On the title track off her new album, Sheezus, Lily Allen praises other pop divas ("RiRi isn't scared of Katy Perry's roaring /Queen B's going back to the drawing /Lorde smells blood, yeah, she's about to slay you") while swaying in trippy tribal blacklight. Is this what heaven (or hell) looks like? Either way, when you get there, you might just meet Lily Allen, and she'll remind you that you once got your period, so stay grounded: "Periods, we all get periods /Every month, yo, that's what the theory is."
Over the weekend, he made fun of Jay Z with a fondue reference. Last night, swear to God, he started using a lint-roller courtside. Here's the Vine. Why didn't you tell me that basketball games were this fun?
Earlier this month, Chicago House music legend Frankie Knuckles died at age 59. Over the course of a 30-plus-year career, Knuckles accumulated a diverse and far-reaching fan base. So far-reaching it included a certain couple currently living in the White House. President Barack Obama, in 2004, when he was still a U.S. senator from Illinois, named August 24 Frankie Knuckles Day. Moved by his passing, the Obamas sent a condolence letter to the friends and family of the DJ, which Knuckles's former collaborator David Morales shared on Facebook. They call him a "trailblazer," whose "legacy lives on in the city of Chicago and on dance floors across the globe." Read the letter in full below.
BOOTS — a.k.a. Jordy Asher, a.k.a. the guy who wrote and produced much of Beyoncé's latest album — just released both the opening and closing tracks of his new mixtape, A Day in the Life of Jordan Asher. The opener's a slow jam with BOOTS's soft and steady rapping over the top, and the closer is a duet featuring the soaring vocals of Beyoncé. Guess she found a way to return the favor. (In a way other than insane residuals.)
There's a new Avril Lavigne video and ... I really don't even want to talk about it. It's a confusing Kawaii romp through a candy store accompanied by a dubstep track that even has Avril screaming a bit of Japanese. Does that sound awful? It is! This is bad news. You know what, don't even watch it. Just watch this GIF instead. You'll get the general idea.
A New York Times Magazine profile on Sia Furler this weekend revealed that "Diamonds" only took her "14 minutes" to write, she "futzed around on the internet and pumped out 'Titanium' in 40 minutes," and she once wrote a song for Lea Michele after the Glee star "sobbed on her couch" ("Maybe it was because I have a dead boyfriend, too"). Yesterday, the Times posted a breakdown of three of Furler's songs and the stories behind them — including Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts," revealing how easy it is to get (and lose) a track. And how much it matters to be BFFs with the world's biggest pop song writer:
This is the first in a weekly series of six essays looking at hip-hop's recent past, thinking about its distant past, and wondering about the possibility of a future.
There are three famous quotes that haunt me and guide me though my days. The first is from John Bradford, the 16th-century English reformer. In prison for inciting a mob, Bradford saw a parade of prisoners on their way to being executed and said, “There but for the grace of God go I.” (Actually, he said “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford,” but the switch to the pronoun makes it work for the rest of us.) The second comes from Albert Einstein, who disparagingly referred to quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” And for the third, I go to Ice Cube, the chief lyricist of N.W.A., who delivered this manifesto in “Gangsta Gangsta” back in 1988: “Life ain’t nothing but bitches and money.
During their weekend Coachella set (Yes, Coachella is still going on), Arcade Fire announced two "very special guests" before bringing out
what may have appeared to be Daft Punk, but was clearly not. The giveaways? The slowed-down, warped version of "Get Lucky," the knockoff robot suits, the fact that just a few days earlier, Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler made a comment on stage about "the bands still playing instruments at this festival." "What the fuck is happening?" he yelled as the two mock–Daft Punk'd through their cover, ending after just a few seconds. And in case the beef wasn't completely solidified, later on in Arcade Fire's set, they brought out Beck (the real Beck) to perform a cover of Prince's "Controversy." Fight! Fight! Fight!
Okay, fine: It was barely a fight to begin with, and the latest Drake jab was made in good fun. But on Saturday, in the middle of a Toronto Raptors–Brooklyn Nets playoff game, Drake (the Raptors ambassador) went in the booth and started talking about how Jay Z (former Nets owner) was probably somewhere eating fondue. Relive the magic below. (Toronto lost, by the way.)
Bad news for rap fans, bad news for fans of surprise Bieber cameos: Chance the Rapper has canceled his Sunday Coachella performance after being hospitalized for unknown reasons. On Friday evening, the Chicago MC tweeted that he had been feeling sick but expected to be better in time for his set. Then earlier this morning, someone posted a photo to Chance's Instagram showing the rapper lying in a hospital bed hooked to IVs, with the caption, "Pray for my boy chance." The photo has since been deleted, but Chance's management took to Twitter to announce the cancellation, explaining, "Chance fell ill on Friday night & was admitted to the hospital today — Doctors & family are with him & he is expected to make a full recovery." Get well soon, Chance.
