With this whole "Sausage" thing, it looks like Lil Mama's attempted comeback to rap, music videos, and dancing is in full swing. It's a fun video that feels almost like a visual and musical collage of dozens of different hip-hop references and homages. Never one to not be poppin', Mama shows she's still got moves, meat bombs (lots of 'em, and she's either making the sausage movement really proud or annoyed), and some good, old-fashioned maternal advice.
Hey, It's Time to Download Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and The Social Experiment's Surf ProjectBy Sean Fitz-Gerald
Chance the Rapper's Surf has finally arrived, in all its beautifully diverse-sounding and free-of-cost glory. As Chance told Billboard last year, the record is not so much his. It's actually the first official project of his Social Experiment band, and the spotlight is on the group's trumpet player, Donnie Trumpet. Of course that doesn't mean Chance isn't featured on it — he's all over it. (Actually, so is what seems like a majority of the hip-hop world and their mothers. The 16-track album showcases the likes of Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monáe, J. Cole, Big Sean, Quavo, and Erykah Badu, among others.) Chance's next solo work is reportedly still on the way, and so are more of these Social Experiment projects. Always something to look forward to with this guy. Anyway, for the meantime, you can download and enjoy the much-anticipated Surf gratis here, as well as stream it below:
The Shamir Bailey most of us know now is a genre-defying diva reinventing the idea of the pop star, but as a kid, he was a devout country-music enthusiast. His cover of Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" is a personal favorite, and now he's showing off his versatility once again with another country cover. This time, he's taken on country queen Kacey Musgraves's debut single "Merry Go ’Round" for BBC Radio 1. If you're not already head over heels for Shamir, this should put you on the bandwagon. (His cover starts at 8:40, but it's worth listening to the full interview.)
A$AP Rocky has a new album out. And while it's a more mature sound for the Harlem rapper, he's catching a deserved share of heat for a lyric on the song "Better Things": "I swear that bitch Rita Ora got a big mouth / Next time I see her might curse the bitch out / Kicked the bitch out once 'cause she bitched out / Spit my kids out, jizzed up all up in her mouth and made the bitch bounce." Rocky has generally spoken kindly about his previous exes Iggy Azalea and Chanel Iman — if you ignore his "I used to be boning this chick’s back out" comment about Iggy — so why the dis on Ora? On Annie Mac's BBC 1 Radio show yesterday, Rocky elaborated on the lines: "I'm just saying that when I was in a relationship and I did things with her that I wasn't supposed to do, she had a big mouth." Instead of owning up to the lyric, he tried to walk back his claims: "I just want to clarify, this isn't me saying, 'People, don't go listen to Rita Ora,' or 'She's an ugly person' or nothing, I'm not saying she's a terrible person."
We're starting to think Jack White doesn't fully grasp the internet. It's not that he doesn't know how to use it to communicate with fans, bring them high-end streaming music with Tidal, sell albums and tickets through various outlets, etc. It's just that things like Third Man Records' lengthy rant against it, "JACK WHITE CLICK BAIT BINGO EXHAUSTION," seems to show a lack of understanding that when a famous person says something interesting or borderline controversial, fans are going to react and writers are going to post about it, sometimes fairly and sometimes not. His high standards for internet discourse and journalism are admirable, but still unrealistic. And call us skeptical, but with Jack's penchant for toying with people pretty evident at this point, we have to wonder how often he loves steering into the skid and saying something sarcastic or, at least, scowling his way through a Cubs game so people will take pictures of him. With that in mind, here's a rundown of White's many run-ins with the internet, whether he's hating on Twitter, getting his private divorce emails and tour-rider guacamole recipe leaked, or penning open letters clarifying offhand comments he made to fans and journalists. It's almost like a little history of how we all had to learn to deal with the rise of online journalism and social media, and all the pitfalls that come with it.
Thom Yorke's latest project is a 432-hour-long soundtrack, which has no two minutes sounding exactly the same, The Independent reports. Dubbed Subterranea, the evolving project is playing in the background of a new, 18-day-long Stanley Donwood exhibition ("The Panic Office") in Sydney, Australia. (Yorke did Donwood the majorly dedicated solid because the latter is the guy who has designed a massive chunk of Radiohead's album art.) The show began May 21 and will continue through June 6; it so far sounds like "an eerie mix of ambient textures, experimental sounds, and field recordings," according to Australia's radio station Triple J. Consequence of Sound adds that the work's "subs will boom from the floor, mids will echo through the walls, while the highs rain down from the ceiling." Neat. At the moment, it unfortunately looks like the marathon track won't be released to the public after the exhibition, but you can check out a preview here. (And if you're really into it, I guess you can buy plane tickets here.)
