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Electronic artist James Blake reveals that he and Kanye West may record a collaboration to round out Blake’s forthcoming third album.
“In terms of the actual collaboration for this record, it looks like we should be able to get something done,” he said to Miami New Times. “I know that there’s a specific song I would like him to be on, and if he can do that by the time my record comes out, that would be fantastic.”
Blake won the Mercury Prize for his second studio album, 2013′s Overgrown. Since then, in between remixes (Destiny Child‘s “Bills Bills Bills,” Beyonce‘s “Drunk In Love”) under the moniker Harmonimix, he has been one of the many artists – including Sir Paul McCartney, and for a song called “Piss On My Grave” — linked to West’s follow-up to last year’s Yeezus. More »
Recently, Taylor Swift became the first woman to unseat herself from the Billboard Hot 100′s top spot. Prior to that, her new album 1989 had the highest first-week sales since Eminem‘s The Eminem Show – in 2002. So naturally, as E! reports, the American Music Awards chose to recognize Swift with the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence, to be presented by none other than Diana Ross.
Ross – Supremes frontwoman, disco frontrunner and future Voice guest mentor – has been honored a few times herself lately. Aretha Franklin covered the group’s 1966 No. 1 hit “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” for her concept covers album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. Later, Bette Midler offered a country and western take on another Supremes No. 1 record from the same year, “You Can’t Hurry Love,” for her girl-groups cover album It’s the Girls! More »
Sir Bob Geldof has stressed that he only has good intentions behind each rewrite of Band Aid‘s charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” The songwriter does this because he has been criticized before for questionable lyrics, like when Bono sings “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you” in the original 1984 edition. Some have also said that, while attempting to raise awareness on the ’80s drought or the ebola crisis, Band Aid’s portrayals of Africa reinforce negative stereotypes.
Last night (November 22), Emeli Sande became the latest to address recent criticism surrounding Band Aid 30, featuring One Direction, Sam Smith, Bono and herself. “Yes, I agree the lyric needs changing. In fact I feel a whole new song is required,” she says. She also reveals that she and genre-bending Beninese vocalist Angelique Kidjo wrote and sang suggested edits, Geldof ultimately left them out. See her Twitter statement in full below. More »
CL, dynamic lead vocalist of the must-hear 2NE1, surprised both K-Pop and dubstep fans when she popped up in Skrillex‘s forward-thinking debut album Recess. Then last month, she made headlines as she cemented plans to make her stateside debut next year, and while working with super-manager Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Psy). Last night (November 21), CL showed fans that she’s pulling out all the stops for her U.S. takeover, by hitting the studio and posing (above) with producers Skrillex, Diplo and RoccStar.
When Diplo isn’t working as chief architect and spokesman for Madonna‘s forthcoming new album, he has been teaming with Skrillex in the joint side project Jack Ü, as heard in Kiesza collaboration “Take U There.” Skrillex himself worked with rising moombahton star Dillon Francis on a song to appear in the latter’s upcoming EP, not to be mistaken for debut album Money Sucks, Friends Rule. Meanwhile, RoccStar’s most recent clients include Usher (“Clueless”), Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown and comeback kid Fergie.
See more snapshots from CL’s studio session below. More »
Eminem and 50 Cent star in the new, 66-track mixtape Shady Classics. This quick-cutting compilation by DJ Whoo Kid (formerly 50 Cent’s touring DJ, now Shade 45 personality) is of fan favorites from throughout the label’s 15-year history, and these songs are dizzying, vulgar reminders of just how much has changed since Shady Records was formed.
In some songs, Eminem seems to be testing out flows and subject matter – in particular, America’s lazy parenting – that would be fine-tuned for The Eminem Show. At one point, he actually shouts out Tower Records as he boasts of picking up the new Cypress Hill. And in “We All Die One Day,” he picks on rumored ex Mariah Carey while lyrically referencing Ricky Martin‘s “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”
Shady Classics arrives just two days before Eminem releases the two-disc Shady XV, which features 12 new tracks (including his Sia-featuring “Guts Over Fear”) and greatest hits like 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” Hear the career-spanning mixtape, as premiered by Hot New Hip Hop, below. More »
Usher has been revisiting his stacked back catalog during his ongoing tour. When the UR Experience hit Los Angeles last night (November 21), though, he invited next-generation R&B singers to join him on stage.
There was Kid Ink, the producer-rapper who slyly asks for consent in current single “Body Language,” also featuring Usher and Tinashe. There was Jeremih, who co-stars in DJ Khaled‘s R&B posse cut “Hold You Down.” And then there was Chris Brown, who crept up on stage, only to be met with cheers the moment he looked up at the crowd. Not even UR Experience opener August Alsina could resist from capturing the moment on his iPhone.
