Frank Ocean Is Teasing Very Hype Music On His Newly Public Instagram

Stylish Tumblr page aside, Frank Ocean‘s social media presence has always been a thing of mystery. But in a shocking turn of events, the typically reclusive artist pulled back the curtain last week by making his private Instagram account public, letting fans explore hundreds of posts he’s made since mid-2017.

As it turns out, Ocean’s IG is the gift that keeps on giving — on Monday (November 19), he teased what sounds like a snippet of a new song on his Story. In the selfie-style vid, he head-bangs to an upbeat trap beat as the phrase “I’ve got visions for my life” repeats a few times. He kept the caption simple and ambiguous, opting only for a few tornado emojis.

Ocean unveiled his previously private Instagram (@blonded) last week, after months of speculation that the unverified account belonged to him. He saluted new followers with a mirror selfie accompanied by the cheeky and straightforward caption, “welcome.”

There’s no indication if Ocean’s new teaser is for a song off an upcoming project, or if he’s just fooling around in the studio. But it’s a promising sign that he’s at least creating — and, apparently, having a blast doing it.

The Blonde singer cryptically hinted at new music all the way back in January, posting a photo on Tumblr of a person with a hat that reads, “IF YOU LIKED 2017, YOU’LL LOVE 2018.” Considering 2018 is almost over, let’s hope he delivers on that very vague promise soon!

Ariana Grande Has Fans Expecting A Mean Girls-Inspired ‘Thank U, Next’ Video

It might not be Wednesday, but Ariana Grande‘s fanbase is in preparation mode for the pop star’s upcoming “thank u, next” to get the Mean Girls treatment.

Ever since Ariana revealed the single cover and aesthetic for the now-No. 1 single, some of her eagle-eyed fans spotted a suspicious similarity to the the 2004 film-turned-Broadway musical’s Burn Book.

After a series of social media posts from Ariana and her besties, Alexa Luria and Courtney Chipolone, that similarity doesn’t just seem like a coincidence. Earlier today, each of the three women took to Instagram to post group shots, captioned with Mean Girls quotes and references.

Ariana also posted the trio on Twitter, inviting fans to “meet the plastics.” And while there isn’t confirmation that these are outtakes from a music video shoot, Ariana posted a video just yesterday assuring fans that the “thank u, next” visuals are on their way.

With the words “you’re still getting a video” written in that same Burn Book aesthetic, fans are all but sure that the “thank u, next” music video is Mean Girls-themed and, as Ari might say, they’re so cool with that.

And with Ariana Grande telling fans on Instagram that all these captions really are tea, there’s no telling what more details she’ll be spilling tomorrow.

For now, party like it’s October 3 and listen to “thank u, next” below.

Taylor Swift Says Goodbye To The Label She Signed With At Age 15

For over a decade, Taylor Swift‘s association with her record label, Big Machine, has been one of the defining aspects of her career. She’s been signed to the Nashville label since her 2006 debut, and as her music has evolved and landed more squarely in the pop space, her affiliation with Big Machine has kept her attached to her country roots. But that’s all changing.

On Monday (November 19), Swift revealed she’d left Big Machine and signed with Republic Records, part of the massive Universal Music Group family. In a message posted to Instagram, the 28-year-old artist wrote that, as per the new deal, she will “own all of my master recordings that I make from now on. It’s really important to me to see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry.”

Owning your own masters is a hugely lucrative for artists as it keeps them firmly in control of their own music and how it’s released. And Swift has long advocated for the rights of artists in a changing music industry that’s more dependent on streaming than ever. In 2014, she pulled her entire catalog from Spotify, and the following year threatened to do the same with Apple Music unless it improved royalties for artists. (Her music has since returned to the platform.)

As part of her new deal with Republic and UMG, Swift also continued to push for more on behalf of those who create. “There was one condition that meant more to me than any other deal point,” she wrote. “I asked that any sale of [UMG]’s Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable. They have generously agreed to this, at what they believe will be much better terms than paid out previously by other major labels.”

