Did You Hear?
:: Kanye West will be receiving the Visionary Award at next year’s BET Honors ceremony. It’s a fitting honor, as the rapper has called himself a visionary many times. Usher will also receive the Musical Arts Award for his 20-year career. Wayne Brady is set to host the eighth annual event — which takes place on January 24 in Washington, D.C., and will air on the television channel on February 23. [Billboard]
:: Avicii officially has the most shazamed song of all time. His 2013 smash hit with Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up,” gained more than 19 million queries on the music search app. Robin Thicke and Pharrell‘s controversial “Blurred Lines” came in second place, with 18 million queries. [THR]
:: In other news, Taylor Swift is rumored to have a new man! This time around, it is allegedly The 1975 frontman Matt Healy. The “Blank Space” singer was spotted at some of the band’s concerts over the last few weeks. [Just Jared]
:: David Letterman has announced the date for his final episode on Late Show. The legendary host will have his last show on May 20, 2015 — ending his run with a whopping 6,028 episodes! Stephen Colbert is set to take his place, but Letterman will definitely be missed on the silver screen. [Gawker]
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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 »
Usher‘s new single “Clueless” was supposed to be a promotional track hidden inside special boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios at Walmart, which is definitely one of the oddest marketing tools in recent months! Well, now you don’t have to fret about tearing up endless cereal boxes to find the download link — “Clueless” has now surfaced online.
It is a R&B mid-tempo (with a total lack of percussion) that finds the crooner singing mostly in his upper register, with twinkling synths and a steady bass guitar play in the background. The track doesn’t live up to its hype, so be glad that we saved you a trip to Walmart. No word on when Usher’s eighth studio LP UR will be released, but it will feature production from Max Martin, Disclosure, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Take a listen to “Clueless” after the jump. More »
Usher is plotting what sounds like a grand return to form next year — and he’s got all the cooks in the kitchen to help him whip up a smash or two.
Following the lukewarm success of cuts like “Good Kisser” and “She Came To Give It To You” with Nicki Minaj, the prolific R&B titan is now in the studio crafting tracks for UR, his upcoming album due out in the first half of 2015.
In a new interview with The Guardian, he reveals that he’s been working with an enviable array of powerhouse producers and songwriters “including Skrillex, Ed Sheeran, uber-pop producer Max Martin, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and Disclosure (their last session done via Skype), though Usher says that his guiding lights are still 90s R&B geniuses Babyface and LA Reid.” Phew! A promising collaborator’s list to be sure, but will it pan out for a return to the top of the charts? More »
Did You Hear?
:: Mary J. Blige will add her soulful flair when she performs for A Very Grammy Christmas. The “Right Now” singer joins Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Maroon 5 and Tim McGraw on the performance roster. The Recording Academy’s holiday special will air on December 5 on CBS, with the 2015 Grammy nominations set to be announced that day. [via press release]
:: In weirder news, Usher will gift fans his new “Clueless” song inside a…cereal box? The singer has partnered up with Honey Nut Cheerios to include an exclusive download of the song in specially-marked packages of the yummy brand. The promotion began yesterday (November 11), so run to your nearest Walmart to find a copy! [Billboard]
:: Taylor Swift has unveiled a free mobile app that corresponds with her latest “Blank Space” video! The virtual app allows users to have a 360-degree experience of the visuals, including taking a tour of the mansion. Pretty cool! [Huffington Post]
:: Congratulations are in order for Geri Halliwell! The former Spice Girl is now engaged to Formula 1 race car driver Christian Horner. [Just Jared]
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Did You Hear?
:: Iggy Azalea and her friend dressed up as White Chicks for Halloween. Take note, Snoop Dogg. [BuzzFeed]
:: BenZel, the production duo that is Benny Blanco and Two Inch Punch, dropped a song with Cashmere Cat and Juicy J. “Four” will appear on BenZel’s Men EP, out November 10. [Twitter]
:: Kanye West crashed an open mic night in Jersey City, N.J., to support family friend and 17-year-old rapper Jay Hype. West was “quiet, cool and collected.” [E!]
:: Lauryn Hill‘s set at the Voodoo Fest in New Orleans was cut short after the singer entered the stage 30 minutes late. The mic was cut off, Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean” came on and the lights were dimmed, to Hill’s frustration. [Billboard]
:: Naviyd Ely Raymond, age 6, does not think that his father Usher is a great singer. “He doesn’t care about what I do as much,” Usher says. “He’s like, ‘I’m the star. Who are you? You sing?’” [Page Six]
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Kid Ink teams up with Usher and Tinashe in the video for his new single, “Body Language.” The clip (directed by Darren Craig) is quite the eye-opener — it is set at a peep show where plenty of women are showing off their plump booties. Judging from their smiles and stares, the trio are enjoying the all curves surrounding them!
“Body Language” is produced by Cashmere Cat (who recently worked with Ariana Grande) and Stargate, and is the rapper’s first single off his forthcoming as-yet-untitled third LP. The album is due sometime in 2015. More »
“Shorty, I don’t mind if you dance on a pole that don’t make you a hoe,” croons Usher sweetly in the opening line of new buzz single “I Don’t Mind”. The Juicy J-assisted mid-tempo ballad tells the totally relatable and touching story of a baller that embraces his girlfriend’s chosen career as a stripper. “You can take off your clothes, long as you comin’ home.” And they say romance is dead.
And just when you think it can’t get any more ridiculous, the R&B legend drops this lyrical bomb: “Shorty, you thick and them tricks that you do with your body, girl all of these n*ggas be crowding around you like they see Beyonce in here.” What is going on with Usher? Everything from UR has been underwhelming but this could be mistaken for an SNL skit. Particularly when you throw Juicy J’s X-rated rap into the mix. Listen to the so-awful-it’s-kind-of-awesome anthem after the jump. More »
T.I. has revealed the tracklist for his ninth studio album Paperwork: The Motion Picture, out October 21.
While the Atlanta rapper has teased collaborations with Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Busta Rhymes and B.o.B., none of those cameos will appear on the album. Instead, executive producer Pharrell appears on two songs, including the album’s title track. Jeezy and Rick Ross appear on one song each. T.I. has also teamed up with a few R&B stars: Usher, Chris Brown (on a song called “Private Show,” no less) and The-Dream.
So far, T.I. has built up anticipation for Paperwork with a few high-profile collaborations: Last spring he dropped “About the Money,” featuring Atlanta’s most compelling (and Nicki Minaj-approved) rap weirdo Young Thug. Later he released the feel-good, DJ Mustard-produced “No Mediocre,” featuring his Grand Hustle affiliate Iggy Azalea. Then T.I. added to the conversation surrounding the shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri, teen Michael Brown with “New National Anthem,” featuring Skylar Grey.
See the tracklist for T.I.’s Paperwork: The Motion Picture below. More »
Usher closed out this year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival by bringing out a surprise guest: Chris Brown. “He’s a friend, he’s a brother, he’s a passionate artist and I have the fortunate opportunity to have shared a song with him this year,” Usher said, before the younger R&B star joined him on stage.
The two of them performed “New Flame,” Brown’s current single off his new album X. (The album, also featuring “Loyal” and “X,” is predicted to debut second only to Barbra Streisand‘s tenth album Partners next week.) Their singing led to a dance-off, which led to Usher slipping off his high-tops and lighting them on fire – after all, neither of them had the flaming ‘X’ from the “New Flame” video handy.
Watch Usher and Chris Brown do “New Flame” below. More »