Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Post Malone Is ‘Ready To Rock On’ After Private-Plane Emergency

By any metric you choose to use, Post Malone had a good time on Monday night (August 20) at the 2018 VMAs. After he nabbed Song of the Year for “rockstar” (and accepted the award in an extremely humble way), Posty teamed up with actual rock stars Aerosmith for a very loud, very smoky mash-up performance that closed out the night.

Before the night ended, MTV News grabbed a still-sweaty Post backstage for a quick exit interview, and when the show wrapped, he (presumably) went on his way to a well-earned night of celebration and revelry.

But by Tuesday, as Post attempted to fly out of the New York area and head to a gig in England, two of the wheels on his private plane reportedly blew out on takeoff. For a bit there, it looked hazardous: Twitter exploded as the news made its way across the web.

Luckily, the plane eventually landed safely in New Windsor, New York, about 70 miles north of New York City, after being originally diverted to an airport in Massachusetts. Post quickly took to Twitter to 1) confirm his safety, and 2) give a virtual middle finger to the people who weren’t pulling for him during the harrowing episode.

Post is scheduled to hit the Reading Festival in the U.K. on August 24 the same night as Travis Scott, who also had a big night at the VMAs.

As the man himself said in simple, additional statement he made to Billboard after the ordeal, “I’m alive. I’m ready to rock on.”

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Logic Tries An Unorthodox Approach To Scoring A Jay-Z Feature

Logic is back with ”The Return,” a Nina Simone-sampling ode to the Maryland rapper’s alter ego, Young Sinatra. The new single features Logic wagging his fist at “superficial shit,” mumble rap, and his perceived haters. However, he also finds time to go down a list of his wishes, which include collaborating with a legendary rapper and getting an endorsement deal from Nike.

The most interesting penny Logic throws into the metaphorical wishing well is asking Jay-Z for a feature. “I’m callin’ out Jay-Z to jump up on the track with me and smack the whole industry / Show ‘em what that real rap do,” the Nobody rapper spits. He then follows with the proclamation, “The ball’s in your court, Hov.”

Logic also sends a shot at President Trump during the song’s third verse. “Ayo motherfuckin’ Trump said that shit on my last album but you wasn’t tapping in / Fuck a mumble, let’s make America rap again,” the “Overnight” artist raps. Besides the groan-worthy play on the President’s slogan “Make America Great Again,” the bar isn’t surprising. Logic’s 2018 MTV Video Music Award performance of “One Day” was a powerful statement against the Trump administration’s controversial and highly unpopular family separation policy.

Relive the performance below.

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Nicki Minaj On Kylie Jenner Apparently Avoiding Her At The VMAs: ‘I Fucking Love Kylie’

Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, and Kylie Jenner are the best Mad Libs pairing of celebrities in recent memory. During episode five of her Queen Radio show, Minaj cleared the air about Kylie after a video of the mogul reportedly avoiding her on the MTV Video Music Awards red carpet surfaced.

“I fucking love Kylie and that’s not going to change,” Minaj said. “This is not real life, this is entertainment. I love Kylie and so do my fans. Kim was on my first episode of Queen Radio — fucking love her. We’re not going to make something that it’s not. We’re not going to start any dumbass cat fights for your entertainment. This is strictly music, between musicians.”

Kylie potentially avoided Nicki Minaj at the VMAs because of tweets the Queens rapper posted a day before the awards ceremony. On Twitter, Nicki detailed why she felt she deserved the No. 1 album over Travis Scott’s Astroworld, after it secured the top spot on the Billboard 200.

“Travis sold over 50K of these,” Nicki wrote. “With no requirement of redeeming the album! With no dates for a tour, etc. I spoke to him. He knows he doesn’t have the #1 album this week.”

In a second tweet, Minaj doubled down on her assessment that Travis didn’t truly have the top album in the country.

“I put my blood sweat & tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling ppl to come see her & Stormi,” she continued. “I’m actually laughing. #Queen broke the record of being number 1 in 86 countries. Thank Jesus & thank you to my fans.”

Thankfully, it seems like the competitive spirit only pertains to the music. Listen to the entire episode on Apple Music.

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Drake And Travis Scott Performing ‘Sicko Mode’ Is The Adrenaline Rush You Need

Drake wasn’t wrong when he told the world that La Flame was “in sicko mode.” Ever since that bold proclamation, Travis Scott’s Astroworld has secured the second-largest debut of 2018 on the Billboard 200, brought a thrilling theme-park adventure to the VMA stage, and given the Houston rapper the No. 1 album in the country for two weeks in a row. Thankfully, Scott returned the favor on Tuesday (August 21) by gracing the stage with Drake during the Aubrey & The Three Amigos tour’s first stop.

