The Scoreboard is Uproxx Music’s bi-monthly look at who is putting points on the board and who is taking major Ls in the music world over the past couple weeks.
The last time I was writing about Kanye West in this space, just two weeks ago, the world was a different place. Kanye was just writing his philosophy book on Twitter, sharing photos of Yeezy stuff, and not really offending anybody. Now, Kanye is a full-blown conservative (or at least a conservative sympathizer), and in present times, that’s perhaps not the best way to endear yourself to the masses.
Inversely, Donald Glover is firing on every last cylinder, doing everything right and racking up the wins in multiple areas of existence. Deadpool also found his sarcastic, bitingly witty way into the music world, Dr. Dre faces off with an actual doctor, and Smash Mouth has advice for DJ Khaled about… oral intimacy.
Win: A Donald everybody can get behind
Since Yeezy Season lasted a total of maybe a week before it blew up in Kanye’s face, it looks like it’s now Gambino Season. First, Glover was a complete delight as host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live, starring in sketches addressing his role in the upcoming Star Wars movie, Migos going to therapy to talk through their Lambo-related issues, and, yes, Kanye’s tweets (and A Quiet Place).
On the Gambino side of things, he premiered a pair of new songs on the show, and also shared a creative, satirical, and entertaining-as-hell video for “This Is America.” Overall, it makes me happy to see the guy I found on Youtube ten years ago as part of Derrick Comedy while vainly searching for my own name doing so darn well today (*sips $22 artisan coffee* “I knew him before he was cool”).
It’s a good time to be Donald Glover.
Loss: I miss the old Kanye
It’s not a good time to be Kanye West.
Here’s a list of what he’s been up to in the past couple weeks: He tweeted positive things about Donald Trump. He fired his management team. He called Trump his “brother.” He promised new music. A lot of friends unfollowed him. He freestyled about slave ships while wearing a MAGA hat. He dropped one song that was poopy nonsense, and another that was a political discussion. He talked with Charlamagne The God for two hours. He said some wild stuff at the TMZ office. For the most part, that’s about it.
If Kanye’s feelings about all of this is genuine, then it remains to be seen what this means for his career. If this is actually some sort of ironic artistic expression (as many have theorized) or promotional ploy, I, um… I don’t think it’s working. Forget pushing his new music: Radio stations are so fed up that they’re refusing to play his old music. If you can’t get people to listen to the stuff they already know they like, then good luck with the new stuff, bud.
Win: Deadpool, live and on stage
Now for some refreshingly pure news: Celine Dion is a living legend, and Deadpool is foul-mouthed and fun, and together, they make for a fun music video. While Dion sings her Deadpool 2 soundtrack cut “Ashes,” Deadpool dances around on stage, and by dances, I mean really dances. Like, Dancing With The Stars-level stuff: Not like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but like one of the professionals (which makes sense because it wasn’t actually Ryan Reynolds dancing, but a Cirque du Soleil choreographer). For real, though, this video could have been just as entertaining if it actually was Reynolds trying to do the same moves seen in the clip, and instead flopping around on the stage with all the grace of Kanye’s return to Twitter.
Loss: R. Kelly, alleged sex cult leader
If there’s anybody with worse PR than Kanye right now, it has to be R. Kelly, who for months has stood accused of running some sort of disgusting “sex cult” in which he holds women prisoner and grooms young women and girls to exist solely as sources of his sexual satisfaction. Now, thankfully, the #MuteRKelly movement is gaining momentum, which is aiming to basically strip him of his music career (no matter how good of a song “Ignition (Remix)” is). A representative responded to the movement, saying it’s an attention-grabbing ploy and that Kelly’s name is being unjustly smeared. Be that as it may (or may not, more likely), there’s still this: While the American legal system says he’s innocent until proven guilty, it seems the court of public opinion has already made its ruling.
Win: Justice for Meek
It’s been a long road, but it looks like Meek Mill is finally at the end of it (or at least near the end): After a lot of head-scratching and frustrating developments, Meek is out from behind bars. Now the rapper can get back to living his life, and so far, he’s been he’s back in the studio, and, not looking to leave his story untold, he’ll be telling the tale himself in a documentary series he’s working on with, among others, Jay-Z and Roc Nation.
“Not only will this documentary give viewers an unprecedented look at my life, but it will also allow me to use my public platform to highlight the need for criminal justice reform,” he says of the show. Based on all the BS he’s been through over the past few years, it sounds like this documentary could truly be an illuminating experience.
Loss: Dre v. Drai
While they may have forgotten about Dre, they didn’t forget about Drai. The rapper has been in a legal battle with a gynecologist who tried to trademark his name, Dr. Drai, but was blocked by Dr. Dre. One raps and sells headphones, and the other is a women’s health specialist, so as far as causing confusion in the marketplace, like Dre claimed would be the case, that seems unlikely, so both Dres are free to Drai all day. Dre could be a doctor too if he wants, though, and call himself an OB-GYN, if he changed the acronym to mean (bad joke incoming, be ready for it) “Only Bangers-Get Yours Now.”
Win: Frankie Cosmos v. Frankie Cosmos
The Dre/Drai duo aren’t the only ones who have to worry about mistaken identity. Frankie Cosmos released a very simple, very fun, and very good music video recently, for their song “Apathy,” and it works because of how straightforward it is. One band named Frankie Cosmos sees the IRL Frankie Cosmos, so they confront them about the name. IRL Cosmos pull out a switchblade, the other Cosmos changes their name, and that’s the end of that conflict. It’s a video based on a single simple joke, and it’s refreshingly delightful. Who knew that Frankie Cosmos was so matter-of-factly hard?
Loss: My guitar gently weeps
It’s hard to make money in music, and that apparently also applies to one of the biggest forces in the industry, Gibson. The iconic guitar-maker just filed for bankruptcy, and while the company is hopeful they’ll be able to re-emerge as strong as ever, they reportedly have as much as $500 million in debt. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a lot of money, nearly $501 million, in fact. It’s a good thing the guitar and rock music more generally are already dead anyway!
Loss: DJ Khaled is no cunning linguist
Well… alright then. These are the facts: DJ Khaled has a strict mouth-above-the-waist policy when it comes to intimate interactions. Smash Mouth disagrees so much that they wrote on Twitter, “A King who doesn’t is no King at all.” First Alt-J is giving us condoms, and now this.
Anyway, sorry if I’ve made you picture the guy from Smash Mouth doing unsavory things, or if any Shrek-related Rule 34 (SFW link for context, I promise) stuff popped into your head. Have a nice day!