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Tag: Hip-Hop/Rap (71-80 of 190)

Diddy vs. David Caruso: Adventures in overacting

Anyone else catch Diddy on CSI: Miami last night? He swoops in at 0:38 if you press play below. The tension between Sean Combs and David Caruso for the title of "whocan dramatically shift side-to-side and then REALLY PROJECT the nextline…better?" is palpable.

Big ups, by the way, to defense attorney Derek Powell for the triumphant water sip at the end. Only losers fall for that prints-on-the-beverage crap. Defense attorney Derek Powell knows better. Can’t nobody hold defense attorney Derek Powell down. Oh, no.

Yeah, we gotta keep on moving.

Static Major: Remembering the late Grammy winner

At least one of last night’s big Grammy honorees couldn’t be there: late songwriter Steve "Static Major" Garrett, who posthumously shared the Best Rap Song award for Lil Wayne’s "Lollipop." Static penned tons of now-classic R&B, hip-hop, and pop tunes before his untimely death last year, many of them in collaboration with Timbaland. His Grammy win is a reminder of how much he’ll be missed. Check out the four-part oral history of Static’s life that Vibe put together in December or a recent profile in his hometown paper if you’re looking for a fuller picture of the man behind the music. Or just pay tribute by listening to one of his most brilliant creations, Aaliyah’s "Are You That Somebody?", below. How will you remember Static Major?

More on the 51st annual Grammys:
Gallery: Best and Worst Performances
Gallery: Best and Worst Style
Full list of winners
Our PopWatch live blog

Quote of the Day: 'I'm On A Boat' edition

Never thought I’d be on a boat
It’s a deep blue watery road
Po-sei-don
Look at me!
(Ohhhhhhhhh)
Never thought I’d see the day
When a big boat’s comin’ my way
Believe me when I say
I f—ed a mermaid.

–T-Pain, from SNL‘s adventures-in-auto-tune Lonely Island digital short, "I’m On A Boat"

Lil Wayne on Letterman: The strangest press tour since Blago

Lil Wayne added yet another stop on the strangest press tour since Rod Blagojevich’s last night, dropping by David Letterman’s Late Show to offer the Top Ten reasons he’s looking forward to the Grammys. Since this list was scripted by Letterman’s sub-hilarious writers, instead of, say, being free-associated off the dome by the New Orleans Nightmare himself — major missed opportunity! — there were maybe two entries that elicited anything resembling a LOL from me. I’m talking about No. 8 ("I’m nominated in the category of ‘Lillest Wayne,’") and the one about how Weezy finds the Jonas Brothers "adorable." Letterman and Paul Shaffer, meanwhile, seemed thoroughly bemused by their guest, though they sure did enjoy the "joke" about crab cakes shaped like Beyonce’s anatomy. Check out the whole bizarre encounter below. I will admit that seeing this has helped me get psyched for Wayne’s Grammy performance…as long as Letterman’s staff has nothing to do with it. 

More on Lil Wayne and the Grammys:
Gallery: Who will win the Grammys? Who should?
Lil Wayne’s "Prom Queen": Make it go away!
Weezy was one of EW’s 25 Entertainers of the Year for 2008
Lil Wayne’s Gatorade ads are awesome

Cam'ron's 'I Hate My Job' is 2009's first recession-rap banger

As the economic crisis grinds on, I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot more of what I call “recession rap” — a sub-genre where artists rhyme about struggling to make rent instead of buying out the bar. Case in point: Cam’ron’s best single in years, “I Hate My Job,” which premiered last night at ihiphop.com. (Check it out below; some NSFW language.) Last time we heard from Cam, he was bragging about the sparkly jewels on his wrist. And now? “I woke up late, didn’t even have a shower/Lunch break? Gimme a break: A damn half an hour/All this bulls— for 12 bucks an hour!” All of a sudden, the Harlem hustler sounds like one of the drones from Office Space. Love it.

“I Hate My Job” is recession rap at its finest: relatable, fun, and refreshingly free of materialistic posturing. I know it struck a chord with me, even though I am a pop-culture blogger who personally couldn’t hate my job less at the moment. How about you? As far as I’m concerned, the more tracks we get like “I Hate My Job” — or Rugged N Raw’s “I’m Broke and Proud,” or Young Jeezy’s “Vacation” — the better.

