Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Knox Fortune Tells Us How He Created Mini Universes For Joey Purp’s QUARTERTHING

Right before he launches into a relentless, spacious flow on his airy song “2012,” Chicago rapper Joey Purp acknowledges his producer. “Yo Knox,” he quickly slurs over a chiming sample, shouting out trusted collaborator Knox Fortune. To hear the 26-year-old producer and musician tell the story of how they assembled the tune, that brief salutation represented the energy the two captured in the room together.

“We were just sitting around. I think I started to play the sample-sounding thing, and from there, [Joey] just started rapping, maybe with no drums even,” Knox recently told MTV News over the phone, minutes after stepping off a plane in New York. “It just built really organically. It was nice because it was something we really didn’t have to think about at all.”

The proverbial sausage often gets made via much messier (and sometimes much sexier) methods. But when it’s among two musicians who’ve worked alongside each other for years, sometimes it really is that simple.

Knox and Joey first met through Vic Mensa and quickly began collaborating on Joey’s Leather Corduroys project with KAMI. In 2016, Joey got a boost from his impressive iiiDrops mixtape, executive produced by Knox, which included the infectious Chance the Rapper-aided “Girls @.” Joey returned the favor, helming Knox’s debut, Paradise, in 2017.

It only made sense, then, that Knox would have a hand in Joey’s proper debut, QUARTERTHING, which dropped on September 7. He worked with Joey on three songs — “2012,” “Aw Sh*t!,” and “QUARTERTHING” — building on sessions the duo had stashed away from recordings in Los Angeles and London. “I’d arrange them by most to least interesting, and then put them in potential places that they can work,” Knox said. “And if it doesn’t work, [we] just immediately removed it and just stuck to a set guideline of, ‘Do we like this? No, we don’t like this. OK, it’s gone.’ And then we never think about it again.”

That’s why, in listening to Knox tell stories of creating these songs with help from the Social Experiment’s Peter Cottontale, Nate Fox, and Nico Segal, who executive produced QUARTERTHING, it almost sounds accidental; as if they randomly stumbled upon great moments. But it’s not quite that, he said. It’s more like following a formula that definitely wouldn’t work for everyone but nearly always works for them.

“A lot of artists you work with, you’ll have a four-hour session with them, and they spend all four hours working on a song, trying to get it finished up,” Knox said. “Joey will sit and play [NBA]2K and listen to shit I’m making or just playing in the room for three and a half of those hours, and then in 30 minutes write the best verse you’ve ever heard.”

It’s easy to visualize this from one full listen through QUARTERTHING. Joey seems to morph with the music on each track, entering exultant and victorious on the album’s opening bars like a wrestler stomping down an entrance ramp. By the time the house-indebted “Elastic” hits, he’s gone icy to match the clubby vibes before dialing the charm back up to shout out Mike Jones a few songs later.

Of course, it pays to be prepared for these moments. Knox’s attention to detail is pristine, and he admitted that he’s “usually very in control” of his contributions. He added the sounds of shaken-up spray cans to “QUARTERTHING” along with selections from “Rick Rubin’s personal modular synthesizer.” To coalesce all these elements into a beat is tricky, especially when you’re creating music someone else has to meld with. That’s where Peter, Nate, and Nico come in — sprinkling a “Pop Goes the Weasel” soundbite at the end of “Aw Sh*t!” and recruiting DJ Taye’s low synth rumbles to finish it off.

As much as he likes being in the driver’s seat, Knox called it “super, super reassuring” to have the trio, plus Joey, as closers for QUARTERTHING: “It’s very nice to be able to take something where you’re kind of at a dead end with it and be like, ‘What do you guys think of it?’ Cause they’ll always have something for you.”

With projects from peers like Noname and Very Slight, as well as his own handiwork, out in the world — not to mention some new Knox Fortune originals potentially ready to drop as early as October — Knox feels like it’s Chicago season once again, a sentiment he amplified on Twitter. “It feels like one of those moments again of something special in Chicago, and that’s completely what it’s all about for me,” he said. “That’s why I enjoy doing it.”

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Cardi B Is The ‘Queen Of Talkin’ Shit’ In Pardison Fontaine’s New Video

We haven’t heard Cardi B on wax since her feature on Lil Yachty’s “Who Want the Smoke” in July, and a lot’s happened to the Bronx MC since then. Most notably, she and husband Offset welcomed a baby girl together in July, but she’s also found herself at the center of a heated, ugly feud with Nicki Minaj.

