Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sade: The Engimatic Singer Walks Through Her Life & Career With London's Times

Sade is so very private, so extremely wary of the press that her friends - all of whom are bound to silence - have nicknamed her Howie, after Howard Hughes. The most reclusive British singer of the 1980s has kept such a low profile since her Smooth Operator days - one tour in 14 years - that, when we meet at the London office of her record label to hear the songs from her new album, Soldier of Love, I am the only person in the room who has met her before.

It’s 10 years since her last album release, the 2000 offering, Lovers Rock. Despite or maybe because of that, the reverence she commands is palpable. She is the most successful solo female artist Britain has ever produced: she has sold more than 50m albums in a career that stretches back 27 years. And more than half of those albums were sold from the mid-1990s onwards, when Sade all but disappeared from view. Since then, she has only surfaced a few times — and this is the only face-to-face interview she will consent to now.

Paradoxically, in person she is open, friendly and relaxed - she’s happy to let me into her spacious Georgian house in leafy north London - and willing to laugh at herself. Unlike her songs, which are often freighted with introspective sadness and regret, her conversation is punctuated with a lively and very English self-mockery. She tells me about a graffitied poster of herself that her guitarist Stuart Matthewman spotted in New York. Above her glamorous image, some wag had sprayed the observation: “This bitch sings when she wants to.” Sade thinks this hilarious. It sums up her career pretty well. She makes music on her own terms.

She doesn’t look to have aged much during her long absence. On the eve of her 51st birthday, her face is unlined and she is still striking. Taller in person than she appears on stage (she is about 5ft 8in) with that large, domed head, wide-set eyes and coil of jet-black hair, she has an exotic allure that she professes not to care a fig about. “People always used to say, ‘What’s it like to see your face on the cover of a magazine?’ But it doesn’t mean anything to me at all. I don’t really see it. I’m not trying to promote an image.”

Read the full article here:
Times Online - Sade emerges from her country retreat

Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek On 'Revolutions Per Minute' The New Album

Vibe was on hand for the Reflection Eternal discussion session at Warner Bros. Records NYC location Thursday, January 21.

Photos from that session:
Wire Image

Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek as Reflection Eternal - the album 'Revolutions Per Minute' on Blacksmith/Warner Bros. Records tentatively set for release April 6.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lupe Fiasco Performs New Song At Senator Campaign Fundraiser In Chicago, IL

Lupe performing his new single “I’m Beaming” for his hometown crowd.

The Go Cheryle for Senate Campaign Concert featuring Lupe Fiasco happened Thursday January 28 at The Shrine Chicago. Lupe helped raise money for Illinois representative Cheryle Jackson's U.S. Senate campaign and to remind people to vote on Tuesday February 2.

spotted on Fake Shore Drive video courtesy of go where hiphop

Ludacris 'Battle Of The Sexes' Album Preview

Ludacris - 'Battle Of The Sexes' on DTP/Island/Def Jam in-stores March 9.

via Rap-Up

1. “Hey Ho” featuring Lil’ Kim

The title raised some eyebrows when it was first announced, but Luda explained the concept of how it tackles the double standard of men sleeping around and being called players and pimps, but when women do the same thing, they’re called hos. “If men sleep around, we some players/ But for women, they be saying, ‘Hey ho,’” he raps on what he calls the sequel to 2000’s controversial “Ho” from his debut album. Luda said he got the “old Lil’ Kim” rapping again. “Ya’ll don’t f**k us, ni**as we f**k you,” spits the Queen Bee.

2. “Tell Me a Secret” featuring Ne-Yo

“You would never think that Swizz [Beatz] produced this song,” he said of the R&B-flavored jam. This one is on some “‘Lovers and Friends’ reminiscent type sh*t.”

3. “My Chick Bad” featuring Nicki Minaj

“She’s an animated female and I’m an animated rapper myself,” remarked Luda of his pairing with It girl Nicki Minaj. The chorus is bound to get stuck in your head: “My chick bad, my chick ’hood, my chick do stuff that your chick wish she could.” He even drops a reference to Tiger Woods’ wife. “That’s one of the records that we gonna put out there,” he told the audience of the potential single.

4. “Got a Man” featuring Flo Rida

Luda called this his “radio smash” featuring “radio controller” Flo Rida. It won’t be the second single, but may be the third or fourth. The Infinity production is the album’s most pop-sounding record with a catchy hook that recalls Positive K’s “I Got a Man”: “I know you got a man, man, man, but tell me what your man, man, man gotta do with me?” a male voice sings, while the female responds, “I know you got a girl, girl, girl, but tell me what your girl, girl, girl gotta do with me?”

5. “Can’t Live With You, Can’t Live Without You” featuring Monica

“Anybody who’s ever been in a relationship has definitely thought in their head that they can’t live with the person and they can’t live without them at the same damn time,” Ludacris said of this number that’s sure to appeal to his female fans. His “cousin” Monica sings the hook.

6. “How Low (Remix)”

There will be three or four official remixes to Luda’s chart-topping hit. One features Rick Ross and Twista, the other has Ciara and Pitbull, and Fabolous appears on a third. Ciara sings part of the hook on her remix and adds her own verse, as do all the rappers.

7. “Sex Room” featuring Trey Songz

Another song the hip-hop star likens to Lil Jon’s “Lovers and Friends.” “It’s exactly what you would expect if Ludacris and Trey Songz were to do a f**king record together,” he laughed about the X-rated material. Trey seduces while Luda talks dirty: “You can be my firecracker, my tongue gonna spark you up.”

When asked what the follow-up to “How Low” would be, Ludacris said it has yet to be chosen. He is selecting from three songs that are not complete and were not played at the listening (session).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

DJ Toomp Hardware vs. Software Debate

Super producer DJ Toomp gives his pros and cons on recording hardware (Akai MPC) to software (Logic, Reason etc.).

