All Articles Tagged "music"
Many of us tuned into the 2015 VMAs in the hopes of seeing the way Nicki Minaj would respond to all the madness surrounding her controversial tweets about the inequity that Black women deal with in the entertainment business. Some tuned in to see if Minaj would blow up Miley Cyrus’ spot for basically calling her an angry Black woman last week. And she did. But that barely matters when you look at the bigger picture.
I think we all really just got duped by Taylor Swift.
Minaj opened the show with a performance of the catchy single “Trini Dem Girls” that led into “The Night is Still Young,” which culminated with Swift taking the stage in an act of pop solidarity. The performance ended with the formerly beefing pair singing Swift’s hit single, “Bad Blood.” What a well-orchestrated publicity stunt. Well done.
It was pretty odd that after all her pushback, Minaj decided to take the opening slot at a show that she claimed had done her wrong. So it should have come as no surprise that she would do so to wave a public white flag to Swift. I imagine that after Swift injected herself into Minaj’s tweets, the singer recognized damage control needed to be done and wasted no time getting Minaj on the phone to orchestrate a superficially huge water cooler and girl power moment for the 2015 VMAs.
Or, it’s possible that the entire beef was designed to give the music network ratings and relevance for its annual magnum opus. We mustn’t forget that the entertainment industry is all smoke and mirrors. Swift fans will welcome Minaj back into the fold while Minaj continues to dominate the pop-rap game, and all goes back to normal.
So who loses here? Everyone but Swift.
I suppose that at the end of the day, if it weren’t a stunt, Minaj couldn’t keep it really real even if she wanted to. She is a mainstream artist with a primarily White fanbase nowadays. But just as I started to come to terms with the whole publicity stunt thing, Minaj won Best Hip-Hop Video Award and things got even weirder. Minaj did her usual dance in her acceptance speech, thanking her fans and big upping independent boys and girls. Then she took a breath and thanked her pastor before launching into an assault on Miley Cyrus, the evening’s host, who was standing on the other side of the stage.
“And now back to the b***h who had a lot to say about me the other day in the press. Miley, what’s good?”
The petite singer barked at a visibly startled Miley Cyrus, who wasted no time in her rebuttal. Miley responded to the MC while asking viewers to vote for the Artist To Watch award.
“Hey, we’re all in this industry. We all do interviews and you know how they manipulate sh*t. Congratu-f***ing-lations.”
The camera cut to Minaj during Cyrus’ rebuttal, and she seemed to be popping off. She was nowhere near the microphone, but she definitely told Cyrus “don’t play with me, b***h.”
Now for all intents and purposes, this entire exchange seemed real, and MTV even issued a statement clarifying that the moment was not staged. But that’s not really saying much. Either way, Minaj loses. Cyrus merely comes off looking dismissive and ignorant, but she gets attention, which is her only goal. Minaj has now taken a major blow to her credibility, which is critical at the end of the day. Beefing with Cyrus is a means to an end; she’s a buffoon who is not taken seriously. But in a perfect world, Minaj would have used her acceptance speech to further address disparities and clarify her original tweets that Swift misconstrued and Cyrus brushed off. It would have been a standout moment in her career, an important turning point. But alas, Minaj didn’t have time for that.
There is only one clear winner in this trifecta of beef: Taylor Swift. She managed to take a moment of cultural interference and transform it into a showcase to serve her perpetual victimhood. She started the show with a moment of redemption. In the middle of the show, she presented Kanye West with the Video Vanguard award, and half of West’s speech was dedicated to her. And to top it all off, she won Video of the Year with Kendrick Lamar as her supporting act. She has successfully stolen moments from all these people, and it is completely unacceptable, but of course, nothing will be done about it.
Going forward, we can only hope that Swift’s reign will not run over any more of the artists we enjoy. But most importantly, going forward, we all have to embrace the fact that our pop stars are not going to end our societal ills and that they will often use major issues, even ones as important as racial disparities, simply for attention. We have to keep doing the work ourselves and remember not to let the Taylor Swifts in our lives, hijack our moments.
There’s always a special spark when two artists make love and art together. While the unions may not always last, the music lives on forever. Popular music is at its best when couples collaborate. Check out 15 artists who put their boos on the track and made beautiful (or at least decent) music together.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a concert? Recently, someone threw a phone at J. Cole on stage, and he handled it like a pro, pocketing the phone soon after it bounced off his face. As crazy as it sounds, throwing things on stage is a fan tradition, but these ridiculous items were way too much.
Looking for the perfect music to play at the barbecue this 4th of July? We’ve got you covered with 2015’s hottest new singles.
If you watched the BET Awards on Sunday, then I’m sure you watched newcomer Jidenna perform his hit single “Classic Man.” With Janelle Monaé by his side, it was a performance that had everyone asking, “Who is that?!” With his signature look and sound, Jidenna is already making big waves as he introduces the world to his swanky style. Here are 15 things you didn’t know about hip-hop’s newest MC.
With the 2015 BET Awards going down this weekend, we decided to take a look at some of the best tributes, reunions, performances, and hilarious moments from the award show over the years. What’s your favorite moment?
