That mysterious photo of Malia Obama in a Pro Era shirt may have flummoxed the Secret Service, but it’s the latest indicator suggesting hip-hop revivalism is for the kids. The obsession with NYC’s “Golden Age” of rap is no longer solely the realm of bitter, old hip-hop heads, as young New York MCs like Pro Era leader Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Bishop Nehru and Your Old Droog (and, by extension, their fans) embrace the street-wise lyricism and psychedelic boom-bap of that early ’90s East Coast movement. More »
Did You Hear?
:: Mariah Carey is rumored to be signing to Epic Records via Sony, the label that helped launch her career. While she released Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse just last year on Def Jam, Carey reportedly wants to switch labels so that she can experience a true comeback — meaning, anything but the lowest first-week sales of her career. [Showbiz 411]
:: Miguel is almost finished with his third album. Hey, Miguel: Hurry up. [Instagram]
:: Charli XCX sang Britney Spears classics like “… Baby One More Time,” “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “Work B**ch” during a recent radio appearance. Final verdict: These two need to hit the studio together, ASAP. [Capital FM]
Find out below what music you can catch on TV today. More »
Madonna has revealed the tracklist for Rebel Heart on iTunes. With that comes some good news: Despite the dozens of leaks and vast list of producers and artists (Diplo, Avicii, Kanye West) already linked to the release, the pop superstar continues to surprise with her choice of collaborators.
Turns out, Nicki Minaj isn’t the only rapper featured on her new studio album. Illmatic MC Nas guests on a song titled “Veni Vedi Vici.” Perhaps more importantly, though, Chance the Rapper appears alongside Mike Tyson on a track called “Iconic.” Yes, that would be the same heavyweight boxing champion who, for whatever reason, helped The Black Keys announce their eighth studio album Turn Blue.
Madonna’s Rebel Heart is out March 10. See the tracklist below. More »
Elle King stands out like a ketchup stain on a white shirt. Those raspy vocals are unique and her ballsy blues/rock anthems are unlike anything being released by the latest crop of female singer/songwriters. After making serious waves with 2014 breakthrough single “Ex’s & Oh’s,” the 25-year-old returns with another excellent cut from her much-anticipated debut LP LOVE STUFF (due February 17) called “Last Damn Night.”
Available tomorrow (January 20) as a free download when you pre-order the album, “Last Damn Night” is a rollicking ode to letting your hair down and having a good time. “I’m five seconds closer to living six feet deep, there’s seven steps to heaven but that stairway’s just too steep,” Elle growls over swamp-rock guitar played by none other than “Uptown Funk” producer Mark Ronson. “So I’m gonna live my life like it’s my last damn night.” Amen. Take a listen to the Jeff Bhasker-produced gem after the jump. More »
TLC will release its final album, to be funded entirely by Kickstarter, by the end of 2015.
Doing so is a bold move, like when the iconic girl group used action-film style morphing in its “Waterfalls” video or creating an album, FanMail, that ultimately predicted how the internet became embedded in our daily lives. Remaining members T-Boz and Chilli figure, though, that crowdfunding their new music will not only allow them to have creative control, but for fans to have a say as well. More »
As a solo artist, Prince blended rock, funk and pop to create his signature Minneapolis sound. With his new band of proteges 3rdEyeGirl, though, Prince focused his energies on unleashing some blistering throwback funk-rock — punk song “Marz,” off their 2014 collaborative album PlectrumElectrum, being a key example.
Prince and 3rdEyeGirl’s new “Marz” video (above) is almost as straightforward. With all the discoloration, kaleidoscopic effects and static the clip plays out like a VHS that has undergone more than just wear and tear.
Prince last appeared at the Golden Globes, strutting on stage to deafening applause. As he reestablished over the past year, he makes every appearance of his feel like an occasion, whether that is through new music, a New Girl cameo or his very first (and maybe last) selfie. Perhaps that is because, despite having released two albums (PlectrumElectrum and solo effort ART OFFICIAL AGE), he continues to maintain this air of mystery with or without social media.