Lil Wayne: The Guardian UK Blast The Guitar Laden 'Rebirth'

You might think Limp Bizkit's oeuvre and their ghastly fanbase of hooting fratboy morons might act as a dire warning to anyone trying to meld hip-hop and heavy metal, but apparently not. Artistically, at least, rap-metal seems to be pop's own Red Bull Flugtag: the best you can hope for is an inglorious plummet, with a load of berks in big shorts cheering you on, but that doesn't seem to stop people getting involved. Either people view it as a challenge or they've noted that, ever since Walk This Way revived Aerosmith's career and catapulted Run DMC to mainstream stardom, it's carried the promise of untold riches: you might think Limp Bizkit's records are unlovable by anyone who isn't an idiot, but their sales figures suggest there might be a lot of idiots knocking about the place.

And perhaps Wayne Carter can trans form rap-metal's image. After all, he's big on confounding expectations. It wasn't just that 2008's Tha Carter III bucked hip-hop's declining commercial fortunes by selling more than a million copies in a week, it's that it did it with a sprawling, strange, wildly inventive and brilliant album: it succeeded by challenging the listener, rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator. That said, the omens for his rock album Rebirth augur ill. It's been endlessly delayed. Collaborations with Lenny Kravitz and Pete Wentz, of trainer-bra pop-punkers Fall Out Boy, were announced, then scrapped.

Instead, the album relies on a host of hip-hop producers and session musicians drawn from the recording world's most rarefied echelons, where your talent demands an amazing nickname: Eddie "Krack Keys" Montilla, Calos "Apocalypto" Hernandez, Edward "Jewfro" Lidow and the thought-provokingly named Finis "KY" White. But here, poor old Apoclaypto, Jewfro, KY et al have been employed to try and copy the sound of a heavy metal band trying to copy the sound of a hip-hop record. Too much Xeroxing invariably degrades the image: the result crawls agonisingly along like a bloke on a donkey cart in the São Paulo rush hour. There's no punch, no brute force, a state of affairs not helped by a mix that places the band far behind Carter's vocals: they sound as if they've been locked in a cupboard. But he sounds even worse. No great shakes as a singer, he's slathered himself in Auto-Tune, which turns out to be one of the least appealing conjunctions of technology and human voice imaginable. On Tha Carter III, he demonstrated an audacious genius by taking horrible sounds – not least the repetitious sample that drove A Milli – and turning them into inexplicably compulsive listening. Here he seems to have pared down this technique by the simple expedient of not bothering with the audacious genius/inexplicably compulsive listening bit.

On Tha Carter III, the words tumbled out in a torrent of surreal images and non sequiturs so dizzying it provoked one critic to compare him to Marcel Duchamp. Here, there's a dispiriting number of hackneyed rock'n'roll cliches about groupies and "the road". Given that everyone knows Carter can do so much better than this, it all smacks a bit of condescension, of locating a different audience, then talking down to them. It's hard to work out whether he's doing this as a result of ignorance – perhaps he hasn't bothered to listen to many rock records and actually thinks that's what the lyrics have to be like – or the opposite: perhaps he's done a lot of market research, noted the kind of character that constitutes rap-metal's fanbase and come to the conclusion that the dizzying flights of Dadaist invention might be pitching it a bit high.

Alternatively, he might just be feeling uninspired. When he stops with the sub-Mötley Crüe stuff, he offers the odd great line – Drop the World hinges on a conceit about commandeering a spaceship in order to pick up a planet and throw it at the head of an ex-lover – but elsewhere, things take a turn for the mundane: "Born and raised in the USA, where the president is B-L-A-C-K," he offers. Official figures suggest this makes Lil Wayne the 4,068th rapper to mention that Barack Obama is African American; apparently they're worried that everyone outside the hip-hop world thinks he's Swedish.

There are still flashes of inspiration on offer, but rather tellingly, they tend to arrive when Carter abandons the widdly-woo solos and plodding drums. The guitars on Da Da Da switch grippingly from hyperactive funk to weird atonal crunching. On Fire is a bizarre cocktail of hiccupping breakbeats and Giorgio Moroder Eurodisco, which reminds you what Lil Wayne can do. For the most part, though, Rebirth underlines what he can't: the problem of rap-metal remains unsolvable, even by him. (source)

8Ball & MJG 'Ten Toes Down' New Release Available April 6

via the press release

Push Management/Grand Hustle/E1 Music is happy to announce the release of "Ten Toes Down," the highly anticipated new album by Memphis legends 8Ball & MJG. The album will be released on Push Management/Grand Hustle/E1 Music on April 6th, 2010.

Grand Hustle co-founder and hip hop icon T.I. states, "I'm happy to be working with America's #1 independent, E1 Music."

"Ten Toes Down" features Snoop Dogg, T.I., Bun B, David Banner, Young Dro with production by Frank Nitti of Nitti Beats, Drumma Boy, David Banner, Nard & B, and Mo B. Dick.

Ever since the duo's 1993 successful debut, "Comin' Hard," 8Ball & MJG have been at the forefront of the southern rap movement. They went on to release 11 albums, several of which went gold. Their 2004 "Livin Legends" album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top 200. The duo later teamed up with Three 6 Mafia for the latter's hit single "Stay Fly," which brought both Memphis groups much success.

Grand Hustle's Jason Geter comments, "T.I.and I were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Ball & Gee from the very beginning. We've both been fans, and this new album is classic Ball & Gee material & we're excited for the world to hear it."

