Search results for new york fashion week

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NCT’s Jeno to become the first K-pop star to open a New York Fashion Week runway show

Luxury fashion designer Peter Do has teamed up with stars from K-pop label SM Entertainment for his upcoming New York Fashion Week showcase.

  • READ MORE: NCT Dream on ‘Beatbox’: “We have this music that’s uniquely our own”

Set to take place on September 13 (local time), Do’s upcoming Spring/Summer 2023 New York Fashion Week show will be opened by NCT member Jeno, who is best known for being a part of its NCT Dream subunit. This will mark the first time a K-pop star has opened a NYFW runway show.

“It was a natural choice to have Jeno open the show. Jeno embodies the Peter Do man – multifaceted, confident, and a trailblazer,” said Do in a press release, sharing his motivation behind the decision.


“Few realise the intensity of what is happening behind the scenes to achieve the end product; it’s very similar to fashion so I identify with that process very much,” he added.

Do’s new collection revolves around the theme of time, teased with personalised invitations that take the form of a memory box developed by the designer in collaboration with SM Entertainment.

Contained in a cookie tin, its contents comprise various items representative of Do’s life. These include a recipe from his late father, an old-school mix CD featuring music from SM artists Do listened to growing up and a SM-branded disposable camera, among other items.

“This memory box, filled with all these objects that are of a personal emotional significance to me, is a nod to SM’s presence in different stages of my life,” explained Do. “There’s the nostalgia of listening to Girls’ Generation songs on the bus on my way to school. When we started the brand, we were listening to Red Velvet on repeat while building studio furniture.”

In addition to Jeno, SM Entertainment trainees Shohei and Eunseok — part of the agency’s SMROOKIES team — will be making their NYFW debut by walking in the show. Red Velvet member Seulgi will also attend the event as a special guest, ahead of her upcoming solo debut next month.

While Do has previously worked with another NCT member, Johnny, who he styled for the 2022 Met Gala, this is SM Entertainment’s first foray into the annual fashion event.

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Dave East Struts The New York Fashion Week Catwalk: "Big Stepper"

Tyra Banks once told him he should be a model, so he may have finally taken her advice.

The rap game has proven to be successful for Dave East, but just in case it doesn’t work out, he always has a career as a fashion model. Hip hop was all over New York Fashion Week as celebrities shared photos of themselves sitting first row at various shows, but Dave East switched things up and took his strut to the runway.

Dave East Struts The New York Fashion Week Catwalk: "Big Stepper"
John Lamparski / Stringer / Getty Images

The Survival rapper was featured in the show for Hakan Akkaya on Tuesday (February 11). “Big Stepper @hakanakkaya,” Dave wrote in a caption of one of his Instagram photos. People couldn’t help but make note of his shoes and threw a few playful verbal jabs his way. He took the jokes in stride. “(The Comments Bout The ? Got Me ?).”

Back in 2017, Tyra Banks told Dave that he should seriously consider a career as a professional model. She shared a picture of the rapper to her Instagram page and asked him why he wasn’t smizing for the cameras. He gave a light-hearted response, but it looks as if she may have planted a seed. Check out a few photos below, as well as a video of Dave in action. We also included Tyra’s three-year-old post for good measure.

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Danny Brown’s "Ain’t It Funny" Soundtracks New York Fashion Week Show

Danny Brown's music is officially high fashion.

Coming off the release of his latest and arguably most introspective project, uknowwhatimsayin? (2019), Danny Brown has earned his right to be considered one of hip-hop's most respected underground kings. Currently on the European leg of his 2019-2020 tour and recently unveiling a blossoming relationship with Rockstar that will immortalize the Detroit emcee forever, Danny Brown was pleasantly surprised to learn that his 2017 single "Ain't It Funny" was used during Christopher John Rogers Fall/Winter 2020 presentation at New York Fashion Week, this past Saturday (Feb. 8). 


The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund-winning designer, Christopher John Rogers presented a total of forty different garments utilizing boisterous silhouettes, iridescent fabrics, and a color-coordinated lineup of models ranging in complexion, wearing natural hairstyles. The packed house was able to consume the designs to a very fitting soundtrack, curated by Skype Williams, which included tracks like FKA Twigs and Dennis Ferrer’s "Hey Hey," Eurythmics’ "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," SBTRKT’s "New Dorp. New York," and more. 

The fashion presentation came to a climax as Danny Brown's "Ain't It Funny" instrumental was played during the show's finale. Christopher John Rogers himself took a moment to capture the models walking the runway in unison to the experimental beat his Instagram account. Yesterday evening, Danny Brown saw the clip on Twitter and simply quote Tweeted the video simply stating, "Ain't It Funny."

Check out the clip of Christopher John Rogers NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 collection featuring Danny Brown's "Ain't It Funny" as well as the "Savage Nomad" rapper's reaction in the videos provided below.

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Watch The Strokes play ‘Modern Age’ during intimate New York City Fashion Week gig

The Strokes played an intimate gig at The Glasshouse in Chelsea last night (September 8), as part of a New York Fashion Week kick-off event for designer Heron Preston and Bose. Watch moments from the show and view the setlist below.

  • READ MORE: The Strokes’ world-changing ‘Is This It’ at 20: “They had a ‘last gang in town’ mentality”

Following a DJ set by Preston, the Manhattan band started their performance with a quick jam session as frontman Julian Casablancas told the crowd “this is our sound check right here” before launching into ‘The Modern Age’.

“I didn’t know about fashion week,” Casablancas also joked during the set. “I’m a recluse, I live in the woods. Wasn’t expecting all this,” he added before the band played, ‘I Can’t Win.’


According to the on-stage set-list, which also contained multiple question marks in place of songs, The Strokes were set to play an encore with songs ‘Is This It’, ‘Someday’, and ‘Reptilia’ but didn’t return to the stage after performing ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’ which a fan in the audience requested.

This is not the band’s first Fashion Week performance. Back in 2010, the band played at the Metropolitan Opera for Tommy Hilfiger’s 25th anniversary. The performance was the first time the band had played in New York following a four-year hiatus.

The Strokes played:

‘The Modern Age’
‘The Adults Are Talking’
‘I Can’t Win’
‘Ask Me Anything’
‘Hard To Explain’
‘Automatic Stop’
‘Trying Your Luck’
‘Under Control’
‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’

Earlier this month, both Fleet Foxes and Blood Orange covered ‘Under Control’ during the New York City stops of their tour. Robin Pecknold and co. were playing at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, and added the track to their encore. Dev Hynes, performed The Strokes’ 2003 track during an intimate gig at Baby’s All Right, which also happened to be Blood Orange’s first Brooklyn gig in three years.


The Strokes are currently on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with upcoming dates in Washington DC, Florida, and Texas. View the full itinerary and ticket details here.

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Kanye West sparks new controversy with comments about death of George Floyd

Kanye West has sparked another controversy after making comments about the death of George Floyd. 

  • READ MORE: “It’s a cry out for justice”: on the scene at London’s Black Lives Matter protest

Floyd, a Black man, was killed following an altercation with a white police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020.

Distressing footage emerged soon after Floyd’s altercation with police which showed him being restrained on the ground by Derek Chauvin, who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Despite Floyd’s continued pleas that he couldn’t breathe, Chauvin continued to apply pressure to Floyd’s neck. A lack of oxygen caused brain damage, heart failure and eventually death.

In April 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of Floyd and he was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Now, in a new appearance on Drink Champs podcast, West has claimed that Floyd died from “Fentanyl” and said that a police officer’s knee “wasn’t even on his neck like that.”
West made the comments while discussing Candace Owens’s documentary The Greatest Lie Ever Sold: George Floyd and the Rise of BLM.

“They hit him with the fentanyl, if you look the guys knew wasn’t even on his neck like that,” West claimed.

He went on to compare Floyd to designer Virgil Abloh, who died from cancer last November before going on to attack the “Jewish media” who he claims “blocked” him.

“Tell me could you even rally run this interview? Mav (Maverick Carter) didn’t even run my interview, they blocked me out, the Jewish media blocked me out. This shit is lit, right? I am lit right, I am lit” he said, just days after his social media accounts were restricted after he made a number of antisemitic comments. 

He also addressed JP Morgan Chase after they reportedly severed ties with him following the antisemitic comments he made on social media, plus others elsewhere. 

“I put $140m into JP Morgan and they treated me like shit so if JP Morgan Chase is treating me like that how are they treating the rest of y’all, I am outraged, people want to calm it down, I didn’t break a law,” he continued on the show.

  • READ MORE: With his “White Lives Matter” stunt, has Kanye West finally hit the point of no return?

It comes after a tumultuous few weeks which began when West wore a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at a Paris fashion week show. He then took part in a controversial interview on Fox News.
West has faced a significant backlash with the likes of Jaden Smith and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, plus figureheads for Supreme and Vogue, taking issue with his stunt at Paris fashion week.

After that, Sarah Silverman, Jamie Lee Curtis and Diane Wilson responded to his antisemitic comments, as did Jack Antonoff, John Legend, David Schwimmer, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and ex-Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

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Watch footage from Fugees’ first reunion show in New York

After announcing their reunion this week, Fugees played their first show in 15 years in New York last night (September 22) – see footage, setlist, reaction and more below.

The hugely influential hip-hop group – Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel – announced this week that they would reunite for a 2021 world tour celebrating 25 years of their classic 1996 record ‘The Score’.

A series of worldwide arena shows begin in November, but the band previewed the tour last night with a special pop-up show at The Rooftop at Pier 17 venue in New York City.


At the show, the trio played a nine-song set featuring a host of tracks from ‘The Score’ as well as their famous version of Lori Lieberman’s ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’ and Bob Marley & The Wailers classic ‘No Woman, No Cry’, which closed the set.

See footage reaction, setlist and more from Fugees’ first show in 15 years below:


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Fugees played:

‘The Score’
‘How Many Mics’
‘Clef’s Tune’
‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’ (Lori Lieberman cover)
‘Ready or Not’
‘No Woman, No Cry’ (Bob Marley & The Wailers cover)

Fugees’ arena tour dates will at the start of November in Chicago. A London show at The O2 is set for December 6, before the tour wraps up with TBC shows in Nigeria and Ghana.

See Fugees’ upcoming reunion tour dates below. Tickets go on sale here from 10am local time on Friday (September 24).

2 – Chicago, United Center
7 – Oakland, Oakland Arena
12 – Los Angeles, The Forum
18 – Atlanta, State Farm Arena
21 – Miami, FTX Arena
26 – Newark, Prudential Center
28 – Washington DC, Capital One Arena

4 – Paris, La Defense Arena
6 – London, The O2
18 – Ghana, TBC
TBC – Nigeria, TBC

“The Fugees have a complex but impactful history,” Lauryn Hill said of the group in a statement. “I wasn’t even aware the 25th anniversary had arrived until someone brought it to my attention.

“I decided to honour this significant project, its anniversary, and the fans who appreciated the music by creating a peaceful platform where we could unite, perform the music we loved, and set an example of reconciliation for the world.”

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Frank Ocean discusses new luxury jewellery line in first interview in two years

Frank Ocean has opened up about his new high-end jewellery line in an interview with the Financial Times – his first in two years.

The line, called Homer, was announced on Friday (August 6) and includes an array of luxury jewellery and printed silk scarves. The range of pendants, earrings, chains and more will only be available to purchase in-store, with the first physical location set to open in New York tomorrow (August 9).

Speaking to the Financial Times, Ocean opened up about the brand and his design journey, touching on a multitude of topics – except music.


“I didn’t want our work to be any less expensive than Cartier,” he said.

  • READ MORE: Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ Album – Track By Track Review

“My mother was into jewellery, but in a low-key Princess Diana kind of way,” he said elsewhere.”My godfather was into guns, but he was also into cars, and he bought luxury-lifestyle magazines, which I became obsessed with. They became a form of play for me as a child.

“It was the furthest thing from my actual life at the time, and I began plotting ideas and a life in that universe. I’d look at yachts and want one.”

The rapper-cum-designer, born Christopher “Lonny” Breaux, grew up in New Orleans, telling FT he credits his upbringing with the desire to leave a tangible legacy.

“It’s never lost on me that my surname is a by-product of slavery in the US,” he said, referring to the name Breaux which is common among enslaved African people brought by the French in 1718.

“I don’t have access to my real name. I can’t trace my heritage back that far, which is why I am interested in creating things that are mine, stay mine and belong to my family. Things that I can pass on.”


This desire to make a lasting mark is also what informed the brand’s name, Homer. Ocean said he picked the name because “it’s five letters and the dotcom was available”, but also because “Homer is considered the father of history and history is meant to endure – the same as diamonds and gold”.

Ocean also spoke about opportunities for Black voices in the fashion industry, saying “There are possibilities for Black people now that weren’t always there for us”.

“I grew up in poverty. I’m grateful to my mother because she tried to expose me to as much as she could so far as the bigger picture is concerned. I’m very fortunate to be someone who can make someone else feel like they have possibilities, and I think that will make art and fashion richer for it.”

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Ocean will perform at the 2023 iteration of Coachella, having not performed live since 2017.

The rapper released his last LP ‘Blonde’ back in 2016 and has since followed up with 2019’s  ‘DHL’ and ‘In My Room’, as well as last year’s double A-side single ‘Dear April’ and ‘Cayendo’.

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Thom Yorke remixes ‘Creep’ for Japanese fashion show

Thom Yorke has remixed the solo acoustic version of ‘Creep’ to contribute to a high-profile Japanese fashion show.

  • READ MORE: 10 things in the Radiohead Public Library that are getting fans very, very excited

The 1992 Radiohead classic was reworked for Kiryū-born designer Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER 2020-2021 autumn/winter collection ‘Creep Very’, which was showcased this week.

Yorke has provided a variety of songs for fashion show soundtracks over the years. ‘Coloured Candy’ soundtracked the launch of Rag & Bone’s 2017 spring/summer collection, and the singer previously contributed to the New York fashion chain in 2011, 2013, and 2015 (with ‘Villains’ for the latter).


Watch the full show here, with the new version of ‘Creep’ coming in around the 7:30 mark, and listen to the track below.

It’s not the first high-profile reimagining of ‘Creep’ this week, after mxmtoon released a cover of the song as part of the upcoming third Life Is Strange game.

The singer – who supplies the singing voice of the game’s protagonist Alex – made the announcement by sharing a clip from Life Is Strange: True Colors on social media, along with a visualizer for ‘Creep’ that features footage from the upcoming game.

Meanwhile, Yorke was one of several musicians to have criticised the controversial new policing bill which passed its first hurdle in Parliament on Tuesday (March 16).


Yorke retweeted a video of Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, who gave a speech on why the party voted against the new crime bill. The musician captioned the post with the quote: “…those who cause annoyance could be jailed for up to ten years…”

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Miguel shares stylish new music video for ‘Funeral’

Miguel has revealed details of a new instalment of his ‘Art Dealer Chic EP’ series, as well as sharing a new video for recent single ‘Funeral’.

  • Read more: Miguel interview: From teenage preacher to California R&B star

“I took a long hiatus from the business of music to reassess my objective as a creator,” the singer said in a statement.

“The Art Dealer Chic EPs have always been reserved for freedom, self-curation and honest expression without the influence of music industry politics. I’m excited to introduce my fans to a very different world in my creative expression, and that begins with ADC 4.”


‘Funeral’ will be included on a new EP with the same name, due later this year, and Miguel said new tracks will be forthcoming between now and then: “I’m releasing more music all the way into the new year but ‘Funeral’ is the perfect song to get it started.

“I’ve been exploring darker tones and themes for some time, this song whets the imagination for what’s to come.”

Discussing the video for ‘Funeral’, shot by Savage x Fenty creative director Philippa Price and Nina McNeely, Miguel said: “I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since we filmed this, way before we had any notion of how different our world would be just a couple short months later.”

He continued: “Because this is just the beginning of a new, lush chapter in my artistry, what I loved most about working with Philippa is how easily she and Nina took my vision to the next level. They are both beautifully insane and I love that.”

The black-and-white visual features Miguel and a host of dancers performing in a variety of masks and headdresses, as well as the artist delivering some of the track’s lines from a funeral casket. Watch the full clip above.


Last month (September 18) Rihanna announced details of her second Savage X Fenty lingerie show, featuring Miguel, Travis Scott, Rosalía and others across a star-studded line-up.

The pop star founded the lingerie line in 2018 and held her first New York Fashion Week showing last year.

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Tyler, The Creator creates new ‘Pluto Bleu’ ice cream flavour

Tyler, The Creator has crafted another ice cream flavour in collaboration with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

The artist, who last year made the ‘Snowflake’ flavour for the Ohio-based artisan ice cream company under his GOLF le FLEUR* fashion imprint, has now unveiled ‘Pluto Bleu’, described in a press released as “blood orange flavour with a bolt of tropical blueberry”.

  • Read more: Tyler, The Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Festival Looked Like A Last-Minute Contender For Festival Of The Year

Pints of Pluto Bleu will be available to buy online at the Jeni’s and GOLF le FLEUR* websites from tomorrow (September 17). The flavour will also be sold in Jeni’s stores on September 21.

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PLUTO BLEU: a new flavor collaboration between @jenisicecreams and le FLEUR*. —pints available online: 9/17 9am PT / 12pm ET @ and (collection also available = pluto bleu + three pints) —pints / scoops available monday 9/21 @ jeni’s shops nationwide

A post shared by GOLF le FLEUR* (@golflefleur) on


Tyler’s GOLF le FLEUR* is part of his Golf Wang fashion brand, the former of which was kicked off with a Converse collaboration back in 2016. Golf Wang is a spoonerism of Wolf Gang – which pertains to Odd Future or Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All – the believed-to-be-defunct LA hip hop collective Tyler was a member of along with Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, Syd tha Kyd, and many others.

Note Style Council Tyler, the Creator

Speaking about the ‘Snowflake’ flavour last year, Tyler said: “As much as I love white chocolate chip cookies, I can’t get over the fact that someone made the universal rule that they always have to come with those useless macadamia nuts. For as long as I can remember, mint ice cream seemed to always come with every chocolate chip but white. I finally got the two away from their clingy friends and set up a play date for my mouth.” [via Pitchfork].

In other news, Tyler is among the leading additions to the growing bill for Roskilde Festival 2021. After cancelling its 2020 edition due to the coronavirus outbreak, the organisers of Roskilde are pressing forward with plans to host the festival in 2021.


Set to take place from June 26 to July 3 next year — which will be Roskilde’s 50th edition — Roskilde have confirmed in June that Tyler will now join Thom Yorke in performing at the 2021 event.

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FIT Apologizes For Racist Fashion Show Accessories

Fashion Institute of Technology addresses backlash for graduate student fashion show that dressed models in racist accessories.

An alumni fashion show hosted by the Fashion Institute of Technology on Feb. 7 ended up crossing serious lines in its attempt to be cutting-edge. In addition to the avant-garde clothing, models were made to wear accessories that were intended to highlight “ugly features of the body.” When an African-American model, Amy Lefevre, pointed out the racist implications of placing her in monkey ears and oversized lips, she was told by one of the staff members that it was fine for her to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds. “I was literally shaking. I could not control my emotions. My whole body was shaking. I have never felt like that in my life,” Lefevre told The Post afterwards. “People of color are struggling too much in 2020 for the promoters not to have vetted and cleared accessories for the shows.” Lefevre ended up walking in the show without the accessories, but angrily stormed out once it finished. Of course, this story sparked outrage once it made its way to the public. 

FIT president, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, initially offered a semi-defensive response to the situation. “This program protects a student’s freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative, so that they find that voice,” she said in a statement. “However provocative design and fashion might be though, my commitment to ensure that people are not made to feel uncomfortable, offended, or intimidated is also of the utmost importance not only to me personally but to the college community as well. We take this obligation very, very seriously and will investigate and take appropriate action regarding any complaint or concern that is made in this situation.”

On Tuesday (Feb. 18), Brown penned a more lengthy apology, which still defended the innocuous intention behind the costumes. “Currently it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race,” Brown wrote. “However, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome.” Read the full statement below. 

On Friday, February 7th, as part of New York Fashion Week, the FIT MFA program in fashion design held its first graduating students runway show at Chelsea Piers. There were over 100 guests in the audience to witness both their achievements and creativity. As many of you now know, there was an unfortunate and disturbing reaction to the show that I want to address.

As we understand it, some of the students and models involved in the show were offended by the accessories—large prosthetic ears and lips and bushy eyebrows—used to style one particular collection. Calling them racist, one model refused to wear these items and indeed walked down the runway without them.

Currently it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race; however, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologize—to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.

Let me be clear: no person should be made to feel uncomfortable—particularly about race—in service of their work, job, livelihood, or course of study. Right now, we are actively investigating how this happened. And as you’ll read, we have outlined several steps to address the concerns and questions of students, faculty, and our community. We take this very seriously and our response and actions going forward will reflect that.

It is my position that all students must be afforded the safe space and freedom to learn and develop their voice, even if the voice is provocative to some. At the same time, I am deeply committed to creating a teaching and learning environment in which people are not offended or intimidated. There is a balance that must be struck between these two imperatives, one that is not always easy to find, but it is the college’s responsibility to find it. As both a former faculty member and an administrator, I appreciate how fine a line there is to draw between these two.

Consequently, we must, as educators, be certain we are providing students the cultural and historical perspectives they need as they realize their artistic vision. Simultaneously, we must provide guidance so that they recognize and respect potential risks and unintended consequences of their creativity. Regrettably, we failed in this instance to recognize a creative statement that could have negative consequences. Regardless of intent or artistic vision, we must be continually aware of that which constitutes an authentic artistic expression, and that which creates a risk to the intended message and interpretation of the art form. There is no room for error which can be interpreted as racism, homophobia, religious intolerance or any other kind of bigotry.

In the days and weeks that follow, as mentioned above, we will be taking several steps to address the concerns of our community. We will be engaging with our Diversity Council, our Faculty Senate, the UCE and the Student Government Association to continue this important conversation; we will put in place safeguards to ensure that a situation like this will not happen again; and finally, there will be an ongoing investigation about the event itself—how it occurred, who was involved, and why there was no immediate follow-up.

This is not the moment to simply remind ourselves of all of the good and productive efforts we have made in the name of diversity, inclusion and civility. I have said that civility and diversity are a work in progress on this campus. We have to recognize as individuals and as a community that we cannot be complacent and that there is still much work to be done—and I am personally committed to making that happen.

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Giselle Niemand ’s “Lovers Do” Hits Online Charts Breaking All Conventions

Exceptionally talented South African artist, Giselle Niemand, shares her debut international single, “Lovers Do.” This remarkable release, crafted under the guidance of Emmanuel “Manny” Mijares, a renowned songwriter and film executive producer with a string of platinum records, unveils the boundless potential of this rising star. At the tender age of 13, she has already captivated the industry as a singer, model, actress, and dancer, leaving an indelible mark wherever she goes.

With her vocal prowess on full display, Giselle Niemand delivers a powerful performance, singing: “Hey you/ What you gonna do/ If I say I want it too/ Wanna do what friends don’t do/ What Lovers do/ Hey you/ What you gonna do/ If you don’t I’ll make that move/ Thinking me and you should do/ What Lovers do.” She expresses the true nature of passion that goes beyond boundaries and breaks conventions, fearlessly conveying the message of defying expectations in the pursuit of love and dreams.

An impressive portrayal of the thrilling and uncertain nature of love’s discovery, the song encapsulates a whirlwind of emotions. Giselle’s lyrics vividly illustrate the intense connection between two people, evoking a rush of exhilaration. Vulnerability shines through as she openly acknowledges her nervousness. Driven by curiosity, she is drawn to the mysterious depths of hidden desires, anticipating the revelation of an extraordinary connection waiting to be unleashed.

After its stunning debut at New York Fashion Week, the song quickly gained popularity, shooting up the online charts. Niemand, being the ambitious artist she is, is already getting ready to release her new single “Later” this summer. Building upon the vibrant and fun-loving visuals of “Lovers Do,” skillfully directed by Manny Mijares, viewers can anticipate yet another enthralling journey that will leave them spellbound.

Check out the music video below:

Listen to “Lovers Do” on Spotify:

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10 Years Of KCON: How The Convention Became An International Hub For K-pop

Welcome to New Retro Week, a celebration of the biggest artists, hits, and cultural moments that made 2012 a seminal year in pop. MTV News is looking back to see what lies ahead: These essays showcase how today’s blueprint was laid a decade ago. Step into our time machine.

By Lai Frances

For two days in July 2019, New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Madison Square Garden were simultaneously filled for the first time with the rapturous electric thumps of South Korean pop music. About 55,000 fans flocked to the venues to kick off the year’s stateside trek of KCON, the first-of-its-kind Korean culture festival that serves as a convention by day and a concert by night, to connect with friends and bask in the light of their favorite K-pop stars and influencers.

For five years prior, the annual convention had made the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, its East Coast home. The majorly upgraded locales meant attendees no longer had to worry about a summer heat wave while waiting in line for a spot on the concert floor, join a dance workshop in the sun, or sample the sumptuous spicy-sweet flavors of bibimbap. The spaces allowed fans to walk freely through spacious halls filled with activations, photo walls, and larger-than-life installations from Korean brands such as Kakao Friends, Bibigo, and Innisfree. And each evening, K-pop acts like TXT, NU’EST, The Boyz, and (G)I-DLE had their chance to shine on the world-renowned Madison Square stage. Fans sang along to the music and cheered wildly, waving their luminous lightsticks in hand.

In just 10 years, KCON has become a mecca for Korean pop culture, the international spread of which is commonly known as the Hallyu wave. Its evolution runs parallel to the seismic global expansion of K-pop itself, which has been driven in large part by the support of its fans. Surrounding KCON’s 2019 summer festivities were headlining stateside tours from top Korean acts like TWICE and Stray Kids, while Korean celebrities such as Girls’ Generation’s YoonA were invited to New York Fashion Week. And today, K-pop is more popular and accessible than ever, as singles by superstar acts like BTS infiltrate the Billboard 200 charts and receive radio play worldwide

But a decade ago, when KCON was first conceptualized and launched, it was a different landscape entirely. The second wave of K-pop was already in full throttle in South Korea, as BigBang released the foundational EP Alive featuring classic hits like “Fantastic Baby,” but abroad, the seedlings of the Hallyu wave were only beginning to blossom in the mainstream. SM Entertainment sold out its legendary one-night-only SMTown concert at MSG, featuring every artist under its roster at the time, including BoA, TVXQ!, Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, f(x), and SHINee. Girls’ Generation released their first English single, the pop track “The Boys,” which was revolutionary in its Western appeal. And Psy’s “Gangnam Style” became an overnight viral sensation, exploding onto the music charts, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Rap Chart, while also amassing the most views of any YouTube video that year.

“It feels like a million years ago,” says Kijoo Kim, former head of KCON and vice president of its parent company, CJ Entertainment & Media. “We had a hunch there was a huge group of K-pop fans [in the United States], but we didn’t know how to prove it.”

One of the founders of KCON, Kim worked tirelessly on planning the convention from her first day at CJ E&M. The idea for the event first started around May 2012 as K-pop tours, which once stopped only on the nearby West Coast, kept growing and expanding elsewhere in the U.S. “We tried some physical and digital experiments such as social campaigns,” she notes. “But it wasn’t enough.”

We had a hunch there was a huge group of K-pop fans [in the United States], but we didn’t know how to prove it.

“So we suggested, like, actually urged the company to host a U.S.-style, fan-based culture festival and not just a concert,” Kim continues. “We wanted to show and celebrate K-pop culture with fans, and voila! It was KCON.”

The first KCON took place on October 13, 2012, as a single-day event at the erstwhile Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (later known as the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre) in Irvine, California. It was arranged like a street-long block party, or perhaps a bustling flea market, with white tents in various sizes propped up around the arena. Panels and artist meet-and-greets were held under the largest structures, while smaller pavilions were reserved for fan club meetups, food vendors, and merch stalls. Here, the hunger for connecting with idols was so voracious that the convention sold out of goods from most performing artists — NU’EST, EXO-M, B.A.P., and G.NA — in the early hours of the event. One attendee, Billboard reported at the time, was taken to paramedics after suffering an injured leg during an autograph session, prompting KCON to implement stricter safety protocols in subsequent years.

Meanwhile, bands like 4minute and VIXX delivered sizzling choreography and energetic vocals on the lone stage, as if the event were a live recording of MNet’s weekly music show M! Countdown, with flashy lights and explosive pyrotechnics. Between signings and performances, fans danced to the catchy sounds of Super Junior and Girls’ Generation,  while some flaunted colored skinny jeans and leather clothing inspired by the outfits worn on stage. The day drew over 10,000 fans, 55 special guests, and six artists taking part in 25 programs outdoors. It was an early success and a taste of what was to come.

By the following year, these numbers doubled. In 2013, KCON moved to the former Los Angeles Memorial Sport Arena, this time boasting a whopping 60 programs and 110 panelists. Tents were noticeably bigger, and mini-platforms were constructed for industry panels and talent showcases. Eight of the year’s biggest names in K-pop — including EXO, f(x), and 2AM — were invited to perform on concert stages that resembled those seen at Korean year-end music festivals. Some were lined with LED lights that shone through hazy smoke effects. Closing out the convention was a bombastic performance of “Niliria” by G-Dragon, who was joined by hip-hop icon Missy Elliot. The two all-star artists swapped verses in what seemed a poignant encapsulation of K-pop’s burgeoning international power.

“Back in 2012, and even in 2013 and 2014, KCON was [unheard of],” Kim explains. “Even K-pop, too. But as KCON got bigger, as well as K-pop, it has been a must-visit summer event for many fans, not just for locals. 30 percent of our overseas guests are from Latin America, Asia, even from Europe.”

As Kim notes, K-pop’s global influence has grown exponentially since. The Korean music industry saw a 27.8 percent increase in revenue between 2011 and 2012, earning $3.4 billion in the first half of 2012, according to Billboard. As Korean singers and idol groups entered new markets across Asia, Japan was perhaps the most receptive, thanks to the early crossovers of BoA, TVXQ!, BigBang, Girls’ Generation, and other artists in the early aughts. It seemed only a matter of time until KCON followed suit in 2015, drawing 15,000 people to Tokyo’s Saitama Super Arena with acts like Sistar, Lovelyz, Infinite, and Block B. That same year, then-rookie band Monsta X joined the line-up overseas at the sweeping Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

“It was our first time performing in front of hundreds and thousands of people, so we were a bit nervous at first," the group’s youngest, I.M., recalls. The performance marked a major milestone in the group’s history as their first appearance in the U.S. “Yet we received more and more energy as we performed.”

“Performing at Staples Center was such an honor for us,” member Minhyuk says. “We were rookies back then, and we tried very hard to show our best so that those who did not know us could be wowed by us.”

Part of KCON’s appeal for established groups and emerging soloists alike is the opportunity to reach new audiences in addition to their already dedicated followers. The convention is a space for connection and discovery, as special stages and collaborative performances allow artists to shine in unexpected ways. The M! Countdown stage, for example, functions like a concert version of the popular Korean music show, with artists performing their own music, covers of other K-pop songs, and collaborating with other musicians. And today, while the Los Angeles event remains the hub for all things Hallyu, KCON has bases in eight countries, from France to Abu Dhabi, Australia to Thailand.

A performance at KCON’s Mexican outpost in 2017 sticks out as one of Monsta X main vocalist Kihyun’s favorites of all time. The balladeer took the stage for a heartwarming cover of “Beautiful” off the soundtrack of the 2016 drama Goblin. “I received a lot of compliments for that stage,” Kihyun says. “Also, the energy I got from the audience was mind-blowing.”

Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

“KCON has given us a chance to meet and perform in front of a whole new audience,” rapper Joohoney adds. “We get to meet not only Monbebes but also fans of other K-pop groups or just K-pop in general. This itself helped us a lot, especially during our rookie years.”

“It's definitely made me fall in love with new groups, watching them perform on stage,” says Liz Cook, a BigBang fan who has been attending KCON in Los Angeles since 2013. “And for the longest time, KCON was the one place to see girl groups in the United States.”

For Cook, as for many other attendees, KCON is, in large part, about the community it fosters. “It's helped me form some long-lasting friendships with people that I knew via podcasts or blogs, who I then met in person,” she says. But what sets KCON apart from other conventions is a unique cultural exchange: During the convention, fans mix and mingle with others at workshops, panels, and showcases, united by a shared passion for the music, art, and food of Korea. In the future, Kim hopes KCON will reflect a growing interest in K-dramas like Netflix’s wildly popular Squid Game, hosting fan meetups with actors or even world premieres of blockbuster series.

“When I first took on my role in 2016, there were about 40 programs at KCON New York and 120 programs at KCON Los Angeles,” says Winnie Galbadores, who first attended the convention in 2013 before later accepting a position on its programming and marketing team. By 2019, attendance had skyrocketed at KCON, which welcomed more than 158,000 people to the bicoastal celebration. “Every year, it continues to get bigger and better on both the concert side and convention side.”

“We didn’t expect KCON to grow this much, honestly,” Kim says. “We knew we would grow and KCON would expand, but we did not expect it to happen so rapidly.”

In 2020, as K-pop led the rest of the music industry in pivoting to virtual concerts and online gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, KCON followed suit. Though the year’s in-person festivities were put on pause, CJ E&M’s quick response with KCON:TACT, a virtual weeklong convention, was a smash success nonetheless. Holding Twitter Spaces sessions in place of in-person panels, as well as virtual workshops and meet-and-greets on YouTube or Zoom, the digital convention attracted more than 4.8 million viewers from 152 countries, per Forbes. The effort effectively gave more fans than ever before a glimpse into the colorful world of KCON.

