Noted deity Lil B will head to the Sunshine State next week to share his vast stores of wisdom with the University of Florida. The rapper on Wednesday revealed he's doing so in lecture form, adding via social media that prospective attendees will be a part of history. Event posters unfortuately don't add much in the way of details (or lesson plan), but a Q&A session will likely be included. Though his speaking circuit might be touted as "extremely rare," the rapper has given similar talks on such campuses as UCLA's, Carnegie Mellon's, NYU's, and MIT's. This lecture, like some of his others, will probably underline the importance of loving, pursuing happiness, and not making the same mistakes as James Harden. (All valuable concepts.)
Earlier this year, Arcade Fire unveiled plans to honor the late David Bowie with a parade in New Orleans. (Attendees were encouraged to come in their best or strangest Bowie-inspired outfits — and you bet they did! Some even Ziggy-fied their pets.) The indie group worked with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band there to arrange the January 16 event and lead the resulting mass of fans in song. A documentary of sorts was also promised, and Arcade on Wednesday finally released a snippet.
"We are here today to celebrate the life of David Bowie. There are few artists that could possibly bring together this incredible group of people — you all are amazing." Ben Jaffe, Preservation's creative director, explains above. "This is about him and all of you and how we felt about David," Arcade's Win Butler adds. "God Bless, David, wherever you're at." Roll the clip to see how the day turned out, and to hear their rendition of "Heroes."
“Misery.” “Red Flag.” “Me Without You.” Yep, this truly will be the divorce-pop album of your dreams. As anticipated since October, when Gwen Stefani dropped the breakup ballad “Used to Love You,” the No Doubt front woman has unofficially announced the title and track list of her first solo album since 2006’s The Sweet Escape. “This Is What the Truth Feels Like,” Stefani tweeted, along with a very emotional-sounding array of song titles. If it’s wrong to dance to a pop song about the recent dissolution of a 12-year marriage, then no one will be right until at least the end of 2016.
Over the past half-decade, superproducer Jeff Bhasker has evolved from a behind-the-boards impresario into a de facto hitmaker. Since connecting with Kanye West to confect half of the songs on the perilously moody 808s & Heartbreak in 2008, the Socorro, New Mexico–raised musician elevated his profile with credits on projects with Drake, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars, and netted two Grammys for his work with Jay Z, West, and fun., the latter of which helped earned him a Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) nomination at the 2013 ceremony. This year he’s up for the same award again, for his work on individual songs (Elle King’s “Last Damn Night,” Cam’s “Burning House”) and full-length albums (Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special, Nate Ruess’s Grand Romantic). Ahead of the 58th annual ceremony, Bhasker breaks down what it means to produce a record in 2016 and the process behind some of his latest hits.
Lana Del Rey’s Freaky ‘Freak’ Music Video Will Make You Want to Swim, Do Drugs, and Buy Hair ProductBy Sean Fitz-Gerald
Ever wondered if Father John Misty's hair and beard are as comfortable as they look? Good news: The elemental visuals for "Freak," the latest single from Honeymoon to get the music-vid treatment, are here. Which really means Lana Del Rey has invited you to go on a trippy 11-minute quest for that answer. Along the way, you might also vicariously do drugs, drink Mountain Dew Code Red, and participate in a five-minute endurance swim set to Debussy. California is generous that way.
In response to Martin Shkreli's early April Fool's joke, Ghostface released a non-apology on Tuesday. The 11-minute vid serves as part dis, plea, and ad (Wu Goo alert!), as the rapper ultimately calls Shkreli's history-erasing bluff and underlines the pharma bro's villain status. "You're a real killer, man," Ghost says, referencing Shkreli's notorious Daraprim price gouging. "You don't do that to the people, man. They need [Daraprim] ... Right now you got them weak right now, because they don't even know where they're going to run to get their medicine from now. Because of you. You're a clown." Ghost's mother and sister also appear in the vid to echo the artist's message with an emotional punch:
Taking a break from preparing to perform on Saturday Night Live this weekend and telling you how great Swish is going to be — whether or not it actually ends up being called Swish, or Waves, or whatever your best guess is — Kanye West weighed in on the many abuse charges currently being leveled against Bill Cosby. "BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!" Kanye tweeted early Tuesday evening. Assuming he didn't accidentally type exclamation points instead of question marks, it appears he thinks Cosby is innocent. (Though it seems like a weird thing to exclaim either way.) Below you can see a screenshot of the tweet, just in case Kanye ends up deleting it.