8Ball adds, "'Ten Toes Down,' in my opinion, is one of the best 8Ball & MJG albums ever. It's a heart-felt, soul-filled, portion of the lives of 8Ball & MJG. 8Ball & MJG sounds and feels like 8Ball & MJG on this album 4sho!"

Dewayne "Duprano" Martin, CEO, Push Management says, "The 8Ball & MJG / PUSH Management / E1 Music /Grand Hustle partnership is all about bringing the Urban Legends' music back to the streets."

E1 Music President Alan Grunblatt adds, "I'm thrilled to work with 8Ball & MJG again. E1 and Grand Hustle will be unstoppable."

Links to the title track:
"Ten Toes Down" clean
"Ten Toes Down" dirty

Links to new single "Bring It Back" feat. Young Dro:
"Bring It Back" clean
"Bring It Back" dirty

News You Should Know About 1/28

All the hip hop and other news tidbits found on the internet from the days past.

Rolling Stone - Eminem, Lil Wayne, Drake and Barker to Team for Grammys

New York Post - Alicia Keys buying $14.5M penthouse

New York Times - As Devices Pull More Data, Patience May Be Required

Wall Street Journal - High-Decibel Criticism Greets Completion of Live Nation Merger

Los Angeles Times - A little bit of Hendrix won't hurt you -- or your ears

Singersroom - Did Kelly Rowland Ink A Deal With Universal, Motown ?

Washington Examiner - Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson headline civil rights movement concert at Obama White House

TMZ - 'Pants on the Ground' -- A Rip-Off?!

Miami New Times - Bow Wow's Blog Launches With Many Deep Thoughts About Cars and Strippers

SOHH - Ashanti Doubles Up w/Game & Dr. Dre

The Life Files - Whitney Houston’s “Nothing But Love” World Tour Kicks Off February 6th!

The Urban Daily - Mourners Say Goodbye To Teddy Pendergrass

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dam-Funk: Rolling Stone Magazine Breaking Artist Feature

Who: Los Angeles funk connoisseur Dam-Funk, a one-man wrecking crew of thumping beats, smooth bass and iced-out synths. After honing his craft as a session musician for rappers like Ice Cube, remixing acts like Animal Collective and becoming an MVP on the DJ circuit, Dam-Funk’s debut album Toeachizown has everyone from Southern Cali to Seoul to Tel Aviv hitting the dance floor, literally ruling one giant nation of funk fans under the groove.

Sounds Like: Dam-Funk’s aural odysseys travel from P-Funk to G-Funk through Cybotron and Prince with an undercurrent of the prog-rock that Dam worshipped in his adolescence. On his mammoth debut album Toeachizown, comprised of five EPs he released on Stones Throw in 2009, Dam breaks out something for everyone, from intergalactic dance-funk epics like “Searchin’ 4 Funk’s Future” and “Could I Be Losing Another Lover” to infectious Paisley Park gems like “One Less Day” and “I Wanna Thank U (4 Steppin’ Into My Life).” “I look at Toeachizown as the album I always wanted to hear. Even my friends tell me this, ‘We grew up wanting to hear something like this record,’ ” Dam tells Rolling Stone.

Read the full article here:
Rolling Stone - Breaking: Dam-Funk

Who, What, Where Weekly Photo Links 1/27

All the week's photo links for your consumption.

Tuesday, January 26

Music Executive Doug Morris honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with Mary J. Blige, Will. I. Am and others in Hollywood, CA:
Film Magic
PR Photos
Star Traks Photo

Kanye West and Amber Rose at Fashion Week in Paris, France:
Wire Image

Ciara attends the Givenchy Private cocktail party as part of Fashion Week in Paris, France:
Wire Image

Monday, January 25

Missy Elliott at the Pink Elephant night club in NYC:
Film Magic

DJ Enuff's Birthday party with Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Talib Kweil, Jim Jones and others in NYC:
Film Magic

Sunday, January 24

Will.I.Am and others at the 'Who Killed The Music?" art event in LA, CA:
Film Magic
Rex Features

Dizzee Rascal concert at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia:
Wire Image

Lil Jon at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT:
Wire Image

Saturday, January 23

NRJ Music Awards red carpet with Rihanna, The Black Eyed Peas, Pharrell Williams and other in Cannes, France:
Film Magic
Wire Image
Star Traks Photo
Rex Features

R & B singer Brandy in Los Angeles, CA:
Film Magic
Rex Features

L.L. Cool J at Pure night club in las Vegas, NV:
Film Magic
Rex Features

Kanye West and Amber Rose in Paris, France:
Film Magic
Corbis Images

Mary J. Blige in New York City:
Film Magic

Justin Dior Combs Birthday party with Nicki Minaj, Sheek Louch, Red Cafe, Lil Kim and others in NYC:
Film Magic
Wire Image
Star Traks Photo
Rex Features

Lil Jon concert at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT:
Film Magic

Dizzee Rascal at the Big Day Out Festival in Sydney, Australia:
Wire Image

Kelis at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT:
Wire Image

?uestlove at Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT:
Wire Image

Lloyd performs in Miami, FL:
Rex Features
Star Traks Photo

Friday, January 22

Nas performs at HarryO's Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT:
See coverage here

Timbaland performs at the Sound Academy in Tronto, Canada:
See the full review here

Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief with Jay-Z, Rihanna and others at telecast in London, UK:
WENN Photo

Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief with Wyclef, Mary J. Blige and others at telecast in NYC:
Wire Image
WENN Photo

Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief with John Legend, Kid Rock, Chris Rock and others at telecast in Los Angeles,CA:
Film Magic
WENN Photo 1
WENN Photo 2

Kanye West and Amber Rose at Fashion Week in Paris, France:
Film Magic
Rex Features

