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Puff Daddy returns with 'Big Homie': Hear it here!

Hot off the heels of re-christening himself Puff Daddy, the man born Sean Combs (also known as Diddy, P. Diddy, Puffy, Shiny Suit Man, One of Dave Chappelle’s Best Impressions, and that guy who is always on top of the Forbes Richest Musicians List despite not making very much music) has a new single called “Big Homie.” It was supposed to drop on Monday, but the streets couldn’t wait, as they say.

“Big Homie” features French Montana and Rick Ross, and the latter is clearly the biggest influence on Puff’s current sound: It’s big, it’s badass-sounding, and it leans into that signature monster plod. But while Ross’ penchant for rapping just behind the beat always sounds like a conscious decision (not even the power of rhythm can move the Bawse), Puff just sounds slightly inept (which is a pretty accurate description of his career-long rhyme style). Everybody is going hard, but by surrounding himself with high-impact blasters in Montana and Ross, Puff highlights the oomph his rapping has always lacked.

Still, “Big Homie” is a reasonable enough return to form for Puff Daddy that it should spark plenty of curiosity for his upcoming album MMM. And props to him for that line “The only one that’s topping Forbes/I’m getting lonely.” Listen to “Big Homie” below.

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'This Is A Trent Reznor Song' now has a Nine Inch Nails-biting video

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A few weeks ago, a dude named Frederick Scott tickled Nine Inch Nails fans with “This Is A Trent Reznor Song,” a loving tribute to the NIN frontman’s songwriting and performance tics. It was awesome, and one of the better musical parodies on the entirety of the Internet.

Now comes the next stage: Scott’s video for “This Is A Trent Reznor Song,” which borrows elements from the clips for Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and “The Hand That Feeds.” Once again Scott nails it, with the same kind of video effects from “The Hand That Feeds” and the commitment to spooky photography and weird lighting from the classic “Closer.”

It’s a little more outwardly funny than the song itself—the reaction shot Scott gives to the bottle of milk is particularly fantastic—but it still retains the same kind of reverence for Reznor’s work as the track.

Check out the video below. And while you’re at it, check out some of the clips from Nine Inch Nails’ Tension tour, one of the better live music experiences from last year.

 

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West Coast rap rises again: YG, Sage the Gemini, Schoolboy Q, and more

Twenty years ago this spring, Warren G released Regulate…G Funk Era, a triple-platinum album that helped enshrine the louche, laid-back sound of West Coast  hip-hop—“funked out with a gangsta twist,” as his homey Nate Dogg put it. But that era soon fizzled, and after Tupac was killed in ’96, the California scene met with a different funk: years-long commercial doldrums. Only the Game, a  Dr. Dre protégé whose three No. 1 albums are thick with early-to-mid-’90s nostalgia, broke through in the meantime. But the gin-and-juice hangover finally seems to be lifting, as gritty California rappers sidestep or reinvent G-funk and barge back into the mainstream.

Earlier this month, South Central L.A. rapper Schoolboy Q went to No. 1 with his shadowy, ferocious third album, Oxymoron. As the resident gangsta in the Black Hippy collective led by Kendrick Lamar—last year’s most obsessed-over rapper—Q brings a sharp new ambivalence to Tupac’s idea of the thug life. He raps not only about dealing Oxycontin  but also about becoming addicted to Xanax, Percocet, and Valium. On the harrowing “Prescription/Oxymoron,” he even splices in a recording of his young daughter trying to wake him from a drug stupor.

If the dazzling shape-shifter Kendrick is on L.A.’s frontier, the gruff, brutally honest Schoolboy Q represents the West Coast’s uncompromising core. “Real Crippy since I hopped off the swing” is how he sums up his early gang links on “The Purge,” which deliberately teams him with ’90s California notable Kurupt and Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator (whose crew remains more underground, breakout R&B star Frank Ocean aside). Still, Q doesn’t take himself too seriously: On “Studio,” Oxymoron’s wry love song, he skips the sex “metaphors” and explicitly mimics what else he can do with his tongue.

When YG (pictured)—a Compton upstart with a rugged major-label debut, My Krazy Life, and a long simmering top 20 single, “My Hitta”—reveals his romantic side, he’s no less blunt or amusing. “Do It to Ya” borrows its pillow talk from the playground, and its convivial groove from “Let’s Play House” by Tha Dogg Pound. YG’s less evolved than Schoolboy Q, who guests on Krazy along with Kendrick and big names including Drake and Jeezy, his mentor. But he’s a vivid, unflappable MC, bolstered by key L.A. producer DJ Mustard, the buoyant minimalist who also worked up Tyga’s 2011 smash “Rack City.” If there’s a Compton sound right now, this is it.

