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Aretha Franklin reveals Andre 3000 is co-producing her new album; Plus, 5 other things we know (so far)

In an interview with Billboard, Aretha Franklin revealed that André Benjamin (aka André 3000 of Outkast) is co-producing her upcoming divas cover album. Hooray!

Benjamin will be stepping in for Don Was, who had to drop out due to schedule conflicts. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fun working with (André 3000), just watching his videos and things,” Franklin told Billboard. “It should be fun. And, of course, they all come with great music, so I expect that.”

It’s a match made in heaven that we absolutely cannot wait for. Oh, you can’t wait either? Well you’re in luck. Here’s what we can tell you about the album (so far): READ FULL STORY

Hear rapper Crown's new indie-flavored single 'Roam' -- Exclusive

Crown is a Brooklyn rapper with an old-school flow and a modern sonic sensibility that reaches well outside the range of the average throwback rapper. He’s backed by a band called the M.O.B. (short for “Message of the Blues”) that makes a big, dense sound that’s both rootsy and Roots-y.

They have a new album called All Rise coming out later this year. It’ll feature the song “Roam,” where he drops Biggie-inspired verses over a piano- and strings-driven beat with an indie-pop hook that makes for a breezy summertime listen. “The vibe of the song had me reflecting on the past and how far I’ve come,” he says. “No matter where I’ve been and where I’m going, you’ve always got to keep the positive thoughts pushing you forward.”

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Listen to Grimes' new R&B-meets-EDM banger 'Go'

Synth-loving art-pop faerie Grimes has been on the verge of a major breakthrough ever since she released her 2012 album Visions, which refined the experimental electronic approach of her first two LPs and infused her sound with big, undeniable hooks that can stand up next to anything on the Top 40. It has stealthily become one of the most influential records of the past few years, and you can hear ideas borrowed from it all over the radio, including pretty much every synth-heavy pop song by a female performer that’s broken big in the past year.

Grimes herself has been patiently setting up her next move, signing to Jay Z’s Roc Nation for management and apparently fielding some songwriting gigs from major stars. Earlier this month at the Governor’s Ball festival in New York City she played a handful of new songs, including one that she claimed was written for, and rejected by, Rihanna. Today, she posted the finished recording of that track, entitled “Go,” on her SoundCloud. Produced with her longtime musical partner Blood Diamonds, it’s her most ambitiously accessible song yet, with an R&B-heavy vocal melody and arena-sized EDM synths that sound like they could have been lifted off of a Diplo track. It strongly hints that her next album (which she’s still working on) will be aimed straight at pop radio.

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Katy Perry is the RIAA's most decorated digital act ever

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has recognized Katy Perry—the 29-year-old singer who has kissed a girl, set off some multi-platinum fireworks, and shared part of herself on movie screens in 3D—as the most awarded digital act in the history of Gold and Platinum awards. Not only is Perry the first artist to surpass 70 million Digital Single certifications (that is, downloads and on-demand streams), but her cumulative count of 72 million certifications from 18 Katy Perry songs—like recent hits “Dark Horse” and “Birthday”—put her 20 million ahead of the next most-awarded artist, Rihanna.

“Katy Perry is a force to be reckoned with in music,” RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement.  “She embodies all that makes a true global superstar: the musical talent, the extraordinary drive and genuine charisma, and an intrinsic connection with her fans.”

Perry’s lifetime haul includes 18 gold, 16 platinum, and 56 multi-platinum Digital Single Awards, in addition to her double-multi-platinum album Teenage Dream and platinum album One of the Boys.

RIAA expanded its system in 2004 to recognize the emerging trend toward digital-music markets ushered in by services like iTunes. Last year, on-demand and video streaming sites like Beats Music Rhapsody, Spotify, Xbox Music, MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music, and YouTube were also included in the count.

Perry, it’s worth noting, is still just the top certified digital artist ever. The Beatles still have more albums that went gold or platinum.

Video: Beyonce and Jay Z kick off their tour in Miami with wedding footage

World’s most swaggerful couple Jay Z and Beyoncé kicked off their On the Run tour last night in Miami, and the audience-shot videos that have been popping up online indicate that the spectacle lives up to the epic cinematic trailer they released for it last month.