Tyler, the Creator — the odd and future king of the hip-hop collective OFWGKTA — decided to wax sentimental Wednesday night, and people are losing their marbles because of it. Going through some of his old Tumblr posts, the rapper began a tweet-spree about how he misses his crew as well as the good old days. He reminisced about messing up his leg, making "Trouble on My Mind," and putting slugs on the faces of sleeping people. Oh, and here's what everybody's making a fuss about: He also kind of dropped a bomb along the way, implying that Odd Future might be "no more."
Kanye West has settled Ricky Spicer's 2013, miscommunication-nation lawsuit over the "Bound 2" sample, Billboard reports. Spicer, a former Ponderosa Twins Plus One singer whose voice can be heard on the song's hook, wanted an injunction and damages because he claimed he had neither authorized the use of his vocals nor received any compensation for the track. Spicer sued West, along with Roc-A-Fella Records, Island Def-Jam Music, Rhino Entertainment, and Universal Music Group. The paperwork to discontinue the suit was reportedly filed to New York court earlier this month. At time of publication, however, other logistical details of the settlement (uh-huh, money) were unavailable.
Omi’s Felix Jaehn–assisted “Cheerleader” remix, the understated reggae tune that sounds like a vacation in a bottle, has been streamed over 215 million times on Spotify and is already multi-platinum in several markets around the globe, including the U.K., Denmark, Australia, and Sweden. Stateside, it’s made its way onto dozens of Song of Summer short lists, including Vulture’s. Meanwhile, it’s No. 1 on iTunes in 18 countries, has 100 million video plays, and both Billboard and Shazam have predicted that it will eventually hit the top of the charts, beating out Wiz Khalifa, Taylor Swift, and Fetty Wap.
Everything Taylor Swift touches turns to gold, but her "Bad Blood" video was kind of a group effort. After a week of the star-studded sci-fi thriller being played on loop and breaking Vevo records, "Bad Blood" has leapfrogged from No. 53 to the top spot on this week's Billboard "Hot 100" chart, giving Kendrick Lamar his very first No. 1 song. (This makes four No. 1s for Swift, and her third from 1989 alone.) The Katy Perry dis record knocks Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again" into second place after six weeks at No. 1. It pays to be Taylor's friend (literally, as all those people probably got at least scale for the shoot).
A$AP Rocky's new album At.Long.Last.A$AP dropped just days ago, and as part of the inexorable convergence and cross-pollination of pop music and art, he's collaborating with a visual artist, too. Somehow, in between the wild time he had at South by Southwest (copping LSD from Makonnen and then indulging in three acid-fueled orgies), A$AP Rocky and the artist/"snarchitect" Daniel Arsham met up for a photo shoot. That went well, and the two paired up again at Arsham’s Greenpoint studio, where Arsham took some photos and shot some footage that became the video for the Danger Mouse–produced track “Pharsyde” off Rocky's album. Later, Arsham went off to Istanbul, where SEEN met up with him, and he shared with us the photos he took with the rapper.
A lot of former child stars like to run away from their pasts, but not Jenny Lewis! Way back in the day (like, before Rilo Kiley), Lewis appeared in The Golden Girls, Troop Beverly Hills, The Wizard, Pleasantville, and so many other goodies. And because Jenny has both zero shame and a lot of famous friends (see: her last video), she's parodying some of those famous roles in her latest video for the brilliant "She's Not Me." Yep, that's Fred Armisen as Sophia freakin' Petrillo and Vanessa Bayer as Phyllis Nefler. Zosia Mamet, Leo Fitzpatrick, and Feist (!) are in there, too. Is this the best music video of 2015 so far? You're damn right it is.
The Weeknd has dominated the charts this year with his titillating Fifty Shades of Grey cut, "Earned It," but other than that, he hasn't released much since 2013's Kiss Land. But his sophomore album is reportedly in the works — presumably, we heard some of that album this week in a series of leaks — and now he's back with a new single. Unlike the up-tempo direction of those leaks (one of which was produced by Max Martin), "The Hills," which the Weeknd originally debuted at SXSW earlier this year, sticks close to Abel Tesfaye's shtick: brooding tones, sex, drugs, a big hook, and some falsetto. Sadly, the song doesn't appear to be about Lauren Conrad or a group of multiple Hillary Clintons.
