It was fifteen years ago today that 50 Cent, then an up-and-coming rapper from Queens, was shot nine times in front of his grandmother’s home. Even back then, beef seemed to hover around 50.
His his first single, “How To Rob” told a fictitious tale about snatching valuables from the most famous rappers in the industry. Many of the song’s victims took it more serious than necessary. However, another track, “Ghetto Qu’ran” actually led to violence. Throughout that song, 50 detailed some names behind the drug trade in Queens during the ’80s. This supposedly didn’t sit well with Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff, one of the top dealers name-checked.
According to a federal instigation (and many rumors beforehand), McGriff orchestrated the shooting that left 50 with nine bullet wounds and an industry-wide blackballing. Also Jam Master Jay, who took 50 under his wing afterwards, allegedly got murdered for going against the blackballing. Between the shooting, and everything else going on around him, 50 had a choice to make as he eventually told Oprah years later:
Going through that experience, when you get hurt that bad, either your fear consumes you, or you become a bit insensitive. There was a point where I was afraid. I was afraid because everyone involved in that situation was still physically available to [shoot me again]. In the recovery process I was tired of being afraid, and the only way I could cover those emotions was to be a little more aggressive
Yeah, and to be angry about the situation, opposed to how I was feeling at that point.
That aggression aided 50 in releasing upwards of 30 mixtapes, leading to the release of Guess Who’s Back? That album caught Eminem’s ear, and led to one of the most successful album launches of the 2000s.
As for the people involved in the shooting, 50 seems to be satisfied with karma being his revenge: “The guy who actually shot me is dead. The guy who paid him got life in jail.”
(Via OWN TV)
Bob Dylan, who turned 74 years old today, has been called many things in his long, storied career: voice of a generation, folk hero, JUDAS, the frightening star of Hearts of Fire. But rarely has he been described as a punk. If you consider “punk” as more a lifestyle, an aggressive ethos of not giving a f*ck, than a genre of music that’s played super-fast, it fits Dylan.
Here are some reasons why.
Dylan loved to mess with authority figures. Famed music producer John Hammond, who worked on his eponymous first album (which was met with a yawn and dubbed Hammond’s Folly), signed this 20-year-old wisp of a man from Minnesota after he was told that Dylan was an orphan. Who told him this? Why Dylan, of course, who was considered a minor at the time and needed his parents’ co-signature. He hadn’t spoken to his mom and dad in some time, so his way around this was to invent a tale about being an orphan with only one living relative, a blackjack-dealing uncle who lived in Las Vegas. Either things were simpler then, or people were a lot dumber.
Newport Folk Festival
1965 was a year of massive cultural change, but you wouldn’t know it at the Newport Folk Festival, where the likes of Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and Gordon Lightfoot gently swayed an audience of peace-loving hippies. It was Dylan’s third appearance at the festival, and the crowd expected to hear the same acoustic material he played the first two times. Your “With God on Your Side,” your “We Shall Overcome” cover. Instead, they got Dylan and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with the iconic Mike Bloomfield on guitar, charging their way through “Maggie’s Farm,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” all for the first time ever. The audience booed, and that blowhard Seeger infamously declared, “If I had an axe, I’d chop the microphone cable right now.” No one there deserved the legendary performance Dylan was giving them, and he didn’t return to Newport for 37 years.
The Time Interview
Dylan was at his most wise-jackass in 1965, when Dont Look Back documentarian D.A. Pennebaker filmed him responding to Time reporter Horace Judson with visible (and likely drugged out) irritation. Choice quotes include, when asked about his songs, “I just write them. I don’t write them for any reason. There’s no great message. If you wanna tell other people that, go ahead and tell them. But I’m not gonna have to answer to it,” and, “I don’t need Time magazine.” This was a time when rock stars were supposed to be good boys and girls to the press. To tell a journalist to shove off was career suicide. Until Dylan did it, then it became en vogue.
“Play f*cking loud”
Speaking of hostility: during his 1966 world tour with the Hawks (later renamed the Band), Dylan played two sets: the first was all acoustic, from the personal “To Ramona” to the apocalyptic “Desolation Row,” while the second was electric. The only thing louder than “Tell Me Mama” was the crowd jeering Dylan, criticizing him for selling out. During a show in Edinburgh, his so-called “fans” attempted to drown out the music by loudly playing harmonicas. On May 17, 1966, at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, someone called him “Judas!” To which Dylan replied, “I don’t believe you, you’re a liar,” before telling the Hawks to “play f*cking loud.” They did.
Back to Basics
In Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde, Dylan released three of the most electric albums of all-time, in every sense of the term. He couldn’t be more of an icon. But on July 29, 1966, he crashed his motorcycle in Woodstock, New York, and essentially vanished from the public eye. Eighteen months later, John Wesley Harding came out, much to the confusion of listeners who expected to hear more of the wild mercury sound of “Visions of Johanna” and instead got the stripped-down and spiritual “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest.” It would be another two years until his next album, Nashville Skyline, which was released only a few short months before the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that 50% of the festival’s bill was in some part inspired by Dylan, who lived nearby. But he refused to sign on, officially because one of his kids was sick, but unofficially (and accurately), he was sick and tired of hippies invading his privacy at his rustic home. Not playing Woodstock was a middle finger to the scene he invented. Instead, he took his talents to the Isle of Wight Festival in England for his comeback show, less than two weeks after Woodstock ended.
Bob finds God
Defending Dylan’s religious period is a no-win dilemma. For instance, I enjoy “Property of Jesus” and think “Pressing On” is an underrated gem, but claiming Slow Train Coming is a good album is to say “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” is a good song, and that is NOT true. But you gotta give the man credit for one thing, at least: he went all-in on God. His spirituality wasn’t a brief fling; it bubbled in Street Legal (my pick for the best Dylan album that you won’t find on a single best-of list) and came to a boil with Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love, before cooling off slightly with Infidels. If punk is “musical freedom…it’s saying, doing, and playing what you want,” to quote Kurt Cobain, then Bob Dylan, who wrote something called “Do Right to Me Baby (Do Unto Others)” only three years after releasing a number-one album, is a punk.
