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Bad Meets Evil, 'Hell: The Sequel': The EW Review of Eminem's latest project

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Below, find an expanded version of the review out this Friday in EW’s print edition:

Recovery saw Eminem finding the more dynamic moments hidden between his blasts of bluster. Sure, there was still an awful lot of shouting, but even full-throated rage-athons like “Cold Wind Blows” allowed a lot more Marshall Mathers to show off his full skill set while Slim Shady was catching his breath. It was a revelation that lead to the best work of his career.

Hell: The Sequel, his release under the moniker Bad Meets Evil (a tag-team with friend-turned-foe-turned-friend-again Royce Da 5’9″), finds Em returning to mostly eye-popping intensity. That doesn’t necessarily make Hell: The Sequel a step backwards—Em remains the finest battle rapper on the planet and proves that he’s the Michael Jordan of MCs (in the sense that he turns Royce from a perfectly acceptable spitter into a lyrical beast, especially on the hard-hitting single “Fast Lane”).

The pair spew acid-tongued battle raps that shout down celebrities (Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber join the hit list) with obsessive conviction, and though they spend most of their time boasting about their greatness, they manage to do it with enough invention to keep it fresh; the brevity of the EP keeps it from overstaying its welcome.

They even leave room for two breaks in the action: The first comes in the form of the Bruno Mars-produced pop nugget “Lighters,” which makes the rest of the EP’s dark leanings all the more fulfilling, while the second drops in on the album-closing “Loud Noises,” allowing Shady Records signees Slaughterhouse do most of the driving and spins the bombast in a more sideways direction).

Unlike some previous Eminem releases, there are no greater statements embedded in Hell: The Sequel, but it does serve to remind the world that Eminem remains one of the best rappers alive. As Jay-Z once said, sometimes the world needs a reminder. B+

Read more at EW.com:
Eminem adds Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to his diss list
Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay top Lollapalooza’s 20th anniversary lineup
Review: Eminem, Recovery

Eminem adds Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to his diss list

Eminem has spent roughly 65 percent of his legendary career making fun of famous people. It could even be said that you’re not truly a pop-culture icon until Slim Shady takes you down a notch—though that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll stay famous, as Chris Kirkpatrick can attest.

So it should come as no surprise that Mr. Mathers has taken aim at Lady Gaga on one of the tracks for his forthcoming album Hell: The Sequel (a tag-team effort with Royce 5’9″ under the name Bad Meets Evil).

On the song “A Kiss,” Em spits the line “Tell Lady Gaga she can quit her job at the post office/ She’s already a male lady/ Wouldn’t f— her with her d—/ The verdict’s in.” Check out the song here:

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Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay top Lollapalooza's 20th anniversary lineup

The last big festival of the summer is also the last to announce its lineup, but Lollapalooza always manages to bring it. In 2010, the three-day event featured the only festival appearance by Lady Gaga as well as comeback sets by the Strokes and Soundgarden.

This time around, the headliners include Eminem (who will also be turning in a set at Bonnaroo), Foo Fighters (somehow making their Lollapalooza debut) and Coldplay (who will likely use the opportunity to preview some new songs from their upcoming fifth album).

The 2011 version of Lollapalooza, which will again run in Chicago’s Grant Park over what is always one of the hottest weekends of the year (pack your sunscreen!), will also include appearances by My Morning Jacket, Cee Lo Green, A Perfect Circle, Bright Eyes, Arctic Monkeys, Big Audio Dynamite, Cage the Elephant, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and dozens more.

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Rihanna, Eminem, Lady Gaga lead 2011 Billboard Awards nominees

Rihanna is having a pretty good year, between the handful of smash singles spawned by her fifth album, Loud (including the current hit “S&M,” which just got a remix featuring none other than Britney Spears), and her attendant tour this summer.

Now, she can add a whopping 18 nominations for the 2011 Billboard Music Awards to her ever-growing resumé.

The full list of nominees dropped today, and the Barbadian singer leads all artists with nods in most of the major categories, including Top Artist, Top Female Artist, Top 100 Artist and Top R&B Artist. Former collaborator Eminem is just behind her with 16 noms, including half a dozen for their chart-topping tag-team effort “Love the Way You Lie.”

Lady Gaga will also have the chance to score up to twelve statuettes when the 2011 BMAs are handed out on Sunday, May 22 (8 P.M. EST on ABC). Other finalists include Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Drake and Ke$ha.

The full list of artist award nominations is after the jump, and for a complete list of all noms, head over to the awards’ official site.

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Dr. Dre debuts 'I Need a Doctor' video, pays tribute to Eazy-E: See it here!