RZA's directorial follow-up to The Man With the Iron Fists will be much different: The Hollywood Reporter writes that the rapper turned helmer is making an inspirational musical drama with Azealia Banks, Common, and nobody with iron fists. It'll be called It Doesn't Have to Rhyme and will feature Banks as a female rapper who signs up for a college poetry course and develops a passion for slam poetry. Common is supposed to play Banks's mentor; they'll be joined by Jill Scott, a professor who reportedly believes rap and slam poetry can't exist together, and Lorraine Toussaint, the rapping student's mom. THR notes that the movie will be similar in tone to 8 Mile and will begin production this week in New York. Does that mean this will be a depressing, semi-autobiographical, rags-to-slightly-better-rags-and-then-riches kind of story? Does that also mean there could be a rap battle between Banks and Iggy Azalea? It's all unfortunately a bit unclear right now. Either way, get ready for dramatic brooding and writing scenes on public transportation, as well as some super-intense mirror rehearsals.
On Friday, Nicki Minaj premiered her video for her Song of Summer contender, "The Night Is Still Young," on Tidal, just as she had done previously with the eye-popping video for her "Feeling Myself" collaboration with Beyoncé. Unfortunately, that video is still viewable only on Tidal (boo), but Nicki's now made "The Night Is Still Young" available to watch on Vevo, too. It doesn't slay nearly as hard as "Feeling Myself," but when she's not posing in front of a massive moon, there are some adorable shots of her with Meek Mill (who is definitely not her fiancé, sigh) on the back of his motorcycle. Omeeka forever.
Every week, members of the Vulture staff highlight the best new music of 2015. We do not discriminate; as long as the song is worthy of your ears and attention, you will find it here. Read our picks below, share yours in the comments, and subscribe to the Vulture 2015 Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best new tunes.
Justin Bieber may be that bratty 21-year-old you love to hate, but, as his carpool karaoke with James Corden demonstrated, he can be quite the charmer if you look past his antics. He's also such a Boyz II Men stan. Back in 2011, he somehow convinced the R&B OGs to appear on his holiday album, featured on the song "Fa La La" (they even performed it on Dancing With the Stars). It didn't entirely work, but that was just a taste of the Biebs' love affair with Boyz II Men. With Corden, he sang "End of the Road," and over the weekend, he did an impromptu jazz cover of "I'll Make Love to You" at the W Hotel in Hollywood. Full band and everything! There's also some obligatory floor-humping, in case you weren't already swooning (or cringing, depending on your Biebs tolerance). Bring on the Boyz II Men album.
A$AP Rocky released his sophomore album, At.Long.Last.A$AP, a week earlier than planned late Monday night. The record was originally supposed to drop June 2, but Rocky inexplicably tweeted a few hours before midnight (in all caps, as is tradition) that those plans had changed: "Official album release in stores and online @ midnight tonight, thanx for listening, hope yalh enjoyed." And then the 18-track album found its way onto iTunes and Spotify even before midnight. Wow, double surprise! It's here with features by Future, M.I.A., ScHoolboy Q, Lil Wayne, and even Yeezus himself, among others, as well as with a special dedication to A$AP Yams. If you want another treat, go over to the mobile version of Rocky's Instagram page. Better yet, look at his Instagram and stream his album (via Spotify) at the same time. Boom, enjoy (hopefully).
Two of B.B. King's daughters have prompted a homicide investigation into their father's death because they believe he was poisoned, the AP reports. Patty King and Karen Williams say that King's business manager, LaVerne Toney, and assistant, Myron Johnson, did not see to the blues legend's medical needs and might've expedited his death. "I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances," Patty King and Williams said in affidavits provided to the AP by their lawyer. "I believe my father was murdered." Patty King, in her affidavit, added that she saw Johnson give King two drops of something unknown every night for several months before his death, according to the AP. Las Vegas authorities told the New York Daily News that an autopsy was performed on King's body, and that homicide detectives are officially probing King's death. No other details have yet been provided.
Eurovision, which sounds kind of like an ’80s horror movie, had its big finale this weekend. On the air since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is the longest-running annual TV song competition in Europe. The finals, which receive a lot of attention in Europe (and, now in the age of the internet, in the U.S. too), include 26 countries (27 this year, as Australia participated for the first and only time, “in honor of the Aussies’ love of the camp glitterfest”). Each country must play one original song (no covers) performed by up to six people, all of whom must be over the age of 16. The “Big Five” countries — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain — are the five biggest economic powers in the contest and consequently get automatic spots in the finals each year, as does whatever country is the current host. There were occasional language restrictions in the ’70s and ’80s, but since 1999 countries can perform in any language. Ireland has the most wins of all time, with seven, while poor Portugal has never cracked the top five in 60 years.