Despite what sassy producers and rumor-baiting media outlets might try to lead you to believe, the members of Destiny’s Child continue to insist, they remain friends and have neither beef nor competition. If a picture is worth a thousand words, Kelly Rowland, Beyonc?, and, as Rowland would chidingly remind those who forget, Michelle Williams closed the door on the case last night at the Top of The Standard Hotel in New York City. The trio of independent women gathered for a launch party celebrating the release of Rowland’s third solo album Here I Am. Also in attendance: Big Sean (who appears on the album), Estelle, Maxwell, and Terrence J of BET’s 106 and Park, among others.
On Tuesday, we shared some of Tinie Tempah’s thoughts on mentally transitioning from the UK to the US as an up-and-coming artist in the hectic world of hip-hop. Because the London native goes back and forth across the pond so frequently, we also asked Tinie to give us a cheat sheet of sorts, helping to get us looped-in to the who’s who of British rap. Check out his list of personal favorites below, because after all, you never know if one of these guys might be next.
GIGGS (IF YOU LIKE: Gucci Mane)
“Definitely be on the lookout for Giggs, he?s doing his thing,” preached Tinie. After collaborating with B.o.B and a slew of other big-name British rappers, Giggs continues spitting coke-rap bars for days. Style-wise, Tinie compared him to both Young Jeezy and Gucci; embodying the hustler image, Giggs served a two-year bid for a gun charge back in 2003, but inked with XL Recordings (see: M.I.A., Tyler, The Creator, Dizzee Rascal) to distribute his third solo LP next year off of self-made label, SN1 Entertainment.
The late night shows had particularly strong musical performances yesterday. Eels on Letterman, Train on Leno, The Features on Kimmel, and Matt and Kim on Fallon all turned in great renditions of their singles. These records have all been out for a minute, though (except the Features’ Wilderness, but they’ve been playing “Golden Comb” since 2009).
Sometimes it’s nice to hear a (nearly) brand new song on television, and that’s why we have to hand the night to Shaggy. “Sugarcane,” which he performed on Lopez Tonight, is very much in the vein of his previous hits “Boombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me”: a charmingly bawdy summery reggae single (sample lyric: “She likes the taste of my sugarcane”). In interviews with Billboard and with Rolling Stone, he’s contrasted his music with that of more explicitly lewd dancehall artists like Vybz Kartel, which strikes us as a bit backwards, like saying you like rap “but none of that gangster stuff.” But it’s tough enough to break through in the United States with Jamaican music, and if that’s the angle he needs, more power to him. “Sugarcane” isn’t about to top the charts (sorry, Shaggy), but it may have modest success, and it was certainly just the thing for Tuesday’s late night lineup.
Despite a career that’s now crossed the 20-year plateau, Guster remains one of the most criminally underrated pop acts working in the music industry these days. Unfairly lumped into the widely maligned “college rock” genre, their last two long players, 2006’s Ganging Up On The Sun and 2010’s Easy Wonderful, are, in fact, chock full of melodic pop gems that offer insight on topics as diverse as righting the wrongs of the past, frustration with the political system, and becoming a parent. But don’t get it twisted: “Dad rock,” this most certainly isn’t.
On August 2, Guster will release a new six song EP, On The Ocean. After 14 years in the major label system, this will be the band’s first self-released album since 1994’s Parachute. As a way of introducing their new material to the world, the band has decided to take the novel approach of debuting their new material by way of the wildly popular social media listening post, Turntable.fm. Why there? “Mostly because it feels organic,” Guster lead singer Ryan Miller told VH1 exclusively earlier today. “I’ve spent time on Turntable [under the moniker DJ Mitchell Spinach] and I use it. It doesn’t feel ‘market-y’ to me if it’s something I actually interact with and understand. These sites that are popping up are incredible, it’s so f***in easy to get turned onto new and old music.”
Miller will be debuting the group’s new material —”I’m at least gonna play the ‘Mitchell Spinach Remix’ of ‘This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart,’ probably another one or two?”, he explained— in a Turntable.fm room entitled Guster’s Polka Party at 9 p.m. ET tonight, but don’t expect an all-accordion playlist. Expect to hear tracks from current Miller faves The Poison Tree, The Rosebuds, Cults and Washed Out (“Love this band”), too. And what about the folks at the Universal Music Group, the distributor that put out their last album (the sessions from which were the genesis of a few of these tracks)? Miller isn’t sweating it. “Well, this will be our first self-released record in almost 14 years, so, I don’t think they give a sh*t.”
Robyn Covers “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” For BBC
Listen to Robyn‘s rendition of the Coldplay single, on BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge, on YouTube.