My Uncle Steve owns a house in Galloway, Ohio, which he shared with my aunt for several years. The home is a small two-story in a quiet subdivision that I visited every so often growing up. For whatever reason, I only recall being over there in the dead of winter or summer, crouched against the wall near the living room window which served as the base for his entertainment center, when the Midwestern sky was either stark blue or slate grey.
I’d sit legs-crossed next to his laptop PC that contained hours of Hip-Hop. The cool thing is my uncle is 18 years younger than my dad, eleven years older than me, so our cultural tastes lined up similarly. Where my dad blasted Eagles records at home, Steve’s music library skewed towards A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. To be honest, my uncle’s responsible for turning me onto rap music. He gave me a burned CD-R with The College Dropout the fall after its release, and later told me he had Common’s Be if I came with something to burn the mp3s onto.
I downloaded the goods and placed the newly ripped files onto a disc that I threw into my old Sony Walkman. For the better part of 2005, I listened to nothing other than TCD and Be, whether I was sitting alone in my room dreaming up fire AIM statuses or getting ready to ball before a soccer game. Between the two albums, I was hooked: the warm soul samples and string arrangements, the stories about hustlers and college students and queen-pins of South Side Chicago, and the bravado and syncopation of the rhymes.
Obviously, it’s hard to recognize Be without recognizing TCD. Yeezy produced the majority of Common’s sixth major album—and guest-starred on four of the songs—and the aesthetic of his debut fully bled onto Be. But the rapper formerly known as Common Sense had found a like-minded partner who pushed him in much the same way J Dilla (the other producer on Be) had on Com’s 2000 LP, Like Water For Chocolate, and No I.D. on his albums before that, to create one wholly signature sound.
But – I swear this is where the comparisons end – TCD was an uneven debut from a precocious rapper-producer. Be was a tight, focused, mid-career magnum opus that took the brilliance of Kanye’s and J Dilla’s musical brains and unfurled it in Common’s image. It was critically acclaimed—and rightly so—but frequently it’s left out of the conversation as a G.O.A.T. Therefore, it needs reiterating: Common’s Be is a classic.
From the musicians involved, to the stories it spoke, to the careers it would eventually cement and propel, these three main reasons certify Be classic status in the annals of Hip-Hop history.
1. The Perfect Team
Coming into the album, all three of the main musicians involved—Common, Kanye West, and J Dilla—were experiencing very different career trajectories. Lonnie was facing expectations to atone for the flop that was his 2002 album, Electric Circus (an LP perhaps misinterpreted at the time); Yeezy had just dropped a phenomenal debut, even if it was uneven; and Dilla was primed to break into the mainstream after being an underground legend for years.
The trio founded the perfect team to right Com’s ship and propel both Kanye’s and Dilla’s careers. If you had to place a qualifier on the sound Be evoked, it’d be “Midwestern boom-bap/soul,” but qualifiers suck. It was, however, sonically cohesive and perfect: the lush orchestration of “Be (Intro)” led into the gritty realism of “The Corner.” “Go,” “Faithful,” and “Love Is” all mashed mellow tracks and soul-filled backdrops (shout out to John Legend) to create love songs that were neither cheesy nor hokey. And “Chi City” and “The Food” were legitimate bangers, arguably two of the better beats Kanye’s ever produced.
They played off one another’s strengths to set the mood for an album you could play with your friends or in the car with your mom and grandma.
2. Eleven Songs, No Skips
Perhaps the album’s greatest strength is its tracklisting: It comprises eleven cuts and no more. And while quality production goes a long way, an album can’t reach the pinnacle of rap’s best without bars to match. Common distilled his thinking-man raps into their essence, hitting his points without staying too long.
His story of a set-up, masterminded by a street-savvy “queen-pin,” on “Testify” reeled in listeners and never let go. He told the story of two unlikely, yet tragically similar, characters on “It’s Your World,” and discussed the strife of inner-city living on “The Food” as well as any Biggie song. Common took listeners into worlds they both knew and didn’t, penning one hell of a multi-character portrait in the process.
3. Kanye West’s Catalyst and J Dilla’s Swan Song
In the greater sense, Be‘s legacy concerns the two producers who helped shape it. Kanye West went onto release his second—and some argue greatest—LP, Late Registration, in the fall of 2005. The Chicago rapper-producer discovered the perfect sound on Be, as he took the old-soul sound and blew it up with help of producer Jon Brion. You could argue he found himself on Be. While the sped-up soul loops of his early work will stand the test of time, his music matured and eventually resonated once he harnessed it for himself.
Dilla’s work, on the other hand, finally got the mainstream platform it deserved. Although he only whipped up two of Be‘s cuts, “Love Is” and “Your World,” they were perhaps the LP’s two most gorgeous—complexly layered and hauntingly lovely, they almost overshadowed Common’s words. It was the second-to-last major work he released before his last solo LP, 2006’s Donuts, which sadly came out three days before he died. While it’d be disingenuous to compare both works, J Dilla found his zenith, both artistically and commercially.
Last year, Lana Del Rey released Ultraviolence, one of the best non-hip-hop albums of 2014. Produced by The Black Keys’ own Dan Auerbach, it featured countless Grade A cuts of the “smoky melancholy and heart-breaking pop ballad” variety.
Now it appears that her follow-up, titled Honeymoon, is just around the corner: It’s due to hit shelves this September. The pop singer announced the news during a recent show in Ridgefield, Washington. Though details are scarce, Del Rey told Billboard in January that the album will contain a Nina Simone cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and, overall, it will have more in common with her earlier work:
It’s very different from the last one and similar to the first two, Born to Die and Paradise. I finished my last one [Ultraviolence] in March and released it in June and I had a follow-up idea. It’s growing into something I really like. I’m kind of enjoying sinking into this more noirish feel for this one. It’s been good.
