The Scoreboard is Uproxx Music’s bi-monthly look at who is putting points on the board and who is taking major L’s in the music world over the past couple weeks.
Now that the Olympics have come and gone, we can all go back to not caring about ski jumping a ton, although the winter games provided a nice bump for OAR and Arkells. As gold medals get brought home to countries around the world, Drake is distributing prizes of his own via his “God’s Plan” video, which was so charitable and sweet that I’m not crying, you’re crying. Speaking of crying, 50 Cent managed to break my heart, but I’ve been consoled by good vibes from Adam Scott Aukerman, a wisecracking judge, and Quavo, a literal NBA (Celebrity All-Star Game) MVP.
Win: Drake the money fairy
I knew that Drake was giving away money like SpongeBob after the overwhelming success of Pretty Patties, but the scale of his charity was more enormous than anybody realized: The 6 God dished out nearly a million dollars during the course of his video for “God’s Plan.” Between the footage of Drake holding giant checks, tearing up while hugging recipients of an OVO stimulus package, and doing goofy Drake dances in an empty mall, the “God’s Plan” video was an overwhelming success. Be sure also to keep an eye on the exuberant undershirt-wearing guy, since he’ll be making some noise in the primaries during the next presidential election.
Loss: Oh say, are you hearing this?
As an artist, it’s your job to push boundaries, to take risks that may or may not pay off, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. That’s how I’m choosing to explained what happened during Fergie’s performance of the national anthem at this year’s NBA All-Star Game. It may not have been as bad as the meme-hungry internet convinced itself that it was, but to put it simply, it wasn’t good. No joke I could try to force here would be better than Charles Barkley saying that he needed a cigarette, so I’ll just say this: The effort was admirable, Fergie, it truly was, but don’t phunk with my anthem.
Win: Haters, who have been known to hate
Taylor Swift’s quest to gain complete domain over the planet is going pretty well, but the guys behind the 3LW song “Playas Gonna Hate” tried to disrupt her reign recently with a lawsuit, saying that Swift’s “Shake It Off” lyrics about players playing and haters hating strike too similar a chord to their track. That’s of course nonsense, because players and haters have been engaging in their namesake pastimes since time immemorial, and Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, who dismissed the case, agreed in his official ruling by flexing his sense of humor.
“By 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters,” he wrote, then continuing:
“It is hardly surprising that Plaintiffs, hoping to convey the notion that one should persist regardless of others’ thoughts or actions, focused on both players playing and haters hating when numerous recent popular songs had each addressed the subjects of players, haters, and player haters. In short, combining two truisms about playas and haters, both well-worn notions as of 2001, is simply not enough… In sum, the lyrics at issue -– the only thing that Plaintiffs allege Defendants copied -– are too brief, unoriginal, and uncreative to warrant protection under the Copyright Act.”
If you’re going to go after some of that Swift money with a flimsy-at-best case, you better make sure that the judge isn’t hilarious first.
Loss: The trash music industry
It’s been an arduous journey for Grimes since she put out Art Angels in 2015, a struggle that she broadly outlined in a recent flurry of (mostly now-deleted) social media posts. Artists feuding with labels and having release dates pushed back isn’t exactly a new paradigm, but the most concerning part of what she wrote is this: “There’s some seriously f-cked up and crazy sh-t going behind the scenes in my career this whole time I’ve never spoken of to protect myself legally.”
Hopefully, this crazy sh-t isn’t too seriously f-cked up and there’s no long-running and grave injustice plaguing Grimes, because the last thing we need is another talented female artist getting the short end of the stick. There are two sides to all stories, of course, so knowing nothing about the inner workings of whatever’s going on here, I’m just hoping that one of our most creative and engaging modern musicians can get back to putting her art out there on her own terms soon.
