Angel Haze doesn’t usually celebrate Thanksgiving — “My family does not celebrate Thanksgiving. No Way. They’re total not down for that” – but a year of incredible output and ascendence, she’s “kind of setting up new traditions for myself,” she tells The Fader. It’s been a little more than a year since we first downloaded her impressive mixtape King, and since then we too have set up new traditions for ourselves in terms of what rap can be and should do. Read more…
It’s been a big week for R. Kelly and me. Well, maybe just me. It just so happened that this year’s Thanksgiving fell on the same week I attended Kells’ “Trapped in the Closet” premiere–and a chance question submission got him to tell me he loved me. Then the night before Thanksgiving I pushed my bus reservation back a day to attend the Single Ladies tour at Madison Square Garden. A Thanksgiving miracle, you could say. (Proving that miracles aren’t just for Christmas, especially if you’re a Jew.) I was again closer to Kells than ever before, and the man didn’t let down, putting on one hell of a show. Can you imagine him performing “Real Talk” live? I now can. I was so floored, in fact, that I proceeded to miss my early bus home the next morning. And while I’m also thankful that my hungry family waited to carve the turkey while I sat in traffic on a later bus, I can’t say it was all worth it. (Please don’t tell them that.)
You see, for quite a while now, R. Kelly has managed to effectively combine everything I love about pop: music, theatrics, humor and camp. Kells’ overt sexuality mixed with his ability to churn out catchy hooks while also having an absurdest sense of humor about the entire thing? That’s rare. He’s able to produce emotion (“I Believe I Can Fly”, “I Wish”, “Relief”), awe (“Exit”, “When A Woman Loves”, “The World’s Greatest”), dance (“Step In The Name Of Love”, “Fiesta”, “Ignition Remix”), and laughs (“Sex In The Kitchen”, “Sex Weed”, “Sex Planet”) across his lengthy career span. And he’s not even finished: Let’s not even get into Trapped in the Closet. Because if we did, I would spend eons of words describing how Kells’ hip-hop Telenovela-meets-musical-meets-farce breaks new ground with every chapter R. releases. (Meanwhile, there are 85 apparently to come and a possible musical adaptation. Amen.)
Surreal, that all my greatest Kells moments would happen to land on Thanksgiving week. I guess, this year, that signals that I’ve found something to be thankful for. I mean, aside from the love of family and friends along with the fortune to have a platform on which to “Share My Love” (get it?) for Kells. That too.
[Photos via Lindsey Weber]
I often find myself feeling grateful for the little things that make me pause to smile. These days, those things aren’t always as clichéd as rainbows and finding expected loose change in coat pockets. It’s also within the stuff we come across every day. That’s right: social media. Rappers happen to be more active on social media platforms than ever before, and I’m not just talking about vain Instagram selfies (Hi Rihanna). I’m talking about quirky posts that open the door to reveal something truly genuine or endearingly silly about the artist’s personality.
I’m not even going to tell you who to follow, because this post is about what makes me happy, but the Instagram antics of the following four rappers are notorious for making me giggle in public.
Jay Electronica (@jayelectronica)
When he’s not sharing images of his LDN surroundings, dog, or super-wealthy lover Kate Rothschild, Jay Elec is likely to tout his spiritual acumen for his 47,000 followers. Be still my esoteric heart. The best part of these non-album related posts? They always generate hundreds of “but where’s your record?” comments. True love.
Thanksgiving is the one time of the year no one will judge you for your gluttony. Quality time with family is always joyous, but let’s keep it real: It’s the food that makes this holiday a common favorite. Nas is not as fond of the holiday as me,”They call it Thanksgiving, I call your holiday hell-day ’cause I’m from poverty, neglected by the wealthy,” he rapped on “Poison,” but that doesn’t keep me for being thankful for him creating a masterpiece this year. Read more…
In the 38 years since I was born, the music industry has shifted through a number of different methods of delivering their product to their customers. Vinyl, of course, has been the one format that has maintained relevance throughout my lifetime, but as a consumer, I have purchased music in 8-track, cassette, compact disc and, of course, digital form. Each of these mediums have their inherent benefits and drawbacks, but the one constant that tied them altogether was this: I could only (legally) listen to music that I, myself, had purchased. That meant that the my music universe was limited to the library of music that I had acquired over the years (which, in my case, was something that I spent tens of thousands of dollars building), and if I wanted to sample something new, I had to be willing to commit $10-$15 to purchase it. That all changed for me when I signed up for Spotify about a year ago July.