More on Cam’ron and pop-culture during a recession:
Office Space celebrates 10th annniversary (in perfect economy to watch Office Space again)
Jon Stewart’s beautiful (stimulus) package
“I’m Broke and Proud”: The time is right for recession rap
EW liked Cam’ron’s 2004 album Purple Haze

Lil Wayne's 'Prom Queen': Make it go away!

I was hesitant to bash Lil Wayne’s god-awful "rock" single, "Prom Queen," when it leaked this weekend. Felt too much like shooting fish in a barrel, you know? I said my piece about Weezy’s delusions of guitar-hero grandeur long ago. After seeing footage of the song’s live premiere this morning, though, I can stay silent no longer. Trout better watch out, because I’m aiming straight into that barrel.

So there you have it: Music’s reigning emperor standing bare-assed before us. This unholy combination of bargain-basement mall-metal riffage and semi-conscious Auto-Tuned moaning sounded bad enough in the studio, but seeing Wayne attempt to perform this song live is just painful. You may notice that virtually no sound comes out when Weezy starts maniacally tapping his frets around the 1:50 mark. This is because Lil Wayne cannot play guitar (even after months of "practice"!), so he’s mixed waaaay down, if he’s even plugged in to an amp at all. And he wants us to listen to an entire album of this nonsense?

I’ve said it before, but once more for the road, Lil Wayne is a genius. I firmly believe he is one of the greatest lyricists who has ever lived, when he wants to be. What’s more, I am all for artists expanding their range and confounding their audiences. (Kid A is probably my favorite album of all time. The Love Below is pretty sweet too!) None of that changes the fact that even geniuses make mistakes, and as responsible fans we have to call them out. "Prom Queen" would be lame if it was being played by a random rock band. It’s still just as lame when it’s being played by the world’s biggest rapper.

But hey, maybe there’s something wrong with my ears. Do any of you actually like "Prom Queen"?

More on Lil Wayne:
He was one of EW’s 25 Entertainers of the Year for 2008
Tha Carter III made it onto Leah Greenblatt’s 10 Best CDs of 2008
Weezy’s Gatorade ads are awesome
Thinking over Tha Carter III when it hit shelves last June

Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller vs. Jeezy and Jay-Z: World's lamest tag-team faceoff?

Don’t tell me everything is different now that Barack Obama is president. Not as long as Bill O’Reilly is still starting idiotic feuds with rappers for no reason at all. I wouldn’t watch that clown’s show if you paid me, but Eskay over at Nah Right notes that O’Reilly and guest Dennis Miller spent part of last night’s Factor taking aim at Young Jeezy and Jay-Z for the severe crime of…performing a pro-Obama, anti-Bush rap song a couple nights before the inauguration. Scandal! Watch the clip below, and you tell me if you can figure out what exactly Billo and Millo’s complaint was here. The verses in question contained a couple of emphatic profanities, sure — and O’Reilly knows from those — but otherwise those lyrics were fairly tame. They certainly weren’t "hateful" in any meaningful way. Obviously, though, it doesn’t take very much to get O’Reilly throwing around loaded terms like "low-class" and Miller citing condescending statistics about single parenthood rates (???).

At least O’Reilly’s honest some of the time: "I don’t know much about Young Jeezy," he admitted. "It’s possible he’ll appear on the Factor soon." So maybe this segment was all just a ploy to bait Jeezy — or, as erstwhile comedian Miller inexplicably called him, "Emphysema" — to come on the show. I bet Bill could use the extra ratings. Would you watch it, or are you already as tired of this non-controversy as I am?

More on O’Reilly and politics as entertainment:
EW Gallery: The Great Presidential Pop-Culture Debate ’08
Young Jeezy’s The Recession got a B+ review from EW
On the Scene: Nas vs. Fox News Channel
O’Reilly was one of EW’s Entertainers of the Year in 2001

Pazz & Jop '08: TV on the Radio, M.I.A. take top honors

Tvradiomia_l2008 may already seem like forever ago. Twenty-one days? That’s, like, a decade in Twitter time! But the year in music isn’t truly over ’til the results of the Village Voice‘s Pazz & Jop critics’ poll are out. In developments that should shock absolutely no one, the Voice announced today that TV on the Radio’s Dear Science won the albums race, while critics voted M.I.A.’s "Paper Planes" the top single — both excellent choices. (Yes, technically "Paper Planes" came out in 2007, but the Pineapple Express trailer made it a major ’08 jam, and that’s good enough for P&J rules.)

