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 critical acclaim the Compton newcomer has received from good kid, m.A.A.d city has Kendrick Lamar gassed. He lived up to the hype and delivered one of the year’s best albums, thus his confidence is understandably high. It’s level of highness has him thinking he can spar with Nas and Jay-Z in the studio. GQ’s Mark Anthony Green profiled the 25-year-old rapper and here’s what we learned:
Kendrick’s dad never got back his dominoes.
All the scenarios in GKMC are real, and actually took place in one day.
Sherane is a real person. In case you were wondering, her name’s not Sherane. “Hopefully she’s doing good, you know, but karma is a bitch.” Read more…
On this week’s episode of the VH1 Top 20 Countdown, we’re rolling out the Top 20 videos of the year from Herald Square, New York City. That’s right, all the videos that have led the countdown throughout the different seasons of the year will now battle it out for Top 20 supremacy. But before the show airs on Saturday at 9am EST, you can still cast your vote for the video you think should take the crown for 2012. Who will it be? You’ll have to tune-in and check back with us on Saturday to find out!
When we began compiling our Best Songs of 2012 list, there were many differing opinions, and after briefly toying with the idea of pitting all our staff against one another in a Hunger Games fight-to-the-death scenario against the backdrop of Times Square, we conceded that the most diplomatic and least murderous thing to do would be to each submit our own list. You know, in the name of preserving a civil work environment and whatnot (not to mention our longstanding policy of avoiding contact with the human resources department). So while we didn’t battle it out in a conference room or some such nonsense, each one of us faced an internal battle — choosing our favorite songs of the year.
As far as consensus is concerned, there were 21 songs that appeared on multiple ballots, but only eight that appeared on three or more lists: Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe” (4 ballots), Frank Ocean‘s “Pyramids” (4 ballots), fun.‘s “We Are Young” (4 ballots), Gotye‘s “Somebody I Used To Know” (3 ballots), P!nk‘s “Just Give Me A Reason” (3 ballots), Usher‘s “Climax” (3 ballots), Azealia Banks‘ “212″ (3 ballots), and Miguel‘s “Adorn” (3 ballots).
(Btw, before we get into this, we’d like to note that we put together the following Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure: VH1 Staffers Pick Their Favorite Songs Of 2012. It’s sequenced in alpha order by artist first name, so we wholeheartedly recommend you hit Shuffle while listening to this 92 track playlist. Now, on with the show…)
Last night before Cassadee Pope was crowned the winner of Season 3 of The Voice (congrats!), Rihanna and Bruno Mars hit the stage to show of their most definitive voices. These two have been been making the competition show rounds this season — recently: Rihanna killing it on The X Factor UK, Mars bringing down the house on The X Factor — and sounding pretty great on all of the stages. Last night was no exception, Rihanna literally shinning bright and beautiful while performing “Diamonds” in a black bedazzled jumpsuit (above); and a dashing and sunglass shaded Mars singing his gutting new ballad, “When I Was Your Man” (below). Pope would be wise to take some cues from these two, because — see how easy they make sounding so good seem? They’ve got this down pat.
2012 has been an interesting year for the music business. As chart genres shift and technology continues to influence how and what we consume, in-flux trends seem to fly in out of nowhere.The viral sensation breakout star, for example. But can we go back to basics for just a moment? These people are here to entertain us and sing, right? Like, into microphones and send sound waves into the universe. Whether their songs permeated the charts all year or their pipes are ones to keep an eye out in the future, the following 15 voices were the most noteworthy in 2012.
In addition to being the voice behind David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” this year, Sia also wrote the lyrics and melody for Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and her talent should be recognized, damn it.
3. Kendrick Lamar
Through storytelling, K-Dot has the versatility to sound nervous, vulnerable and shrieky, macho and intimidating, soft and robotic, Compton tough, and instructively monotone.
“All you [chicks] is my sons,” is what Britney Spears is somewhere rapping in a mirror after topping Forbes‘ top earning women in music list. Britney indeed made a comeback–a $58 million dollar one. The bulk of the pop singer’s $58 million earning can be attributed to her latest album, Femme Fatale, and its tour. Her fortune increased with endorsements and her fragrance line with Elizabeth Arden. After a rough patch of misfortunes it’s good to see Brit back on top. Read more…
Her sea-punk cribbing green-screen act may have had the Internet up in arms, but what we really thought was most jaw-dropping about Rihanna‘s recent Saturday Night Live appearance was that stunning new ballad she performed called “Stay.” Rihanna’s not much of a vocalist, and studio 8H is not generally known as a place to really sing, but sing Rihanna did and she sounded so good. We didn’t know Rihanna could do — or even wanted to, for that matter — but we were blown away by it, and we were happier yet to see her do it again this weekend on The X Factor UK finale.
On a big stage and in a futuristic white cut-out dress, again finding emotional range and strength in her voice that we haven’t come to expect from her. The airplane-hanger sized space she was performing in remained silent through the song and when she moved into “We Found Love” without skipping a beat. She sang the first verse pared-down and from the gut like she did with “Stay,” but then seemed to catch herself. “Ooh!” she squealed, and the stage began spewing sparks and what had been a quiet performance erupted into some sort of spectacular laser-ridden rave we’ve only ever dreamed of. And so it seems, that first and very good SNL performance was no fluke — Rihanna’s for sure got that x-factor.
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.