Del Rey is currently on her Endless Summer Tour, which includes special guests in Courtney Love and Grimes.
Below, revisit Ultraviolence highlight “West Coast”:
Dave Grohl, fresh off joining David Letterman for his farewell show on Wednesday night, decided to drop in on another legend Saturday night. Namely Paul McCartney during the former Beatle’s show at the O2 Arena in London. Together the duo busted out a rocking cover of “I Saw Her Standing There” and created a special moment for the folks in attendance.
But according to Rolling Stone, Grohl’s appearance wasn’t even the biggest surprise of the night. That belongs to McCartney’s first live performance of his weirdest song, “Temporary Secretary” from the album McCartney II. It’s an odd choice, but it’s noteworthy and a treat for those McCartney fans out there.
Music’s had a strange rash of leaks the past several days. MP3s from Drake (“Can I” and “On A Wave”), Kendrick (“PARTYNAUSEOUS” with Lady Gaga) and other notables have fallen from audio heaven with new and old material just in time fill Memorial Day weekend playlists.
Yet, no leak symbolizes how high up these blessings go than the appearance of Dr. Dre’s “2Nite” with Kendrick and crooner Jeremih. Dre’s vault is the thing of legends and he’s always been extremely particular regarding who he works with in the studio, both elements playing key roles in keeping mythical Detox material safe and away from the public all of these years. It’s hard to say if “2Nite” was recorded for Detox or one of K.Dot’s projects, but that’s almost irrelevant. Just press play and enjoy this boon of new tracks for what it’s worth.
Saturday night was the big night for the man who was body shamed online for dancing back in March. You might remember Sean O’Brien from the swell of support that grew after a photograph of him ended up online as a source of mockery. The search for #DancingMan led to thousands of women, particularly Cassandra Fairbanks, hunting for O’Brien in the hopes that he would attend a dance party in his honor.
O’Brien agreed to attend and many others pledged their support, including Andrew W.K., Pharrell and Moby who agreed to DJ the event when it happened. Last night, after all the planning and all the support, the party finally happened and ABC news covered the event:
The massive Hollywood dance party was the brainchild of two Echo Park women who wanted to turn something negative into a positive. The London-native became a viral sensation after a cyberbully posted photos making fun of him out on the dance floor, but support for O’Brien on social media quickly took over.’
Dance organizers launched a campaign to bring the 47-year-old to Los Angeles to dance with them and hundreds of others.
“I’ve been really overwhelmed by the amount of good I’ve seen from the world in this,” dance organizer Hope Leigh said.
“This is amazing,” dance organizer Cassandra Fairbanks said at the party. “It really shows power of people. If everybody comes together to do something nice look what you can accomplish.”
Celebrities including Pharrell and Moby performed for the crowd, joining the fight against cyberbullying and body shaming. Monica Lewinsky also joined the push for acceptance.
Now before we got to this moment, O’Brien’s party actually started in New York on The Today Show. He got a chance to dance around with Meghan Trainor after an interview, sorta like a pre-party warm up:
But that paled in comparison to the main event, kicked off by Monica Lewinsky:
And with Moby on the turntables:
The entire night was captured by those in attendance on social media and it’s honestly pretty damn cool that it all managed to come together the way it did. Turning a negative into a super-positive.
They even managed to raise some money against bullying:
Take a look at some of the moments from last night’s party. Just another example of the power the Internet allows:
The Ragtime Gals are back on The Tonight Show and this time they’ve got Sting in on their throwback act, creating an old timey version of The Police hit “Roxanne.” Sure, the bulk of humanity knows that ragtime is the kind of music they’ll play when we’re being marched to the alien torture camps, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some late night fun with it.
Sting shows off his beard while harmonizing with Jimmy Fallon and his crew of barbershop singers, crafting a decent version of the song that seems to please the audience. Maybe this can be the next Fallon segment to get its own television show. Lip Sync Challenge isn’t going away any time soon.
(Via The Tonight Show)
Alternatively titled “While you suckers keep waiting on SURF, here’s a song with me singing and reciting a throwaway rap.”
Okay, I made that part up- but that’s the takeaway from listening to Chance The Rapper’s latest offering, “Hiatus Broadcast.” Despite it being only a little over a minute in length, Chance makes the most of the teaser, skittering from a playful skat to a short set bars that are more verbal gymnastics than words to be heavily analyzed. And if it is just an interlude to tide fans over until SURF, “Hiatus Broadcast” will have the opposite effect of making people hungry to hear more from Chano and his SoX brothers.
Russell Westbrook is good at a lot of things. For example, he’s good at dunking. He’s good at that whole triple double thing. He’s good at making fans scream “good God almighty” when he terrorizes opposing defenses.
But Russell Westbrook the singer? I have my doubts. Here’s the Oklahoma City Thunder guard rocking out to Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”
A lot of pointing, a lot of weird facial expressions, a lot of head bobbing. By God, Russ is the next Britney Spears! Even Taylor Swift was impressed.
Following the 2015 Billboard Music Awards this past Sunday, there were several big artists releasing new material. Most notably, Taylor Swift dropped her “Bad Blood” video featuring new verses from Kendrick Lamar. A$AP Rocky also unleashed his trippy clip for “LSD” and the Mountain Goats went old school Saturday Night for their wrestling-themed “The Legend Of Chavo Guerrero.”
But along with the blockbuster releases, here are some of the new songs and videos you may have missed this week.
How To Dress Well – “See You Fall”
Alt-R&B singer How To Dress Well released a trilogy of videos last year to support his third album, What Is This Heart? His fourth single, “See You All,” combines and condenses the video into one heartbreaking story of a boy, his father, and his girlfriend. There’s no way the tale told in this video doesn’t reach you.