Another footnote to the Ruthless Records era has just been written. Dr. Dre debuted his new video for “I Need a Doctor,” the second single off his third—and, supposedly, final—album, Detox. And it does feel like a career-capper. Check it out: READ FULL STORY

Arcade Fire's manager bites back at music exec's open letter to Grammys: 'They just made the best album'

Arcade FireArcade Fire manager Scott Rodger has (arcade) fired back at allegations that his Canadian indie rockers knew about their “Album of the Year” Grammy win ahead of time.

Rodger insists there was “no big plot” in spite of what industry player Steve Stoute implied in a full-page ad in the New York Times, which Rodger calls “a nice piece of self-publicity.”

Rodger was referring to Stoute’s vitriolic letter in Sunday’s Times which marveled at the “sheer coincidence” that Arcade Fire were ready to play out the awards show immediately after nabbing their Grammy.

As for whether the least-known band on the Grammy broadcast was in cahoots with insider masterminds and network TV execs, Rodger had this to say:

“Arcade Fire had the final slot on the Grammys as the ratings are low at the end of the broadcast. It really is that simple. We were one of the least-known acts on the bill for a network audience. Don’t you think I wanted a better slot for the band?”

Rodger also said their second performance was not guaranteed, as the producers would have cut it if the awards show had run overtime. In fact, the last half of “Ready to Start” was still drowned-out by sponsorship messages and completely cut from international broadcasts.

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Skylar Grey talks penning 'I Need a Doctor,' her name change, and why her upcoming album may have a sound we've never heard before

Skylar-Grey_320.jpg Image Credit: Greg LaurenEven though we didn’t actually get a good look at Skylar Grey on the Grammys stage as she performed “I Need a Doctor” with Eminem and Dr. Dre, it was still a coming out party for the Wisconsin native who had 80 kids in her high school graduating class and turns 25 Wednesday.

Grey, who was also nominated for two Grammys for penning the Rihanna-sung chorus to Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie,” tells EW her team has since been bombarded with emails from people wanting to work together, but she declines to name names, because you never know which collaborations will actually happen. (For her Twitter followers who know Nikki Sixx reached out via tweet about writing a song together, she says he has spoken to her manager but nothing has been set up yet.)

Keeping her in the shadows during the Grammys performance—something new fan Shirley Manson questioned—was intentional, Grey says. “My whole roll-out as Skylar Grey has been this mysterious being,” says the artist formerly known as Holly Brook. (She released the 2006 album Like Blood Like Honey and the 2010 EP O’Dark Thirty under that moniker, her first and middle names.) “If you’ve seen the website, even the pictures are very shadowed because we’re slowly easing me out. I’m not a big fan of trying to be a sex symbol or any of that stuff because I really like the music to speak for itself. And so I wanted to make that clear from the very beginning.”  READ FULL STORY

Eminem, Arcade Fire, Lil Wayne, The Black Keys and more confirmed to rock Bonnaroo's 2011 festival

Nashville, Tennessee is the country capital  as far as music’s concerned. But this June some of hip-hop’s elite, as well as talents from other genres, will bring their skills just south to a 700 acre farm in Manchester. The Bonnaroo festival, celebrating its tenth birthday, announced its lineup today. Though they didn’t reveal the entire slate, Eminem, Lil Wayne, Mumford & Sons, and Neil Young all are confirmed acts.

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What was Grammy's biggest surprise?

eminemImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comLast night’s Grammy ceremony was full of surprising twists that enlivened the performances and had a major impact on the awards. Esperanza Spalding won for Best New Artist, upsetting box-office superstar Justin Bieber, Drake and Mumford and Sons. Arcade Fire lost to the Black Keys for Best Alternative Music Album, but then rebounded to edge Eminem for Album of the Year. Shady, who had been nominated for 10 awards, had to settle for only two trophies, for Rap Album and Rap Solo Performance. (Maybe that’s why he dropped that F-bomb during “Love the Way You Lie.”) And then there was Lady Gaga arriving in an egg, and then sporting a set of horns; Christina Aguilera nearly tumbled; and Cee-Lo’s outfit was a feathery rainbow connection. So many twists and shockers, but what would you say was the biggest? Vote below. READ FULL STORY

Bob Dylan to perform at Grammys with Mumford and Sons and Avett Brothers

dylan-mumford-sonsImage Credit: Gary Miller/FilmMagic.comBob Dylan will perform at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards, it was announced today. The legendary singer-songwriter is set to take part in a salute to acoustic music with Grammy nominee Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers.

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