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Kanye West's remix of Justin Bieber's 'Runaway Love' surfaces online

kanye-bieberImage Credit: Kevin Knight/Retna Ltd; Scott Legato/FilmMagicLess than a month after it was first discussed over Twitter, Kanye West’s remix of Justin Bieber’s “Runaway Love” has leaked online in rough form. As previously reported, the remix also features Wu-Tang Clan rapper Raekwon, who told us it constituted “a historical moment for hip-hop.”

West laid Bieber’s “Runaway Love” vocals over a reworked version of the beat from the Wu-Tang Clan’s immortal “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F— Wit.” That song, incidentally, came out a year before Justin Bieber was born. The remix also features a quick verse from West (“Last name West and my teeth diamonds/She said, ‘What’s your occupation, crazy rhyming?’”), plus two verses from Raekwon. As promised, Rae kept his lyrics PG.

The only version of the remix that’s out there is smothered in “exclusive” DJ tags, and it may or may not be the final version intended for release. A Bieber rep says his label is trying to get it pulled from YouTube right now. In the meantime, have you heard this remix? Did it live up to your expectations? Will hip-hop ever be the same?

(Follow The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Justin Bieber and Kanye West: Raekwon tells us all about their unlikely collab, plus the 'uncommon brilliance' of Kanye's next album

raekwon-kanye-bieberImage Credit: C Flanigan/FilmMagic; Kevin Knight/Retna Ltd; Scott Legato/FilmMagicThe Justin Bieber-Kanye West team-up that began with a Twitter conversation this week has become a reality. Take it from the Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon, who flew to NYC yesterday at West’s invitation to add a verse to West’s remix of Bieber’s “Runaway Love.” “This is definitely taking place,” Raekwon tells the Music Mix. “It’s a historical moment for hip-hop.”

Raekwon and West have been meaning to work together for years. But the Staten Island rapper was as surprised as anyone to see his name come up in West’s tweets with Bieber last weekend. “Justin being a young cat, he probably wasn’t even really there when I was doing my thing [in the '90s],” he says. “But he recognizes the Wu-Tang legacy.” Indeed, Bieber wasn’t even born until four months after the Wu-Tang Clan’s classic debut dropped.

The Staten Island rapper arrived at the historic Electric Lady Studios yesterday to find West hard at work on assorted projects with a handful of other stars. “He had Mos Def there, just chilling on the side. Akon was there. Charlie Wilson, the legendary soul singer. Everybody was running through this studio. Kanye is running around doing him. We’re having drinks, we’re vibing, great music is being made. It felt good to be there, man.” Bieber, sadly, was not present. “I’ll get a chance to see shorty sooner or later,” Raekwon laughs. “We’ll discuss it over a glass of water or something.” READ FULL STORY

Justin Bieber and Kanye West possibly to record together: Good idea?

kanye-bieberImage Credit: Kevin Knight/Retna Ltd; Scott Legato/FilmMagicJustin Bieber. Kanye West. Raekwon the Chef. Those might not be three names you ever expected to read in the same sentence. Thanks to Twitter, they seem to be well on their way to forming one of the strangest supergroups in recent memory.

MTV News has a good run-down of how the teen-pop whiz, the cutting-edge rap genius, and the rugged Wu-Tang Clan vet linked up. It all started when Kanye voiced his appreciation for Bieber’s “Runaway Love” on Twitter this past Sunday. Mr. Biebs was duly psyched about this shout-out, and said as much. “So bugged out me and @JustinBieber are tweeting at the same time,” West then reflected. “Social networking is pretty awesome.” West followed this thought with a boldly random suggestion: “Maybe we can do something together. Me, You and Raekwon.” Bieber’s reply: “me, u, and the chef 2gether on a song = EPIC. haha.”

Celeb lovefests on Twitter are a dime a dozen, but Raekwon told XXL last night that a real plan for the trio to record together was already in motion. “It’s definitely gonna happen,” promised Rae. “Yeezy called me and we gon’ make it pop.” Mere minutes ago, Raekwon elaborated on his own Twitter account: “On my way to the airport to nyc to get up wit my legendary @kanyewest! Yall asked for it now we’re gonna deliver!”

We’ll update you as soon as any more solid info emerges. ‘Til then, is this a collaboration you’d like to hear? Are there any people out there who consider themselves fans of both Justin Bieber and Raekwon?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

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Usher tops the albums chart; Erykah Badu makes the top five

usher-erykah-baduThe newest Billboard 200 albums chart holds good news and less-good news for Usher. Good: His Raymond v. Raymond is the No. 1 album in the country! This is his third chart-topper in a row. Go ahead and break out the champagne, Mr. Raymond. Less good: Raymond v. Raymond got there by selling 329,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s a solid opening number, so I wouldn’t call this bad news. But it’s a step down from the 443,000 his last one, Here I Stand, bowed with in 2008, much less the 1.1 million copies his album before that one managed in the ancient year of 2004. Part of that is obviously due to the changing retail market for album-length music. It also suggests, however, that the dip in sales from Confessions to Here I Stand wasn’t a fluke. Usher now seems to be a totally respectable 300,000 to 400,000 range artist, just not the unstoppable megastar he was in ’04.

