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The 5 very best things about DMX's amusement park video

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Being a DMX fan has been kind of tough for the past, oh, 13 years or so, what with his arrests, lawsuits, and assorted personal issues overshadowing (often by quite a bit) his musical accomplishments since approximately “Who We Be.” If you have any genuine love for the man, just seeing his name pop up in the news can be distressing, especially if there’s video involved.

Occasionally, though, X will still prove himself capable of bringing pure joy, untainted by gross schadenfreude, into the world. And this video of him riding an amusement park ride that shoots people almost 400 feet into the air at high speed is one of those moments.


Nearly every second of the video offers another reason why it’s the best thing in the world. Here are the top five highlights:

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Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett announce their album release, debut a duet

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Usually it’s Lady Gaga’s modernist tendencies that grab headlines, but the pop singer is back in the news today thanks to a studio recording of “Anything Goes” with Grammy-winning jazz singer Tony Bennett.

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This 10-year-old girl is the future of guitar shredding

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During the peak of Guitar Hero and Rock Band’s popularity it was common to read worried articles in online magazines about the threat these sorts of games supposedly posed to young people’s musical education. Many people were concerned that an entire generation of potential musicians would be so satisfied whacking away on a plastic simulacrum of an instrument that they’d never actually learn how to play a real one.

Instead, the opposite seems to be true. There are loads of guitar instructors who swear Guitar Hero was the best thing that ever happened to their business, and the obsession-building gamification of learning how to play one seems to have driven a lot of young players to level up their skills and learn how to shred for real.

Take Audrey, a 10-year-old girl who lays waste to Slayer’s “War Ensemble” on Ubisoft’s Rocksmith game, which lets players play on an actual electric guitar. Not only has gaming apparently taught her how to wail hard enough to keep up with Kerry King, but she also seems to have picked up two other skills that are crucial to a future as a rock guitarist: making your hair look cool as it’s blown around by a fan and not letting an attention-starved lead singer distract you from what you’re doing. Children are not only our future, but metal’s too.

Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj team up for the fiery 'Bang Bang'

If you notice your computer or smartphone running hot recently, it may be because the internet is currently on fire after the release of “Bang Bang,” an en fuego team-up between Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and British pop star Jessie J. Written and produced by much of the creative team behind Grande’s “Problem,” including Swedish pop warlock Max Martin, “Bang Bang” is a floor-shaking pileup of soulful horn stabs and detuned kick drums. It sounds like the hyperactive love child of Amy Winehouse and DJ Mustard with a three-way battle between the vocalists to see who can go the hardest. It’s tempting to call the contest for Nicki just on general principle—bonus points for her “Queen Nicki dominant, prominent” line—but Grande’s performance, which feels like she’s determined to jump through your headphones and physically tackle your eardrums, offers some serious competition. READ FULL STORY

Buffalo Clover unveils slow-burning ballad 'Hey Child'

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Buffalo Clover is a Southern six-piece that blends vintage rock and soul influences in a way that makes them sound sort of like the Band, if instead of breaking up after The Last Waltz the Band had just turned the whole guest-star-filled soiree into an ongoing supergroup. On August 12, the group is releasing two albums, a studio record called Test Your Love and a live album called Live at Five recorded at Nashville’s The Five Spot.

The former album will feature “Hey Child,” a smoldering soul ballad dedicated to a child that the group’s founders and primary songwriters, Margo Price and Jeremy Ivey, lost to a rare heart condition soon after he was born in 2010. READ FULL STORY

Two purported 'Erotica'-era Madonna demos make their way online

Erotica may have been the first Madonna LP since her debut not to reach the number one spot on the Billboard albums chart, but in retrospect it’s her strongest album — produced at the peak of her power and provocativeness during the same burst of creativity that yielded the Sex book and tour documentary Truth or Dare and helped elevate her from mere pop star to an era-defining icon. Over the years demos for that album, referred to by superfans as “the Rain tapes,” have made their way online, mostly as snippets, along with a lot of fakes.

Yesterday two full tracks purporting to be Erotica outtakes were posted on Soundcloud: READ FULL STORY

Azealia Banks releases first single since splitting from label

Rapper Azealia Banks has spent more time over the past couple years starting Internet beefs than putting out music, but after her recent split with Universal Music Group she seems to be turning that around. Yesterday she released her first new song as a lead artist in nearly a year, and she didn’t insult anyone on Twitter in the process.

“Heavy Metal and Reflective,” which she’s released through her own label Azealia Banks Records, is an odd choice as both a comeback single and a declaration of independence. The rumbling rave-trap beat by producer Lil Internet—the Beyoncé video director who inspired the seapunk aesthetic that Banks has been accused of ripping off in the past—is sufficiently banging, but Banks approaches it with a low-key, conversational flow that doesn’t do much to suggest a take-no-prisoners rapper who’s just been let off her label-imposed chain. READ FULL STORY

How did Samm Levine of 'Freaks and Geeks' end up in Ice Cube's 'Drop Girl' video?

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There’s a lot going on in the just-released music video for Ice Cube’s “Drop Girl,” the latest single from his forthcoming album Everythang’s Corrupt: The giant heads of Cube and his collaborators RedFoo and 2 Chainz, more than a few female derrieres, and… Wait, is that Neal from Freaks and Geeks?

That is in fact Samm Levine as the lead scientist handling research on ladies’ behinds. “The truth of the matter is that anyone who knows me in my personal life knows that finding the perfect booty is something I’m deeply concerned with and have been for years,” Levine tells EW. “I actually run a lab out of my basement. Everyone there is a volunteer, they come on their own volition. When they asked if they could shoot the music video there, I had no problem with it. It was really more of a documentary than anything else.” READ FULL STORY

Katy Perry tops YouTube's list of 2014's most-played music videos

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YouTube recently compiled a list of the platform’s most-played music videos worldwide for the first half of 2014. It’s sort of an unofficial chart for the most popular songs of the year so far for the entire globe. Unsurprisingly, songs with a World Cup hook have done particularly well.

Katy Perry’s ridiculously popular “Dark Horse” tops the list, predictably, with a staggering 485 million plays. Shakira takes both second and third place with her Rihanna-featuring “Can’t Remember to Forget You” and the World Cup-themed version of her single “La La La,” with the official 2014 World Cup song “We Are One (Ole Ola)” right behind it. Iggy Azalea’s summer-dominating “Fancy” and Frozen‘s “Let It Go” official sing-along video both made the list, but the come behind the Chainsmokers’ calculatedly viral “#Selfie,” which has racked up over 183 million views.

Internet rap sensation Yung Lean didn’t make the cut, but if his “Yoshi City” video can rack up a half-billion or so views in the next couple months he still could make the year-end list.

Here’s our exclusive playlist:

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