While some fans may be eager to see KCON return in-person — “I'd hope that it could return to Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Australia,” Cook says, “and I know there are so many fans in India and South America that would be ecstatic to have KCON there, too” — Kim says KCON will continue the hybrid model. That means that, while the future of large-scale public gatherings and events is still uncertain, KCON will continue to expand to become a home for Hallyu fans across the globe, a place for friends, families, and artists to create lasting memories together.

“For our attendees, even in 10 years,” Kim says, “I hope they can visit and enjoy KCON as an annual tradition for friends and family [to enjoy].”

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Kanye West’s former bodyguard is working on a tell-all documentary

Kanye West‘s former bodyguard Steve Stanulis is reportedly working on a tell-all documentary.

  • Read more: Kanye West on ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’: the big talking points, from coronavirus to running for President in 2024

Stanulis worked with West in 2016, and was around him for some of his most infamous moments, including his meltdown on the set of Saturday Night Live, plus events such as New York Fashion Week and the Met Gala.

Speaking in a new interview, Stanulis has revealed that he’s currently being courted by multiple streaming services who are interested in him telling his story as West’s bodyguard in documentary format.


“Two studios approached me,” Stanulis told Page Six, explaining that they want to start shooting as soon as next month. “They see this as a 48 Hours for real, or a Lethal Weapon for real. It comes from my mouth, I worked with [West] two separate times.”

Stanulis alleged that there was one time when West tipsily wandered into the wrong hotel room of an Italian dignitary at the Waldorf, nearly setting off a brawl. “Every day was a new adventure,” he said. “There are a ton of stories I haven’t told.”

He added that other of West’s guards would be participating in the upcoming doc with behind-the-scenes details, including one who apparently lasted for “five minutes” working for West.

Steve Stanulis
Steve Stanulis with Tara Reid in 2019. CREDIT: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Though Stanulis boasts he “was one of [West’s] favourite guys,” the pair’s relationship soon turned sour and resulted in West threatening his former bodyguard with numerous lawsuits.

“They threatened to sue me two separate times — once back in the day, and then on a podcast this year,” he said, referring to his appearance on the Hollywood Raw podcast, on which he called West the “neediest, moodiest and worst tipper” of any star he’d worked for.


“It went viral, and they threatened to sue me again for $10million, and my attorney countered and it just went away.”

In 2016, a rep for West called Stanulis a “sad, parasitic maniac” who “has violated every basic human tenet of decency with his story of lies”.

Stanulis said he’ll discuss the lawsuits in the upcoming documentary – and hopes to make it his last time ever addressing it.

“This way nobody has to ask me about this ever again,” he claimed. “I swear to you — no matter what I do… somewhere along the line [the job with West] comes up. [There will be] nothing left to be said. I’m saying it all.”

Meanwhile, Kanye West has been working on his delayed ‘Donda’ album recently, according to his collaborator CyHi The Prynce.

West had promised that ‘Donda’ would be released last summer, shortly after he dropped his Travis Scott collaboration ‘Wash Us In the Blood’ from the project. While West shared the proposed artwork for the album, the record itself never materialised.

Rihanna announces Savage X Fenty show with Travis Scott, Rosalia and more

Rihanna has announced details of her second Savage X Fenty lingerie show, including a star-studded line-up of Travis Scott, Rosalía and others.

The pop star founded the lingerie line in 2018 and held her first New York Fashion Week showing last September.

A trailer for the second Savage X Fenty show was released today (September 18) in which a range of big names set to take part in the event were announced. Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 will feature performances from Scott, Rosalía, Miguel, Bad Bunny, Mustard, Roddy Ricch, and Ella Mai.


It will also boast appearances from the likes of Lizzo, Willow Smith, Big Sean, Normani, Rico Nasty and Chika.

The event will take place on October 2 and will be aired exclusively on Amazon Prime. Watch the trailer for Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2 above.

Savage X Fenty is one part of Rihanna’s Fenty empire, which has also seen her collaborate on clothing and footwear with Puma and launch her own makeup range, Fenty Beauty. Earlier this year, she unveiled her latest endeavour, Fenty Skin.

Rihanna is currently working on her highly anticipated ninth album, which will serve as the follow-up to 2016’s ‘Anti’. Last week, she said she wouldn’t “put out music because people are craving it” but would make sure it “will be worth the wait”.


Meanwhile, the star’s fans recently called for the singer to replace Queen Elizabeth II as Barbados’ head of state. The island is planning to “fully leave” its “colonial past behind” in 2021, with the British monarch no longer ruling the country.

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Ian Isiah’s Funky Auntie Is Gospel For A Broken World

The Brooklyn-born artist Ian Isiah has worn many hats throughout his shape-shifting career, proverbially and literally. On the cover of his latest album Auntie, an arresting recreation of a photograph of Coretta Scott King at Martin Luther King’s funeral in 1968, it was a black pillbox cap adorned with a veil of deep green netting. But on a recent day, his headwear is more protective in nature. “Right now, I'm talking to you, a hair bonnet on and a nightgown on,” he tells MTV News by phone. “I'm a granny. I live by being a granny, not even in age but just my attitude is so granny.”

That outlook may seem surprising coming from someone whose work across style and sound has moved the needle forward in each industry he’s touched. As the creative director of the influential fashion collective Hood By Air, Isiah played a key role alongside his high school bestie, the founder Shayne Oliver, in elevating streetwear to the canon of luxury, while also setting a new tone for inclusive runway presentations and collaborative art-making before the house went on hiatus in 2015. Meanwhile, he was a central figure within New York’s underground nightlife community GHE20G0TH1K, which began in 2009 by fusing goth and hip-hop in gritty warehouse raves, pushing back against the largely white-washed image of the dark subgenre that hadn't changed since it first emerged from British post-punk in the ’80s .

Now, two years sober (“It opened up my third eye.”), he’s put partying behind him and returned to his earliest passions, singing and live instrumentation, skills he developed while growing up and performing in gospel groups at his Pentecostal church. Today, being a granny is “just my persona,” he says, “and I'm portraying it through music that sounds like it's straight out of 1988.”

Where his 2018 LP, Shugga Sextape Vol. 1, inserted hymnal harmonization into Auto-Tune-heavy R&B sex jams that glistened with synthy beats and experimental textures, Auntie is a collection of full-on funk. Referencing the classics of James Brown and Stevie Wonder with squeaky clean production by Chromeo, the first album off the Grammy-winning duo's new label Juliet Records, Isiah trades electronics for the analog timbre of jazz saxophones and heavy bass lines over which his sweet falsetto soars to new heights. His astonishing vocal range is on display in the closing track “Loose Truth,” a gospel-infused ballad that incorporates recordings from Isiah’s local preacher. The album as a whole sends a heartfelt message of self-assurance — do you, do whoever you want, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise — that resonates particularly loudly on “Princess Pouty,” a song about knowing your worth that grooves with pure, middle-fingers-up sass.

And that’s the gospel according to Auntie Shugga: confident, crass, and always chic. As Isiah gears up for the relaunch of Hood By Air at New York Fashion Week, he speaks to MTV News about his latest project, sobriety, and bringing the church back into his sound.

MTV News: I know you're from New York and you began singing in church.

Ian Isiah: Yeah, New York, born in Brooklyn. Beginning in church, son of a preacher in a family of preachers and church-goers. Father's a Rastafarian. Grew up playing steel pans and listening to gospel music. I don't know. High school, fashion, style, dancehall. Brooklyn, New York. I like how I'm throwing out terms and not full sentences.

MTV News: So, then, when and how did you start making music outside the church?

Isiah: Well, even though I was doing it outside of the church, it was still with church people, because we all grew up together as musicians. We would get together outside the church and work on some R&B and shit like that. So I kind of started in the house with cousins, just messing around on Pro Tools, messing around on GarageBand when we were in our teens, not knowing that it was preparing me for going into a studio with actual producers and engineers, which is something I always wanted to do.

It really, really got started when I decided to put out an EP — my first-ever EP, The Love Champion — a long time ago, like eight years now. That was the beginning of me telling the world like, hey, I'm about to do these R&B songs and they're a bit sexual and they sound fire. Get into it. I tested the waters, it was a good time. I loved the response that I got.

MTV News: You were working with Chromeo on this project, of course, but how do you feel that you made that transition from the more minimal sound of Shugga Sextape to the funk of Auntie?

Isiah: Allowing people to see more of who I actually am, because I am very much a granny. I'm also penetrating the fact that music and musicians matter heavily. When we hear things nowadays, it's so easy to generate what that sounds like and people can computerize anyone's voice; everyone can get manipulated to sound like a pop star. But I want to remind the ears and the minds of everyone that music is a real thing, that music composition is also a real thing. And there are musicians out here that play actual instruments, that don't need electricity to play instruments.

And that's what's on this record, just like Stevie Wonder records. I mean, I'm not comparing my records to no Stevie Wonder records. But all of the legends’ records were just... these are musicians playing before there were programs and all the tools and all that kind of stuff, which I love. We could do things raw from scratch, we'll have a good time.

Renell Medrano

MTV News: So there are a lot of live instruments on this record, as opposed to entirely digital production?

Isiah: The whole thing is live, yeah. Onyx Collective is also on this new album: They're a great, young jazz band coming out of New York City, my homies. Chromeo are great musicians, and I play, as well. So creating this new album, it was really just us in the studio, jamming and writing this music. So it's definitely a different sound. The church boy is really being the church boy now.

MTV News: You mentioned that you're a granny. What about you is granny-like, specifically?

Isiah: Well, my current two-year sobriety, for sure. I’m always walking around the house singing and humming. If I'm not talking, I'm singing, and that's 24 hours a day. I'm just very granny a.k.a old soul a.k.a. I know what's up and I don't have time.

MTV News: Has your sobriety affected your outlook as an artist and as a musician?

Isiah: It opened up my third eye finally. I mean, I've always had that third eye open, but I ignored it. But now that I've been sober for two years, I can see everything very clearly. I can see the discrepancies in both fashion and music, as business and as personal. I can see where and what not to do, and I can see how they're both so similar in careers. And especially seeing how throughout the years losing so many friends, a lot of these artists that we've lost. And I saw that pattern, that pattern wasn't going with me. So I think my sobriety is my new spirit animal.

MTV News: Why the name Auntie for the album, then?

Isiah: Granny is the icon of all, you know. Under granny there's auntie, there's godmother, there's godfather, there's uncle. But the granny is like the grand aunt of it all. I chose Auntie because, collectively, when you listen to the album, it honestly sounds like your aunt — at her birthday party in her backyard or her husband's birthday party in her backyard or auntie's day at work.

Renell Medrano

MTV News: Your last collection, Shugga Sextape, was all about sexual freedom. What topics are you exploring with your new music?

Isiah: This album is actually very empowering. It's empowering for me personally, but also very empowering for the listener's ear. It’s very unfortunate in the climate that this nation is in right now, and we ought to do our part to change that immediately. Directly supporting local communities, defunding the police, we all need to immediately do something.

So this project is coming out during a time when it's kind of parallel and it speaks to empowering and encouraging everyone in the midst of this national climate. I didn't plan for that to be a thing, because no one wants what's going on right now to be a thing, but I am grateful that the project is 100 percent — it's funky sonically, and you have to dig a little deep and listen to the lyrics, but every song on the album is about empowering and encouraging you to move forward as a whole with the people who are next to you. Because that’s the goal, that's it.

MTV News: I definitely see that on “Loose Truth,” and you included a bunch of essential workers in the video. Are there any songs that really speak to that sense of empowerment?

Isiah: Definitely. Coming right out the gate when I started it, the song “N.U.T.S.” — “N---a You The Shit,” that's the acronym, which means I'm already trying to empower people. Like, stop thinking about what everybody else says about you and start caring about what you say about you. Patience running thin, nobody gives a shit.

There's a song called “Can't Call It” about being in love with someone and you get empowered with each other. There's a song called “Bougie Heart” about understanding that your heart has different characters of its own and just like knowing yourself even more, before you're able to know and love somebody else. The whole thing is literally about encouraging and empowering yourself first and then others.

MTV News: On some tracks, like on “Loose Truth,” it sounded like you were sampling sermons. Where did those come from?

Isiah: No samplings on here, baby. That's the bishop, my overseer, my father, Jeffrey White, from my church. Well, I guess you can call that a sample, but no, it's like a recording of one of my church services.

MTV News: Why did you decide to put that into the song?

Isiah: Well, because people need to hear the word. That specific choice, why did I choose that specific line to put in the song? I don't know, actually. It just spoke to me. And the good thing about what I believe in, and the good thing about how I was raised in my faith, is that everything applies. So I just wanted people to start hearing the word.

MTV News: How has being part of Hood By Air, as a collective of Black artists, influenced your work as a musician?

Isiah: Well, it’s my visual. Hood By Air's like a playground for me to bring my ideas, or transition my ideas into a lifestyle. Certain ideas that I will want to write about in a song, I would create that character through fashion with Shayne. There are words and terms that are being said in the room while we work, and there goes me in my notes section, already writing things up. By the end of the day, in my Uber home, there's a song.

So it just goes hand in hand. You know how artists are just thinking about what they’re going to wear or what's my next look for a video. I guess I'm blessed because... actually, here we go, that's what the bridge is. The bridge is being able to have that advantage of not worrying about a stylist or not worrying about your visual presence in music.

Because nowadays, let's be honest. If someone likes an artist, they 50 percent like the music and 50 percent mindful of the way the artist looks, which is weird, but I understand it. I want people to start understanding what real music is again. Not that current music isn't real music, it definitely is. But I want people to start understanding what instrumentation is again.

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Lil Wayne Rumoured To Be Dating Savage x Fenty Model Denise Bidot

Lil Wayne may already have a new lady in his life as rumours swirl he’s been seeing model Denise Bidot shortly after breaking off his engagement with La’Tecia Thomas.

Lil Wayne definitely has a type: models. The rapper was happy and in love not too long ago with plus-sized model La’Tecia Thomas, and the two of them even got engaged last fall. However, things didn’t exactly work out, as it was revealed last month that Wayne and his fiancée had called it quits. Now, Weezy appears to have locked down yet another striking beauty, as rumours swirl that he’s dating Puerto Rican-Kuwaiti model Denise Bidot.

Lil Wayne Rumoured To Be Dating Savage x Fenty Model Denise BidotFrazer Harrison/Getty Images for EA Sports Bowl at Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest

The first sign that these two may be an item was the fact that Denise is the only account that Wayne follows on Instagram. Wayne also mentioned that he had a new lady in his life while talking to Nicki Minaj on Young Money Radio on Friday (June 12th). While they were discussing Nicki’s marriage to Kenneth Petty, she recalled some relationship advice Wayne had given her in the past. “Remember when you was telling me that I be having an attitude all the time because I needed good dick?” she reminded him. “You was right though!” Wayne laughed and told her, “I just hope my girl heard that, that’s all.”

Lil Wayne Rumoured To Be Dating Savage x Fenty Model Denise BidotGonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images for American Eagle

Wayne and Denise have known each other since at least last summer, as they were photographed together in a promotional shot for his Young Money collection with American Eagle. Denise has modelled for brands like Savage x Fenty, Lane Bryant, and Levi’s. She was also the first plus-sized model to walk the runway for two different straight size brands during New York Fashion Week.

Lil Wayne Rumoured To Be Dating Savage x Fenty Model Denise BidotJP Yim/Getty Images for Chromat

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Ciara Shows Off Baby Bump In White Bikini

Ciara’s growing baby bump was on full display as she sported a white bikini while vacationing with husband Russell Wilson.

Ciara is making sure to document all of the best moments of her second pregnancy with husband Russell Wilson, as she shared a photo showing off her baby bump while rocking a white bikini on vacation. The singer let all of us know that she’s living her best life with a recent Instagram post, in which she can be seen posing next to a pool in all-white while looking off into the distance. Ciara captioned the photo with just a simple hashtag, “#Friday,” and indicated that Russell was the mastermind behind the gorgeous shot.

Ciara and Russell announced that they were expecting another child roughly three weeks ago, and the happy couple haven’t stopped basking in the beautiful moment ever since. Ciara even twerked onstage during an event for New York Fashion Week, proving that she won’t let her pregnancy hold her back from some harmless fun.

Ciara Shows Off Baby Bump In White BikiniFrazer Harrison/Getty Images

While this will be Ciara and Russell’s second child together, Ciara does have another child with ex-fiancé, Future. Russell’s mother, Tammy, recently opened up about the first time Russell told her about his relationship with the woman who would eventually become his wife. She recalled how she reacted upon finding out that Ciara already had a child with another man. “If you’re really serious about it, then you have to love that kid as if it were your own,” Tammy told Russell about Future Jr. at the time. “If you’re going to be with someone who has a kid, you can’t treat that kid any differently than if he were yours.” Words of wisdom from Mama Wilson.

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Lizzo Stuns In Chocolate Bar Dress

Lizzo made quite the red carpet appearance at the Brit Awards on Tuesday when she was all wrapped up in a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

Lizzo, arguably the hottest pop singer on the scene right now, is stealing fashion headlines again — someone please give her a permemnant spot at New York Fashion Weeks from here on. She won’t disappoint. 

After turning heads earlier this year at a Los Angeles Lakers game in her “thong dress,” on Tuesday she showed up at the 2020 Brit Awards in London in a full-length, Hershey’s chocolate wrapper-inspired gown. The brown satin dress, designed by Jeremy Scott for Moschino, was emblazoned with the words “milk chocolate” and even featured product details such as nutritional facts and a giant barcode on one side. Adding some serious bling to the quirky outfit, Lizzo carried a diamond-encrusted Judith Leiber purse that resembled a partially-unwrapped candy bar. She finished off the look with a deep brown lip color, brown eyes, and nails that looked as though they were dipped in molten chocolate.

Lizzo Stuns In Chocolate Bar Dress

Jim Dyson/Redferns/Getty Images

The fashion diva posted a series of photos in her chocolate dress on Instagram as well as a full post with the racy caption: 

“The best kind of chocolate. If you ever wondered what I taste like…”

We’re melting, Lizzo!

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Nicki Minaj Teases There’s A Lot To "Celebrate" With Petty

Nicki Minaj and her husband Kenneth Petty are back to their raunchy ways, grinding on each other for a large Instagram audience.

Nicki Minaj and her husband Kenneth Petty took a break to be cute last week, attending New York Fashion Week for the first time as a married couple and cuddling up to one another as they watched the Marc Jacobs show unfold. With the release of her new single “Yikes,” Minaj has been much more active on social media than in recent times, updating her page almost daily and even returning with an all-new episode of her drama-filled Queen Radio show. Nicki and Kenneth first attracted the eyes of fans when they were photographed in the most sexually-provocative poses, testing out Instagram’s censorship standards, and now they’re back with more of the same, grinding up on one another in a new shot.

Nicki Minaj Teases There's A Lot To "Celebrate" With Petty
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Nicki Minaj updated her social profile with a new picture of herself and her man, noting that it was taken by one of their drunk friends. “I got 2 days of pics that all look like this,” she joked about the low-quality, poorly-angled image. “But there’s a lot to celebrate.”

The Queens rapper sure does have a lot to celebrate. She just released her first new solo single since announcing her retirement last year, also getting married to the man of her dreams in 2019. There’s a ton of positivity in her life and it’s nice to see her embracing it. The caption brings up a few questions though. What is the Queen celebrating specifically? Did she just sign a new endorsement deal with a major company? Could she have finished her heavily-discussed new album, which wasn’t even in the cards at one point? Or, even bigger, could she be pregnant?

The New York-based rapper has been plagued with pregnancy rumors for the last year and a bit and when she told the world that she would be taking a break from music to focus on her family, many of her diehard fans assumed that she would swiftly follow up that announcement with one pertaining to the growth of her household. Maybe it’s finally time for Petty and Minaj to welcome a little boy or girl into their lives. After all, they haven’t exactly been secretive about their desire to have some kids. They’re definitely getting enough practice in too. Of course, that’s purely speculative and neither Minaj or Petty has confirmed anything regarding a potential pregnancy.

The “Barbie Tingz” rapper claimed that she would be deleting the image soon from her profile, but the number of “likes” on it may cause her to think twice about doing so. Already, the picture has racked up nearly one million double-taps by fans and peers alike, with La La Anthony acting among the celebrities who had to do a double-take at the provocative pose. We wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next couple of days, Minaj updates us with even more pictures her drunk buddy took of her and her husband. With two days worth of images, it would be a shame not to share them with the masses.

What do you think she has to celebrate these days?

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Rihanna Reveals That She’s "Back In The STU" With The Neptunes

Rihanna has been teasing fans about the arrival of her next album and she’s confirmed she’s back in the studio with Pharrell Williams.

She’s kept her fans waiting on pins and needles, but Rihanna is still churning out her forthcoming album. The singer promised that her next project would arrive in 2019, but the year came and went. It’s clear that Rihanna has been juggling multiple businesses and as the popularity of her Fenty brand rises, she’s shifted much of her attention to its continued development.

Rihanna Reveals That She's "Back In The STU" With The Neptunes
Larry Busacca / Staff / Getty Images

Fans have often trolled Rihanna over the album rumored to be titled R9 and the singer has issued more than her fair share of clapbacks when fans cross the line. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight during New York Fashion Week, Rihanna was asked about her next record. “Dot, dot, dot. To be continued,” she told the outlet when asked about the whereabouts of the project. “I like to antagonize my fans a little bit. Well, they antagonize me, too! So, they get it right back.”

On Thursday, RiRi added hype around the conversation once again after she shared a photo to her Instagram Story. It suggests that she’s once against working with The Neptunes and over the photo she wrote, “Gang. Back in the STU.” Of course, that’s a nod to the Jackboys’ “Gang Gang.” She and Pharrell had a massive hit with 2017’s “Lemon,” so fans are excited to hear what they’ve cooked up.

Last Friday (February 7) The Cut asked Rihanna how she planned on spending her Valentine’s Day. “I’m going to be in the studio,” she revealed. “I’m so excited actually. I can’t say who I’m working with, but it’s somebody I’ve been wanting to work with him for a long time.” Are you looking forward to another hit from Rihanna and Pharrell?

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Jeannie Mai & Jeezy Coronavirus Troll: The Real Host Responds

Jeannie Mai and Jeezy were targeted with xenophobic coronavirus insults after attending New York Fashion Week together.

Jeannie Mai has been forced to respond to xenophobic insults aimed at her and her boyfriend Jeezy after trolls warned the rapper not to get coronavirus, which began spreading in China, after attending a New York Fashion Week event. Jeannie Mai, whose parents are of Vietnamese and Chinese heritage, addressed the comments on a new episode of The Real, hoping to combat any misinformation about the virus in doing so.

Jeannie Mai & Jeezy Coronavirus Troll: The Real Host Responds
Cindy Ord/Getty Images

The daytime talk show host discussed the “hurtful” things that people have been saying to her and Jeezy since they stepped out at NYFW, using the opportunity to also speak on how the virus has brought xenophobia to the forefront nationwide. “I also heard that there are schools that are considering to quarantine Asian kids because they just want to keep it safe,” said Mai. “I just want to say, we know that misinformation coupled with fear leads to xenophobia, right? Xenophobia is a deep-rooted fear against foreigners. So, we just got to do better and know that when it comes to yourself, educate yourself so that you don’t give life to fear.”

Jeannie Mai followed that up by walking into the audience and giving hugs to the women and men who showed out to watch them talk live, attempting to erase any false narrative attached to herself and the virus. 

Watch her full statement below.

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Nicki Minaj & Kenneth Petty Kiss Front-Row At NYFW

Nicki Minaj and her husband Kenneth Petty made a shock appearance at the Marc Jacobs Fall 2020 New York Fashion Week event.

Nicki Minaj has officially made her public return, releasing a brand new single last week and stepping out with her husband Kenneth Petty at the Marc Jacobs Fall 2020 show during New York Fashion Week. The rap superstar teased her retirement last year but, clearly, something changed inside of her and she decided that the world needed more of her New York-laced bars. The highly-talented individual dropped “Yikes” and took back her Queen Radio show before bringing her hubby to one of the most exciting NYFW events last night, locking lips in their front-row seats as they considered their next stylistic moves.

Nicki Minaj is certainly a fashionable individual, being spotted numerous times over the years at Fashion Week events. As for her life partner, some would say that Kenny Petty is missing some drip. Meek Mill clowned the man for resembling a Jimmy Jazz mannequin the other day so he might be taking pointers from his wife on how to dress to impress.

Uploading some moments from their time at the Marc Jacobs runway show, Nicki Minaj and Kenneth Petty clearly enjoyed themselves, kissing in one video shared to Instagram and showing out for the paparazzi in another.

These two form one of hip-hop’s favorite couples of the moment. Do you think Minaj has found herself a keeper?

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Bill Nye Two-Steps To Lizzo’s "Juice" On The Runway: Watch The Video

Bill Nye knows has one of the cleanest two-steps in the game.

Bill Nye has had one of the greatest resurgences into the limelight after taking a nearly two-decade hiatus from educating the youth about science. His new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves The World, continues to bless viewers with new seasons, he's entered the political realm raising awareness about climate change, he's even educating misinformed personalities in the hip-hop realm. Now, the 64-year-old mechanical engineer might have found a new calling after walking the runway during New York Fashion Week, this past week, as an aspiring model. 

Bill Nye Two-Steps To Lizzo's "Juice" On The Runway: Watch The Video

Rob Kim/Getty Images

On Wednesday (Feb. 5), Bill Nye participated in the Blue Jacket Fashion Show at Pier 59 Studios. The television personality modeled a blue floral, tuxedo jacket, designed by Nicholas Graham, black slacks, and leather wingtip dress shoes. Unlike most trained models who are taught to remain expressionless while walking down the runway, the highly-popularized educator decided to take his modeling assignment to the next level and two-step his way down the runway to Lizzo's "Juice" as the show's final presenter. 

Several other celebrities participated in this year's Blue Jacket Fashion Show including former New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, Mario Cantone, CNN's Don Lemon, former New York Giants wideout Victor Cruz, and more.

This particular event holds a special significance to Bill Nye as the fashion celebration benefitted the Prostate Cancer Foundation, an initiative funding research for the cure to prostate cancer. During a recent interview with Addy Medina, the Science Guy revealed that his father fell victim to prostate cancer and expressed how grateful he is to be able to support a good cause stating:

"You can test for this prostate hormone. So I think that we are, and by ‘we’ I mean researchers, are close to solving this problem and so to support this cause is cool."

In 2017, Bill Nye also walked the runway at the Blue Jacket Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week. Check out the footage of the young Science god, f*** it up on the runway to Lizzo's "Juice" in the video provided by Jessica Weiss below. 

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Tinashe Stuns In Skintight Leopard-Print Bodysuit

Tinashe’s New York Fashion Week look was a real winner.

Tinashe has evolved into one of the game’s premier thirst-trappers. Ever since departing from RCA Records and pursuing the independent route to release her excellent new album, Songs For You, Tinashe has been glowing up. She continues to stunt on us with her latest series of Instagram posts. 

The pictures show off the killer outfit she wore to Laquan Smith’s New York Fashion Week show on Saturday (Feb. 8). She poses in a skintight leopard-print bodysuit with a red transparent raincoat draped on top. Sporting long braids, the singer appears to have really been feeling herself. She even captioned one of her posts with a boastful lyric from her song “Link Up”: “Head coach, I might put you on the team.”

Last week, Tinashe announced the dates for her upcoming North American tour, “Tour For You”. 

Tinashe’s Tour For You Dates
April 20 – Detroit, Mich. @ Saint Andrew’s Hall
April 21 – Chicago Ill. @ House of Blues
April 22 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Spirit
April 23 – Silver Spring, Md. @ The Fillmore
April 24 – Boston, Mass. @ Big Night Live
April 25 – Philadelphia Pa. @ TLA
April 27 – New York, N.Y. @ Gramercy Theatre
April 29 – Toronto, O.N. @ Danforth Music Hall
May 9 – Denver Co. @ Summit
May 11 – Houston, Tx. @ House of Blues
May 12 – Dallas Tx. @ House of Blues
May 15 – Phoeniz, Az. @ Crescent Ballroom
May 16 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Belasco
May 17 – San Diego, Calif. @ The Observatory North Park
May 18 – Santa Ana, Calif. @ The Observatory
May 19 – San Francisco, Calif. @ August Hall
May 22 – Vancouver, B.C. @ Commodore Ballroom
May 23 – Seattle, Wash. @ Neptune Theatre

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Air Jordan 34 x Fragment Design Collab Coming Soon: First Look

Hiroshi Fujiwara teases the upcoming Fragment x AJ34 collab.

It looks like Jordan Brand and Fragment Design have another limited edition sneaker collab in the works – this time partnering up on the Air Jordan 34 silhouette. Fragment Design’s Hiroshi Fujiwara took to instagram on Thursday morning, following Nike’s New York Fashion Week show, to give fans a first look at the collaborative kicks.

Like previous Fragment x Jordan collabs, the kicks consists of a white, black and blue colorway. Furthermore, you can see that these Air Jordan 34s come equipped with the beloved ‘Nike Air’ branding on the heel. The Air Jordan 34, billed as one of the lightest basketball shoes ever created by Jordan Brand (size 9 weighs just 13.1 oz), includes the following features:

  • An Eclipse Plate, formed by two Pebax pieces, which helps reduce the overall stiffness and strips down the weight
  • A forefoot Zoom Air unit, with herringbone traction pattern – providing optimal explosion off the foot 
  • Limited Upper – heel counter, tongue, eyestay and midfoot reinforcer – showcasing the purest form of a basketball shoe 
  • The number 23 is featured in Morse code on the vamp

Release details for the Fragment x Air Jordan 34 have not yet been announced but we’ll keep you posted with any additional information. In the meantime, click here to preview the Top 10 sneakers dropping in February

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Instagram Gallery: Quavo & Saweetie’s Cutest Boo’d Up Pics

Are Quavo and Saweetie the next Offset and Cardi?

Unlike some of their industry peers who prefer to keep their love lives under wraps, Quavo and Saweetie have no problem showing off their relationship status IRL and on social media. After blowing up with her 2017 viral hit “Icy Grl,” Saweetie wasted no time linking up with Migos frontman Quavo around the same time that she dropped her major label debut, High Maintenance. However, despite the fact that the Bay Area rapper is far from ashamed of linking up with one of the hottest emcees in the game, Saweetie is determined to remind fans that she didn’t sleep her way to the top. She entered the industry on her own merit, and is committed to building a reputation separate from her part as one-half of a major hip-hop power couple. 

“I feel like I work so hard to build my brand, and people knew who I was before [we were together],” argues Saweetie. “ICY GRL” had gone gold and I was already touring and making a name for myself, so I’m kinda just living my life, I’m my own entity, I’m my own brand, I’m basically a young mogul in the making.”

Keep scrolling for the cutest pics of this strongly boo’d-up couple shared to their millions of followers on the ‘Gram. 

Roc Nation

Quavo and Saweetie rolled up to the annual Roc Nation brunch clad in full red carpet drip. 


Quavo and Saweetie rang in the New Year by leaning on each other for warmth while skiing through the Aspen slopes. 


These two hitmakers only had eyes for each other on the GQ Men of The Year red carpet. 

Happy Halloween 

“P A R T N E R I N C R I M E. Halloween Killas,” captions Quavo alongside a snap of himself and Saweetie in their 2019 Halloween costumes. 

My Type 

Boo’d up from the red carpet to the stage. 


Saweetie couldn’t help but kiss her man when the cameras came out. 


Quavo made sure Saweetie’s birthday away from home was one to remember. 


Even though Saweetie and Quavo are in the same industry, the “ICY GRL” rapper clearly wants nothing but success for her man. 

Mr. And Mrs. 

“Mr. & Mrs. H U N C H O. The ? is Yours ??,” writes Quavo alongside a snap of himself and his partner in crime. 

Our Type 

All smiles as the cameras flash during New York Fashion Week. 

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Ciara Twerks Onstage While Pregnant: Watch

Ciara twerked onstage during her performance at a New York Fashion Week event, less than two weeks after announcing her pregnancy.

Ms. Ciara is not letting anything stop her from twerking—not even her pregnancy. The singer took the stage at a New York Fashion Week event on Thursday, and took the opportunity to show off her knees of steel and booty-shaking skills. During a mashup of various songs like Lil Jon and the Ying Yang Twins‘ “Get Low” and Saweetie’s “My Type,” Ciara lined up with her backup dancers before breaking to take center stage. The soon-to-be mama of three then turned around and started twerking as the medley transitioned into her 2004 hit “Goodies.”

Decked out in a black leather outfit, Ciara can still out-twerk most, even with a bun in the oven. This twerk sesh was not the first instance that Ciara has showed off her dance moves since announcing her pregnancy, however. The expectant mother shared a video last week of herself goofing around to Roddy Ricch’s “The Box” at the Super Bowl.

Ciara Twerks Onstage While Pregnant: WatchAmy Sussman/Getty Images

She and husband, Russell Wilson, announced on January 30th that they were expecting another child. This will be their second child together, following the birth of their daughter, Sienna Princess, in April 2017. Ciara also has a 5-year-old son, Future Zahir, with her ex-fiancé Future.

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Rihanna Side-Eyes Friend Who Jokingly Says She’s Having His Baby

A meme-worthy reaction.

