No artist is exempt from the sometimes beastly Internet where leaked albums are downloaded frequently. Yesterday Rick Ross‘ highly anticipated God Forgives I Don’t leaked six days early, but Ross was very chill about the leak. Hey, why be mad when you’re a boss? After realizing fans were already jamming to his fifth album he tweeted, “#GFID out there so vibe to it..enjoy it..buy it Tuesday!!!” Ross may be busy cultivating his Maybach Music Group squad, but for his own project he enlisted a few heavy hitting MMG outsiders like Jay-Z, Andre 300 and Dr. Dre. But it’s “Diced Pineapples” featuring Wale and Drake that caught our attention. Read more…
If we promise to buy all of the Duracell Powermats, could we get a call from Beyonce, too? A new ad for the wireless phone charging station features not only Jay-Z‘s “Run This Town,” but also a rare cameo from the man and Duracell spokesman himself. The short spot stars a busy New Yorker who uses a Powermat to keep his phone at 100 percent charge all day so that, at the club at end of the night, his phone still in the green, he can pick up a ringing phone that he’s mistaken as his own. “B” is calling, and he’s not sure who that is until a hand — Jay’s hand — reaches in from above. “Yeah,” he nods as the guy hands it over. When Jay signed-up for the gig in January, he suggested that he believes Duracell and their Powermats are “providing the solutions for the future.” Which, sure! Why not. What we here at Tuner believe in, though, is a world where Jay’s got Beyonce saved as just “B” in his phone, and a future where we might all have the same! Where do we get one of these Powermats?
Rita Ora is slated as the next big thing. With a co-sign from her boss Jay-Z, there’s definitely a bright future for the Kosovar Albanian British pop singer. Already she’s opened for Coldplay on their tour and killed the stage at Summertime Ball. In September she’ll perform at Jay’s Made In America festival, which she promises to make unforgettable since it will be her first festival performance. Her name is slowly becoming one of mention, but who is Rita Ora the person? Complex magazine put the blonde bombshell on the cover to answer that question.
For starters, she grew up in the West London projects. Her older sister Elena is her road manager, Rita still gets nervous before performances, she loves Biggie, reps hard for Kosovo and she prefers Jordans over heels, which she also told VH1′s Big Morning Buzz Live last month. And guess what? She doesn’t mind the Rihanna comparisons. Not even a smudge. Read more…
Nasty Nas has been in the rap game nearly two decades, and with 10 studio albums his longevity is nearly unmatched amongst his hip-hop peers. To say he’s seen it all in the close to 20 years he’s been in the industry is an understatement. On the day of the release of Life Is Good we chatted with Nas about all things hip-hop. As someone who has worked with Frank Ocean on “No Such Thing as White Jesus,” meant for Nas’ current album but the recording session was lost, we asked him his feelings on hip-hop’s embrace of Ocean considering its homophobic past. And as a veteran of this rap thing, Nas wasn’t willing to hop on the “hip-hop is homophobic” ferris wheel. Read more…
Easily one of the most anticipated tracks off Rick Ross‘s upcoming God Forgives, I Don’t (we’ll have to reuse this line when “Crushed Pineapple” finally leaks), “3 Kings” finds the big Bawse drawing a hand from two of the rap game’s most regal, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre. Rozay has long been teasing this team-up as the “biggest collaboration in hip-hop,” and it’s easy to see why. On the track, each of the three take a turn recounting their rise to glory. For Dre, there were days mopping floors before he made it “front row at the awards.” Ross’ “twenty-stack seats at the Heat game” are a long way from the weed game he used to run. And Jay? He’ll have you know that before he and Oprah were BFFs, he was shopping at T.J. Maxx. The three certainly deserve a beat as soulful and triumphant as the one Jake-One made them, as well as the acclaim their meeting is sure to earn. It does seem fair to ask, though, because they put it out there: are they three really kings?
On America’s Independence Day, Frank Ocean finally got free. He took to his personal Tumblr to clear up the chatter started by an UK journalist’s speculations that songs on his album referenced the pronoun “he” as it relates to love. He wrote a beautiful note, originally intended for the liner notes of his major label debut channel ORANGE, that candidly and masterfully told the story of his first love—a man—who was too afraid to love him back. The shockwaves from this announcement were immediate; thankfully, instead of enduring a tidal wave of negativity, an outpouring of support flooded onto social networks from fans and celebrities (such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, 50 Cent and Rita Ora) alike. His courageous admission was the first time a young, black male R&B singer had openly admitted to loving someone of the same sex.
Given the troubled history that hip-hop, and the community that creates it, has had with homophobia, many are asking whether or not Frank’s revelation points to the genre’s growing acceptance of homosexuality, bisexuality and, ultimately, individuality.
