“I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m not optimistic,” says Vince Staples. Conversations with the Long Beach, California rapper tend to quickly stray into discussions of perspective and experience — Would you believe what you believe if you weren’t who you are? — and ours, held in a boardroom in the New York offices, is no exception. “I see the worst-case scenario and I operate based off the worst-case scenario. I’ve always been like that. That’s what’s kept me out of jail. I’ve always thought of what’s the worst possible thing that could happen, and then you work up from there.” He’s wearing simple clothing: a T-shirt, pants, and sneakers of no special distinction, plus large glasses that could only be described as nerdy. Loud or soft, his voice has a certain private register to it. He’s gifted at maintaining your attention while considering his words and himself at a remove. Not in an egotistic way, but in a soberly bemused, meditative, isn’t-it-strange kind of way.
The Nirvana Nevermind Baby Re-created the Famous Cover and He Looks Exactly the Same (No, Not Really, He Got Older)By Devon Ivie
Nirvana celebrated the 25th anniversary of their seminal album Nevermind on Saturday, and everyone — we mean everyone — wanted to celebrate its silver jubilee in a good rockin' and rollin' fashion. This includes Spencer Elden, a.k.a. the adorable baby who graced the cover of the album when he was just a few months old. This time around, Elden, now an artist living in Los Angeles, decided to re-create the cover with the modest inclusion of a swimsuit. "The anniversary means something to me. It’s strange that I did this for five minutes when I was four months old and it became this really iconic image," Elden told the New York Post, who orchestrated the shoot. "It’s cool but weird to be part of something so important that I don’t even remember." It's fun to lose and to pretend and to re-create classic photographs, after all.
Lin-Manuel Miranda Joins Weird Al Yankovic to Sing ‘Yoda,’ Achieving the Much-Sought-After Nerd Holy TrinityBy Halle Kiefer
Don’t worry if you didn’t attend a house of nerd worship this weekend, because the universe has conspired to deliver unto you a nerd experience of transcendental proportions. Weird Al superfan Lin-Manuel Miranda popped in during Yankovic’s Radio City Music Hall concert last night, singing the chorus to the Kinks' "Lola" parody "Yoda." Determining that the "Yoda" rendition he saw in ninth grade was the best moment of his life, Miranda declared last night's concert "a VERY close second." While you might have learned the Weird Al versions of every ’80s pop song first, now your children can hear the creator of Hamilton singing Star Wars–themed Weird Al before he or she ever hears another human voice. Really, the only way to infuse this news with more nerdery is if there was some way to somehow incorporate Harry Potter into the and, oh, there we go:
Kanye Did a Surprise Set at Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day Festival, But It’s Kanye, So Really, How Surprised Were You?By Halle Kiefer
Honestly, Kanye could show up unannounced to do a surprise performance at a preschool Halloween party and no one would bat an eye. Yeezy's here? Great, someone move all the spaghetti and peeled grapes and wet rubber hands and whatever. Chicago fans were lucky enough to see Yeezy stop by Chance the Rapper’s Magnificent Coloring Day Festival yesterday to perform parts of “Black Skinhead,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” “Touch the Sky,” “Gold Digger,” and “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 and Pt. 2." You can see his performance of "Ultralight Beam" with Chance below. After his afternoon set, Kanye then flew to a performance in Nashville, because Kanye is not limited by space or time.
At long last, a special David Bowie album has finally made its way out of the vault and into the spotlight. The Gouster, a previously unreleased Bowie album from various 1974 studio sessions, is now available to stream (or legally listen to) for the first time ever. As Spin notes, the soulful album — which laid the groundwork for his 1975 album Young Americans — is part of a larger Bowie compilation box set called Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) that was released earlier this week. (There are 12 albums, in total, included in the set.) "Gouster was a word unfamiliar to me, but David knew it as a type of dress code worn by African-American teens in the ’60's, in Chicago," explains producer Tony Visconti in the album's liner notes. "But in the context of the album its meaning was attitude, an attitude of pride and hipness. Of all the songs we cut, we were enamored of the ones we chose for the album that portrayed this attitude." Stream it away on Spotify — The Gouster tracks begin at number 50 — below.