Everyone loves a good comeback. And over the past year, we’ve been blessed with the return of D’Angelo and Janet Jackson. Check out these 15 musical acts who have had some of the greatest comebacks ever!
The warmer weather months are often filled with many large music festivals such as Coachella, Governor’s Ball, Lalapalooza, Made in America, and for the strictly hip-hop audience, Summer Jam, Hot 97’s annual summer event (also the largest hip-hop music festival in the world.)
Beyond the music, these concerts and festivals provide fans with the chance to listen to the music of their favorite artists, interact with different vendors/sponsors, meet fellow fans, and also dive into the summer music festival “sub-culture” of tailgating, drinking, and “feeling” the vibes.
Prior to attending this year’s Summer Jam concert, I interviewed Hot 97 executives Ebro Darden and Deon Levingston about what goes into planning the event and what their expectations/visions for the 2015 show are. Chatting with them prepared me for what content to expect, but it was the experience of what it must be like to be a first time festival-goer that intrigued me.
“The fans at Summer Jam are super-duper fans of the artists, music, hip hop and R&B. That’s important for an artist’s brand. [This] is where you can reinforce your position in the hip-hop culture,” said Darden.
Despite the rioting that occurred outside after a group of individuals tried to gain access to the concert without having tickets, Summer Jam was still a hit. Favorites from the festival stage included B.O.B, who got crunk with the audience and had an unmatched energy. Joey Bada$$ (who I admittingly have never heard before) wowed me with his lyrical flow and commanding stage presence. Overall, the Stadium stage performances which included surprise guests like Future, Redman & Method Man, Nicky Minaj, 50 Cent (and more), were equally impressing.
There are two main reasons why I believe everyone should experience a large summer concert festival at least once in their life:
Experience what “live music” truly means. Listening to a song on the radio versus seeing it performed live are two different things. Add people surrounding you engaged on all sides, and you have a very special situation. The energy that radiates from the stage during a good live performance (whether it be DJ or live band-backed) is something that is hard to describe. Even if you aren’t a hip-hop head, you’ll walk away with a deeper appreciation for what it takes to truly perform and produce crowd-appealing music. An artist’s ability to command a live stage can be a turning point for his/her career.
Learn to appreciate hip hop music as a powerful (and unifying) force. When Remy Ma stepped on stage with Fat Joe to rap her verse on “Lean Back,” the stadium erupted with cheers. It was as if Remy was all our personal friend who we were welcoming back home from a long absence. I may be a bit philosophical here, but I couldn’t help but think about how hip-hop music unites people of all backgrounds, if only for a moment. At any point during the day, you could look around and see individuals mouthing the words being performed on stage. As I observed, it’s easy to get lost in the collective magnetism of performance art.
One concertgoer, Crystal Adams, who I chatted with after the event was over, attended with her husband and teenage children. “My favorite performance was Fabulous’ set because I felt it truly repped the tri-state area,” she said. “I loved seeing so many people who have been at past Summer Jams rock the stage together.”
She continued, “I haven’t done Summer Jam in many years mostly because I felt I was too old. This year however, our teens wanted to go so I went to chaperone but ended up having a great time! Fortunately, we missed the melee outside and I certainly could have done without the weed smoke in my face all night, but overall it was a great time with the family. I look forward to taking them to future concerts.”
As Darden told me in our pre-Summer Jam interview, “Music is all about life and memories. Summer Jam is part of that music memory… that’s the most meaningful piece for people.”
Now, as an official Summer Jam attendee alum, I’ll have to agree with Mr. Darden. Throughout the night, I observed so many people making memories I imagine they’ll remember for a lifetime. Whether it be singing ,”I Don’t F*** With You” by Big Sean accompanied by a stadium full of screaming fans, chilling with your best friends walking the stadium grounds, or sitting down wondering why an able artist (*cough cough* Chris Brown) decided to lip sync his top hits and still expect the crowd to be pumped, the experience always trumps.
Though all are not equal in prestige, any music fan knows a good live music festival is one of the ultimate ways to experience the art form. Be sure to get out there and experience one for yourself.
Lauryn Hill turned forty recently. It seems like just yesterday she was the 17-year-old with the micro braids who stole the show in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. In that time she has become a cultural icon and one of hip hop’s-and black music in general’s-most elusive artists. She hasn’t released a proper album in seventeen years, she has been known for showing up incredibly late for shows, and the reason that The Fugees 2005 reunion album was cut short after a few recording sessions.
Nonetheless, Ms. Hill is a treasure. In her sleep she can out-rap, out-sing, and out-write almost everyone who is hot in 2015. That’s the reason that in spite of it all, we keep rooting for her. I still believe that one day she will make that incredible follow-up (it will be nothing like Miseducation) and we will be there to embrace her with open arms. Over the past twenty-three years, Lauryn Hill has been much more than the soundtrack to breakups. She has made cameo appearances that have often gone overlooked and I think she wanted that to happen. Without further adieu, this weeks’ Flashback Friday will be ten hits, album cuts, remixes, rarities, and overlooked but are amazing.
Flashback Friday: 10 Hits, Remixes, And Rare Songs By Lauryn Hill
Summer begins on June 21, but the summer concert season is already in full effect. From New York all the way to Los Angeles, let’s take a look at 15 concerts that are a must-see!