The audience at the Scotiabank Arena predictably went bonkers when Scott emerged to perform his verse. It also wouldn’t be a Travis show if he didn’t briefly bring the Canadian crowd to the rodeo. Before he left, the Houston artist performed his 2016 hit, “Goosebumps.”

Interestingly, Drake also took time out of his show to briefly discuss some of his political beliefs with the crowd. The Toronto rapper is generally apolitical in his music, which makes the few words he did share standout.

“I’m forever grateful, everywhere I go, I carry the values of this city with me,” Drake said. “Every night that I go and I do a show in America. I tell them, ‘This is how the world is supposed to work.’ You see, tonight, we got 17,000 people inside one building from all races, from all places, and all we are doing is just listening to music, and smoking and drinking — and enjoying our lives. And I want you to know that that’s something that I learned right here in Toronto.”

Preach, Drizzy, preach.

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Travis Scott Shares How Houston Artists From Pimp C to Mike Jones Pushed Him To Make Astroworld

Travis Scott had one of the most explosive, electric, and entertaining performances at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. The “Sicko Mode” rapper brought his vision of Astroworld to Radio City Music Hall with a rollercoaster car, a giant golden inflatable head, and pyrotechnics. Before the ceremony, Scott briefly discussed how Houston hip-hop influenced the ultimate goal of Astroworld.

“That’s like one of the most major points I wanted to do for the album was just, like, bring that sound to Houston and make it go worldwide,” Scott said. “Everybody from Houston, from Paul Wall to Mike Jones to Lil Flip to Lil Keke to E.S.G. to the whole S.U.C., all these people. Bun B, Pimp C — all these people created a culture and a sound for Houston and made it worldwide. I just want to continue what they started, you know? Make sure people don’t ever forget the name Houston.”

Another significant aspect of Travis Scott’s third studio album is the real-world theme park — Six Flags AstroWorld – that influenced the project’s aesthetic. The park opened on June 1, 1968, and is fondly remembered by generations of Houstonians. Unfortunately, it was closed down on October 30, 2005. In a Houston Chronicle article from that period, Jim Dannhauser, the chief financial officer of Oklahoma City-based Six Flags, succinctly described the reasoning behind the park’s closing: “While attendance has gone down, the value of the land has gone up substantially.”

AstroWorld’s demise didn’t hit Travis until he was older and realized he could no longer go back.

“At first it didn’t really set in stone what they was actually doing to the city until I was older,” he shared. “I was like, ‘Woah, we actually don’t have this place,’ when I wanted to go back when I was like 18 or something. It’s like, wow we don’t have it. That’s when it hit me. “

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Nicki Minaj Let Us Know ‘Normani Is That Bitch’ During VMA Speech

Nicki Minaj’s acceptance speech for the Best Hip Hop Moon Person at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards was full of fiery, iconic, and spicy moments — but before the first televised win of the night was announced, Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart let their unique brand of comedy fly at the expense of Fifth Harmony.

“She’s nominated for five VMAs tonight, five of them,” Haddish said of Camila Cabello. “I’m super proud of her. So those of you watching at home, hi, Fifth Harmony.”

After Ariana Grande helped her bestie up to the stage, the Queen rapper decided to set the record straight and come to Normani’s defense. ”Tiff, don’t be coming for Fifth Harmony, because Normani is that bitch,” Nicki warned the Night School lead.

The competition for Best Hip Hop at the VMAs was fierce — Nicki beat out Cardi B’s “Bartier Cardi” featuring 21 Savage, The Carters’ “APES**T,” Drake’s “God’s Plan,” J. Cole’s “ATM,” and Migos’s “Walk It Talk It” featuring Drake — but that didn’t seem to phase the queen. She also made sure to let the audience know that they should “tune in for Queen radio so you can know who the Cocksucker of the Day award is going to.”

It’s safe to say that Nicki had a lot of confidence to spare at this year’s show.

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Drake’s Viral Videos Are All Part Of God’s Plan, This Company Proves

“I don’t think there’s a science to it,” Director X says matter of factly. The celebrated music video and film director has been asked a simple but subtly complex question — is there a science to making a viral video? The answer is deflating, but expected. Humans crave formulas, rules, and blueprints, but if art were so easily condensed into a box, then it’d cease to be art.

“I mean, you can never tell what’s gonna quite catch,” he continues. “Things are a little different when you’re making a music video with Drake. He’s Drake. You’re already starting with a record. You’re starting with the right music. Then Drake really works hard to create concepts that are going to get attention.”