Fenty officially took over New York Fashion Week on Friday (February 7). Rihanna and her bright orange Fenty drip descended on Bergdorf Goodman for her event where she shared a preview of her upcoming collection during a digital window unveiling. Earlier in the day, RiRi shared a snippet on Instagram with a message for fans in the area. “When y’all was asleep last night, I was out interacting with my @fenty digital windows at Bergdorf Goodman ?!” she wrote in the caption. “If you happen to be in NYC today do a lil drive by before it ends tonight!

Rihanna Side-Eyes Friend Who Jokingly Says She's Having His Baby
Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff / Getty Images

The pop star-turned-fashion-and-beauty-mogul was all smiles during her event that included a few friends who stopped by to support her. Shade 45 radio host Daniel Jean was able to get a snippet of Rihanna as they sipped on wine and enjoyed the DJ spinning Roddy Ricch‘s hit track “The Box.” In the video, Jean jokingly says, “I think it’s time to tell the world that you’re having my baby.”

Rihanna’s face immediately twists up as she side-eyes him with a smirk. She’s rumored to be newly single so hey, do what you have to do. Meanwhile, fans are still waiting on the singer to drop her next project, and she’s tired of people harassing her about it. Fenty seems to be the priority at the moment, but we’re crossing our fingers that 2020 will be the year that the rumored R9 record hits the streets.

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Cardi B Is Flexible

Cardi B flexes her flexibility on Instagram.

Cardi B is many things: a rapper, a former reality star, a hell of a personality, and apparently a contortionist. Well, that last one may not be entirely true, but Cardi is definitely one bendy broad. She showed off her stretching skills in an Instagram post on Friday, which features a photo of Cardi lifting her leg all the way up to the sky while she was goofing around in the club.

Cardi captioned the very purple photo, “At this moment @achontishanise knew she finna carry me out the club.” It’s probably true, considering how blitzed Cardi looks with her tongue out and toes pointing toward the ceiling, but despite her obvious inebriation, she was still somehow able to pull off this pose. It’s impressive that anybody who’s ever given birth could even be this flexible, so hats off to Ms. Belcalis.

Cardi B Is FlexibleTheo Wargo/Getty Images for Universal Pictures

Cardi recently got involved again in some beef that’s been dragged on for quite some time now. She came to the defense of her best friend, Star Brim, after Star and Rah Ali fired shots back and forth. The beef between these ladies all began years ago at New York Fashion Week, when Rah was named as the culprit who gave Cardi a massive bump on her forehead after throwing a shoe at her in a brawl.

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Cardi B Defends Star Brim After Rah Ali Calls Star A "Bum Ass B*tch"

The two-year-old New York Fashion Week beef has been reignited.

Cardi B and Rah Ali are back to beefing since that fateful New York Fashion Week fight that left a massive knot on Cardi's forehead. Ever since Rah was rumoured to be the culprit that threw hands (and shoes) with Cardi, Star Brim, Cardi's bestie, has been threatening to return the favour to Rah with a proper ass-whooping of her own. Star's most recent invitation to square up came on Instagram last week, after Rah called Star out for hyping up an unfavourable meme of Rah's friend and famous Cardi foe, Nicki Minaj.

Rah took the issue to her radio show, "On Site!" where she responded to Star's invitation by calling her "a stone cold bum ass b*tch." Rah went on to say that people only "know [Star's] name because of her association to Cardi" and thus, "what she’s trying to do is prove to Cardi that she’s a rider."

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Check Out @Its_Onsite with my guest @JessHilarious_Official ?

A post shared by Rah Ali (@rah_ali) on

Cardi was not having any of that, so the rapper decided to take matters into her own hands. She posted a statement defending Star, who announced her pregnancy late last year. Though the post has since been deleted, Cardi denounced Rah's claims that Star has to leech off her.

“My friend Star wears the same amount of name brand clothes that these b*tches that love calling people 'bums' be wearing," Cardi declared. "She don’t gotta ask me for sh*t or leech of me. THATS NOT A FRIENDSHIP. Star don’t do stuff for me for expectations I DONT BUY FRIENDS that’s why I barely have any. You can’t be in you mid 30s callin people bums when you own no property and no businesses..STAR is due in 3 weeks n got off social media to relax n not stress and I still Talkin sh*t bout a bum. You been arrested for the SAME charge STAR went to prison for and u actually pay less rent then her what makes u more superior?!" In the caption, she added, "People Looveee antagonizing then get called out and play innocent. This internet sh*t is ridiculous and people do the most for a response. Sick of it.” Rah promised to address Cardi's response in the next episode of "OnSite!" on Tuesday, although Star has vowed to stay out of everything until after her child is born.

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Drake & Rosalía Style Hard Front Row At Nike’s NYFW Show

Virgil Abloh and OVO Chubbs also kicked it with Rosalía and Drake at the event.

Drake‘s commitment to Nike is impressive. So it was no surprise when he showed face in New York City, once again, but this time for New York Fashion Week. The rapper was spotted front row with Rosalía and Virgil Abloh for Nike’s presentation. The rapper shared a slew of photos with both the singer, “La jefa de Sant Esteve Sesrovires” which translates to “the head of Sant Esteve Sesrovires.” Perhaps this might mean a collaboration is on the way? He’s been dabbling outside of hip-hop and R&B a lot more in recent years, this could be a strong indication of what he has in store on his next project. 

Drake’s friends go where ever he goes so he had to bring his head of security, business partner and long-time friend, OVO Chubbs. Drizzy shared a flick with a meme-worthy flick of Chubbs looking incredibly concentrated. Drake seems to believe Chubbs already plotting out Nike’s design for the next season. “Third fashion show ever and Chubbs is already thinking about next seasons designs @nike #creative,” he captioned the photo.

In other Drake-related news, Drake has secured another platinum plaque in his extensive collection. Future and Drake’s “Life Is Good” has officially gone platinum. Unfortunately, this didn’t mark another number one hit for either one of the artists. The song has maintained its spot at number two on the chart, only being blocked by Roddy Ricch‘s “The Box.” Hopefully, Drake does come through with more music before the year ends. Maybe the highly speculated What A Time To Be Alive 2?

Peep the flicks below

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Lil Kim & Kash Doll Link Up In Detroit At Kim’s Concert & Fight Over Bill At Dinner

We approve of this duo.

Lil Kim performed in Detroit on Saturday night, and fellow female rapper Kash Doll was in close attendance. Kash Doll shared an abundance of Instagram stories documenting her whole evening with Kim, including a video of the two of them backstage as Kim prepares to go on stage followed by some clips of Kash Doll rapping along to “Crush On You” as Kim performs. It looks like Kash Doll even joined Kim at one point, as she reposted a story of the two of them performing onstage together. After the show, Kim and Kash Doll shared some laughs with Kim’s entourage, which included Fat Joe, before heading to dinner where Kash Doll began freestyling at the table.

Once the evening started coming to a close, Kim and Kash Doll both proceeded to grab the cheque, which resulted in the two of them fighting over who will cover the bill. Kash Doll shared some footage of the whole ordeal, with a sweet message about Kim in the caption.

“Me and queen bee @lilkimthequeenbee fighting over the bill last night was a highlight of my female rap career..! Like really last night was epic! I’m honored ?she’s the best! I had soooo much fun it was on the flo!” Kash Doll wrote. Kim returned the love several times on the post, including in her comment, “?? My BABY!!!!! ??❤️ITS ON DA FLO!!!! Fr ???.” It’s unclear who ended up covering the bill, but regardless, it looks like these two ladies had a blast together. Things weren’t always so peachy keen between them, at least on Kash Doll’s part. In September, she revealed that she and Kim had officially met at New York Fashion Week, in which they addressed some former resentments Kash Doll had toward Kim that Kim wasn’t even aware of. All was resolved, and the two of them appear to be super close now.

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Producer of Beyoncé’s ’16 Carriages’ reveals song was made before ‘Renaissance’

A producer who worked on Beyoncé‘s hit ’16 Carriages’ has revealed that the song from her forthcoming country album ‘Cowboy Carter’ was made before ‘Renaissance’, despite the latter being released first.

Atia ‘Ink’ Boggs said in a new interview that ’16 Carriages’ was the first song she had worked on with Beyoncé, but it saw the light of day much later than the three songs she worked on from ‘Renaissance’.

“So a lot of people don’t know, we actually had this first,” she explained on the Acknowledged YouTube series. “So imagine having this timeless, classic music first and having to wait, and then she came up with ‘Act I’.”


Boggs said that she first started working with Beyoncé in 2020 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic influenced the direction of the music they worked on and how it was eventually released.

“So we came out of being isolated, back into the world from no parties to finally expressing ourselves,” she continued. On the subject of her pivot to country, Boggs said: “And it’s like, baby, we don’t do just one thing we do everything and we do it well. That’s what she’s letting you know. This is her southern roots, this is her Texas roots.”

[embedded content]

The producer reiterated that the change in direction demonstrates that Beyoncé can’t be put in a box. “Representation matters, that sound matters. This sound is Black music, this is what we started,” she said. “’16 Carriages,’ that was one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made and produced in all of my life. Because it’s so personal. I love to see her in that personal light.”

When it was announced in 2022, ‘Renaissance’ was billed as the first of a trilogy, to which ‘Cowboy Carter’ is the second part. Fans have theorised that the third act will be a rock album after the artist was photographed with a mullet for CR Fashion Book. 

However, Boggs wouldn’t be drawn on confirming or denying rumours. “See, y’all skipping… Shit, we got to get to Act II first.”


This week, the Guggenheim museum have shared that they “did not authorize” Beyoncé‘s ‘Cowboy Carter’ advert projection on the museum.

On Wednesday night (March 20), a promotional advert for the pop icon’s upcoming country album was projected onto the museum in New York City. “This ain’t a country album. This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album,” as well as the LP’s title and release date of March 29 (pre-save/pre-order here) were projected onto the building. The phrase was a reference to her Instagram post which she posted earlier where she addressed the backlash she received over exploring the country genre.

In a statement shared with The Hollywood ReporterGuggenheim explained that the institution “was not informed about and did not authorize this activation. However, we invite the public — including Beyoncé and her devoted fans — to visit the museum May 16–20 when we present projections by artist Jenny Holzer on the facade of our iconic building to celebrate the opening of her major exhibition.”

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Watch The 1975 play ‘I’m In Love With You’ on ‘Jimmy Fallon’

The 1975 performed their recent single ‘I’m In Love With You’ on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon yesterday (November 10) – watch below.

  • READ MORE: The NME Big Read – The 1975: “I’d rather be a pretend supervillain than some pretend hero”

The Manchester band, who are currently on their North American ‘At Their Very Best’ tour, appeared as the musical guests on last night’s episode of the US chat show.

Donning sharp suits, Matty Healy and co. played ‘I’m In Love With You’ on an understated studio set featuring a vintage rug and old fashioned lights. The song appears on the ’75’s fifth album ‘Being Funny In A Foreign Language’, which came out last month.


Tune in here:

The group kicked off their current headline tour in Uncasville, Connecticut last Thursday (November 3), where they debuted an ambitious and dazzling new stage design.

During a gig at Madison Square Garden in New York this week, frontman Healy ate raw meat, did push-ups and then crawled into a hollowed-out TV set as part of the ‘Consumption’ interlude.

In a five-star review of that same show, NME wrote: “It’s the kind of night that only The 1975 could host, the type of evening that leaves you buzzing and remembering why you love live music in the first place, walking home and thinking aloud, as one fan did before heading towards the subway: ‘I didn’t know how much I needed that’.”

You can check out a series of behind-the-scenes photographs from the band’s MSG afterparty here.


The 1975 are set to bring the ‘At Their Very Best’ tour to the UK and Ireland in January 2023. Find any remaining tickets here.

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Kanye West says he doesn’t believe in the term “anti-Semitism”: “It’s not factual”

Kanye West has said that he doesn’t believe in the term “anti-Semitism”, claiming that it’s “not factual” and in turn has denied accusations of racism against him.

  • READ MORE: With his “White Lives Matter” stunt, has Kanye West finally hit the point of no return?

The rapper’s comments come after a tumultuous few weeks which began when he wore a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at a Paris fashion week show.

Since then he’s sparked multiple controversies including claiming that George Floyd died by taking Fentanyl.


Before that Ye said that he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”, whom he claims have a link with Black people (“I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because Black people are actually Jew also,” he wrote). An ex-staffer at TMZ has also claimed that the rapper once praised “Hitler and the Nazis” during an interview with the site.

Over the weekend West hit out at Pete Davidson on the Drink Champs podcast in which he alleged that the former boyfriend of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian was a heroin addict. Ye’s unverified claims were made without evidence. Davidson has not yet publicly responded to Ye’s allegations.

The billionaire rapper and entrepreneur’s controversial interview with the podcast has since been removed from YouTube and Revolt after co-host N.O.R.E admitted “regret” for airing Ye’s comments.

Now, in Ye’s latest interview he has told NewsNation host Chris Cuomo that he can’t be labelled an anti-Semite because he doesn’t think anti-Semitism exists.

In the interview broadcasted yesterday (October 17) in which Cuomo and Ye also addressed reports that he’s planning to buy the ‘free speech’ platform Parler, the ex-CNN presenter brought up the rapper’s series of harmful comments about Jewish people.


“I don’t like the term antisemitic,” West said when pressed at the four minute and 30 second mark. “It’s been a term that’s allowed people, specifically in my industry, to get away with murder – sometimes literally – and get away with robbing and doing bad [to] people,” he said.

“You’re saying it’s anti-Semitic, but I don’t believe in that term. One thing is, Black people are also Jew. I classify as Jew also, so I actually can’t be an anti-Semite. So the term is actually, it’s not factual” [quotes transcribed by Complex].

When Cuomo interjected at one point, beginning to insist “you have to understand how”, West interrupted and added: “Everyone wants to shoot the messenger…but the thing is, the Jewish people that I’m talking about don’t have to understand. And that is that privilege that I’m not going to allow.”

He went on to say: “When I wore the ‘White Lives Matter’ T-shirt, the Jewish underground media mafia already started attacking me. They canceled my four SoFi Stadium shows, they had the press – the same people, the…outlets that when I was arguing with Pete Davidson and Trevor Noah, they called me an abuser for arguing with people about my ex-wife and my family, and when I get to see my kids and when I don’t.

“And they just immediately disrespect me, they keep the ‘crazy’ narrative going, they never call me a billionaire. We never talked about, even on this one right here, hey: tycoon, billionaire, visionary, inventor. These are never used.”

Cuomo clarified for West that “there is no Jewish media cabal mafia”.

kanye west
Kanye West attends the “The Greatest Lie Ever Sold” Premiere Screening on October 12, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Picture: Jason Davis/Getty Images for DailyWire+)

Many artists, celebrities, politicians and organisations have publicly condemned West over his remarks including Jack Antonoff, John Legend, David Schwimmer, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and ex-Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ye’s behaviour has led to commercial partnerships falling through or reportedly being put on hold, including those with the bank JPMorgan Chase and the sportswear brand Adidas.

He has also now had his social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram blocked.

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Kanye West’s controversial ‘Drink Champs’ interview removed from YouTube and Revolt

Kanye West‘s recent interview on the Drink Champs video podcast has been officially deleted in the wake of controversial comments on the death of George Floyd.

The interview can no longer be found on either the podcast’s YouTube channel or on the official website of its parent company, Revolt TV. Its wiping follows an apology from Drink Champs host N.O.R.E., who spoke with Hot97‘s Pete Rosenberg in the wake of the controversy.

“I have a relationship with Ye,” N.O.R.E. said (per Billboard). “When he was going through a lot of the things he was going through, he would call me and he would actually listen to me and take my advice. So, I felt [like] I could control the situation. I felt that I could control the interview, and [I] learned early on that I didn’t.”


Watch N.O.R.E.’s interview below:

In the original interview – of which clips are still circulating on Twitter – West claimed that the drug fentanyl was responsible for the death of George Floyd, rather than the brutality of police officers.

“If you look [at the video], the guy’s [police officer Derek Chauvin] knee wasn’t even on [Floyd’s] neck like that,” West claimed. Floyd’s family is considering a lawsuit against Ye over these statements, a lawyer who represented the family said yesterday.

The rapper also claimed that “the Jewish media blocked [him] out”, and that the JP Morgan Chase bank “treated [him] like shit” following their decision to sever ties with West.

The latter two comments stem from West’s recent show of antisemitism that got him banned from social media. Sarah Silverman, Jamie Lee Curtis and Diane Wilson responded to these comments, as did Bleachers‘ Jack Antonoff, West’s former collaborator John Legend, David Schwimmer, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


West also referred to Pete Davidson, the ex-boyfriend of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian, as a “heroin addict” that “was tattooing [West’s] kids’ name on him”. He also denied his antisemitism in the interview, while simultaneously claiming that “Jewish people have owned the Black voice”.

The Drink Champs saga follows West’s appearance at Paris Fashion Week, where he wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt, before defending his actions in a Fox News interview – which itself elicited further controversy.

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Kanye West hits out at Pete Davidson in another controversial interview

Kanye West has hit out at Pete Davidson in his latest controversial interview.

  • READ MORE: With his “White Lives Matter” stunt, has Kanye West finally hit the point of no return?

Heading back to the Drink Champs podcast, which he appeared on over the weekend, West referred to his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s former boyfriend Pete Davidson as a “heroin addict”.

Speaking with rapper N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, West hit out at “the 78 media outlets that called me an abuser when I was tryna get that heroin addict away from my kids that was tattooing my kids’ names on him, Skete, Pete Davidson…” West claimed.

NME has reached out to representatives of Davidson for comment.

He went on to criticise The Daily Show host Trevor Noah. On his show in March, Noah spoke about West “harassing” Kim Kardashian online. West was later banned from Instagram after directing racial slurs at the host.

“Trevor Noah, not even from America, he just looks Black right?” West said on the show. “Gonna say, yo, Kim it’s gonna get dangerous, he putting all that ‘he so crazy, he’s so OJ’. Nori just wants the family back together, I just want the family back together, Kim is a Christian…”

Pete Davidson
Pete Davidson CREDIT: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

He then addressed claims he was antisemitic after a string of recent comments which saw him temporarily suspended from Instagram and Twitter.

On the latest episode of the show, West said: “We Jew so I can’t be antisemite…” before saying “Jewish Zionists” were responsible for some recent news stories surrounding Kardashian and Davidson.

“Jewish people have owned the Black voice,” West went on. “Either it’s through us wearing the Ralph Lauren shirt, or it’s all of us being signed to a record label, or having a Jewish manager, or being signed to a Jewish basketball team, or doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney. I respect what the Jewish people have done, and how they brought their people together.”

It is the latest in a serious of controversial and questionable statements made by West in recent weeks, causing widespread upset online and for various communities. It began at Paris Fashion Week when West wore a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at a fashion show. He then took part in a controversial interview on Fox News, made a number of antisemitic remarks and made unfounded claims about the death of George Floyd.

West has faced a significant backlash for his comments with the likes of Jaden Smith and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, plus figureheads for Supreme and Vogue, taking issue with his stunt at Paris fashion week.

After that, Sarah Silverman, Jamie Lee Curtis and Diane Wilson responded to his antisemitic comments, as did Jack Antonoff, John Legend, David Schwimmer, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and ex-Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

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Kanye West says Drake is “greatest rapper ever”

Kanye West has said that Drake is the “greatest rapper ever”.

  • READ MORE: With his “White Lives Matter” stunt, has Kanye West finally hit the point of no return?

The rapper and entrepreneur said in a new interview that his collaborator tops the all-time list of MCs

“Drake is the greatest rapper ever, and I don’t apologise about it,” Ye told the Drink Champs podcast. He was then interrupted by the podcast’s co-founder and co-host, N.O.R.E., who brought up rumours about Drake formerly having a sexual relationship with Kris Jenner, the mother of Ye’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian.


Ye’s praise for Drake follows the pair reconciling last year after years of trading barbs, with the duo putting on the Free Larry Hoover benefit concert.

West’s comments about the Canadian rap star have come amid a media storm over a range of controversial statements he’s made in recent weeks including those that are anti-Semitic, fatphobic and racially sensitive in nature.

After briefly making his Twitter comeback he was blocked on the social media platform as well as Meta (which owns Facebook and Instagram) following a series of anti-Semitic posts. An ex-staffer at TMZ has also since claimed that the rapper once praised “Hitler and the Nazis” during an interview with the site.

Prior to his recent anti-Semitic claims Ye denounced the Black Lives Matter movement as a “scam” in defence of wearing an “White Lives Matter” shirt at Balenciaga’s recent Paris Fashion Week show. He has doubled down on the stunt.


Elsewhere, last week Lizzo appeared to respond to Ye’s comments about her weight, saying that she’s “minding my fat Black business”.

In a recent interview on Fox News, West said that what he believed was the promotion of obesity by social media companies was “demonic”. “When Lizzo loses 10 pounds and announces it, the bots … on Instagram, they attack her losing weight, because the media wants to put out a perception that being overweight is the new goal when it’s actually unhealthy,” he told host Tucker Carlson.

Ye’s behaviour has led to commercial partnerships falling through or reportedly being put on hold, including those with the bank JPMorgan Chase and the sportswear brand Adidas.

Many artists, celebrities, politicians and organisations have since publicly condemned West over his remarks including Jack Antonoff, David Schwimmer and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Kanye West
Kanye West CREDIT: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Approached by Page Six in the wake of JPMorgan severing ties as he left a screening in Nashville, West also said in response to the backlash about his anti-Semitic comments: “Hey, if you call somebody out for bad business, that means you’re being anti-Semitic. I feel happy to have crossed the line of that idea so we can speak openly about things, like getting cancelled by a bank.”

West added that he was “the richest black man in American history, that put $140 million in JPMorgan”, before ending the interview by saying that he will “speak at a different time”.

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Kanye West allegedly praised “Hitler and the Nazis” in past interview

Kanye West once praised “Hitler and the Nazis” during an interview with TMZ, an ex-staffer at the site has claimed.

Van Lathan, who’s now the host of the Higher Learning podcast, said he wasn’t surprised by West’s recent antisemitic comments while recalling the time TMZ sat down with the rapper in 2018.

  • READ MORE: With his “White Lives Matter” stunt, has Kanye West finally hit the point of no return?

It was in that same conversation that Ye expressed controversial views on slavery, which resulted in a backlash.


“I’ve already heard him say that [antisemitic] stuff before,” Lathan explained (via the Independent).

“I mean, I was taken aback because that type of antisemitic talk is disgusting. But as far as him, I knew that that was in him because when came to TMZ, he said that stuff and they took it out of the interview.”

The ‘DONDA’ artist allegedly said that he “loved Hitler and the Nazis”, per Hip Hop DX. Lathan claimed that he challenged Ye on his comment, as did a Jewish TMZ producer.

“If you look at what I said at TMZ, it goes from me saying like, ‘Hey Kanye, there’s real-life, real-world implication to everything that you just said there’,” Lathan remembered.

“What I say after that – if I can remember, it’s been a long time – was, ’12million people actually died because of Nazism and Hitler and all of that stuff’, and then I move on to talk about what he said about slavery.”


He continued: “The reason they took [Lathan’s Holocaust reference] out is because it wouldn’t have made sense unless they kept in Kanye saying he loved Hitler and the Nazis, which he said when he was at TMZ. He said something like, ‘I love Hitler, I love Nazis’. Something to that effect.”

Last Sunday (October 9) West had both his Twitter and Instagram accounts suspended after sharing antisemitic posts on the two platforms. A spokesperson from Twitter told BuzzFeed News that “the account in question [had] been locked due to a violation of Twitter’s policies”.

Ye made further antisemitic comments in newly revealed footage from his recent interview on Fox News.

Responding to West’s recent remarks, Lathan said: “When I saw this, I was like, ‘Oh, I knew that this was eventually coming’. As a matter of fact, I had anticipated it coming, like, way earlier than this.”

Lathan claimed that viewers can see where the alleged part of the TMZ appearance was removed: “If you go back and watch that clip, I say what I say and there’s a cut right there.

“People might think they stitched this together to make me seem more eloquent. But they stitched it together to take out my reference to the Holocaust.”

Many artists, celebrities, politicians and organisations have since publicly condemned West over his comments, including Jack Antonoff, David Schwimmer and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Meanwhile, West has responded after the bank JPMorgan Chase reportedly severed ties with him amid the growing controversy.

“Hey, if you call somebody out for bad business, that means you’re being antisemitic,” he said last night (October 12). “I feel happy to have crossed the line of that idea so we can speak openly about things, like getting cancelled by a bank.”

West added that he was “the richest Black man in American history, that put $140million in JPMorgan”, before ending the interview and saying that he will “speak at a different time”.

Ye faced criticism last week after he wore a shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘White Lives Matter’ at Paris Fashion Week.

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Kanye West’s anti-Semitic posts condemned by celebrities, politicians and organisations

Kanye West has stirred controversy over the past few days by sharing anti-Semitic sentiments on Twitter and Instagram.

In response, the rapper has been condemned by many figures in the entertainment world, as well as several political figures and organisations that represent Jewish communities.

  • READ MORE: With his “White Lives Matter” stunt, has Kanye West finally hit the point of no return?

Yesterday (October 9), Twitter locked the rapper’s account after he tweeted: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 [sic] On JEWISH PEOPLE. The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”

In a follow-up tweet – which is still available to view at the time of writing – West posted: “Who you think created cancel culture?” A spokesperson for Twitter confirmed that West had been banned from the platform “due to a violation of Twitter’s policies”.

It followed his booting from Instagram on Friday (October 7), when a representative for Meta – the company that owns the platform – said West was restricted from posting, and had content removed by a moderator, after violating community guidelines; it was not specified exactly what posts were removed, but one reportedly saw West share an anti-Semitic comment in the form of a threat.

The post in question came after Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs responded to West’s recent gaffe at this year’s Paris Fashion Week – where he wore a shirt emblazoned with the phrase “White Lives Matter”, a slogan tied to white supremacist movements – and West shared screenshots of a text exchange between the two rappers to Instagram.

In one of those texts, West wrote to Diddy: “I’ma use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me.”

Several key figures in the entertainment industry have now shared their disapproval of West’s anti-Semitic comments. Among them is Jewish actress and comedian Sarah Silverman, who tweeted: “Kanye threatened the Jews yesterday on twitter and it’s not even trending. Why do mostly only Jews speak up against Jewish hate? The silence is so loud.”

Jamie Lee Curtis pointed out that Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the year in traditional Judaism – was celebrated last week (from sunset on Tuesday October 4 to nightfall on Wednesday October 5), noting that “a threat to Jewish people ended once in a genocide”. Pleading with the rapper, she continued: “Your words hurt and incite violence. You are a father. Please stop.”

Diane Warren also spoke out, writing: “Using the word[s] death and Jews in the same sentence when 6,000,000 Jews were murdered, [two] out of [three] European Jews, is vile, abhorrent and irresponsible [and you should] be banned for life everywhere.”

Meanwhile, Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff simply dubbed West “a little bitch”, and legendary voice actor John DiMaggio succinctly wrote: “Fuck Kanye. That’s it. Carry on.”

A handful of political figures – mostly those representing left-wing ideologies – have also weighed in to criticise West. In a tweet of her own, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote: “There is absolutely no room in this country or world for antisemitism.

“It is important to see how harmful [and] dangerous Kanye’s words are – not only to our Jewish brothers, sisters, [and] siblings, but also to our collective society at large. We must reject this [trash] wherever we see it.”

In a statement shared overnight, the Black Jewish Entertainment Alliance called the rapper’s posts “hurtful, offensive, and wrong”, noting that such comments “perpetuate stereotypes that have been the basis for discrimination and violence against Jews for thousands of years”.

Their statement continued: “Words like this tear at the fabric of the Black-Jewish relationship. The Black and Jewish communities must stand together through incidents like this to make clear that trafficking in hateful stereotypes is unacceptable – and that the words of one entertainer do not reflect the views of an entire community.”

West was also condemned by the Anti-Defamation League, who found his recent movements to be “deeply troubling, dangerous, and antisemitic, period”. Their statement continued: “There is no excuse for his propagating of white supremacist slogans and classic [anti-Semitism] about Jewish power, especially with the platform he has.

“Power. Disloyalty. Greed. Deicide. Blood. Denial. Anti-Zionism. All of these are antisemitic tropes that we break down in our [‘Antisemitism Uncovered’ guide]. Many of these myths have influenced [West’s] comments recently, and it’s dangerous.”

Another organisation speaking out against West is the Creative Community For Peace, who wrote that “in the past week, Ye has spread some of the most vile and age-old stereotypes about Jews to his hundreds of millions of followers”.

They continued: “There should be no place for this kind of hate in our public discourse. We support every entertainer’s right to free speech, but no one has a free pass to target and demonize a minority group with such malice. We are gravely concerned about the impact of Ye’s statements – and how they will affect his fans, particularly young people.

“At the same time, we hope this can be a moment that ultimately creates better awareness about the dangers of antisemitism for [West], his fans, and other entertainers. We remain open to dialogue with him about how harmful and fallacious his comments are.

See more reactions to West’s anti-Semitism below:

Last week, West faced more controversy after he wore a shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘White Lives Matter’ at Paris Fashion Week.

Despite a huge backlash to the moment, West later doubled down on his views, writing on his Instagram Stories that the Black Lives Matter movement “was a scam”, adding: “Now it’s over…you’re welcome”. He later issued another defiant response insisting: “They do”.

Artists such as Jaden Smith and Boosie responded to West’s controversial attire while the family of Ahmaud Arbery – a 25-year-old Black man who was murdered by three white neighbours in the United States in 2020 in a racially motivated hate crime – said Kanye West’s “White Lives Matter” shirt helped “legitimise extremist behaviour”.

NME has reached out to representatives of West for comment.

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Pixies on having curry with and being covered by David Bowie

Pixies have told NME about going for curry with David Bowie and having the legend cover one of their songs.

This week, the alt-rock legends took NME‘s Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! challenge, where veteran artists are quizzed about their history in the music industry.

  • READ MORE: Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Pixies

During the interview, frontman Black Francis and drummer David Lovering were asked about Bowie covering Pixies’ ‘Cactus’ for his 2002 album ‘Heathen’.


“It’s cool when people like your music and do versions of it but I don’t like to make a big deal out of it,” Francis said. “Bowie was just a music geek – like me. It’s too star-fucky if you say [adopts an air-headed voice] ‘Oh my God, he likes me! He looked at me!’. Everybody’s shit stinks. I’m not pushing an egalitarian agenda here, but let’s get real!”

Discussing an in-person encounter with the legend, Lovering remembered: “David Bowie once took us to an Indian restaurant in Manchester, and I sat next to him shooting the shit. At the end, he offered to pay and pulled out a credit card and said [his birth name]: ‘David Jones!’”

Elsewhere, Francis discussed covering Bowie’s ‘Fashion’ as a gift for the legend’s 50th birthday. In it, he changed the titular lyric to “fascist”.

He explained to NME: “I read somewhere that was the original lyric, and at the very last minute, it was changed to ‘Fashion’, which was deemed better. To be amusing, I did a cover as my gift and my thank-you for letting us participate in his 50th birthday show. John Flansburgh from They Might Be Giants arranged the session, and I brought along my father to watch me record for the first time.”

Last week (August 10), Pixies have shared the latest preview of their forthcoming eighth album, ‘Doggerel’ – an equally smoky and melodic cut of alt-rock titled ‘Vault Of Heaven’.


‘Vault Of Heaven’ comes as the second track to be shared from ‘Doggerel’, following the June release of ‘There’s A Moon On’. The album itself will arrive on September 30 via BMG, with three back-to-back gigs in California – San Diego on Saturday October 1, Anaheim on Sunday 2 and Los Angeles on Monday 3 – due to follow. After a single day off, they’ll hit New York City to play Terminal 5.

In announcing ‘Doggerel’, Francis said the band were “trying to do things that are very big and bold and orchestrated”. He continued: “The punky stuff, I really like playing it but you just cannot artificially create that shit. There’s another way to do this; there’s other things we can do with this extra special energy that we’re encountering.”

The band will headline next month’s End Of The Road festival in Dorset.

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky reportedly welcome baby boy

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky have reportedly welcomed their first child, with the pop star said to have given birth last week.

  • READ MORE: Rihanna: every album ranked and rated

The couple first shared the news that they were expecting back in January, when photographs captured the pair together in Harlem, New York with the singer unveiling her baby bump.

Earlier this month (May 13)TMZ broke the news that the couple had welcomed a baby boy. Today (May 19) People confirmed the news, adding that Rihanna and A$AP were at home in Los Angeles with their first child.


In April, the singer discussed her pregnancy with Vogue, sharing “Planning? I wouldn’t say planning. But certainly not planning against it. I don’t know when I ovulate or any of that type of s–t. We just had fun,” she said. “And then it was just there on the test … Then I was in the doctor’s office the next morning and our journey began.”

A$AP Rock and Rihanna
A$AP Rocky and Rihanna in the video for ‘D.M.B.’. CREDIT: YouTube/A$AP Rocky

The Fenty fashion founder also discussed her approach to pregnancy style, adding, “I’m hoping that we were able to redefine what’s considered ‘decent’ for pregnant women. My body is doing incredible things right now, and I’m not going to be ashamed of that. This time should feel celebratory. Because why should you be hiding your pregnancy?”

Back in February, Rihanna promised fans that new music is still on the way, after she officially announced her pregnancy. Her most recent album was 2016’s ‘Anti’.

