Happy New Year! While we were out celebrating, many musicians hit stages across the country to help ring in 2013 in grand style. Let’s relive the magic of the eve with a few of our favorite performances:
Taylor Swift rang in the new year in Times Square, wearing a glittering red moto-jacket and black leather pants, and with just a dash of trouble. A very hyped up version of “I Knew You Were Trouble,” her new single and her foray into dub-step, that is. The chorus’ much ballyhooed about wubb-wubbs were dialed all the way up for the occasion, and matched with some impressive pyrotechnics. There was also a little calypso added to the second verse, because why not? Then she transitioned into “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” not a beat missed and the cute “this is exhausting” skit and all. And of course she and her new beau, One Direction‘s Harry Styles, sealed the night with a kiss. Aww!
2012 was the year of being or getting #turntup. Crunk songs encouraging partying, drinking and the good life were the soundtrack to turning up. French Montana‘s “Pop That” instructed women on how to, err, pop their booties at a party or club. It easily was one of the summer’s most popular anthems. In the same vein was Juicy J‘s “Bands A Make Her Dance” which suggests rolls of money secured by a rubber band will indeed make a girl dance. Not that we frequented the strip club or anything, but word on the street is strippers made this their unofficial theme song.
Other crunk songs had less to do with booty popping or stripping and more to do with intimacy–straight grown and sexy style. Take for instance Kelly Rowland‘s “Motivation” that inspired a body roll whether you were at your desk at work or in your car at a red light. Fun.‘s “We Are Young” isn’t your typical crunk song, however, if the DJ played this song at a party you witnessed the crowd going wild. So without further ado, here’s 16 of the year’s crunkest songs. Shout out to the artists for enabling our turned up ways. Read more…
The year is running down, and like everyone else, we are bundling up our most memorable musical moments from the year into a slew of Best Of’s. Before we get to the more obvious lists — the best albums, the best songs — we thought we would have a little fun. First up: 9 delightful collaborations, made all the more so for their unexpectedness. We aren’t talking Watch The Throne-style of-course-they-would team-ups, we’re talking collaborations that we couldn’t in our wildest dreams have imagined or that we thought we would never see, like — well, these nine:
Barton Hollow is totally “an indie record much cooler than mine,” but more careful observer might have predicted this unlikely but delightful collaboration, as Swift began yammering about her fellow Nashville transplants The Civil Wars on twitter long before this was even a possibility. We, however, were left breathless upon learning that one of the day’s biggest pop stars had teamed-up with one of our favorite You Oughta Know acts — and for a song for such a pivotal moment in the Hunger Games movie, no less! Joy Williams harmonizing turns Taylor’s girlish coo haunting, and John Paul White‘s patient guitar plucking gets the whole thing swirling. See also:“The Last Time,” Taylor’s distressed duet with Gary Lightbody of Northern Ireland’s mostly absent as of late folk rock set Snow Patrol. Taylor is a slick machine when it comes to her music, and it was a surprise to see her reaching out of bounds for this one.
Hard to believe as it may be given the boom box beats and all the sing-rapping that resulted, Warrior is allegedly a tribute to the genre Ke$ha loves the most: rock and roll. If you really strain your ears, you may hear some of that “old hippie rock” in the breakdown of “Die Young.” You won’t have to try so hard with “Dirty Pop,” which features Iggy Pop, a true and blue rock star and someone Ke$ha has spent a lot of time talking about through the years. The joy she must have felt the first time she heard him call her “Wild Child” on her own song is evident. See also:“2012,” K$’s duet with fellow weirdos The Flaming Lips.
