lacks the bigness to be distinguished as Video of the Year (although I do give him props for dragging that piano all around town).

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Tearin’ Up My Heart: The Top Five Emotive Music Video Performances

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Demi Lovato unleashes the waterworks in the video for her new single “Skyscraper” (which just debuted at #10 in the Billboard Hot 100)?a rare appearance of tears in a video that is about overcoming a struggle. (More often, the performer in such a song is the supportive voice for a crying actor, as Pink does for Tina Majorino‘s character in the video for “F?king Perfect.”) Of course, despite plenty of crossover into film and television by musical artists, singers are not usually the most emotive actors in their videos. Here are five notable exceptions:


5. Demi Lovato “Don’t Forget”
“Skyscraper” is the big single today, but in the video for her 2009 single “Don’t Forget,” co-written by the Jonas Brothers, Lovato gets out of the rain, only to shed a tear over the lost love she sings about.

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Last Lap: Thursday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

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New Feist Album Coming Soon…We Think
You Oughta Know alum Feist has launched the first in what appears to be a series of teaser videos for her upcoming album. The audio is extremely compressed, but we’re still curious. [listentofeist.com, via Pitchfork]

Part 1 Of Eli Porter Documentary The People’s Champion Premieres
Remember “Iron Mic: Eli Porter vs. Envy”? The high-school freestyle-battle clip went viral in 2008 and became so well-known that Kanye mentioned it in his “H.A.M.” verse (“like Eli, I did it”)?but no one really knew much about where the clip came from…until now. This 33-minute segment explains the production of the iconic rap-battle video in thrilling detail (although the line-by-line exegesis of Porter’s rap drags a bit). [Vimeo]

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