A$AP Rocky is not New York’s rap savior. That doesn’t mean he isn’t the most intriguing, most watched rapper to emerge from New York in the last decade. It’s hard for an artist’s project to live up to the level of hype critics and fans set for Long.Live.A$AP. Like Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, A$AP rose to the occasion with the (Polo Grounds/RCA) debut–not for producing an LP with a cohesive story arclike his Oakland colleague–but for its production and experimentation.
Criticized for his lack of depth on the mixtape Live.Love.A$AP, the 24-year-old Harlem rapper didn’t buckle under pressure to create a forced pseudo-deep LP. It’s unapologetic in the grandiose boasting of extra zeros in his bank account, the fly women he’s sexing and posturing of street life. “Yes I’m the s—-/Tell me if it stink/It feel good waking up to money in the bank/Three model b—-/cocaine on the sink/And I’m so ’bout it ’bout it I might roll up in a tank,” he raps on the lead single “Goldie.” The themes are much of the “look at how much money I have” and “I know fancy designers,” but his voice over the drums, snares and keyboards, it all bangs. Hard. Read more…
The arrival of Santigold’s aptly-titled video from the soundtrack, set in the Girls‘ backyard gives us even more reason to talk about just how she and Dunham are portraying New York City, millennial culture and fellow loosely-tied down young women who also happen to be nursing ex-boyfriends back to health. Sorry, haters. But between the increasingly direct (and steamy) approach to both sex and its critics AND a Tuner-approved playlist, you might want to throw up a white flag and jump aboard. We’ve come so far from the sounds of Charlie and Ray’s underwhelming live shows in sweaty basements!
Stephen Colbert has been celebrating his “StePhest Colbchella ’012 — Rocktaugustfest” all week. Last night he brought VH1 stapleSantigold aboard for a perplexing “gut mouth” versus “face mouth” discussion (Santigold, for what it’s worth, figures she sings from both: “the impulse is from the gut, there’s no thought in it at all.”), and then a three song set on the USS Intrepid stage. She was joined on stage by a troupe of dancers, who Colbert thought might have been raised by wolves. “I feel like they give physical life to the song, and the songs have a little bit of aggression,” she told him, assuring him otherwise. And so, all on stage together, they “gave physical life” to “The Keepers,” the funky and confident new single off of Master Of My Make-Believe. “One tough move, throw your hands up,” she sings, “Say I don’t make no rules, No one even knows I am here.” Santigold’s boat rocks to her own tune, and last night her tune surely rocked Colbert’s boat.
STEPHEN COLBERT BOOKS HIS SECOND ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL
Set this year aboard the USS Intrepid, StePhest Colbchella ’012: Rockaugustfest will push off on August 10 with Santigold, Grizzly Bear, the Flaming Lips and fun. all aboard. “I love fun.,” says Colbert. [Spin] Read more…
No Doubt don’t want to “Settle Down,” and we are thankful for that! It’s been more than a decade since Rock Steady, but today the band is back with the first single off their upcoming album Push and Shove and they clearly have wasted no time getting back into their grove.
“I’m a rough and tough, and nothin’s gonna knock this girl down,” sings Gwen Stefani on the hook of “Settle Down,” declaring herself back. The bouncy, six-minute reggae-inflected jam should sound right at home on the radio this summer. Particularly so between songs like Maroon 5‘s “One More Night” and Santigold’s “The Riot’s Gone.” As Stereogum’s Tom Breihan wisely points out, “The track echoes Santigold in the same way that Santigold’s music echoes No Doubt.” This is probably so because, in the many years since we’ve last heard No Doubt, the music-scape has evolved to include their influence and their upbeat, dance-hall inspired sound has become popular in pop music. That doesn’t mean we haven’t missed Stefani’s own stylings, though. It’s hella nice to have the originals back on the scene, making fresh music again.
The video, directed by long time No Doubt collaborator Sophie Muller, drops later today. Until then, have a listen below and let us know what you think of No Doubt’s return. Read more…
At VH1, countless hours are spent determining what music best complements our shows. In fact, the team responsible for this task, known as the Creative Music Integration (CMI) group, listens to thousands of songs each month in an attempt to figure out how best to utilize musical cues to reinforce the emotion and drama on shows like Single Ladies and Basketball Wives. We thought it would be a cool idea to give you an inside glimpse into this world.
To this end, we’ve put together a list of all the songs featured on our network in May — from artists like Santigold, Estelle, Tank, Neon Hitch and up-and-comer Elle King. Additionally, we’ve included commentary from CMI team members as to why they selected songs for particular scenes as well as a Spotify playlist for you to sample. Enjoy, and stay tuned for our June playlist!
Since Jay-Z’spress conference in Philadelphia last week we’ve been on pins and needles anticipating the announcement for the lineup of the Made in America festival he’s curating and headlining on September 1 and 2. Jigga man delivered on the goal he’d set for himself asking, “Is it going to push the culture forward?” With such a diverse selection of musical acts crossing multiple genres, we’d say the answer to Jay’s query is unequivocally, “Yes!”