In short, this is a big win for the rights of artists in the streaming era — one often characterized by inequality and artists’ creative ways around it. It certainly helps to have Taylor Swift there as a champion. Read her full statement in the Instagram post above.

Sabrina Carpenter’s ‘Sue Me’ Video Has Legally Blonde Written All Over It

Remember the scene in Legally Blonde where Elle Woods, fresh off being dumped by dumb Warner, wallows in bed while scarfing chocolates? That’s basically where Sabrina Carpenter‘s new “Sue Me” video picks up, complete with an all-pink color scheme and a tiny dog (only this time, it’s a black pug instead of Elle’s trusty chihuahua, Bruiser).

The Legally Blonde influence seeps into the entirety of Sabrina’s playful vid, following the singer as she snaps out of her pity party (thanks in part to BFF Joey King), decks herself out in hot pink threads, and heads to a college campus to plot her domination. There’s even a scene in a pool reminiscent of Elle’s classic Harvard admission tape, and in an undeniably meta twist for a song called “Sue Me,” Sabrina’s newfound confidence eventually takes her to a literal courtroom.

There’s no dramatic revelations about pool boys and perms, but there’s plenty of swagger as Sabrina belts the bubbly hook: “So sue me for looking too pretty tonight / Wearing your favorite color under the lights / For moving on, doing everything right.”

During a recent appearance on Live! with Kelly and Ryan, the 19-year-old talked up the confidence-boosting themes behind “Sue Me,” saying, “I think it’s empowerment, it’s confidence, it’s being comfortable with yourself regardless of what anybody thinks.”

“Sue Me” appears on Sabrina’s new bop-filled album Singular: Act 1, which arrived last week. She’ll debut the second half of the two-part album early next year, and fingers crossed she’ll drop off some more fun visuals before then. What, like it’s hard?!

Little Mix Strip It Down For Two Fierce, Fearless New Videos

Seven years and five albums in, Little Mix are continuing to prove themselves models of empowerment and body positivity. Those themes run deep throughout the Brit girl group’s new album, LM5, and to celebrate their big release day on Friday (November 16), they debuted not one, but two stunning videos.

The first, “Strip,” was co-directed by photographer Rankin and features inspirational activists like Bryony Gordon and Nimco Ali, along with featured artist Sharaya J and the girls’ own family members. Fittingly, Jesy, Jade, Perrie, and Leigh-Anne “stripped” down for the black and white affair, covering their skin with nothing but derogatory words like “slutty,” “talentless,” and “ugly.” It’s a striking image, and their confident, liberating lyrics give it all the context you need: “Take off all my makeup ’cause I love what’s under it / Rub off all your words, don’t give a uh, I’m over it / Jiggle all this weight, yeah, you know I love all of this / Finally love me naked, sexiest when I’m confident.”

Upon releasing the video for “Strip,” Little Mix tweeted, “This is so special to us, from the amazing women we worked with, to the message of the song. It’s EVERYTHING we wanted LM5 to represent!”

Along with “Strip,” the group also debuted an eye-catching video for “More Than Words.” In it, featured artist Kamille basically becomes an honorary fifth member of the tribe, joining the girls as they belt the thundering power ballad against hazy backdrops that compliment the song’s glitchy vocal stylings. Don’t miss the stormy climax, during which they weather a wild rainstorm while proclaiming their undying devotion.

Little Mix’s very empowering, very poptastic LM5 is out now.

The Chainsmokers Get Wistful On ‘Beach House,’ A Song About Listening To Beach House

Beach House is a band from Baltimore that makes swirling, melty dream-pop perfect for a number of occasions including but certainly not limited to watching a sunset, contemplating the nature of existence, and lying on your floor. “Myth” is an all-timer. Kendrick Lamar sampled their drowsy, whimsical “Silver Soul” for “Money Trees” in 2012.

