Let’s call it the Rita Ora bubble. The Kosovo born, London raised star has hard at work on her debut album since 2009 and all the while she’s been busy building herself hype. Over the past few years, she’s given a lot of interviews, played festivals, made nice with Rob Kardashian, and begun hinting at a fashion line in the works. She’s made sure to keep visible and to always be looking good with crimson lips, fly style, and a big smile. As a result, she’s been fun to root for, and not just because she’s got a big dog like Jay-Z behind her. But she only has a handful of songs to her name, and with her debut release Ora finally close on the horizon, we have to wonder what exactly we are going to get. Can she live up to the hype? Or will the bubble pop? Let’s break it down. Read more…
GARY OLDMAN GIVES A DRAMATIC READING OF R. KELLY‘S MEMOIR, SOULACOSTER
Pile all the Oscars over here and the Pulitzers over there, so that we can divvy them out accordingly for this award worthy rendering of an award worthy text. [Gawker]
COURTNEY LOVE, HORRIBLE BOSS: “EVIL” EDITION
The Hole frontwoman’s former assistant has pressed charges, alleging that Love was an “improper and evil” boss. Which actually kind of sounds like a kind of awesome title to hold, don’t you think? [E!]
Touted as the new Rihanna, the hype around Rita Ora is building like nothing else. After we got excited about her Biggie sampling track “Party & Bulls*t” last week, we’ve now learned that the official first single from her forthcoming debut LP is actually “R.I.P.” featuring rapper Tinie Tempah (listen below). And if you had any doubt about the behemoth that is about to be Ora, let that be dashed by the all star team behind her — not only is she under Jay-Z‘s label, Roc Nation, the new track is penned by none other than hip hop wunderkind, Drake, and co-produced by Chase & Status with Swedish duo Stargate.
Of the track itself, “R.I.P.” is set to be a pop anthem. With synth led beats, the song is a powerful dance number following in 2011’s trend towards club fueled pop, but this time with a grittier edge that takes shape with Ora’s sexy vocal and Tinie Tempah’s energetic verse. With a girl power theme, the track makes happy bedfellows with other hits of the season including Katy Perry‘s angry, moving on, triumph against heart break, “Part Of Me.” At only 21-years-old the British/Alabnian Ora should be both revered and feared. As Jay-Z’s newest protegee, it seems like Ora’s destiny is written, so prepare yourself for Ora to be the number one lady in pop this year.
[NEW] Listen to Rita Ora U.K. Debut Single “R.I.P.” feat. Tinie Tempah [Single Review] [Arjan Writes]
[Photo: Getty Images]
We have a lot of artists stopping by our office at VH1 to chat and perform, and we often ask them questions we think you’ll want to hear. But with the debut of our new Pass the Bowl feature, we’re flipping this dynamic by letting the artists themselves do the asking. For each edition of Pass the Bowl, an artist will answer a question and then replenish the bowl with another.
First up was Tinie Tempah, the UK rapper who landed on our Song of the Summer countdown for his hit single “Written In The Stars.”?As his name suggests, Tinie has a sense of humor, and he showed it off when leaving his question: “Have you ever farted whilst having sex?” Nashvilled-based pop act Hot Chelle Rae, which also has a summer hit with its single “Tonight Tonight,” left a zinger as well: “If you could punch one celeb in the face… who would it be?”
We can’t wait to hear how these questions are answered. Stay tuned.
On Tuesday, we shared some of Tinie Tempah’s thoughts on mentally transitioning from the UK to the US as an up-and-coming artist in the hectic world of hip-hop. Because the London native goes back and forth across the pond so frequently, we also asked Tinie to give us a cheat sheet of sorts, helping to get us looped-in to the who’s who of British rap. Check out his list of personal favorites below, because after all, you never know if one of these guys might be next.
GIGGS (IF YOU LIKE: Gucci Mane)
“Definitely be on the lookout for Giggs, he?s doing his thing,” preached Tinie. After collaborating with B.o.B and a slew of other big-name British rappers, Giggs continues spitting coke-rap bars for days. Style-wise, Tinie compared him to both Young Jeezy and Gucci; embodying the hustler image, Giggs served a two-year bid for a gun charge back in 2003, but inked with XL Recordings (see: M.I.A., Tyler, The Creator, Dizzee Rascal) to distribute his third solo LP next year off of self-made label, SN1 Entertainment.