Oh, can we talk about Jay sangging R&B singer D’Angelo (who hasn’t released an album in 12 years) for a minute? Over the weekend D’Angelo made headlines when a GQ profile hit the net with him looking rather scrumptious. The singer is working on an album, and whatever Jay did to get him to perform at Budweiser’s Made in America, we salute you, Jay. As diverse as the list of performers is, even more acts will be announced next week. Jay-Z can check off successful curator from his bucket list.
For each and every show that airs on VH1, a team of music supervisors here at the network have spent countless hours determining exactly what pieces of music best complement the footage that we have shot. This team —the CMI (Creative Music Integration) group— listen to thousands of songs each month in an attempt to figure out how best to utilize musical cues to reinforce the emotion and drama on shows like Mob Wives and Basketball Wives, so we thought it would be a cool idea to give you an inside glimpse into their world.
Each month, we’ll put together a list of all the songs that have been featured on the programs and promos that you see on VH1, which will be accompanied by two things: Specific commentary from the music supervisor as to why they selected a particular song for a particular scene in a show, as well as a Spotify playlist for you to sample these songs. Without further ado, here are all the songs that we featured on VH1 during the month of March!
City and Colour‘s “Hope For Now” is featured in Episode #210: The melancholic vocals from Canadian Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, capture the emotions between Ramona and her daughter after they visit Ramona’s boyfriend in jail. Saying goodbye to the father figure in her life proves to be tough as she’s reminded that he won’t be around every day like he used to be. After Green sings “how can I instill so much hope but be left with none of my own” we hear Ramona relate her daughter’s current situation with her visits to her grandfather.—Isaac, CMI Music Supervisor
We landed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport yesterday afternoon around 2 p.m. Central time or so, but the bumper-to-bumper traffic on Interstate 35 as we entered downtown Austin reminded us more than a little of rush hour in Los Angeles. It’s no surprise that the infrastructure of this college town is stretched to its limits during the annual South By Southwest Festival, as upwards of 50,000 people temporarily relocate to Austin from wherever they normally call home during this ten night extravaganza. After having their run of the town for the last few days, technology companies began ceding ground to the music industry yesterday as the Music portion of SXSW began in earnest.
When we finally got settled yesterday afternoon and picked up our badge from the cavernous Austin Convention Center, we made our way over to the Warner Sound Showcase at La Zona Rosa, located at the far east end of 4th Street. The showcase wasn’t set to start until 7:30, but when we strolled up at 7:00 or so, there were already hundreds of people lined up in the street hoping to see the likes of Neon Hitch, Theophilus London and Santigold.
After a dubstep-heavy DJ set from Alex English (Note: NOT the same Alex English that was the highest-scoring player in the NBA during the 1980s), Neon Hitch took the stage promptly at 8:30 p.m. Flanked by two shirtless dudes with tribal paint on their faces and drums around their waist, Neon Hitch opened her three-song set with “Bad Dog”, an electro stomper in which she declares “You know I’m yours so rip my clothes off.” Well, truth be told, she wasn’t exactly wearing a ton of clothes to begin with, but nonetheless, she succeeded to whip the crowd into an early frenzy with her provocative attire and compelling stage presence. She proceeded to belt out the hook to “Ass Back Home”, her hit with Gym Class Heroes, before closing her too-brief set with her current single, “Love U Betta.” She curiously refrained from dropping the f-bomb that appears in her unedited version of this song in front of the live audience, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind.
It appears that Santigold, like the name of her new single, has a big mouth. In an interview with Pitchfork, Santigold talked about her new album, but the prevailing takeaway in the media seemed to be her distaste for LMFAO. Of the schizophrenic dance act, Santigold said, “I watched a music awards show last year and started crying afterwards. I just felt really sad that people go along with stupid wack sh*t. I’m sorry, but LMFAO performed at the Super Bowl? Aren’t they a joke band? That type of sh*t makes me cry. I’m like, “Really?””.
Along with her obvious abhorrence for LMFAO, Santigold appears to take issue with Katy Perry and Lady Gaga too, parodying both of the pop stars in her video for “Big Mouth”. Santigold said of the Perry and Gaga imagery used in the video, “That was actually not intended in the way everyone thought. I am not that familiar with Lady Gaga or Katy Perry, I swear to God. I missed that. I can’t say the director missed that, though — it might have been his brilliant interpretation of my song, but we never discussed it. I’m disappointed with the state of music right now, but it’s not really about anybody specific. I think there’s a lack of true art, and the fanfare is valued over actual substance. It’s like you don’t have to make good music to be f**king huge. Now, I’ll say that, and all the little kids will be like, “F**k you. I hope you die.” [laughs] Don’t let them think you dissed Lady Gaga!”