The 2012 SXSW Music Festival is in the books, y’all. Your friendly neighborhood VH1 Tuner team was down in Austin for five days, but it felt more like a month (in a good way!). By that, we mean that Austin is a very inviting place, the kind of city that is big enough that you don’t get bored by it, but small enough that you get familiar with the layout quickly. In short, by the time we left the city on Sunday afternoon, it sort of felt like home.
If you’ve never been down to Austin —this was actually the first time down there for both myself and our ace photographer, Jen Marigliano— we wanted to give you a vibe of what the city is like during the festival. So, in this special SXSW edition of our long-running Music Seen feature, you’ll get a sense of what we experienced during our short trip to the Lone Star state. You’ll see some of the artists that we spent time with (like B.o.B, T.I., Neon Hitch, Train, Kimbra and more!), the crowds of people who fly in from all over the world to see live music at intimate venues, and how music truly takes over this awesome college town for six days each and every March. Enjoy!
“Here Ye, Hear Ye” was one of the first songs that Tip recorded after he got sprung from the Big House back in October, and it’s a real window into T.I.’s state of mind during the 11 months that he spent incarcerated in the federal prison system (“Still baffled how my life unraveled / In the meantime time just traveled.”) As for how it came together, Pharrell told Hot 97′s Funkmaster Flex back in October that “My man came home and I just sent him something. And he got to it. You know what it is? He just got home. He’s in training. He’s getting ready. These are pull-ups, push-ups for Tip.”
Sometimes “movements are bigger than single records,” says Jay-Z in Young Jeezy’s new biographical film, A Hustlerz Ambition; a comment that can easily summarize the Snowman’s rise to fame. Last night, in two theaters at New York City’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema, the documentary tied to the release of Jeezy’s fourth album, Thug Motivation 103: A Hustlerz Ambition, was unveiled and screened for the very first time by Def Jam and the man of the hour himself. Chronicling the drug-slinging trap rapper’s evolution, the film documents both sides of Jeezy’s (real name: Jay Jenkins) personal and professional lives, focusing on painful, comedic and triumphant moments while on his path to becoming a bonafide player in the rap game.
Making the audience privy to many intimate details of his life, the film delves into Jeezy’s childhood, how his uncle “Bo” first gave him forty dollars to flip at age 11, the divorce of his military father and substance abusing-mother (who he later saw buy and be high on crack), living with his grandmother in Hawkinsville, Georgia and utilizing her stove to dominate the streets, fighting for paternity rights to his son, and battling severe health problems like Bell’s Palsy and polyps on his vocal cords. While the glimpse into his personal history is informative and helps to understand his overall story, the film, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Chris Robinson, is mostly geared toward shedding light on Jeezy’s relentless drive to achieve everything he wants in life, plus much more. Read more…
VH1′s Top 20 Video Countdown is premiering Kid Rock‘s video for his new song, “Care,” featuring Angaleena Presley & T.I this weekend, and it’s just in time to get you into the spirit of giving this holiday season. The video is cast in black and white and features a moody looking Kid Rock perched in front of a brick wall, crooning and playing guitar. Footage of Kid Rock jamming is interspersed with images of the everyman, and the message is clear — there are people suffering. Kid Rock’s lyrics urge us to “care” about the less fortunate, with lines like, “I can’t change the world and make things fair, the least that I can do is care.” It’s an anthem for the holiday season to give the more fortunate some serious perspective, championing hope for empathy and humanity.
The big winner at the fifth annual BET Hip-Hop Awards last night was, as we predicted, “Look At Me Now,” taking home Best Hip Hop Video, Reese’s Perfect Combo Award, Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse (Busta Rhymes), and People’s Champ Award powered by Verizon. But the performance of the night went to future VH1 reality star T.I.. Sure, we loved the cypher, and we will always cheer for a performance by Heavy D, no matter how inexplicable, but T.I.’s homecoming performance won the night.
We may be getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. The two-song Atlanta-repping performance kicked off with Young Jeezy, ringed by fire, spitting his new single “F.A.M.E.,” for which T.I. joined him onstage, providing his guest verse without stealing the spotlight. Then he kicked into “I’m Flexin’,” and even without support from Big K.R.I.T. he absolutely killed it, even jumping into the crowd and welcoming attendees to his city, even as they were welcoming him home from prison. Attention, Atlanta: your king’s back.