On Thursday (September 20), Cardi turned the focus back on music with a fresh feature on Pardison Fontaine’s new single, “Backin’ It Up.” Cardi and Pardi are longtime friends and collaborators — he wrote two of her biggest hits, “Bodak Yellow” and “Be Careful” — and Cardi recently shared a video of them partying together years before she blew up. She wrote of their new collab, “I’m really happy to be joining him on his next single BACKIN’ IT UP, which will be dropping later on! I did the song and shot the video while I was 5 and a half months pregnant! I was cranky as fuck but I knew that it was going to be a Hit! Hit! Hit!”

In the newly released video, Pardi and his crew post up in a pizza shop before taking over a dimly lit dance floor. That’s where Cardi joins the fun, rocking a big fur coat and spitting characteristically confident lyrics. “I’m the queen of talkin’ shit and I’m backin’ it up,” she proclaims, later asserting, “Bitches think they fuckin’ with me, must be sick in the head / Why don’t you chill with the beef and get some chicken instead?”

It’s unclear whether “Backin’ It Up” will appear on Cardi’s upcoming project, which she originally targeted for a September 1 release. That date has obviously come and gone, but no matter when her new material arrives, it’s good to see her back.

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Noah Cyrus And Lil Xan’s ‘Live Or Die’ Video Immortalizes Their Doomed Romance

Two weeks after Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan very publicly and messily announced their breakup, we’ve gotten an unexpected reminder of their fleeting summer fling.

See, brief as their romance was, the 18-year-old singer and 22-year-old rapper managed to be quite the productive couple, recording and releasing the mellow, synth-heavy collab “Live or Die” in August. And on Monday (September 17), they unceremoniously leaked the track’s accompanying video, which immortalizes their doomed love in one very shadowy clip.

Cyrus co-directed the vid alongside Tony Corella, and it finds Xoah in happier times; cuddling and kissing by a fireplace as a spotlight illuminates their moves. Meanwhile, they pledge their loyalty to one another by promising, “When you lay by my side / I see the whole world through your eyes / Ride or die, you and I.” Sure, it’s pretty awkward to watch now, but just pretend you’re seeing it *without* the prior knowledge of knowing these two might’ve broken up over an X-rated Charlie Puth meme.

In happier news, Noah is gearing up for the release of her debut EP, Good Cry, which arrives on September 21. Xan, meanwhile, may or may not be quitting music altogether, so cherish “Live or Die” while you can.

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Kanye’s New YANDHI Project Looks A Lot Like Yeezus 2

Early Monday morning (September 17), Kanye West’s Twitter contained two very puzzling items: the word “YANDHI” (written on a Post-It note under Adam Driver’s name, suggesting the two would pair up for an upcoming Saturday Night Live episode), and an image of a bare MiniDisc without any context.

It wasn’t unlike when his 2013 album Yeezus dropped, complete with its artwork of a naked CD with a red sticker on it. Naturally, this caused people to begin speculating that Yeezus 2 was on its way. And then, the details came in — Kanye will indeed perform on SNL on September 29 (with Driver hosting), and that same day, he’ll also launch a project called YANDHI.

Kanye has also changed his social media avatars to a white screen, meaning he could be prepping the beginning of a new era. If YANDHI is indeed a full album, it would be Kanye’s third this year, after Ye, which debuted in June at Kanye’s star-studded Wyoming ranch blowout, and his Kid Cudi collaboaration, Kids See Ghosts. Two weeks ago, Kanye also dropped the new song “I Love It” with Lil Pump, complete with a music video that’s already been parodied for its ridiculousness.

But the news doesn’t stop there! Kanye also took the stage with Chance the Rapper on Monday night to confirm that yes, they are indeed making a joint album together — as they’ve been teasing for weeks now — and it’s called Good Ass Job (a title Kanye’s been teasing for years).

This is a lot to take in, so now’s might be a good time to throw on some music (maybe “Good Ass Intro” or “Ultralight Beam”) and mull it over for a while. And, you know, consider turning on notifications for Kanye’s and Chance’s tweets.

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Nick Grant Tells Us How He Turned Inspiration From A Will Smith Movie Into A Song

1974′s iconic Rumble in the Jungle boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman is one of the sport’s all-time bouts. Before the pair squared off for eight rounds (ending with Ali toppling Foreman), local spectators in the crowd chanted their support for Ali, the underdog, in their native Lingala, “Ali Bomaye!” — translation: “Ali, kill him!”

This rallying cry has since become a go-to mantra in hip-hop, including for The Game in 2012, and now for South Carolina up-and-comer Nick Grant — the MTV PUSH artist for the month of September.

