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  • Posted 12/15/17 at 10:26 PM
  • Nelly

Nelly Wants To Take Legal Action Against His Accuser After Rape Case Was Dropped

Two months after Nelly was arrested under suspicion of second-degree rape in Ridgefield, Washington the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office decided to drop the case, citing the accusers refusal to testify in court or to further cooperate with the investigation. Now, lawyer Scott Rosenblum, an attorney for the rapper, says that Nelly wants to take legal actions to clear his name, reports Billboard.


Chance the Rapper Saves the Holidays, Recruits Common and Lena Waithe to Join His Christmas Mixtape

Right on cue, Chance the Rapper has arrived to save your holiday cheer from President Trump, Last Jedi spoilers, and whatever the hell is going on with Bitcoin. He’s releasing another batch of hip Christmas songs as part of his Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama holiday mixtape. Not only is Jeremih returning, but they’ve recruited Common (swoon) and Lena Waithe (double swoon) as well. Chance announced the project on his Instagram Friday afternoon: “#merrychristmaslilmama will be available EVERYWHERE next week wit a gang of new altxmas bangerz. Shout Common & Lena Waithe for playing new drums on every track on this project.” The weather outside is frightful, your family members might be gearing up to share their unpopular opinions, but new altxmas bangerz will keep your holiday delightful.

  • Posted 12/15/17 at 3:47 PM

How Eminem’s Slim Shady EP Paved the Way for Superstardom

What you’re looking at is the Unsigned Hype column from the March 1998 edition of The Source. It’s difficult to overstate the power The Source wielded through the turn of the century; this column alone helped launch the careers of the Notorious B.I.G., Saafir, Common, and Capone-N-Noreaga, and was early to the party on everyone from avant heroes like Thirstin Howl III to DMX, who, in March of ’98, was about to embark on one of the greatest 12-month tears ever recorded. Cordoned off at the bottom of the same page is the magazine’s Fat Tape feature, which earmarked songs by Mia X and Mac, Mase with 8Ball & MJG, Big Pun, Goodie Mob, Cappadonna, and so on. In the 19 years since this issue ran, Big Pun passed away and Cappadonna spent time driving a cab. Mac has spent more than 15 years in prison for a crime he more than likely didn’t commit, and Mia X is battling cancer. Mase left rap to be a pastor in Atlanta, came back to rap, left again, and then came back again. Meanwhile, the subject of this particular Unsigned Hype column went on to become one of the most famous artists in the history of popular music.


  • Posted 12/15/17 at 2:44 PM

On Revival, Eminem Tries Everything, But It Doesn’t Always Work

Bless Eminem’s heart. He saw democracy going up in smoke, and his immediate response was to start writing diss tracks for the president. That’s how Em processes the world. He prods until he finds the joke that makes you maddest and then plays you for a fool and a square for getting worked up in the first place. It’s won him dozens of battles in the past, but Trump is a more formidable sparring partner than the rapper seems to think. Both are shock jocks; their language is coarse and brutish, but they ask you to believe that there’s a sweetness animating it. When they get in trouble for their words, the immediate defense is that animosity was never the intention, that their hearts are in the right place, even when their sound bites suggest otherwise. (Em’s dry response to a Rolling Stone question about offensive lyrics in the 2013 single “Rap God” — “I think people know my stance on things …” — is the same brand of accountability-free deflection White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sells on television every week.) The rapper and the politician both shot to the forefront of their respective fields on a wave of irreverence and Middle American disenfranchisement. Squint, and the MAGA bros’ theater of disdain for “snowflakes” and PC culture looks like a mirror image of the “FCC won’t let me be” rhetoric of “Without Me.” It’s no surprise that Trump has declared himself a fan of Eminem in the past, or that, challenged by the rapper in the BET Hip-Hop Awards freestyle “The Storm,” he knew that the single-most-infuriating reaction he could give was radio silence.


  • Posted 12/15/17 at 12:38 PM

On ‘Like Home’ Eminem Still Thinks America Can Be Saved

Strange though it seems now, there once was a time when Eminem was ahead of the curve. Back in the early 2000s, he had just completed a trilogy of substantial, hugely successful albums and starred in a major motion picture based on his own life. His fixations — drugs and drug abuse, family and family abuse, conscience — felt vital, though rarely comfortable. Critics and listeners were still generally inclined to approve of him. When, outraged by the Bush administration’s push for war with Iraq, he added politics to his list of fixations, few blinked an eye. “No more blood for oil — we got our own battles to fight on our own soil,” he rapped on 2004’s “Mosh,” a protest song whose music video shows Eminem leading masses of protesters to register to vote.