While she added that she is focused on “one thing at a time,” Rihanna clarified that music will still land at some point. “Yes, you’re still going to get music from me,” she said. But when the journalist suggested that the mum-to-be could include lullabies on her new album, she replied: “My fans would kill me if they waited this long for a lullaby.”


Meanwhile,A$AP recently released a video featuring Rihanna for his track, ‘D.M.B.’, which is an acronym for ‘Dat’s My Bitch’. The video is an ode to a classic love story, with the pair depicting ride-or-die characters in a devoted relationship despite their circumstances.

Elsewhere, Rihanna recently became the world’s richest female musician, according to Forbes, with a net worth of $1.7billion (£1.3bn), largely thanks to her Fenty Beauty business and Savage X Fenty lingerie line

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Watch The Who play orchestral ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ on ‘Colbert’

The Who are set to begin a two-part North American tour next week, and have appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform an orchestral version of ‘Behind Blue Eyes’.

On Friday night (April 15), the band were the musical guests on the show and ran through a grand version of their 1971 track, backed by a full orchestra.

The performance, which you can watch in full below, came in support of the Teen Cancer America organisation, and was recorded during the band’s annual Teenage Cancer Trust gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in London last month, which featured Yungblud, Liam Gallagher, Ed Sheeran, The Who themselves and more.


Watch the Colbert performance of ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ below.

The band’s forthcoming tour – dubbed ‘The Who Hits Back!’ – will begin next week (April 22) in Florida, with the first leg running until the end of May.

The band will then return to the States in October for another run of dates, which take them through until November.

Speaking of the tour, Roger Daltrey said: “Pete and I said we’d be back, but we didn’t think we’d have to wait for two years for the privilege. This is making the chance to perform feel even more special this time around.

“So many livelihoods have been impacted due to COVID, so we are thrilled to get everyone back together – the band, the crew and the fans. We’re gearing up for a great show that hits back in the only way The Who know how. By giving it everything we got.”


See the full list of The Who’s 2022 North American tour dates below.

APRIL 2022
22 – Hollywood, Florida, Hard Rock Live
24 – Jacksonville, VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena
27 – Tampa, Amalie Arena
30 – New Orleans, New Orleans Jazz Festival

MAY 2022
3 – Austin, Moody Center
5 – Dallas, American Airlines Center
8 – The Woodlands, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
10 – Oklahoma City, Paycom Center
13 – Memphis, FedEx Forum
15 – Cincinnati, TQL Stadium
18 – Boston, TD Garden
20 – Philadelphia, Wells Fargo Center
23 – Washington DC, Capital One Arena
26 – New York, Madison Square Garden
28 – Bethel, Bethel Woods Center of the Arts

2 – Toronto, Scotiabank Arena
4 – Detroit, Little Caesars Arena
7 – Belmont Park, UBS Arena
9 – Columbus, Schottenstein Center
12 – Chicago, United Center
14 – St Louis, Enterprise Center
17 – Denver, Ball Arena
20 – Portland, Moda Center
22 – Seattle, Climate Pledge Arena
26 – Sacramento, Golden 1 Center
28 – Anaheim, Honda Center

1 – Los Angeles, Hollywood Bowl
4 – Las Vegas, Dolby Live at Park MGM
5 – Las Vegas, Dolby Live at Park MGM

The announcement of the tour comes after The Who’s Pete Townshend recently said he’s reluctant to make a new album with the band, because of the “old fashioned way that [they] work”.

The guitarist’s comments come after Daltrey also said he’s reluctant to make another album with The Who because “there’s no record market any more”.

Speaking to Guitar Player magazine, Townshend said: “As far as a new record, it does take quite a lot of time to put together the 20 or 30 songs that are needed for both Roger and I and any producer that we might be working with to cherry-pick the ones that fit the times.

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Stevie Nicks gives Lorde advice on how to “stay in touch with her dreams”

Stevie Nicks has shared some advice for Lorde in a new interview, saying that the singer “just has to keep doing what she’s doing”.

During a recent conversation in The New Yorker, the Fleetwood Mac star was asked by actor/writer Tavi Gevinson to answer a question from “my friend Ella [Lorde]”, who wanted to know how Nicks had “stayed in touch with her dreams”.

  • READ MORE: The NME Big Read – Lorde: “I feel like I can see my world and myself a lot clearer now”

“You know, the last show that Fleetwood Mac did in New Zealand [in 2019], I found out that [Lorde] had come with her parents, and she didn’t tell me she was even coming, so I didn’t get to meet her,” Nicks replied.


“I have a moon for her, and it’s in a box with a little note, and I’ve never been able to get it to her.”

She continued: “I don’t think Lorde is going to have any problem at all keeping in touch with what she does. I think she’s just as odd as you or me. She’s a strange girl, and so are we. And she’s a really great writer and she’s really good at doing her own recorded stuff.

“I don’t think that any real serious songwriter is ever going to have a problem staying connected to the dream world that allows us to write songs.”

Lorde live
Lorde performs live, 2021. CREDIT: Getty

Nicks added: “We want to have our serious side and all that, but you can’t take yourself too seriously. When you keep music in your life, I think it just changes you and pulls you out of a deep hole.

“Whenever I’m depressed, I just put music on. The second I walk into my dressing room, I plug my iPod into my old-fashioned stereo and I just crank the music. That’s just feeding my soul so that I can get ready to walk onstage in three hours. When I’m pulling up my black tights and putting on my corset, I’m listening to, like, ‘Starboy’ [by The Weeknd].”


Nicks went on to say that she has “crazy musical taste”, adding: “So, anyway. Back to Lorde. She just has to keep doing what she’s doing.”

Speaking to NME for a Big Read cover interview last summer, Lorde namechecked Nicks after being asked about what kind of legacy she hopes to leave behind.

  • READ MORE: Stevie Nicks: “In Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie and I were a force of nature”

“I think if people still have a huge amount of respect for [my music] in the way that I still think David Byrne is cool as hell or Stevie – these people that just are still doing it and are as cool and relevant as they have you ever been; that is super inspiring to me,” she responded.

Back in 2018, Lorde covered Fleetwood Mac’s track ‘Silver Springs’ – which was written by Nicks – while the iconic group were being honoured as the Person Of The Year at a MusiCares event in New York.

Lorde recently won the Best Song In The World gong at the BandLab NME Awards 2022 for ‘Solar Power’, the lead single from her 2021 album of the same name. Check out Lorde’s poolside acceptance speech in the video above.

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NYC’s drill rap scene: “Eric Adams is pushing the NYPD stigma against drill music”

Drill artists and Brooklyn rap experts have shared their reactions to New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ recent call to pull drill music from the internet.

Earlier this month, Adams said during a press conference that after seeing “alarming” drill music videos, he felt they should no longer be shared on social media.

“We pulled Trump off Twitter because of what he was spewing,” the former NYPD officer said at the time. “Yet we are allowing music, displaying of guns, violence, we’re allowing it to stay on these sites.”


Adams added: “We are going to pull together the social media companies, and state that you have a civic and corporate responsibility.”

The Mayor also said he was “alarmed by the use of social media” by drill rappers before blaming the music for “contributing to the violence we are seeing all over this country.”

According to NBC New York, shootings year to date are reportedly up 37 per cent in the city versus this same period in 2021 – an average of nearly four people shot every day.

However, drill artists and rap culture experts have spoken to NME about how they don’t agree with Adams – and believe there’s an agenda behind his call to ban the genre.

“Drill music is our form of art,” Jeffrey Mark Alexander, who performs as 22Gz told NME. The Guyanese-American rapper is credited as a pioneer of Brooklyn’s drill scene.


22gz performs at fashion week Credit: Cindy Ord / WireImage

When asked about the mayor’s recent comments condemning drill rap, he told NME: “It’s our expression of feelings and it shouldn’t be stifled.”

22Gz, who grew up in New York’s Flatbush neighbourhood, also shared that he has been trying to use his music to uplift the city.

“I’ve personally held several shows that went on without incident and have removed a lot of weapons from my visuals,” he said. “I’ve even tried to do positive work in my community like hosting a turkey drive in the fall and even that was shut down.”

He added: “All I’m trying to do is bring light to my community and I’m stopped every time so you tell me who’s being violent.”

Matthew Allen, who covers music for Black culture news site TheGrio, told NME he felt Adams’ reaction to drill music came off as “another example of people condemning Black music and rap music in general.”

​”Anytime somebody tries to spotlight music as what’s wrong with society that’s nothing more than gaslighting and trying to deter from dealing with the real problem,” he said.

Allen also told us he felt Adams should use his platform to get to the root of problem in the city’s communities, instead of focusing on the music.

“That culture existed before the music was created,” he said. “If you want music to have an aura of positivity and self-respect then you have to change the culture from which it derives from. If drill rappers are rapping about gang violence and specific shootings and specific people it’s because that’s what’s around them.”

He added: “People in government should understand that to solve this issue they should do something with the community to stop gang violence and deter murders. They should take the time to understand why it happens.”

The Brooklyn writer also suggested that if the mayor would focus his attention on solving community issues that drive gang violence, “there wouldn’t be a concern about drill music because the lyricism wouldn’t reflect that.”

Rap writer Anthony Malone shared a similar sentiment with NME. “Drill is an expression of the streets,” he told us. “A lot of these acts never had a voice nor someone that represents them. Eric Adams is further pushing the NYPD stigma against drill music.”

Malone went on to compare it with other genres whose lyrics aren’t seen to directly depict life, adding: “It’s an expressive art form that needs to be respected. Johnny Cash never shot a man in Reno and he’s revered, right?”

According to XXL, multiple recent murders have been connected to the city’s drill scene. Bronx drill rapper C-Hii Wvttz and Brooklyn drill artist Tdott Woo were both shot and killed in February. In January, Nas Blixky was shot in the head and leg but survived his shooting incident. Another rapper, Kay Flock, is in jail after being charged for murder after a fatal shooting in Harlem in December 2021.

However, Malone, who has spoken on the record to multiple rappers about the issue, feels that the music has given artists a way to escape a dangerous lifestyle.

“Artists like Sheff G and Sleepy Hollow are known to give back to their community due to their music success, even running an ice cream truck for kids one summer,” he said. “Before his passing, Pop Smoke used the drill platform to jumpstart a global music career.”

Malone also referenced a conversation he had last year with Brooklyn drill artists 26AR for DJBooth. When asked if he felt drill music was providing the streets with a form of expression, 26AR responded, “Yeah, in a way, because it’s giving a chance for them to get that pain out there that they’ve been experiencing. It’s giving them a voice they’ve never had.”

Last Tuesday (February 15) a group of New York rappers including Fivio Foreign, Maino, B-Lovee, Slow Bucks, and Bleezy met with Adams to discuss public safety in the city and the gun violence that is impacting the hip-hop community.

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In a video from the meeting that was shared on Instagram, the rapper Maino said: “There’s been a lot of talk about drill rap, drill music in New York City, connecting violence with the culture, and I just wanted to create a conversation with the mayor.”

The clip then sees Adams add: “We’re going to roll out something together on the whole conversation, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Malone hopes artists and insiders can shift the perception of drill music so it can continue to thrive in the city.

“Drill, especially in the Bronx and Brooklyn is evolving into something outside of the gang ties,” he told us. “It’s entering the mainstream with keynote artists and producers jumping into the fold. It’s like trap music, but it’s our version in NYC.”

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Bop Shop: Songs From Dijon, Bibi, Camp Cope, Taylor Swift, And More

The search for the ever-elusive "bop" is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?

Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn't discriminate by genre and can include anything — it's a snapshot of what's on our minds and what sounds good. We'll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.

  • Taylor Swift: "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)"

    The song that claimed the season of fall, the song that romanticized the light in the refrigerator, the song that has left us feeling OK but not fine at all is back and longer than ever. Coming in at a painstaking 10 minutes and, you guessed it, 13 seconds, the newly released Taylor's Version of “All Too Well” is the result of Swifties begging Taylor Swift to crush their hearts even more by unearthing this hidden gem from the vault. And she did not disappoint.

    Beginning with a chilling spin on the original melody, the guitar strings cut through that familiar sound that we know, dare I say, all too well, and sets up what will become a carefully crafted roller coaster of emotional heartbreak and meticulous storytelling. Swift pleads her vivid lyrics with a deeper voice, controlling inflection, and jarring details — leaving nothing to the imagination of what a 21-year-old Taylor was going through as she wrote these words in her journal over a decade ago.

    There are a ton of new lyrics to unpack in this version of one of Swift’s most acclaimed songs, but the most hurtful one of all might just be, “You said if we had been closer in age, maybe it would have been fine, and that made me want to die.” That’s something we would expect from the song that also gave us, “You call me up again just to break me like a promise / So casually cruel in the name of being honest.” —Alissa Godwin

  • Nilüfer Yanya: "Stabilise"

    London's Nilüfer Yanya made one of the best albums of the 2019 by channeling anxieties about the modern world through a fictional futurescape — and crafting some of the most interesting guitar work to pair with it. She returned this week with "Stabilise," a somehow even more frantic entry, though one that's also a whole lot of fun. Echoes of The Drums and Radiohead's beloved "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" abound, but Yanya's core sound — a whisper-like voice and relentless spindly plucks — promises to make Painless, her follow-up LP, likewise a classic. —Patrick Hosken

  • Mel 4Ever: "Jennifer's Bodice"

    “You fucked up Jennifer’s bodice,” a demonic Mel 4Ever snarls in the chorus of this horror-infused hyperpop track off Tranic Attack, her debut EP. Part Promising Young Woman and part Jennifer’s Body, the visceral cut includes a verse about the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter devouring and shitting out her abuser. How’s that for a revenge fantasy? —Sam Manzella

  • Twice: "Scientist"

    Twice can make K-pop stans care about science. As the second single off their new album Formula of Love: O+T=<3, “Scientist” is a cheerful, spirited track with a retro vibe and campy feel. “Scientist” is accompanied by a bright and colorful music video filled with test tubes and vials, chalkboards covered in equations, and, as always, multiple incredible dance breaks. The song builds its way up to a fun and catchy chorus, with lyrics like “Love ain’t a science / Don’t need no license,” and “Don’t try to be a genius / Why so serious?” that I can already picture fans singing along to. As a group, Twice is consistently creating music to uplift and entertain their fans. This time around, the superstar girl group encourages their listeners to take it easy and follow their hearts, which is a message we could all use right now. —Sarina Bhutani

  • Bibi: "The Weekend"

    Smooth as silk but plagued by self-doubt, Bibi's "The Weekend" is an ode for those suffering through unwelcome romantic head games. But performing it live at 88rising's recent Head in the Clouds festival, Bibi transformed it into something with real power. Just look at the crowd lose themselves in it. —Patrick Hosken

  • Mitski: "The Only Heartbreaker"

    The second single off Mitski's upcoming album Laurel Hell swaps the singer's sometimes reserved indie-rock musings on the pains of love for a retro synth-pop sound. And yet her lyrics, co-written with Semisonic's Dan Wilson, remain as self-aware as ever, as she takes the entirety of the blame for being the "bad guy," "the only heartbreaker," in a torched relationship. She twirls in the ashes after setting the romance ablaze. —Coco Romack

  • Avril Lavigne: “Bite Me”

    Avril Lavigne is back! Fresh off her nostalgic and banging collab with Willow, the 2000s punk-pop princess has released her first single from fellow early aughts pioneer Travis Barker’s label DTA Records. “Bite Me” marks a return to form for an artist who’s experimented with different genres and producers throughout her career; all it takes is her opening war cry to remember why she will always be a trailblazer for a generation that grew up on Hot Topic, Myspace, and prep-school ties as a fashion statement. Barker’s signature, ear-blasting drums provide the perfect backdrop for the song’s sharp lyrics. “You should’ve known better to fuck with somebody like me / Forever and ever you’re gonna wish I was your wifey,” she bellows, reminding us all why no one does Avril quite like Avril. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Dijon: "The Dress"

    There's something infectious about Los Angeles vibe master Dijon's excellent debut album Absolutely. From its very title, the collection resounds with affirmations. On longing ode "The Dress," the singer's voice recedes delicately until the almighty chorus, where it thickens up to deliver a series of tender pleas: "We should go out and dance like we used to dance / We should go out and hold hands." Hard to say no to that. —Patrick Hosken

  • B.I: "Cosmos"

    It’s not often you hear a K-pop song that immediately recalls ‘80s rock, but when it comes to B.I, you learn to simply expect the unexpected. Vastly different from the soloist’s sentimental “Illa Illa,” new single “Cosmos” tells a much happier story. Accompanied by a bright and airy music video that travels through space and time, “Cosmos'' unapologetically describes an out-of-this-world love, juxtaposing sweet, romantic lyrics with a high-energy melody filled with strong drum beats and retro electric guitar sounds. (I know it’s hard to imagine jumping around to lyrics like “Please live and breathe in my imagination / Like the intangible depth of the unknown galaxies / So I can love you forever,” but trust me: B.I makes it more than possible.) This effervescent title track officially introduces fans to B.I’s new world and marks the start of a fun, interesting, and spirited comeback. —Sarina Bhutani

  • Camp Cope: "Blue"

    Beloved Aussie "power emo" trio Camp Cope have returned with a tune that sounds as blue as its title. Singer Georgia Maq's voice mines the depths of depression over plunging guitar chords, but there's a lovable buoyancy keeping "Blue" afloat. It's more akin to slowly reaching a single arm up to the sky — you're still a ways from carefree, but you've taken that important first step toward liberation. —Patrick Hosken

  • Dave Gahan and Soulsavers: "Always on My Mind"

    "Always on My Mind" was first sung by Gwen McRae as "You Were Always on My Mind" but later made popular by Elvis Presley in 1972. Presley recorded the track a few weeks after separating from his wife Priscilla, and it's a common misconception that the song was inspired by his marital strife. Longtime Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan seems to nod to the organic life of the music in his take with Soulsavers — out today on the cover album Imposter — which sounds like it's been nearly hollowed out. Gahan's full-throated vocals, sparse piano keys, and choral backing are the only instruments here, reverberating as if through in an empty wedding chapel. —Coco Romack

  • Michelle: "Mess U Made"

    New York collective Michelle (who style their name in all caps) can be hard to sum up, but "Mess U Made" is the perfect introduction to both their sprawling talent — four vocalists who join together for the big moments, like a pop group — and their impeccable sensibility. The tune itself, delicate R&B-pop, is beautiful, and in this live performance recorded in September, Michelle's singers make it a little edgy, shouting a cuss for effect and releasing a gleeful scream to punctuate the music's seeping emotion. You might yell, too. —Patrick Hosken

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Bop Shop: Songs From Mitski, Blackstarkids, Eartheater, And More

The search for the ever-elusive "bop" is difficult. Playlists and streaming-service recommendations can only do so much. They often leave a lingering question: Are these songs really good, or are they just new?

Enter Bop Shop, a hand-picked selection of songs from the MTV News team. This weekly collection doesn't discriminate by genre and can include anything — it's a snapshot of what's on our minds and what sounds good. We'll keep it fresh with the latest music, but expect a few oldies (but goodies) every once in a while, too. Get ready: The Bop Shop is now open for business.

  • Mitski: "Working for the Knife"

    Where's Mitski been? Working for the knife, you see, just as she'll live and die by it. The examination of her own career in the spotlight makes for a great new single (her first in several years), and the way the sharp guitar lands on the chorus across a sea of buzzing keys makes for an enthralling listen. Welcome back! —Patrick Hosken

  • Fletcher: "Girls Girls Girls"

    Did you also spiral into a Gay Panic™️ the first time you heard Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” in 2008? You may be entitled to compensation, and an exclusive first listen to Fletcher’s “Girls Girls Girls,” a sexy, alt-pop reimagining of Perry’s groundbreaking hit. Where the “Harleys in Hawaii” singer marvels with wide eyes at “the taste of her cherry chapstick,” Fletcher “[sips] her like an old fashioned.” One thing’s for certain: Fletcher, who is openly queer, and the lucky recipient of her girl-on-girl lip-lock “really, really liked it.” —Sam Manzella

  • Eartheater: "Scripture"

    Last month, models wearing black leis, acid-colored gowns, and scuba shorts adorned with fringe edges stomped down a runway in New York for the label Proenza Schouler's spring 2022 ready-to-wear show, which was loosely inspired by designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough's vacations in Hawaii and the restorative effects of travel. Soundtracking the vibrant display was an ambient hymn called "Scripture" by the experimental composer Alexandra Drewchin, who blends baroque instrumentation with throttling rave beats as Eartheater, and who went wide with the song earlier this week. Her airy vocals expand and dissipate like a cloud of smoke over a haze of atmospheric electronics and tuneful folk fluting, which makes this transportive track ideal listening for a different kind of trip. —Coco Romack

  • Blackstarkids: "All Cops Are Bastards*"

    Kansas City alt-pop trio Blackstarkids have always colored outside the lines, using early aughts nostalgia, vocal effects, and their strong point of view to craft tunes that resonate with what it means to be young and alive today. Their newest single, which appears on new album Puppies Forever, dropping October 15, is no exception, though its high-powered take on police brutality, the exhaustion facing the Black community, and the unyielding hope that times are changing will stay with you long past its three-minute runtime. “I’m gonna say something this time,” the track begins, before building into a powerful refrain: “So go, revolt / Keep hope.” Its visual is a powerful reminder that the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 will not be forgotten, but it will take everyone’s work to make it last. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Laurel Premo: "Hop High"

    You'd know a train beat if you heard it, that loping yet caffeinated rumble of drums that imitates the chug of a locomotive. But it's harder to place by ear if the rhythm is coming from something other than two brushes — say, a pair of shoes. Roots musician Laurel Premo's new album Golden Loam is full of new takes on old folk songs, all filtered marvelously through her idiosyncratic mastery of the guitar. Often, it's all you hear on a track — except on "Hop High," an update on a tune from Southern banjo players, that also features percussive dancer Nic Gareiss fashioning a bit of a train beat from his own mic'd-up foot shuffles. The result is subtle but dazzling and rich in texture. Watching a live performance is pure hypnosis. —Patrick Hosken

  • Jay B ft. Junny: “Fame”

    Like a true Capricorn, Jay B tends to keep his cards close to his chest. However, he tends to reveal new aspects of his personality through his music, which can be gleaned from his new single, “Fame.” Off of his debut solo EP Somo:Fume, “Fame” reveals the more playful, easygoing side of the K-R&B star. Featuring Korean-Canadian artist Junny, the groovy, bass-lead track oscillates between English and Korean, as well as rapping and singing, with incredible ease. Accompanied by a cool-toned music video filled with Jeep wranglers, bucket hats, and blue skies, this is a great song for blasting with the windows down. Jay B further promotes the narrative that he is perfect boyfriend material. —Sarina Bhutani

  • Phoebe Bridgers: "That Funny Feeling" (Bo Burnham cover)

    Phoebe Bridgers lends her breathy vocals and Big Sad Girl Energy to this chillingly beautiful cover of Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling,” a dark, acoustic guitar-backed meditation on existential ennui from his acclaimed Netflix comedy special, Inside. It’s no secret that Bridgers adores Burnham’s jokes: After the Emmy-winning show premiered, the “Kyoto” indie rocker sang its praises on social media. She has also been covering the song in concert on her current U.S. tour, leading Pharbz everywhere to speculate about a possible Phoebe-Bo collab. Her version of “That Funny Feeling” is available for purchase on Bandcamp, with all proceeds benefiting abortion funds in the state of Texas. “This one’s for [Republican Texas Gov.] Greg Abbott,” she said in a statement. —Sam Manzella

  • Remi Wolf: "Front Tooth"

    In case you haven’t heard, Remi Wolf is the moment. Fusing funk, soul, and pop with some of the most unhinged lyrics (“Orgy at Five Guys with five guys / That’s 10 guys and holy Christ / I’ve never seen more nuts in my life,” she sings in “Quiet on Set”), the L.A. artist is exceptionally herself. “Front Tooth,” which appears on her debut album Juno, out October 15, finds her taking on a more vulnerable voice than her typically braggadocious bops. “It don’t feel like it’s supposed to,” she croons, before comparing her relationship to “a Conor McGregor fight / Kicking out my front tooth.” Of course, there’s also a crunchy guitar solo, some dolphin noises, and a truly romantic moment when she dubs her lover “a garden gnome.” It is Remi Wolf, after all. —Carson Mlnarik

  • Kali Uchis ft. SZA: "Fue Mejor"

    SZA singing in Spanish? Yes please. Her appearance on Kali Uchis's languid "Fue Mejor" is brief but potent, much like the entire tune. By the end, after sweltering downbeats and a devotion to creating the sexiest atmosphere possible, Uchis is literally engulfed in flames in the music video. Checks out. —Patrick Hosken

  • JoJo: "Spiral SZN"

    JoJo confronts her mental health struggles with cutting honesty on new capsule project Trying Not to Think About It, but if you’ve been following the R&B prodigy’s career long enough, you know she’s always had a penchant for transforming her innermost cringeworthy breakdowns into irresistible bops. “Spiral SZN” finds her at a low point — “Ice in my Sauvignon / I’m havin’ one of those nights” — and rather than preach optimism or hope, she does something even more honest: She gives into the feelings. “Postpone the healin’ / It’s spiral season again,” she sings. Turn to the rest of her EP to come back together, but this is the perfect bop for falling apart. —Carson Mlnarik

  • James Ivy: "Pushin' Thru It"

    The pop-punk resurgence is, if anything, a little stale by now. But the mall-rock revival — what I'd affectionately call soft rock with a slight edge — is nigh. Few artists understand that better than Garden State native James Ivy, whose sonic sweet spot resembles a drum riser set up between a Journeys and a Great American Cookies stand. Unlike on shimmering, nostalgic previous singles "Last Star" and "Headset Go," Ivy opts for a dimed-out fuzz-pop sundae on "Pushin' Thru It." Or maybe it's more of a cup of (spilled) Dippin' Dots? —Patrick Hosken

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Kevin Federline responds to Britney Spears’ conservatorship challenge

Britney Spears‘ ex-husband Kevin Federline has voiced his support for the singer as she attempts to end her controversial conservatorship.

  • READ MORE: Framing Britney Spears: when will female stars get the duty of care they deserve?

Federline, who was married to Britney from 2004-2007, explained that the singer’s best interests will also benefit those of their two children, 15-year-old Sean and 14-year-old Jayden.

Asked about the children, Federline’s lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan said: “The best thing would be for their mom to be healthy and happy.

“And if either of those things aren’t true, it doesn’t provide for the best setting for custody to be exercised.”

Discussing Federline’s views, he added: “[Kevin] certainly respects Britney and only hopes the best for her because when the best for her is achieved, it’s the best for their kids.

“The kids love their mother and he wants there to be a healthy and strong relationship.”

Kaplan added to People: “Britney has not been served well by the conservatorship and it’s not consistent with what she wants.

“I think that she should be able to challenge that. And if it’s what’s best for her, Kevin supports it. “If she’s strong and healthy and wants to be in control of her own life, and can do that in a reasonable, responsible fashion, then more power to her.”

He concluded: “And if it’s no longer necessary, that’s great too. Just want to make sure that all of the considerations, how she’s doing are taken into account if she seeks to change the custody order in the post-conservatorship era, if that ever comes.”

Spears’ emotional 24-minute testimony to a Los Angeles court last week saw her refer to her conservatorship – which led to the fan-created #FreeBritney movement – as “abusive”. She alleged that while under the conservatorship, she is forbidden from having more children, getting married or taking out her IUD.

Earlier this week, Christina Aguilera penned a lengthy statement regarding the controversial conservatorship, joining the calls from fans worldwide for it to end.

The statement from Aguilera, who starred alongside Spears on The Mickey Mouse Club in the early ’90s, is just the latest support to come from an artist, with Mariah Carey, Halsey and more all offering their support.

Britney Spears to address Los Angeles court in hearing about her conservatorship
Britney Spears in 2018. Credit: J. Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD

Justin Timberlake, who also starred in The Mickey Mouse Club and dated Spears for three years, also shared his support, saying “we should all be supporting Britney at this time”.

Earlier this year, Timberlake had publicly apologised to Spears, where he said that he “failed” her by contributing to a system that “condones misogyny and racism”.

Her family has offered different messages around the conservatorship over recent days. While sister Jamie Lynn released a statement in solidarity with Britney, saying “I am so proud of her for using her voice”, Britney’s brother-in-law (and Jamie Lynn’s husband) Jamie Watson defended Britney’s family, telling The New York Post, “I can assure you her family loves her and wants the best for her.”

In response to the claim about her IUD, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America also released a statement in solidarity with Spears.

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My Bloody Valentine: “We were like the Partridge Family on acid”

With the news that My Bloody Valentine have released their catalogue across streaming services for the first time, it seemed like a good opportunity to dust down our cover story from Uncut’s March 2018 issue. Here, then, is the band’s full, epic tale – told by Kevin Shields, Colm Ó Cíosóig, Debbie Googe and Bilinda Butcher, original singer Dave Conway and a host of friends and collaborators.

A landmark of songwriting and sonic adventure, Loveless by MY BLOODY VALENTINE didn’t come cheap. As the band’s members explain, this was a recording plagued by poverty, illness and a commitment to “plough through hell”. From Amsterdam, via squats, LSD and chinchillas, this is also the story of the enduring genius of the band’s visionary songwriter KEVIN SHIELDS. “I still can’t really figure out what it is he does,” says PAUL WELLER. “But I know something: only he can do it.”


To the residents of South Kensington, the sound comes from everywhere and nowhere. For an hour, a strange and unaccountable low frequency rumble rattles windowpanes and shakes paintings off their hooks. This is summer, 1989 and My Bloody Valentine are busy conducting a sonic experiment.

At this time, the band has taken up residence in a 16-track studio tucked into the side of a large warehouse space. As befitting one London’s most affluent boroughs, this space also had an art gallery attached to it. “We dragged the amps out to make it as loud as possible,” recalls Kevin Shields, the band’s chief architect. “It was just me and Colm [Ó Cíosóig, drums]. He was on bass and I retuned all the strings so they were all really low and floppy. We just created this huge, grumbling noise. The room was shaking and the lights were flickering. It put us into an altered state of consciousness. The second we stopped, we heard a noise outside. Apparently, the owner had been banging on the doors for about 40 minutes. The gallery didn’t have any soundproofing. He’d heard this crazy noise on the other side of the borough. By the time he got to the studio, the whole building was vibrating. The doors were locked so he couldn’t get in. He was furious, but he couldn’t stay angry with us because he thought we were crazy. You see, Colm and me were laughing like a pair of 5 year-olds. We felt like we were on the strongest drug in the world. That’s when we realized, ‘There’s something in this. What would happen if other people got to feel this, too?’”

As far as it goes, it is possible to pinpoint Shields and Ó Cíosóig’s wilful seismic disturbances as a transformative moment in My Bloody Valentine’s history. The band had always been preoccupied with what to say and how loud to say it: even during their earliest days, on the fringes of Dublin’s post-punk scene, when they drew from The Cramps’ gothic-psychedelic edge and the avant garde musical philosophies of Einstürzende Neubauten. But the wild, heavy drones they conjured that day in West London introduced new perspectives and focus to Loveless, the album they began recording a few months later. “As a piece of work, Loveless is a whole universe in itself,” says Colm Ó Cíosóig. “Every time I listen to it, I hear different things in it. It’s like listening to wildlife or whales or something. It has its own space and time.”

Since it was first released in 1991, Loveless continues to exert a mighty pull on Shields and his accomplices. This month, he finally unveils a new analog edition of the album – along with its predecessor, Isn’t Anything – that has taken him two arduous years to complete. “I got the best I could get,” he says. ”But it’s not over yet. There’ll be a double album version of Loveless eventually…”

“Kevin is always open to going anywhere, but he thinks in very abstract ways,” admits Debbie Googe, the band’s bassist. “He isn’t a very linear person – he doesn’t go from A – B. He goes from A – K to somewhere in the middle. He meanders around things.”

Abstract? Meandering? Certainly, the My Bloody Valentine story can be both of those things – we shall discover colourful digressions involving a haunted tape room, a colony of chinchillas and inner journeys into uncharted hypnagogic states. But critically, the My Bloody Valentine story is also about the fierce connection between four people, even during trying times. “It’s an incredible, fortunate meeting of people,” says singer/guitarist Bilinda Butcher. “We all love each other so much that we just stay together, no matter what. We’ve got this thing nobody else has; it’s really special. Each of us knows that. Even now.”


“I don’t look for extreme life, I don’t,” explains Shields. “But for some weird reason extremes happen all the time, good things and bad things.”


Even at the start, My Bloody Valentine’s story was informed by a degree of chaos. Arriving from Queens, New York in Cabinteely, Co. Dublin, Kevin Shields discovered punk rock began shortly after his 14th birthday: “The first song I ever played on a guitar was Buzzcocks’ ‘Harmony In My Head’.”. At school, a fellow student in Shields’ Kung Fu class happened to be getting a band together: he already had the attention of Colm Ó Cíosóig, an enthusiastic drummer with no immediate expertise. “The first rehearsals Colm and I did, he didn’t even know about a beat,” recalls Shields. “He was just hitting his drums randomly, and I didn’t know about tuning.”

United in the first instance from the desire to play Motörhead’s “Bomber”, Shields and Ó Cíosóig’s earliest bands rose and fell in line with their personnel. One early accomplice was Liam Ó Maonlaí, later of Hothouse Flowers. Shields found himself asked to leave one group after he discovered a phaser pedal – “I was so fascinated by the sound, I didn’t want to turn it off. I enjoyed moving past the point of reason.”

