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Jay-Z named 'Man of the Year' in 'GQ,' talks fatherhood and working with Kanye West

Jay-Z has acquired plenty of titles, including “The Best Rapper Alive,” “The King of Hip-Hop,” and “A Guy Who Sometimes Doesn’t Get It.” He just added another one, as he has been declared one of a handful of “Men of the Year” by GQ magazine.

Jigga will appear on the cover of the publication’s December issue, which also features “Man of the Year” awards for the likes of Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon, and Michael Fassbender. This is actually Jay’s second GQ “Man of the Year” award; he last picked up the title in 2006 when he released his comeback album Kingdom Come. Oops.

The case for Jay-Z this year isn’t difficult. He got turned into a cartoon and finally put out that J.Cole album, but it really boils down to two things: He was one half of one of the biggest musical events of the year in Watch the Throne (and no matter what you think of the quality of that release, it’s hard to argue with its scope), and also had a pretty solid 12 months in his personal life.

The incoming Hova-Bey baby is a big focus of the accompanying interview. “Providing — that’s not love,” he told GQ of his take on parenthood, spoken from the shadow of his own father’s alcoholism and absence. “Being there — that’s more important. I mean, we see that. We see that with all these rich socialites. They’re crying out for attention; they’re hurting for love. I’m not being judgmental — I’m just making an observation. They’re crying out for the love that maybe they didn’t get at home, and they got everything. All the material things that they need and want. So we know that’s not the key.”

The rapper also insisted that he’ll be changing diapers (“Of course. One hundred percent,” he insisted) and joked about putting a carseat in a Maybach. “That would be a great picture,” he said.

These decisions are made for a variety of reasons, but just taken musically, shouldn’t Kanye West get the rub from Watch the Throne over Jay-Z? Still, it is refreshing to know that West even bothers his most elite collaborators sometimes. “I think he just can’t help himself,” he said of working with West. “He puts so much into everything, and he’s like, ‘You have to treat it like I treat it.’ It drives you crazy sometimes—like when you’ve put seventy-five versions of a snare on one song and he’s like, ‘No!’ and you’re like, ‘Come on, man.'”

What do you think, readers — did GQ choose the right man for 2011? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more on EW.com: 
Jay-Z’s Occupy Wall Street apparel no longer on Rocawear site
Jay-Z plays an animated version of himself in ‘Secret Millionaires Club': Watch a preview here!
Kanye West and Jay-Z face official lawsuit over ‘Watch the Throne’ sample
Review: Jay-Z & Kanye West, Watch the Throne

Jay-Z's Occupy Wall Street apparel no longer on Rocawear site

Jay-Z’s Occupy Wall Street (OWS) clothing may not be occupying your closets anytime soon. According to the Wall Street Journal, the rapper’s line of OWS-branded clothing — which was made available earlier in the week via Rocawear — has been removed from the clothing company’s website.

The rapper and Rocawear were met with controversy for their choice to sell the OWS shirts, with some claiming they were attempting to profit off of the movement that opposes the wealthy 1 percent. (The clothing company reportedly released a statement saying they would not be donating any proceeds to the OWS movement.) A rep for Jay-Z did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

Read more:
Kanye West and Jay-Z face official lawsuit over ‘Watch the Throne’ sample

'Big Bang Theory': Kunal Nayyar shares what's on his iPod!

Raj might be having trouble with love this season on The Big Bang Theory, but with a playlist like this, his portrayer Kunal Nayyer certainly has enough to cure whatetever heartache ails him.

EW recently spoke with actor to get a rundown of five songs/artists that are in heavy rotation right now. Take a look:

Mumford and Sons: “I love epic folk rock. I love Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the movie Once, and I feel like Mumford takes it to another level. When I hear it, I feel the music in my bones. I get chills when I hear it.”

Radiohead, “True Love Waits”: “I came from India in ’99 and I didn’t have access to a lot of good music. Well, I did, but it was Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, New Kids on the Block — generic pop music, which I still love to this day, though. I didn’t really get Radiohead at first, but when I really began listening to them, I became obsessed….Every single breakup I’ve had in my life, I’ve listened to that song. [Laughs] I’m an actor; we’re masochistic. It feels good to hurt.”  READ FULL STORY

Jay-Z plays an animated version of himself in 'Secret Millionaires Club': Watch a preview here!

Jay-Z and Kanye West are about to embark on their big Watch the Throne tour, but the next place you can see Jay-Z (well, outside of random parks in Brooklyn) is on Secret Millionaires Club, a new animated series making its debut on The Hub this Sunday, October 23.

Guided by the entrepreneurial wisdom of Warren Buffett, SMC aims to teach kids lessons from the business world, and Jigga lends his voice to encourage the club’s young members.

It’s a little surreal hearing Hova’s unmistakable voice coming out of a cartoon character, even one that looks exactly like him, but it’s a pretty excellent animated visage regardless.