As New York City's summer festival season continues to get more crowded, we have our first victim: FarmBorough, the first-ever country-music festival held in NYC, has been canceled after just one year. The festival's organizers, Founders Entertainment (who also run Governors Ball), have shared the news in a statement on the festival's practically dead site: "All of us at FarmBorough Festival appreciate the support we have received, but conditions dictate that we redirect our energy at this time." Strangely, the festival's second year looked to be a done deal as recently as three weeks ago, when the festival announced that Toby Keith, Jason Aldean, and Tim McGraw were set to headline with tickets already on sale. FarmBorough now says those tickets will be refunded. Last year's festival took place on Randalls Island, home to Governors Ball in June and where Coachella's controversial new Panorama festival will make its debut this July.
Every week, Vulture and friends highlight the best new music. If 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 Playlist for a comprehensive guide to the year's best music.
Ewan McGregor sang David Bowie’s “Heroes” last night at the Roxy's Celebrating David Bowie tribute concert in Hollywood, alongside other performers, like Seal and Gary Oldman. As you might know based on your age and/or love of musical movies, McGregor sang “Heroes” as part of the "Elephant Love Medley" in Moulin Rouge. But don’t worry! You don’t have to publicly identify yourself as a former or current Moulin Rouge fan here. This is a safe space, designated solely for getting misty over the excellence of David Bowie. And that is a fact.
Justin Vernon's gearing up for his second Eaux Claires Music Festival — where last year, Bon Iver debuted two new songs — and to get fans pumped for all those sounds of summer sadness, early ticket-buyers have received a cassette compilation of artists expected to perform. Naturally, Bon Iver are on it, and they've shared what Vernon has described as a "very old" (but not so old that it predates their debut album) unreleased track called "Haven, Mass." It's steeped in the band's usual melancholy (obviously, the lyrics reference rain) and, according to Vernon, was recorded around 2009 or 2010. Thanks to someone who owns one of Earth's last cassette players, you can hear a rip of it below.
Ahead of the 2016 Grammys, Vulture spoke with a handful of artists whose albums are nominated this year about the toughest song they wrote for them. Up next is Miguel. When it came to challenging himself on his third album, Wildheart, which earned the Los Angeles native two Grammy nominations this year (Best Urban Contemporary Album, and Best R&B Song for “Coffee”), Miguel didn’t grapple with the sonic palette of “What’s Normal Anyway,” a psych-lite cut touting a spindly electric guitar navigating through choppy, harmony-swollen waters. Instead, it was about digging deep. “I never feel like I belong,” he sings, grappling with the difficulties of misaligning with the expectations that can come from race, class, and intellect.
Twitter polls be damned, Kanye still hasn't a clue what to call his new album; now he just wants you to guess. Monday night, Yeezy tweeted that he's again changed the album formerly known as So Help Me God/Swish/Waves (why can't it just be all of them?) to T.L.O.P. — a clear ploy to get fans to do his grunt work for him. We see you, Kanye. T.L.O.P. is a decoy, a placeholder, if you will, meant to bide more time until inspiration strikes North at the 11th hour. It's okay, Nori, you can do it! But what the hell, we'll play along. Rather than just telling you what T.L.O.P. stands for, Kanye would like you to guess, rewarding whoever can figure it out (or steal the correct Reddit theory first) with tickets to his Madison Square Garden fashion show/listening party on Thursday and a pair of Yeezys.
The (body) party is over: Ciara is suing Future for defamation. TMZ reports that the singer filed a $15 million lawsuit against her ex-fiancé, with whom she has a son (also named Future), for slander and libel. She cites numerous interviews, including a 2015 appearance on "The Breakfast Club" in which Future suggested that Ciara set her current boyfriend, Russell Wilson, up to be caught by paparazzi pushing her and Future's son in a stroller. "Leave my son out of all the publicity stunts," he said at the time. In the lawsuit, she also takes aim at Future's recent tweet storm that saw the rapper call Ciara (though she wasn't specifically named) "this bitch [who] got control problems." He also alleged in those tweets that Ciara forces him to go through lawyers to see their son, and that he has to pay $15,000 a month to do so. (That fight reportedly stemmed from a dispute over Future not being allowed to see their son on Christmas.) However, in the suit, Ciara claims she has permitted Future to see their son at least 19 times since December 2014, sometimes for an extended period of time. In addition to the $15 million, she's asking that the court force Future to delete all allegedly defamatory tweets and block him from speaking publicly about family matters involving Baby Future.
The latest Tyler, the Creator snippet to get the music-video treatment is here, draped in trippy sonic and visual flourishes. You'll recognize the extract above as a tweaked version of "Fucking Young's" ending, off Tyler's most recent album, Cherry Bomb. Though "Perfect" might not be as intense as "Buffalo," Wolf Haley (a.k.a. Tyler's directing persona) still delivers a mesmerizing 2.5 minutes in the form of a pastel-laden dichotomy. Roll the split-screen clip to watch Kali Uchis, Slow Hollows' Austin Feinstein, and a butterfly-covered Tyler — oh, and a pair of very talented backup sunflowers — wrestle with lovesick apprehension.