Tame Impala – “Cause, I’m A Man”
For Tame Impala‘s video for “Cause, I’m A Man” from the upcoming album Currents, we’re treated to a crudely rendered digital world. With a Magritte-esque protagonist, we follow his daily life in what looks like someone’s first animation in a 3D modeling program. And yet, it totally works.
Sage The Gemini Featuring Nick Jonas – “Good Thing”
Both Sage The Gemini and Nick Jonas have had something to prove in the past year. Nick has had to shed a lot of baggage as a teen pop star and make the jump to adult playlists, and with a smash track like “Jealous,” he definitely impressed. And while Sage may have less work to do, if he wants to escape one-and-a-half-hit wonderdom, he’s gotta be able to bring another hit to the table. Luckily, these two team up fairly well, and Nick could have plenty more work as an R&B hook man, if he wants it.
FFS – “Johnny Delusional”
While you weren’t paying attention, Franz Ferdinand and Sparks decided to form a supergroup. Crazy, right? This first clip from their upcoming eponymous debut is a Michel Gondry-like ever-repeating clip of either group therapy or musical chairs — it’s hard to tell. “Johnny Delusional” sounds exactly like you would imagine the marriage of these two groups would sound. It’s incredibly theatrical, yet still a bit new wave and post-punk. There’s a lot to look forward to on this new LP.
Towkio – “Reflection”
We’ve been high on SaveMoney member Towkio ever since his .Wav Theory mixtape dropped earlier this year. Now, he’s released a video for the Kaytranada-produced track “Reflection.” Following a girl’s highs and lows at an out-of-control party, the visuals sync up perfectly with the song’s darkwave feel. Keep your eyes peeled for a very quick Chance The Rapper cameo.
Monica Featuring Lil Wayne – “Just Right For Me”
Yes, it has been a while since the pop and R&B worlds have heard from Monica, but if there was ever a way to announce your return, this song is the way to do it. With a perfect soul sample flip and trap drums, Monica jumps on the track with ease and Lil Wayne is perfect on the assist. Two decades after her debut, and it still doesn’t feel like she’s lost a step here.
It should come as no surprise that Neil Young isn’t a fan of Starbucks due to the company’s alleged involvement with agricultural monolith Monsanto. Young’s beef with the company concerns its use of GMOs, and he’s taken aim at the company often. But no matter how many times the popular coffee chain claims it isn’t involved at all, that won’t stop the politically-charged. And now he’s got a new song, “Rock Starbucks,” which takes aim at the coffee chain.
With lines like “Yeah I want a cup of coffee, but I don’t want a GMO / I like to start my day off without helping Monsanto,” it’s clear the singer is trying to get his fans to boycott Starbucks, which is a shame, because it just brought back the Frappuccino happy hour!
“Rock Starbucks” is set to be included on Young’s upcoming album, The Monsanto Years, due out June 16.
Nicki Minaj’s video for “The Night Is Still Young” is a letdown. Or maybe my expectations were far too high, still floating in the clouds after watching the BFF-fest between her and Beyonce in the “Feelin’ Myself” video. For “The Night…,” she’s back on the colorful wigs, odd outfits and dance-friendly tunes that sound like Nicki Minaj renditions of Katy Perry songs. Why can’t every video include Beyonce wearing that gah-damn Bulls bikini?
No worries, because all is not lost. In a now deleted tweet, Onika may have tipped her hand regarding an upcoming collaboration with Jay Z because Tidal.
(Via Miss Info)
EDM, which, like KFC, has essentially stopped standing for anything and become its own word, has been a very big business in recent years. Billboard reports that at the International Music Summit in Ibiza this week, it was revealed that EDM made $6.9 billion last year, a 12 percent increase on the $6.2 billion it made in 2013, and a crazy amount of cash, period.
Twenty-nine percent of that came from the United States, which is equivalent about $2 billion. The 10 most popular DJs made $305 million last year, according to findings by Forbes included in this report. That’s led by Calvin Harris, who made $66 million alone. If anybody is happy about the domination of EDM, it’s probably Harris.
So yeah, if you thought EDM was ubiquitous these days, you weren’t wrong. However, the popularity hasn’t lasted long enough to prove itself to be anything more than a fad, albeit a red hot fad. There is also some proof in the report to indicate this might be the case. The 12 percent growth is markedly down from the 37 percent it grew in 2013. Granted, that may be partially because there is only so much money out there, but it also may speak to this being the peak of EDM’s popularity.
EDM is never going to disappear, but maybe in a few years the number of people going to EDM festivals in the U.S. won’t be the 1.4 million it was last year. Hey, more drugs to go around.
Earlier this year it was revealed that the Board of Governors at Rutgers University decided to present ageless rock icon Jon Bon Jovi with an honorary degree for his selfless work in the community. Yesterday, Bon Jovi took the stage for the Camden Convocation and Graduate Commencement and chose to thank the Board of Governors and this year’s graduating class, not by telling them about how they should embark on their new journeys in life and seize every daring moment along the way, but instead singing that sort of inspirational message to them.
As our resident sucker for cheeseball moments like this, I give Bon Jovi an A+, mostly because of the way he’s so charming and humble as he sets up to perform. But I’m a little disappointed that he wasn’t more honest about life after college. Instead of telling this crowd to write and sing a song or touch the sky while dancing and laughing, he could have warned them about the hard truths. Instead of “Don’t say your prayers, save your amens,” maybe he should have sang, “GINA DREAMS OF RUNNING AWAY, BUT THE COLLECTION AGENCIES ALWAYS FIND YOUR PHONE NUMBER SO YOU’RE SCREWED AND YOUR PARENTS DON’T WANT YOU BACK, SO YOU’RE LITERALLY LIVING ON A PRAYER.”
Or something like that, I’m not really the musical type.
The Mario Kart series of video games is probably the most iconic racing game series in history, and certainly the most iconic series wherein you can drive a car as a fire-breathing dinosaur. It’s also had some catchy songs to soundtrack it, but this video takes that to the next level.