Director X knows this better than anybody. He arguably gave Drake his first genuinely viral music video with the bar mitzvah to end all bar mitzvahs in 2012’s “HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)” and followed it up three years later with the eternally meme-able “Hotline Bling.”

Now his intern-turned-protégé Karena Evans has taken the reins. She met the legendary director after producer Boi-1da, a mutual friend, shared his personal contact information. Evans, 22, reached out and, in her words, told him, “‘Listen, this is who I am. You don’t know me, but I want to work for you and I just want to show you what I can do.’”

Now, Evans is responsible for five of the biggest music videos of 2018: Drake’s “God’s Plan,” “Nice For What,” “I’m Upset,” and “In My Feelings,” and SZA’s “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” starring Donald Glover. Each has predictably gone viral, garnered millions of views, and positioned the young director as one of the most in-demand filmmakers.

Drake really works hard to create concepts that are going to get attention.

Dynamic, vibrant, and kinetic, Evans’s videos have a warmness and directness that aren’t generally associated with big-budget, major label-backed music videos. Take her latest visual for “In My Feelings.” Over the course of eight minutes, it manages to show off Drake’s endearing side by letting him channel his acting roots, introduces the eternal grace and maternity of Phylicia Rashad to a new generation, pays homage to New Orleans culture, and showcases the overwhelming joy of the “In My Feelings” challenge. And yet, it never feels overstuffed.

Her mentor Director X doesn’t believe in a formula for viral success. Neither does Evans. Exceptional videos, she says, have to express two important elements.

“Let’s capture culture. Let’s capture authenticity,” she explains. “For something like ‘God’s Plan,’ it was like, let’s capture real people and tell a story about giving back and that came from Drake’s heart. So I think the first thing is like, you gotta really believe and you gotta mean it for it to translate through that screen.”

Capturing culture is not only a perfect description of “God’s Plan.” It’s also the ethos of Popp Rok, the Toronto production company built by Director X, executive producer Taj Critchlow, and production head Adam Palmer to give young and diverse directors like Evans and LeSean Harris a chance.

“We’re probably the only black executive producers at a production company, let alone the fucking country,” Critchlow says emphatically.

Popp Rok was formed almost two years ago. The objective, Critchlow explains, was to create something “from Toronto that represents us, the city we love and where we’re from, but we also wanted to create a company that competes on an international level.”

That objective bleeds through the conversation of every person working at Popp Rok. Palmer grew up in the city and remembers a time before Drake and The Weeknd helped shine a light on a place that was artistically overlooked in terms of hip-hop and R&B.

“We been telling you guys for years how dope this thing is and how multi-cultured and able and just a melting pot of music and people and visuals and just creative [this city is],” Palmer shares. “And we knew it for a minute, and it’s just nice to be a part of something where people are kind of really recognizing our work, but recognizing that we’re a Toronto company.”

Let’s capture culture. Let’s capture authenticity.

Defiant, confident, and direct, the men are candid about the hurdles they faced getting Popp Rok to where it is now. “They’re not used to seeing guys like us in the room,” Critchlow continues. “A lot of times, because we come from a music-video background, they kinda look at us like, ‘You sure you can do this commercial?’”

However, the challenges don’t always come from the business side. Evans’s recent visuals have often dropped during some of the most turbulent portions of her clients’ careers. Evans helped turn SZA’s “Garden (Say It Like Dat)” into a tropical oasis, which was a needed reprieve during a summer where the TDE singer was maneuvering through multiple performance and personal issues. Evans also released her Degrassi-inspired video for Drake’s “I’m Upset” while the Toronto rapper was embroiled in his beef with Pusha T. How do those external factors impact her visuals?

“I think I would be kind of naive and ignorant to not see those sort of things,” she says. “I do think that it’s my job as a storyteller to still communicate the story regardless of those other factors. I guess for me personally, Popp Rok is kind of the enabler for my creative expression, so it’s just been a blessing that those significant things have worked in terms of timing of when I’m working with those artists.”

The success of Popp Rok is indebted to the importance of history and lineage. The legendary music video director Hype Williams gave Director X an internship over 20 years ago, and now the same kid who worked on Williams’s film Belly is directing films of his own. Even on the set of his latest feature film, Superfly, X and the team at Popp Rok are still looking to give young and diverse talent a chance. It’s the reason a new director like LeSean Harris can leverage directing videos for OVO Sound’s dvsn into a larger gig working on a Miguel music video for Superfly.

“We wanted to make sure that we had this platform to give opportunities for the next X and the Karenas now of the world and the LeSean Harrises and the Aaron As,” Critchlow explains. “We wanted to make sure that the trials and tribulations that we went through, as far as leaving Toronto to go to New York City and abroad to really make a name for ourselves, to finally be accepted back home — we wanted to make sure that these kids and these storytellers, these directors… they have a portal that they can build from.”

