It's not a night out in the spotlight for Kanye if it doesn't end with a radio interview the following morning. Last night, Kanye and his gray-blue eyes won the Met Gala; this morning, his predictably chatty mouth won Steve Harvey in the Morning. He phoned in for some early-morning inspo in the form of a lengthy TED Talk about following your dreams, accepting interracial love, putting some respek on another man's wife's name, not listening to critics, how slaves were the first "unpaid interns," and VMA activism. No, really. Before Harvey could even ask Kanye about Taylor Swift, Kanye brought her up himself, once again reflecting on what happened that night he didn't let her finish speaking.
Afeni Shakur Davis, longtime political activist and the mother of the late rap legend Tupac, died Monday night; she was 69. According to the Marin County Sheriff's Office in Sausalito, California, police responded to a report of cardiac arrest at Shakur's home on Monday night and transported her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead less than an hour later. Police say the coroner will investigate the cause of death. Shakur, born Alice Faye Williams in North Carolina, was best known as the mother of rapper Tupac Shakur, who immortalized his mother in his 1995 acclaimed hit, "Dear Mama." Tupac was famously killed at 25 in 1996 in a drive-by shooting.
Following his death, Afeni Shakur took over Tupac's estate and founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which supports performing arts for kids through a center and global initiatives. She would later present an award with Voletta Wallace, the mother of the late rapper Biggie, at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards as a show of unity against violence. She was also founder and CEO of Amaru Entertainment, Inc., through which Shakur held the rights to Tupac's music, helped create and co-produce the 2014 Tupac-inspired Broadway musical Holler If Ya Hear Me, and authorized and executive-produced the upcoming Tupac biopic All Eyez On Me.
You were not expecting this, but here you stand, transfixed, in the doorway of a Hollywood rehearsal studio, your throat clamping up and your chest tightening, watching 16- and 17-year-old sisters Halle and Chloe Bailey sing a single word, “Hallelujah,” in gorgeous, repeating crescendos, like a church choir sending a dying loved one off into the light. Those harmonized “Hallelujahs” aren’t even a song, just their way of saying grace. You are not religious. But you will start to cry.
It was 5 a.m. on a chilly early-sprıng morning, and Charlamagne Tha God was piloting his regal Jaguar across the George Washington Bridge from the wilds of Jersey. As if by Old Testament decree, the Manhattan skies lightened to welcome the King of the Hip-Hop Morning. Another day was dawning, and Charlamagne, co-host of “The Breakfast Club,” the hot-shot urban-contemporary wake-up call, was doing what he does best, which is run his mouth.
Amid ongoing label drama and claims to the contrary, Birdman tells Hot 97 he's not the one halting Lil Wayne's long-awaited Carter V. "Man, Wayne always been his own boss; I never interfered," he explains in his interview with Ebro and Laura Stylez, from the comfort of his multimillion-dollar home. "Me not putting out Tha Carter V, why wouldn't I? I got a lot of money invested into Young Money and Wayne ... I think the world deserves a Carter V. Whatever he wants to do, I'm good with."
To try to prove his point, the Cash Money honcho says that, technically speaking, he could have stopped the other records Wayne has been releasing, but he isn't because he respects the younger rapper's hustle. Baby's lengthy chat, posted Monday, also touches on the future of hip-hop, forthcoming projects, and his pick for album of the year. Read on for more of those highlights:
Women (namely Taylor Swift) may get all the credit for orchestrating elaborate squad photos these days, but men (namely rappers) have been beating them at the game for decades. Case in point: This incredible photo DJ Khaled has shared of himself just casually hanging out backstage at Beyoncé's Formation tour in Atlanta with only some of the richest dudes in the music industry. From left to right you've got Usher, Diddy, Jay Z (natch), branding king Steve Stout, T.I., and the major key himself. If you cropped out everyone except Diddy and Hov, you'd still be looking at well over a billion dollars in the flesh. Can mogul talk be heard through an Instagram photo? They don't want us to know.
We already know Beyoncé is queen of the Billboard 200, with Lemonade nabbing the biggest-selling week of 2016 so far — and making Beyoncé the first artist in history to have their first six albums go No. 1 – but how has she slayed the Hot 100? As expected, she's started out big: "Formation" has debuted at No. 10 on the singles chart, entering nearly three months after the song first caused all that conversation. (Beyoncé initially made "Formation" available as a free download and its video is unlisted on YouTube, while Tidal did not report the song's streams to Nielsen, where Billboard gets its numbers.) Despite never officially being promoted as Lemonade's lead single (though marketing doesn't get much bigger than the Super Bowl), "Formation" is now Beyoncé first song to reach the Top 10 since "Drunk in Love" with Jay Z peaked at No. 2 in 2014.