Usher knocks his protégé Justin Bieber down to No. 2, with another 291,000 copies sold of his My World 2.0 in week two. That’s actually 8,000 more than Bieber’s album sold in its first week. Credit where credit is due: My World 2.0 still has yet to become a runaway smash, but his ability to dodge second-week deflation is impressive. (According to Billboard, this “marks the first time a No. 1-debuting album — issued on a traditional Tuesday release schedule — has posted an increase in its second week since 2002.”) If Bieber can keep this up in the weeks to come, he’ll have something more valuable than a huge debut — a steady long-term seller.

Erykah Badu can now put an exact number on how many album sales a naked video (and a $500 fine) will buy: 110,000, which is how many copies her New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh sold in its first week on shelves, winning her the No. 4 spot. That’s a minor comedown from the 124,000 that New Amerykah Part One sold in 2008, so it’s unclear whether Badu’s “Window Seat” video helped boost her sales at all. All controversy and legal drama aside, however, Return of the Ankh is an excellent album, so Badu deserves every one of the sales she got.

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Raekwon and Ghostface Killah bring 'Wu-Massacre' to NYC's Nokia Theater

Wu-Massacre, the album that Method Man, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah are dropping March 30, whittles down the Wu-Tang Clan to three of its finest. Last night, that line-up was pared further to just Raekwon and Ghostface, for what was billed as an early Wu-Massacre release celebration at the Nokia Theater in NYC’s Times Square. There was some sense in making the trio a duo. Rae and Ghost, in particular, have often felt like a group within a group on the Clan’s releases. These guys go together like peanut butter and jelly, or pasta and tomato sauce — speaking of which, they collaborate often enough to have come up with the acronym R.A.G.U. (for “Rae and Ghost United”) to identify their joint efforts.

The concert began with a string of unimpeachable cuts from 1995′s classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… — technically Raekwon’s solo debut, but one to which Ghostface contributed heavily, earning prominent billing on the album’s cover. Their undiminished chemistry was evident in the show-opening string of “Criminology,” “Incarcerated Scarfaces,” “Ice Cream,” and “Verbal Intercourse.” Both rappers are essentially storytellers, Ghostface narrating crime sagas with a jumpy urgency, Raekwon doing the same in gravelly and matter-of-fact tones. Together they strode the stage like giants, joining in on one another’s lyrics at key points for emphasis.

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Raekwon on 'Wu-Massacre,' the future of the Wu-Tang Clan, his label dreams, and more: The Music Mix Q&A

Last fall’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Part II was a milestone for Raekwon. The long-promised sequel to the Wu-Tang Clan member’s 1995 classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx drew stronger reviews than he’d seen in many years and hit the Billboard 200′s top five the week of its release. Considering the six-year pause that preceded Cuban Linx II, you might expect Rae to be resting on his laurels right about now.

Hardly. He returns March 30 with Wu-Massacre (pictured), a full-length collaboration with his Wu brothers Method Man and Ghostface Killah; after that, it’s back to work on Rae’s next solo album, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang. To take a breather from recording might risk losing momentum, which he’s simply unwilling to do. “Right now, I’m tired as hell,” Raekwon admits, sitting at a conference table at EMI Records’ NYC office with a red-and-blue New York Giants hoodie pulled low over his forehead. “But it’s a job.”

On top of all that, Raekwon is also trying to establish himself as an music-biz mogul. Cuban Linx II was the first product of his Ice H2O label, released in partnership with EMI. Next up is Capone-N-Noreaga’s The War Report II, another sequel to a beloved ’90s New York rap album. Rae is interested in diversifying to other genres, too: “If I could come with another Avril Lavigne or Lady Gaga…” he thinks out loud. “We’re just ready to keep it moving. No more five years away Rae s—. I’m trying to make Ice H2O the next Def Jam. In my eyes, I’m the Berry Gordy.”

Read on for Raekwon’s thoughts on Cuban Linx Part II, Wu-Massacre, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, and the possibility of another album from all eight members of the Wu-Tang Clan left after Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s 2004 passing — plus Rae’s reaction after seeing for the first time the crazy/awesome “RZA crosses the Potomac” painting that lit up the Internet last month.

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