Check out a preview of the episode below, featuring Iceberg Slim’s be-suited voice acting. READ FULL STORY

Kanye West and Jay-Z face official lawsuit over 'Watch the Throne' sample

The legal rumblings that began in August have now become a full-blown lawsuit: 75-year-old bluesman Syl Johnson is taking Jay-Z and Kanye West to court in Illinois over the uncleared usage — essentially, of a pronounced vocal “ungh!” — from his 1967 song “Different Strokes” on Watch the Throne‘s “The Joy.”

“The Joy” was originally intended to be included as a bonus track on Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, then left off when sample clearances were not obtained in time; when the song subsequently appeared on WTT, Johnson’s reissue label Numero Group said that the distressed singer was “nearly in tears.” “[Throne label] Island Def Jam seems to think that Syl doesn’t have any fight left in him,” they wrote on their website. “We’re betting otherwise.”

Johnson, a relatively obscure but beloved figure in soul and blues — EW gave his 2010 box set Complete Mythology an A — has been sampled countless times in hip-hop; “Different Strokes” alone has been used more than two dozen times by giants of the genre such as Erik B. and Rakim (1987’s “I Know You Got Soul”), Public Enemy (1987’s “Miuzi Weighs a Ton” and 1989’s “Fight the Power”), De La Soul (1988’s “The Magic Number” and the Beastie Boys (1988’s “Desperado”).

In August, according to hiphopdx.com, Johnson told NBC, “”Well, they didn’t pay me. They used my style, my sound, my likeness, without my permission … I think Kanye West, kind of, he blew it. He knows me, he knows my daughter, Syleena Johnson” — who sang the hook on West’s 2004 hit “All Falls Down” — “And hey, for a few, you know, a small amount – do it [up] front like Kid Rock, Wu-Tang Clan and all the people behind me.

“I hate to sue people. I’ve sued quite a few people. But, it ain’t my thing to sue them. But, this is the law. This is a country of laws.”

READ FULL STORY

On the scene at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, day one: Black Eyed Peas, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, and Jay-Z

When you think about it, there’s really only one way to kick off a pop music festival: with the gyrating, electro, pulsing sounds of the Black Eyed Peas, of course.

The foursome opened the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last night with laser lights, a cadre of jailbird-themed backup dancers (in a word: divine), and one of their signature songs, “Boom Boom Pow.”

It’s almost needless to say, but the party-rocking vibe the show’s producers were no doubt hoping for coalesced perfectly, as the crowd spiraled into dancing through songs like “Just Can’t Get Enough,” “Don’t Stop the Party,” “The Time (Dirty Bit),” and the perfect set-ender: “I Gotta Feeling.” (Personally, I was hoping for “Shut Up,” but no one ever seems to be into that song as much as me.)

Of much interest — at least to me — was Fergie’s delightful getup, which included glittery knee-high boots and onesie, and fascinating, gold fingernail/cap things that contributed to her overall drag queen look. She was Vegas to a T! (Then again, she always kind of is.)

The tone was set from the first act: This show was definitely all about the hits, and the 12,000 fans in the audience at the MGM Grand Garden Arena seemed to get just what they wanted. From top to bottom, the show was quite the Vegas production with huge screens flanking the stage, more than one confetti blast (the first one came at the almost-still-daylight time of 8:01 p.m., no joke), and, yes, Ryan Seacrest as host.

He first appeared after the Black Eyed Peas left the stage to introduce the show: “This weekend,” he said, in a trademark way that’s both overly dramatic and overly bombastic, “all roads lead to Vegas.” Well, all roads carrying the biggest pop stars, at least. And it was during this interlude that he announced something that made the crowd go completely wild: Lady Gaga—already confirmed to be performing during the festival—would appear on Saturday night with Sting. In two words: Instant death!

READ FULL STORY

J. Cole drops new Jay-Z assisted single 'Mr. Nice Watch'

j-cole

Jay-Z has been tipping his hat to about-to-explode rapper J. Cole for quite a while — in fact, he was the first-ever artist signed to Jigga’s Roc Nation label back in 2009.

Now, he’s putting his money where his mouth is (or in this instance, his mouth where his money is), dropping in on Cole’s just-released new single “Mr. Nice Watch.”

Produced by Cole himself, “Mr. Nice Watch” is a twitchy, bass-heavy blast of computer funk that gives way to a weepy guitar line and seems cut from the same cloth as many of the tracks on Watch the Throne, which will probably lead to an excellent argument about who is influencing who in the Jay-Z camp. Give the song a spin below. READ FULL STORY

Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter IV' sells 964,000 copies, lands second-highest first-week numbers of the year: Is he really the 'best rapper alive'?

Okay, let’s answer the headline’s question first: No, Lil Wayne is not the best rapper out right now. In my mind, Eminem, Jay-Z, and Kanye West are duking it out for that crown. He is, however, the most popular.

Yesterday Billboard reported the final first-week tally for his new album Tha Carter IV. It sold 964,000 copies, making it the best selling hip-hop debut of the year and the second biggest opening week overall—second only to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, which moved 1.11 million copies.