While one gentleman maneuvers Peach around Luigi Raceway in Mario Kart 64, some other dudes play Luigi Raceway’s signature song live. It’s a pretty amusing reveal, and they manage to do a passable job of playing the tune, as well. Now, if somebody can bring the Ghost Valley song to life, we’d really have something impressive on our hands. Regardless, kudos to Broccoli Samurai, the band in question, for the ingenuity.
(Via Now Gamer)
Is there a more frustrating guy to be a fan of than Morrissey? On one hand, he’s made some great music. On the other, the dude can be straight-up insufferable. So, we thought we’d celebrate Moz’s birthday today by revisiting some of the most obnoxious quotes he’s ever given.
2011: In the wake of the Norwegian massacre in which Anders Breivik killed 77 people, Moz decided to bring up his animal rights cause, saying that the mass shooting was “nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried sh*t every day.” Not the time, dude!
2010: In a similar vein when discussing animal cruelty in China during an interview with the Guardian, Morrissey referred to the Chinese as a “subspecies.” This guy is just great at getting people on his side, eh?
2009: Morrissey bailed on his set at Coachella early, saying, “The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I can smell burning flesh… and I hope to God it’s human.”
2008: In a similarly bigoted statement, Morrissey lamented the problems with immigration in the UK:
With the issue of immigration, it’s very difficult because, although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears,” he said. “If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won’t hear an English accent. You’ll hear every accent under the sun apart from the British accent.”
England is a memory now. The gates are flooded and anybody can have access to England and join in.”
2007: Moz made yet another controversial immigration comment, this time in NME:
“Although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous.
“If you travel to Germany, it’s still absolutely Germany. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity.
“But travel to England and you have no idea where you are”
2002: Moz on Elton John, from the documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey: “Bring me the head of Elton John… which is one instance in which meat would not be murder, if it were served on a plate.”
1996: Facing a royalty suit from Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, Moz said that he wished “the very very worst for Joyce for the rest of his life.” That’s actually one of the tamer ones on this list.
1994: After an incident in which Prince Charles is shot by an Australian student with a starting pistol, Moz stated that if he had been killed, it “would have made the world a more interesting place.” Not being a fan of all the insane hype the royal family gets is one thing. This feels like taking it a bit too far.
Date Unknown: I couldn’t figure out exactly when Moz gave us this nugget of wisdom, but it’s notable for being essentially the MRA manifesto:
It’s hard to be a man. It’s made to be hard and I don’t know why. I think it’s easier to be a woman. The women’s movement has been so successful; the men’s movement has never been accepted. I think it’s not wanted. I think the expectation that men be stoic and strong is so enormous that finally they decide that this is the attractive way to be. There’s more to life than being macho – such an ugly word – which is something that I realized at the age of one.
1984: After an assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher by the Irish Republican Army, Moz said that “the sorrow of the IRA Brighton bombing is that Thatcher escaped unscathed.” He backed this up in song four years later, when he suggested that Thatcher be decapitated:
We’ve already mentioned why we’re all for soul singer Leon Bridges and his forthcoming global takeover in our Next Big Thing. Well, the throwback crooner has spoken exclusively to Instagram and shed some light about the creative partner in his life no one really knows… his exclusive photographer Rambo.
As they tell Instagram, Leon was still gigging independently, and Rambo was recovering from being mugged, using photography to express herself. On a whim, she cold-messaged him to see if he’d like to work together:
“Their story begins in 2014, after Rambo sees Leon in concert for the first time. Still new to photography, she decides to send him an unsolicited message after the show, asking if she can take his picture. Leon accepts.
They would eventually meet face-to-face, on a rainy day in Fort Worth, Texas. The first photo they worked on was taken on her porch, with Leon in silhouette, holding a guitar. Talk soon turned to mutual interests, of which they had many. They both ate Chipotle, both watched cartoons and both liked listening to music. They were friends before the day was out.”
Tex-Mex just has that kind of unifying power. Anyway, now that they’re working together, the “Coming Home” singer says that people don’t often understand that she’s a part of his act and that he essentially won’t make music without her:
“‘We haven’t seen an artist appreciate photography in a really long time, which is cool because there is a whole market of people like me,’ said Rambo, earlier in the day.
‘And it’s cool for me,’ added Leon. ‘I couldn’t do this music thing without her.'”
It’s a pretty cool story about two artists who were stuck and helped each other out of a jam. The entire interview is available on Instagram.
When Tidal was first announced earlier this year with a cadre of music icons in tow, it promised to be a platform truly taking care of the artists. With a sort of rocky start, to be generous, the service has now more or less gotten on its feet after plenty of explanations, exclusive content, and apologies. Well, the streaming service may have to offer one more after pulling in these automated bios for some of its most vaunted artists.
For example, in their bio for Paula Abdul, the service says:
“Abdul’s singles were hits not because her singing was exceptional — her voice is thin and transparent — but because she worked with savvy producers who had a knack for picking songs with solid pop and dance hooks.”
And the bio for pop superstar Britney Spears sounds like a jealous boyfriend or pervy uncle:
“Spears’ handlers seemed to be trying to have it both ways — there was a definite tension between the wholesome innocence Spears tried to project for her female audience, and the titillating sexuality that enticed so many male fans…Early on, Spears tried to defuse the controversy by preaching abstinence until marriage, and even denied that she was consciously cultivating such a sexualized image. Of course, the more provocative and revealing her on-stage wardrobe became, the less plausible that claim seemed.”
“Spears was a superstar, drooled over in countless magazines, including a Rolling Stone cover that prompted immediate speculation about the still 17-year-old having received breast implants. “
The Christina Aguilera bio page isn’t terribly favorable, either:
“After a four-year break, Aguilera returned with her fourth album, Bionic, in the spring of 2010. Bionic proved to be Aguilera’s first flop, earning decidedly mixed reviews, generating no hits, and failing to go gold. It was followed by a second stumble in Burlesque, Aguilera’s first starring role on the big screen which was greeted to mediocre reviews and lackluster box office.”