Ciara in Los Angeles, CA:
Film Magic

Alicia Keys and others on the Jonathan Ross TV show in London, UK:
Rex Features

Music producer Polow Da Don at the Los Angeles Lakers vs New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in NYC:
Wire Image

Thursday, January 21

Snoop performs at the Galaxy Theatre in Orange County, CA:
See the full review here

Jay-Z and Beyonce in Paris, France:
Rex Features

DJ Clue Birthday party with Akon, Sean 'Diddy' Combs, Rick Ross, Trey Songz, Johnta Austin, Drake and others in NYC:
Wire Image

Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek as Reflection Eternal discuss upcoming new album 'Revolutions Per Minute" at Warner Brothers Records NYC:
Wire Image

Busta Rhymes at TAO Nightclub in Las Vegas, NV:
Film Magic
WENN Photo

Leona Lewis in London, UK:
Film Magic
Rex Features

Mariah Carey concert at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, FL:
Film Magic
Wire Image
WENN Photo

DJ Peter Paul celebrates birthday with DJ Cassidy, DJ M.O.S. and others in NYC:
Wire Image

Help Haiti fundraiser with Chuck D, DJ Spooky and others in NYC:
Wire Image

Chris Brown at Fashion Week in Paris, France:
Wire Image

Rihanna on a Norwegian TV show in Olso, Norway:
Wire Image

Kanye West and Amber Rose at Fashion Week in Paris, France:
Rex Features 1
Rex Features 2

Tyrese Gibson at Legion movie premiere in Los Angeles, CA:
Wire Image 1
Wire Image 2
Wire Image 3
PR Photos
Daily Celeb

Lady Gaga concert at Radio City Music Hall NYC:
Rex Features
Corbis Images
WENN Photo

Lady Gaga fans outside of Radio Music Hall NYC:
Globe Photos

American Red Cross, Concern Worldwide and The Edeyo Foundation Fundraiser with Adrienne Bailon and others in NYC:
Patrick McMullan
Rex Features

Solange Knowles in Miami, FL:
WENN Photo

Beyonce shopping in France:
Rex Features

Wednesday, January 20

Suge Knight getting a beard trim in West Hollywood, CA:
WENN Photo

Timbaland concert at Irving Plaza with Lil Kim, Sean "Diddy' Combs and others NYC:
Wire Image

Timbaland New York City concert after party at Greenhouse in NYC:
Wire Image

Lady Gaga concert at Radio City Music Hall NYC:
Film Magic
Wire Image
Globe Photos

Edeyo Foundation Hatian Relief Fundraiser with Busta Rhymes, Garcelle Beauvais and others in LA, CA:
Rex Features

Last week's
Who, What, Where Weekly Photo Links 1/20

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bishop Lamont Post Aftermath L.A. Times Interview

L.A. Times: You were able to secure your masters per the terms of the severance agreement with Aftermath. What exactly is contained on those recordings?

Bishop Lamont: We’re about to finally bless the world with a lot of music. It got to the point where it wasn’t fair to the fans or to myself to have to keep on waiting. I understand that labels have obligations, but it was difficult to have fans coming up to you and asking when I was going to get a release date. There’s a lot of crazy records I got to take with me. There’s a J Dilla record that I got with the blessing of DJ House Shoes. Tracks from DJ Khalil, Lord Finesse, 9th Wonder, Mr. Porter, Focus, basically a who’s who of underground hip-hop.

L.A. Times: And tracks from Dr. Dre?

Bishop Lamont: Yes, there are tracks from the good doctor in there.

L.A. Times: What’s the status of your relationship with Dre?

Bishop Lamont: It’s as good as it’s ever been. In the course of the time it took to get out of the Aftermath contract, I never wanted it to cause our friendship to suffer. He's like my big brother. I understand that business is business, and I’m hoping to continue working with him in the future.

L.A. Times: What’s the plan for your next release?

Bishop Lamont: I’m going to put out “The Shawshank Redemption,” a mix tape with Bink and DJ Drama that will talk about what I've been going through.

L.A. Times: You’d been working on a follow-up to “Caltroit,” the sequel to the original collaboration with Black Milk. What’s the status on that?

Bishop Lamont: There was so much going on over the past year that it had to take a back seat. But we did a record called “Fat Gold Dookie Rope” that’s probably going to be one of the first singles off the new project that we release.

L.A. Times: At one point you were planning to release a tape called “No Country For Old Men,” in which you were going to take shots at West Coast veterans for not supporting younger artists. What happened with that project?

Bishop Lamont: Snoop actually reached out to me, which was really dope. I’ve known him since I was a teenager and his brother and I are friends. A lot of people thought it was a ploy for attention, but it was about older artists supporting the younger artists. Those guys are heroes to us and it’s important to carry on the tradition. But we had a heart to heart and he explained that he’s willing to support all of us, which you can see now.

It’s important to keep the West from falling into the standard boxes you think of when you think of West Coast artists. There’s a lot of talented people out here who don’t get the shine they deserve: Pac Div, U-N-I, Med and Rocc C and Oh No from Oxnard, and a bunch more I’m forgetting at the moment. I’m liking the direction we’re going in, but there needs to be more unity and I’m in a great position where I can lead by example and move at my own pace.

L.A. Times: You’re not the only West Coast artist who has had difficulty getting a major label to release your record. At the moment, Glasses Malone, Nipsey Hussle and Jay Rock have all been able to land singles on Power 106 and still don’t have a release date in sight. Neither do Pac Div. What do you make of that?