For the duration of January 2016, it was the foremost topic of conversation. Seemingly each day meant another story about white privilege in the news. Watching this happen is exciting, but also overwhelming in the way it is whenever a new idea is introduced to the mainstream. From DeRay Mckesson teaching Stephen Colbert about the concept on The Late Show to Mark Ruffalo considering a boycott of this year’s very white Academy Awards on the basis of said privilege, it’s seeping into most corners of society, and quickly. The chatter has continued into February, most notably around how brash black and white quarterbacks are judged differently, in both success and failure. White privilege even made its way into the presidential race, when Hillary Clinton was asked in a forum what white privilege means to her and how she’s benefited from it. Clinton’s response could be described as “a collection of words.” While long, her answer was not good; clearly caught off-guard, she told a rambling story about babysitting for migrant farmers that ran out the clock but didn’t really connect with the question she was asked. But there was something refreshingly honest and earnest in her attempt. It was like watching someone try to hit a home run, only to strike out after realizing mid-swing that they’ve never played baseball. But even a clean, highly mulled-over answer to a question like this — the right answer — wouldn't necessarily mean someone has actually dealt with her or his own privilege. Again, it’s nothing more than words.
The Force Is So Awakened in Rick Rubin, He Made a Stars Wars–Themed Album With Help From J.J. Abrams and Lin-Manuel MirandaBy Dee Lockett
Eminem once called himself Rick Rubin's "little Padawan" — and wouldn't you know it, now Rubin's making an entire album inspired by Star Wars. The rap game's Yoda has curated Star Wars Headspace, a compilation out February 19 that will sample sounds and dialogue from the entire franchise. In other words, you can now hopefully look forward to cute BB-8 noises looped together with Wookiee talk and heavy breathing. Flying Lotus, Rustie, A-Trak, Baauer, Röyksopp, Kaskade, Shlohmo, GTA, Galantis, and more have contributed to the production. But the two names that really boost the project's Star Wars cred are Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and cantina songwriter (among many things) Lin-Manuel Miranda, who made the song "Jabba Flow" for Force Awakens together (under the name Shag Kava) — now that song is getting the Rubin treatment with a remix called "Jabba Flow: Rick Rubin Re-Work," which is apparently a Jabba the Hut tribute. And you thought you were a Star Wars fanboy.
Revisit the Most Iconic Moment of the Early 2000s When Hayden Panettiere and Christina Aguilera Perform ‘Lady Marmalade’ on Lip Sync BattleBy Halle Kiefer
If and when aliens colonize the burned-out, desiccated hull of Earth thousands years from now, what better Rosetta Stone could they find for American culture at the turn of the century (and perhaps our entire run) than the Lil' Kim/Missy Elliott/Mya/Pink/Christina Aguilera "Lady Marmalade" video? Hayden Panettiere brings it back to 2001 on Lip Sync Battle this week, and Xtina herself stops by with a team of shirtless dancers to remind you she can really, really, really, really sing. The aliens could also potentially find this episode of Lip Sync Battle and extrapolate everything else from there, which is handy.
Jeez. First Bowie, now Bey. A significant part of Chris Martin’s life involves being brutally rejected by musical icons. In his new Rolling Stone interview, the Coldplay singer describes how Beyoncé once turned down a song he'd written, entitled “Hook Up.” Apparently, she did it ”in the sweetest possible way: She told me, 'I really like you – but this is awful.'" Good. Lord. On one hand, imagine meeting Beyoncé, only to have her tell you how deeply you've failed. On the other hand, Beyoncé saying your work is garbage is still probably better than like 98 percent of the other moments in your life. Martin also delves into why Coldplay is kind of a pop-culture joke at this point. "I had a couple of years in the mid-2000s where it was really confusing to me," he says. "I was like, 'Why is our band sometimes a punch line?'" He knows that Beyoncé story really isn’t going to help matters, right?
Ahead of the 2016 Grammys, Vulture spoke with a handful of artists whose albums are nominated this year about the toughest songs they wrote for them. Up first is Jazmine Sullivan, Philadelphia's sweetheart with a voice that's decade's beyond her years, who shocked the R&B world when she prematurely announced her retirement in 2011. Hiatus over, she reemerged with 2015's acclaimed Reality Show, now nominated for Best R&B Album. Here, she talks to us about how she nearly walked away from album standout "Brand New" after Kendrick Lamar couldn't contribute the verse she had her heart set on.
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