Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Jay-Z’s 6 Most Off-The-Wall Collaborations, From Linkin Park To Blue Ivy Carter

Hova's Got Friends All Across The Music Landscape
Jay-Z is a master of collaboration. Just look at his back catalog for proof of the massive list of artists he’s worked with. But while Hova’s features with Kanye West, Rihanna and his wife Beyonce are interesting and make for great singles, the rapper hasn’t always made the most usual choices when it comes to collaboration. In fact, he’s made some pretty weird decisions that have yielded some pretty weird songs. From Linkin Park to Lenny Kravitz to his mom, Jay-Z has taken the road less traveled when it comes to collabs — for better or worse. Below we lay out six of his strangest. More »

4th Of July Playlist: 13 Songs That Celebrate Liberty & “Freedom,” Plus The Red, White & Blue

Get To Gallantly Streaming These Pop Firecrackers!
Thank goodness for the Fourth of July, because aside from Labor Day, summer vacation and a different Pride event in a different city every weekend for the past month, we need an excuse to take one more day off. Of course, this isn’t just any day off, it’s a day to sit in a folding lawn chair next to a smoking hibachi and stare pensively into the sunset, thinking about what a wonderful country we live in. And heaven knows we can’t do that without some music pumping on the old speakers, can we?

So before you light up the grill, pour the margaritas or blow off your fingers with an illegal M-80, dial up these 13 freedom-themed anthems for the ultimate soundtrack to Fourth of July fun. We promise lots of surprises and absolutely no overplayed clunkers. That’s right, we’re saying ENOUGH! to Katy Perry’s “Firework.” That girl needs a day off, too. More »

Jay-Z’s 5 Best Albums To-Date: Who You Know Fresher Than Hov?

Not to discredit the entire list you’re about to read, but it’s virtually impossible to determine which Jay-Z albums are the best. The reason being, Jay-Z is such a versatile artist, with pockets of fan bases that gravitate toward various aspects of his musical personality. He spent his earliest years developing a high speed flow under the large shadow cast by mentor Jaz-O. But as Jay-Z honed a sound of his own, he (and we) discovered the slow tempo musings of a former drug dealer looking to start his empire.

Once that empire was forged, the mainstream machine began, full of pop singles that both objectified women and celebrated them. Then the doubtful moments arrived, back when Jay-Z was entertaining retirement, only to rise like the Phoenix and become bigger than ever. His references changed (Basquiat, anyone?), and while Hov remained the “monster of the double entendre,” his flow matured with every bar notched in his path to evolution. Now, with his 13th solo album Magna Carta Holy Grail on the way, Idolator has picked five of Jay-Z’s most impactful solo albums. That means Watch The Throne is not on this list, but it definitely gets an honorable mention…for the Martin Margiela references alone. More »

Excuse Me Miss: 5 Divas Who Benefitted From A Jay-Z Verse

Clyde Has Helped Out A Few Musical Bonnies Over The Years
Jay-Z has always been pretty picky when it comes to collaborations. That’s because since he first emerged on the scene two decades ago, he knew his value right off the bat. Hov is never an accessory, he’s always the complete outfit — the main event, if you will. That’s why when an artist is lucky enough to score a Jay-Z feature, it’s kind of a big deal. Look at J. Cole, who dropped his first album Cole World: The Sideline Story two years ago: All everyone wanted to know was “will Jay-Z be featured?” In fact, that’s a question most people ask when approaching any album these days.

Let’s be real here though: Jay-Z hops on a fellow bro’s track much faster than a girl’s. Sure, he has some favorite ladies to collaborate with (shout out to King Bey), but, really, spotting Jay-Z on a diva’s track is super rare. When he does show up for the occasion, that makes its value go way up, thereby providing some career-changing results once the song releases. We’ve found five instances where a Jay-Z verse on a female track has helped the artist and/or song. From collaborations with his own wife Beyonce to the legendary Sade, Jay-Z changes lives. Check out a few of the ladies he’s worked with. More »

2013′s Best Albums (So Far): Idolator Editors Pick Their Favorite 10

Somehow, with June winding to a close, we are once more here at the halfway point in the year. It’s a time when we at Idolator like to look back and reflect on certain aspects of our lives: Did we remember to file our taxes? Have we been wearing enough sunblock? Has Beyonce really not released a new single yet?!

Collectively, we also like to put our heads together and pore over our favorite music from the first six months of the year. As we considered our early 2013 picks, big-budget major label albums made the cut, as did small, indie releases by acts you perhaps heard about for the very first time on Idolator. Speaking of which, the selection of artists you’ll find below hail from far and wide — Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom and the United States are all represented. Oh, and one of the 10 albums is actually an EP. So there.

So let’s just get right to it! Head below to catch the albums (and the EP) that took up residence in our ears (and maybe yours too) in the first half of 2013. Note: They’re ordered alphabetically by artist’s name. We’ll save the meticulous, deeply scientific ranking for our final Best Albums list at the end of the year. More »

Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” Becomes Her 7th Top 10 Single: Here’s A Refresher On The Other 6

Miley Cyrus has established herself as one of the hardest twerking players in the pop game throughout the past seven years, and if you’re not yet hip to her summertime ode to all things carefree and turnt-up, “We Can’t Stop,” then it’s time to open your ears. First of all, the song’s music video is insane. It’s also one of the five contenders in our Song Of The Summer poll (hurry up and vote — we’re announcing a winner tomorrow, pop pickers!). And did we mention that the video is absolutely bonkers? We did? Okay. Finally, “We Can’t Stop” just gyrated into the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 this week (it’s at #5), thus marking Miley’s seventh trip into the upper tier of the main singles chart.