There’s Lots and Lots and Lots of Sexual Innuendo in the Music Video for Tegan and Sara’s ‘Stop Desire’By Devon Ivie
Tegan and Sara's buoyant single "Stop Desire," off their latest album Love You to Death, already has a sexy title, so why not accompany it with the equally sexy music video it deserves? Because nothing says "seductive" quite like a pastel-colored post office and laundromat ... and photos of stamps juxtaposed next to pens. Oooooh baaaaaby. Maybe they'll add this one to their list of favorite songs.
In this month's edition of Unexpected Musical Collaborations at Random Youth-Orientated Festivals, we present Billy Idol and Miley Cyrus, who teamed up to perform an electrifying rendition of Idol's famed 1983 tune "Rebel Yell" at the iHeartRadio Music Festival last night. Cyrus — who's serving as The Voice's resident cool judge right now — was a surprise guest, handling the second verse of the song while decked out in an impressive Idol-themed outfit. It wasn't in the midnight hour, though, more like 9:00 p.m. PST.
Bruce Springsteen Picks His Top 5 Springsteen Songs and It Looks Like You and Bruce Have a Lot in CommonBy Halle Kiefer
In a truly epic, long interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Bruce Springsteen ruminates on everything from his late father’s mental illness, to his childhood obsession with Elvis, to a somewhat horrifying story in which an elderly priest roughs up lil' Bruce mid-Mass. Besides the penetrating look into his soul, Springsteen offered a penetrating look into his five favorite Springsteen songs. Not surprisingly, the Boss loves the hits. Bruce technically name-checks six of his 314 original songs, but they’re the exact six Springsteen songs you would have picked, so it's understandable: “Born to Run,” “Thunder Road,” “Nebraska,” “The Rising,” “Jungleland,” and “Racing in the Street.” An unspoken "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" makes it seven.
Gaga, oh-la-la: Lady Gaga has unveiled plans for her latest album, her first one since 2013's ARTPOP. Joanne — which is titled after her middle name, as well as her deceased aunt — is due out on October 21, the pop star announced on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show earlier this month. Gaga has already dropped the lead track, "Perfect Illusion," and collaborations with the likes of Mark Ronson, Father John Misty, Florence Welch, and Beck are expected to be on the album. Please celebrate responsibly ... with well-tailored meat dresses or simply by viewing the album cover, below.
In 1999, did you ever fantasize about a world in which you could just go to one place and see stars like Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and the Backstreet Boys perform their hits until you passed out from happiness? If so, Las Vegas in 2017 is that place. The Axis theater at Planet Hollywood, which already hosts shows for Spears and Lopez, will now welcome BSB into its '90s-loving arms for an 18-date “trial residency” beginning in March of next year. Because the gods are just, the show will be called Larger Than Life, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and Kevin Richardson says the Boys are “taking that theme and we’re going to run with it." What exactly does that mean, you ask? Brian Littrell has answers: “If you’ve ever been to a Backstreet Boys show ... it’s going to be that on steroids.” The spectacle may not start until the spring, but if you’re feeling down, you can start buying up tickets for them to make it right on October 1.
In a recent New York Times interview, Justin Vernon talked about how being buddies with Kanye West has taught him that humbleness is highly overrated. He has since reached an epiphany: "Ultimately, I think it’s great to serve others and everything, but I think there’s a certain point where it’s diminishing returns for the people around you if you’re not showing up and being who you are.” You know which other indie artist in Kanye's camp is grappling with that same idea? Dave Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors, who are apparently back after a four-year break. The band has released "Keep Your Name," their first new song since 2012's Swing Lo Magellan. In the interim, Longstreth co-wrote and co-produced Rihanna's "FourFiveSeconds" with Kanye; now he's about four, five seconds from wylin'.
In the wake of the deaths of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, T.I. is the latest artist to speak out against police brutality. On Thursday, the artist dropped Us or Else, his latest EP, as a Tidal exclusive. The six-song effort, whose release T.I. announced on Twitter with the hashtag "," deals heavily with police brutality and the conditions of being black in America. Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T., Killer Mike, and Quavo all feature on the EP. Give Us or Else a listen below.
Last night Toronto singer the Weeknd announced his new album Starboy by releasing its cover art, on which he trades his gravity-defying dreads for a flattop. Shortly after, he released the album's title track. The Daft Punk powwow "Starboy" is saddled with repeating the success of last year’s "The Hills" and "I Can't Feel My Face," multiplatinum smashes that carried the performer from popularity to ubiquity. But does "Starboy" deliver? Kind of.