In 2011, Anne Marsen filmed a joyous 71-minute film called "Girl Walk // All Day," in which she danced all around New York to a Girl Talk mixtape. (It was fun; you should watch it.) In 2013, Pharrell filmed a joyous 24-hour-long video for his hit single "Happy," in which he danced all around everywhere while singing about rooms without roofs. If the concepts sound similar, it is because they are, and Marsen put together a side-by-side video to demonstrate how closely some of the "Happy" shots resemble "Girl Walk" shots. In a statement to Spin, Pharrell's camp said that neither he nor his creative team had seen "Girl Walk" before making "Happy." Marsen, for her part, told the magazine that "it's a great thing that dance is getting recognition as a long-form kind of thing." But: "At the same time, we feel like we're not getting the recognition for this."
Is One Direction totally ripping off The Craft in their new video for "You & I"? Either Manon is stepping in and all of a sudden giving the boys the power of glamour (that's the one where you can change your appearance), or a music video director needed some way to avoid the whole they-can't-dance thing. Compare and discuss below.
Here is the video for "I Won," the new Future track featuring Kanye West, from the rapper's forthcoming album Honest. The video, directed by Hype Williams, is mostly Future and some swimsuit models hanging out on a beach, but Kanye swings by briefly to wax lyrical about Kim Kardashian, the "Bound 2" video, and the rest of his sister-in-laws ("All your mama ever made was trophies"). Kim herself does not make an appearance, which is just as well, because it is not so easy to ride a motorcycle on sand.
Wu-Tang-Affiliated Rapper Tries to Commit Suicide by Cutting Off Penis, Jumping Off Building [UPDATE]By Gilbert Cruz
Yesterday, Andrew Johnson, a member of the West Coast–based rap group Northstar who goes by the name Christ Bearer, cut off his own penis and jumped off a second-story balcony. TMZ first reported the lurid story, calling Johnson a "rapper affiliated with Wu-Tang Clan." Today, the Wu-Tang disavowed any association with the rapper, which is a pretty mean thing to do after a man has just tried to commit suicide by neutering himself. As Gawker writes:
But the Wu apparently no longer fucks with him. A now-deleted post on Wutangclan.com read, "Parental Advisory : Don't Believe The HYPE. This Mother Fucker Ain't Got Shit to do with The WUTANG Brand."
The post is gone, but the Wu-Tang blog is now running a TMZ story about Johnson's tragic, possibly suicidal episode. All mentions of Wu-Tang have been removed from the post and replaced with ellipses.
Still, Johnson was once a part of the group Black Knights of the North Star, which recorded two tracks on the Wu-Tang-affiliate album The Swarm. So basically, it's a tangled Wu they've Wu'd.
Update: According to XXL, which spoke exclusively with RZA, an incorrect name was initially circulated, leading Wu-Tang to believe it had been someone else that had tried to cut off his own penis and jump off a second-story balcony. "Christ Bearer is a part of the West Coast Killa Beez, a bunch of young guys that was signed to our company 10 years ago. Wu-Tang, we’re from the East Coast. But we did invest in some young guys to try and help any hood. He was a guy from the hood that we gave a shot. I don’t make music with him nowadays. But the story—what he did—is incredible."
Uh-oh. Things seemed to be going too well for Wu-Tang. The collective's first new album since 2007's 8 Diagrams is due out in July and they had another "secret" album — one copy only — selling for a boatload. But now, sad news of Wu-Tang-attached rapper Christ Bearer attempting suicide and a rift between RZA and Raekwon. In an interview with VladTV, RZA said, "I haven’t had a chance to really talk to him about why [he's not involved with the album]. But I would say that maybe creatively we on different paths." When Rolling Stone called up Raekwon to ask him about those pretty harsh allegations, here's what he had to say:
Here we go! As promised, our first-ever live music webcast has arrived. Hamilton Leithauser — front man for beloved indie rockers the Walkmen — is doing a live show at Joe's Pub, and you can watch it right here, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Enjoy.
The soundtrack to Frozen is No. 1 again this week, with 133,000 albums sold (presumably because all the children have already worn out their first copy). Meanwhile, it only took 29,000 albums — of Pharrell's eminently listenable G I R L — to land the second spot on this week's Billboard "200." That's the lowest No. 2 sales figure in the Soundscan era. So ... prepare for an album of "Let It Go" remixes, coming soon to minivans near you.
In case the whole "Pharrell is everywhere" cliché somehow rang untrue to you, here he is on the Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack — singing what feels like a '70 power ballad alongside Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr. He conquered pop radio, now he's heading for the top of easy listening: "Was there a glitch in my method? / Isn’t it clear we’re here again? / Let’s get new GPSs." Yes, GPS can now be pluralized, and here's how.
No one really cared much about Young Money's Rise of an Empire LP, did they? No matter! We've got Nicki's next album, The Pink Print, to look forward to, and the video accompaniment to "Senile" — where Tyga hangs with the Jabbawockeez, Wayne hangs inside a creepy sitcom, and Nicki hangs on an old-school playground.