Earlier this week, Paper released the first of three letters from current rap stars to ones that we’ve lost. Kendrick Lamar penned an essay to Eazy-E, and as you may remember, Kendrick had a conversation with 2Pac to close out To Pimp a Butterfly. Pac tops many people’s GOAT lists less for his technical prowess, and more for the feelings his music provokes. Eminem agreed, and penned his own letter to the deceased rap star:
Whatever he was rapping about, it was urgent. If it was a sad song, it’d make you cry. But there were a lot of different sides to him: fed-up, angry, militant, having a good time. His spirit spoke to me because it was like you knew everything that he was going through, especially when he made Me Against the World. You just felt every aspect of his pain, every emotion: when he was happy, when he was sad. His ability to touch people’s lives like that was incredible.
Em also notes that Pac’s ability to reach you emotionally went beyond his time in a studio:
I don’t know if he was talking to Arsenio [Hall] but I remember him saying something to the effect of “[it’s like] people standing outside watching through the window at a bunch of motherfuckers throwing food around and having a party and everybody’s hungry outside and they’re seeing through the window and after a minute, you got people out here singing, ‘We’re hungry, we’re hungry. Let us in, let us in.’ And the next minute when no one’s listening, it’s like ‘Alright, we’re kicking the door down, coming through, picking the lock, blasting.'” When he was giving those analogies, they were incredible. It was almost like he was writing songs when he was doing interviews.
The entire letter is worth a read as it includes details about Pac’s influence on Em’s writing, and what it was like to work with your idol posthumously.
It comes as no surprise that streaming services are up this year while CD sales are down. What may be surprising is what happened to the vinyl industry in the first half of 2015.
According to the RIAA’s mid-year shipping and revenue statistics, vinyl sales have soared so far this year, up 52.1 percent bringing in over $221 million in revenue. There were 9.2 million LPs and EPs sold so far this year and an additional 400k vinyl singles.
CD sales are going the other way though, as those plummeted so far this year. According to the chart, 41.1 million CDs were sold, down from 56.8 in the first half of 2014 – a 27.6 percent decrease. What’s worse is that makes for a 31.5 percent decrease in revenue as the dollar value of those sales dipped from $722 million last year to $494.8 million so far this year.
What this likely means is that the physical sales market has become exactly that, a market of physical sales and not necessarily music sales. Vinyl albums have become collectors items and decorative pieces rather than actual mediums to play music, and as such their market share has increased and now makes almost half the money that CDs do.
As for digital sales and streaming services, they continue to rule the land of music sales. While the amount of singles downloaded decreased by 12.2 percent, the amount of albums increased by 5%. Subscription streaming services are as profitable as ever, jumping from $382.7 million to $477.9 million, a near 25 percent increase. This comes despite the fact that actual subscriptions to these services only increased by 2.1 percent with about 200k more subscriptions in 2015.
These figures continue the overall trend from 2014, where streaming services brought in more revenue than CD sales for the first time ever. It’s just another marker of the ever-changing habits of consumers and music quickly becoming a digital medium.
Considering Wiz Khalifa’s music isn’t as highly regarded in the rap community as it used to be, some might be surprised to hear Taylor Gang’s CEO has become the first Hip-Hop artist to have a video crack one billion views on YouTube – thanks to “See You Again,” his touching tribute to Paul Walker from the Furious 7 OST.
If there was any question whether Wiz is a household name, this is your answer. He’s become an A-lister to younger generations of rap fans and when he drops a well-delivered song with a true message, it connects with a huge audience. Makes you wonder why his content stays so limited, otherwise.
For those wondering, the other music videos with over a billion views are Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” Expect Drake to crack that bossy list, once Views From The 6 drops.
For someone who’s only dropped one mixtape and a handful of loosies, GoldLink has made quite a name for himself – turning out tours all over the country and racking up hundreds of thousands of streams.
Now, with an established fan base and people ready to support more than ever, the eclectic DMV rapper is looking to capitalize, by dropping his first full-length LP – And After That We Didn’t Talk.
The first single off the 11-song effort is called “Spectrum.” The spacey vibes are complimented by inspiration from Missy Elliot – someone he’s sampled before – and fits perfectly alongside the rest of Link’s house rap bangers.
AATWDT drops November 13 via Soulection. Follow suit with the cool kids and pre-order here.
For the last month, Iggy Azalea has been confusing Instagram users by posting visibly distorted and unclear photos. The Australian rapper has finally revealed why her posts have been digitally distorted. It’s because the follow-up to her debut The New Classic will be called, appropriately enough, Digital Distortion. She let the news leak in a reply to a fan on Twitter.