Of course, music subscription services like Rhapsody and eMusic have been around since the late 90s, but it wasn’t until Spotify publicly launched in the United States in July of 2011 that I decided to take the plunge and convert from being a music owner to a renter. Suddenly, for the cost of $9.99 a month, I now had access to millions upon millions of albums, old and new, that I could sample on demand. If I read a good review of a current artist on a music site that I trust, I can immediately listen to the album and decide for myself. Albums that I have always wanted to listen to but have been hesitant to purchase are now available to me. And best of all, thanks to Spotify’s semi-controversial yet undeniably brilliant decision to partner with Facebook, I can see what music my friends are listening to in real time. In short, the process of music discovery has been radically simplified thanks to the previous barriers to entry being removed, and despite the occasional gripes from music creators about payment concerns, Spotify has made this an incredible time to be a fan of music of any era. And that, my friends, is what I am most thankful for, musically, this holiday season.
While downing my fifth helping of mac and cheese with my sixth glass of wine, I realized how much I’m loving pop music this year. It could be too much turkey and carbs making me nostalgic, but despite many personal disappointments in 2012 – why, Amy Poehler and Will Arnette? why?! – the music scene has been steadily rocking my existence the past 11 months. All credit goes to YouTube and its community of awesome for constantly breathing new life into even the most overplayed hits by celebrating or ridiculing them just when I get bored. Give thanks with me to Google’s greatest acquisition by checking out my top three favorite, time-sucking viral music clips, covers and parodies. You’re welcome!
Happy Thanksgiving! While you’re savoring the day with friends and family and a big ole’ feast, we’re celebrating with a crew of our favorite artists at the table this year. Here’s what everyone’s bringing:
While that’s getting prepped, Snoop will set up the beverage station — “Gin and Juice,” anyone?
Rick Ross, the real star of this meal, will handle the hors devours: “More better, more cheddar” (“Here I Am”); ”Air train and peanuts, it’s time to slide” (Yung Joc‘s “Brand New”); “Order crab legs with the heavy butter” (“New Bugatti”); some lobster bisque (“I Love My Bitches”); and let’s get an order of those lemon-pepper Wingstop chicken wings, because why not.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING! It’s time to tackle that tender turkey for your super thankful Thanksgiving meal, and we’re here to provide you with some extra sexy beats to get you through the entire process, all the way from the moment you take your first (but not last!) sip of your mimosa to the time when it’s time to say “grace” around the dinner table. So we made the following playlist, “VH1′s Songs To Baste Your Turkey To”, which can be found on Spotify. On your mark, get set … BASTE!
You’re in the kitchen, everything you need to make the perfect turkey laid out on the bench in front of you. You’re probably feeling some anxiety, or if you’re anything like us you’re having an existential crisis and are considering fleeing the scene. IT’S GOING TO BE OK. Before you start, make yourself a mimosa and relax.
Play: Adam Sandler’s “Turkey Song” — it’s pretty funny, and along with the mimosa should help take the edge off.
Now that you’ve calmed down, it’s time to preheat the oven and grab your Turkey. This part is a purgatory of doing tiny, banal preparatory tasks.
Play: The Offspring’s “Intermission” while you prepare to prepare, and relish the final moments of your sanity.
Here comes the gross part — stick your hand up your turkey’s butt and remove the neck and giblets. Yes, ew. You might want to finish that mimosa and make yourself a new one before you start.
Play: This is a call to arms (Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger”) so steel your resolve (Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”) and de-giblet that turkey (Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”). The delicate and squeamish need not apply, this is ultimate battle — The Battle Of The Turkey Innards.