Sites like Reddit and Oh No They Didn’t have pointed out that some of these bios have been automatically pulled from sites like AllMusic and thus also appear on services like iTunes and Pandora. But for a service promoting themselves loudly as “Artists First” like Tidal has, it seems like the least they can do is proofread some of these bios. Pharrell’s isn’t even in English.
Unless anyone can interpret shade in German, he’s safe for now.
While plenty of Dylan’s albums are beloved by critics, his 53-year career has certainly had some divisive moments. Though critics have despised some of his work, are those albums really that bad? Dylan turns 74 on Sunday, which seems like a good time to re-visit his more controversial moments.
Self Portrait (1970)
When you’ve spent the past six years with the phrase “voice of a generation” around your neck like an albatross, how do you break free? By deliberately making an album that would anger and alienate all of your fans, of course. That’s what Dylan did with Self Portrait, which inspired Rolling Stone critic Greil Marcus to remark “what is this sh*t?”
Still, Self Portrait certainly has some strong moments: “(Quinn The Eskimo) The Mighty Quinn” is a rightful classic, but the weird-for-the-sake-of-weirdness of this album still drags it down considerably. “All The Tired Horses” opens the album without a single Dylan vocal, and it isn’t hard to think he merely included the song because he knew it would set his die-hard fans off. It’s self-sabotage, not totally different from Seth MacFarlane having a joke go on two minutes too long, or putting a full Conway Twitty clip into an episode just because he knows people will hate it, and he embraces that.
Dylan is too brilliant of an artist for a bad-on-purpose album not to hold some intrigue, but anyone who says this is a good album is kidding themselves. It’s a fascinating album that everyone should listen to at least once, but after that, you’re probably good.
The Christian Era (1979-1981)
In 1979, Bob Dylan shocked the world by announcing that he had become a born-again Christian. For three years, he would release albums with distinctly Christian themes; 1979’s Slow Train Coming, 1980’s Saved, and 1981’s Shot of Love. Of these three records, Slow Train Coming is easily the best. It’s a thoughtful, focused record that even non-religious folk can appreciate. From the bluesy opener “Gotta Serve Somebody” to the beautiful ballad “I Believe In You” to the sneering “When You Gonna Wake Up,” Dylan’s first foray into Christian-inspired music resulted in some of the best work of his career.
Unfortunately, the rest of Dylan’s Christian period is far more inconsistent. 1980’s Saved is a considerable drop-off from Slow Train Coming. Whereas that album felt like a genuine exploration of Christian themes, Saved feels more like simple Christian propaganda, particularly on the hopelessly generic title track. There’s nothing really interesting about this album, and nothing that gives it a uniquely Dylan feel. Honestly, you might as well just listen to Newsboys or Chris Tomlin.
Luckily, Dylan’s Christian period ended on a fairly strong note with the underrated Shot of Love. Lyrically, this one is far closer to Slow Train Coming than Saved. He still wears his Christ love on his sleeve, but the dull platitudes of the last album are mercifully out the door. He even momentarily puts aside the religious themes for “Lenny Bruce,” a tribute to the provocative comedian.
Dylan’s religious period may not be the strongest era of his career, but it’s probably a little underrated.
Empire Burlesque, Knocked Out Loaded & Down In the Groove (1985-1988)
Production was a problem that plagued just about everyone in the ’80s. So many great artists were subject to the bland, plastic-sounding scene of the day, and Dylan was no exception. Empire Burlesque was the first of three Dylan albums that were largely maligned by critics, and it really feels like the production is the biggest reason why. His lyrics are still on point, but the generic drum machines and synths that plagued this era make the album hard to get a great deal of enjoyment out of.
1986’s Knocked Out Loaded has a similarly rough reputation as a dull album made by a disinterested Dylan, but it’s main problem is just being inconsistent. There’s certainly some good moments here, like the rollicking opener “Got My Mind Made Up,” which Dylan wrote with Tom Petty. The album’s strong point is easily the 10-minute epic “Brownsville Girl,” which could have been included on any of Dylan’s best loved works. Knocked Out Loaded is far from Dylan’s best work, and it suffers from a lack of consistency, but it’s likely a lot better than you’ve heard, and it certainly deserves a listen.
1988’s Down In The Groove is certainly not a high point. The music feels like generic blues, and it never really changes. But it did gave us the classic “Silvio.” Basically, Dylan’s late ’80s work really suffers from hacky production, but there are some great songs if you’re willing to wade through all the sludge to find them.
Food? Check. Beer? Check. Various outdoor games? Check. Jorts? Check. (Wait, nevermind that last one.)
Your Memorial Day BBQ/cookout/insert your preferred term here appears to be in great shape. But where’s the music?
In case you’re still scrambling for a playlist, we’ve got you covered. Below, the UPROXX staff picks their favorite songs for the occasion. At the bottom we’ve made it even easier for you with a nifty Spotify playlist. (Oh, and follow us on Spotify, we’ll be doing a lot more there soon.)