Charli XCX on Her New Mixtape and Why She’s Not Sure She’ll Release Another Album

“I’m not saying this to be a cop out, but pop music is in a good place,” Charli XCX says from her bed in Los Angeles, having just woken up from what must feel like a prolonged haze on tour with Halsey. Reflecting on the year in music, she struggles to find a pop trend she’d wish for 2017 to keep. “I’m really happy that EDM is pretty much over,” she offers. Charli’s optimism about pop comes from firsthand experience: She’s long been a secret weapon of the genre, penning hits for Iggy Azalea, Selena Gomez, and for herself as a solo artist with two albums to her name. This year, the 25-year-old Brit broadened her résumé with a sugary PC Music–style experimentation in her overlooked March mixtape, Number 1 Angel, the natural progression from her work with Sophie. Then she directed a few dozen famous boys in the music video for “Boys.”


  • Posted 12/15/17 at 10:00 AM

G-Eazy Is Still Not a Compelling Hitmaker

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1922 novel, The Beautiful and Damned, tells the story of the New York City socialite Anthony Patch, a tycoon’s heir actively waiting for his rich grandfather to die so he can play with the money. Patch is a writer by declaration, but in practice, he is a drunk and a layabout who’d sooner snark with friends over dinner or drop in on a theater matinee than write a single word. The party life is sapping his potential. Bay Area rapper G-Eazy named his new double album The Beautiful and Damned after the book, he says, because he was struck by the duality in the title, but the two works are linked by more than just a name. Like Patch, G-Eazy is locked in a struggle to live up to his potential, tussling with the wiles of the nightlife to honor his talent and clinging to the healing light of love to find redemption.


Black Thought’s 10-Minute Freestyle Is a Rap Master Class

Children, pay attention. Rap’s great storyteller, leader of the best house band in late-night, and voice of the Roots, Black Thought, has come to educate. Appearing on Funkmaster Flex’s radio show on Thursday, Black Thought completed what can only be considered a rap marathon, freestyling for ten minutes straight over Mobb Deep’s “The Learning (Burn).” Few breaths, no starting over, no relying on his phone for lyrical guidance (as the younger generation has been programmed to do — even Eminem’s lauded anti-Trump freestyle was pre-written), just a pure stream of consciousness from the mind of an underrated genius. He references masters of the pen, both literary (Kafka, Shakespeare, Fitzgerald) and hip-hop (Rakim, Pharoahe Monch, Tupac, Kendrick), to weave a tapestry of rhymes. Ranging from a tragic story about his mother, to his crossover success on TV (he recently appeared on The Deuce), to Kanye criticisms, not a bar is to be missed. Ever see a person break a sweat from such strenuous rapping? Now you have.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Releases New Song About Ben Franklin, Somehow Still Has Hamilton Stuff Up His Sleeve

As previously evidenced in every single thing he does, Lin-Manuel Miranda has no desire to take a break or relax whatsoever. So it’s really no surprise that he’s decided to commit to releasing a whole year’s worth of Hamilton content once a month for the coming year. The first of his so-called “Hamildrops” comes this December with a new song, “Ben Franklin’s Song.” Sung by the Decemberists, the song’s based on an idea Miranda had for Decemberists-esque lyrics about the famous inventor, which he sent along to the Decemberists’s Colin Meloy, who turned it into an actual song with the rest of the band. If you don’t know who Benjamin Franklin is, you certainly will by the end of the song.

Eminem’s Ninth Studio Album, Revival, Has Arrived

The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was Eminem’s last studio album, and it came out all the way back in 2013, which is basically a lifetime ago in terms of how much culture has changed. The veteran MC has already released “Walk On Water” and “Untouchable” as lead singles, and there was also that anti-Trump freestyle cypher from the BET Awards. Collaborators on his ninth and latest LP, Revival, include Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, Skylar Grey, Kehlani, and more, and you can start streaming it now via Apple Music.

You Can Now Stream Charli XCX’s Pop 2 Mixtape

Pop-music hit machine Charli XCX hasn’t put out an official LP since Sucker in 2014, but in that two-year span she has churned out a truckload of addictive tracks with help from a seemingly endless Rolodex of collaborators. When Charli hangs out with friends are they ever just sitting around and talking, or does every rendezvous produce a new jam? While you ponder that question, listen to Pop 2, her second mixtape of the year after dropping Number 1 Angel in March. She’s joined by Carly Rae Jepsen, Brooke Candy, CupcakKe, Mykki Blanco, MØ, and more.

  • Posted 12/14/17 at 5:41 PM

The Unexpected Longevity of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but at the start of 2017, lists floated around Facebook wherein friends recalled their favorite teenage albums. Most tried to prove they were always hip, boasting about cool bands and critically acclaimed classics they loved from the jump (Nirvana, Public Enemy, the Ramones, My Bloody Valentine, Patti Smith showed up often). But the long, agonizing desert that is seven years of adolescence is nothing if not constantly in flux, with teens molting their listening habits and tastes as they haphazardly try on, discard, and form their personas. Which is to say, years before I liked anything remotely cool (or even knew what was cool), I loved “Weird Al” Yankovic unabashedly.