As he told MTV recently, he first encountered the phrase while watching Will Smith’s portrayal of the legendary boxer in 2001′s Ali. So he updated it with his own name for a song he called “Nicky Bomaye.”

“I just took that based on my position of the game and how I want to compete and contribute and always just want to be the best,” Grant told MTV. “Because that’s what hip-hop was based on from the start.”

He continued the boxing theme by calling DJ Khaled, whose trademark motivational maxims feature on the studio version of the track, the Mickey and/or Apollo Creed to his Rocky. “He’s encouraging me and talking me through it because in this time, I’m one of the guys that’s pushing that heavy and trying to put it back into the culture where people start to respect it again,” he said.

Watch Grant break down the meaning behind the song above. Then watch his full performance of “Nicky Boyame” below.

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Mac Miller Fans Held a Beautiful Hometown Vigil In Blue Slide Park

Mac Miller got a touching hometown send-off on Tuesday night (September 11) at Pittsburgh’s Frick Park, where thousands of fans attended a vigil for the late rapper.

The location was chosen for its significance to Miller: His 2011 debut album was named after the park’s playground, known as Blue Slide Park, located just a couple blocks from the high school he went to. Miller spoke about the park in a 2012 interview with MTV News, saying, “No matter what happens in life, no matter where you go, where you’re off to, what happens with the park, that slide will always be blue. That will always be Blue Slide Park, no matter what.”

On Tuesday morning, Pittsburgh Public Works applied a fresh coat of blue paint on the famous slide, and fans gathered around it that evening, filling the playground with flowers, candles, artwork, and Steelers jerseys. According to local reports, a petition was even passed around to request that the name of the playground be changed to “Mac Miller Blue Slide Park.”

Miller’s grandmother Marcia Weiss was on hand at the vigil (wearing a Blue Slide Park album art sweatshirt) and thanked the crowd for giving her grandson a beautiful tribute. “Everybody, he would be so excited, he wished he was here and I wish he was here,” she said. “But he loves you all, he loves Pittsburgh and everything that you have done for him. Thank you so much for everybody being here. You were wonderful.”

Miller passed away on September 7 of a reported overdose and was pronounced dead at his home in Los Angeles. He was 26 years old. See more photos and videos from the vigil below.

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Eminem’s ‘Lucky You’ Video Sends A Message To Young Rappers: He’s Watching

Since dropping his ninth album, Kamikaze, out of the blue in late August, Eminem’s been in the news a lot. Most of the headlines stem from the rapper’s ongoing beefs with everyone from Joe Budden to Machine Gun Kelly, but it appears Em is now turning the focus back on promoting his new project. After outrunning his critics in the eerie video for “Fall,” Em now finds himself stalked by copycats in the vid for the Joyner Lucas-featuring “Lucky You,” released on Thursday (September 13). (And no, they’re not the bleached Slim Shady clones from the 2000 VMAs… though that would’ve been pretty great.)

The inspiration behind the vid is pretty straightforward: Eminem inspired an entire generation of MCs, and he believes they shamelessly and deliberately copy his every move. The video takes that concept literally, as hordes of hooded, red-eyed men imitate him and Lucas as they rap on top of wrecked cars in a run-down town. Em and Lucas proceed to have some fun with it, making their imitators dab, hump the air, and hop on one foot while patting their heads. Lightheartedness aside, however, it’s clear Em is sending a message to the hip-hop world: They may be watching his every move, but he’s watching them, too.

Though Kamikaze has sparked countless debates about the return of Slim Shady, the album still sold enough to deliver the ninth No. 1 album of Eminem’s career. Maybe this was the revival fans were waiting for.

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Watch Kendrick Lamar Pay Tribute To Mac Miller’s Life, Music, And Contagious Smile

While the music world continues to feel the aftershocks from the unexpected passing of Mac Miller — who died on September 7 at age 26 — memorials and tributes for the late rapper have been flowing in. The latest comes from Kendrick Lamar, who thoughtfully remembered his friend and collaborator in a video recorded for Complex’s Open Late With Peter Rosenberg on Wednesday night (September 12).

After calling Miller a “funny, funny, funny individual” and talking about how he had “the same type of sick, twisted sense of humor” as him, Lamar continued, “Great musician, great writer. Just always had a smile on his face, and that’s something that I commend. No matter what he was going through, he didn’t make you feel sorry for him. He was strong about it.”

Lamar, who collaborated with Miller on 2016′s “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty,” further commended the Pittsburgh MC’s unbridled positive energy.

