Speaking of Cali hip-hop, two of the most important figures in the contemporary L.A. rap scene, Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, just revealed a surprising new collaborative single. The pair embody two of the dominant themes that have been bouncing around it recently: on one hand, a nostalgia-tinged re-engagement with the city’s gangsta rap history, and on the other, a psychedelic deconstructionist movement, influenced by cosmic free jazz, that’s doing to the boom bap what Ornette Coleman did to bebop. They may seem like artists with very disparate goals, but “Never Catch Me” shows that they’re more compatible than they may seem on the surface.
Tag: Kendrick Lamar (1-10 of 31)
If you don’t spend much time listening to independently produced regional rap music, you’d be forgiven for thinking that songs that spawn particular dance crazes died out somewhere around the time Fat Joe reimagined the dance-song format as a PSA against dancing itself. In fact, the form remains alive—even healthy—in generally isolated pockets of black youth culture. It may not be generating the kind of globe-sweeping phenomena as the Twist or the Macarena, but recent virally popular dances like the Nae Nae and the Cooking Dance have found some measure of mainstream traction, thanks in large part to professional athletes.
Over the summer, two such crazes have taken off from two opposite coasts. At the end of June, 20-year-old rapper Bobby Shmurda blew up out of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, to dominate the rap zeitgeist with his song “Hot N–,” which gives an East Coast spin to Chicago drill music. He possesses the kind of ineffable rock star charisma that makes him captivating even when he turns his back to his audience (showing shades of Jim Morrison). In the video, he deploys a move called the Shmoney Dance, which his GS9 crew co-hort Rowdy Rebbel first introduced to the world through its titular song back in February (though few noticed at the time). Since then, Shmurda has signed a deal with Epic Records, made a rather enthusiastic fan of Lil Wayne, and turned the Shmoney Dance into the latest celebrity fad.
Alicia Keys spins a web with Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell for 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' song 'It's On Again': Hear it here!
Andrew Garfield is about to swing back into cinemas clad in the blue and red spandex in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which opens on May 2. But before that, the soundtrack to the movie will arrive in stores — and now we have its first official single.
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.
It’s a testament to Kendrick Lamar’s industry power right now that Apple essentially gave him and his crew an entire evening to themselves on the second night of the inaugural iTunes Festival at SXSW.
Lamar’s crew/label conglomerate Top Dawg Entertainment filled ever nook of the evening’s festivities, from the three booked acts to the guest stars. Though not necessarily on the same scale, it conjured up memories of Kurt Cobain curating an entire main stage day at the 1992 Reading Festival—a huge cultural entity acknowledging the overwhelming impact of a single star.
Of course, Lamar wouldn’t have arrived at this point if he wasn’t a stellar live performer, and he brought the same kind of energy and execution in Austin that he brought during his run as one of the top festival stars of last summer. He did most of those shows with a band, but on Wednesday night he was backed only by a DJ, and the narrowing of the sound made his material feel more claustrophobic in some ways. He benefits from that kind of intensity though: READ FULL STORY
The annual South By Southwest festival/conference/conventio-con is underway, with the music getting started in earnest on Tuesday and rolling headlong through Saturday night.
This year’s event has its share of big name visitors: Lady Gaga will be delivering the keynote address and performing, and the likes of Coldplay, Kendrick Lamar, Soundgarden, and Pitbull will be headlining a series of shows as part of the iTunes Festival.
But SXSW was originally designed as a showcase for new music, a place where baby bands could get their first big taste of exposure and where those artists who were about to break finally actually broke. EW will be on the ground covering acts both big and small, including these 20 on-the-cusp artists we’re going out of our way to check out.
Temples: Throwback psychedelia is hard to do, but this British quartet blends just the right amount of crushing beauty and off-kilter left turns.
Angel Olsen: In the grand tradition of PJ Harvey, Olsen marries muscular guitar with her delicate warble for blow-away blasts of folk-rock and power blues.
Perfect Pussy: Despite their censor-baiting name (and what honestly seems like a pretty standard-issue fuzz-punk sound), there’s a lot of buzz on this Syracuse foursome.