Watch Prince and 3rdEyeGirl’s “Marz” video up top, then revisit the former’s flawless Golden Globe appearance below. More »
“How much of a failure am I?” Nicki Minaj, rap mogul, asks in Nicki Minaj: My Time Again.
This documentary, MTV’s sequel to 2010′s Nicki Minaj: My Time Now, aired January 17 — so, a month since she released her third album The Pinkprint. Minaj reflects on obstacles that she’s discussed at length since then: She explains her wardrobe malfunction at the MTV Video Music Awards, her struggle to strike a balance between her career and family life and the (broad) reasons why she split with her longtime boyfriend Safaree Samuels — who, just as in My Time Now, appears by her side without explanation, though only briefly. More »
Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Beyoncé and Miley were once unknown, too.
At just 19 years old, UK producer/songwriter XO is already making waves across the pond with his fresh take on Electro-Soul. The Staffordshire native (born Sunil Heera) crafts beats quite organically, as he’s been referenced as a “bedroom producer” and still sticks to that grassroots formula.
That doesn’t him from bring top-notch tunes. XO’s debut EP Through The Night has been compared to the music by the likes of Disclosure, armed with a solid title track and the intoxicating “Pulling Me Under” featuring fellow Brit Leo Kalyan. The BBC’s Radio 1 has provided XO the heaviest co-sign, with Annie Mac asking him to perform at Radio 1′s Big Weekend, and SOHN premiered the EP’s final track “Numb” during his R1 Residency.
But enough of the small talk; the music will speak for itself. We caught up with XO and had a few questions of our own for him. Check out what the teenage dream had to say below. More »
Did You Hear?
:: FOX has cast Vanessa Hudgens, of High School Musical fame, as Rizzo in its forthcoming Grease live musical. The special was originally set for a summer 2015 debut, but the network has struggled to cast Danny, as famously played by John Travolta. [Rolling Stone]
:: Whitney Houston‘s brother, Pat Houston, issued a statement accusing Lifetime’s Whitney biopic of “assaulting the legacy” of the deceased, influential singer, before the film made its TV debut on January 17. Side note: This is what the Whitney screener looked like. [MTV]
:: On February 7, D’Angelo returns to the same venue where he performed as an amateur night contestant in 1991: New York’s legendary Apollo Theater. Tickets for the show, where he will perform off his new album Black Messiah, go on sale January 21. [Okayplayer]
:: Dolly Parton is developing a series of two-hour TV movies for NBC, as inspired by her vast catalog as a Country Music Hall of Famer, personal life and “positive outlook.” While Parton has nabbed more than her fair share of acting roles (Steel Magnolias, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, 9 to 5, Hannah Montana), she hasn’t decided whether she’ll make an appearance or not. [Rolling Stone]
:: Sky Ferreira has joined the cast of Elvis & Nixon, featuring Michael Shannon as Elvis Presley and Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon. Naturally, the film is inspired by Elvis and Nixon’s infamous meeting that took place Dec. 21, 1970. [The Hollywood Reporter]
:: HOT 97 host Funkmaster Flex has accused Jay Z, twice, for trying to take control of him — a mind-boggling accusation. Fortunately, comedian Hannibal Burress has made sense of the matter, also with help of Britney Spears‘ “Toxic.” [Twitter]
Find out below what music you can catch on TV today. More »
Sam Smith charms the crowd in the latest, January 17 episode of PBS’s Austin City Limits. During his 25-minute set, the young British vocalist transitioned from “Together,” his funk-inspired collaboration with Disclosure and Nile Rodgers, to his cover of Whitney Houston‘s “How Will I Know.”
Just as he did when he debuted his version last summer, Smith transformed Houston’s 1985 dance-pop single into a piano ballad — showing how he’d eventually land on his own style, after years of studying Houston’s and Mariah Carey‘s voices. More »