Russell Simmons Responds to Rape Accusations With ‘#NotMe’

Two weeks after Russell Simmons stepped down from Def Jam amid sexual-harassment and assault accusations, the music mogul is fighting back. Nine more women accused Simmons of sexual assault in a pair of New York Times and Los Angeles Times reports published Wednesday evening, and on Thursday afternoon Simmons posted his response on Instagram: “#NotMe,” he wrote, saying that he will begin “to properly defend myself [and] prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges.” Simmons names the two initial accusers — ex-model Keri Claussen Khalighi and screenwriter Jenny Lumet — that prompted his Def Jam exit. “Today, I will focus on “The Original Sin” (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned! We’ll share information today… And tomorrow the case of Jenny Lumet.”


  • Posted 12/14/17 at 1:53 PM

The 10 Best Rap Albums of 2017

First, let’s not walk into 2018 without recognizing that rap music, after all these years, is still a place you can go when you just want to learn something, and believe more in yourself. In 2012, Lil B was releasing more than a dozen tapes a year. Since, that velocity has slowed, and Black Ken — which he started working on in 2010 — is his first major project since 2015. Entirely self-produced, it’s a reminder that purposely abandoning what you think you know is a gift you can give yourself. From Lil B scholar Duncan Cooper: “Black Ken showed that Lil B had confidence and dedication. It has these weird old-school elements that contextualize his other output. It’s not that he’s doing a No Limit phase or an abstract ambient phase or a Tupac phase. It’s just him being a student of music and exploring its history, piece by piece. That’s an achievement of DIY. Also, he says ‘I own my own masters, so I’m a real rapper.’” This year, rappers had more proven earning power than ever, and more options for distributing and marketing their work without traditional label backing. But in any year, that line rules.


Sufjan Stevens Almost Voiced Older Elio in Call Me by Your Name

The work Sufjan Stevens did for Call Me by Your Name is crucial to the film, but, it turns out, he could’ve been inserted into the actual story. In addition to writing and performing the film’s devastating final song “Visions of Gideon,” as well as the movie’s “Mystery of Love,” Stevens tells Deadline that director Luca Guadagnino wanted him to narrate the whole film. In the book, Oliver and Elio’s summer love is told in hindsight, and in the film’s original script, an older Elio tells it. In this version, Stevens would have voiced that perspective in the film. “I wanted to envelop the movie in the voice of Sufjan Stevens,” Guadagnino explained to Deadline. But Stevens, who read the book after Guadagnino approached him for the film, disagreed.


Five Additional Women Accuse Russell Simmons of Sexual Assault and Misconduct

On the same night the New York Times released its report in which four women came forward to accuse music producer Russell Simmons of sexual assault, the Los Angeles Times published an extensive article detailing the accusations of five other women not interviewed in the New York Times. The women accused Simmons on the record of sexual misconduct and assault, with stories that spanned across three decades. The women include an actress, a hip-hop artist, a massage therapist, and a former employee. Simmons has denied all allegations.


  • Posted 12/13/17 at 9:09 PM
  • Nelly

Nelly Rape Case Reportedly Dropped by Prosecutor

In October, Nelly was arrested by police under suspicion that he had raped a woman on his tour bus in Ridgefield, Washington. At the time, the rapper had denied the allegations, with a lawyer calling the claims “completely fabricated.” Now, TMZ reports that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has decided to drop the case. The office reportedly told TMZ, “The alleged victim’s refusal to cooperate made it impossible for them to go forward with charging Nelly with any crime.”


Russell Simmons Accused By Four Women of Sexual Assault, Including Three Accusations of Rape

In a report published by the New York Times, hip-hop mogul and self-styled activist Russell Simmons has been accused of rape by three women and sexual assault by a fourth in incidents stretching from 1988 to 2014, all of which he denies. Drew Dixon was an executive at Def Jam who reported directly to Simmons, and says that after a campaign of harassment by her boss that included graphic descriptions during work calls of how she aroused him and frequently exposing his erect penis to her, Simmons raped her in 1995 in his Manhattan apartment.


6 Best New Songs of the Week

Every week Vulture highlights 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.


DJ Earworm’s 2017 United State of Pop Proves That Only One Song Mattered This Year

DJ Earworm’s annual review of the year in music has arrived and, in summary, only one song really existed this year. Yes, there are brief acknowledgements that other songs were technically released — he’s especially partial to Cardi B and Shawn Mendes — but nothing really rattled the cultural eardrum like this one song. And that track, of course, is Timothée Chalamet’s resurfaced rap about statistics! Fine, forgive us for dreaming. 2017 was the year of “Despacito,” as will be the rest of the decade, and in honor of its cross-cultural ubiquity, Earworm has dedicated the bulk of this year’s United State of Pop mash-up to it. “Despacito” is the brain, legs, and voice of the edit. Long live “Despacito!”


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