Sleepy Kitty: For fans of Sleigh Bells — but sub in post-grunge jangle for noisecore.
Cloud Nothings: Noisy Cleveland-based anarchists nearly made it big with their exceptional 2012 album Attack on Memory. Could the bigger, badder, forthcoming Here and Nowhere Else put them over the top?
Vertical Scratchers: Ultra-fuzzy indie jangle care of a pair of blissed out Californians.
SKATERS: Four New Yorkers who split the difference between driving punk surges and carefully-curated sonic tapestries, all wrapped in a whatever-man sneer.
ScHoolboy Q: Sure, he topped the charts with his latest album OxyMoron, but the top lieutenant in Kendrick Lamar’s army is ready to take the next step into household name-ness.
Chet Faker: The Australian’s downtempo bedroom R&B that would swerve dangerously into the cheese lane were it not for bearded mastermind Nick Murphy’s convincingly syrupy baritone.
You Blew It!: Don’t look now, but an emo revival is about to kick into gear, and this Orlando-based combo are the finest purveyors of the new pollution.
Oh Honey: Nothing but positive jams for this strummy, soulful Brooklyn duo. Like Matt & Kim with better production values.
When Divergent hits theaters on March 21, it is poised to become one of the biggest movie events of the spring. One of the key elements that carries the flick is the soundtrack, with features a score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL as well as a series of songs that are weaved deep into the drama of the film.
Unlike many movie-accompanying soundtracks, the songs on Divergent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (out March 11) are woven into the action of the film. The cornerstone star is Ellie Goulding, who has a handful of tunes on the soundtrack album and also provided the “musical voice” for lead character Tris Prior (played by Shailene Woodley). “For me, the movie is about a young woman finding herself, transforming herself and becoming powerful on a societal stage,” explains director Neil Burger. “It’s an intimate, personal portrait, but on a grand scale. Ellie’s music has that very intimate quality. You are in the heart of her characters, in their souls, in their minds. When she sings her voice resonates inside you. Her music was a perfect way to do all that for Tris—to feel what she was feeling inside.”
Indeed, Goulding’s voice has been integrated into the score of the film, making her a constant part of the on-screen action. “I got to jam, like you would jam on a guitar, but just with my voice,” says Goulding of the process. “I really enjoyed it.”
Goulding lent three songs to the film but also crafted a brand new tune called “Beating Heart” specifically for Divergent. “In the last scene of the movie, Tris has just experienced multiple tragedies, even as she triumphs (for the moment) over her enemies,” says Burger. “Ellie wrote ‘Beating Heart’ and we knew it’d be perfect for the end of the movie. Her lyrics almost merge with Tris’ voice-over and her music lets the movie soar above the tragedy. The sadness is still there but so is the transcendence. It’s a fantastic song.”
You’ll have to wait until March 21 to see how that scene plays out, but for now, give a listen to the exclusive premiere of Ellie Goulding’s “Beating Heart” below. READ FULL STORY
Hark! Festival season is upon us, and it’s time to start selecting the ones that will fit into your budget and schedule.
Today, Pitchfork has made that one step easier: They’ve just announced the lineup for their annual music fest in Chicago’s Union Park (June 18-20). Headliners include such heavy-hitters as Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, Kendrick Lamar, and (what!) Italo-disco legend Giorgio Moroder.
Even though there’s no reunited OutKast in the mix (at least not yet), those names alone should entice a great deal of you. But, of course, a ton of other great artists are signed up as well. Take a look at the full day-by-day lineup below:
Before he sings at the Oscars, Pharrell Williams will perform at the NBA All-Star Game.
NBA announced Thursday that the producer-rapper-singer will perform Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Williams will open the game and perform during the player introductions with surprise guests.
The game’s halftime performance will feature Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Earth, Wind and Fire, Janelle Monae, and Dr. John.
Recent Grammy winner Gary Clark Jr. will sing the national anthem and also perform during the halftime show. Folk-rock singer Serena Ryder will sing the Canadian national anthem.
The All-Star game will air live on TNT. Kendrick Lamar will perform before the slam dunk contest a day before the big game.
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