A union of like minds, the work Shields and Ó Cíosóig began together was made for people not catered for by the mainstream. “We were pushing boundaries,” says Ó Cíosóig. “We had a Tascam four-track portastudio and a synthesizer. We’d make tapes with weird noises and drones and then improvise over them.”

An advertisement placed in a local record shop drew the attention of David Conway, who became their singer in summer, 1983. “He was crazy, a bit like Lux Interior,” says Ó Cíosóig. “It was great to have a wild man upfront, it made the gigs a bit more fun.”

The band – not yet called My Bloody Valentine – played their first gig on August 18 at a small Dublin venue, the Ivy Rooms. The name arrived a short while later, suggested by Conway in the bar of Dublin’s North Star Hotel. Gigs and line-up changes followed; but alas, “we weren’t popular in Ireland,” relates Shields. Taking advice from Virgin Prunes’ frontman Gavin Friday, they moved to the Netherlands. “In Holland, you get paid by the government for gigs, even if there’s no one there,” says Ó Cíosóig. “It was like a union fee, I guess. We sent a demo tape. We got one gig and decided to emigrate.”

Without a regular bass player, they were joined on a Casio keyboard by Conway’s girlfriend Tina Durkin. “When it worked, it was good,” says Ó Cíosóig. “Those early Casios had this cool, organy sound like a Farfisa, which gave the songs a distorted groove.”

“In Amsterdam, we stayed in a dive called The Last Water Hole,” remembers Shields. “It was pretty rough; it was run by bikers. There were no sheets on the bed, just a cover on the mattress. Everyone slept in their clothes.” A sympathetic promoter offered them the run of his house in the countryside near Gouda. Aside from a commendably well-stocked record collection, the band discovered the house also contained a modest cannabis factory in the attic.

“We were pretty broke so were started smoking weed instead of tobacco,” says Ó Cíosóig. “I got used to carrying a big tobacco pouch full of weed around with me. One day, I walked into a police station in Amsterdam with a huge bag of weed in my pocket without even realizing it was there. We tried to get work. Kevin managed to get a job herding cows for a couple of months.”

A move to Berlin in winter 1984 facilitated an introduction to a dynamic local promoter, Dimitri Hegemann. Under his patronage, they record a mini-album – This Is Your Bloody Valentine. “The studio was so cheap that the engineer who was doing the mixing for us had to do a live gig that night, so he had to leave at 6pm,” says Ó Cíosóig. “It took an afternoon to mix the record. One of the tracks was mixed in 10 minutes. We just put the faders up. ‘Done! Next track.’”


Debbie Googe came to My Bloody Valentine by a circuitous route. Originally from Yeovil, she had been involved in Somerset’s anarcho-punk scene in the late Seventies, where her band Bikini Mutants self-released a cassette on local label, All The Mad Men. In the mid-Eighties, she was in London, working at the Rio cinema in Dalston. Her then-partner, Annie Lloyd, was based in Berlin, where she fronted Hegemann’s band, Leningrad Sandwich. When My Bloody Valentine decided to relocate to London, Lloyd recommended Goodge as a potential bassist. “They were so sweet and innocent,” she laughs. “Colm took ages to decipher. We used to practice in the squats where Kevin and Colm lived. They were pretty smelly, as you can imagine with three boys in a very small room and no open windows.”

As it transpired, the London squat scene proved critical to the band’s growth. “We lived a very free life,” confirms Shields. “I liked it that way. It was very positive. Most of our gigs were squat gigs, too. Some of the squats in London, they’d literally take out the first floor to make it more like a venue. We played in a squatted church in Bath once. It was like Mad Max. Kids running around with ripped clothes and hair black with dirt. It was the hardcore end of the convoy people, basically. They really didn’t like us. I have a tape of that gig somewhere. It’s very funny. You can hear us playing, then they got us to stop and you can hear a guy with a real hippie voice saying, ‘Hey, man. We told you to stop. It’s too loud.’ That was late ’85.”

The picture that emerges of My Bloody Valentine during this period is one of guileless aspiration. The music – evident in songs like “The Devil Made Me Do It”, “Tiger In My Tank” and “The Love Gang” – was reaching for an aesthetic ideal not yet completely formulated. “They needed to get something down that was more in spirit of what they were like when they played on stage – which was astonishing,” recalls Joe Foster, who produced the band’s 1986 EP, The New Record By My Bloody Valentine. “There was total chaos going on.”

“They were great,” says Bilinda Butcher. “I was a bit of a fan. They were a bit different. They all had bowl haircuts. Dave was quite impressive as a frontman. Then my boyfriend at the time said they were looking for a backing vocalist and I went along for an audition. I remember Kevin was hitting pedals and amps, chucking things around. His glasses were stuck together with a plaster. I knew the words to some of the songs; I think that did it for Kevin. For Deb, I sang Dolly Parton’s ‘Bargain Store’ a capella.”

In fact, Butcher was walking into a more fluid situation than she might have imagined. The band was growing restless with their direction; then, shortly after a tour in 1987, Conway decided to leave. Shields was now unsure how best to manage this situation. Take on lead vocals himself? Or was a more radical approach necessary?

As Shields sees it, the arrival of Googe and Butcher – while two years apart – necessitated a change not just in the band’s personal dynamic but also their sound. The music the quartet first made together – a single, “Strawberry Wine” and a mini-album Ecstasy, both in 1987 – was, they all agree, necessarily transitional. Stylistically, the songs shared a number of attributes with the jangly independent music of the mid-Eighties.

“It was the first time I’d ever written lyrics and sung them,” recalls Shields. “I remember coming home from Waterloo in the morning going, ‘I’m a songwriter!’ In ‘87 early ‘88, we very, very, very quickly decided that we didn’t like them. Then we were going to drop the name. We just wanted to erase the whole history.”

“You can hear where we’re going in songs like ‘Clair’ or ‘Please Lose Yourself In Me’,” says Ó Cíosóig. “But we wanted to rock out more. We were very inspired by the American scene – Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and Hüsker Dü. Then Kevin got a great new guitar, discovered the tremolo arm and the reverse reverb effect. That gave him a whole new place to play in. A whole new sonic world.”

“I used reverse reverb all over the Ecstasy and ‘Strawberry Wine’ records to no great consequence, because I was using it the way it was meant to be used,” explains Shields. “Then in ’88, I discovered that it was extremely sensitive to velocity and how high you hit the string. You could make huge waves of sound by hitting it softer or harder. At the same time, my friend Bill Carey from Something Pretty Beautiful lent me his Fender Jazzmaster. It had a tremolo arm. I played it on ‘Thorn’. The second I did that, something jumped inside me. It allowed me to play in a way where I don’t have to think about what I was doing, I just feel it.”

Change came, and not a moment too soon. My Bloody Valentine showcased these exciting new developments in late 1988 via two EPs, released a few months apart on Creation Records, “You Made Me Realise” and “Feed Me With Your Kiss”.

“To me, the biggest shift was ‘You Made Me Realise’,” says Googe. “I remember when we were mixing it, Kevin said, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘It sounds like Jefferson Airplane.’ He said, ‘Fuck that!’ and started pushing things.”

“When we were doing ‘Feed Me With Your Kiss’, I made the bass so heavy it popped the speaker off the wall,” admits Shields. “Instinctively, the engineer put his foot out to stop it hitting the ground and it broke his foot.”

“By the time we got to Isn’t Anything, it wasn’t just the sound that had changed,” continues Googe. “It was something about the way the songs were falling rhythmically. It sounded different. It felt like a different thing entirely.”


Foel Studios, Wales, summer, 1988. My Bloody Valentine take up residence to record their debut album, Isn’t Anything.

“It was quite a spooky place,” remembers Bilinda Butcher. “The studio was in a converted barn. Kevin used to fall asleep there a lot and wake up completely freaked out. The guy who owned it, Dave Anderson, had been in Amon Düül. He had some weird stories of stuff that had gone on there. There was a time where something peculiar happened and the tape went into a strange shape on the tape machine, like a pyramid.”

Sessions were dictated by Shields habit of sleeping long into the day and working through the night. “When it came to doing all the vocals, Kevin only had about two hours sleep a night,” remembers Ó Cíosóig. “That’s where the weird, broken lyrics come from – this dream state of the language itself being twisted around and placed in a different space.”

Paranormal activity? Fugue states? There would be more of those to come. But for now, despite such otherworldly conditions, the music of Isn’t Anything was surprisingly gritty. “It was purposefully raw,” acknowledges Shields. “We didn’t add compression or reverb to the vocals. We kept to single takes. The idea was, it’s just us doing what we do – without trying to be something that we’re not.”

“People weren’t prepared for Isn’t Anything,” says Jeff Barrett, who was then working as a publicist for Creation Records. “I went up and down the country with the Valentines. I remember a gig at Nottingham Trent Poly where they were phenomenal. It didn’t feel necessarily year zero, it didn’t feel like scorched earth, but I knew it was going to be a big record. It put a fire up everybody’s arse. There was some good British noise bands. You could go see Godflesh or Jackdaw With Crowbar. Loop were doing their thing. But there was something different about this. The Velvets weren’t the reference point. It was contemporary.”

While Isn’t Anything was an exciting artistic breakthrough for My Bloody Valentine, over the next year the band found the pressure mounting. Shields recounts two failed attempts to record follow-up EPs during early 1988. Domestically, meanwhile, his relationship with Butcher was also beginning to unravel.

“At that point, things were breaking down between us, I think,” she says. “We were living in this house together and we’d see each other – but be in different spheres. Loveless is called Loveless not just because of our relationship breaking down, but because the whole process of making Loveless was difficult.”

Shields’ best work – then, as now – comes to him during the hypnagogic state when the brain transitions between wakefulness and sleep. Butcher recalls him writing songs at night on the sofa in the flat in Brixton, often nodding off with a guitar on his lap. During an American tour to support Isn’t Anything, a fan gave Shields a cassette of The Beach Boys Today! and Pet Sounds. “I fell asleep to it all the time,” he says. “It became part of my life. Maybe because of it, I developed a certain ideas about production.” Inspiration came from other sources too: from his home on Brixton’s Tulse Hill Estate, Shields was exposed to a vibrant mix of gospel, reggae, ragga and – crucially – hip hop. These various factors began to coalesce, towards the end of 1989, into a follow-up to Isn’t Anything. The making of Loveless has been the subject of much conjecture and myth making over the last 27 years. Joe Foster, then an ally at Creation Records, attempts a definitive take on what went down between September 1989 and January 1991. “There are all kind of stories. Some of them make it look like Kevin was an Orson Welles-like genius. Others make it look like he’s a stoner, just useless. Neither of those things were true.”

What Foster leans towards is a kind of third way, where Shields’ creative vision for Loveless was effectively frustrated by bad luck, administrative ineptitude and the band’s own slow, meticulous working practices. The experiments Shields and Ó Cíosóig conducted in South Kensington during June and July, 1989 initiated a shift in Shields’ attitude to the possibilities of sound. Among the songs they worked up was an embryonic version of “Soon”, which would later lead off the band’s Glider EP. In September, the band decamped to Elephant studios in Wapping, south London, for an eight-week period where, Shields claims, “we put down about 20 songs.”

Their relationship with Alan McGee’s Creation label, however, was faltering. “They were penniless, they couldn’t afford £1,000 to do the next Felt record,” says Shields. “They knew we were slow and decided there was no point putting us in an expensive studio. They found these good deals, but that meant the studio wasn’t looked after properly or it was run by weird people. At Elephant, we worked at lot at night and the studio owner was always hanging around. He told us he was hiding out as MI5 were after him. The tapes were confiscated three or four times, because Creation didn’t have the money to pay the bill. That characterised Loveless. Then Colm got really ill.”

“I was going to be evicted from my squat,” says Ó Cíosóig. “I didn’t have a new place. Creation couldn’t even afford £300 deposit for a flat. I’d go to the studio and then as soon as I left, I’d walk the streets looking at places to squat. This was November, it was cold, and I’m out walking the streets. All that got to me. I had this nervous breakdown. I was able to function mentally, but my brain to arm muscle control mechanism stopped working. I managed to get it together for a couple of songs – two songs on the record have live drums. ‘Only Shallow’ and ‘Come In Alone’.”

“It was like a fucking meltdown,” recalls Shields. “So then we got the idea that we would program the bass drum parts and he would just play the hi hat and the snare.”

“The initial process of doing drums was very lengthy,” says Debbie Googe. “You would turn up every day and not really do anything because Kevin and Colm were tuning a drum. You lock into that. It becomes what you do. A lot of time goes by. We were all perilously close to losing our sanity at a certain point. For me, I guess, my sense of self-worth got a little low at times. I wasn’t doing an awful lot.”

“It felt like ploughing through mud,” says Butcher. “Kevin was going through such a lot. I would swan in and out when I was doing my thing, whereas he was there all the time, dealing with everybody, with Alan McGee and the engineers.”

Even now Shields shudders as he recalls the perceived intransigence he encountered first hand in recording studios. “When we recorded ‘Glider’, I remember the guys at the studio saying, ‘You guys are out of your mind, what you’re doing.’ At another studio, one of the engineers wanted to run a pizza place, the other one wanted to move into advertising.”

“Kevin had a vision, we could all see it,” adds Ó Cíosóig. “We needed a proper studio from the get go that didn’t break down, where there were no faulty channels and no crap going on. We were firing engineers all the time. We didn’t do things normally. They’d be freaking out. ‘That frequency, 4hertz, is distorting! You can’t do that!’ ‘We don’t give a shit about your fucking 4khtz! It sounds good. So what?’ They couldn’t get the weirdness of the record, the warpiness. It didn’t help when you had somebody sitting in the corner looking at you like a freak.”

“I used to really love watching Kevin creating his various sound booths in various places – his little blanket tents,” remembers Goodge. “He would construct these things out of foam and blankets and God knows, these crazy little shanty towns inside the actual studios.”

Aside from Ó Cíosóig’s work earlier on, Shields recorded much of the album alone. Butcher recorded her vocals late in the process, at London’s Protocol and Britannia Row studios between May and June, 1991. “Kevin would give me a guide vocal and I’d make up lyrics for it,” says Butcher. “He might not be singing real words, but it would sound like something to me so I would write down what I thought he had sung.”

In February, 1991, the Tremolo EP brought into woozy focus Shields’ gifts for crushing sonic power and delicate vulnerability. One track, “To Here Knows When”, appeared on Loveless, when the album was finally released in November. “I always thought Loveless was a really great pop record,” says Googe. “Kevin has got a really strong sense of melody that people don’t always pick up on. People talk about how he reinvented guitar – which is true – but actually the reason it works and why people remember it is because you do go away whistling these little hooks.”

“How many studios did we work in?” says Shields. “25, I think. It nearly sank us, to be honest, but it didn’t quite. It was just a lot of bad luck. Some people, they would get into a situation like that and then stop to regroup. That’s the smart way to do it. Otherwise you use too much energy and it slows you down. Don’t just plough through hell.”


Had it ended there, Loveless alone would have granted My Bloody Valentine an unshakeable place in rock history. But the protracted process that led to its follow-up proved the band unable, in this instance, to play the cards they had been dealt. “I don’t know what the hell happened,” reflects Bilinda Butcher. “I look back and think, ‘God.’ I mean, that was really mad.”

The plan, everyone now agrees, seemed sensible at the time. In 1992, My Bloody Valentine signed with Island Records. Shields bought a house in Streatham and began building a recording studio at the property. “We did it really fast,” says Shields. “We got the house in January ‘93, paid for it in March, we had the studio finished in June. Then the desk died.”

“We didn’t understand all the technical aspects of wiring a studio,” admits Ó Cíosóig. “Problems with electricity, tones, frequencies. It took months to try and figure that out; engineers were scratching their heads.”

A second desk proved to be equally problematic. Meanwhile, Island proved unwilling to help the band recoup their outlay. Shields estimates they lost a year. There were other considerations, too. “The house was full of madness,” admits Googe. “We smoked way too much weed. It was like the Partridge Family on acid. It was quite a mad scene. And then there were the chinchillas. I think Kevin bought one as a present for Bill. They thought it might be lonely, so they got another one. Then, like rodents do, they bred. At its peak, I think there were 13 or 14 chinchillas and they had the whole of the upstairs floor.”

“I don’t know what kind of pressure Kevin must have been under to follow up Loveless,” admits Butcher. “But a lot of songs got written there and eventually things were recorded there. That was a spooky place too, I have to say. There were some weird things going on around the tape machine. Both Colm and I saw this apparition like a hooded monk hanging out round where the tape machine room was. Kevin saw all sorts of stuff there. He was going on a voyage of I-don’t-know-what while he lived there.”

“I started getting into serious mind meditation shit after we finished the [1991] tour,” explains Shields. “I read a book by Terence McKenna about using psychedelics as a way to explore the mind. I started experimenting on myself. I’d close my eyes and visualize a cow, for some reason. Then I realised I couldn’t just see the cow, but pass around it. It was solid. That led on to an infinite amount of experiences. I really looked forward to having my own time when everyone went to bed. I’d sit there, close my eyes and trip out. In a very short space of time, I was flying around this solar system: my imagination.”

Shields admits that the music made during this period was essentially “lot of ideas… we were trying not to write songs in a normal fashion. We were listening to a lot of drum’n’bass. We were experimenting with vibrations – how when something’s really distorted it shakes as well and that creates a rhythm. But we lost momentum. We were all right to make a record in our heads, and we were excited by the studio – but somehow it went a bit sideways.”

“There was work done,” adds Googe. “But we were dysfunctional, ridiculously slow. Every day, Colm would get up and say, ‘Today’s the day we’re going to make the record!’ Then Colm left. I really missed him! We were always up first and we’d sit and have our coffee together in the morning. Then I left. I’d driven over to Island to deliver a tape of the Wire song we recorded [“Map Ref. 41°N 93°W”]. It was a Friday evening and as I was driving back to the house, I thought, ‘For my own sanity, I can’t go back.’ So I went back to my flat and phoned Kevin. That was late 1997, I think.”

“I moved back into my council flat in Brixton,” says Butcher. “But I wasn’t leaving, I was there waiting, anytime, to do whatever we needed. But after we all left the house, I think Kevin felt a bit abandoned.”


One regular visitor to Kevin Shields’ Streatham home during 1998 was Primal Scream guitarist, Andrew Innes. In his home studio, Shields was working on mixes for Primal Scream’s new album, XTRMNTR. “At the time, Kevin wasn’t living a 24 hour day,” recalls Innes. “He’d get up at 6 o’clock at night and then work all night. But he’d work through the next day and go to bed at a different time.”

Shields’ involvement with Primal Scream lasted from 1998 – 2005, where his talents were felt both in the studio and the live arena. “In the studio, he’d say, ‘What do you want me to do?’ We had these little phrases, descriptions of what particular sound we wanted. ‘Can you get that one where you’re cutting down the trees?’ He’d hit the pedals and it would sound like a chainsaw. Live, there were certain tracks on XTRMNTR that were aggressive; we’d hold him back and hold him back and then give him the nod, ‘Kev, hit that button.’ He’d take it to the next level of intensity and pain. There’d be some little kids down the front and they’d be smiling and by the time Kev had played three songs, you could see they were thinking, ‘This isn’t actually very funny.’ It was brilliant.”

Brian Reitzell, meanwhile, speculates that Shields was financially “trapped in Primal Scream. It’s not such a bad trap but still a trap.” As drummer for Air, Reitzell had met Shields on tour in Japan in 2001. A few years later, he approached Shields in an altogether different guise: as the soundtrack producer for Sofia Coppola’s new film, Lost In Translation. Reitzell remembers making three, week-long trans-Atlantic trips to Shields’ studio in Camden between November 2002 and March 2003. Reitzell describes a familiar pattern for these sessions: “We had a different engineer each time because Kevin would burn them out. We would show up at the studio and the engineer had to be there at eight o’clock, but we wouldn’t roll in until 11 at night and then we’d work through until nine or 10 in the morning.”

Along with insight into the recording process, Reitzell also also offers a tantalizing glimpse of material that didn’t make the final cut. He outlines trips to a Camden shop selling instruments from around the world and an attempt to “put an e-bow on one of these weird Asian stringed instruments” that was ultimately ditched. “Kevin and I also did a cue with Martin Duffy on electric piano and Duncan McKay playing layers of trumpet – both from Primal Scream. It was full on Miles Davis / Gil Evans trip. I loved it, but it didn’t make the film.” They also recorded “three proper songs” – although only one, “City Girl”, appeared in the film when it was opened in September 2003.

Critically, Reitzell says that the success of the Lost In Translation soundtrack allowed him greater financial latitude on his next film with Coppola, Marie Antoinette, for which he “grossly overpaid” Shields to do two remixes, facilitating his economic independence.

It is possible to view Shields work with Primal Scream and Brian Reitzell as a process of rehabilitation after the Valentines’ split in 1997. In the immediate aftermath, Shields undertook remix work – for artists ranging from the Pastels to Placebo, Mogwai and Yo La Tengo. He also quietly continued to work on the band’s long-gestating fourth album. “I would bump into Kevin here in Camden on his way to the studio, doing the album,” says Googe. For Shields, though, a turning point came in 2005, when Patti Smith invited him to participate in The Coral Sea project at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. “I never really used the tremolo arm after the last recordings I made in 1997,” says Shields. “I can’t add that way of playing on as an effect for people, so I developed a whole different approach with Primal Scream. When Patti asked me to play Meltdown, I got my tunings from the My Bloody Valentine days and a bunch of guitars and we improvised. Patti really inspired me to start playing guitar again like I used to.”

Paul Weller witnessed first hand the rejuvenated Shields when the two collaborated together on a track, “7&3 Is The Striker’s Name”. “When he came down to here to the studio, be had a big bag of effects and pedals,” he tells Uncut. “They were all buzzing and cracking, almost on the point of explosion. I watched Kevin during that session and I still can’t really figure out what it is he does. But I know something: only he can do it.”


For the other members of My Bloody Valentine during their extended hiatus, time passed in different ways. Colm Ó Cíosóig began playing with Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. Debbie Googe “floundered for a while; I’d been ‘Deb in My Bloody Valentine’ for years and I didn’t know who I was” before she formed Snow Pony with her then-partner, Katharine Gifford. Bilinda Butcher, meanwhile, opted out of music to raise a family. “But I never gave up faith that it was going to happen again,” she says. The band are all individually keen to stress that they never actually fell out with one another – “They’d had enough of me, but they didn’t hate me or anything,” laughs Shields. In 2006, they received an offer of $300,000 to play the Coachella festival; “it put the idea into our head,” says Shields. In 2007, they decided to make a go of it, booking five nights at London’s Roundhouse. Coachella, meanwhile, upped their offer to a million dollars – but, according to Shields, ”it was too early, we’d literally just got it together in time to do those Roundhouse gigs, so even for a million dollars we couldn’t do Coachella.”

“The first day of practice, it was like I’d gone to the toilet and come back in,” remembers Goodge. “There’s a lot of shared history and familiarity that comes in to play in those situations. But we’d had eight, 10 years away from each other. We chose to come back.”

On June 13, 2008, My Bloody Valentine performed in public for the first time in 16 years during two live rehearsals at the ICA. An extensive world tour was announced, to run through the summer and autumn months. And in the middle of all this sudden, unexpected activity Shields mentioned that the band’s long-gestating third album was at last near completion.

Finally, after 20-odd years of prevarication, false alarms, teases and disappointments, m b v was released through the band’s website on February 2, 2013. Ó Cíosóig describes the album as “closing up a chapter. A lot of the music was from back in the time, the house, pre-implosion. There were some great songs there.” Shields reveals that he began writing the oldest track on the album, “New You”, in April, 1994 “the night after I heard Kurt Cobain killed himself.” Another song, “Only Tomorrow”, was only slightly younger – dating from around 1996. “I went back into the studio and recorded some drums over the drum loops to give it a bit of character,” says Ó Cíosóig. “Give it a bit of push and pull.”

“The m b v record has a theme, for want of a better word,” says Shields. “It’s about change and death and what was happening in the world, as I saw it in the late Nineties. Nostalgia is part of that. Funnily enough, it all made even more sense in 2012.”

Six years later, and Shields seems confident that a fourth album will appear soon. Early forays in the studio began in Ireland over summer 2017. “Kevin was working on drums with Colm,” says Goodge, identifying an all-too familiar pattern in My Bloody Valentine’s recording processes. There was lull, meanwhile, as Shields concentrated on the new vinyl editions of Isn’t Anything and Loveless and a collaboration with Brian Eno, called “Only Once Away My Son”.

“I know he’s got some stuff pretty much nearly ready for me,” says Butcher. “I’m really looking forward to it. It feels really exciting. Kevin’s working on songs in the way he always does. He’s always got millions of songs going round his head.”

“I’m keeping things clear in case I’m needed for Valentines stuff from April,” says Googe. “Certainly, from June on I think we’ll playing live. Between June and August, stuff will happen.”

“Everything’s going really well,” adds Ó Cíosóig. “I’ve been recording with Kevin recently He’s got his studio, I’ve been helping out. The trip. It’s now or never, I guess.”

“In the last few months,” says Kevin Shields, “when things have got quite tense with the remasters, I’ve pulled back from it. I really want to make this new record and I don’t want to get burnt out. You see, I don’t feel like I’m finished. I will be exploring things until I’m dead. I feel like if I don’t do this myself, no one else is going to do it.”

My Bloody Valentine’s catalogue, from Isn’t Anything onwards, is now streaming; new physical album editions are available on May 21 and can be pre-ordered now


“We all expressed a desire to do something different…”

DAVID CONWAY, the band’s original singer, recalls his time in My Bloody Valentine

“Summer 1983 in Dublin — I had just finished with a band I’d been in for a little under a year. One day, I was in an old independent record shop called Freebird. I noticed a handwritten advertisement placed on a notice board from a band looking for a vocalist. I called the number and spoke to a guy called Mark Ross who was at that time playing bass with Kevin and Colm. We arranged to meet up outside Sallynoggin church in County Dublin. My first impression when I saw Kevin and Colm — accompanied by Mark — was that they looked reassuringly normal.

“Back at the Kevin’s family home in Cabinteely, Kevin and Colm had taken advantage of the fact that the Shields family were away on holiday to set up a drum kit and a couple of amps in the front room. They played a few pieces for me and I was hooked. At this point Kevin’s guitar style was mostly dominated by heavy chords and riffing filtered through layers of distortion, chorus and analogue delay effects — a big, scary wall-of-sound, I think you could say. Colm’s drumming style was already in evidence: a really driving, atavistic attack. In a way they struck me as outsiders — as far as the prevailing Dublin music scene was concerned; an attitude that expressed itself in what I could see as a genuine commitment to do something different.

“Initially, in the first few months or so, the songs tended to mostly emerge from the basic rehearsal process. Kevin and Colm — and, while he was still us, Mark — would come up with the music and I would put the vocals to it. At this stage — between July 1983 and April 1984 — we were also composing backing tapes on a four-track Tascam 244 portastudio, which we incorporated into our live gigs. Though Kevin took responsibility for the lion’s share of this, we all usually contributed something. In fact, this general approach to song-writing — eventually ditching the backing tapes — lasted through a few line-up changes including the writing and recording of This is Your Bloody Valentine in West Berlin in December 1984.

“After we re-located to London and Deb Goodge joined, the approach to song-writing changed. I think we agreed that it was important to write real songs. While I came up with the words — which I would run by Kevin and Colm to see what we all felt did or did not work — most of the melodic lines incorporated into the vocals derived from Kevin’s ideas, since he was creating music with very specific melodic/harmonic/rhythmic relationships in mind. The first really tangible results of this approach appeared on The New Record By My Bloody Valentine.

“There were two major reasons why I left the band. From late 1986, I began to develop rather severe gastric ailments that became increasingly debilitating to the extent that playing gigs — and even rehearsing — started to become extremely difficult. Aside from that, I had begun to feel that — after recording the Sunny Sundae Smile EP — I had less and less to contribute to the band in terms of the direction we seemed to be pursuing. The split itself was amicable.

“The last time I saw MBV would have been at the Brixton Academy when they did the Rollercoaster tour with the Jesus and Mary Chain, Dinosaur Jr and Blur. As for what I thought of the band they became, I suppose it didn’t take me by surprise quite as much as it might have done with many other people. When I first heard ‘You Made Me Realise’, it took me back to when I first met Kevin and Colm and we had all expressed the desire to do something different. To me that record — and the band MBV became — finally validated that promise.”

Visit for more information on Dave Conway’s current activities

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Aaliyah Still Sounds Like The Future

By Yasmine Shemesh

An eponymous album marks a major moment in an artist's career. For women, owning one's work, body, and artistry can be especially powerful, even political. Throughout Women's History Month, MTV News is highlighting some of these iconic statements from some of the biggest artists on the globe. This is Self-Titled.

In 2000, while filming scenes in the title role for Queen of the Damned in Australia, Aaliyah finished recording her third album. It had been in the works for a couple years — she reportedly completed most of it in New York before making her on-screen debut in that year’s Romeo Must Die and releasing “Try Again” as the soundtrack’s lead single. But despite the time gap, Aaliyah’s vision for her eponymous album remained clear: to expand the boundaries of her sound.

“She told me specifically what kind of records she wanted,” singer-songwriter Tank, who wrote “I Can Be” and “What If” for Aaliyah, told the music blog YouKnowIGotSoul in 2011. “She kind of wanted a little dangerous, a little sexy, that type of thing.”

Tank, with other co-writers and producers for the album including Static Major, Bud’da, J.Dub, Key Beats, and Playa, hunkered down in Melbourne’s Sing Sing Studios for about a month. Aaliyah, who filmed her scenes as the evil vampire Queen Akasha during the day, joined them in the evenings. When the album was released on July 7, 2001, it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It received rave reviews: Vibe called it “the best soul album of the young millennium,” while Spin described Aaliyah as a “musicologist” who creates “meaning outside the lyrics.”

Aaliyah was a continuation of the remarkable way the artist  surpassed herself with each release. While 1994’s Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number bridged her precocious mystique with new jack swing, 1996’s One in a Million highlighted Aaliyah’s hushed tones with thumping, stuttering rhythms in collaboration with creative soul mates Missy Elliott and Timbaland. Aaliyah took all that and fused it into a sophisticated soundscape at the bleeding edge of sonic innovation.

Aaliyah’s forward-thinking musical outlook was representative of the enterprising artist she was — and the icon she so quickly became. As she developed her wide-ranging talent, her magnetic appeal flooded into other arenas: film, where she was cultivating a promising career, and fashion, where her laid-back, sensual style made her a muse for designers like Tommy Hilfiger. He even launched a whole campaign around her wearing baggy jeans with an exposed waistband and bandeau top, the success of which inspired the brand’s women’s line. Importantly, Aaliyah was an inspiration for kids coming of age everywhere who saw glimpses of themselves in her.

Considering the ingenuity of Aaliyah, it’s no wonder. The production was mind-bending, characterized by a cybernated sonic freakiness, and the way Aaliyah pulled humanity out of digitized ones and zeroes is a master class in nuance. “We were trying to do as much as we could and try to put an album together for her to be able to hear and see what she felt,” Bud’da recalled.

Aaliyah’s honeyed falsetto was more robust and urgent than ever as she explored relationship dynamics and intimacy in Timbaland’s twitchy syncopation (“We Need a Resolution,” “More Than a Woman”), desire in shimmering synthesizers (“Rock the Boat”), liberation in swelling staccato (“I Refuse”), and jealousy in glitchy, industrial chaos (“What If”).

“There are a lot of great flavors on the album,” Aaliyah said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “It's older, it's edgy, it's raw, yet it's a little bit of fun. I want to tell people where I am as a person in my life today.”

When Aaliyah was released, nothing sounded quite like it. TLC and Destiny’s Child had played with staticky accents on Fanmail and The Writing’s on the Wall, respectively — a trend that Aaliyah herself spurred with One in a Million — but Aaliyah was avant-garde. Weirder, in an electrifying kind of way; as Vibe described: “damn near post-R&B.”

It’s still impossible to fathom what happened next. Just a month after Aaliyah was released, returning home from the Bahamas where she shot the music video for “Rock the Boat,” Aaliyah and eight other passengers lost their lives in a plane crash. She was only 22. The indelible mark she made on contemporary R&B and pop culture, at large, in such a short period of time had been so immediate: Aaliyah stretched the bounds of what R&B could sound like in a way that redefined the genre, while helping inform sonic trends of the early 2000s. Twenty years after the release of the album as well as her tragic death, the force of that impact still reverberates.

It’s not difficult to hear the direct influence Aaliyah made on the generation that followed her. Artists like Kehlani, Tinashe, Ciara, and Rihanna have taken audible cues from Aaliyah’s soft vocal phrasing and left-of-center song qualities. "We owe our chill vibe to her," Tinashe told Billboard. "People were used to artists belting things out. She brought a new vocal styling that wasn’t represented in R&B. Not everything has to be so uptempo." Drake is one of Aaliyah’s loudest devotees, sampling her music (“Unforgettable”), referencing her in lyrics (“BedRock”), and rapping to her previously unreleased tracks (“Enough Said”). FKA Twigs channeled Aaliyah outright in “Two Weeks,” pairing her sweet tone against anxious percussion and then paying music video homage to Queen of the Damned in full Queen Akasha regalia.

“The new generation pulls inspiration from Aaliyah, despite not growing up with her, because she was authentic," Missy Elliott said in 2014. "Her music couldn’t be placed in a category."