Bishop Lamont: It's ridiculous. Nipsey's been doing his thing, Jay Rock had a hit song with Lil Wayne and and no one can get a release date. People sometimes get it twisted that I hate the skinny jeans kids, but that's not true at all. I love that The New Boyz are speaking for kids their own age in a way that hyphy never had the chance to do. But none of the labels are giving the West Coast artists a chance right now, they're busy trying to figure out a new design for the business -- all of a sudden the machine they created is working against them. That's one of the reasons why I'm working toward getting Diocese Records off the ground.

I'm trying to build a label for everything from rap to R&B to jazz to alternative rock to country. We're trying to do everything in-house, with videos done by DJ Skee and Matt Alonzo, and radio and Internet promotion done right. Artists would come to me when I was at Aftermath and I told them that their best bet was to avoid signing with a major. They thought I was hating, but the labels want to give you 360 degree deals and take all of your publishing and your merchandise and publishing. If an artist can sell 40,000 copies on their own, they're rich. If they sell 40,000 on a major, they get dropped.

L.A. Times: What's the status of your own album, "The Reformation?"

Bishop Lamont: It's almost finished. There's so many records, but I've had the blessing to be able to sit with Ram Dass lately in Maui, and the books he's given me and the things I've learned have been so dope. I'm almost overwhelmed. It's hard to know where to begin. I've been sitting down with so many amazing people lately and learning and evolving so much, that's it's just crazy. There's nothing better than being able to have my freedom. (source)

Lupe Fiasco Turning In Finished 'Lasers' Album Into Atlantic Records Today!

via The LupE.N.D. blog

Last night on Green Lantern’s Invasion Radio, Lupe revealed that he’s handing over his third album, Lasers to Atlantic Records today.

Besides that he also said that Pharrell hit him up about finishing the CRS project, 4 songs are done so far!

Listen to some of the interview here:
Lupe Fiasco Invasion Radio interview

John Legend & Movie Director Davis Guggenheim Collaborate On 'Waiting For Superman' Documentary

via the Associated Press

PARK CITY, Utah – A convenient truth greeted John Legend when the singer contacted documentary director Davis Guggenheim about collaborating on a film to examine the nation's public-school system.

Legend had been working with the hip-hop group the Roots on an album exploring 1960s and '70s music, which led to a discussion about the civil-rights movement and then education, which he considers the civil-rights issue of our time.

The Grammy winner whose albums include "Evolver" and "Get Lifted" thought Guggenheim, an Academy Award winner for his global-warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," was just the man to look at what's wrong with America's public schools.

"We were going to meet with Davis to see if he wanted to direct it," Legend said. "When my manager met with him, he was like, `Uh, I'm already making this film. This film you're talking about, I'm already making it, and it'll be done in three months.'"

Legend, 31, eagerly agreed to sign on with Guggenheim's "Waiting for Superman," writing the song "Shine" for the closing credits of the documentary, which premiered over the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.

"The first time I heard it, I was like 'It's perfect,'" Guggenheim said. "When you hear the song, it just says everything about what we have to do for every kid in America. Give them a great potential and let them shine."

The film chronicles efforts by innovative educators to turn around failing systems in Washington, D.C., Harlem, Los Angeles and other places where many schools have come to be known as "dropout factories." Guggenheim studies the hindrances of conflicting state and federal regulations on schools and how tenure tracks and teachers unions affect administrators' power to get rid of bad instructors.

At the heart of the film are segments following a handful of promising students whose best hopes for a decent future rest in longshot lotteries to determine which children will get to attend a choice alternative school.

"Shine" "was completely inspired from seeing the film and seeing the stories of the children in the film, because it follows these kids who have potential, have a certain desire to do well," Legend said. "They are in circumstances where they are surrounded by failing public schools, and they see the light, they see a few schools in their area that are succeeding. But you have to win a lottery to get into these schools. ...

"When you think about someone's fate being decided by a lottery, the choice is usually ... `Am I going to end up at a school with a super-high dropout rate and end up like a lot of those kids who drop out, in the criminal-justice system, working a low-wage job, or am I going to get a good education and go to college and make something of myself?'"

"Waiting for Superman" has been picked up by Paramount Vantage for theatrical release. Legend hopes the film will be a call to action for public schools the way an "Inconvenient Truth" was for global warming.

The film also has the support of Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, who is interviewed in the documentary and came to Sundance to promote it.

Even with marquee names behind it, the film will take some nurturing to bring in audiences, Legend said.

"It's always challenging selling a documentary. I'm sure when people can go to see lighter fare, it's not always their first choice," Legend said. "But I feel that this film is really inspiring, it's really moving. It has all the things you want out of a good film. The drama and the suspense and the interesting characters that you want to follow. It also teaches you something important about what's going on in our country."

Wu-Tang Clan: Return of the Wu & Friends With DJ Mathematics

On Return of the Wu & Friends, Wu-Tang producer and DJ Mathematics collects exclusive tracks, lost gems and old time favorites featuring all nine emcees from the mighty Wu.

Mathematics Presents Return Of The Wu And Friends on Gold Dust Media/Nature Sounds in-stores and online February 16th.

Monday, January 25, 2010

E-40 Live In Northern Cali

E-40 tearing it up at Modesto, California's Fat Cat on Friday January 22.

E-40 prepping his Revenue Retrievin': Day Shift & Night Shift on EMI/Heavy On The Grind Ent. in-stores March 30.

(video courtesy of PhatTraxxx209)

Fashawn & Exile Live in L.A.

Fashawn & Exile played as part of the Pure II show at the Lion's Den / Leonardo's in Los Angeles, CA Thursday January 14.

(video courtesy of Bang TV & crzyching)

B.o.B. Performance & Interview At Sprite Step Off Concert In Charlotte, NC

Bobby Ray performs in Charlotte, NC and rocks the stage with his smash hit "On Top of The World", does an interview with Mack of Sound-Savvy and then performs his new single "Nothin' On You".