Last year, Drake made a power play for rap regency with two wildly successful surprise retail mixtapes, an Apple deal that gave him a bimonthly Beats 1 radio show, and a string of releases from his own OVO Sound imprint. When his mettle was tested by Philly rapper Meek Mill’s charge that he used an uncredited writer for a verse, Drake responded with two surgically effective diss tracks — the smarmy “Charged Up” and the acerbic, Grammy-nominated “Back to Back” — and “Hotline Bling,” a single that would earn him the best solo sales and chart placements of his career. His transformation from despondent sentimentalist to vengeful rap superpower even came with a beard and muscles.
It remains to be seen whether or not Beyoncé will come for all the country music awards with Lemonade's Southern pistol-whipper, "Daddy Lessons," or if the haters will try shut her out. But the Dixie Chicks just gave their fellow Texas queen all the country cred even they know she never needed. Spitting in the face of country purists with effortless swagger, the Dixie Chicks covered "Daddy Lessons" in Europe over the weekend and, whaddya know, it sounds like a country song. They're barely even playing up the twang (maybe a few extra yeehaws, because obviously), and it works all the same. When Bey and the Chicks slay "Daddy Lessons" and "Not Ready to Make Nice" together at the CMAs this year, just remember this ain't Beyoncé's first time at the rodeo, y'all.
Report: Get Ready to See More Diddy in or Around Your Movies, Because That’s All He Wants to Do After His Next AlbumBy Sean Fitz-Gerald
In a forthcoming Cigar Aficionado cover story, Sean Combs underlines his nearing music retirement. The mogul's next release, No Way Out 2, will feature his "most honest and best" work to date, and will signal a priority shift. "I'm going to put out my last album and devote 100 percent of my time to doing films … I want to stop at a great place," he says in the mag's June issue, per People. "A final album is a great place to stop. I want to take a victory lap, to do a world tour and really enjoy it one last time." The report doesn't specify whether it'll be producing or acting after that, but Combs has done both — as well as some writing and directing — so be prepared for anything. The full interview, in which Combs talks more about his musical legacy, hits stands May 3. In the meantime, begin hoping this means at least one more Diddy Daddy appearance.
Beyoncé's sixth solo studio record is also her sixth solo studio record to debut atop the Billboard 200. The mag's site reported Sunday that Lemonade notched 653,000 equivalent album units (485,000 of those as pure album sales) in its first week, and, consumption-wise, has so far enjoyed the best first week of any 2016 release. Drake might better both feats next week, however, as forecasters project his recently released Views to sell more than 800,000 copies. Until then, Queen B takes the top spot from Prince and his now No. 2 Best of album, while the late music icon dominates the rest of the chart with four other top-ten titles (Purple Rain, The Hits/The B-Sides, Ultimate, and 1999).
While it's been three (!) years since Haim released a new album, if they continue doing spontaneous covers like this, we're willing to be a little more patient. At a benefit for the Girls Rock Camp Foundation in Los Angeles Friday night, the trio — who have a well-documented affinity for Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac — performed "Dreams" from the band's virtuoso Rumours. Captured by the lucky attendees on Instagram below, Haim's rendition of the song is dreamy and hauntingly beautiful ... as it should be.
At the Toronto launch party for Views, Drake, the nice, nerdy guy with an affinity for sweaters who’s actually really rich and famous and not such an underdog anymore, held up his phone and touted to fans that the album had allegedly sold over 620,000 copies in one night, numbers that would make Adele blush. But those impressive numbers are misleading — you might even say that they're "too good to be true." Back in February, the RIAA announced a change in policy, decreeing that streaming numbers would count alongside traditional album sales. That means “Hotline Bling,” which was as widespread as poison ivy at summer camp, counts towards the album’s sales. The album hasn’t had a physical release yet. Here's a track-by-track vivisection of the 80-minute album.