Indeed, perhaps the best indicator of Aaliyah’s influence is how it has extended into more unexpected musical territories like dubstep — which, bearing in mind the experimental nature of her work, isn’t all that surprising. On “In McDonalds,” electronic maestro Burial pitch-shifted Aaliyah’s “I Refuse” into a whispering siren that cut through enigmatic sparsity. James Blake sampled “Are You That Somebody?” to form the foundation of his airy post-dubstep anthem “CMYK.”

Such a sweeping compass is one reason why Aaliyah’s lack of visibility on streaming platforms feels so glaring. The majority of her catalog isn’t available on any service. Aaliyah and One in a Million can be found on YouTube; there are bootlegs floating around the internet and random songs on Spotify featured on obscure compilations like R&B Divas and Girls of Hip Hop, Vol. 1. The only Aaliyah album currently available to stream is her first, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number, which was written and produced by R. Kelly; in 2019, Kelly faced charges of bribing an Illinois official in order to procure a fake ID for the then-15-year-old Aaliyah in order to marry her. He is currently imprisoned awaiting a trail on charges of racketeering and child pornography.

Journalist Stephen Witt traces the streaming obstacle back to Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, who owns most of her discography through his now-defunct Blackground Records imprint and who seems unwilling to release it. There are also issues with the fact that her three albums were each distributed through different labels.

But with streaming as today’s primary avenue of musical consumption, if Aaliyah’s music isn’t accessible in our all-but-entirely digital era, younger generations who didn’t grow up with it won’t have the chance to truly discover it — no matter who cites Aaliyah as an influence or takes her fashion notes or celebrates the impact she made. As Witt writes, this runs a dangerous risk that Aaliyah will be forgotten. “Nostalgia is cyclical,” he adds, and “if Aaliyah's catalog isn't on the right platforms, her music could functionally cease to exist.”

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Pylon Pylon Box

In the 200-page book that comes with this four-LP primer for the band’s original four-year run, many words are used to describe what Pylon did and why that mattered. The most effusive of these are provided by the many luminaries who were awestruck by Pylon’s energy and ingenuity. Jon King of Gang Of Four calls them, “One of the best bands we ever played with.” Hearing their records while in college, Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein says, “I couldn’t believe they weren’t the biggest band in the world.” Adds Bill Berry of REM – whose cover of “Crazy” boosted the Pylon cult when it was included on the B-side of “Driver 8” and 1987’s Dead Letter Office – “To this day I haven’t seen a better live band.” And Michael Stipe places his Athens, GA hometown heroes in his personal Top 5.

In just about any other circumstance, the deluge of hosannas might feel a bit much. Indeed, bassist Michael Lachowski admits to Uncut that he initially resisted the idea of including the testimonials, fearing they might conflict with the band’s fundamental modesty and zero-fuss sense of practicality. But it’s forgivable here not just because of the praise warranted by Pylon’s insistently rhythmic, continually surprising post-punk racket – which can sound as thrilling as it surely did 40 years ago – but because of the sardonic humour and endearing humility that were as much a part of their identity as singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay’s growls and hollers or guitarist Randy Bewley’s spidery lines and serrated riffs.

This was not a band that was ever defined by its ambition. Indeed, Pylon’s one brush with the big leagues – opening for U2’s US tour in 1983 – was soon followed by their breakup, the four members having pledged to stop once the fun ran out. (Upon REM’s encouragement, Pylon reformed in 1989 and periodically reactivated until Bewley’s death in 2009. In recent years, Hay has also performed the band’s music in Pylon Reenactment Society.)


Instead, as Stephen Deusner notes in his excellent history in the Pylon Box book, the foursome’s attitude was more accurately captured in a term they coined in an early press release: “Feasible rock.” In other words, they were well aware of their limitations. After all, they were art students who learned to play partially out of a perceived need to fill the gap left in Athens’ music scene when The B-52s departed for New York in 1979. Gradually building up from the original duo of Bewley and Lachowski, they charged forward with heads full of Dadaist and conceptual-art notions and a suitably pragmatic name inspired by the safety cones at the DuPont plant where they worked on weekends. In early songs like “The Human Body”, Pylon can be heard piecing together a vocabulary that they can use to communicate with each other. While initially they may have borrowed bits from favourites in Britain (Buzzcocks, Gang Of Four, XTC, Slits) and on the Bowery (Suicide, Ramones), those unique limitations led them to fashion something that was their own. Born of their outsider sensibility, that lingua franca could eventually be discerned in everything from REM’s “Chronic Town” EP to the dance-punk of DFA Records, which acknowledged that debt when it re-released Pylon’s first two albums on CD.

The chance to hear Pylon develop that peculiar fluency may be the greatest pleasure of Pylon Box, which augments remastered vinyl editions of 1980’s brilliant, acerbic Gyrate and 1983’s fierce, funky Chomp with a wealth of previously unheard music. The greatest revelations lie in the Razz Tape, 13 songs recorded in the band’s first-ever studio session by Chris “Razz” Rasmussen of the Athens record store Chapter III. These embryonic versions of Gyrate songs and others they’d abandon are a testament to the physicality and unpredictability of Pylon’s music even at this early stage. On “Functionality”, Lachowski and drummer Curtis Crowe pound away like a mutant metronome as Hay and Bewley exchange skronks and squawks. Soon to be half of their debut single with “Cool”, “Dub” sees them careen between form and disorder before it all culminates in a collective cry of, “We eat dub for breakfast!”, one of many Hay lyrics that never fail to raise a crooked smile.

Together with the live tracks and demos included on the box’s Extra LP, the Razz Tape provides a vivid sense of Hay as a performer, making the case for her as one of the most exceptional frontwomen of her time and – as Corin Tucker attests – a heroine for the riot grrrl bands to come. In her note, The B-52s’ Kate Pierson fondly recalls the sight and sound of Hay “growling, shouting, squalling, writhing, spitting out esoteric lyrics while spinning wildly across the stage”. That’s the singer you hear in “Danger III”, an unbridled version of Gyrate’s PiL-like meltdown “Danger” recorded at Tyrone’s OC in Athens in 1981.

The Pylon Box is filled with moments that are equally exhilarating; evidently, what was feasible for Pylon was extraordinary by anyone else’s measure.

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Is 50 Cent’s Rapping Ability Overlooked?

Now that 50 Cent has solidified himself as a television mogul, it seems appropriate to reflect on his position in the hierarchy of hip-hop greats.

Upon discovering an old tape of his formative project Power Of The Dollar, 50 Cent issued a confident declaration. “Damn i did this in 1998 and i still can rap better than you fools.” A reminder that behind all of the antics and brand-pushing hashtags stands a proud emcee. One who seldom gets the credit he might deserve. Despite having held his own alongside lyrical elites like Eminem and his own group-mate Lloyd Banks. Despite having engaged in battle with rappers like Jadakiss, The Game, and Rick Ross, three foes who would surely lay waste to a lesser challenger. Not to mention the fact that his breakout movement was based off a simple premise, which is to say, freestyling over established beats and outshining the original artist.

Consider that mixtapes of that nature have essentially gone extinct. These days, mixtapes are basically albums, albeit generally more free-flowing and lax. Back when 50 was carving out his lane, attempting to crack into an industry that was essentially too fearful to do business with him, he was spitting with a hunger not often seen in this era. Unafraid to call out names and make enemies, Fif’s intensity carried into his early music. The aforementioned Power Of The Dollar, his classic mixtape Guess Who’s Back. His reputation as a wild card allowed him a certain presence on wax, one who seemed willing to back up any threat made. For a gangsta rapper, that’s an invaluable tool. And while many have explored similar territory as young 50 tended to favor, few did it with as much relish. He seemed to feel a devilish glee while detailing acts of violence, one that imbued him with a villainous charisma — the likes of which are still felt to this day.

Is 50 Cent's Rapping Ability Overlooked?

Dave Simpson/WireImage/Getty Images

Remember, this was a rapper who eyed the coveted New York crown. He expressed as such on the classic “Be A Gentleman,” when he called out one of his chief competitors in Jay-Z. “Still n***s actin’ like I don’t get down or something, like I ain’t the next n***a to wear the crown or something,” he taunts, a rhyme basic on paper but impactful on wax. “You gonna talk about your chips ’til we run in your crib and you gon’ ask dumb questions like, ‘can I live?’” At the time, the race for New York kingship was tight — names like Jay, DMX, Ja Rule, Ghostface, and Raekwon were comfortably in the running delivering excellent music. And while each one was more established than Fif, he somehow managed to remain in the race. Immense hustle and work ethic can go far, but not without the skill to match. Without the ability to toggle beast mode, longevity is out of the question. It’s the reason tapes like the aforementioned two stand up today, not as historical relics but as genuinely badass servings of grimy NYC rap.

But what about his rapping ability makes him a top tier emcee? Insofar as the lyrics themselves are concerned, Fif seldom engaged in what has come to be unflatteringly described as “rappity-rap.” He’s concise in his messages, letting the attitude present within his voice emphasize any point. “In the hood summertime, it’s the killing season / it’s hot out this bitch, that’s a good enough reason,” he shrugs, on the Dr. Dre produced “Heat.” Lines like that hold more character than some rappers conjure in an entire song. The entirety of “Heat,” arguably the greatest song of Fif’s career, is a masterclass in visual storytelling. “Don’t think you safe ’cause you moved out the hood, cause ya mama still around dawg, and that ain’t good,” he continues. “If you was smart you’d be shook of me, cause I get tired of looking for ya / spray ya mama crib and let yo ass look for me.” Where a lesser lyricist might have simply delivered the threat in a passing line, Fif’s internal rhyme scheme set up gives it even more power. 

Is 50 Cent's Rapping Ability Overlooked?

CityFiles/WireImage/Getty Images

And if “Heat” doesn’t hold the crown as 50’s greatest record, there’s a strong case to be made for another Get Rich Or Die Tryin classic, “Many Men.” It should be noted that as a writer, Fif seldom gets overtly conceptual in his use of language. He tends to operate in a rather frank manner, drawing from personal experience and presenting his philosophies accordingly. “In the Bible, it says what goes around, comes around,” raps Fif, in the climactic verse. “Hommo shot me, three weeks later he got shot down, now it’s clear that I’m here for a real reason / cause he got hit like I got hit, but he ain’t fuckin’ breathin’.”

On paper, the lines read relatively simple, the premise straightforward. Yet it’s exactly this approach to morality that makes his rapping so compelling. It’s not entirely different from an emcee like DMX, whose words were imbued with a similar gravitas; neither have to flow in a dexterous fashion to impress, masking lack of character with aimless lyrical gymnastics. Instead, 50 was able to paint vivid pictures with the simplest of lines, evoking the smell of gunfire, the scowls of his foes. “I’m observant in my hood, cause n***s be dumbing, shots forfeit the dice game, all you see is the running,” he reflects, on Massacre opener “In My Hood.” Words that may as well be a scene off a cinematographer’s storyboard.

How does all that factor into 50 Cent’s ability as an emcee? Those who would reserve him a spot in the top ten might be quick to tout his songwriting prowess, his ability to adapt to a variety of instrumentals, or his ear for melodic singsong flow schemes. Yet it’s unlikely that many would place him in the same conversation as artists like Royce Da 5’9”, Black Thought, Nas, Eminem, Andre 3000, or Jay-Z, rappers that have become known and regarded for their lyricism. Though 50’s writing does possess depth and authenticity, his preference for a frank and minimalist delivery has given him the illusion of simplicity. That should never be mistaken for weakness. There’s an authoritative quality to his tone that made him, at his prime, one of the most compelling rappers in the entire game. 

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Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

We count down the top 30 best posse cuts.

If there’s one format that never fails to elicit excitement, it’s the posse cut. With roots deriving from hip-hop’s inherently competitive elements, a trial-by-fire tradition associated with regionalist pride among other factors, the posse cut often finds emcees in an unspoken quest to emerge with the standout verse — much to the benefit of the song as a cohesive whole.

Alliances are built and strengthened; the old adage of strength in numbers holds true in the booth. Unfortunately, the posse cut has come to feel like a dwindling art. Where it once seemed to be one of the game’s preferred structures, an all-but-guaranteed album highlight, newer artists have tended to steer away from the beloved tradition. That’s not to say they have disappeared entirely, but it’s become a far cry from the glory days in which hip-hop’s best lyricists would unite on sprawling, multiple-verse, sometimes even six-minute-long epics.

In honor of the posse cut, we have compiled a list of the thirty best hip-hop hs to offer. As to what technically qualifies a posse cut, it should be noted that crews have been by and large excluded from the mix — lest the list turn into a rundown of Wu-Tang Clan’s greatest hits. Should a crew be present on a track having opened the door for a fellow emcee or two, however, that’s another story. Should you call yourself a hip-hop-head, it’s likely you’ve heard a few of these already. Maybe even all of them.

Should that be the case, be sure to hit the comments with your thoughts on the ranking – including any snubs you might feel were overlooked. Obviously, placing thirty classics in numerical order is not exactly a cut-and-dry process, and many of the selections below are, to be perfectly honest, interchangeable from their allotted spots. How far can one timeless anthem really differ from another? Perhaps it’s best to not overthink this one, and simply bask in a celebration of some of the greatest collaborative hip-hop songs of all time.

– Mitch Findlay

30.  Dreamville, J.I.D, Mez, Buddy, Jace, Reese LAFLARE, Ski Mask the Slump God, Smokepurpp & Guapdad 4000 – Costa Rica

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

While healthy competition can drive a posse cut to heightened levels of excellence, so too can the simple purity of camaraderie. Especially when substances are involved. The Revenge Of The Dreamers 3 sessions were legendary in that regard, bringing emcees of all walks of life into the studio for a two-weeks-long creative haven, culminating in no shortage of new music and friendships forged along the way. In many says, the bombastic “Costa Rica” feels like the heart of the Dreamers sessions, a gathering of like-minded emcees feeding off one another’s energy during an extensive night of recording.

Hearing the stories of “Costa Rica’s” creation is akin to hearing a longtime journeyman reflect on a particularly epic night. Those electric feelings bleed into the song itself, with each emcee simply happy to be there — nobody is vying for top billing, with the brief verses all possessing an endearing sort of spontaneity. There’s something undoubtedly pure about hearing the entire room echo Ski Mask The Slump God’s raucous cries of “going on a date with an AK!” A relatively new addition to the list, but one that captured a distinct moment in time, one that will likely follow each participant for the rest of their lives. 

– Mitch

29. Trae Tha Truth, T.I., Dave East, Tee Grizzley, Royce Da 5’9″, Curren$y, Snoop Dogg, Fabolous, Rick Ross, Chamillionaire, G Eazy, Styles P, E-40, DRAM, Gary Clark, Jr. & Mark Morrison – I’m On 3.0

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

There are posse cuts, and then there are songs that boast more featured artists than most albums. It’s difficult to get more than 10 MCs to deliver dope verses that feel both fresh and different enough from one another, while ensuring that the track as a whole doesn’t drag on for so long that listeners start to check their watch. This balance is key, and that’s exactly what Trae Tha Truth and his assembly of artists successfully achieve on “I’m On 3.0.” Serving as the third installment of Trae’s “I’m On” series, this most recent incarnation takes what Trae and his previous collaborators did on both prior renditions and builds on it. While Mark Morrison’s vocals remained on the chorus, now accompanied by Gary Clark Jr. and D.R.A.M., Trae traded in the eight rappers from “2.0,” and recruited a whopping 12 replacements. Although a bold move, it ultimately paid off.

While some posse cuts require the song itself to somehow work around all the different contributing rappers’ individual styles in order to create a cohesive sound, in this case, the burden seems to lie on the artists themselves to ensure that their particular flow and lyrical flair fits the overall vibe of the track. Although there are certainly some undeniable standouts amongst this group, Chamillionaire’s verse has been widely regarded as the major highlight, the track serving as a platform on which the underappreciated MC was finally able to really show off his chops. In the case of this cut, the expression “third time’s the charm” certainly rings true.

– Lynn

28. Sway & King Tech, Eminem, RZA, Xzibit, KRS-One, Tech N9ne, Chino XL, Pharoahe Monch, Kool G Rap, Jayo Felony, DJ Revolution – 1999 Wake Up Show Freestyle

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

As the new millennium was dawning on a generation of hip-hop fans, Sway and King Tech were using their position to assemble an absolutely insane collective. Capturing the raw energy of a cipher and channeling it onto a golden-era instrumental, the “1999” edition of the “Wake Up Show” freestyle kicked off with Bobby Digital on a mission, representing for the Wu-Tang movement and bringing a legendary pedigree from the jump. On that note, there’s plenty of notable wordsmiths on deck; Eminem landed his first collaboration with Xzibit and Tech N9ne, Chino XL proved why he stands among the underground’s most respected lyricists, and KRS-One imbued the track with the presence of a true “master of ceremonies.” 

– Mitch

27. Chris Brown, Kanye West, T.I., Fabolous, Rick Ross & Andre 3000 – Deuces (Remix)

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Chris Brown has had his fair share of ups and downs. 2010 was essentially a peak “down” time in Brown’s long career, as a year prior, he left Rihanna with bruises on her face following an argument with her that escalated to physical blows. Thus, by the time 2010 rolled around, Chris Brown was essentially working his way back into our good graces, one song at a time. 

It was around this same time that the singer ended up collaborating with Tyga for their joint mixtape, Fan of a Fan. “Deuces” served as a single off it, also featuring R&B singer Kevin McCall. It’s the sort of catchy, easy beat that you can still bop your head to right now, which is exactly the type of record we needed from Breezy back then– something we didn’t have to analyze too closely but would be easily enjoyed by masses. 

As the song grew legs on the internet, Chris Brown recruited a ton of star power for the massive remix– which just goes to show the span of his reach and his clout, even amid domestic violence allegations. It doesn’t hurt to have Kanye West, T.I., Drake, Andre 300, Fabolous and Rick Ross in your corner when you’re in the process of a career comeback. Each artist drops off their personalized dose of female relationship fodder and what spurs them to leave a particular relationship, for a total of eight verses on this epic remix. Andre 3000 blesses us with the final farewell, in philosophical manner: “And here I am, all heavy with the words where / Somebody that’s a nerd, likely fast forward / But, shit, they asked for it / It’s hard to throw up them deuces / ‘Cause when you know it’s juicy / You start to sound like / Confucius when makin’ up excuses / Chase the Cabooses until the track gone / I gotta find me a new locomotive, stop makin’ sad songs.”

– Rose

26. Lil Kim, Left Eye, Da Brat, Angie Martinez, Missy Elliott – Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix) 

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

With so many classic posse cuts being testosterone-heavy affairs, you know the ladies had to come through and represent. “Not Tonight’s” official remix arrived in 1997 as part of the Nothing To Lose soundtrack, earning its “Ladies Night” moniker with appearances from Left Eye (RIP), Da Brat, Angie Martinez, and Missy Elliott. A pivotal moment for females in hip-hop, the accompanying clip was lined with legendary artists like Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, T-Boz, Xscape, and many more.

Oozing with a charismatic swagger, each rapper attacks the groove with their own distinctive flow: Angie with the newcomer’s wide-eyed energy, Brat with the aggression, Kim with the Junior M.A.F.I.A sauce, Left Eye with the playful sensuality, and Missy coming through as the exclamation point — “you ain’t gon’ use me to just be singin’ hooks.” 

– Mitch

25. DJ Khaled, Akon, T.I., Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Birdman, Fat Joe – We Takin Over

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

“We Takin Over” had the ultimate formula for a certified hit. The track, led by posse-cut-conductor-extraordinaire, DJ Khaled, boasts verses from five major hip-hop heavyweightsLil Wayne, T.I., Rick Ross, Birdman, and Fat Joesome in their prime, others proving with ease that they’ve still got it. Their verses were also punctuated by Akon’s signature high-pitched vocals delivering a criminally catchy hook on the chorus. Combine all of these elements with some stellar production from Danja, and you’re guaranteed to come out with a banger.

While practically every MC on this world-domination anthem manages to hold their own, there’s one clear star. As was often the case on a Weezy-featured posse cut in those days, Wayne blows everyone else out of the water, sliding in at the very end to close out the show only to upstage his preceding partners. His unhinged, bloodthirsty delivery paired with Danja’s looming production has the track ending on a high, followed only by one final declaration of the title from Akon. Based on the sheer number of remixes alone that this cut birthed, it’s clear that “We Takin Over” left an impression not just on fans, but on other artists, as well. Though certainly a product and reflection of it’s time sonically, it still manages to hold up all these years later.

– Lynn

24. The Game, Jim Jones, Snoop Dogg, Nas, T.I., Fat Joe, Lil’ Wayne, N.O.R.E., Jadakiss, Styles P, Fabolous, Juelz Santana, Rick Ross, Twista, Kurupt, Daz Dillinger, WC, E-40, Bun B, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, Young Dro, The Clipse, Ja Rule – One Blood Remix

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Junior Reid’s 1989 single “One Blood” has been flipped on countless occasions but perhaps, the most popular use of the sample is in The Game’s single, “One Blood.” Reid’s original single represents unifying the human race, regardless of race, class, or religion, in the face of division. The Game carried the theme in the megamix that brought together rappers from every coast in an attempt to unify gang bangers. Twenty-five rappers were included on the track such as Jim Jones, NORE, Nas, T.I., Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Jadakiss, Clipse, Styles P, and more, though some of the verse may have been reused from the regional remixes The Game also released. 

Running for nearly twelve minutes in length, the star power alone would be worth its placement on this list but its impact on the streets is forever as the game unified Crips and Bloods from the East and the West on one track. 

– Aron

23. Tech N9ne, Busta Rhymes, Yelawolf, Twista, Twisted Insane, D-Loc, U$O, JL B.Hood & Ceza – Worldwide Choppers

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Fast rap isn’t for everyone. In fact, it has recently become synonymous with “corny,” a go-to move for rappers hoping to mask a lack of sauce with sheer technical prowess. Yet countless artists have proven that double-time delivery can be undisputably badass, including some of Tech N9ne’s handpicked “Worldwide Choppers.” Not only does this posse-cut feature nine contributing rappers from across the globe, it does so while operating under a strict conceit: all parties must gun for that god-forsaken Guinness World Record.

Arguably the quickest of the bunch, Tech sets the tone for fellow hyperspeed rappers Twista and Busta Rhymes to absolutely wreak havoc, with both parties sliding several interesting flow-schemes into their verses. Between Twista’s “stig-a-ma-tism” scheme and Bus-a-Bus’ “Get ’em, hit ’em and finish ’em” scheme, we’re looking at a masterclass in verbal dexterity. 

– Mitch

22. Jay-Z, Twista, Killer Mike, Big Boi – Poppin Tags

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

When hip-hop fans think of posse cuts, they think of all-time great rappers, multiple dope verses, and production that will keep your head nodding along throughout the entire song. Jay-Z’s “Poppin Tags” off of The Blueprint 2 is absolutely one of those posse cuts that ticks off every single box and then some. 

First off, let’s start with the soulful production by none other than Kanye West. By 2002, Kanye was an established producer and “Poppin Tags” was yet another highlight on his growing resume. As for the verses, those are what make this song truly stand out. Jay-Z begins the track with a fast yet steady flow that features bars about, as the title suggests, spending a lot of money. From there, Twista comes into the picture with blisteringly fast bars that create a nice contrast between him and Jay-Z’s skill sets.

The entire track is six minutes long and in the latter half, we get some southern influence with verses from Georgia natives, Killer Mike and Big Boi. Both of these MCs bring their signature flows and sounds to the track which helps spice things up a bit. Depending on where you live, one could argue Big Boi and Killer Mike actually outshine Twista and Jay-Z although that’s a debate we’re sure the commenters would love to engage in.

– Alex Cole

21. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz – Mercy

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Kanye West’s GOOD Fridays series recalls a simpler time in rap, when the market was less crowded and free download links were still the norm. Ye really shook things up with the series, drawing in more and more eyes every Friday when he came through with some sort of fire, GOOD Music cut, often featuring a crew of artists. “Mercy” was among them, and would go on to make the final tracklist of the underwhelming Cruel Summer compilation album. Nonetheless don’t let that take away from the strength of the collaboration which features a pre-controversial (well, pre-Trump) Kanye West, Sean Don, Pusha T and GOOD Music-affiliated 2 Chainz. 

The beat is one of the most iconic aspects of this record, with its dancehall sample and alternating keys kicking off the record. There’s really nothing else to say except that it was, and remains, a banger that will still get a party lit in a matter of seconds. 

– Rose

20. T.I, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, M.I.A – Swagga Like Us 

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Where posse cuts of the nineties seemed to thrive off the spirit of lyrical competition, those creeping closer to modern times appeared more concerned with sheer spectacle. Despite enlisting three heavy-hitting lyricists for the occasion, T.I’s “Swagga Like Us” was hardly concerned with administering death-by-a-thousand-bars. The musical equivalent to a Basquiat hanging in one’s foyer, the Grammy-Award winning Paper Trail single was so confident in its mere existence that all it needed to do was show up.

That’s not to say the four emcees didn’t come correct, with the Troubleman asserting himself as the defining verse, but it’s clear they approached this one with the energy of a pickup game. A championship pickup game, to be sure. Impossible to ignore on the basis of sheer talent, “Swagga Like Us” remains a defining cultural moment, the ultimate flex on wax. 

– Mitch

19. Noreaga, Big Pun, Nature, Cam’Ron, Jadakiss, Styles P – Banned From T.V.

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

What is it about Jadakiss that seems to gravitate toward the posse cut format? Once again, Mr. Raspy slides onto this list as a key contributor to Noreaga’s absolutely stacked “Banned From TV.” On that note, fellow Ruff Ryder Swizz Beatz made New York history the day he wrapped this particular beat up — little did he know he’d be providing the soundtrack for a gathering of the the titans, including an appearance from the late Big Pun, the quitely scene-stealing Nature, and a classic back and forth from Kiss and Pinero.

Though many have come to know NORE as a lovable and perpetually inebriated storyteller on Drink Champs, long before that he was an integral member of the New York hip-hop landscape; one who commanded enough respect to bring such a  ridiculous lineup to the table in the first place. And the results speak for itself, with “Banned From TV” encapsulating everything a classic posse cut is all about. Leave the best verse debates for the philosophers.

– Mitch

18. Dr. Dre, Kurupt, RBX, Lady Of Rage, Snoop Dogg – Stranded On Death Row

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Dr. Dre has been at the center of many epic collaborations, and narrowing down one in particular was no easy feat. For the longest time, 2001’s extensive west coast anthem “Some L.A. N***az” had all but secured the position — that is until “Stranded On Death Row” started to spread back into the picture, a relic of one of hip-hop’s darkest and dopest eras. Featuring contributions from Kurupt, RBX, The Lady of Rage, and a young Snoop Dogg, the Dr. Dre-produced banger features hard-hitting verses from all involved.

Kurupt spazzes out the gate, his tongue-twisted style and references to Jean Claude Van Damme instant reminders of simpler times. Yet it may very well be the Lady of Rage who leaves the deepest impression, he sneering cadence and violent vows solidifying her as the most feared inmate on the doomed cellblock. “I plead guilty on all counts, let the ball bounce where it may, it’s just another clip into my AK,” she raps. “Buck ’em down with my underground tactics. Facts and stacks of clips on my mattress.”

– Mitch

17. Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem – Forever

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

You can’t talk about modern-day rap posse cuts without mentioning “Forever,” the 2009 single from Drake, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem. When it was originally released as part of the More Than A Game soundtrack, the song was tremendously impactful. You’ve got to believe that if these four rappers linked up another time one decade later, the critical reception would be even wilder. And that’s saying a lot, considering “Forever” has gone 6x platinum since its release.

Each artist featured on the track is given ample time to shine through on “Forever.” Drake starts things off before Kanye West slides over the second verse. Lil Wayne takes over for the third verse before things close out with a remarkable appearance from Eminem. Drake, Kanye, Weezy, and Em are all iconic in their own right and they will each sit high on rap’s totem pole when this is all said and done. Drake sang that he wanted this to last his entire life and, eleven years later, he’s arrived at that stage. We may never see another star-studded posse cut like this.

– Alex Zidel

16. Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, John Legend, Lloyd Banks, Ryan – Christian Dior Denim Flow

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

“Christian Dior Denim Flow” counts another entry in the GOOD Fridays series helmed by Kanye West. It’s another example of the type of insane artist-gathered collaborations Ye was putting out at this time, alongside beats that were often “big” for lack of a better words– beats that were luxurious, over-the-top, lofty– perhaps recalling My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in the sense that they were highly arranged and layered, but a bit less refined.

“Christian Dior Denim Flow,” similar to “Mercy” also contains production that at one point breaks down, leading the way for Lloyd Banks’ raspy verse. Kid Cudi delivered the melodic hook with assistance from John Legend, but he also closes out the song with a verse– that was another hallmark of these GOOD Fridays collaborations, they were often songs spanning over 5 to 6 minutes in length– especially long if you consider these days’ 1-2 minute records. Yet this just ensured that every single artist featured on these posse cuts would have their own time to shine, ultimately making each one so exciting. 

– Rose

15. Bone Crusher, Cam’Ron, Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes – Never Scared Takeover Remix

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

For those who came of age during the early millennium, Bone Crusher’s “Never Scared” likely holds a special place in your heart. Though the original lineup of Killer Mike and T.I. made for a strong baseline, Bone Crusher’s New York ambitions secured three of the East Coast’s most capable lyricists in the midst of their primes. With the hard-knocking and uniquely Southern instrumental from Avery Johnson and Jermaine Dupri intact, Cam, Jada, and Busta made themselves at home, seemingly moving to one-up each other with each new verse.

Narrowing down a clear standout might come down to personal preference, but there’s something about Jadakiss’ steely demeanor that makes his presence on the “Takeover Remix” uniquely formidable. “I ain’t neva scared, I got big hammers everywhere,” his flow methodical. “In places where you need yo passport at, I’m heavy there.” 

– Mitch

14. Fat Joe, Big Pun, Nas, Jadakiss, Raekwon – John Blaze

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

On the basis of reputation alone, “John Blaze” promises to be an onslaught of bars from a handful of dominant East Coast emcees. Many of whom would feel right at home in a top-ten lyricist conversation. As such, there’s an unspoken sense of healthy competition permeating the padded track — though Big Pun would swiftly go on to live up to his well-earned moniker of dream-shatterer.

While recognized by purists as elite, the effortless nature with which Pun would absolutely run laps around legendary emcees often goes unappreciated by the game at large. “The same n***a who known to blow out your brain mineral, I reign subliminal inside your visual,” he spits, his dexterity insane. “Try to supply your physical with my spiritual side of this lyrical / I’ll appear in your dreams, like Freddy do, no kidding you / Even if I stuttered, I would still sh-sh-shit on you.” Listen, there is no universe that would position me to speak ill of Nas, Jadakiss, Raekwon, and Fat Joe — but “John Blaze” really does feel like Big Pun’s showcase. 

– Mitch

13. Obie Trice, Lloyd Banks, Eminem, 50 Cent – We All Die One Day

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Obie Trice was looking to make a big first impression with his debut project, Cheers, all the way back in 2003. When you’re backed by an artist like Eminem, there is always going to be pressure to deliver and that’s exactly what he did. Perhaps the biggest highlight on his debut effort is the posse cut “We All Die One Day” which features the likes of Eminem, 50 Cent, and Lloyd Banks.

This extremely gritty banger stands out thanks to some gritty production by Em – among other reasons – who also provides the longest and most technical verse of the song. The track starts with a smooth chorus from Lloyd Banks that eventually transitions to a visceral and violent verse from Obie Trice who is very open about shooting and killing those who get in his way. In the ensuing verse, Lloyd Banks flexes his money and accomplishments while letting people know that he still has an edge to him despite making it out of the hood. Following Em’s verse, 50 Cent helps wrap the song into a neatly tied bow as he provides some violent bars that run parallel to Obie Trice’s first verse.

As far as blood pumping posse cuts go, “We All Die One Day” is certainly up there.

– Alex Cole

12. B.G ft Big Tymers & The Hot Boys – Bling Bling

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Say what you will about the mastermind behind it, but Birdman’s Cash Money dynasty has endured as one of hip-hop’s most legendary movements of all time. Featuring the talents of B.G, Juvenile, Turk, Lil Wayne, Mannie Fresh, and Baby himself, the New Orleans-based label helped forge a sound that continues to influence hip-hop as we know it today.

“Bling Bling,” originally released as the lead single on B.G.’s 1999 album Chopper City In The Ghetto, brought the entirety of Cash Money into the fold for a stacked celebration of lavish living. Driven by an iconic beat from Fresh, who also holds it down with a swaggy verse, “Bling Bling” encapsulates the collective’s sound at its most effective — playful, confident, and formidable if pressed. “N***s wear shades just to stand on side of me,” raps B.G., closing things out with a highlight verse. “Hoes say take that chain off boy ya blindin’ me.”

– Mitch

11. Ruff Ryders, Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, Scarface, Yung Wun & Jadakiss – WW III

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Regionalism is one of the most important tenets in hip-hop stylistic analysis. Throughout the years, different cities and states have developed distinctive sonic qualities, many of which are held dear by the artists who claim a given locale. On Ruff Ryder’s introductory banger “WW III,” location played an integral role. Bringing together the likes of Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, Scarface, and Yung Wun, each rapper opened their verse by representing for the cause.