Timbaland: Shock Value II Tour Live In Toronto Concert Recap

As reported by Jason Macneil at the Toronto Sun

As part of his current Shock Value Tour, producer extraordinaire Timbaland has brought along Justin Timberlake, members of Jet, Katy Perry and Drake among others to bring his collaborative club grooves to the masses.

Unfortunately though, a strong album with so many guest stars can result in a lackluster effort when it’s brought to the stage without them.

And for most of the evening, it was this hit and miss feel that made Timbaland’s gig Friday evening (January 22) at Toronto’s Sound Academy very uneven.

Backed by a full band and with a video screen to his left which would show Drake, Perry, Timberlake and others performing, Timbaland began the night rolling a very high quality wave with Timothy Where Have You Been off the new album Timbaland Presents Shock Value II.

Wearing huge silver headphones and a rather conservative amount of bling for his producing prowess, Timbaland had the audience filling half the venue singing “I love Toronto” back to him during the lengthy, rambling opener.

When not creating beats off the floor, the artist was content to perform most of his new material such as Say Something (featuring Drake) which Timbaland delivered with Auto Tune perfection and the electro-dance feel to The Way I Are which was definitely an early party-starter. This was despite the fact there were occasions when all he could do was bounce and wait for the guest artist’s pre-packaged vocal portions to conclude.

From there, Timbaland perfected that dance club vibe with Morning After Dark as a brief snippet of Twilight – a film which partly inspired the new record – was shown on the video screen before Katy Perry appeared onscreen.

The first 45 minutes of the show was red hot, but a forerunner of what would ensue came during Oh Timbaland. Here Timbaland gave each of his band members their own miniature solo before reining things in again. It was a slight lull but would seem like pure bliss compared to the next half-hour.

Following another strong dance-friendly nugget entitled Can You Feel It (and featuring vocals by Canadian singer Esthero), Timbaland plowed into If We Meet Again with purpose, something that couldn’t be said for Ease Off The Liquor.

Breaking the tune down and then basically filling time, Timbaland started asking fans in the crowd how they were feeling and if they’d like to have drinks with him. He also spent this time telling some 19-year-olds how he couldn’t let them drink and would buy them Kool-Aid, unaware of the legal age north of the 49th.

After this filler, Timbaland then left the stage for another 15 to 20 minutes while a deejay played snippets of various Timbaland-related hits. The rather inane absence had more heading to the exits before he finally reemerged with Carry Off featuring Justin Timberlake.

The show definitely had its moments, both terrific and terribly tedious.

Getty Images

Timbaland Shock Value II Tour dates:

1/26 - Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
1/28 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
1/29 - Los Angeles, CA - House of Blues
2/02 - Houston, TX - House of Blues
2/03 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues

(video courtesy of jDiggz TV & Hailey248ilyjb)

Nas Performance At 2010 Sundance Film Festival In Park City, UT

via Vibe

God Son is loved all over the world, even in the snow white mountains of Sundance where he gave a killer standing room only performance at Harry O's (Friday, January 22), even managing a "Utah State of Mind" remix. Ironically, right across the street at the Bing Lounge, Kelis performed to a smaller crowd.

Film Magic

Kidz In The Hall 'Land Of Make Believe' Track Listing

01. Intro
02. Traffic
03. Flickin'
04. Jukebox ft. MC Lyte
05. Out 2 Lunch ft. Kid Daytona
06. L_O_V_E
07. Bougie Girs ft. Russoul
08. Fresh Academy ft. Chip Tha Ripper & Donnis
09. Will II Win ft. Marsha Ambrosius
10. Take Over The World ft. Just Blaze & Colin Munroe
11. Running ft. Tim William
12. I AM (Interlude)
13. Simple Life ft. Amanda Diva
14. Rise And Shine ft. Russoul

Kidz in the Hall - 'Land of Make Believe' on Duck Down in-stores and online March 9

News You Should Know about 1/25

All the hip hop and other news tidbits found on the internet from the days past.

PR Inside - Nate Dogg Recovering After Strokes

MSNBC - One last treat from Conan’s dirty dog, Triumph

Los Angeles Times - L.A. band Linkin Park releases 'Download for Haiti' digital-only benefit compilation

Hollywood Reporter Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411 - Jennifer Hudson: “I’m Just Glad I Didn’t Forget the Words”

Telegraph UK - Corinne Bailey Rae interview for The Sea

Monsters & Critics - Ashanti helps build new home for deserving family

San Fransisco Chronicle - Google tunes search engine for facts, events

NME - Radiohead's Ed O'Brien 'Piracy isn't killing music'

MTV - Rapper Apache Dies

New Lil Wayne - Exclusive: Lil Wayne Has 20 Records Done For The Carter 4

SOHH - Swizz Beatz Signs On To Produce T.I., DMX & Young Jeezy Albums

CBS News - Trey Songz Is Ready For the World (Grammy Nonminee preview)

SoJones - C-Ride (producers Cool & Dre cosigned) Shows SoJones How It’s Done in Miami: Exclusive Interview

Hip Hop And R&B New Releases 1/26

The following physical and digital new releases are available from Amazon, iTunes and your local retailer.

Strong Arm Steady - In Search Of Stoney Jackson
(Stones Throw)

Corinne Bailey Rae - The Sea

Michael Jackson - This Is It (DVD)
(Sony Pictures)

Also available:

Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston - 25th Anniversary Edition

DMX - The Best Of DMX
(Island/Def Jam)

Mitchy Slick Presents Tha Wrongkind - Yellow Tape
(SMC Recordings)

The full list of upcoming Hip Hop and R&B new releases here:
Urban New Release Schedule 1/15

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pharrell Williams: Keynote Speech At The 2010 MIDEM Music Conference Cannes, France

Pharrell Williams at MIDEM 2010 keynote speech and interview with Conerstone President Rob Stone in Cannes, France.