We may still be mourning Prince, the prodigious and prolific artist who made purple cool, and struggling to find his music online without resorting to Tidal, but we may soon have as many as 2,000 new Prince songs to ease the pain. ABC affiliate KSTP-TV reports that Prince’s vault — like, a literal vault, with a spinning wheel lock and everything — of music has been opened amid uncertainty regarding the allocation of his fortune and music. (His sister, Tyka Nelson, confirmed that the musician left no will.) On The View in 2012, Prince said of his unreleased songs, "One day, someone will release them. I don't know that I'll get to release them. There's just so many." As if the Purple One didn’t have enough outrageous stories already. This is the most exciting opening of a vault since Geraldo excavated Al Capone’s, which was, to put it mildly, disappointing.
Radiohead ‘Knows Where You Live,’ Teases the Long-Awaited Song ‘Burn the Witch’ With Creepy LeafletsBy Greg Cwik
If the internet is good for anything, it's conjuring up Radiohead rumors. A new album may or may not come out in June, Paul Thomas Anderson may or may not have shot a music video with the band ... etc. Between the new company they started and the massive tour they're embarking on in a few weeks, Radiohead has been awful busy lately, and it appears that they've officially begun building hype for the purported upcoming album: U.K. fans report receiving creepy, ominous leaflets — yes, as in tangible, snail-mail-sent paper products, which were widely used before the advent of the internet — festooned with lyrics from the long-gestating song "Burn the Witch" and an official Radiohead logo. The lyrics read, "Sing a song of sixpence that goes/Burn the Witch/We know where you live." The song was first teased by Stanley Donwood's art for 2003's Hail to the Thief, and the opening chords have been played by Thom Yorke & Co. at least twice, in 2006 and 2008. The lyrics appeared on the band's site in 2007, though the song has been presumably percolating in a cauldron for a decade. You can see the leaflet, and hear a very brief snippet of the song's opening chords, below.
Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Attempt Another Drum-Off, But in a Classic Rock and Roll Power Move, Get Other Musicians to Do the Drumming on Their BehalfBy Devon Ivie
Will Ferrell and his brother-from-another-mother Chad Smith hosted the Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceañera last night, and, as you would hope, a drum-off was the centerpiece of the event. The duo ended up eschewing their previous Tonight Show format and the actual drumming duties, but don't fret — they recruited some top-notch substitutes to take their places for an epic team drum-off extravaganza. Taylor Hawkins, Tommy Lee, Fred Armisen, Mick Fleetwood, and Stewart Copeland all got a chance to showcase their particular set of skills. Alas, no holograms of Keith Moon or John Bonham, sadly.
You can always count on brands to out-corny even Drake. Naturally, someone at the Cheesecake Factory caught wind that a certain swole rapper prefers to spend his cheat meals at their establishment, as we learned on Views. He gave the restaurant a shout-out on "Child's Play," explaining just how much his quality time at there means to him: "Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake / You know I love to go there / Say I'm actin' lightskin, I can't take you nowhere / This a place for families that drive Camrys and go to Disney / They don't need to know all of our business." As is corporate social-media code, the Cheesecake Factory had to respond. (Remember what happened to Red Lobster when they took too long?) Don't worry, it only took them the whole day to come up with their very own spin on the Views meme:
The last time Rihanna and Calvin Harris made a song together it led to Rihanna's longest-charting No. 1 hit (unless"Work" returns to the top), and one of her best music videos to date. So it's only right to assume that lightning can strike twice, right? That's exactly what they're hoping for with "This Is What You Came For," their first new song together since 2011's "We Found Love." The song, an even more house-infused banger with Rih's voice at the fore, comes less than two weeks after they performed their first hit together at Coachella, during Calvin's headlining set. But wait just a damn second — rewind to that weekend in the desert and you may remember Taylor Swift's bleach blondness stealing the show. But did you happen to notice something else in the photo in which she debuted the new look? That's right, Tay was wearing a bomber with the cover art to her man's new single all along. Sly one that Swift is. Introducing your new Song of Summer contender:
As promised, Zedd and Kesha's official version of "True Colors" is here. The song, first showcased as a Coachella surprise, features the latter passionately delivering many of the original lyrics: "All my life, one page at a time / I'll show you my, my true colors," Kesha roars in the chorus. "And no, and no, I won't apologize for the fire in my eyes / Let me show you my, my true colors / It ain't a rainbow." A powerful change comes during the bridge, however, when the singer explains, "I've escaped my capture, and I have no master." Listen below:
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