The Bay Area’s just as crucial to West Coast hip-hop, of course. 100s, a permed pimp-rap revivalist from Berkeley, pays tribute to Too $hort on the silky, slightly ridiculous mixtape Ivry. But the region’s latest star is the 21-year-old rapper-producer Sage the Gemini. Remember Me, his club-tailored major-label bow, shores up his two radio smashes, the stripped-down twerk anthems “Red Nose” and “Gas Pedal,” with a stream of pulsing beats and drowsy vocals. “I’m trying to keep this here alive,” he raps, calling himself “the Bay’s respirator” on the (actually pretty great) Justin Bieber remix of “Gas Pedal.” But  this isn’t thug life support. The California rap contingent has birthed a whole new era.

Chris Martin and Cat Power pair up for song in Zach Braff's new movie -- EXCLUSIVE

Zach Braff has another song that will change your life. He swears.

Braff filled Garden State, his 2004 directorial debut, with infectious tunes from the Shins, Simon & Garfunkel, and Coldplay. Wish I Was Here, his directorial followup — which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and hits theaters across the country this summer — is similarly packed with cool music, including original songs from the Shins and Bon Iver.

But Sundance audiences weren’t privy to the final piece to Braff’s eclectic soundtrack. “We also have an original song sung by Cat Power, written by Chris Martin,” Braff says. “It wasn’t ready yet for [Sundance]. It’s the title song of the movie. It’s one of the most amazing songs ever.”

Wish I Was Here debuts in New York and Los Angeles July 18. The film opens in additional cities July 25.

Eminem, Outkast top 2014 Lollapalooza lineup

Eminem and Outkast will headline a diverse lineup of more than 130 acts at this year’s three-day Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, Jane’s Addiction lead singer and Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell announced Wednesday.

The lineup also includes recent Grammy darling Lorde, rockers Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys and electronic dance music stars Calvin Harris and Skrillex.

“Every year you’re shooting to have just an incredible bill that people will look at and say, `I’m there,’” Farrell said in an interview. “The music is going to entertain them and do wonders for their heart and so is the city.”

This year marks the festival’s 10-year anniversary in Chicago’s lakefront Grant Park. This year acts will perform on eight stages from Aug. 1-3. The full lineup is available on Lollapalooza’s website.

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Pharrell talks about his girls-only gym, being 40, and his views on the cosmos

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Step aside Jay and ‘Ye, Pharrell is the new King of Cool. The rapper/producer/entreprener/fashion icon graces the cover of the GQ‘s Style Issue this month. (Yep, he’s winking at you.)

The photo spread featured an amazing polka-dot ensemble that you can’t miss. Pharrell really seems to be bringing the Dr. Seuss game to his style choices and it totally works for him. (It’s the cheekbones.) While cruising around Miami, he shared his thoughts on politics, black culture and the space and time continuum. Here are some highlights:

On the girls-only gym he’s invested in: “they can find their inner beauty and find their inner challenging spirit and find their bravery, all by dancing, and then at the same time getting fit…you’re going to see loads and loads of women doing, you know, trap dances and squatting low…”

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Shakira is a girl on fire in new video for 'Empire': Watch it here

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Shakira is no stranger to wacky visuals, and the new video for “Empire” lives up to the bar set by her past work.

In the clip for the song, which comes from her just-released self-titled album, Shakira is dressed as a ballerina bride at a lovely-looking country wedding. But before she walks down the aisle, she gets cold feet, and the only cure for cold feet is to light yourself on fire.

With her veil torched, she splits the rest of her time in a cartoon-pretty field (perhaps a vineyard?) and dressing in black so she can do back bends in a tower, all the while inviting us to observe when “the stars make love to the universe.”

It’s twice as nutty as that sounds, so you should probably just set aside four minutes for crazy and watch it below:

 

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P. Diddy is Puff Daddy again -- VIDEO

Just when we were finally getting used to calling Sean Combs “P. Diddy,” he goes and changes his name again. Typical.

Okay, so Combs has actually been known as P. Diddy, or occasionally just Diddy, since 2001, when he decided to shed Puff Daddy to make a statement about turning over a new leaf. (At the time, he was going through a weapons trial – a convenient opportunity to say “Ignore my past!”)

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Spotify slashes price to $5 for college kids

Spotify is wooing U.S. college students with a $5-a-month premium music deal, half off the regular rate.

It hopes to entice a generation of music lovers that is more likely to stream music than buy CDs to pay for better features and mobile access.

The $5 monthly service announced Tuesday applies to students of post-secondary institutions eligible for federal aid programs, including two-year colleges and vocational schools. The price reverts to normal after graduation.

Jeff Levick, Spotify’s chief marketing and revenue officer, says a similar program in Britain has increased the number of paying Spotify customers over the last year.

He says Spotify is focused on people aged 18-24 because they make up the largest group of users and grew up streaming music rather than paying for song downloads.

Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn comes out in latest 'Rolling Stone'

Neon Trees’ frontman Tyler Glenn came out as gay in an interview for the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone, in which he talks about his first crushes and his feelings on fellow LGBT celebrities.

“I really love all of the sports figures that are coming out recently,” Glenn told Rolling Stone. “I appreciated Michael Sam was like, ‘I want to be able to go to the movies and hold hands with my boyfriend.’ Even hearing him say ‘boyfriend,’ I was just like, that’s cool.”

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