Last night Big Boi previewed a handful of songs from Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors at a Def Jam hosted event Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn, Def Jam hosted a preview for the album. The crowd milled as Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty spun on loop, jumping to attention only once the evening’s host, DJ Cutmaster Swift, turned it over to Outkast classics — “ATLiens,” “Rosa Parks,” “B.O.B.” — to get the crowd hyped while we waited on the cause de celebre. Big Boi showed up just as “SpottieOttieDopalicious” wrapped, in a camo jacket and with a heavy looking medallion hung around his neck, and and ready to perform six or so of the 17 tracks that made the his album with him. All said and done, we left with the sense that Vicious Lies album will be every bit as funky and danceable as Sir Lucious, but that it also might harken back to his days as the rap happy half of Outkast. Read more…
Rihanna has invited her “Cockiness” co-star and one of the year’s most in-demand rappers, A$AP Rocky, to join her on her country crossing Diamonds tour (dates below). The self-described pretty motherf***er from Harlem has seen quick rise in the last year, his standout hits like “Peso” and “Goldie” earning him a hefty $3 million record deal, a guest spot on Rihanna’s “Cockiness (I Love It)” remix and a turn on Drake‘s Club Paradise tour — but that all pales in comparison to the stadiums he’ll be helping Rihanna fill come March. Read more…
Will A$AP Rocky‘s endlessly delayed major label debut LONGLIVEA$AP come out while these four rappers are still the hottest in the game? That’s the least of Rocky’s worries, if there’s any truth to his new song “F***in’ Problems,” featuring a particularly trendy trio: Drake, Kendrick Lamar and 2 Chainz. Over a heavy-banging and almost sinister Noah ’40′ Shebib beat, the boys take turns filing their complaints. Rocky is bummed that he’s “never met a motherf***er fresh like me.” Drake’s not buying your excuses, instead he suggests: “Ain’t hear my album? Who you sleepin’ on? You should print the lyrics out and have a f***ing read-along.” Lamar asks that you “your friends need to be up to a par/ See my standards are pampered by threesomes tomorrow.” And as for 2 Chainz, he’s just here for the hook, where he and Drake double-up and lament their taste in “bad bitches.”
A$AP Rocky kicked off this year’s MTV Video Music Awards in high style, taking the stage with Rihanna to perform their new collaboration “Cockiness (Remix)” — and then taking a big ole’ handful of her behind. Rocky turned away laughing when Rihanna pushed him off, and the moment that soon thereafter spread across the internet via YouTube clip and of course .gif since then. Rather, Rocky seems content to brush off the moment as just that. “I thought it was just one of those moments,” he said, speaking with V-103. “I didn’t know everyone was really talking about it.” Read more…
“Cockiness” —the hook of which features a sample by none other than Greg Kinnear (!!!)— is one of the raciest tracks on Talk That Talk, an album we described when it was released as “the dirtiest pop album since Madonna’s Erotica.” The chorus of “Suck my cockiness/Lick my persuasion” was liberally bleeped by the MTV censors, but one thing that MTV did not get around to blurring out was the moment when A$AP Rocky grabbed a handful of RiRi’s heinie. And when we say handful, we mean a HANDFUL.
And, best news of all: the wait just got shorter yet. MTV has moved the Video Music Awards start time up one hour so as to avoid running up against President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, and causing conflict for those equally engaged with pop as with politic. The show will now run from 8 PM to 10 PM, at which point you can switch over to your news channel of choice to watch Obama. Maybe you can have it all.
The countdown is in full effect for Thursday night’s MTV Video Music Awards. And one of our favorite good girls gone bad is performing at this year’s extravaganza.The past couple of months has consisted of Rihannavacationing in Cannes, France and chatting with Oprah in her home island of Barbados. As she gears up for her big VMA performance, Riri is treating us to a new exclusive single “Cockiness (Love It)” featuring A$AP Rocky. Harlem newcomer opens the catchy song that we’ve come to love for its bridge and hook with a vibrant verse proving why he’s a rapper on the ultimate come up. “I’m wearing fox fur/rocking Oxfords/eating oxtails/sipping Cockspur,” he raps. Rihanna and A$AP Rocky on a track together is everything that is right with pop and hip-hop! Listen to the full track at http://rihanna.mtv.com. The song will be available on iTunes after the VMAs on Thursday.