Wayne’s no newbie to colossal numbers, either. The last edition of his Carter series scored big with 1.01 million records sold in its first seven days on shelves in 2008.

Wayne’s C-4 debut more than doubles the opening figures rap peers Kanye West and Jay-Z’s collab album Watch the Throne (436,000), causing the blogosphere to come to the rash conclusion that Wayne, as he’s said often before, is “the best rapper alive.”

Really? Sure, numbers mean plenty. But as I so eloquently wrote in under 140 characters on Twitter recently, “If I ate a doughnut for every bad album that’s been commercially successful, I’d be fatter than that fattest person you know.”

READ FULL STORY

Drake talks about making his upcoming album, growing as a rapper, and finding a mentor in Stevie Wonder: An EW Q&A

The summer’s nearly over. But rap wiz Drake is feeling the heat. The deadline to submit the final version of his sophomore album, Take Care, is one month out. To say the least, it’s crunch time. Though, it seems he’s comfy in the clutch.

While holed up in his “quaint” Toronto studio recently, Drake checked in with EW to give us a progress report on the album, due on his birthday, October 24. Creatively, he says he’s “at a great place” and has a tons a recorded material to select from.

In the EW story on stands now, he gave us five recording rules to live by. Here, though, we get into the rest of the conversation—one that includes, among other things, how Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album impacted his project, how his song with Stevie Wonder might make you shed a tear, and why you won’t hear him crying about his riches this go around.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In what ways are you challenging yourself this album?
DRAKE: I push myself in a lot of aspects when I write a song. I write a piece and where most people would stop and say “Oh, that’s the hook right there,” I’ll move that to the first four bars of the verse and do a new hook. That makes the song easy to learn and catchy. That’s how I like to challenge myself. I’ll write something and everyone that’s around might be like “Oh that’s that hook right there.” And then I’ll write something better than that.

How many tracks are you shooting for here?
Obviously, I can only fit so many songs on a CD. So what I’m doing is there will be a Take Care physical edition in stores that’ll hopefully have 15 to 17 songs on it. Then I know a lot of people do deluxe editions. But since October 24 is a special day for me, I got, like, a Take Care birthday edition that I’m going to put on iTunes that will have extra songs. I really want to encourage people to be excited about the album releasing. I remember how excited a lot of artists used to make me. I used to want to buy the physical copy to see the artwork. And if there were any bonus tracks, I’d go find them. I’m definitely trying to cause some of that excitement. I hope people go get the songs off the birthday edition. It’s going to be great, man. I’ve got a wide array of music this time. I’m very excited.

Talk to me about your team. Who are the people who are helping guide you through the album?
There are about three or four major opinions that I respect. Obviously, the main one would be [engineer and producer] 40 (Noah Shebib). He’s worked with me every single night I’ve set foot in the studio since Comeback Season. He knows what I’m capable of and he’s not afraid to say “You can do that better” or “That’s it” or “I know you can write a better verse than that.” And Oliver El-Khatib, who has progressed from my friend who just used to advise me on how to dress to a guy who came up with the artwork for So Far Gone to, since he’s such a creative brain, that he’s become one of my managers. Then my DJ Future the Prince has a great ear for music. And probably the most important person in the equation is Hush, who is a friend of mine who grew up rapping in Toronto and he’s present every night. If anyone knows what I’m capable of, it’s Hush. We love rap the same way and we have the same exact ear. So I know he’s hearing what I’m hearing. I never take criticism personally from anyone. I love feedback, but especially when it comes to Hush. He understands rap probably better than anyone else I mentioned. And he’s a close friend of mine.

Rap has become like fast food. Fans want it quickly and a lot of it. It’s only been a year since Thank Me Later and your fans seem to be starving for Take Care. Do you think they’ve forgotten that artists need life experiences to craft their art? READ FULL STORY

Beyonce's pregnancy reveal breaks Twitter record: Why do we care so much?

When Beyoncé unbuttoned her purple sequined jacket Sunday night at the MTV’s 2011 Video Music Awards and revealed that she has something baking in her oven—her first child, to be exact—the building roared in celebration.

If you weren’t at Nokia Theater L.A. Live to experience it in person, the next best thing was logging on to your choice social network and shooting off your reaction. For millions, Twitter was their first destination.

Techland reports that fans hopped on the medium to express their shock, happiness, and such at a rate of 8,868 tweets per second. That beats news of Osama Bin Laden’s death in May, which drew in 5,106 tweets per second, and the Super Bowl, which earned 4,064 tweets.

Crazy, right? The question is why did so many people care so much? Well, for one, people looooooove them some Beyoncé. She’s a major pop star who, unlike most of her peers, has managed to steer clear of celeb shenanigans. Add the fact that she’s married to Jay-Z, arguably the best rapper ever, and that they both keep the details of their life together on the hush-hush and bam, here’s the answer: We’ve never seen them so excited to let a secret out of the bag! Watch them let it go after the jump:

READ FULL STORY

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