The “Fancy” rapper, who has made headlines recently when her business relationship with T.I. ended publicly, will release “Zillion” as the lead single for the album. The rapper also stated in an upcoming interview with Billboard that she had an album worth of music completed that she had to scrap. Maybe the release of new music will help take attention off of her seemingly continuous beefs, rumors and controversies.
See the rest of the “Digitally Distorted” photos below.
Lance Bass wants everyone to know that while the comments he made yesterday on The Meredith Vieira Show about being “inappropriately touched” while a member of NSYNC were true, they’re not quite as bad as everyone is making them out to be. On his SiriusXM show, Bass clarified what he said and further explained why he said them.
Make no mistake, Bass didn’t take back what he said, but he did downplay it. He alluded to being a teenager, then a member of the wildly popular boy band with Justin Timberlake, and an unnamed male adult finding any excuse to touch him, like “massaging his biceps” or other “massage”-type things. But in today’s statements, he stopped short of saying he and other members of NSYNC were molested.
“When I was 16, 17, there was someone we worked with that definitely was touching me inappropriately, and I even know it at 16, 17, that this isn’t right,” Bass said on Dirty Pop. “No man should be touching a teenager like this. You know, where they kind of give you the massages.”
“It’s not like a Cosby situation where I felt violated, and I need justice, and it affected me. It just didn’t. But it does other people out there, for sure. It’s a serious thing, you know, sexual harassment.”
Bass even expressed empathy for the man (who could be Lou Pearlman, but that’s another story), saying that he knows what it feels like to be in the closet (which is an exceedingly generous thing to say). But mainly, during yesterday’s discussion on women being harassed by men in higher positions, Bass wanted to say that women aren’t the only ones who have to put up with questionable behavior.
Here is the clip:
(via Entertainment Weekly)
Well, the secret’s out, guys. Drake‘s “Hotline Bling” isn’t actually about a girl from Toronto or Houston or Atlanta or Miami, but about an estranged family member who’s actually a part of ISIS. Ok, just kidding, but there is an uncanny resemblance between the rapper and the man above.
As with any viral sensation, the internet has lost all chill (and sense of political correctness) about the picture, and #DrakeISIS and #ISISDrake hashtags have totally popped up. Seriously, look:
And yes, there are actual accounts named @DrakeIsis and @IsisDrake, but they’re unrelated. What a time to be alive, indeed.
Future President of the United States Taylor Swift will be gracing the cover of GQ next month, but the good people at NME have the jump on them when it comes to exclusives. The magazine features Taylor on the cover of this week’s issue, and includes a lengthy interview in which Swift talks about her beef with Nicki Minaj, the massive success of 1989, her tour and the endless string of people she’s brought on stage, and mending fences with Kanye West.
You may recall that Swift and Minaj got into a little dust up on Twitter earlier this summer, but thankfully, they’ve since cleared the air. Swift isn’t keen on discussing the whole thing in the NME interview, but did elaborate on her new policy on dealing with things like that in the future.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “But I send text messages now. If there seems to be some kind of misunderstanding, I go to someone’s management, I get their number and I text them. It’s an important lesson for anyone to learn in 2015.”
As for talking about her new bestie, Kanye, Swift told a very Taylor Swiftian story, complete with casual name-dropping, about how their relationship has changed for the better.
“Me and Kanye are on such good terms now, six years later,” says Swift. “It took a while… But I had to tell Beck this story earlier. I was at dinner with Kanye a week after the Grammys, he stops what he’s saying and he goes, ‘What is this song? I need to listen to this every day.’ I said, ‘It’s Beck, it’s on an album called ‘Morning Phase’, I think you’ve heard of it…’ We just burst out laughing. And he says, ‘Hey, sometimes I’m wrong.’”
Kanye, wrong. Oh Taylor, what an imagination you have.
The magazine comes out October 9.
The last time we heard about the man who brought us Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé, Matthew Knowles, he was selling posters of the latter for $200. Now, he’s offering a course for the same price (for an extra $100, you can upgrade to VIP and get a private lunch and picture with the guy). Titled, “The Entertainment Industry: How Do I Get In?” the one-day workshop will be held at the Hobby Center in Houston, and is for all “aspiring singers, dancers, composers, writers, producers, managers, publicists, attorneys, business managers and all other entertainment industry hopefuls.”
This isn’t Knowles’ first time teaching, either. He actually held this same seminar last year (which included fellow entertainment industry member and teacher Bun B), and he also teaches a class called “The Recording Industry,” that focuses on entertainment recording management, at Texas Southern University.
