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Tag: Kanye West (91-100 of 253)

Watch vintage footage of teenage Kanye rapping -- VIDEO

Teen Kanye RapsHe wasn’t born on the throne.

But according to a newly unearthed video of a 19-year-old Kanye West performing in his native Chicago, he was already on his way in 1996.

“I never been tookin’ out / I got emcees lookin’ out,” raps the nascent Louis Vuitton Don, sporting the kind of tucked-in polo ensemble that became the sartorial signature of his earlier days.

The NYC-flavored jam definitely fits the era, and West had seemingly yet to nail down a musical identity. Yet, as we recently learned in another vintage video, it would be eight years (if not sooner) before ‘Ye started infusing into his verses the Chicago-style consciousness that colored his 2004 debut The College Dropout.

But enough with the talking — watch the video for yourself below, and let us know what you think of Junior Yeezy:

READ FULL STORY

Rihanna crowned best-selling digital artist of all time

How does one sell nearly 50 million downloads in six years? By releasing nearly 50 million singles in six years.

Hyperbole aside, Nielsen Soundscan revealed that Rihanna is now the top-selling digital artist of all time (time here being about as old as the iTunes Store), having moved 47.5 million digital tracks since her 2005 debut.

This gives her a safe lead ahead of runners-up the Black Eyed Peas, who have 42.4 million digital tracks under their Tron belts, and Eminem, who ranks third with 42.29 million.

The Grammy-winning singer’s previous accomplishments include eclipsing Madonna to become the fastest artist to produce 20 Hot 100 top-10 singles, which she pulled off with “We Found Love.”

Of course, one might say RiRi breaks a lot of records largely by making a lot of them. Since 2005, the Barbadian chart beast has released six studio albums and an astonishing 27 singles — more than the BEPs and Eminem combined in the same amount of time.

The full list is below; see if you can count how many of them haven’t collaborated with Rihanna before: READ FULL STORY

Kanye West's twitter is back! And yes, it's pretty much amazing

We were starting to think that Kanye had forgotten about his favorite 140-character creative outlet.

But thankfully, he’s back. It appears as though he’s at his tweetiest when he’s idle; after a long run of only-occasional peeps while he was on the road with Jay-Z promoting Watch the Throne, last night he inexplicably rolled out a mind-boggling statement of purpose on a cornucopia of topics.

Really, it’s worth it to read through the entirety of his idea dump, but just in case you don’t have the time to parse out everything Mr. West had to say, here are some of the highlights:

Kanye ne parle pas Francais: “Early 2011 … I moved to Paris and opened a small design studio… the language barrier was quite difficult…”

Meet George Jetson, his boy Kanye: “I was just discussing becoming the creative director for the Jetson movie and someone on the call yelled out.. you should do a Jetsons tour!”

Fashion is a longtime passion that may or may not have once been derailed by Taylor Swift and a bottle of cognac: “I’ve been working at this for 8 years now …from the first offers to do urban clothing lines that I turned down… To begging Bape to do my line and never making any real headway… To having an office in LA that was shut down after the “MTV” moment along with my tour with GAGA”

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The 10 top music-video directors of 2011: Watch their best clips here

Looking back at the best music videos of 2011, one thing leaped out: All of the best clips were made by the same six or seven people.

So rather than call out individual entries for their greatness, we’re going to reward the directors who put together the best portfolios this year. Anybody can make one excellent video, but it takes serious jiujitsu to knock out three great ones. That left a lot of awesome videos on the table (all apologies to excellent entries like Foo Fighters’ “Walk,” Beyoncé’s “Countdown,” and Ke$ha’s “Blow”), but this is a pretty good sum-up of the year in music videos.

1) Spike Jonze
Jonze only stood behind the camera for two videos this year, but they were both game-changers. Beastie Boys’ “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” was a sandbox revelation that was way better than the actual feature film based on GI Joe, while Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Otis” turned that pair’s obsession with commercialism into a bombastic brand of Americana. Pour one out for the fallen Maybach, and raise your glass to Jonze, who proved that no amount of directing polarizing adaptations of beloved books for children can take away his four-minute spark. READ FULL STORY

Grammys: Who got snubbed?

Here ‘Ye, here ‘Ye! Or don’t: Kanye West may have lead the pack with seven nods when the 54th annual Grammy nominations were announced on Wednesday, but the rapper, whose album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  topped countless critics’ end-of-year lists, was snubbed in the Album of the Year category, as well as every major category except Song of the Year. Academy voters were most comfortable relegating West to genre categories like Best Rap Performance.

Taylor Swift (for Speak Now) and Beyoncé (for 4) were also overlooked for Album of the Year. (Taylor’s probably doing a very different kind of surprised face right now.) Despite a grand roll-out that included multiple videos and the big VMAs reveal of her baby earlier this year, poor Bey scored only two nominations, both in fairly minor categories: “Party,” her collaboration with Andre 3000 (and, frankly, not the best song on 4), earned a Best Rap/Sung Collaboration nod, while “I Am…World Tour” is in the running for Best Long Form Video. Does this mean we won’t be able to see Beyoncé shake her best tassled maternity dress onstage this year?

And That Song that’s been playing on the radio, in your car, at the grocery store, at the gym, and in your head for the better part of 2011? Sadly, Foster the People went largely unrecognized for “Pumped Up Kicks,” which will no doubt anchor many Best Singles of 2011 lists. Passed over for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, even the Best New Artist category, the group was left to compete only for Best Alternative Album.

Of course, that leaves more space for the big surprise of the night: rave kingpin Skrillex. Racking up five nominations, and taking up a slot in the Best New Artist category that could’ve been filled by, say, Fleet Foxes, Foster the People, or the Civil Wars, he may soon be famous for more than just being the Most Hated Man in Dubstep.

Readers, what’s your take? Find our extended gallery of snubs and surprises here.

More on EW.com:
Grammy nominees list 2012
Trey Parker and Robert Lopez on ‘Book of Mormon’ Grammy nod
On the scene at the 2012 Grammy Nominations Concert: Best and worst moments

'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

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

Kanye West shows early charisma, stand-up skills on 'Def Poetry Jam' in 2004: Watch it here!

Back in 2004, Kanye West had already made an indelible mark on the hip-hop world by producing the best tracks on Jay-Z’s watershed 2001 album The Blueprint.

He had also scored production credits on a number of major hits, including Talib Kweli’s “Get By” and Fabolous’ “My Life.” But he had not yet scored ample time on the microphone (at least in public), and was still trying to put some buzz behind his debut album The College Dropout.

So what did ‘Ye do? He paid a visit to Def Poetry Jam, the Mos Def-hosted show that aired for several years on HBO, and spit out a poem called “Self-Conscious.” In the clip below, you can hear Mos (or whatever he’s calling himself now) declare Kanye “the future of hip-hop,” and if you listen to the lyrics, you can hear the genesis “All Falls Down,” which became a bona fide hit for West nearly a year later. 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.”

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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

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