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.
Kendrick Lamar seems to have planted himself firmly in the “can do no wrong” category, which explains why his acting performance on Power was pretty darn good: Dude was one of the best crackheads I’ve ever seen. His character probably needed to chill a little bit, much like Drake fans: There’s probably one out there right now, doing it for the meme and throwing themselves out of moving vehicles, walking into street lights, and otherwise endangering themselves for an “In My Feelings” challenge video that will be cringey in a few month’s time.
Win: The most Powerful rapper in the game
Over the past few years, Kendrick has shown a deep appreciation for the visual arts, whether it’s through his high-quality music videos or his contributions to the Black Panther soundtrack. There was even some talk that he’d want to play a villain in the next movie. Before that, though, he’s warming up by being a crackhead named laces on 50 Cent’s Power, and the results are fantastic. He really sells his performance, so if you’ve ever wanted to see a frantic Kendrick try to sell maybe-legitimate gift cards to score some drugs, here’s your chance.
Loss: “In My Feelings,” out of my car
I get it: Memes are fun, so it’s natural to want to participate, to have your own piece of the pie. The only time you should jump out of a car, though, is if it’s about to burst into a fiery inferno, if your vial of toxic gas just cracked open, or if some dummy doing the “In My Feelings” challenge is about to crash into you head on. OK, maybe not the last point, but what I’m saying is this: The “In My Feelings” challenge is foolish, so unless you are this cow, just don’t do it:
Win: Pop’s biggest cat lady
Taylor Swift’s cats are the most famous felines in pop: Her fans know Olivia and Meredith well, and the two even found their way into Deadpool 2. Everybody wants to be a cat, and now Swift is getting that chance by starring in a film adaptation of the Cats musical. Aside from perhaps Kat Von D or Katt Williams, I cannot think of a more appropriate celebrity to cast here, so well done, filmmakers.
I can’t wait for the soundtrack, featuring hits such as “Tim McPaw” and “Shake It Off (Your Mug Of Coffee From The Table, With My Batting Paw).” I’m also waiting for the deleted scene in which Swift performs “Smelly Cat” with Lisa Kudrow.
Loss: R(eject) Kelly
I don’t know who’s still stanning for R. Kelly at this point, but no matter how good of a song “Ignition (Remix)” is, we really shouldn’t be supporting the guy, as he seems to have, to put it ever so lightly, some significant character flaws that have negatively impacted others. He tried to earn some goodwill for himself with “I Admit,” a lengthy song that contains no apologies, but turns himself into a victim by talking about being sexually abused as a teenager. He definitely was a victim then, for sure, and the effects of sexual abuse can linger long after the act, but if Kelly thought revealing his personal struggle would make his own abuses against others more understandable, excusable, or forgivable, he was wrong about that. I’m typically not one to think about a person’s personal life when their music is playing and it hits my ear in a pleasing way, but it’s really hard not to with R. Kelly.
Uproxx’s Aaron Smarter went into this conversation in greater depth, so check that out here.
Win: New love for Phil Elverum
The two most recent Mount Eerie albums, A Crow Looked At Me and Now Only, were the products of a deeply impacted man, as Phil Elverum had lost his wife and coped with that tragedy through his intensely personal and raw music. Things are looking up for Elverum, though, as he recently had a low-key ceremony and got married to actress Michelle Williams, who herself has dealt with loss, as she was in a longterm relationship with the late Heath Ledger. Knowing only what the public knows about both people and therefore not knowing them personally at all, it feels like this could be a good fit for both of them, being in a committed relationship with somebody who is able to empathize with and understand your experience. So congratulations, and here’s to hoping that the newlyweds make each other happy for a long time.
I’ve never been a famous celebrity facing the immense pressure of public life. I’ve also never been addicted to any harmful substances or acts, so I cannot relate to Demi Lovato’s struggle with drugs: She was recently transported to the hospital after a reported overdose (and she’s doing better now, thankfully). Whether or not it was the baggage of fame that led to chase the momentary release or high that comes with drugs — even though the bad astronomically outweighs the oh-so-fleeting good — or something else, the challenge she faces brings up a point that’s been discussed over and over again: Something should be done if so many people in the spotlight feel it necessary to turn to drugs.
There are some pressures and expectations that come with the territory of celebrity, but us as fans and people in the music industry could surely take some measures to help famous people not reach a breaking point, or at least be able to more thoroughly and effectively deal with major stressors, yes?
Win: Not-so-insta gram
While creating Flower Boy, Tyler The Creator had a really good idea: Document the process in real time on a secret Instagram account, that he would only make public and reveal to fans years later. It’s a fun browse if you’re a fan of Tyler, but it also seems like a fun idea that could be applied to other areas of life as well. Maybe a parent could make a private Instagram account for their new baby, uploading quick photos and videos every so often and later revealing the account to the kid when they’re older. That sort of thing could work as a sweet romantic gesture for couples too. It’s definitely an interesting use of the platform, one that more people should try to take advantage of in creative ways.
Loss: Bad label look
Sky Ferreira’s Soundcloud account was instrumental to her rise as a popular musician, as it was where she build her fan base organically, through the power of her music. It was sad to see, then, that she had lost access to her account after handing the login info over to her record label. The situation was quickly resolved, thankfully, and we even got a new song out of it. It’s easy to paint the record label as the bad guy, especially when Ferreira’s side of the story is the only one we have, so to defend the suits a bit, it makes sense to want to have some control over how a representative of yours presents themselves in a public space. That said, I really hope they didn’t intentionally lock her out of a key platform she uses to connect with fans and that got her to where she is in the first place, because the last thing labels needs right now is to look insensitive.
Win: R.I.P. the album
As a format, I love the album: Listening to a 30-60-minute collection of songs that flow together in a cohesive way is a satisfying and fulfilling experience, but it’s also important to think of why the album format came to be. The album was once the most efficient way to deliver music to consumers, but that’s not the case anymore. An artist can start a song in the morning, and if they’re especially productive, can have it online for their fans that evening. So why feel the need to “legitimize” your music by releasing it as an album? Why not pull a Chance The Rapper and just release four singles at once when you feel like it? There’s no such thing as constancy in the music industry, and Chance proves once again that he’s always been ahead of the ever-evolving curve.
Loss: Billy Corgan is not Taylor Swift’s father