Well, in the decades before Frank Ocean became a rising star, hip-hop prided itself on hyper-masculinity, and proving one’s manhood, which unfortunately meant disassociating yourself from anything that could be perceived as “gay.” To wit, calling a rapper “gay” was the worst insult you could hurl their way. Even as the culture-at-large became more PC, this stance did not change much in the hip-hop community; petty catchphrases like “no homo” are still used to this day as to tell the world “Hey, I’m not gay. And saying no homo puts me in the clear.” Literally countless rappers have used offensive homophobic slurs in their lyrics, hence the attention being paid to Frank Ocean’s confession.
No one could’ve predicted the massive support Frank Ocean ended up receiving from the hip-hop community. As an R&B artist (not hip-hop artist as he is oftentimes conveniently labeled), his transparency had the potential to end his budding career. Ten years ago, it almost certainly would have. Luckily for Frank, people and the genre are headed in the direction of progression. But I wouldn’t jump the gun to proclaim it’s a new day that left behind the rotten stench of homophobia in rap.
Accepting Frank is one thing. It’s quite another to talk about how homosexuality is/was/will be addressed by rappers in the future. Supporting the channel ORANGE singer does not mean that the F word —the six letter one, not the four— will not be used in rap records. It also doesn’t mean that mindsets have completely changed. If artists publicly root for Frank, but covertly wouldn’t have a close gay friend because of fear of turning gay (as if there’s a such thing), or still say no homo, or still rap lyrics laced with derogatory remarks about gay people, then is the acceptance really a facade?
Hip-hop as a genre has changed; hip-hop as a culture has changed too. In an interview with MTV.com, Juicy magazine Editor-in-Chief Paula T. Renfroe said, “Hip-hop also has grown, society as a whole has grown and that’s the beauty of hip-hop, it reflects our culture and our society.” The fact that there is room for a male singer to sing about loving another man without backlash is an example of a huge stride both genres—R&B and hip-hop—have made.
Maybe Ocean’s bravery is huge step toward the right direction, or perhaps behind closed doors (which is likely) the hip-hop community’s feelings toward the LGBTQ community doesn’t mirror the hurtful ugly slurs. Whether hip-hop is forever changed by such a historic moment is unknown. But it is worth the question: Where do we go from here?
BOB DYLAN‘S TEMPEST IS SLATED FOR A SEPT. 11 RELEASE
The Bard with a guitar (but not that guitar) returns this fall with a 35 studio album meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the day his self-titled debut hit shelves. To call this an accomplishment would be an understatement. [ArtsBeat]
COACHELLA SHIPS OUT
The promoters behind Coachella are looking out to sea for their next project: floating festivals. Music has long been an important part of cruises, but this seems like a huge undertaking. How long will it take Urban Outfitters to make 2,800 life preservers? [LAT]
He has a big ego. Such a huge ego. And we kind of love it. At Atlantic City’s Revel Hotel and Casino this weekend, Kanye West performed his first solo show since Coachella in 2011. During his set he told the crowd, “I make perfect music.” At least he followed it up by recognizing he’s a flawed human being. Performing for two nights, both sold-out (he talks like this ’cause he can back it up!), West performed “Way Too Cold,” “Mercy” with no guest appearances, “Runaway” joined by Pusha T, “New God Flow,” “All of the Lights,” and “In The Air” cover by Phil Collins. Yes, you heard that right. Yeezy showed off his novice vocal skills. Read more…
Go shorty, it’s your birthday, we gon’ party like it’s your birthday. Not only did 50 Cent drop 5 (Murder By Numbers) for free today, it’s the Queens rapper’s 36th birthday. Nine years ago he rose to massive fame with his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ at the age of 27. Along with his crazy story of being shot nine times and his distinctive flow from having his jaw wired shut, 50′s success was also partly due to his ongoing beef with Ja Rule that ultimately ended Ja’s very popular career. Fifty’s war with the Murder Inc. rapper eventually simmered out, but 50 saw an opportunity in beef with his peers–if he was constantly dissing others on wax then he’d remain relevant because people would be listening. Thus began 50′s countless diss records and feuds. It’s only right that we celebrate his birthday by highlighting the top 10 beefs of his career. Happy Beef-day, Fiddy! Read more…
Frank Ocean’s courage was all the rave on social media as folks were celebrating their 4th of July with booze and barbeque. In light of a few headlines speculating about Frank’s sexuality, he decided to put the rumors to rest by releasing a “thank you’s” letter on his Tumblr that he’d originally intended to include in his upcoming album Channel Orange. In the letter he didn’t officially “come out” as gay or bi-sexual, but he admitted that his first love was a man. Like us, a legion of fans, celebrities included, were overjoyed with his transparency and bravery. Most of all, we were happy he finally could write the words: “I feel like a free man.” Read more…