If you do decide to venture out to Houston to discover your inner Beyoncé, be forewarned: This class doesn’t have a textbook. “We will not have a textbook, because I am the book,” Knowles said in a recent interview. If that (or the price tag) doesn’t scare you away, you could very well be the next big thing in the music industry.
It’s one of the industry’s worst kept secrets: Kanye West doesn’t do all his own work. For quite some time, Yeezy has been known to find up-and-coming artist, simply ape their style, and pour it into whatever project he’s working on at the time. He’s not exactly outspoken about this, but he’s not hiding it, either. He flew T-Pain out to Hawaii to help him with his Auto-Tune album, and he brought Chief Keef to his home to write a few new songs and remix his hit. Kanye’s a busy guy and has to stay fresh somehow, so usurping artists’ power like one of the Monstars from Space Jam is apparently his way to do so.
Typically, these artist don’t do much complaining because it’s Kanye West and one hell of a look. On Thursday, Chicago producer Young Chop decided to buck that trend a little bit and voice his frustrations with Kanye and the industry as a whole for how it chews up Chicago artists and spits them out so easily.
“The n*gga Kanye don’t make it no better. He right along with the sh*ts,” Chop said during a rant of more than a dozen videos on his Instagram account. “(Kanye) use you, try to soak up everything n*ggas know, get you to write songs for the him, and then don’t call you after that,” Chop revealed before finishing with a very blunt. “F*ck him.”
From there, Chop continued, this time speaking specifically about Keef and Vic. “Say for instance, like, ‘Don’t Like,’ and my boy Vic Mensa. He gon’ make it seem like he put them on,” Chop notes. “And he really f*cking didn’t. N*ggas started from the bottom.”
You may remember Chop was upset about the tinkering Kanye made to the production of “Don’t Like,” back in 2012, telling XXL he felt “disrespected” that Kanye would alter his work. While the two ultimately squashed the beef, this could be lingering frustrations or just Chop speaking from the heart. Who knows.
If only Beyonce gave interviews. If only she captioned her Instagram photos. If only she simply existed in the same world as the rest of us. Yes, if only any of those things were a reality than perhaps we might know whether or not her and Jay Z buying the mansion used in The Big Lebowski was because they were huge fans of the movie or simply looking to expand their empire west.
Sadly, it seems like we’ll never know. What a shame.
All we do know is that the Carters recently purchased the mansion for a cool $45 million. It had previously belonged to former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. The Carters initially put in a bid for the quaint little starter home, only to be outbid by a mysterious billionaire from England. Said British billionaire had a change of heart, though, opening the door for Beyonce and Jay to swoop in and snag that home with the yard Blue Ivy has no doubt been yearning for.
In The Big Lebowski, the mansion served as the home of Jeffrey Lebowski – not the dope-smoking bowling enthusiast played by Jeff Bridges, but the disgruntled rich hombre played by David Huddleston who was bummed that his dear Bunny has run off.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)
Words By Marky Mark
What better way for a 10-year vet to celebrate that longevity than to pop a little sh*t every now and then? After performing “Hate It or Love It” for an upcoming episode of Skee TV, Game decided there couldn’t be a better time to throw shots at Young Thug: “Since I was 10 years old, I was a young Blood / These days y’all niggas got Young Thug / Y’all favorite rappers wear skirts / My favorite rappers used to put motherf*ckers in a hearse.”
Well, Thug does indeed wear skirts, so we can’t call Game a liar. But the clip below states how Jayceon really feels about Thugger.
See, it’s really no beef at all, as Game dismissively called the man “Girl Scout Cookies,” which either means he’s soft or he wants to… eat him?
Also in the clip, Game said that, despite evidence from last month, there are no problems between him and Chris Brown. “Ain’t no beef with Chris Brown. I don’t know where people get that from.”
Well, Mr. Taylor, we get it from stuff like you threatening the man on Instagram: “Keep throwing subliminals, n*gga… We both know it’s ME vs. YOU who gone come out on top, punk… I still owe you one for that sh*t you pulled… We both know your time is coming, blood.” And that was only a month ago.
Let’s see whatever else Game has to say as he celebrates 10 years and preps the release of The Documentary 2. He’ll be on Skee TV this Friday, October 9 at 10/9c on Fuse.
When the incredibly celebrated dance revivalists LCD Soundsystem played their farewell show at Madison Square Garden in 2011, they proudly proclaimed, “If it’s a funeral, let’s have the best funeral ever!!!” Well, it seems that we’re bearing witness to the second coming.
Consequence of Sound is exclusively reporting that they have multiple sources telling them James Murphy and company are getting back together for a major reunion.
“As we hear it, the band will headline at least three high-profile music festivals in the US and UK, with an official announcement expected soon.”