With such an oversaturation of music from ?up-and-coming? rappers these days, it?s a constant struggle to differentiate the rookies with potential from the mediocre flashes in the pan. Every day, it seems, there?s a new solo artist, duo or squad that you’re compelled to listen to, and just keeping track of the influx of talent calls can be exhausting for listeners. If you?re a rapper or emcee trying to penetrate ?the game,? it must be intimidating, right? Now imagine you?ve got an extra handicap: You?re British.
With an alley-oop assist from Eric Turner?s booming ?Written In The Stars? chorus, the Capitol-drafted English import rapper Tinie Tempah is gaining early momentum on this side of the pond, and remains determined to do something that very few UK spitters have done before: “break” in America. Tinie has done quite well for himself in his native U.K., as his most recent album Disc-Overy debuted at #1 on the British charts and launched four Top Five singles (including two number ones), and was England’s top-selling debut album by a Brit in 2010. Two BRIT Awards, a recent BET Award for Best International UK Artist and a well-reviewed performance at Glastonbury later, it appears the young rapper is getting on the board fast. But even with those accolades under his belt, finding quick success in America isn?t a given, and Tinie knows that. Between breaking the barriers at crossover radio without getting “too pop” while also getting acclimated with our snooty, regionally-structured hip hop scene, it would appear that his path is a bit steep.
When we sat down to interview Tinie earlier this month, he told us all about his transitional journey from overseas thus far. Lucky for him, some friends of ours helped him mentally prepare for this moment. While supporting The Script on tour in Australia, Tinie received a much-needed pep talk from the band that had experienced some tough American crowds of their own when they first made the North Atlantic journey. ?Just brace yourself,? they told him, ?some of the shows are going to be a little bit gun-wrenching.? The coached warning was helpful and wound up serving as an airbag when Tinie performed before crowds of ten to twenty thousand people one night, and then under one hundred the next. ?It has been fun, and more than anything, it?s a humbling experience ?cause is just shows that, you know, that you?ve never really made it until you?ve made it, and there?s always something more you can be doing, so, yeah, I like it? it?s all part of the game.?
The Mercury Prize announced its twelve-album shortlist of the best British and Irish albums released between July 2010 and July 2011 earlier today, and Adele and PJ Harvey are the leading nominees?at least according to British bookies, who gave 4-to-1 odds for each of the two artists. Both have been nominated for a Mercury Prize before: Adele in 2008 for 19 and PJ Harvey three times, of which she won once, in 2001, for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Other nominees that have gotten some traction with United States artists include British rapper Tinie Tempah and Jamie Lidell-via-dubstep soulster James Blake, who played at this weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival.
The closed-door judging process for the Mercury Prize, founded to be a “Booker Prize for music,” is best explained in a 2003 Guardian piece. The shortlist ranges from the obscure and localized (localised?), like King Creosote & Jon Hopkins‘s Diamond Mine, to, well, Adele. The nominees also span ages, from neophyte rock bands like Everything Everything to UK mainstays like Elbow. And despite some of the left-field nominees, the prize’s short history has British favorites of ours like Suede and Pulp, so we’re curious who will walk away with the prize in September.
Adele, PJ Harvey Top Mercury Prize Nominations [Billboard]
[Image: Getty Images]
According to the calendar, until the Summer Solstice occurs on June 21, we’re still firmly in the grasp of Spring. That said, pretty much everyone we know considers “summertime” to be the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. To wit, this past weekend millions of Americans broke out their barbeque grills, removed their sandals from storage, and spent the long weekend soaking up the sunshine with family and friends for the first time since last summer (and, if the temperatures here in NYC were any indication, it sure as hell felt like summer with temperatures hovering in the low 90s).
One of our favorite parts about the summertime is the way that music takes on an even more omnipresent role in all of our lives. Sure, we all listen to music year-round, but during the winter months, music is generally something you only experience either inside or through earbuds. Once the summertime rolls around, though, suddenly you start hearing music blasting EVERYWHERE: rattling out from car speakers, blaring from boomboxes while you’re lounging poolside, emanating from an iPod dock when you’re chilling in the park enjoying a picnic, and even crackling through old transistor radios while you’re camping in the woods.
And each year, one song emerges from the pack to stand out as that year’s Song of the Summer. It’s not generally a title that is officially anointed by any governing board, but we here at VH1 wanted to put a little science behind the emotion that these Songs of Summer convey.
Hence, we’re excited to announce that we here at VH1 will be tracking this year’s Song of the Summer from now until Labor Day. So, you’re no doubt wondering, what artist has the lead out of the gate: Lady Gaga? Adele? Bruno Mars? Continue along to find out…