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Surrealism meets avant-crunk in Shabazz Palaces' '#CAKE' video

Shabazz Palaces’ 2011 debut Black Up had a luxurious sleekness to its sound and a fiery political charge to its lyrics—qualities that it shared with Watch the Throne, which was released just a few weeks later—but with far less concern for pleasing a pop-oriented audience. For their new album, Lese Majesty, the duo has responded to Black Up‘s surprising success by pushing even further out with even more political intensity, even weirder beats, and much weirder promo photos.

Lese Majesty isn’t as easily accessible their first album, with song structures that consistently refuse to follow standard pop blueprints. But beat-maker Fly Guy ‘Dai and MC Palaceer Lazaro (aka former Digable Planets member Ishmael Butler) make sure to provide enough hooks to help listeners get on their deconstructionist level. A lot of them come on “#CAKE,” which is the closest thing to radio-friendly that the album gets, with a warped take on an old-school electro-rap beat and lyrics that walk a line between club-friendly sing-along and psychedelic chanting.

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Juicy J teams up with Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, and Lil Bibby for 'Low'

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One of the perks of being an artist who spent their youth pushing hard against every boundary you encountered is that years later, when the rest of the world catches up, you basically have a free pass to coast as much as you damn well please while you cash in on your hard-earned reputation. Few such artists take as much advantage of that unwritten rule as Juicy J, who’s spent most of his time since “Bandz A Make Her Dance” reignited his career recording guest verses that have given new meaning to the phrase “phoning it in” and often leave the listener under the impression that Juicy didn’t even listen to the rest of the song before jumping in the booth, dropping a quick 16, and grabbing a check on his way back out the door.

For all the uninspiring but presumably lucrative features he’s spat recently, Juicy possesses much of the skill that he displayed during his zeitgeist-rattling run with Three 6 Mafia, which he shows off a little more than usual on his new single “Low.” The reasons why aren’t hard to discern: by inviting Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, and Lil Bibby–three of the biggest talents in the game right now–on as guests he couldn’t take a chance trying to get by on cruise control.

A cat and a Freddie Mercury wannabe star in the new Tins video

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Freddie Mercury was such an iconic performer that it can be hard to listen to him and not re-create some of his famous body language: the pensively clenched fist, the hand reaching out as if to grasp an elusive feeling. We’ve all done it. The protagonist in the latest video by Buffalo trio the Tins takes things a step further, donning a fake mustache and taking his Freddie impression out onto the streets alongside a remarkably chill feline friend. The jagged power pop of “If You Want to Navigate” is a world away from Queen’s bombast, but the catchy tune plays well with the clip’s muted black-and-white tones and oddball energy.

Zammuto embraces catharsis and destruction in 'IO' video

Maintaining forward momentum in your life means finding ways to resolve problems that don’t always have easy solutions. Sometimes you have to force the issue closed, and sometimes that can require drastic measures. Recently, “collage-pop” artist Nick Zammuto struck upon a particularly novel method of working out your issues: by loading physical objects that represent them into an enormous catapult and flinging them to their doom.

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Action Bronson is an acidhead outlaw biker in the 'Easy Rider' video

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 Action Bronson is apparently a B-movie fan as well as a rapper and professional food lover. The video for “The Symbol” from his 2012 mixtape Rare Chandeliers was a loving tribute to the lowest of low-budget ’70s grindhouse action cinema that featured Bronson rocking a truly memorable wig.

A couple weeks ago he dropped “Easy Rider,” the first single from his upcoming official debut album Mr. Wonderful, which boasts several references to dropping acid and some face-melting psych-rock guitar licks, and the accompanying video fittingly enough casts the rapper as an LSD-loving outlaw biker.  READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Nicki Minaj's butt star in 'Anaconda' video

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“Oh, my, gosh, look at her butt,” Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” instructs—and in the music video for the song, viewers have no choice but to do just that.

When Minaj isn’t jiggling, she’s dancing on a wildly impressed Drake, letting her dancers fawn over her, and playing around in the kitchen with whipped cream and bananas. Clearly, there is no suggestive imagery in this video. None at all. READ FULL STORY

Watch BLKHRTS party hard in their 'Porties' video

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Denver’s BLKHRTS are part of an insurgent movement that’s given hip-hop its own version of punk rock, overflowing with anarchic energy and intensely distorted sounds. They’re a little more gothed out than the other acts that fall under the umbrella of “noise rap,” like CLPPNG and the recently disbanded Death Grips. In an interview with their hometown alt-weekly, the Denver Westword, the group’s producer Yonnas Abraham–who makes the band’s beats on an outdated, not entirely functional, 20-year-old sampler–calls himself, “obsessed with romance, obsessed with death, and obsessed with the color black.”

BLKHRTS goth tendencies come through loud and clear on “Porties,” where they rap about romantic complications over a beat that samples Bauhaus’ “She’s In Parties.” The video, with its moody, high-contrast visuals and party-hardy action, sums up the group’s mission nicely.

Kesha, A$AP Ferg, and more guest star in Haim's 'My Song 5' video

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Saturday Night Live star Vanessa Bayer already has a talk show, the web series Sound Advice where she gives hilariously bad advice to successful musicians. But in Haim’s latest music video for “My Song 5,” she has a whole new talk show: This one is Jerry Springer-style, featuring guests ranging from the cat-obsessed Kesha to the cotton ball-phobic Artemis Pebdani.

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Watch Nick Carter and Jordan Knight's debut video for 'One More Time'

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In 2010, boy band powerhouses New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys paired up for a joint NKOTBSB tour. Now a spinoff group has evolved, with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and New Kid Jordan Knight pairing for their own album and national tour.

The duo, now known as Nick & Knight, released their first single, “One More Time,” in July with their debut album scheduled for a September 2nd release. From there, Nick & Knight will head out on a two-month U.S. tour beginning in Nashville on September 15. Tickets are available now.

We’ve got an exclusive first look at the guys’ debut music video for “One More Time.”

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Watch the latest video from Meshell Ngedeocello, 'Shopping for Jazz'

Meshell Ndegeocello has had a remarkably long and successful career in the music industry for someone who’s steadfastly refused to fit in one of the easily recognizable categories that that usually entails. Since the late ’80s, she’s dabbled in pretty much every genre imaginable, from roots rock to techno. (Trivia tidbit: She got her start in the funk-heavy D.C. go-go scene.)

Her latest single, “Shopping for Jazz,” dabbles in several distinctly disparate styles at once, combining a bossa nova foundation with a country slide guitar and slinky soul vocals. It’s the first video from her new album, Comet, Come to Me, which features contributions from a fittingly broad range of guests including Amp Fiddler, Doyle Bramhall, and My Brightest Diamond.

Ndegeocello will start touring behind Comet in September. You can find her itinerary here.

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