This feat calls for a good ol’ party in the U.S.A. Our way of celebrating: looking back at Miley’s six previous Top 10 jams. From “See You Again” to “Can’t Be Tamed,” this is your refresher on saucy Cyrus’ biggest hits. So grab your Hannah Montana wig — oh, we see you’ve, um, been wearing it all along — and climb below for stroll down memory lane. More »

‘The Voice’: 10 Life Lessons We All Learned From Season 4

Such Wise Sages
Since Danielle Bradbery was announced as The Voice champ on Tuesday, we’ve taken the appropriate time to mourn for the other contestants, store our Team Michelle Chamuel glasses until her world tour and write no less than 10 unanswered letters to Xtina confirming that she will, indeed, be returning next season (because if this is all some cruel joke…).

We’ve also had a moment to reflect upon the countless lessons that can be gleaned from Season 4.

Did we say countless? We totally meant countable (10), and countdown-able.

Before Shakira and Usher abdicate their red chairs officially, take a look back on the season and — just like the eager contestants — learn and grow from the infinite wisdom of the coaches, contestants and voters alike. More »

Kanye West’s 7 Best Collaborations: Relive Yeezus’ Best Moments Assisting Rihanna, T.I. & More

Yeezy, Getting By With A Little Help From His Friends
When accessorizing, it’s typically en vogue to pair a decent outfit with an extremely expensive accessory. That’s the same function of having Kanye West as a feature on a track. Yeezy adds the necessary something needed to upgrade any hit single. The Chicago-bred rapping-producing-ranting wunderkind spent his early days playing the assist for none other than his now-peer Jay-Z. While that could have arguably been Kanye’s collaborative ceiling, he has since gone on to work with some of rap’s heavyweights while forging a career of his own. Of course Kanye’s musical trajectory isn’t without a little randomness.

Collaborations-wise, Yeezy tends to pick and choose who to work with based on a vibe, not a status. Remember his track “I Still Love H.E.R.” with Asian rap outfit Teriyaki Boyz? Sometimes the tracks he jumps on raise several eyebrows; other times they’re expected — especially when a verse by the Yeezus MC can take a song to the next level. Here are seven of Kanye West’s best collaborative moments. From the super well-known to the hyper-underground, Kanye West knows how to show up for an occasion. Check out hip-hop’s favorite accessory below. More »

Father’s Day Playlist: 10 Songs That Offer Dad-Like Advice

Walk Like A Man And Turn Up The Dial, Sonny!
It’s that time of year again, Idolofans: time to celebrate fathers! Well, not just fathers, but grandfathers, male guardians, or any man who played a part in raising us. And when one thinks of Father’s Day (it’s June 16th this year — you’ve still got time to buy a card), don’t a good number of pop songs pop into your head? Of course they do. But if they don’t, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. You didn’t think we’d let a holiday go by without commemorating it in song, did you?

As is our usual wont, we’ve spent hours combing through various research materials (YouTube) for pop hits that reflect fatherhood and the unique brand of wisdom that can only come from a man who finds interesting things to do in a garage for an entire weekend. Or maybe yours likes crosswords? Fathers are a species all their own, aren’t they?

So in the spirit of celebrating the paternal bond, we present 10 classic songs in which male vocalists (father figures, if you will) dole out helpful advice, words of encouragement or just plain old common sense to the young people in their lives. Play it for your dad and see what kind of witty gems he comes up with. If it’s something along the lines of “turn up that fabulous playlist, child!” then our work here is done. More »

Kanye West: 5 Highly Artistic Videos From Yeezus Christ Himself

It's Kanye! But Is It Art?
Sometimes his videos start a party; other times they cause seizures. Kanye West, hip hop’s resident art nerd, has crafted a sizable niche for himself based upon always pushing the artistic envelope in both his music and the visuals attached to it.

From his first video, 2003′s “Through The Wire,” West kept things high in art. He was in a near-fatal car accident a year prior (2002), forcing him to have his mouth wired shut. He documented that entire experience, filming it every step of the way. He then wrote and recorded “Through the Wire,” and by the time the clip was released, he had a video full of animated Polaroids detailing everything that happened.

Ten years later, Kanye is shutting down whole cities across the globe with residents gathering to watch his video “New Slaves” projected on the sides of buildings. It’s that level of artistry (and way of wild thinking) that has allowed Kanye West to continuously be regarded as one of rap’s forward thinkers.

Arguably, all of ‘Ye’s videos are artistic. From the minute-and-a-half video for “Power” directed by visual artist Marco Brambilla to the string of vids directed by Hype Williams, there is always something to take away from a Kanye West video. Some he even directs himself, and with multiple versions (i.e. “Jesus Walks,” “Heard Em Say,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” etc.). With West’s sixth studio album Yeezus dropping just around the corner, there will more than likely be several new videos to add to Ye’s visual arsenal. So let’s take a look back in time at five of Kanye West’s most artistic visuals. From metaphorical clips to straight up cartoons, Yeezy always has something up his sleeve. Check out the selections below.

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