B.o.B. continues to think outside the box with his sophomore album, Strange Clouds. Elements of various musical genres —from hip-hop to jazz to country— can be heard throughout. The singer, songwriter, rapper and producer skyrocketed to success with his two monster smashes “Nothin’ On You” and “Airplanes”, both crossover tracks that featured somewhat unlikely artists singing the hook (Bruno Mars and Hayley Williams, respectively). Based on how commercially successful each of these songs were, it seems as if B.o.B. is eager to try replicate their success, as he’s recruited a number of collaborators for tracks on his new album. Whether they are household names like Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, or newcomers like Lauriana Mae, the variety of artists on the album is quite impressive. We ranked each of the songs that feature other artists, and it’s not what you’d expect.
9. “Strange Clouds” feat. Lil Wayne – We don’t know what’s up with Weezy, but his flow hasn’t quite been the same since he got outta the joint. A song about partying, drinking and smoking all night has to have an element to it that makes the listener want to partake in the fun. We don’t know if it’s believable here.
8. “Out Of My Mind” feat. Nicki Minaj: We’re getting an outer space vibe on this one. And is it just us or did B.O.B. slightly sound like Ludacris? Either way, Nicki does what she does best on this track. She plays with different animated voices, she raps, she sings. Repeat. It’s fine, but it’s nothing transcendent.
7. “Arena” feat. Chris Brown and T.I.: It’s Chris Brown and T.I., folks! Not sure that much else needs to be written other than with this trio we’re certain it will be a fan favorite.
The Force is strong with J. Cole. I first witnessed this during a performance in a small auditorium at New York University?s Kimmel Center in August of ?09, when tangible sincerity radiated off of Jay-Z?s first Roc Nation signee and alleged prot?g?. I?d become familiar with his mixtapes prior to the show and, like the NYU students, curious industry onlookers, and countless others who weren?t present, had started to believe in the young Jedi?s potential to herd hip-hop into the next golden era.
Fast forward to last night at Roc The Mic Studios in Manhattan where a tiny group of music writers gathered in the very same room where Cole recorded his ?A Star Is Born? verse for Hov’s Blueprint 3, where Beyoncé and her husband (no pressure!) stood by watching. It was the second of two intimate listening sessions for the North Carolina-bred rapper/producer?s first full-length album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, and (Jermaine) Cole was present to walk us through the sixteen tracks and single skit on his highly-anticipated September 27th release. Less nervous than he was for the first group of critics because the ice had now been broken, he made the disclaimer that he wouldn?t play songs we?d already heard (including Drake-featured ?In The Morning,? the album’s first single ?Workout,? or the song that got him signed, ?Lights Please?), but we?d get to hear everything else. While song titles and the track order may still change before Cole turns-in the final product, Jay-Z has already dubbed Cole World a ?classic.?
As we parallel park into July and officially hit the curb of this year’s halfway point, it’s time to take a quick look back at what the past six months have taught us. Not conventional life lessons, however; we’re talking about stuff that’s a little bit less intense and also involves YOU! That’s right, in the first installment of our Top 100 Videos of 2011… So Far, we’re spilling the beans on the #100-51 most clicked-and-viewed videos on VH1.com. You’ll see that this pi?ata-like list of content contains tasty treats and slippery surprises alike! We’ve got brand-new videos that just recently launched, some VH1 Classic leaning clips (hey there, Megadeth), repeat offenders, and of course, effervescent, essential vids from the music video cannon. So take a look at the first fifty videos below and don’t forget to come back later this week as we continue on our quest to discover what artist snags the #1 spot!
100. Jack Johnson, “From The Clouds”
99. Chris Brown, “Deuces”
98. Ke$ha, “Tik Tok”
97. Bruno Mars, “The Other Side”
96. Beyonc?, “Video Phone (Extended Remix)”
95. Usher, “OMG”
94. B.o.B, “Airplanes”
93. Taylor Swift, “Mine”
92. Sara Bareilles, “King Of Anything”
91. John Legend & The Roots, “Wake Up Everybody”
The highlights of last night’s MTV Movie Awards may largely have been Robert Pattinson-related, but there were a couple of great musical performances, too?like the Foo Fighters, above, who played their new single “Walk,” which incidentally has a movie-themed music video. (The band has played the show before, closing out 2005’s musical performances with “Best of You.”)
Later in the show Lupe Fiasco and Trey Songz performed a two-song medley: performing not only their collaboration “Out of My Head” (Lupe’s latest single) together live for the first time, but also the earlier Lupe single “The Show Goes On,” with Trey Songz handily supplying JR Get Money‘s “Float On” chorus.
As promised, popular write-in candidates for O Music Awards categories – a full nineteen of them – have been added to the official lists of nominees. Thanks to fan voting, all but two categories have new nominees.
Three artists lead the additions: Adam Lambert (Best Remix, for “Aftermath (Billboard Remix),” and Must Follow Artist on Twitter), Trey Songz (Fan Army FTW for TreysAngels and Favorite F**k Yeah Tumblr), and Kanye West (Favorite Animated GIF for his “Smile Then Angry” and Best Fan Forum for Kanyetothe.com).
While it may not be as catchy of a nickname as “The Situation,” there’s no denying that Trey Songz’s self-given moniker, Mr. Steal Your Girl, informs his work on wax. After bragging that he “invented sex” just a little over a year ago, Trey is back on the scene with a whole set of sexually driven material on his fourth studio album, Passion, Pain & Pleasure. Right out of the gate, his collaboration with Nicki Minaj, “Bottoms Up,” blew up on the club circuit — Rest in peace, Anna Nicole Smith! — and now his second single, “Can’t Be Friends,” is also starting to climb the charts. We caught up with Trey here in NYC a few days ago and asked him 5 Questions; take a look at the video above to find out what songs are in heavy rotation on his iPod and who his dream collaborator would be.