The Ramones – “Commando”
I tend to listen to The Ramones when I grill because none of their songs are long enough that you’d get annoyed by them. And “Commando” always seems apt on Memorial Day? “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg?” Not so much. – Dan Seitz
Marvin Gaye – “Got To Give It Up”
Know why Robin Thicke and Pharrell lifted from “Got To Give It Up” and landed a hit with “Blurred Lines?” Because Marvin Gaye’s late ‘70s jam had an undeniable groove that will last from here to eternity. No matter the age, race, or gender, no one can ignore the urge to sing, sway, or dance when this one comes on. – John Gotty
Pavement – “Summer Babe (Winter Version)”
The only song I can think of with “BBQ” in the title is “Snowshoe BBQ” by Atom and His Package, but that doesn’t feel like it fits, and my initial instinct in situations like this is to go with a choice that provides ironic juxtaposition for humorous effect. However, I’ll go with “Summer Babe” because it is a great song, it has “summer” in the title, and it might make people appreciate some burgers in lieu of eating their fingers like they’re just another meal. – Chris Morgan
DJ Quik – “Summer Breeze”
The Quiksta’s music has been instrumental in my life for quite some time, and this warm weather jam from his classic Safe + Sound album is a perennial staple in my CD player during every Gemini season. Built on a bumping bass groove, spirited rhythm guitars and personable lyrics that describe his growth from a young thug into an adult, the feel-good track embodies everything we love about not only summer, but good music in general. – BEWARE
Every track on CVS Bangers 2
It is with a heavy heart that I learned both Vols. 1 and 2 of DJ Hennessy Youngman’s tour de force, CVS Bangers, were recently taken off Soundcloud, but I wish to believe it just means he has something big in store for us, and not that they’re gone forever. If you are one of the lucky ones who found a way to download them before they vanished, you have my respect. (I did, somewhere, on an old computer or something – I’ll find it soon enough.) Pretty much any CVS Bangers will do, but Vol. 2 brings it from the get-go, starting with Toto’s “Africa” and giving us two Steve Winwood (DOUBLE WINWOOD) songs along the way. But I guess this isn’t really my favorite cookout song/album as much as it is my favorite thing to play any time the weather is good. So just put Vol. 3 on, since it’s still out there for us to enjoy, and revel in its majesty. – Martin Rickman
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – “Summertime”
A little on the nose? Yeah, sure. But it’s my barbecue and if you don’t like my music you can take your busted-ass crew and go to Wendy’s. I don’t have to explain myself to you people. – Danger Guerrero
The Rentals – “My Head Is in the Sun”
Cookout playlists are usually full of bangers, singalong songs everyone can get behind, and rightly so. Cookouts are fun! But there’s a comedown point. Bellies are full, the keg is close to being kicked, conversation dies down a little, and everyone finds themselves sitting there just quietly appreciating the moment and how lucky they are to have good times with good people in good weather. It’s a little moment of recharge. And at that moment, “My Head Is in the Sun” is the choicest cut of calm bliss. – Tom Mantzouranis
The Brothers Johnson – “Strawberry Letter 23″
Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer. It’s not quite a sweltering heat, the one that causes you to linger in front of your open refrigerator just a little longer. It’s still habitable in your backyard. On a good day, it might even be breezy. That’s why “Strawberry Letter 23” is the perfect tune for a BBQ playlist. It’s somehow laid back yet danceable, sweet but still funky as hell. It’s soaked with all of the optimism that something like summer on the horizon should bring. Then, all of a sudden, it’s August and you wonder where it all went. – Michael Depland
Big K.R.I.T. – “Get Right”
Few rap artists embody the south, a BBQ haven, like Big K.R.I.T. There are so many groovy songs from his discography to choose from, but “Get Right” is in the “extra laid-back” category. The synthesizer in this track sounds like it was taken right out of a scene in Miami Vice. Whether you’re manning the grill or driving to a crowded grocery store, this song fits anywhere. – Ryan Alfieri
Goodnight, Texas – “Jesse Got Trapped in a Coal Mine”
The American south might boast its own summertime culinary delights, but Texas is the unquestionable center of all things barbecue. I am an unapologetic native, and my early education centered on three things: brisket, old-time country music, and two-stepping. (C’mon, Texas Monthly — a regular National Magazine Award winner and nominee — has a designated Barbecue Editor.) Listening to Americana is mandatory when firing up the grill, and Goodnight, Texas’s “Jesse Got Trapped in a Coal Mine” has just the kind of infectious beat a good backyard barbecue needs. I dare you to try and not listen to it on repeat. – Andrew Husband
Mark Morrison – “Return of the Mack”
Listen, “Return of the Mack” is a song that’s pretty much perfect in any situation, and if anyone ever has a problem with it being played, you should swiftly remove that person from your life. The song has a chill, laid-back vibe with a danceable beat and a catchy, singable hook to get the party going. It’s just one of those songs that makes people feel GOOD, which is the most important part of a cookout soundtrack. – Pete Blackburn
Pere Ubu – “I Hear They Smoke the Barbecue”
Pere Ubu singer David Thomas is an overweight, crotchety middle-aged weirdo who, the one time I saw him in concert, didn’t even bother to stand up at any point during the show. One of his songs, “I Hear They Smoke the Barbecue,” is about aliens that love watching Yogi Bear and how we’re on “the dark side of forever, I fear them hard times are beginning for real.” Basically, he’s my hero. Oh, and the song’s super catchy. Don’t let the whole “we’re doomed” message ruin your potato salad. – Josh Kurp
Hiss Golden Messenger – “Saturday’s Song”
The North Carolina-based musician’s entire fourth album, Lateness of Dancers, is one long folky summer jam. But “Saturday’s Song” is about drinking whiskey and feeling no pain and enjoying your dang weekend, which are all things I associate with grilling meats. At least that’s what it’s about on the surface. It probably has some deeper meaning that would just make us depressed if we thought about it too much. – Chris Mottram
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “The Waiting”
I like a song with some bounce to it; something I can saunter around the deck too. A song where I know at least 40% of the words and definitely know the chorus is a winner too because who doesn’t like to sing while they’re grilling? I also like a song that can be twisted into being relevant to what I’m doing. I’m pretty sure TP wasn’t talking about waiting on burgers to cook when he wrote this song, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t make it about that. I’m sure he’d understand. – Ryan O’Connell
Weezer – “Surf Wax America”
It was tough to pick just one song from Weezer’s Blue Album, but like any early Weezer song, “Surf Wax America” has a catchy chorus that everyone can sing along to, killer guitar riffs, and an incredible bridge that could pass as a Beach Boys passage. A song with all those components that just happens to be about ditching everything and going surfing sounds like the perfect song for any BBQ this summer. – James Sullivan
Wham! – “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”
Sometimes, and this is just between us, I play “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” while grilling because it helps me pass the time. And, sometimes, I actually dance and flip my burger while George says, “Jitterbug.” Sure, it’s childish and stupid, but, then again, so is everything else I do. – Andy Isaac
By 2002, it seemed like Eminem could do no wrong. The white rapper from Detroit bucked hip hop culture’s stereotypes and became one of the biggest selling music artists of all-time, winning a bevy of awards doing so. It was a fact that didn’t sit well with one particular individual: Raymond “Benzino” Scott. Along with being a rapper, Scott was also a co-owner of perhaps the biggest rap publication in the world, The Source. In 2002, Benzino went on a media tour denouncing Eminem and labeling him as part of a racist machine that was pushing its way to the top of popular culture.
