You would think that the rigorous discipline of the military life and the unrestrained freedom of the music world would be at odds, but as it turns out, a number of rockers, rappers and musicians of all kinds have signed up and done their duty in defense of their countries. Some, like crooner Tony Bennett and former-Nirvana and Soundgarden member Jason Everman, have been on the frontlines of armed combat at its worst, while others like MC Hammer and Elvis Presley have served during times of relative peace. And, of course, given their natural inclination to indulge their creative impulses, guitar greats like Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead were never really cut out for Army life in the first life and were discharged before finishing their tours of duty. But on this Veteran’s Day, it’s important to acknowledge their contributions and those of all people who serve or have served in keeping their countries safe and protecting these freedoms which we hold so dear.
People. It’s time to reassess our approach to life – after all – the New Year is almost here (I know, sounds totes cray, ryyght?) WHICH brings me to my next point. When one door opens, another door must close… or a mouth. What I mean is, we need to get our vocabularies in check. You might not realize this, but the slang terms you’ve been using are dating you. Badly. (I’m lookin’ at you ’80s babies.) When we use words that have reached their expiration date, we not only risk vernacular food poisoning, but we put our “cool factor” at risk. And obvi, no one wants that. So please, have a seat, make yourself some Earl Grey and mosey through my comprehensive guide to 15 Slang Terms You Need To Retire.
It’s time guys. It’s time.
They say there’s a story behind every song. Sometimes those stories involve lots and lots of lawyers. Songwriting and music publishing has always been where the real money’s at in the music business, especially these days as physical record sales continue to fall. Whether we’re talking about stolen melodies, un-credited lyrical contributions or samples used without permission, the following songs landed their performers in court and in most cases paying the price for their alleged artistic appropriations. These are the most litigated songs in music history.
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!
Is it really fair to put anyone against Rakim? If there is one consistent name that appears on lists of greatest MCs of all time, hands down, it’s Rakim. We think his contender LL Cool J is up for the challenge. LL may be acting more than rapping these days, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have bars. I shudder just thinking of “Second Round KO” directed at Canibus or “To Da Break of Dawn” aiming shots at Kool Moe Dee, Ice-T and MC Hammer. He’s sold 7.5 million albums with five top 40 hits on the Billboard charts. He’s known for popular tracks like “I Need Love” that show a glimpse of his softer side, and “Mama Said Knock You Out” that solidifies his toughness. Do not get it twisted. LL will wax you on wax. Get it?
Rakim is a legendary emcee. Lyrically, he’s so amazing you don’t feel comfortable calling him a rapper — only emcee will suffice. Not only was his debut album with friend Eric B deemed a classic, Paid in Full was considered the greatest hip-hop album of all time by MTV. There’s no sense in even naming the rappers he’s influenced because it’s pretty much everyone worth their rap credentials. Steve Huey of Allmusic.com said, “Rakim is near-universally acknowledged as one of the greatest MCs —perhaps the greatest— of all-time within the hip-hop community.” That said, whereas LL became a household name, Rakim never reached massive mainstream success. With Eric B., he released four albums, only completing three solo projects. He took a 10 year hiatus between his second (The Master) and third (The Seventh Seal) album. He only sold two million records in his over 20 year career. But what Rakim lacked in commercial success he makes up in talent.
This one’s going to be juicy. Vote to advance your favorite Yo! MTV Raps era emcee to the next round. Voting closes on Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET. Read more…
One of the great things about Yo! MTV Raps was the versatility of talented artists that appeared as guests on the show. Everyone from Usher to MC Hammer to Eddie Murphy stopped by to talk to Ed Lover and Doctor Dre. Speaking of Murphy, no one is exempt from this funny man’s scathing sense of humor.
According to Dre, when he and Ed Lover interviewed a young burgeoning Murphy, it was 95 degrees that day, which would be fine, except the interview was outdoors. That day, Doctor Dre decided to wear a tight fitting, multicolored leather jacket despite the scorching heat. Not one to let an opportunity to tease the host pass, the master of stand up comedy made him feel silly for wearing such a thing on a brutally hot day.
Who doesn’t love flashbacks, particularly to hip hop’s golden era of the late 80s and early 90s? Television and music in that era were so badass, and the fashion? Well, that had it’s ups and down. However, there’s no arguing that this era was when hip hop expanded from a genre to a global culture, and throughout it all, Yo! MTV Raps was at the forefront of the movement documenting classic moments of hip hop culture.
On Wednesday night, VH1 will be airing a 2-hour special, The 40 Greatest Yo! MTV Raps Moments, beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT. To whet your appetite, we pulled a bunch of classic stills from the legendary program —everything from badboy Bobby Brown to a (non-holographic) Tupac going off on the Hughes Brothers to Mary J. Blige pre-“No More Drama.”