Win: The indie Olympics
Aside from some snowy aerial acrobatics and athletes who look like our dads who started a John Fogerty cover band in the garage the victorious US men’s curling team, the Winter Olympics have also been a showcase for indie rock. Arkells heard their song being played over there, then warmed up their Twitter fingers and got a free trip to South Korea out of it. Meanwhile, OAR got some sweet free press thanks to the Olympic Athletes from Russia’s abbreviated name. My main takeaway from all of this is that after watching hours of curling over the past few weeks, it’s my new favorite sport that I won’t watch again until 2022.
Loss: Fans of Kanye West’s social media game
Kanye West has a fractured relationship with social media, one that was only complicated further on Valentine’s Day, when he rejoined Instagram, wished Kim Kardashian a happy love day, posted photos of mostly ill-fated celebrity couples, then wiped everything clean and faded back into his mysterious Kanye shadows. True Kanye stans knew the prodigal son’s return was too good to last, but that didn’t stop wishful thinking.
Remember when Kanye was a Twitter god? This is the same dude who has tweeted, “I hate when I’m on a flight and I wake up with a water bottle next to me like oh great now I gotta be responsible for this water bottle,” and, “I make awesome decisions in bike stores!!!” I miss the old Kanye, cracking weird jokes Kanye, go on Twitter and bare his soul Kanye.
Win: Quavo, MVP
As a successful rapper, you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking that Quavo would have a penchant for flash and flair, and while he may, he doesn’t let the glitz bleed over to his game on the court. He had an impressive showing at the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game this year (good enough to earn him the contest’s MVP award), and he did it in a very Spurs-ian way: Grabbing offensive rebounds and making the easy layup, being in the right place at the right time to get open looks, and while he did pull out a fancy-schmancy Euro step, it was a productive move that favored substance over style and got him an and-one.
If Kawhi Leonard really is out for the rest of the season, give him a ring, Pop, and maybe he’ll help you get a ring, one that is both bad and bougie.
Loss: It’s fun to stay at the DMCA
If you can find a spot with free WiFi, then I say go for it: It’s there, so feel free to connect away and see if that girl you’re crushing on likes the Instagram photo you posted with the sole intent of earning that heart from her. But don’t take advantage of their hospitality by torrenting 500 Three 6 Mafia songs and getting the bar a tsunami of Digital Millenium Copyright Act notices sent to their mailbox. That’s what one Insane Clown Posse fan did, and if you want to be like him or her, ask yourself one question first: Is “Slob On My Knob” worth it?
Win: Adam Scott Aukerman
As a fan of Scott Aukerman, Adam Scott, and U2, the latter two’s podcast, U Talkin’ U2 To Me was a godsend. It was mostly talk about non-U2 things, and when they did get around to discussing the band, their main motivation seemed to be getting their hands on some f-ckin’ t-shirts. It was great fun for the couple years that it lasted, and now, they’re bringing the same light into the lives of R.E.M. fans with their new and very similar podcast, R U Talkin’ R.E.M. Re: Me?. The first episode is just as fun and tangent-filled as Adam Scott Aukerman’s finest tangentially U2-related work, and if you’re R.E.M., here’s a hot tip: Bring t-shirts and you’re automatically a better band than U2.
Loss: 50 Cent’s indifference towards the truth
As I look in front of me at my laptop screen and watch these letters appear on the Uproxx content management system as I type them, it feels like I know what I’m seeing, but I also question if anything I know is real. How Can Computers Be Real If My Eyes Aren’t Real? This crippling sense of self-doubt has arrived courtesy of 50 Cent, who had one of the best feel-good stories of the year so far when it was revealed that he made a killing off of Bitcoin. That beacon of hope has crumbled now that he’s revealed that he’s not actually a Bitcoin millionaire, that the story was greatly exaggerated and he let it happen because the tale made him look good.
That analysis of the situation isn’t me jumping to an uninformed conclusion: He literally said that. Part of me finds this hilarious because 50 Cent going with the flow when the flow is favorable cracks me up. But a different part of me is disgusted. This was a great story, and it’s tremendously disappointing that it’s a sham. I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you! How dare you?!