Category Archives: hip-hop

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Summer Song 2011: Devilish Flow, Like Draino

Sales figures don’t determine a song’s popularity at our house. It’s all about usefulness ’round here. Can the track provide a fun background for various parts of the day? In other words, is it versatile? There’s no question about this summer’s numero uno: LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” was the consensus choice because it worked in myriad situations. Chopping onions for backyard burgers, taking a shower before date night, bumping and grinding during date night, morning clean-up, evening dance bash – I even caught my kid vacuuming to the damn thing.

The season’s most ubiquitous track has generated several spin-offs as well. Tired of the original? How about a few remixes to mess with your head? Everyday I’m (re)shuffling…

What, you say the “Anthem” isn’t the song of the summer? Well, go ahead, tell everyone which track you chopped your backyard onions to!

It’s The Man In The Mirror’s Birthday

More than a few allusions to Michael on last night’s VMAs, so let’s roll through a micro history. And never, never leave “Dancing Machine” off of your playlist.

Need a sharp cultural overview of MJ’s impact? Greg Tate summarized it well in the Village Voice a week after he passed.

“Motown saved Michael from Gary, Indiana: no small feat. Michael and his family remain among the few Negroes of note to escape from the now century-old city, which today has a Black American population of 84 percent. These numbers would mean nothing if we were talking about a small Caribbean nation, but they tend to represent a sign of the apocalypse where urban America is concerned. The Gary of 2009 is considered the 17th most dangerous city in America, which may be an improvement. The real question of the hour is, How many other Black American men born in Gary in 1958 lived to see their 24th birthday in 1982, the year Thriller broke the world open louder than a cobalt bomb and remade Black American success in Michael’s before-and-after image? Where Black modernity is concerned, Michael is the real missing link: the “bridge of sighs” between the Way We Were and What We’ve Become in what Nelson George has astutely dubbed the “Post-Soul Era”—the only race-coded “post” neologism grounded in actual history and not puffery. “

VMAs Collapsed By Popdust

Nice job. I like Brit-Madge smooch better than MJ-LM smooch.

See What Aerosmith-DMC Started: Wavves & GZA Whip Out Their Liquid Swords

Wu and the Wavves, that’s a worthy mashup. The Shaolin MC and the Cali stoners connected on Fuel TV’s The Daily Habit show. Maybe we could get DMX and the National on the same stage next.

Beyonce In Love: 2 Spins Of 1 +1

B’s called “1+1″ one of her favorite songs, and she sure sings the hell out of it. The new vid dropped last night. Which performance brings the most heat, the Idol debut or the studio track? One thing’s certain: all that church comes out when she’s on stage.

Of course, there’s always this pre-Idol green room rehearsal that shows of her vocal chops as well. 

Check the reviews of her recent Roseland shows:

New York Times

Village Voice 

VMAs Hurricane Edition: Which Clip Will Storm Through The Competition On Sunday Night?

Time to put your money on the table. Will it be Brit’s well-rehearsed post-apocalyptic writhing, Bruno’s pledge of love from the war zone of romance, Adele’s flair for martial beats and passion while sitting, or Katy’s big-assed retainer and its magical party powers? I’m thinking the latter, because we needed a “nerds just want to have fun” moment this year. Hit comments and weigh in.

Missing Aaliyah: Ten Years Without the R&B Star

I remember getting the call when the news of Aaliyah’s death started to trickle out. I was the Managing Editor of VH1.com, and also on vacation. “How soon can we have something,” queried my boss. “Soon, soon, on it,” was the reply. Luckily the MTVN library was rich with content regarding the R&B superstar. We were up and rolling in an hour or so, and fan response figure heavily into the action. People were devastated.

In the blink of an eye it’s a decade later, and the love for Aaliyah is still overwhelming. Memorial pieces about the singer’s talent, glamour, and sensuality have overtaken the Web today, and #Rock the Boat is even trending on Twitter. Need a primer on an R&B icon? Here’s a quick wrap-up of items – essays, reviews, photo galleries – that have hit the music sites.

Check all of Aalyiah’s videos at VEVO. 

As big a loss as Biggie and 2Pac?

Dream Hampton’s review of One In a Million.

MTV’s Diary episode on Aaliyah.

Rolling Stone Overview: Friends, Family, Career

Aaliyah, fashion icon.

10 Songs Aaliyah would have been good on. 

Hip-hop Lady Di

Aaliyah’s top Billboard hits. 

Vibe cover story 2001

Matt & Kim, Souljah Boy, Andrew WK: All Goners

I had a phone chat with Andrew WK scheduled a few weeks ago. He called to say that he couldn’t speak at the agreed-upon time, that he’d been shanghai’d by Matt & Kim and Souljah Boy to make a new video for the just-released track “I’m A Goner.” It’s part of a campaign for the Converse brand. He phoned again the next day and explained all the respect he has for his colleagues.

“I’m as excited about it as I am about anything,” WK said with his signature animation. “Matt & Kim are great, we toured in Australia together, and we’ve been friendly for the last two years. We have a great vibe. Souljah Boy, I mean, there was a time when I experimented with a process of manifestation where people would ask, ‘If you could work with anybody, who would it be?,’ and I started taking that seriously. I’d see something similar with other artists, where they’d mention a possible collaborator and the collaboration would ultimately take place – maybe because of the interview itself. So I used that opportunity to manifest these ideas, and started saying ‘Souljah Boy.’  Why? Amazing voice, incredible performer, inspiring person and I love love love his music. I never really thought it would happen. I didn’t know how it would ever make sense. But it doesn’t always need to make sense. Here you go, another dream come true.  ["I'm a Goner"] is a song that everyone is kind of writing together, a really fresh thing. “

The video, allegedly shot in a dilapidated Jersey hospital, finds the crew doing some boarding. It premieres on MTV2 on August 21 at 1:30 pm EST.

Otis On Top, Other Great Collabos Below

Here’s Kanye West’s and Jay-Z’s “Otis,” a seismic thwack of old school boasting in a modern get-up (albeit one that tries to provide a little tenderness with a steamy sample by the esteemed Mr. Redding). Speaking of old school, Jay & Ye aren’t the first dudes to form a great hip-hop duo. Which of these other key partnerships is your favorite? More reviews/info about Watch the Throne below. 

Still trying to feel your way around Watch The Throne? It’s on iTunes now, and officially drops in physical form on Friday. Here’s a wrap-up of intel regarding the summer superstar throwdown.

Stream Watch The Throne

Ten Great “Otis” Freestyles (Village Voice)

Who’s More Materialistic?

Tom Breihan (Pitchfork)

Five Best Rhymes on “Otis”

Rolling Stone 

Victory Light 

 

10 Trends that WTT Might Start

Oliver Wang (NPR)