The trailer’s faux-heist-flick premise continues into a preshow film set to a chopped-up edit of Future’s drug-slinging anthem “Move That Dope” shown on an enormous on-stage screen before the pair emerge in a cloud of smoke to the tune of “’03 Bonnie and Clyde”—their first venture into pretending to be movie stars pretending to be criminals. Later in the 42-song set, they show a montage of footage from their wedding and some clips of Blue Ivy, underlining the fact that On the Run isn’t just a concert tour but sort of a cult ceremony devoted to the worship of the Jay-and-Bey unit. Those rumors about the pair getting divorced (over Mya, of all things) look kind of silly compared to the sheer magnitude of this love fest.

READ FULL STORY

Pink Mountaintops unveil fiery new video for 'Second Summer of Love'

The Second Summer of Love was a period in the late ’80s where MDMA, Chicago acid house, and British youth culture collided explosively to create what came to be called “raving.” It’s also the title of a ripping new song from the new album, Get Back, by Canada’s greatest extant rock band Pink Mountaintops.

The song is a vaguely apocalyptic portrait of subultural youth, and the video takes it a step further with a bunch of grunge kids wielding baseball bats, riding flaming skateboards, and looking existential in front of pyrotechnic displays. You’re not likely to see this much ennui and fire in one place all day.

Hit the jump to check it out. READ FULL STORY

Cloud rap pioneers Main Attrakionz return with 'Alphabet City' -- Exclusive

Main-Attrakionz

Of all the microgenres that pop music has produced over the past few years, “cloud rap” is the one with the most evocative name, not to mention the most descriptive: It’s hip-hop that floats on hazy, vaporous beats with laid-back flows to match. It’s no surprise that some of the best stuff in the style comes from California, with its plentiful medical marijuana dispensaries.

Oakland duo Main Attrakionz is one of the leading cloud-rap groups, and their 808s & Dark Grapes II is one of the classics of the genre. Lately they’ve been collaborating with Sacramento rapper-producer Tynethys, and last fall they released a full-length eponymous mixtape together. The trio is back again with a new track, “Alphabet City,” which combines spaciness with swagger.

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Princess Superstar returns with 'Push You Away' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Princess-Superstar

New York City performer Princess Superstar was making hipster rap before hipsters were even a thing, and back in the early ’00s she played a crucial role in the city’s electroclash scene. These days she’s living a more sedate lifestyle as a mom on the Upper East Side and teaching kids hip-hop history and skills at a weekly class in Williamsburg. On July 15 she’ll drop an EP called I’m a Firecracker, her first official release since 2005. She’s also working on a reality show, I Love Princess Superstar, about her domestic existence and artistic comeback.

Click through the jump to stream her new track, “Push You Away,” and watch two clips from her new show. READ FULL STORY

Karen O will release her home-recorded debut solo album in September

The last Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, Mosquito, was their most elaborate recording to date, complete with the gospel choir that’s pretty much de rigueur for overproduced rock records. For her upcoming debut solo album, frontwoman Karen O is going hard in the opposite direction. Crush Songs, which will be released on Strokes singer Julian Casablancas’s Cult Records on September 9, is a collection of stripped-down, lo-fi home recordings along the lines of “The Moon Song,” her Oscar-nominated contribution to the soundtrack for Spike Jonze’s Her.

The material on Crush Songs was recorded in 2006 and 2007, during the peak of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs post-Fever to Tell popularity. Karen O was 27 at the time, and according to a quote in her press release, she “crushed a lot” during that time.

Crush Songs will be available on CD, digitally, and in a special limited edition that includes a sunburst-colored vinyl album and a set of personal drawings with handwritten lyrics, which is available for pre-order now.

Your Ultimate Guilty Pleasure Summer Playlist

Who doesn’t love a gloriously dumb summer song?

In the issue of EW on stands this Friday, we examine the phenomenon of hits like Magic!’s “Rude” and 5 Seconds of Summer’s “She Looks So Perfect” — sunny, sonically undemanding wonders that seem to rise when the mercury does.

It also got us thinking about some of our favorite non-Mensa tracks from summers past, so we made a decade-spanning Spotify playlist featuring hall of famers like Color Me Badd, Coolio, Nelly, and Tag Team. Whoomp! Here it is: READ FULL STORY

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