“He always kept a smile on his face because he wanted you to smile too, and that’s just something I always loved,” he said. “No matter whatever personal issues, he gave you that energy. It wasn’t no ‘misery loves company’ with him. He showed a smile and you gave that smile right back. It made you feel good. So forever we gonna remember the life and we gonna remember that smile. Celebrate. Mac Miller. Love!”

Lamar’s video comes just a day after thousands of Miller’s family, friends, and fans gathered at Pittsburgh’s Blue Slide Park to honor his life with a hometown vigil.

The Open Late episode also featured Miller tributes from Macklemore, Machine Gun Kelly, Ty Dolla $ ign, and more. See the full episode here.

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Nicki Minaj Speaks On Her ‘Mortifying And Humiliating’ Fight With Cardi B

“This is gonna be a legendary fucking show,” Nicki Minaj said at the jump of Queen Radio on Monday afternoon (September 10), before letting out an unbridled cackle.

And thus began the eighth — and most hotly anticipated — episode of Queen Radio, which came just days after Nicki got into a heated scuffle with Cardi B at a New York Fashion Week party. For those who weren’t following the drama over the weekend, here’s what you need to know:Tthe Harpers Bazaar ICONS bash on September 7 apparently ended with Cardi trying to fight Nicki and throwing a shoe at her. The “Bodak Yellow” hitmaker promptly addressed the altercation on Instagram, claiming that Nicki made comments about Cardi’s baby, Kulture: “When you mention my child, you choose to like comments about me as a mother, make comments about my abilities to take care of my daughter is when all bets are f*ckin off!!” she wrote.

Nicki, for her part, kept quiet about the incident… until Monday’s Queen Radio, that is.

“So let me just say this,” Nicki said on the episode. “The other night I was a part of something so mortifying and so humiliating to go through in front of a bunch of upper-echelon people. The way they passed by looking at this disgusting commotion, I will never forget. I was mortified.”

Responding to Cardi’s allegations that Nicki commented about Kulture, the Queen rapper said that she had “no clue” where the “horrendous accusations” came from. She insisted, “I would never discuss anyone’s child. And it’s so sad for someone to pin that on me because I’m the bad guy and they knew people would believe them. I just wanna let the world know that Onika Tanya Minaj has never and will never speak ill of anyone’s child. I am not a clown. That’s clown shit.”

Nicki further said of Cardi, “she has built her career off of sympathy and payola,” and went on to accuse her of having other women attacked because of their alleged relationships with her husband, Offset. Nicki said, “You just had the biggest blessing of your life with a child, and in two weeks you have attacked three women? One at fashion week? And left looking the way you left looking so that people could point their fingers at our culture and our community and laugh at us some more?”

She continued, “Get this woman some help! This woman is at the best stage in her career, and she’s out here throwing bottles and throwing shoes? Who the fuck is gonna give her a fucking intervention?”

All drama aside, however, Nicki insisted she’s in “such a good place, mentally and spiritually.” Moreover, she appears to be turning her attention back to her art, revealing on the show that the high-fashion “Barbie Dreams” video will be dropping today. Yet another treat for Barbz.

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Nicki Minaj Has Turned Your Favorite Rappers Into Puppets In ‘Barbie Dreams’ Video

The summer of Nicki Minaj continues. Fresh off a contentious weekend with Cardi B — one that apparently culminated in Cardi throwing a shoe at her — Nicki took to her Queen Radio show yesterday to both address the incident and reveal that a video for “Barbie Dreams” was about to drop.

Then the “Barbie Dreams” video did drop. But who knew it would feature some of the biggest rappers of the 2000s rendered in puppet form?

It makes sense, in a way: Nicki spends the song deconstructing why everyone from Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Drake, her own ex-fiancé Meek Mill, Quavo, Rae Sremmurd, and more either can or cannot get with her. (Spoiler: None can.) Weezy, DJ Khaled, Tekashi69, and more get turned into puppets as Nicki raps the song in a series of staggering wig and costume changes.

The “Barbie Dreams” clip was directed by storied auteur Hype Williams. Right when the beat changes for Nicki to deliver her fierce last verse, the puppets wisely all disappear, leaving the rapper alone at the center of her own creation.

This new video comes just a few days after Nicki popped up in the visual for the alternate version of K-pop group BTS’s “Idol,” rocking similarly colorful and striking hair choices.

If you’re keeping track at home, this one marks two puppet-centric rap videos in two weeks, if you count Kanye and Lil Pump’s surreal fantasy “I Love It” as an at least puppet-adjacent visual.

Check out “Barbie Dreams” above, and make sure you tune into the next episode of Queen Radio. They seem to just keep getting wilder.

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