Anniversaries: Nevermind Reissue To Contain Demos; Is This It Tribute
The 20th Anniversary reissue of Nevermind, due out September 27, will come in 1-CD, 2-CD, and 4-CD/1-DVD formats, the lattermost of which will contain all of producer Butch Vig‘s original mixes as well as boombox recordings. And here we thought there was no unheard Nirvana in the vault. [Spin]
Meanwhile, Stereogum celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Strokes’ Is This It (released July 30, 2001 in Britain) with Stroked, a front-to-back tribute to the album (in its original form; there’s no cover of “When It Started,” the song that replaced the critical “New York City Cops” when the album was released in the United States less than a month after the September 11 attacks). [Stereogum] Read more…
Third-place American Idol finisher Haley Reinhart has become the fourth contestant from season 10 to sign with an imprint of Universal Music Group, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. After winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina were scooped up by Mercury Nashville for forthcoming country-skewing debuts, ninth-place finisher (and possibly the most divisive Idol contestant ever) Pia Toscano signed to Interscope earlier this month. Toscano’s first single “This Time” was announced at the same time as her deal, but the single premiered and flopped.
There is no word yet when we can expect to hear music from Reinhart, though one might wonder whether the chilly response to Toscano had any influence on the decision to sign another more pop-oriented Idol contestant. At the very least, Jimmy Iovine seems determined to find someone from this past season who will have success on the pop charts. McCreery and Alaina have already proven themselves too country for the task, and unless Toscano has another single up her sleeve, Reinhart might be his new hope. Her most popular Idol performance, after all, was her rendition of the biggest single of the year (“Rolling in the Deep,” natch). The signing could also be less calculated than all that?she may merely have impressed on the first two weeks of this summer’s Idols Tour. One thing’s for sure: we’ll be hearing more from Reinhart, not too long from now.
You would be forgiven if, at first, you don’t quite recognize the striking blonde above with the feathered hair. After all, we’re not accustomed to seeing pictures of Kesha Rose Sebert —better known as Ke$ha— sans copious amounts of eye shadow, glitter and day-glo face paint smeared all over her visage. However, famed celebrity photographer Terry Richardson was seemingly able to convince the garbage bag enthusiast to trade her patented Hefty Bag Chic style for something that more closely resembles Charlie’s Angels era Farrah Fawcett (if only temporarily) for an as-yet-unknown photoshoot. Nicely played, Terry!
To say Jason Derulo has been on the move for his Posted month would be a gross understatement. He spent the first two weeks traversing the breadth of Europe on a promotional tour, then returned to the United States?but only for long enough to shoot his new video in Los Angeles, without even a stop home in Miami?before heading directly to Australia for more promotion. We’re a little jealous of all the places he’s been and the gorgeous weather he appears to be experiencing wherever he goes, but we certainly don’t begrudge him the hours upon hours of interviews and photo shoots! His latest guest-blog entry just hit our inbox, so here it is for you:
I’m sitting in this hut on a private island called Double Island in Australia. Join me as I watch the sun go down. So much to be thankful for ay? Sad to say, that this is the fourth and final week of my VH1 Posted. How does it feel to have traveled around the world and back with me?
Even though Young Jeezy is gearing up to release his fourth solo album?later this year, his show last night at Highline Ballroom in New York was dedicated to his first. Commemorating Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101’s sixth anniversary, the rapper who reps Atlanta looked both svelte and hungry while performing alongside a full band in the hot, filled to the brim venue. For those in attendance, however, it was a welcomed experience, especially once the star-studded guests began spilling out on stage.
First to show his face was Jay-Z, making a supportive cameo to spit his verse from the debut album’s third single, “Go Crazy,” making the crowd do just that. Kanye was next up to bat, joining Jeezy for their 2008 collabo, “Put On,” followed soon after by UGK legend Bun B who helped perform TM101 track “Trap or Die.” Next to hit the stage was Brooklyn rapper Fabolous, who, after performing “Flexin'” from Jeezy’s recent Real Is Back mixtape, also delivered radio favorite “You Be Killin’ Em” to the already-spoiled audience. And to cap off the laundry list of appearances, Jeezy then brought out the entire L.O.X. to perform a medley of their strongest tracks, again forcing the crowd to lose their minds.
While Jeezy’s recruits may be the impressive lynchpin in the show’s dossier, it’s absolutely worth mentioning that his fans were thoroughly content with solo performances from just the man himself. As each song dropped, the audience recognized it instantly, and the room would soon be filled with audible word-for-word rapping accompaniment. Not just some people either, it was pretty much everyone; something you don’t see at every rap show. And considering Jeezy announced that his new album, Thug Motivation 103, will be hitting stores on September 30th, I’m sure he’d appreciate it if every person rapping along to his lyrics in that room actually BUYS it.
Just a week after the premiere of “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” the latest collaboration between the Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze (who returned to music-video direction after somewhat of an absence), another director from his era has returned thanks to an artist with whom the director has collaborated a number of times before. Today’s returning talent: Michel Gondry, helming the mostly stop-motion video for Bj?rk‘s new single “Crystalline.”