The conceit imbued “WW III” with a sense of gravitas, only enhanced by the bombastic — and instantly iconic– Swizz Beatz production. In one corner stands Snoop Dogg, representing the “west coast.” In another stands Yung Wun, triumphantly screaming “ATL Shawty!” Across is the imposing figure of Scarface, holding it down on behalf of the entire “muthafucking South.” And for the East Coast is none other than Jadakiss, who closes the anthem out with a nail in the coffin.

– Mitch

10. Danny Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt – Really Doe

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

On paper, “Really Doe” stands among the most stacked gatherings of lyricists on this list. In reality, it was never meant to appear as such. When Danny Brown originally conceived the song, it was meant to be a duet between himself and Ab-Soul. Upon hearing the instrumental, Kendrick Lamar deted from the intended plan to contribute elsewhere on Atrocity Exhibition and made himself at home.

Last but not least came Earl Sweatshirt, whom Danny bestowed the coveted position of the final verse, an honor reserved for the most valuable player. Few can dispute that the former Odd Future poet absolutely bodied the track, lines like “I’m the type of ni**a it ain’t never been an honor to judge” deftly showcasing his clever mind at work. Throw in a creepy instrumental from Detroit legend Black Milk and you’re looking at the perfect posse cut for witching hour reflections. 

– Mitch

09. Puff Daddy, The Lox, Notorious B.I.G, & Lil Kim – All About The Benjamins Remix

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

With all this talk about a Verzuz battle between P. Diddy and Dr. Dre, many have been fondly reminiscing about the Bad Boy era. After all, such was the time when the Notorious B.I.G. was alive and well, bodying tracks at every opportunity. The classic remix to Diddy and The Lox’s “All About The Benjamins” is no exception, with Biggie and Lil Kim sliding through to represent for the Junior M.A.F.I.A. movement.

From the moment Diddy sets it off with a laid-back yet assertive opening verse, his flow seeped in the signature style of his label, “”All About The Benjamins” never lets up. Aside from boasting hard hitting salvos from a youthful Jadakiss and Sheek Louch, it’s the new additions that leave the deepest imprint. “German Ruger for yo’ ass, bitch, deep throat it,” raps Lil Kim. “Know you wanna feel the womb ’cause it’s platinum-coated / take your pick, got a firearm you shoulda toted.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a hip-hop head incapable of vibing to this timeless cut.

– Mitch

08. LL Cool J, Method Man, Redman, Canibus, DMX, & Master P – 4, 3, 2, 1 

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

Many hip-hop historians have come to remember “4,3,2,1” as the song on which LL Cool J and Canibus dissed each other in their respective verses. A darkly comedic turn of events to be sure, as the whole beef essentially kicked off after LL misinterpreted one of Canibus’ lines and decided to clap back accordingly. It’s hard to resist the scandalous allure of such a narrative (especially since it led to some great diss tracks from both parties), but we mustn’t forget one key factor.

This song assembled some of the best lyricists of the late nineties and engaged them in competitive sparring over Erick Sermon’s production. Given the pedigree of talent involved, it’s hard to deem a clear winner. Yet there’s something unmatchable about DMX’s menacing cautionary tale, which reveals the consequences of crossing his path at sundown. If you’re unfamiliar with the fact that LL Cool J was a murderous rhymer in his prime, look no further than “4,3,2,1.”

– Mitch

07. DMX, Jay-Z, Jadakiss, Styles P, Sheek Louch – Blackout

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

It doesn’t get more New York than DMX’s epic Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood gathering “Blackout.” Another instance of healthy yet borderline competitive sportsmanship, the Swizz Beatz produced classic finds DMX, Jadakiss, Styles P, Sheek Louch, and the Jigga Man sliding through to lay down verse after verse. In true posse-cut fashion, the chorus is forsaken in favor of straight bars and listeners are all the better for it.

Especially when it comes time for Jay-Z’s supremely confident verse. “The beeper done changed, you dead bitch, the Reaper done came,” he raps, his mafioso roots coming through strong. “I suggest ni***s stop speakin my name, cause trust me, y’all can still feel the heat in the rain.” A welcome collision of worlds between the Ruff Ryders and the R.O.C, “Blackout” is the perfect encapsulation of a structure we simply don’t see anymore. And yet, at the time of its release, music like this was still doing numbers. 

– Mitch

06. A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Big K.R.I.T – “1Train”

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

At the time of its release in 2013, all six rappers present on “1Train” were stars in their own right. Speaking with Complex, Rocky explained that he wanted to create a posse cut evocative of early nineties hip-hop, employing an array of his contemporaries boasting a variety of distinctive styles. Tethering the disparate time periods is Hit-Boy, who laces a symphony at once rugged and distinguished. There are honed flows and outlandish quotables, be it Danny Brown’s “worst enemy’s penis” bar or the imaginative Action Bronson implementing a “Chilean Horse” into his imagery.

It’s almost impossible to discern the standout performer, as each rapper comes together like some deadly coalition, but Big K.R.I.T’s murderous bars certainly conclude matters on an emphatic note. Despite its relative youth, it’s fair to deem “1Train” one of the most impactful tracks of the past ten years.

– Mitch

05. Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, & Nate Dogg – Bitch Please 2 

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

The Up In Smoke Tour remains one of hip-hop’s defining tours, with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Ice Cube, Nate Dogg, Eminem, and countless Aftermath affiliates embarking on a weed-fueled odyssey. In some ways, Marshall Mathers LP’s fifteenth track “Bitch Please II” encapsulates the spirit of Up In Smoke. Marking a milestone for Slim Shady, who secured his first collaboration with Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg, the eerie sequel emerged as a highlight on its unexpected home album.

Between Dre’s braggadocio, Snoop’s laid-back swagger, Xzibit’s imposing aggression, and Em’s scathing wit, there’s somehow enough common ground to make for a cohesive vibe. With stellar verses from each performer — including one hell of a chorus from Nate Dogg– it’s Eminem’s climactic “fuck you” that resonates the deepest. Although, X to the Z does make a compelling case, especially when he whips into his “ashes to ashes” rhyme scheme.

– Mitch

04. Bone Thugs & The Notorious B.I.G. – Notorious Thugs

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

The East Coast met the smokey Midwest on Biggie Smalls’ second studio album Life After Death when the Brooklyn legend linked up with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony for “Notorious Thugs.” 

Gangsta rap was at its height while hip-hop suffered the loss of both Biggie and Tupac in a matter of months of each other. The hypnotizing piano keys, twangy guitar, and the choral harmonies of Bone Thugs turned into a haunting gospel of romanticized inner-city turmoil with violence and paranoia riddling each rapper’s verse. What might be most notable about the track, though, is that it became a further testament that Biggie had mastered the art of flow. Before even signing a deal, Biggie Smalls was highly revered for his technical prowess and viscous flow but “Notorious Thugs” took it to a new level. Without compromising his skillset, he leaned deeper into the double-time, melodic flow that Bone Thugs introduced to the game with a defining verse in his catalog.

– Aron

03. Three 6 Mafia ft UGK & Project Pat – Sippin’ On Some Syrup

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

To say Three 6 Mafia were ahead of their time is an understatement. To this day, many of their lyrical and sonic trends — from celebrations of hedonism to the dark southern banger — have become embedded within the very fabric of the contemporary soundscape. Nowhere is that more effectively encapsulated than on “Sippin On Some Syrup,” a posse cut extraordinaire that brought the Underground Kings and Project Pat into the fold for a rollicking good time.

The track, which arrived on the 2000 album When The Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1, featured a dangerously smooth instrumental produced by the two-headed monster Juicy J and DJ Paul. The perfect backdrop for an influx of excellent verses, with the late Pimp C, DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Bun B holding it down. With each mind married to the singular concept of giving into inebriation, it’s difficult to single out a standout verse — though it’s hard not to credit Pimp C for bringing the legendary term “simp” into the mainstream vernacular. 

– Mitch

02. International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You)

 Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

UGK’s biggest commercial record is also considered one of hip-hop’s finest collaborations, and a certified classic. Pimp C and Bun B teamed up with fellow hip-hop duo OutKast in 2007 for this ode to marriage, from the perspective of a player who may or may not have changed his ways. It’s equally important in UGK’s catalog, as the last single the duo put out before Pimp C’s passing.

The music video for the collaboration made the record even more exciting: it’s a full-out hip-hop wedding with Andre 3k playing the role of the lucky man, and other artists acting as invited guests to partake in the big day. 

It’s hard not to simply drop in Andre’s full verse here and call it a day. Apparently, Pimp C didn’t even like Andre’s verse when he first heard it (!!), taking issue with the fact that Andre had opted to remove the drums for his opening verse. Still, the song comes together in epic fashion. As soon as Andre’s verse ends, the drums pick up alongside Pimp C’s nasally verse. Willie Hutch’s “I Choose You” fills the record with soul and funk, thanks to the horn arrangement and vocal sample. It’s a record that marries soul with hip-hop with funk. In spite of this, it’s the type of record that doesn’t sound dated, the type of record someone could ostensibly drop today and we would consider it to be just as fire as it was over 10 years ago.

– Rose

01. Bone Thugs & 2Pac – Thug Luv

Top 30 Best Posse Cuts Of All Time

There aren’t any other groups in hip-hop that have the bragging rights that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony have. A Midwest group signed to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records, they remain the only hip-hop group to ever work with Biggie and Tupac while the legendary rappers were still alive. Even for a group with five members, collaborations with artists like Big, Pac, Eazy-E, and more had Bone Thugs bringing their influential sound across the coasts. 

“We doin’ this shit from Cleveland to L.A,” 2Pac screams at the top of his collab with BTNH on “Thug Luv.” Riddled with sound effects of gunshots, Pac and Bone Thugs bring the world into a warzone. Between Pleads to the Lord for forgiveness, Pac and Bone Thugs’ united Thug across America for an anthem specifically geared for the streets. Though the only collaboration between the two entities, they hoisted Thug Life for the world to see. 

– Aron

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Quavo Pays Homage To Pop Smoke

Quavo takes a moment to reflect on the loss of his friend Pop Smoke, sharing a photo tribute on his Instagram page.

The death of Pop Smoke remains one of the many low points of 2020, a tragic murder that saw an artist’s life ended at the onset of his highly-promising career. In the weeks that followed, many artists reflected on Pop’s potential; 50 Cent vowed to help make his first posthumous album one to remember, while collaborators like Quavo and Nav did their part in preserving Pop’s memory through Instagram tributes and kind words.

Quavo Pays Homage To Pop Smoke

Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Having previously collaborated with Pop Smoke on Meet The Woo 2’s “Shake The Room,” which went on to land a video in the wake of his death, Quavo has once again taken to Instagram to share some kind words about the slain rapper. Sharing an image of himself and Pop living it up in luxurious fashion, the Migos rapper took a moment to mourn his “FRIENDS IN HEAVEN.” He also encouraged his followers to go listen to “Shake The Room,” though some may find the act of listening to Pop Smoke too bittersweet at the moment.

It goes without saying that Pop Smoke would have been a force to be reckoned with, were he still with us. Meet The Woo 2 was already a major step forward for the New York rapper, earning him some massive co-signs in the process. Rest in peace, Pop Smoke — gone but not forgotten.

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Jim Jones Recalls The Summer Lil Wayne Spent In Harlem

Jim Jones shares a throwback pic with the "I Can't Feel My Face" duo, Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana, for this week's "DipSet Fun Fact."

Though Juelz Santana is currently locked up, the Dipset family is eagerly awaiting his return as a free man, Jim Jones has been especially been advocating for his release on social media. Earlier today, the rapper hit the 'Gram where he shared a throwback to the mid-aughts with the I Can't Feel My Face duo, Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana. Apparently, at the time that the photo was taken, Wayne had spent a whole summer in Harlem where he began picking up on some of the fashion out there.

Jim Jones Recalls The Summer Lil Wayne Spent In Harlem
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

"#DipSetFunFact #tunchi came to Harlem for a whole summer picked up a lot of drip along th way #FreeJuelzTillWeSeeJuelz," he recounted. "Ps th plastic bag i has in my hand was full of money this was th night Of th mtv awards in New York I forget th year."

Lil Wayne's maintained a solid connection with Dipset over the years, especially with Juelz Santana. The two had promised in the mid-aughts to release a joint effort titled,  I Can't Feel My Face which never came out but could very well see the light of day sometime this year. In a recent episode of Love & Hip-Hop, it was revealed that Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana's long-awaited project might even drop while the Dipset rapper wraps up the remainder of his prison sentence. Peep the pic below. 

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#DipSetFunFact #tunchi came to Harlem for a whole summer picked up a lot of drip along th way #FreeJuelzTillWeSeeJuelz Ps th plastic bag i has in my hand was full of money this was th night Of th mtv awards in New York I forget th year

A post shared by jimjonescapo (@jimjonescapo) on

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What Happened To Rakim’s Aftermath Album With Dr. Dre?

In one of hip-hop’s greatest cases of “what could’ve been,” we revisit Rakim’s brief spell on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath label and why the “Oh My God” album never surfaced.

Sometimes, a change in circumstance can be the shot in the arm that an artist needs to revitalize their career. Whether it’s jumping ship to a new label, embracing independence or breaking away from a relationship that’d turned sour, starting fresh has been a source of inspiration for many MCs.

From The Game leaving G-Unit and carving out his own legacy to Busta Rhymes and Birdman brokering “a golden moment” for hip-hop when he signed to Cash Money, it’s often been the case that change shouldn’t be averted, but embraced. On other occasions, what’s seemed like a brightly-lit path to greener pastures morphs into something barren and desolate. Here, we find the tragic tale of Rakim’s short-lived affiliation with Aftermath and Dr Dre.

Widely regarded as one of hip-hop’s true pioneers, it speaks volumes that in a genre that’s so steeped in conflict, no one takes umbrage with the fact that one of Rakim’s popular aliases is “The God MC”. As one half of a duo that revolutionized hip-hop in the late 80s with Eric B, the mouthpiece behind Paid In Full, Follow The Leader and Don’t Sweat The Technique was about as impeccable a rapper as there was during his rise to worldwide acclaim.

What Happened To Rakim's Aftermath Album With Dr. Dre?

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Still, there was a time where the New York native was languishing in the commercial doldrums. The reverence for his skills hadn’t depleted, but he’d reached something of a crossroads when it came to shifting units. His sophomore solo album, 1999’s The Master was an accomplished body of work that featured phenomenal production from the likes of DJ Premier and Clark Kent while displaying his lyrical prowess in all its glory. Even with its noteworthy attributes and an immense, Primo-crafted lead single “When I B On Tha Mic,” the album peaked at number 72 on the Billboard charts. To put this sharp decline into perspective, his 1997 comeback album The 18th Letter secured the number four spot with ease. Now, he was falling short of the top 50.

In his time of need, a West Coast icon parachuted into his orbit with an outstretched hand. Just as his controversy-courting protégé Eminem had helped rescue him from a time where his position seemed precarious, Dre looked to pay it forward to one of the genre’s true innovators. Announced while the Compton mastermind was on location at the video shoot for “Stan” in October 2000, Dre made the acquisition public in a brash fashion that captured the mood of his Interscope-backed imprint at the time.

“We just signed Rakim to our label, straight up,” he said, “Rakim is on Aftermath, and the name of his album is going to be Oh My God. This is going to be the biggest hip-hop record ever, straight up and coming at you from Aftermath, baby, so fuck all of y’all.”

An emphatic statement if ever there was one, it’s easy to see why the producer had high hopes for helming a new Rakim album. After all, Dre had regained the Midas touch, striking gold with not only Eminem but his own return to the fray on 2001. After admiring one another from afar, Rakim had first mentioned that “Dre‘s been putting the word out that he wants to do some beats for me” way back in 1995. A few years later, the stars had aligned at a time where Ra had found himself out on a limb.

What Happened To Rakim's Aftermath Album With Dr. Dre?

Chris Weeks/Liaison/Getty Images

Left stationary within an ever-changing landscape, Dre’s guidance and awareness of the modern marketplace seemed like all it’d take for The God MC to reassume the throne. Yet by 2003, the ties between the two were severed without this potentially seminal album ever seeing the light of day. The pair “mutually decided to go their separate ways,” declared Ra’s manager Zach Katz in a statement. “There are reasons, but I really can’t get into them, just basically creative differences. And he’s already talking to other [labels].”

Now, there remains very little as evidence that the two ever even had a partnership. Save for the bhangra-infused hit “Addictive” with former Aftermath signee Truth Hurts and his formidable contribution to Eminem’s 8 Mile OST, all that remains is a smattering of leaked tracks including the gripping “After You Die” and “The Watcher Pt 2” from Jay Z’s The Blueprint: The Gift & The Curse

“I’m glad Jay did it… I needed that at that time,” Rakim told The Breakfast Club in September 2019. “It lit a fire for me. I’ve been out since ‘86. Everyone was categorizing rappers, “old school” or this. To be able to be on a joint with Dre and Jay let people know that yeah, I’ve been around for a while, but I know what I’m doing.”

As for what exactly went wrong, the dialogue has been one-way. Upon relocating to California and setting up shop, an ideological divide began to open up between the Dre and Rakim, that they clearly hadn’t anticipated. During a lengthy interview with Toure on Vlad TV, Ra laid it all bare.

“I guess listening to certain songs that I did– listening to stories– I guess he wanted me to do that…a gangsta rap album, I guess,” Rakim revealed. “That’s his formula, but I thought at that point I should be doing something different. I was maturing at the time. I had grown up a little bit, trying to elevate with [my] music, as well. I’m looking at it like ‘Yeah, get with Dre.’ I wanted to make a mega project that wasn’t…of course it’s hip-hop, but I wanted everybody to be able to listen to it, get this opportunity. I wanted to make the best of it. But, like I said, we would sit in the studio, and he’d put on a beat, and he would sit next to me and be like ‘yo, I want you to talk that sh*t on this one.’ I’m like ‘Dre, that’s what you say on every track you play, bruh. When you gonna let me rhyme on something?? Why I gotta beef with everybody?'”

These squabbles aside, Rakim didn’t want to imbue his music with the more exclusionary lyrical content that Dre and his entourage had become renowned for across both The Chronic and 2001, stating, “I was looking to try and do a dope album and make sure that your daughter could listen to it, my grandmother can listen to it, and it was no bars or anything. We had a different view. We tried some things. Did a couple dope joints, but once we realized…after him trying to push me to talk crap on every song, and me being rebellious, I guess he realized yo, this ain’t gon’ work. Actually, I’m the one that told Dre, ‘I appreciate the opportunity and everything, but I’m going back to New York, bruh.’ I stayed out there another month but after that, it was like listen, I appreciate the opportunity.”

Not confined purely to interviews, the scenario was also referenced in “It’s Nothing” from his 2007 compilation tape The Archive: Live, Lost and Found as he revealed:  “I went to LA to get with Dre, we tried to bridge the gap in. Take night, mix it with day, I guess it wasn’t meant to happen.”

Positioned at two different ends of the spectrum, Ra neatly summarized the parallel outlooks that both men were coming from during a conversation with HardKnockTV in 2009. “If Dre say ‘yo Ra, I want you to talk about killing somebody on this one. I’d say ‘nah, I want to talk about bringing somebody to life on this one.'” Later in that same interview, Ra leaves the door slightly ajar for them to try again: “It didn’t work out but hopefully we can hook up in the future, do a little joint together. No bridges burnt.”

Although most of his remarks focused on a lack of middle ground, one interview with Red Bull Music Academy inferred that Rakim was unwilling to relinquish the autonomy over the rhymes themselves. As we know from the thousands of dispatches from his studio, Dre is a perfectionist and once he has his vision, it becomes unwavering. This proved too much of an unassailable hurdle and, despite their somewhat uneasy truce in recent years, it made The God MC pine for the days with his old partner-in-crime.

What Happened To Rakim's Aftermath Album With Dr. Dre?

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“He wanted me to set it off and brag about who I was and what I did. I’m glad he had a vision for me, we just couldn’t find a medium where he was happy and I was happy with either the direction, topic or whatever it was. Eric B was more that I’d say ‘yo I’m doing this on that’ and he’d be like ‘go ahead.’ That was one thing that was cool about Eric B, he never tried to detour my thought or tell me what I should be saying on a record. He left that up to me.”

For all that, despite it sounding like pure magic on paper, their visions were simply incompatible.

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Pras Michel Wears Full Tyvek Suit To Court

Pras ain’t playing with the coronavirus.

Pras Michel, one-third of the legendary Fugees crew, showed up to Manhattan Family Court on Monday (March 16) in a complete Tyvek Suit. The Haitian-American emcee was not attempting to be humorous in the event of this current national crisis but chose to wear the suit due to an intern at the courthouse who had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) last week. Prior to his diagnosis, the legal intern had spent a total of two weeks in the Manhattan Family Court’s 60 Lafayette building without knowledge of being infected prior to getting accurately tested. With that said, the “Ghetto Supastar” rapper was taking no chances in his latest court appearance in regards to the $100,000-plus he owes his ex-wife, Angela  Severiano in unpaid child support

Pras Michel Wears Full Tyvek Suit To Court

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

According to The New York Post, the state of New York will temporarily discontinue new jury trials and postpone non-essential court functions in an attempt to contain the virus. As for Pras and his hazmat suit, he appeared in court on Monday to prove that he paid his ex-wife the $20,000 he had previously failed to show proof of payment for which resulted in his temporary incarceration. During the beginning of the proceedings, Judge Carol Goldstein noted the surreal scene, stating:

“Let me just put on the record. The father came to court head-to-toe in full hazmat gear, full booties, full outfit with gloves, hood and a mask.” 

After relieving himself of his facemask, Pras was able to reveal to Judge Goldstein that he fulfilled his $20K child support payment in a total of three cash payments to Moneygram, which would, in turn, forward the funds to a collection agency for his ex-wife and their son, Landon. The New Jersey emcee produced the receipts in court providing proof of the payment. 

The judge found Michel’s proof sufficient enough to allow him to return in May with proof of the next $15,000 payment. Pras originally owed Severiano a total of $127,000 in unpaid child support, he now owes a total of $102,000 after the judge subtracted an additional $5,000, according to Page Six

According to Severiano’s attorney, Robert Wallack, “Angela still hasn’t received any money yet.”

Following the court proceeding, Pras took to his Instagram account to flex on his haters while sporting his Tyvek suit, captioning multiple photos:

“I want to first thank NY family court for understanding my situation, but I want all the fake news and everyone to know I’m fully committed to taking care of my son and I Am not nor ever was a deadbeat dad.”

Pras then went on to reveal that he flew across the country to make sure he appeared in court and detailed that his outfit wasn’t a fashion statement but for his own and other people’s safety, as he continued:

“I’m in my Chanel hazmat suit to assure the health safety of both me and people around the court.”

Check out Pras’ Instagram post stunting outside of the Manhattan Family Courthouse in a complete Tyvek suit in the photos provided below. 

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Mixtapes: A Brief History Of Hip-Hop’s Ever Evolving Tool

From DJ Clue’s casette tapes to major label involvement, we trace the history of the iconic hip-hop mixtape.

Over their lifespan, mixtapes have changed in body, but never in soul. Whether the vehicle is zip files, MP3s or C60 cassettes – they’ve always been an integral part of hip-hop’s maturation. Many fans like myself have benefited greatly from the projects that introduced new artists and DJs to the listening community – even though they were candidly, loosely ethical, bootlegged copies of intellectual property that created questions about fair use and legality – they also grew to mega popularity and demanded substantial financial returns. Overall, mixtapes have and continue to have a convoluted but important legacy.

Growing up, I was never really able to afford albums, so mixtapes were my window into hip-hop. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember having a “burner” in high school. No, not a prepaid cell phone – a person who was known for selling mixed CDs blessed with the game’s newest and most exclusive music. Luckily, one of my best friends and teammates was the aforementioned “burner.” So, after practice, we’d swing by his house and he’d go into the secret lab (which was really just the computer desk in his parent’s den) and voila, like magic a shimmering CD would float down from the heavens into his hand before tossing it in mine. This alchemistic wizardry unlocked a treasure chest of tunes that fueled my love for rap music. We’d sometimes just ride around for hours in his car after school listening to our favorite tracks and debating about the newest artists. 

One thing I loved about the tapes was their pageantry. You remember where you were when you heard classics like Lil Wayne’s Dedication or Jay Z’s Carter Collection. I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the Clipse now-infamous mixtape We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2. The project was drenched in voiced interludes and obnoxious DJ tags but most importantly vicious and imaginative bars. With the help of producer Clinton Sparks, Malice, Pusha-T, Sandman, and Ad-Liva redefined what the word mixtape meant. Rhyming over other rappers’ instrumentals in an uncanny fashion. As if they had something to prove and they deserved that industry acclaim and cultish fanfare. Back then tapes were a flare gun shot by up and coming artists trying to paint their name on the day’s rap mural. Take these lines by Malice for example: 

We Got It For Cheap Vol 2 – Intro [Malice]

“And it’s a known fact y’all tired of the circus,

So come home where you smell the crack in the verses!

The whole rap world watched the Clipse take a bow,

We left it in ya hands, you ain’t make Father proud!

None of y’all can copy; a hard act to follow,

We was cursed with the spirit of verses, the stigmata!

Suicide bomb ya, like Mohamed Atta,

Or the doors on that Phantom, Re-Up, we rap martyrs what?” 

Nowadays, it’s fairly normal to see artists routinely flood the hip-hop streets with an abundance of content. Every other week it seems rappers are delivering new music to fans – a far cry from earlier eras, times when listeners waited sometimes years to hear anything new from their favorite emcee. Twenty-plus track playlists, as is the en vogue terminology, and “commercial” mixtapes appear on platforms like Apple Music and Spotify with great regularity but in days past this sort of saturation did not exist. The explosion of the internet and advancements in technology has rendered music-making more accessible to hopeful DJs, producers, and rappers alike. Prior to this, getting your hands on a mixtape was a very limited and tangible experience. Sort of producing a snobbish hip-hop subculture. You’d have to find the block where the tape was being sold, sometimes out of a trunk or the corner store and get your hands on one before they were all gone. The web and early mixtapes sites allowed artists to reach more listeners quickly.

But, how did we get here? What are the origins of this modern-day practicality? And how can we explain the ebb and flow of their use and popularity from the infancy of hip-hop until now? Mixtapes have long been a grey area for both record labels and artists who bend copyright laws to facilitate the distribution of the mostly promotional projects. Mixtapes were some of the first building blocks for hip-hop – appearing as early as the mid-1970s in New York City. The groundbreaking compilations featured artists such as Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa. Classic records like “Planet Rock” emerged from mixtapes. They were incredibly effective in the early days and fans would collect and trade these tapes which helped spread hip-hop. 

From the 1980s into the 1990s, DJs began to join in on the mixtape craze and became a driving force in their revolution. Music personalities like Kid Capri and DJ Clue took tapes from sets on cassette, to an exclusive consumer experience featuring hard-to-find tracks and verses– he infamously had Biggie’s “Juicy” on one of his mixtape cassettes prior to the release of B.I.G.’s Ready to Die album, resulting in a furious call from Biggie on-air at Hot 97. DJ Clue is no doubt a pioneer in procuring the medium as its own art form. Clue helped build the prototype for tapes which became iconic.

Mixtapes: A Brief History Of Hip-Hop's Ever Evolving Tool

DJ Clue, Memphis Bleek and Jay-Z circa 2001 at the Soul Train Awards –  Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

Once homemade and sold door to door, in barbershop, and flea markets – the tapes grew into a multi-million dollar industry. RIAA reportedly estimated that in the early 2000s mixtapes were generating as much as $150 million dollars in sales each year. During this growth the music industry, for most part, turned a blind eye to the enterprise. I assume they equated the lost royalties to be invariable to gained promotion from the circulation of these tapes. Mixtapes famously incubated the early rap careers of artists like 50 Cent, T.I. and Jeezy. Like them, many rappers built the groundwork for their careers with mixtapes. Gaining the attention of major labels through the buzz those compositions created at a grassroot level.

Perhaps no artist in hip-hop history has executed and leveraged mixtapes to his benefit quite like 50 Cent. To rap purists, his name is synonymous with the word. Curtis took the game one step further, by not just spitting 16 bars on someone else’s instrumental, but making the songs his own. 50’s mixtape tracks were so popular they’d often get played in nightclubs and had mass appeal across the country. 50 rode the momentum he built through his mixtapes to one of the best selling debut studio albums of all time.  

Mixtapes grew to be a core marketing strategy for rappers of the new millennium. They essentially became the de facto demo tape for an artist. To do that, they took on many different forms. Battle campaigns waged against the industry (50 Cent), promotional teasers for upcoming albums, DJs combining exclusive verses tracked by high-profile rappers. Both artists and DJs found a lot of ways to leverage mixtapes effectively. Mixtapes also have and continue to be used for artists who want to exercise more creative freedom in their music. Giving them an avenue to express freely without the label’s influence. 

In 2007, DJ Drama and DJ Cannon were arrested on federal racketeering and bootlegging charges from the alleged sale of mixtapes. With the endorsement of RIAA, authorities raided the pair’s Atlanta studio – seizing more than 80,000 CDs and thousands of dollars in producing equipment. Classically dubbed the “mixtape martyrs,” Drama and Cannon bit the bullet for the industry. Drama, of course, pioneered the insanely popular “Gansta Grillz” series. Cannon was influential in his own right with the Affiliate Music Group – also producing tracks for previously mentioned “Gansta Grillz” series. The pair were incredibly formidable in the early part of the decade. It was a comeuppance and turning point in the timeline of mixtape culture.    

Mixtapes: A Brief History Of Hip-Hop's Ever Evolving Tool

Don Cannon (L), DJ Drama, and DJ Sense, 2005 – Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

After the fall of the “mixtape martyrs,” in 2010, the mixtape industry looked to be on life support and in desperate need of defibrillation. There was a time when you needed mixtapes to find the newest music but blogs and websites partially replaced the importance of the tapes in that they exposed listeners to new content without the quest. Everything was now at your finger tips. In a way, fans didn’t critically need mixtapes like they once did. Also, there was no way to charge for mixtapes with sites and social media spreading them. DatPiff, LiveMixtapes and HNHH began streaming mixtapes for free and made them easily accessible. It became more difficult to find a physical copy of any mixtape release. Yet as they have so many times over the years – mixtapes adapted to survive producing a new era in consumption. The boom of streaming took mixtapes yet another step. 

Mixtapes are now big business components and perhaps just as important as albums themselves. A culmination of the mixtape timeline would be Chance The Rapper cashing in on a Grammy Award because of his project Coloring Book. He actually grew to superstardom before ever releasing one album. Acid Rap, another mixtape of his, initially propelled him into the spotlight along with a series of features on a-list records. Referencing Coloring Book he famously said on his Kanye’s “Ultralight Beam”: Let’s make it so free and the bars so hard that there ain’t one gosh darn part you can’t tweet.”and on the project he had an entire song dedicated to addressing the place of mixtapes in hip-hop, saying “Am I the only n*gga still care about mixtapes.” 

There’s an overwhelming amount of content hitting the web. Some have expressed concerns about hip-hop being extremely oversaturated with an influx of music. But don’t expect things to change. Now, mixtapes are an essential part of mainstream rappers’ portfolios. No longer reserved for merely the up-and-coming. J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Future, Drake, and others will hit fans with new music, ambush-style. The compositions have also now lost their ties to DJs, free of interludes and drops like the ones in We Got It For Cheap Vol. 2. What we have now is a fusion of demo tapes and mixtapes which are their own entities. But if you ask me, more music is always a good thing. The essence of mixtapes are to cut out the middleman and get the music to the fans – without all the red tape. Now you have Apple Music and Spotify featuring mixtapes on their platforms, further bolstering their value to an artist’s catalog and blurring the lines between them and albums. So much has changed but so much stays the same. Mixtapes have morphed but retain their status in hip-hop.  

What’s your favorite mixtape, or mixtape memory? Sound off in the comments.

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Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Risking unavoidable slander, we take a stab at ranking the best of the best in current signature kicks.

Last weekend, NBA titans collided during all-star festivities in Chicago. Being recognized as an all-star is one of the sport’s highest honors. However, if we hooked a few players up to lie detector tests, they’d probably trade in their selection for another symbol of praise. Who could turn down the clout of a signature sneaker? Getting your very own signature sneakers means being immortalized by the culture and in the hearts and closets of footwear enthusiasts. Debates about all-time great sneakers are just as intense as ones about rankings the players who wore them. A truly great signature sneaker transcends the court and becomes a nostalgic part of that fashion era. But legendary kicks aren’t all applauded for the same reasons. While some are lauded for historical importance, others are remembered for their technical advancement or wearability.   

Sigs take a player’s brand and cache to a new level – taking individuals once virtually unknown to towering, giant advertisements on New York City building scapes. And it’s not always just stars who get sigs. In 2016 Adidas gave Nick Young, a journeyman role player, his own Crazy Explosive PE. Many felt it was better than league stars Steph Curry and James Harden. Nike continues to dominate when it comes to signature basketball shoes but other brands like Adidas and Under Armor occasionally make waves as well. A few of my personal favorites are Charles Barkley’s 1994 Nike Air Max2 CB34, Kobe’s 1997 Adidas KB8, Allen Iverson’s 1996 Reebok Questions, and the 1996 Jordan XII.  

A great signature shoe should embody the presence of the player it is meant to epitomize. Possessing design characteristics that are consistent with the individual’s style of play and their charisma (or lack thereof). Speaking directly to their flair. For an example of this, look no further than the Nike Zoom Flight 98, crafted for Gary Payton and nicknamed “The Glove.” Or the 2013 Kobe 9 Elites (arguably one of his best kicks with Nike). The disfigured product blueprints that never escaped artroom floors are a testament to how hard it is to effectively capture this magic. So, when brands catch lightning in a bottle with the perfect marriage of design, player, and product – it’s a beautiful thing to behold. Sitting on the shrine of shoe store shelves all over the globe. 