Last night, T.I. joined Taylor Swift onstage at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena for a rendition of his own “Live Your Life,” with the country-pop singer providing Rihanna’s hook. That duet (above) was merely the cherry atop a huge weekend for the until-recently incarcerated rapper. Friday night, he released “I’m Flexin’,” his first post-prison single, featuring (and produced by) Big K.R.I.T., then went straight to Club Esso for a “Welcome Home” celebration that doubled as a BET Hip Hop Awards pre-party. After that ceremony, which will premiere on BET at 8PM ET on Tuesday, October 11, taped on Saturday, T.I. co-hosted an after-party with Diddy, and even served as a mediator when his co-host responded poorly to an attendee’s taunts (the guest bragged about specifically not drinking C?roc, for which Diddy is a spokesman).
The rapper’s appearance at Swift’s Sunday night show, then, was the end of a very long weekend. T.I. has always been a hard-working MC, but he seems doubly determined to put in work after his recent prison stay. We’re looking forward to looking behind the scenes of this period when his reality show starts airing next year. Read more…
Ever since the first time that someone decided to break out a turntable at a block party in the Bronx, scandal and hip hop have gone together like peanut butter and jelly. From notorious murders and untimely deaths to sleazy sex scandals and high-profile arrests, rarely does a week go by without some sort of drama going down in the hip hop community. On VH1?s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, which debuts this Sunday, September 18, at 8 p.m. ET/PT, we?ll count down the most mind blowing, controversial, stunning and horrific moments ever.
VH1′s 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments is a two-hour special, which will immediately be followed by the television premiere of our latest Rock Doc, Planet Rock: The Story Of Hip Hop And The Crack Generation. It’s a night that hip hop fans won’t want to miss! To get a taste of what it will be like, follow along to watch comedian and familiar VH1 talking head Donnell Rawlings share his personal thoughts on what the most shocking thing about hip hop is.
Chartbeat: The Game Topples The Throne But Will Make Way For Lil Wayne
By just a 4% margin, The Game‘s R.E.D. Album tops the Billboard 200 this week, just narrowly squeaking ahead of Watch The Throne (still strong in its second week). We wonder whether The Game’s promise on Twitter to follow anyone who proved that they bought two copies of his album made a difference. In any case, Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter IV is predicted to sell nearly ten times as many this coming week as either album sold last week, and though the Red Hot Chili Peppers likely won’t match that, I’m With You Throne. [Billboard] Read more…
It’s that time of year again! When we?honor thy father by running out to?the nearest department store?to get?the big guy?a tie that?he’ll accept with a smile and probably never, ever?wear. I kid, I kid! In all seriousness, this Sunday marks yet another Fathers’ Day, and it goes without saying that the job is a tough one that deserves recognition. Dirty diapers, puberty meltdowns, giving proper advice… the list of fatherly?duties is literally never-ending. And that, my friends, is exactly why we have to hand it to the gentlemen?who’ve made it on?our Top 20 Daddy Tally list.
Not only are these distinguished men highly successful in the ultra-competitive music industry, but they’ve managed to achieve their success while also fathering?HUGE tribes of children. That’s right, each papa bear on our Top 20 list has upwards of five children, and whether it’s serial philanderer Bob Marley, sperm donor extraordinaire David Crosby (hey Melissa Etheridge!) or rumored father of 75 bouncing babies (!!!), Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, they all have more than “earned” their spot.
It’s hard to believe it, but a quick check of the calendar shows that we’re almost halfway through the summer. Yes, already! On a related note, a quick check of the pop charts and our own Top 20 Video Countdown shows that Katy Perry‘s “California Gurls” has had a stranglehold on the top spot for the last few weeks, clearly cementing herself as the favorite to take home the this year’s Song of the Summer prize. However, don’t go engraving her name on the award just yet! Atlanta’s prodigal son, T.I., has been out of the clink and hard at work in the studio for a few months now and is ready to enter the race with “Got Your Back” (with a chorus featuring the sultry vocals of Keri Hilson). We’re excited to bring you a :30 sneak of the video here on the VH1 Blog today, and be sure to tune in to our Top 20 Video Countdown this weekend to see the whole thing. Let us know what you think in the comments!