Snoop Dogg Live At The Galaxy Theatre In OC Concert Recap

As reported by David Hall at the Orange County Register

At Thursday night’s (January 21) gig, however, a rare intimate show at the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana, the Long Beach rapper tested the patience and loyalty of his fans, in true hip-hop fashion, by failing to appear until five minutes till midnight –- nearly an hour after his scheduled set time.

Determined to win back the jeering audience, Snoop began by unleashing a pair of guest verses from gangsta rap favorites “The Next Episode” (off Dr. Dre’s 2001) and “P.I.M.P” (from 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying).

Without his usual band (the Galaxy stage could never accommodate such an extensive entourage), Snoop compensated by invoking the voices of old-school fans for some spirited sing-along support on “Gin & Juice,” reaching a wall-shaking climax as the rapper barreled straight into 2Pac’s street-life anthem “Hail Mary.”

Mid-set, as Snoop conducted another sing-along, this time to the chorus of Dre’s “Still D.R.E.,” I made a striking connection that I should have realized several Snoop shows prior: the bulk of his set lists are comprised of relatively few of his original songs. He may change the order of some tracks, but he generally plays the same guest verses and popular tunes, resulting in painfully similar commercial medleys.

As the annoyingly familiar chorus of “Sexual Seduction” droned on and on, I began to re-evaluate my reaction to the negative assessment of my peers. Just as I was about to concede the disappointing conclusion that Snoop has indeed fallen off, I was roused by the infectious beat of House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” a surefire crowd-winner in Snoop’s musical arsenal.

He commanded the audience to jump — and jump they did, surging relentlessly as he rounded out the set with the ever-popular “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” then a new, single-worthy track called “I Wanna Rock” and finally that household classic, “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”

As Snoop sashayed off stage in a cloud of blunt smoke, his sly grin reminded me why I could never admit that he “fell off”: I’d lost myself in the revelry of his smooth style and funk-laden beats, proving that nearly two decades after his debut on Death Row Records, Snoop Dogg is still one of the slickest MCs in SoCal.

more fan shot footage below.

Snoop Dogg at the Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana CA, Jan. 21, 2010

Set list:

Next Episode
The Shiznit
Gangsta Luv
Gin & Juice
I Wanna F*** You
That’s That S***

Hail Mary (2Pac cover)
America’s Most Wanted
Snoop’s Upside Your Head
Sexual Seduction
Jump Around (House of Pain cover)
Drop It Like It’s Hot
I Wanna Rock
Who Am I (What’s My Name)?

Also read OC Weekly's Snoop Dogg concert review here:
OC Weekly - Snoop Dogg at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, Santa Ana

(video courtesy of immmjay)

Wale: Backstage Interview From Hands For Haiti Benefit Show At Howard University

A Wale backstage interview at the Hands for Haiti benefit concert at Howard University Thursday, January 21.

Wale Performs Haitian Benefit At Howard University

Lauryn Hill Live At Raggamuffin Festival NZ

Lauryn Hill at the Raggamuffin Festival Saturday January 23 at Rotorua Stadium in New Zealand.

Upon seeing this performance we wonder, why did Ms. Hill go away?

Lauryn Hill Schedules Rare Show At 2010 Raggamuffin Festival In New Zealand

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jim Jones Takes Public Transportation; The Subway

Jim Jones is out of the a car at the moment for reasons not mentioned here in this particular footage. Apparently, Jim hasn't rode the subway for the past 10 years.

Dr. Dre Discusses Headphones & The Delayed 'Detox' With The Guardian UK

With a reputation that precedes him, it's a daunting experience awaiting Dr Dre. Over six feet tall, with shoulders wider than Joan's during Dynasty's heyday, it's not only his physical presence that's commanding. Boasting a back catalogue of some of the best rap records ever created, the man's a hero, a myth, and a legend.

Today, Dre is found in a carpeted and cavernous Best Buy in New York's Union Square, where he's holding a press conference not to promote his long-awaited album, Detox, but for his electronic consumer brand, Beats By Dre. It's an incongruous location to find a multi-millionaire genius; a bit like going to see Robert De Niro promote Freeview in Argos. Yet, judging by the queues and the trilling sound of the tills, it's been an effective event for a brand which includes headphones, laptops, speakers and DJ software. Surrounded by fans, label reps and assorted Beats staff, it's a relief when he muscles through the melee with a warm grin and a firm shake of the hand.

"Aftanoooon," he smiles, attempting an affable British accent of the Dick Van Dyke variety. "'Ow are ya?"

Andre "Dr Dre" Romelle Young is perhaps the only producer to have changed the course of music over three decades (maybe four, if he ever releases Detox). In the 80s he bought us unbridled rage and provocative refrains via LA rappers NWA. Next, he ushered in the marijuana-marinated "G-Funk Era", both on his own album, The Chronic, and Snoop Dogg's seminal debut Doggystyle. In 1999, he proved worthwhile white rap wasn't just limited to the Beastie Boys and 3rd Bass with his protege, Eminem, before unleashing 50 Cent on to the world in 2003. In the pop sphere, he's worked with everyone from Gwen Stefani to Tupac, Nine Inch Nails to Jay-Z, plus Mary J Blige and Burt Bacharach. His eye for a star and ear for sound is arguably second to none; stabbing, sample-free synths, heart-stopping drums and tense, taut percussion being among the Doc's trademarks.