“I had a problem with ’the machine,’ with the double standard in hip hop,” he told MTV in 2002. “Certain media outlets take to him and look at him as the savior in hip hop and the No. 1 in hip hop and [do] not recognize the guys out here that created hip hop. Eminem is just the hood ornament for the machine. You think I could grab my crotch and put my ass in people’s faces the way he does? No way. But as long as the color of his skin and his eyes fits what America wants… it’s alright.”
Benzino claimed that Eminem was just another Vanilla Ice, and he released two diss records titled “Pull Your Skirt Up” and “I Don’t Wanna.”
In the tracks, Benzino claimed that Em had no street credibility, that he was addicted to ecstasy, and that Benzino would hang him off a balcony, among other disses.
Five shades darker, you’d be Canibus / And no one would care about your complicated rhyme style / … What you know about pumpin’ on the block ’til you freeze? / What you know about cutting up rocks, duckin’ [detectives]? / What you know about facing a grand jury indictment? / As far as I’m concerned, you’re just industry excitement
Eminem responded by releasing two tracks, “The Sauce” and “Nail in the Coffin.”
Among Eminem’s raps were claims that Benzino bullied his way around the The Source‘s offices, that he was simply looking for attention, and that he was too old to rap. The war of words didn’t just stop at the tracks the two exchanged, though. In the February 2003 issue of The Source, the publication included a poster of Benzino holding Eminem’s severed head. The co-owner of The Source began using his platform to publicly discredit Eminem. One of the issues with this kind of attack was that the magazine began to look like a mouthpiece for Benzino’s animosity and not an impartial rap publication. And The Source‘s problems were more than just about perception: Money was also lost when Eminem’s parent company, Interscope Records, decided to pull their advertising. But The Source and Benzino weren’t about to give up their fight, and their biggest volley came in 2003, when they held a press conference stating that they were in possession of early recordings of the Detroit rapper that had racist connotations in them.
Eminem didn’t deny the existence of such recordings, saying that he had gone through a nasty break-up with an African-American female at the time, and that the wounds bled onto the track. In December 2003, Eminem filed a copyright infringement case against The Source when the publication threatened to release the racist material in their February 2004 issue. A judge granted Em an injunction barring the magazine from releasing the tracks, but he did allow 20-second snippets of the music to be released. In 2005, Eminem dropped his lawsuit against the magazine, yet David Mays, co-owner of The Source, claimed that the material was recorded when Eminem was 21 years old, and not 16 like he previously said.
Shortly after the suit was dropped, Benzino went on record saying that he was quitting his position and selling all of his stock in the publication.
“I’ve been consumed too much with the whole conflict thing… the Eminem suit, and I am sick of it,” Benzino said to MTV. “I don’t want to take away from what The Source has built up, but I got issues with The Source and magazines like that. Everyone is too politically correct.”
Benzino is a little bit older these days, and a little bit wiser. “I can say it now, I was wrong for it. Because, at the end of the day, Em is a great lyricist, and he should be able to express himself in hip-hop as anybody should,” he told MTV in 2012.
As for The Source‘s 2002 Lyricist of the Year award that Eminem received, well, he smashed it in front of 50,000 fans.
Taylor Swift held nothing back when it came to making the music video for her “Bad Blood” remix, and not just because of the all-star lineup of guests. Apparently, Swift borrowed more than $13,000 worth of lingerie for the shoot, and she wound up keeping $5,000 worth.
The outfit Swift wears in the first scene retails for $235…
… while Selena Gomez’s blouse goes for about $360 off the shelves.
Also among the stars decked out in revealing lingerie were Ellie Goulding, Jessica Alba, Karlie Kloss, Martha Hunt and more.
The items were purchased from The Stockroom, a Los Angeles sex shop. According to Director of Operations Shawn Gentry, a “full run” is planned for the outfits used in the video. He told the New York Post it was not until the order exceeded $10,000 that he inquired about who needed such massive amounts of clothing in a hurry.
It all seemed to be well worth the investment, as the video has been seen more than 44 million times while the song skyrocketed to the No. 1 spot on iTunes. It also set a VEVO record.
No word yet on whether or not Kendrick Lamar had a say in the lingerie order, but he was probably still the highest expense of the whole project, regardless.
(Via Courier Mail)
Flavor Flav is back on the wrong side of the law. The former Public Enemy member and reality TV star was arrested at 12:30 Thursday morning, and the list of charges is a long one… driving under the influence, speeding, possession of marijuana, having an open alcohol container in his car, driving with a suspended license, and having a bogus registration. Online records show he has posted bail for his six misdemeanor charges.
Officially named William Jonathan Drayton, Jr., he was originally pulled over for driving 73 mph in a 45 mph zone. In October 2012, he was arrested for threatening his son with a kitchen knife. In May 2011, he was arrested on four outstanding warrants for various driving offenses. And who could forget the time he was arrested on a bicycle because he was caught with a felony amount of marijuana stuffed in his pockets?