In terms of sales, 2008 was either Lil Wayne’s or Taylor Swift’s year, depending how you count. But of course sales don’t mean much to many of the music writers who vote in P&J. Weezy, who managed a respectable No. 6 on the albums poll and No. 5 on the singles poll ("A Milli"), might have been undermined by the sheer volume of music heput out last year — he’s listed on no less than 21 ranking singles, all the way down to No. 1645 (Keri Hilson’s "Turnin’ Me On"). No such luck for Taylor Swift, who was relegated to the No. 58 album and No. 49 single.

My own Pazz & Jop ’08 ballot is here; EW’s Rob Brunner, Jason Adams, and Whitney Pastorek all submitted ballots, too. I know I’d probably tweak the order of mine in a few places if I were assembling it again today, but hey, a deadline’s a deadline, and these ballots were due on Christmas Eve. And while the final P&J results may be closed, the endless debate and dissection is only beginning. So what do you think of our individual picks and the overall Pazz & Jop winners? Have at it!

More on the music of 2008:
The Best and Worst Albums of 2008: Leah Greenblatt’s picks
The Best and Worst Albums of 2008: Chris Willman’s picks
The Best Albums of 2008: Stephen King’s picks
2008’s best music quotes

addCredit(“Radio: Roman Barrett; MIA: Liz Johnson”)

Joaquin Phoenix's rap career: To believe or not to believe?

By now you’ve probably heard about (if not seen clips of) Joaquin Phoenix’s rap performance in Las Vegas over the weekend. The would-be rapper performed three songs from his upcoming album (said to be produced by Diddy), spitting a series of stilted, robotic rhymes while rocking a beard thick enough to shelter a family of opossum. When Phoenix first announced he was giving up acting for a life in hip-hop, we all thought he was nuts. Then, when videos of him actually rapping first circulated some weeks back, we started to think it had to be a put-on . And now, after this latest performance, coupled with the announcement that Casey Affleck is shooting a documentary about the entire experience, we’re starting to wonder this whole thing is just a rather unfunny Andy Kaufman-esque stunt that will end with the release of an Affleck mockumentary. Phoenix has shown a penchant for messing with people before, like the time he told a reporter on the red carpet that he felt like there was a frog coming out of his head. And why would Affleck make a documentary about Phoenix’s transition to rapping, seeing as he only just announced that he is now a rapper, so there’s little story to document? Here at EW, we’re as puzzled as you are about this whole thing. But if that spectacle on display over the weekend, which at one point included a disheveled Phoenix falling off the stage, is a serious attempt at a new career, then the one-time Oscar nominee has us seriously puzzled.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Can this be real? Do you see any redeeming value in it as a hip-hop performance? Would you be into an Affleck mockumentary about this insanity, should that be what it’s actually about?

More on Joaquin Phoenix:
Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career the subject of debate (and a Casey Affleck-directed documentary)
Joaquin Phoenix wants to be a singer? We’ve got the perfect lead single for him!
Joaquin Phoenix: His most memorable roles

The Grammys are selling -- are you buying?

Once upon a time, if you built it — and handed out lots of heavy, shiny, engraved statuettes on the dais when you got there — viewers would come. These days, however, traditional awards shows like the Grammys and the Oscars face both a numbing glut of competitors (next up, Gaffers’ Choice!) and the increasingly indifferent response of audiences. That’s why the former have taken it upon themselves to sign up the likes of Rihanna, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Lenny Kravitz, and Lil Wayne for a major Recording Academy campaign via TV, print, radio, and the Internet. Billboard talked to the Academy’s chief marketing officer, who said the campaign cost "in the mutli-millions" and is the most the organization has spent on an ad campaign in its history.

How does it work? According to a Grammy spokeswoman, each featured artist was asked to provide 10-20 songs that influenced them; the subsequent lyrics and song titles are then used in the print andtelevision ads. For Wayne, that means showcasing rappers like Jay-Z and Young Buck; for Yorke, it’s more esoteric choices like cultishly adored singer-songwriter Scott Walker, or chaotic post-punk outfit the Liars. You can check out Stevie Wonder’s ad embedded below; does it make you want to tune in? Or would it take a personal invite and a pan of brownies baked by Rihanna herself to to get you there? What else could the Grammys do to get you to watch?

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