"Engineering and mixing are absolutely key," he says of the post-production process that helps ensure such perfection. "Once a song is done, for me personally, it's usually two or three days to get the mixdown." Indeed, Dre has produced scores of sonically indelible records. He raps, too; Eminem, Snoop and Jay-Z are all rumoured to have ghostwritten tracks for Dre.

"You know, it's real weird. I've looked at pictures that my mom has of me, from when I was four years old at the turntable," says the former DJ of his transformation. "I'm there, reaching up to play the records. I feel like I was bred to do what I do. I've been into music, and listening to music and critiquing it, my whole life." Of his fastidious approach to production – Detox has been some eight years in the making (so far) – he's at a loss to describe how he does what he does. "Once that sound is right, once that mix is right, it's a feeling that you get, here," he says tapping in the general direction of his heart. "It's unexplainable."

This painstaking process isn't the only reason Dre has kept his fans waiting. For the last three years, he's been waylaid wading through designs and technology for the range of headphones he's been producing alongside Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine, who's with him at Best Buy today.

"If you know about Dr Dre, these headphones weren't coming out until they were perfect, or else we would have had Detox five years ago," cracks Iovine. The Pacino to Dre's De Niro, at first glance they're an unlikely duo; the wiry, wise-cracking, fast-talking New Yorker, and the self-contained, quiet Californian, straight outta Compton. Yet though Iovine may talk a mile a minute while Dre is somewhat more muted in his musings, this polar-opposite pairing are a powerful partnership. Iovine signed Lady Gaga, Pussycat Dolls, Gwen Stefani, and Timbaland, while Dre owns Aftermath, distributed by Iovine's industry goliath; Eminem and 50 are among his signings. Not only partners in money-making, the two have been friends for over 19 years.

"Our kids play together and everything," says Dre (who also points out that Iovine's tea-making abilities are "the sh*t"). "We're pretty close."

"I didn't know a lot about hip-hop in 1990, I was from the rock world," shouts Iovine, a former producer for Simple Minds and U2. "I'd listen to hip-hop and sonically it sounded terrible. A guy brought in a tape and the first thing that hit me was the sound. I said, 'Whoever's combining these worlds like this, is doing something no one's done before. I gotta meet this guy.' And that's what got me interested in Dr Dre."

Distilling Dre's innate sense of sonic precision led the pair to devise a different way of reversing the record industry's loss-making mishaps. "I'm just trying to be a creator in among all this shit that's going on," Dre says about hawking high-end headphones. "I just want to get my music out and make sure that it's heard in the right way. That's all I give a f**k about."

Rather than the tried and tested trainers and tracksuits that most artists flog when they begin to merchandise themselves, they brought Beats By Dre back to the essence of the Good Doctor's brilliance.

"Three years ago we were talking about the deals that acts do," Iovine remembers. "We said, 'We gotta do something about sound.' We went from analogue to digital and the digital revolution all went terribly wrong. So we said, 'Screw the sneakers, lets get into headphones and speakers.'"

Jimmy and Dre's main reason for wanting to diversify is because the way in which we listen to music has deteriorated so dramatically.

"[I did this] because it's sound. And I know a little bit about that," Dre chuckles, before explaining that an MP3 downloaded from the internet, particularly illegally, can be as much as 10 times lower in quality than vinyl or even a CD. Coupled with the fact that many are listening to music on mobile phones or through tinny speakers, it all makes Dre disgruntled. "Once it gets to your computer, everything's compressed. It's like smashing sound," he explains. "So we're trying to fix that."

Beats phones are proving quite a celebrity draw, with Lady Gaga and P Diddy designing their own lines. Iovine and Dre have also pulled in some famous pals today to spin for the crowd after they've finished their press conference; twice during our interview Iovine, mid-sentence shouts "WILL.I.AM" as Will.I.Am walks by the green room we're sequestered in. "DAVID GUETTA!" he yells again a few minutes later, telling the assembled throng of staff that "Elvis just walked in the room!" And to me, "You don't know what you've hit on here. No one will ever have these two guys together again." Indeed. However, putting the dance DJ and Dre together does elicit more insight from Dre. He apparently "had a ball" at Guetta's F**k Me, I'm Famous night that he runs with his wife in Ibiza.

"I have to go out to clubs now," he says, referring to preparations for Detox's release. "You need to understand what people are listening to."

Which brings us, neatly, back to the album; headphones are all well and good but what everyone wants, including the kids who queued for hours to see Dre in Best Buy, is Detox. When is it dropping? There's a shy grin and a little nod: "I'm working hard on it. I'm stopping to work on other artists in-between, but the minute it's done and I feel it right here," he says patting his heart again, "that's when it will come out. Hopefully the beginning of 2010." (Needless to say, a few weeks after our chat he releases a statement to say it probably won't be before 2011 now. Sigh).

Still, however and whenever it arrives, Dre feels he might have created the perfect song on this album. Almost.

"I don't think I've done that record yet. I'll know what it is when it comes; I know exactly what it is in my head, but I haven't done it yet. It's close."

We will, he assures me once again, hear it soon, though: "I got some sh*t coming, believe me." -- Hattie Collins (source)

(main photo courtesy of ABC News)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hope For Haiti Performances With Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bono, Beyonce, Alicia Keys & More

<a href="" target="_blank">Jay Z/Rihanna/Bono Perform Live! Hope For Haiti</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">Beyonce/Chris Martin Perform Live! Hope For Haiti</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">Alicia Keys Performs Live! Hope For Haiti</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">Wyclef Jean Performs Live! Hope For Haiti</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">Mary J Blige Performs Live! Hope For Haiti</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">John Legend Performs Live! Hope For Haiti</a>
<a href="" target="_blank">Jennifer Hudson Performs Live! Hope For Haiti</a>