That portal is only getting bigger, but it remains in the city where it all started.

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Logic’s ‘One Day’ Music Video Is A Stark Portrayal Of Families Separated At The Border

Logic has never shied away from delivering important messages in his art. His latest video for “One Day” featuring Ryan Tedder features the story of two men who live vastly different lives.

The Andy Hines-directed visual begins by introducing viewers to an immigrant family trying to cross the border. However, when they are captured, their son is taken to a separate detention center and eventually fostered by an American family. As the video progresses, we see the boy go to high school, college, and end up fulfilling his dream of becoming a doctor.

In contrast, a Caucasian family celebrates their son’s birthday and over the course of the seven-minute visual, he is corrupted by anger, hatred, and prejudice. He eventually becomes a neo-Nazi who almost dies as a result of his racism. The twist of the video pushes the two diverging storylines together in an unlikely way, but no spoilers here.

“One Day” features superb cameos from Michael Peña, Judy Reyes, and Luis Guzmán, who all turn in excellent performances. Logic and Ryan Tedder only make a brief appearance during the latter half of the video, but thankfully they will be performing their inspirational hit at the VMAs on Monday (August 20).

The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from Radio City Music Hall on Monday, August 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Voting is now open at vma.mtv.com!

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Will Drake, Cardi B, Or Dua Lipa Win The VMA Song Of Summer Award? You Decide

There’s just a week to go until the 2018 VMAs, and all of your millions of votes are being tallied to determine which artists will take home a shiny Moon Person. But your job isn’t finished yet! Give those voting fingers a big stretch, because we’re revealing the nominees for one final category: Song of Summer, powered by truth.

Cardi B — who already racked up a whopping 10 nominations this year — now has two more to her name. “I Like It,” her smash with Bad Bunny and J Balvin, is up for the Song of Summer prize, as is her remix of “Girls Like You” with Maroon 5. Drake’s viral “In My Feelings” is also up for contention, but he’ll face stiff competition in Post Malone, Juice WRLD, and DJ Khaled. And on the pop front, Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss” is a strong contender, as is Ella Mai’s inescapable “Boo’d Up.”

Voting for the tournament-style Song of Summer opens this week on MTV’s Instagram Stories. The first round takes place today, the second round on Tuesday, and the third round — featuring the final two contenders — on Wednesday. Voting officially closes on Thursday, and the winner will be announced during the VMA pre-show, airing on Monday, August 20 at 8 p.m. ET.

See the full list of nominees below, and get voting for your fave!

  • Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa – “One Kiss”

  • Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – “I Like It”

  • DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo – “No Brainer”

  • Drake – “In My Feelings”

  • Ella Mai – “Boo’d Up”

  • Juice WRLD – “Lucid Dreams”

  • Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B – “Girls Like You (remix)”

  • Post Malone – “Better Now”

The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from Radio City Music Hall on Monday, August 20 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Voting is now open at vma.mtv.com!

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Nicki Minaj Divulges A Very NSFW Bar For Stephen Colbert — And He Was Not Ready

Stephen Colbert invited Nicki Minaj to The Late Show and the results are legendary. During their sit down, Colbert asked the Queen rapper about her viral sensation “Barbie Dreams” and dropping satirical lines about artists like Drake and Quavo wanting to get with her. However, when the late-night host asked why his name wasn’t mentioned, the show adorably went off the rails.

“I might fuck Stephen after the show / He gon’ come back to work with a magical glow,” Nicki rapped back in response. Stephen was predictably caught off guard and couldn’t stop laughing. At one point, Nicki had to ask the blushing comedian if he was married. She then followed up her previous bars by rapping, “But when you see us please don’t fucking stare / Just address me as Queen Nicki Colbert.”

Later in the talk, she shared that only two rappers seemed to have a problem with their mention in “Barbie Dreams.” Although, she didn’t reveal the names of the rappers.

In a Rolling Stone interview, Nicki’s engineer Aubry “Big Juice” Delaine shared that the Biggie interpolating song was created primarily in one take.

“She told me to load up that beat, put it on loop, and give her about 20 or 30 minutes,” Delaine explained. “Then she goes in the booth and lays that shit down, and that’s what you got. I didn’t know what she was gonna say. I wanna say she did 90 percent of that in one take. She mumbled the hook when she was laying the verses, laid the rest of it, went back and put the hook in the middle. When I heard it — ‘this is incredible.’”

Make sure to catch Nicki when she performs at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. Wonder if any of the guys she name dropped on “Barbie Dreams” will be there.

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