The Chainsmokers likely know all this. Their new single, “Beach House,” begins with Drew Taggart singing, “Woke up on the west side / Listening to Beach House, taking my time.” When the song hit on Friday (November 16), the duo tweeted that they were “listening to a lot of [B]each [H]ouse” when they made it.

These guys like Beach House, it would seem. “Beach House,” however, does not sound like Beach House. “Beach House” sounds like a prototypical Chainsmokers track, lyrically charged with sexual energy and complete with a big beat drop right after the hook. That same tweet revealed that Taggart and his partner, Alex Pall, “tried to get back to our roots on this with that classic OG Chainsmoker feel.”

And it’s true — “Beach House” is very festival-ready, like all the group’s biggest hits. Its breakdown resembles “Closer,” their juggernaut EDM-lite pop smash with Halsey that topped the Hot 100 chart for 12 weeks a few years ago. Genetically, it’s much airier than the chaotic “Sick Boy,” which is the right move for a song called “Beach House” that references the band Beach House.

It should be noted for posterity that Beach House have no comment on the song, as their reps told Pitchfork earlier today. You can listen to “Beach House” above, and then listen to Beach House’s cosmic latest album, 7, below.

Meek Mill Announces His First Post-Prison Album, Which Apparently Features Cardi B

Meek Mill‘s had quite the productive run after being released from prison in April, dropping an EP over the summer and diligently campaigning for prison reform. And on Friday (November 16), the Philadelphia MC detailed his first post-prison album, which you’ll get to hear before the month is up.

Meek took to social media to reveal the album’s celebratory title: Championships. The follow-up to 2017’s Wins & Losses, it arrives on November 30 and comes with colorful cover art that captures a close-up of Meek’s focused gaze. He also threw in a couple trophy emojis, because every solid album rollout needs a trademark symbol.

Meek first hinted at Championships in an interview with Vogue published earlier this week. According to the mag, the album will address “his experiences and the issue of social justice.” He told Vogue, “I’ve been writing myself since I was probably, what, 8 years old. I’ve been doing this a long time, so [there’s] always pressure to be better.”

An accompanying Vogue video briefly previews a collaboration between Meek and Cardi B, which seemingly confirms TMZ reports from last month that suggested the two had hit the studio together. Meek cues up the energetic-sounding track around the 45-second mark in the video below, and while you can’t hear Cardi in it, it definitely sounds like a banger (sorry, Nicki).

Further details about Championships — including the tracklsit and roster of featured guests — are being kept under wraps, but thankfully there’s not long to wait until we hear the project in full. Only two weeks to go!

Anderson .Paak Expresses His Regrets Over Mac Miller’s Death On ‘Cheers’

Since Mac Miller‘s death in September, Anderson .Paak has been one of the more vocal supporters of the late rapper, paying tribute to him onstage on more than one occasion. Now, .Paak has put his feelings about Mac’s death on wax, mentioning his former collaborator in a song from his newly released third album, Oxnard.

The track in question, “Cheers,” is a buoyant but mournful cut featuring Q-Tip and co-produced by Dr. Dre. In the first verse, .Paak ruminates, “Shit, music business movin’ too fast for me / Wishin’ I still had Mac with me / How do you tell a n—a slow it down when you livin’ just as fast as ’em?” The production is jazzy and upbeat, but .Paak’s words or anything but: “Tears keep fallin’ down my eyes / Damn it, I miss you, I should be with you.”

Q-Tip jumps in for the song’s third verse, and he opens with a couple bars nodding to the late Phife Dawg, his bandmate and brother in A Tribe Called Quest. “I don’t know what to do but reminisce and face the pain / Back in the day before you were a dog and you were just pup,” he raps, before echoing .Paak’s thoughts about the lows that seem to follow the highs of fame. “So sick of sendin’ flowers to all my of brother’s mommas / Don’t know what’s harder, fightin’ trauma or keepin’ a promise.”