The older Usher has gotten, the more open he has become to working with new sounds and artists. (Lately, some have argued that he does this to a fault.) So when these younger, more nonchalant and R. Kelly-inspired singers took the stage, he followed their lead until it was time for him to peel his tank top off. (Predictably, this was met with cheers.)
Unfortunately, with Brown’s cameo (Alsina’s “I Luv This Shit” remix, “Loyal,” “New Flame”) that meant less actual singing, with the backing track doing most of the work, and more dancing to win over the crowd. Watch the UR Experience “turn all the way the f— up” – their words, not ours – below. More »
Backtracking is our recurring look back at the pop music that shaped our lives. Friends may come and go, but we’ll be spinning our favorite albums forever.
The point of TLC‘s sophomore album, CrazySexyCool, wasn’t to reintroduce T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli as personae by way of Spice Girls, despite what Wikipedia thinks.
“A lot of our producers misunderstood us when we told them the idea – they’d do a crazy song for me, a sexy song for Chilli and a cool song for [T-Boz],” Left Eye said. “We had to explain that CrazySexyCool doesn’t just describe us individually, it describes all the parts of every woman.”
Those producers included T-Boz’s childhood friend Dallas Austin, longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri and TLC’s own spunky resident rapper Left Eye – the only woman in that group.
Thank goodness for CrazySexyCool. On November 15, 1994, this R&B staple breezed in while male artists ruled the charts. (Boyz II Men‘s clean-cut, romantic crooning was king; the group’s lone sex song, “I’ll Make Love to You,” was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 straight weeks.) The album sold 23 million copies – the second best-selling LP worldwide, second only to Spice. And even as it turns 20, CrazySexyCool still feels so crucial. When reality TV mogul Kim Kardashian poses with her family for Vogue, readers remind her that she starred in a sex tape. When she poses nude for Paper, followers (ahem, Naya Rivera) remind her that she is a mother. Society at large still doesn’t get that every woman is, and has every right to be, more complex and complicated than even Left Eye had in mind. More »
Did You Hear?
:: Jennifer Lopez, already a triple threat, has become a New York Times best-selling author with her first-ever book. True Love, a memoir, divulges intimate details of her high-profile relationships with the likes of Ben Affleck and Marc Anthony. [NYT]
:: Britney Spears hosted a #6SecondsOfSpears Q&A over the weekend. Fans learned what she orders at Starbucks, what she keeps in her purse, and what she wants for Christmas this year. [Twitter]
:: Rihanna‘s #R8 could be arriving “closer than anyone realized,” according to music industry insider DJ Skee. He also claims that a new Beyonce single will arrive this week. [SPIN]
:: Prince invited rising R&B auteur FKA Twigs to his Paisley Park studios to perform a surprise show on November 15. “Words cannot express my feeling right now,” a spectator said. [Okayplayer]
:: Pitbull is among several Latin acts performing at the Calibash festival, January 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Tickets go on sale November 21. [Billboard]
:: Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B debuted over the weekend, to a slew of criticism from viewers. (Star Alexandra Shipp‘s singing was just one of their many concerns.) The biopic’s producers admitted that the fury “was hard to ignore, but you can’t dwell on it.” [The Washington Post]
Find out what music you can catch on TV below. More »
Nicki Minaj has two sides to her, as reenforced by her latest music. One moment, she acts ruthless as if to show that the male-dominated hip-hop industry cannot contain or intimidate her – see “Only,” featuring Chris Brown, Drake and Young Money label boss Lil Wayne, for the latest proof. The next, Minaj acts vulnerable, to signal in pop-informed songs that she’s getting personal. New song “Bed of Lies,” off her third studio album The Pinkprint and featuring in-demand songwriter Skylar Grey at the piano, falls in the latter category.
Without warning, Minaj debuted “Bed of Lies” earlier today (November 16), a few days after she and Grey performed a snippet on stage during the MTV EMAs. It’s a more pointed and detailed version of debut Pinkprint single “Pills N Potions,” as she confesses to popping pills and actually considering overdosing, due to a love taking advantage of her but also growing increasingly distant. Hear it below. More »
When the first version of the Band Aid collective’s charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was recorded in 1984, the studio session became a media event in of itself. Starting at 9 a.m., journalists watched closely as music superstars like U2‘s Bono, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Genesis drummer Phil Collins and Sting filed into the studio.
So on November 15, as new and established musicians alike arrived at London’s Notting Hill to record a new version of the song, this time raising awareness on the current ebola crisis, the media noticed that one notable artist was reportedly missing – Adele.
Despite announcements that she was among the dozen-plus participating artists, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” co-writer Bob Geldof (above, far right) said that Adele never responded to his request, according to The Independent. More »