There’s no real formula for choosing a favorite – while some may be more swayed by the way a shoe feels and performs, other may be solely focused on the look or what made them popular. Less science and more personal preference. Risking slander from the most unforgiving of crowds, the sneaker community, I’m going to stick my neck out and compile a list of the best signature shoes for current NBA players.

10. Adidas – Harden Vol. 4 – James Harden

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Not a fan of the lace clips and the design is a bit boring. It seems like a step back from previous versions. Plus is the shoe is lighter, but they no longer feature BOOST cushioning. Not sure what Adidas is thinking here.  

9. Nike – PG4 – Paul George

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020


Image Nike

PG came out the gate strong with explosive colorways but the same complacency we’ve seen with Durant’s line has set in with George’s designers as well. The PG3 was one of last year’s top models. A lot of sneakerheads are disappointed in the 4. 

8. Under Armor – Curry 7 – Steph Curry 

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020


Image Under Armour

After some rather disappointing releases, the Curry 7 is Steph’s best shoe yet. It’s honestly the best design we’ve seen from UA and they’re still built to protect Steph’s fragile ankles.

7. Nike – Freak 1 – Giannis Antetokumpo

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

He may be the best player in the game, but his kicks need work. Giannis’ shoes can be found worn by almost every high school basketball team in the country. It’s the perfect team basketball shoe that looks good in any colorway. This is a great place for Giannis to start. Hopefully, they keep improving.

6. Adidas – D.O.N. Issue #1 – Donovan Mitchell

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I’m very impressed with “The Spider’s” first signature. Adidas also did well playing off his nickname with four Superhero colorways. The shoe’s propulsion clip and BOUNCE cushioning round out some pretty sophisticated technology to boot. Solid debut for Mitchell.  

5. Nike – KD 12 – Kevin Durant

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Durant’s shoes are some of the most comfortable on the market and the colorways always go crazy. Yet, it seems like Nike has gotten lazy with the design over the years. Take a look at the KD 13 and you’ll see what I mean.

4. Jordan – Why Not Zer0.3 – Russell Westbrook

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Harry How/Getty Images

Brodie’s signatures are almost as aggressive as his style of play. Bold colorways offset even bolder stylistic features.

3. Adidas – Dame 6 – Damian Lillard

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The rapper-athlete’s shoe might be as underrated as his game. Traction and control set Lillard’s signature sneaker apart. The shoes are very light due to the mostly mesh and knit construction of the upper. Arguably the best thus far in the series.  

2. Nike – LeBron 17 – LeBron James 

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Critics will say that the LeBron 17s are a bit heavy and clunky, which is debatable – but it makes up for that in performance and comfortability. There are also a ton of colorways to choose from as is the case with LeBron releases. Overall the LBJ shoe line rarely disappoints. Like its predecessor, the shoe’s upper is composed of battle-knit providing superior comfort.

1. Nike – Kyrie 6 – Kyrie Irving

Top 10 Best Signature Sneakers In The NBA As Of 2020

Al Bello/Getty Images

With his mesmerizing handles and acrobatic finishes at the rim, Kyrie Irving has perhaps the most aesthetically-pleasing style of play in the association. So, it is fitting his signature shoe is the most stylish. Great traction and support while evolving of the Kyrie 5. Sneakerheads will also notice Nike lowkey ripped elements of the Yeezy 2 in this Kyrie model. 

An exciting time for sneakerheads appears on the horizon as young stars like Zion Williamson, Trae Young, and Luka Doncic are sure to have signatures coming soon. Young is with Adidas while Doncic and Williamson are team Jordan Brand. All three are under the age of 20 and have had ridiculously spectacular starts to their career – the likes we’ve barely seen out of players this young. With Luka bringing a strong international appeal, Trae’s connection with Atlanta’s hip-hop scene and the Migos, and Zion’s Sportscenter leading nightly highlight reel – the next crop of players to get signature sneakers are probably ascending before our eyes.

What are some of your favorite signature sneakers? Let us know in the comments, below.

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Pop Smoke Calls Theft Allegations "Cap": "We Can’t Afford To F*ck Up"

It’s all lies, according to the rapper.

People were perplexed when news broke that Pop Smoke had been arrested for allegedly stealing a vehicle. In January, the New York City rapper was reportedly taken into custody at the airport as he was making his way to the City of Lights for Paris Fashion Week. Federal agents claim that the rapper borrowed a Rolls-Royce Wraith for a music video in November 2019. The owner of the car, in turn, would receive VIP treatment at one of Pop Smoke’s concerts, but according to authorities, the owner claims he never received his car back. It was finally tracked down in Arizona. 

Pop Smoke Calls Theft Allegations &quot;Cap&quot;: &quot;We Can't Afford To F*ck Up&quot;
Pascal Le Segretain / Staff / Getty Images

Pop Smoke recently sat down with Angie Martinez at Hot 97 to talk about his latest release, Meet the Woo 2. While there, Angie asked about the rapper’s recent run-in with the law. “Foolishness. I’ll tell you later,” the rapper said. “But just know… You know, it’s cap. We gon’ keep it like that.” He may not have said much about the ongoing investigation, but Pop Smoke did have a few words of wisdom for other young men such as himself who are making money in the industry.

“I’m a give a message to my young n*ggas,” he began. “N*ggas like us, coming where we come from, we can’t afford to f*ck up. We can’t afford to slip up. Make no mistakes, you heard, because they watchin’ and they want us to. We got all odds against us. And fake n*ggas be winnin’ sometimes. So, if you wanna succeed, you can’t f*ck up. You ain’t got no space for it. You can’t afford it.” Watch his full interview below.

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Nicki Minaj "Queen Radio" May Have Thrown Shade At Meek Mill

Nicki Minaj kept today’s episode of “Queen Radio” drama-free aside from sending one cryptic message.

Yesterday, Nicki Minaj announced that her Beats 1 show, “Queen Radio”, would be making its return on Monday with its first episode of 2020. She detailed that the show would be airing live from New York and would feature special guest interviews. At the end of her Instagram caption announcement, she ominously wrote, “YES, WE WILL GET INTO SOME THANGZ.” This phrase is ominous given the history of “Queen Radio” and given the past week of Nicki’s life. The rapper’s irregular radio show has largely served as a platform for her to start beef, comment on beef or end beef. Last Wednesday, Nicki came for Meek Mill after he liked a photo that mocked her husband, Kenneth Petty. The exes ended up going back-and-forth on Twitter, launching disturbing accusations at one another. Nicki alleged that Meek beat her while they were dating. In return, Meek claimed Nicki paid her brother’s legal fees despite knowing that he was guilty of molesting his step-daughter. Despite later expressing regret for engaging in this online dispute, Nicki rehashed it on “Queen Radio”, although in a very mild way. 

Today’s episode was primarily about Nicki’s fans. She phoned Barbz around the world and let them ask questions in exchange for giveaways. “This is the reason why I switched up my show today,” Nicki said, presumably referring to how she kept things non-scandalous. “I just love my fans so much.” However, shortly after pointing out how wholesome the episode was, Nicki may have sent some subtle shade in Meek’s direction. 

Nicki Minaj &quot;Queen Radio&quot; May Have Thrown Shade At Meek MillRich Fury/Getty Images

She specifically requested for her DJ to run back the beginning of her verse on her 2018 song, “Chun Swae.” She would not proceed with the show until he replayed the following bars: “Yo, I’m me, I’m Barbie drippin’ / DB9, Barbie whippin’ / If he say he don’t want me back, he be lyin’.” It’s the third line that draws attention. When Nicki was clowning Meek the other day, she wrote about him in an Instagram story, “Trigger fingers turn to #TwitterFingers bad built face ass obsessed with the Queen.” Amid this beef, Meek officially revealed that he’s dating fashion designer Milan Harris, who is also pregnant with his child. Regardless, Nicki seems to be insinuating that Meek is still not over her. 

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10 Recent HBO Comedy Specials You Should Watch

Some great one-hour specials you won’t be finding on Netflix.

Following all the love our Netflix Stand-Up Comedy Specials feature received, we figured why not give the people more of what they want. In addition to Netflix’s wealth of comedy talent and Amazon’s burgeoning roster (Jim Gaffigan, Ilana Glazer), HBO remains relevant as it continues to shepherd in a new crop of comedians on the rise. Equal parts hilarious and offbeat, HBO utilized 2019 as a year to embrace the unexpected in comedy. Whether it was a Muslim comedian discussing casual sex, a Salvadoran comedian performing miniature prop comedy, or a celebrated young comedian opting to make a two-part documentary about his family – HBO remained in the forefront of comedy during a period when over-saturation and bingeing became king.

Ramy Youssef: Feelings

Between the breakout successes of his debut hour-long HBO stand-up special and critically acclaimed Hulu sitcom, comedian-actor Ramy Youssef (Mr. Robot) had the year of most comedians’ dreams. And the praise only continued as 2020 kicked off with Ramy winning the Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. But this whirlwind year all started back in April of 2019 when Youssef filmed his first HBO special, Ramy Youssef: Feelings to a diverse crowd full of hijabs and hipsters. This dichotomy is essentially Youssef’s demographic sweet spot – contemporary Muslim Americans and woke Millennials. At the heart of this social Venn diagram you will find Ramy and his budding brand of comedy chock-full of faith and vulgarity. Whether he’s discussing Islamic customs, comparing Michael Jackson to LeBron James, or complaining about white Uber drivers – Ramy Youssef: Feelings is an immediate triumph and one of, if not the best hour of stand-up released last year.

Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes

Julio Torres is another young comedian coming off a career-shifting year. This past June, the former Saturday Night Live and The Chris Gethard Show writer created, wrote, and starred in the Spanish-language supernatural-themed HBO comedy, Los Espookys. The 6-episode series currently maintains a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been renewed for a second season. Shortly after the success of Los Espookys, HBO released Torres’ debut stand-up special My Favorite Shapes. As bizarre as it may sound, My Favorite Shapes revolves around the goofy stories and hilarious anecdotes Torres pulls from his favorite shapes including crystals, miniature furniture, a cactus, and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. To describe this special as anything other than odd or unorthodox would be an understatement, as Torres even states: “I just need to show my shapes. That’s all this is for.” His dry wit is matched by the sheer silliness of each shape and the seriousness with which he approaches it all. My Favorite Shapes will have you cackling and scratching your head at the same time. But one thing is for sure, Julio Torres is one of comedy’s newest and most unique voices ready to blow at any moment.

Lil Rel Howery: Live in Crenshaw

Beginning with a soulful a cappella rendition of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and a performance by the L.A. Youth Step Team – Lil Rel Howery’s debut HBO stand-up special, Live in Crenshaw, emanates a pep rally on a hot day in LA. Filmed inside a sunlit gymnasium at Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School in the heart of the south Los Angeles neighborhood of Crenshaw – Lil Rel regales his audience with a variety of stories spanning from the viral video of two families brawling at Disneyland to paying for his uncle’s funeral. Loud, physical, and full of chuckles, Lil Rel will keep viewers laughing along with the audience for the entirety of this one-hour special – even as the sun begins to set on the high school gym.

Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh

With Gary Gulman’s HBO hour-long debut and first special in four years, there was already a great deal of pressure on the nearly 50-year-old comedian. Add to it the fact that Gulman had been in and out of hospitals for clinical depression over that extended period and was now performing new material on the topic makes Gary Gulman:The Great Depresh one of the most important comedy specials produced in recent memory. Directed by Michael Bonfiglio (Jerry Before Seinfeld), executive produced by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up), and released during Mental Illness Awareness Week, this 75-minute stand-up special/documentary is much more than jokes about being sad. Infusing documentary interludes touching on his struggle with depression, anxiety, and hospitalization – Gulman described the special as “a hybrid, where I do some documentary about my recovery, treatment, and my hospitalization, and then I do stand-up surrounding that.” The documentary moments include interviews with his wife, mother, and psychiatrist. Filmed at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, the special branches out to less “depressing” topics such as Millennials’ take on bullying, participation trophies being a metaphor for life, and how his mother’s voice is constantly in his head. Not your traditional HBO comedy special, Gary Gulman:The Great Depresh is an important watch for anyone who has personally experienced, or known someone who has struggled with depression.

Amanda Seales: I Be Knowin’

Amanda Seales begins her hour-long HBO special self-admittedly stating that this special is for the ladies. This is made even more apparent throughout the special when the cameras reveal a nearly all-female and predominantly black audience – which makes for a great crowd particularly when Amanda initiates a sing-along to the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Throughout the special, Seales runs through a bevy of topics that raise audience members from their seats including the pointlessness of catcalling, the comedic styling of Harriet Tubman, and what it’s like being the only black girl at a sleepover. Filmed at the Edison Ballroom in New York City by Stan Lathan (Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones) – I Be Knowin’ celebrates all of Amanda Seales’ hilarious qualities in one succinct hour of comedy. Whether you know her from Insecure, Get Your Life, or The Real – I Be Knowin’ is sure to have her on your comedians-to-watch list for the indefinite future.

Dan Soder: Son of a Gary

A comedian many may have never heard of performed HBO’s final stand-up special of the decade. While Dan Soder might not be one of the biggest names in comedy, any viewers willing to take a chance on this special covering dead dads, drugs, and Denver will quickly convert to fans. Perhaps best known for his Sirius XM Radio show with Big Jay Oakerson, The Bonfire, or his role as Mafee on the Showtime series Billions – Dan Soder’s comedy ascendance has been slowly building up to this moment. And to relish in the apex of his first hour-long HBO special, Soder opted to spend the majority of his time telling jokes about his deceased alcoholic father, Gary. If even the mentioning of this sort of dark humor has piqued your interest, then immediately go watch Son of a Gary.

Daniel Sloss: X

Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss’ fourth stand-up special and first for HBO also happens to be his 10th solo show – hence the aptly titled X. Written, directed by, and starring the notoriously dark humored 29-year-old comedian – X was filmed in front of packed audience at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, Australia. Prefacing his performance with a quick suggestion to “Get comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, don’t fucking worry about it. I’m about to provide plenty of material that’s going to make most of you very fucking uncomfortable.” For those unacquainted with Sloss’ humor, this is the perfect introduction to his hour of jokes ranging from sex education to the male ego and what it’s like telling another man you love him. Still considered a comedy prodigy with over ten tours and four specials before the age of 30, Daniel Sloss is an acquired taste worth trying out. But as the second half of the special shifts to more speaking than joking, your attention span may be tested.

Pete Holmes: Dirty Clean

Airing a month before what would end up being the third and final season of Crashing, HBO premiered Dirty Clean, the series’ star and creator’s latest special. Named for the fact that as a former Christian comic, he still can’t perform dirty material without receiving admiration for his clean humor – Holmes delves into topics that may finally lift this label. In his latest hour of comedy, Pete discusses the topics of pooping, masturbating, and his wife Valerie’s large breasts, yet as portrayed in Crashing, he’s still labeled by his Christian upbringing, going to Christian camp and college, and briefly performing on the Christian comedy circuit. Directed by Marcus Raboy (Friday After Next) at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon – Pete Holmes is one of the few comedians today who exude joy during his stand-up. And while I love a sarcastic and depressed comedian as much as the next guy, the brand of humor Holmes has perfected over the past few years is a refreshing change of pace needed within today’s comedy world.

2 Dope Queens [season 2]

For the second season of this popular podcast turned four-episode HBO special, co-hosts Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson took their hosting, special guests, and stand-up comedians to the next level. Similar to the first season, each episode has its own theme that the girls dress for and riff off between one (sometimes two) special guest(s), and three (or two) stand-up sets. The four themes of season two are “Fashion,” “Nostalgia,” “Music,” and “Regal AF.” The special guests to get excited for are Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Radcliffe, Janet Mock, Lizzo, and Keegan-Michael Key. Some of the female, people of color, and LGBTQ stand-up talent you’re bound to fall in love with include Janine Brito, Jamie Lee, Bowen Yang, Shalewa Sharpe, Pat Brown, Rory Scovel, and Jacqueline Novak. Unfortunately it’s now been nearly a year since the second season aired with no formal announcement of a third season from HBO. But you can always go back and re-watch all eight episodes, or listen to their two and a half years worth of podcasts to get your 2 Dope Queens fix.

Jerrod Carmichael – Home Videos/ Sermon on the Mount

Following the breakout success of Jerrod Carmichael’s first two HBO stand-up specials: Love at the Store directed by Spike Lee and 8 directed by Bo Burnham – you’d think the 32-year-old comedian from North Carolina would quickly plot his return to the stage. Instead he convinced HBO to go in the exact opposite direction, allowing him to create two short-form documentaries about his family. The first, titled Home Videos and running less than 30-minutes, features Carmichael interviewing the female members of his family including his niece, sisters, and mother about topics involving school, black beauty, and fidelity. He bluntly asks his sister, “You still been on your pro-black, pro-women shit? Or are you off that this week?” She later tells him, “The fact that you as a black male wants to listen to black women, that’s the start.” Far from a comedy special, Home Videos is smart, intimate, and full of funny people having serious conversations.

A month and a half later HBO released the second half of the documentary, Sermon on the Mount. Now speaking with the men of his family, Carmichael candidly shares conversations with his nephews, brother, cousins, uncle, and father about what it’s like to be a black man in America today. These discussions are shot alongside Carmichael’s mother seeking guidance from her preacher. Longer and less poignant than Home Videos, Carmichael’s Sermon on the Mount serves as a fitting ending to the narrative he’s documented – respectfully giving his father a chance to speak for himself in the film’s final moments. Any fans of Carmichael’s comedy or viewers interested in an authentic portrayal of the black family experience will get more out of this documentary than your average comedy special.

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Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike Air Rubber Dunk Revealed: First Look

Nike and Off-White can’t be stopped.

Virgil Abloh’s brand Off-White and sportswear giant Nike have been frequent collaborators over the last few years and it doesn’t look like they will be stopping anytime soon. As of right now, many in the fashion world are in New York for fashion week. Yesterday, Nike hosted a forum where they showed off a plethora of new sneakers, including the Tokyo 2020 collection. In addition to their Olympic range, Nike unveiled a brand new Off-White collab with an interesting aesthetic.

As you can see from the Instagram post below, the shoe is a chunky runner with a black upper and green highlights. At first, the name of this shoe was unknown until Abloh confirmed it’s called the Rubber Dunk, according to Sole Collector.

For now, there is no release information in regards to the Off-White x Nike Air Rubber Dunk. Many are expecting this shoe to drop in the summer although nothing has been confirmed. With this in mind, be sure to stay tuned for details as we will bring them to you as quickly as possible.

Let us know in the comments below what you think of this sneaker and whether or not you would cop it once it drops.

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A$AP Rocky & Rihanna Dating Rumors Cause Twitter Eruption

Fans are generally excited about the potential new power couple.

Dating back to the beginning of A$AP Rocky’s rise to prominence, there has always been something linking the Harlem superstar to Rihanna. In 2013, the two musicians were spotted behind-the-scenes of the “Fashion Killa” music video kissing, which prompted dating rumors to hit the web. Since then, gossipers have been following their every move to determine exactly what their relationship is. After RiRi made an appearance with A$AP Rocky at Yams Day 2020, it was rumoured that the two spent the night together, sleeping in the same New York hotel suite. This week, the mill intensified with reports that the two were casually dating, possibly marking the inception of the latest music power couple and, reading the news, fans reacted in droves.

A$AP Rocky & Rihanna Dating Rumors Cause Twitter Eruption
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Fresh off of her split with billionaire Hassan Jameel, Rihanna appears to have already moved on with A$AP Rocky, who shares a similar lifestyle to her. The differences between Jameel and Rih may have been too much with gossip sources pointing to their drastically inconsistent schedules as the primary reason for their breakup. Now that she and Rocky might be an item, their biggest supporters are taking to Twitter to express their excitement over the bond, predicting how gorgeous their baby will be, whining about having no chance with either one of the stars, and more.

When you heard the rumors, how did you take them? Do you think they’ll last?

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Pop Smoke Responds To Reports His Mom Had To Put Home Up For Bond

Pop Smoke is outside… with racks.

Pop Smoke has made a ton of news in recent times. The rapper found himself in a bit of beef and some legal trouble but it seems like everything is good with him, for the moment. Following Paris Fashion Week, the rapper was arrested upon his arrival in New York. Police said that the rapper transported a stolen Rolls-Royce and now, he’s facing some years in the case.

Pop is undoubtedly one of the hottest out right now so a potential prison sentence could be detrimental to his career and his pockets. But shortly after his arraignment, it was reported that his bond was set at $250K and his mother was forced to put her home up in order to make sure he was released from jail. Well, the rapper has been flashing racks in recent times to dispel the rumors. Taking to the ‘Gram, he wanted to put those reports to rest, once again, with a photo of himself holding a massive amount of cash.


In related news, the rapper announced that he was dropping his upcoming project, Meet The Woo 2 next month. With a Feb. 7th release date set, we’re excited to see how he comes through on his new project. 

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Kendrick Lamar’s "Alright" Is Our Generation’s Triumph

On MLK Day, we revisit the importance and impact of Kendrick Lamar’s single “Alright.”

“Alls my life I had to fight, nigga!”

During a peaceful 1963 demonstration against segregation laws in the city of Birmingham, Alabama activists were met with violent attacks from high-pressure fire hoses and police dogs producing some of the most disturbing and iconic images of the civil rights movement.

Kendrick Lamar's &quot;Alright&quot; Is Our Generation's Triumph

Fire fighters use fire hoses to subdue the protestors during the Birmingham Campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, May 1963 – Frank Rockstroh/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“Alls my life I had to fight”

In 1921 the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma – an almost exclusively black neighborhood filled with thriving businesses was attacked by a mob of angry white residents. Dozens were killed. It’s christened the single most violent act of racial violence in American history. 

Kendrick Lamar's &quot;Alright&quot; Is Our Generation's Triumph

Tulsa, Oklahoma after the race riots. Injured and wounded prisoners are being taken to hospital by National guardsmen – Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“Alls my life I had to fight, nigga!” 

August 2014, police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking national outrage and weeks of protests to follow. 

Kendrick Lamar's &quot;Alright&quot; Is Our Generation's Triumph

A demonstrator protesting Darren Wilson’s shooting death of Michael Brown is arrested by police officers in St. Louis, Missouri – Joshua Lott/Getty Images

“Alls my life I had to fight”

August 2005, impoverished residents of New Orleans, many of them black, waited on government assistance after Hurricane Katrina ravaged Southeast Louisiana. Due to slow federal action, many would lack basic necessities like water, housing, and health care.    

“When you know, we been hurt. Been down before. When our pride was low, looking at the world like where do we go. And we hate po-po, want to kill us dead in the street for sure. I’m at the preacher’s door. My knees getting weak and my gun might blow but we gone be alright.”

It was author and activist James Baldwin who said, in his 1956 book Sunny Blues: “All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.”

Kendrick’s triumph is indeed our triumph on “Alright.” His decree of imminent victory in the face of terror pierces through our inter-mutual spirits even if for a moment. The song forces you to hear the volumes of tidings he arranged in less than 800 words. A dynamic message. The 2015 song which became an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement will forever live on and exuberantly embody the power of hip-hop.  

Kendrick Lamar's &quot;Alright&quot; Is Our Generation's Triumph

Five years after Eric Garner’s death, people gather in protest, July 17, 2019 in New York City – Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Chuck D and Public Enemy dubbed hip-hop the “black CNN.” This will always be the truest legacy of the culture. On To Pimp A Butterly, Lamar boldly and impenitently charges the menaces of capitalism, racism, and discrimination. A radical exposition of blackness in the current social context. A tale of our plight towards unblemished equality. Like Public Enemy and NWA did with “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back” and “Straight Outta Compton” Kendrick Lamar fashioned the way we view the world with his third studio album. 

Pitchfork named Kendrick Lamar’s thought-proving single “Alright” from his black power manifesto To Pimp A Butterfly, song of the decade. In my opinion, TPAB is the most important rap album of this generation. So much of hip-hop is criticizing an analyzing systems of oppression – police brutality, poverty and social injustice in all forms. 

In the same article, Pitchfork said, “It’s not every day, or even every decade, that a song will become platinum-certified, Grammy recognized, street ratified, activist endorsed, and a new nominee for Black National Anthem; that it’ll be just as effective performed before a massive festival audience or chanted on the front lines at protests; that it’ll serve as a war cry against police brutality, against Trump, for the survival of the disenfranchised. Inspired by a trip to South Africa, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” bears a message of unbreakable optimism in the face of hardship.”

Hundreds of years ago as slaves we sang joyful songs to get us through the daily brutalities of chattel subjugation. During the civil rights era, we marched as an independent army demanding the civil liberties that America continued to disallow. Now, years later, we still need this variety of music to heal from the dreary tangibilities of the time. It’s a feel-good record that reminds you of struggle’s beauty while inciting a resolve of altruism. Lamar boxes with hopelessness and optimism on an unforgettable beat. It is a beautifully conducted waltz in a ring of controversy. 

Black people have been rebelling against the power structure through music for generations. The songs we sang during slavery had to be partially euphemistic; the messages hidden in the complexity of the linguistic gymnastics we still do. It was the bedrock for the ways we speak today. It was our own little undetectable, daily uprising in passing. In many ways, this is hip-hop’s precursors. Ta-nehisi Coates described how rap gave him the earliest sense of what writing should mean. This stated in his New York Times best-selling book Between The World and Me. I feel the same as Coates. Listening to these street journalists reporting from and for the unrepresented voices in America shaped my social consciousness. This too was my earliest inkling of literature’s true power and purpose. Rakim was my Shakespeare. Ice Cube my Allan Poe.

I was about 10 years old when I first experienced a protest. In the city of St. Petersburg two white police officers had killed an unarmed, teenage black motorist. After the police department refused to shared information the community became furious. I remember ducking down in the car as projectiles flew threw the air and the muffled rumble of chants filled the cool Florida air. Right after that experience was when I first heard “The Point of No Return” by Ghetto Boys. I found refuge in the song’s lyrics given the anger I felt – not fully understanding the gravitas of this situation but knowing that I always saw other black men dying on the news at the hands of police. 

“Alright” was chanted during protests and rallies in the years since its release. As songs of my early youth gave me a form of solace in times of unrest so did this composition. Due to its social timing and indignation of black America, the song quickly grew into the soundtrack to calls for justice. The track grew popular in the shadow of several high-profile police killings which involved unarmed black men.  

“I’m fucked up, homie, you fucked up but if God got us then we gone be alright.”

Part avouchment, part affirmation. The song’s hook proxies its brilliance. Under Kendrick’s commanding voice we all collectively wrapped our arms around each other in a show of unity and asserted that – even if it does not feel like it right now – we will be okay. And further, we are in this fight together. We symbolically linked arms across the nation in a season of new awakening driven by feelings of cheated social impartiality.  

A cocktail of hope, anger, depression, “Alright” harvests some deep-rooted theoretical analogies long tied to the black psyche in terms of the false perception of America’s dream. Kendrick’s disposition expresses a glimmer of hope shrouded in equal resignation. He’s torn. Back and forth Lamar goes, a display of internal struggle. Pleased with the progress yet contending nothing has ever changed. Wrestling with the idea that given oppression’s stronghold, will things ever truly change?

The balancing act between hopefulness and sadness. The weight on his shoulders. He speaks for a group of people. He’s trying to tell people to rise up: you have the talent, you have the talent and ability and promise. The other side is accepting the realities of the world we live in. Even though he’s Kendrick Lamar, a celebrity, when everything boils down he can just as easily be another statistic. A powerful message. Giving yourself a chance to believe. 

Several other artists have made songs that speak to the same conviction as those articulated in “Alright.” Each era of hip-hop has had a commensurate anthem. The 80s had “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy and “Fuck the Police” by NWA. The 90s had “Changes” by 2 Pac. The 2000s have “Be Free” by J. Cole and these songs hang in the rap section of black history’s esteemed gallery of art.  

Hip-hop artists haven’t just written songs about change, they’ve been consistently linked to activism. Beyonce’s halftime performance at the Super Bowl, with an outfit honoring the Black Panthers, was an unforgettable moment. Diddy’s “Vote or Die” campaign during the 2004 Presidential election. J. Cole and Talib Kweli joining demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri after Mike Brown’s shooting.

The messages conveyed in “Alright” by way of To Pimp A Butterfly are reinforced through Kendrick’s performances and the song’s visual artistry. Lamar stood on top of a cop car during most of his 2015 BET Awards performance. Here he directly accosts the power structure not of law enforcement but of injustice. In his set, the police car works as a physical embodiment of the inadequacies in criminal justice. Demonstrations like the Watts riots of 1965 produced images reminiscent of Kendrick’s show. 

During his 2016 Grammy performance, Kendrick came out with faceless soldiers who represented the disenfranchised and exploited people upon which the American dream is built. This is further highlighted by the initial soundbite “America, God bless you if it’s good to you.” Turning the ideological motif “God Bless America” on its head. This acts as a perfect precursor to his performance of the song “XXX” which references both gun violence and police brutality against blacks.

Kendrick Lamar's &quot;Alright&quot; Is Our Generation's Triumph

Kendrick Lamar performs in shackles at the 2016 Grammys – Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Dave Chapelle came out during an interlude of the same performance to remind the audience that “the only thing more frightening than watching a black man be honest in America, is being an honest black man in America.” 

Kendrick was interviewed during Austin City Limits. The moderator asked him, “When you write a song or make a record do you think about how it’s going to affect people. The impact that it could have?” K-Dot responded, “Prior to this album, prior to a lot of my new music – a lot of the records were just for me. It was more of a selfish type of thing. Until I seen that people out here actually connect with it just as deep or even more than me writing it. So, now I go into the aspect of how can I make something that’s personal for me but also personal for that’s listening to it. So, when I go in to make a record like that. To Pimp A Butterfly. I go in with the mind state that it has to connect. Not only for me and my culture but for people from other walks of life. People around the world.”  

One of the most lasting and polarizing images involving the song came in Cleveland, Ohio. In unity and solidarity, protesters began chanting “we gone be alright” after being pepper-sprayed by police. A viral moment that echoed across the digital sphere. This song was that rare moment James Baldwin spoke of – when we truly hear the music and its message. When the undeniable connection happens between artist and consumer. With “Alright” Kendrick’s triumph was our triumph.

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Pop Smoke Arrested For Stolen Rolls-Royce: Report

Pop Smoke has been arrested for allegedly transporting a stolen Rolls-Royce.

Pop Smoke is one of the most exciting new rappers in the game right now, representing the gritty side of New York that doesn’t care all too much about melody or a catchy hook. What the 20-year-old drill artist brings to the table is his street sensibility and a story that many can relate to. His hit singles “Welcome To The Party” and “Dior” paved the way for him to make an appearance on Travis Scott‘s new Cactus Jack compilation project JACKBOYS, highlighting the final song “GATTI.” Unfortunately for him, he has reportedly found himself in trouble with the law, getting arrested this morning for allegedly transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines.

Pop Smoke Arrested For Stolen Rolls-Royce: Report
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

According to TMZ, federal agents popped Pop Smoke this morning for travelling in a stolen 2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith, which he had reportedly borrowed for a music video shoot. The report reads that, back in November, Pop Smoke and the owner of the whip agreed for the rapper to use the car in a new music video, offering the owner special treatment at a concert to pay him back. Pop Smoke was apparently supposed to return the vehicle the next day but, when he didn’t, the owner of the Rolls reported it as stolen and tracked it down in Arizona. For context, the recording artist had met the man in California. 

Pop Smoke is set to be arraigned later today in Brooklyn. He was arrested at the airport upon his return from Paris Fashion Week.

Free Pop Smoke!

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Jay Z & Beyonce Send An Entire Case Of Ace of Spades Champagne To Reese Witherspoon

Hov & Bey surprise the “Big Little Lies” actress with the gift of gold bottles.

Ricky Gervais and Ellen Degeneres might have had some of the most polarizing moments on the 2020 Golden Globes stage this past Sunday. But it was Beyonce and Jay Z that drew the most attention from the 77th annual Golden Globe attendees this year. Not only did music’s most prominent power couple arrive at the ceremony fashionably late, the Carters also showed up with multiple bottles of their very own Armand de Brignac (Ace of Spades) champagne to the Moët-sponsored affair. 

With Beyonce‘s undeniable aura and Jay Z upholding the integrity of a brand he’s fully invested in, the two took the spotlight from those in attendance without taking a single foot on stage. So much that when Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon ran out of beverages of their own they asked the duo for a glass of their champagne that runs for approximately $300 a bottle. 

The exchange went viral and Reese Witherspoon took to her Instagram account to poke fun at herself by Photoshopping herself into the background of the seated couple at this past weekend’s award ceremony. Yesterday the gracious, musical couple exuded a level of class many would appreciate when they gifted Reese Witherspoon with an entire case of Ace of Spades Champagne delivered directly to her home. 

Reese Witherspoon posted the surprise gift to IG story proclaiming: “I just got home from New York, and the most beautiful flowers are here and a case of Ace of Spades champagne.” A note attached from B & Hov read, “More water — Jay and Bey.”

The actress closed out the video toasting with her mother, stating “Cheers guys, thank you so much!”

Check out Reese Witherspoon popping her own gold bottle in the video provided below and check out the full list of Golden Globe winners, here