Though .Paak and Miller only released one song together, 2016’s “Dang!,” they managed to become close friends. .Paak made a few tributes to Miller leading up to Oxnard‘s release, including an Instagram post a few days after Miller’s death on September 7. The Cali MC also honored Mac by performing “Dang!” at a tribute show on Halloween, and by saying onstage at the BET Hip Hip Awards, “Legends never die. And Mac Miller not was, but is a whole legend.”

Starter Pack: 5 CupcakKe Songs To Know So You Can Start Stanning

Every week, TRL presents a starter pack of songs you need to know to begin stanning a new artist. This week’s Starter Pack belongs to none other than Chicago rapper CupcakKe.

Since skyrocketing to online fame with “Deepthroat” in 2015, CupcakKe hasn’t stopped making music. Dropping Ephorize and Eden this year alone, CupcakKe’s up to six albums as she continues to command attention from online niches and mainstream music publications alike.

If you’re just learning about CupcakKe, these five songs should do the trick.

“Money,” CupcakKe (2012)

As her debut video uploaded to YouTube, “Money” is a far cry from a lot of the NSFW CupcakKe bops fans first heard. Though this song might make it seem that she only cares about her bank balance, the 21-year-old rapper now uses her viral video cash for a good cause, regularly making headlines by helping out fans in tough financial situations.

“Deepthroat,” CupcakKe (2015)

Don’t put this one on at work, but “Deepthroat” is the song that launched it all for CupcakKe. While her dirty lyrical work is a huge part of what makes her stand out, CupcakKe’s equally-sexual visuals for those lyrics have helped push ten of her music videos past the one million views mark.

“Lgbt,” CupcakKe (2016)

Though she came to fame with what fans call her “hoe songs,” CupcakKe wouldn’t be where she is today without the die-hard support of her core, LGBTQ fanbase. “Lgbt” is also proof that the rapper can do more than “hoe songs”—see the social justice-oriented “Picking Cotton” as a further example.

“Lipgloss,” Charli XCX feat. CupcakKe (2017)

For long-term fans of CupcakKe, “Lipgloss” was confirmation that she wasn’t just a fad, getting support from a mainstream pop artist like Charli XCX. The two have even performed together several times, collaborating on “I Got It” with Brooke Candy and Pabllo Vittar later the same year.

“Blackjack,” CupcakKe (2018)

Production value has only gone up for both CupcakKe’s audio and visuals, perfectly exemplified by the lead single “Blackjack” off her latest album, Eden. The song and its video sum up CupcakKe’s current era: perfected enough to garner attention from mainstream artists and media, but unafraid to stick to her “hoe song” roots.

Julia Michaels Finds Nirvana In A Video Game With Her Ralph Breaks The Internet Anthem

It’s official: Julia Michaels‘s signature electro-pop touch can make anything sound pristine. Take “In This Place,” the singer-songwriter’s contribution to the Ralph Breaks the Internet soundtrack. It’s essentially an ode to a fictional video game called “Slaughter Race,” which plays a big role in the upcoming animated sequel. And while that doesn’t sound like particularly standard fodder for a pop song, Michaels makes it irresistible with especially intoxicating lyrics.

“Now I’m flying, my spirit’s climbing / As I’m called through this far off maze,” she sings on the glitchy chorus. “My body, my spirit aligning / In this place called Slaughter Race.” It’s weird and wonderful in the most unexpected way.

“In This Place” premiered on Thursday (November 15) on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show. Michaels called in to tell Lowe that she was brought in to add a pop edge to the song, which was written by Disney film score legend Alan Menken, along with Phil Johnston and Tom MacDougall.

“I’ve been a huge Disney fan for as long as I can remember,” Michaels said, explaining that MacDougall asked her to make a version of the song that felt “more current.” She added, “I was like, ‘I would love to try anything! Anything to be a part of a Disney movie! I’m in.’ … It was just such an amazing experience. I was so happy I got to be a part of it.”

As for her own music, Michaels revealed that she plans to put out some new songs in January before heading out on tour with Keith Urban and P!nk. She said, “I’ve decided that I’m just not gonna wait anymore. I need to put it out and I want it to be out in the world and to be loved on.” Amen to that!