It's unwise to speak for the dead, but we'd love to think that were John Lennon and George Harrison alive today, they'd be very down with Sremmlife. And if not, well, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi would probably still just keep calm and carry on living their carefree lives. Think a couple rappers can't party like rock stars? The video for Rae Sremmurd's unofficial Song of Summer "Black Beatles" will put that myth to rest: Here they are, just a regular Lennon and McCartney joined by an even more stylish Ringo in Gucci Mane (those shades!) shredding atop a roof, crossing their own damn road, inciting SremmMania, and, yes, making love not war with their very own Yoko Ono. Get you somebody who can do both.
As America's black communities mourn more lives taken at the hands of police this week, Common and Stevie Wonder have released a protest song with a video that spotlights their pain. "Black America Again" is the title track to Common's next album and its video opens with the disturbing footage of Alton Sterling's murder. From there, it zeroes in on the trauma that stirs in black people who repeatedly have to bear witness to these killings in videos that are almost impossible to avoid. Using the footage certainly makes a point, but with that aftershock in mind, you have to wonder if it really was worth including.
Panic! at the Disco Is Torturing Stranger Things’ Will Byers in Their New Music Video for ‘LA Devotee’By Jordan Crucchiola
Poor Noah Schnapp. He acted like such a nice young boy as Will Byers in Stranger Things, only to disappear into the Upside Down and subsequently be left out of the show's promotional cycle as all his friends got to have fun adventures without him (watch them sing "Uptown Funk" at the Emmys or play silly games on The Tonight Show and feel his FOMO pain). To make matters worse, Panic! at the Disco gives Schnapp the Eleven treatment, forcing him to endure torture at the hands of some sort of pagan cult in the video for their new song, "LA Devotee." If Schnapp ever gets out of that chair and tears those electrodes off his head, hopefully he'll make Panic! pay big time for putting him there.
Two fans injured in the deadly May shooting at a T.I. concert at Irving Plaza have sued both the venue and its operator, Live Nation, for negligence. TMZ reports that the concertgoers claim they were "trampled" in the aftermath of the shooting, which left one person dead and three injured. They're now arguing that the venue had a lack of security and didn't properly screen attendees for weapons on the night of the incident. The two fans have allegedly suffered "serious physical injuries and mental anguish" and are suing for unspecified damages. Troy Ave, the rapper implicated in the shooting, had also previously sued Irving Plaza and Live Nation for similar alleged negligence.
Heather Gabel, Ex-Wife of Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace, Slams Rolling Stone Magazine for Recent Profile of the MusicianBy Jordan Crucchiola
Heather Gabel, the ex-wife of Against Me! front woman Laura Jane Grace, is taking serious issue with a recent Rolling Stone article profiling the musician and trans activist. According to a Facebook post written by Gabel, the article misrepresents the reasons she and Grace separated in 2014 — which eventually led to a divorce — and contains information that stood in direct contrast to what Gabel told the author, Alex Morris, in a conversation she says the two had while fact-checking the story.
There is a CD that still lives in a leather case in my mom’s trunk that is so scratched it doesn’t even skip. I burned this CD early in 2008, in preparation for the next time I came home from college to Atlanta. The CD was a testament to the golden age of sprawling, posse cut remixes that had dominated the previous two years. Included were the “Throw Some Ds” remix, the “We Fly High” megamix, and the “I’m So Hood” remix. But the first track — and the most recently released, sending my collegiate life into a whirlwind of homesickness — was the remix to “Dey Know” by Shawty Lo.
Okay, donors, now let’s get in formation. Power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z will reportedly be hosting an enormous Tidal charity concert next month at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — the streaming service’s unofficial headquarters — the New York Post reports. (No, don’t be snarky; it isn’t for Tidal itself.) To be held on October 15, Tidal will collaborate with poverty-fighting organization the Robin Hood Foundation for the concert, with other musicians such as Nicki Minaj, Lauryn Hill, and Lil Wayne expected to perform. Tickets will range between basic $50 seats to $100,000 VIP packages. The event, of course, will be streamed live on Apple Music. (Kidding. Tidal for life, baby!)
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