The site also notes that while DFA has not commented directly on the reunion, they retweeted their story on the subject.
In our interview with James Murphy earlier this summer, he spoke about what inspires him in his life post-LCD Soundsystem.
“I think most people, there’s a lot that they want to do, if they really asked themselves. There’s things you wanted to do, whatever the dreams were. Mine tend to, I have like an almost infinity of things I’d like to do, and the world sometimes creates opportunities for you.”
Maybe there were some things that were left undone that he wants to accomplish? Or maybe he’ll just tour on the festival circuit. Who knows? But you’ll hardly hear anyone complaining. Someone great is back!
UPDATE: Entertainment Weekly has sources with conflicting information, with one saying, “There’s no truth to a reunion,” and another confirming that the band has festival offers on the table, but haven’t made a decision yet. Meanwhile, DFA’s Kris Petersen had some strong words denying the reunion.
(via Consequence of Sound)
Billie Joe Armstrong, the pop punk legend and longtime Green Day frontman, has a 16-year-old son named Jakob who is now a musician in his own right. His debut EP, which will be released under the name Jakob Danger, will come out on Burger Records soon. Jakob discussed his primary influences as a musician with NME, and Green Day is not among the names mentioned.
“My two favorite bands are The Strokes and Beach Fossils – those are my two biggest influences. When it comes to the music and the guitar parts and bass, I like that style of music.” Of course, when your father’s band is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and you don’t claim them as an influence, you can expect to be asked about that fact. On this matter, Jakob said, “My music is not at all related to my father. It’s my own personal thing. I don’t really worry too much about that. I just think: this is my music, it’s different from my father’s, and if people want to listen to it, they can.”
To be fair, if Jakob Danger wasn’t Billie Joe Armstrong’s son, people wouldn’t expect him to be influenced by Green Day. Most 16-year-olds are more likely to gravitate towards a band like The Strokes, given that Green Day’s biggest successes came before Jakob was even born. Also, he’s a teenager. You think he’s going to do what his dad did? He’s not the first rock star’s kid not to like their parent’s music, either. Regardless, it’s going to probably be a while before people think of Jakob Danger as anything more than “Billie Joe’s kid.”
Oh, also, he goes by Jakob Danger because Danger is, literally, his middle name. He just can’t escape the clear influence of his dad.
Much of the conversation surrounding the Seattle Seahawks’ surprisingly slow start out of the gate didn’t have to do as much with the then-missing Kam Chancellor, but oddly Russell Wilson’s new girlfriend Ciara. There were stories about her ex-husband Future’s music being banned from practices and constant memes trolling the Super Bowl-winning QB, but for some strange reason, Ciara caught a handful of the blame because of a supposed “Ciara Curse.”
“You also realize when people say negative things about you [that] you’re still living your dream. When people say those types of comments, you know, that’s silly. It’s clearly silly… It’s happened to people in our world, it’s not a new thing when people say things – it comes with the territory,” she says. “I choose to focus on the positive and focus on the cool things that are truly happening. That’s how I live my life, and I have to say life is good. Clearly those things don’t make any sense.”
And she’s totally right, to be honest. Yes, the Seahawks stumbled out of the gate, and sports fans run on superstition, but there is a lot of season left, and they aren’t exactly out of the hunt. So, to blame any sort of poor performance on her is pretty much nonsense. Now, if Future’s Atlanta Falcons somehow toppled the Seahawks and actually won the Super Bowl, then we could talk about the other-worldly.
(via Rolling Stone)
Travi$ Scott finally broke his legendary silence on whether or not he is Taylor Swift.
The zeroes of people who thought that Travi$ Scott — purveyor of bland, impersonal rap albums like Rodeo — was actually world-dominating, personal-as-universal pop songstress Taylor Swift had their suspicions put to rest in an interview with Clique.
“I don’t just sit in my f*ckin’ house on a guitar like I’m goddamn Taylor Swift writing f*cking folk tales and sh*t. I don’t do that weak sh*t.”
He elaborated on his anti-Swift status, noting that he usually doesn’t write songs at all. There’s nothing wrong with that approach when the results turn out (like on Scott’s genuinely great Days Before Rodeo).
“I don’t really write. I’m an on-the-spot type of person. This beat, let’s listen to it, let’s vibe. And then I’ll do a melody and then we’ll go back and do it.”
Scott went on to tell us other things he’s not (namely, hip-hop, because “some of them n*ggas be straight corny and sh*t”) before comparing himself to Kurt Cobain.
“It’s good for people like me and [Young] Thug and other people like [Kid] Cudi and Kurt Cobain, people that just keep it real.”
For more Scott, check out his video for “Antidote.”