When you think of J. Cole, the phrase “platinum with no features” often comes to mind. He’s released five albums so far that have gone platinum, three of those without any additional voices featured. When it comes to rapping and singing, Cole is equally talented at both. But his fans have made “platinum with no features” something cringe-worthy for him to hear so for his next album, Cole may be tempted to include some additional names there. In a cover story with GQ, the rapper talked about what the four-word phrase meant to him and what it means going forward.
In the cover story, Cole revealed that he initially thought highly of fans’ defense of him using the phrase. He then says that things changed after the first time. “But the second or third time, I was like, ‘All right, it’s almost embarrassing now.” He then makes the tease for the future. “Like, ‘All right, man y’all gonna make me put a feature on the album just so this shit can stop.” It’s a funny quip that could come back to haunt fans who have used the four-word phrase to tease fans of other artists about their favorite’s capabilities. Instead of distancing himself from his peers, Cole has revealed that he’ll definitely work alongside them.
Elsewhere in the interview, Cole also talks about his frustration at why his song “1985 (Intro to the Fall Off)” was misunderstood. “They say, ‘Oh, finger-wagging,’ because they think I’m like, ‘You little rapper,” he says. “But I’ll play that for somebody that’s a deeply invested or deeply rooted hip-hop fan, or somebody that just knows me, or knows the climate of what’s going on, and they hear that and they go, ‘Whoa, I see what you just did there. Bro, do you know what you just did? You just put your arm around this dude and walked him. Instead of attacking him, you put your arm around him on some little-bro shit.”
Last month, J. Cole released a video for “Middle Child” that showcased the commercialization of the black body. He’s currently working with the roster of Dreamville Records to prepare Revenge of the Dreamers III.
Meek Mill has released the first teaser trailer for Free Meek, his upcoming docuseries set to air via Amazon. At a recent sold-out show during Philadelphia’s city hall-designated “Meek Mill Weekend,” the rapper shared the teaser with fans first before making it available on YouTube for all. Based on what’s been shown so far, it looks like the series will take a look at the rapper’s legal history to talk about the criminal justice system and his fight for freedom following his November 2017 arrest.
The minute-long trailer is made up of interviews and concert and studio footage. One of the phrases shown in the trailer is “investigates the truth” and it shows pictures of the mugshot from the rapper’s 2007 arrest, suggesting that it will examine the circumstances and discrepancies in the official report and Meek’s story and evidence. It also shows footage of the #FreeMeek protests that occurred in 2017 following probation violations. The trailer does a great job of building the anticipation for the full body of work by showcasing quick clips of his legal timeline and involving people speaking on the cases, including the rapper himself, who is pictured sitting down explaining his side of the story.
Free Meek is executive-produced by Jay-Z, Eli Holzman, Paul and Isaac Solotaroff, and Aaron Seidman. It will consist of six episodes and air sometime later this year.
Take a look at the teaser trailer above.
Blackpink are about to unleash new music with an upcoming mini album.
The South Korean girl group, one of the hottest acts in K-pop right now, announced they will be dropping new tracks at the end of March. They’ve yet to reveal a title or concept for the album, but that’s all the more reason for Blinks around the world to get excited.
A Blackpink representative reported to Naver, “While we can’t yet reveal the exact comeback date, it’s true that we are filming the music video for the new song this week.” Honestly, there’s never been a more exciting time to be a Blink, and given the girls’ aesthetic-laden videos for hits like “As If It’s Your Last” and “Whistle,” we can’t wait to see what Jennie, Jisoo, Rosé, and Lisa have planned for us.
Though the group has been hitting the American talk show circuit with their first-ever performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, this will be their first new music release in nine months. Previously, they dropped their full-length Japanese album BLACKPINK IN YOUR AREA back in 2018, which spawned bangers like “Boombayah” and “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du.”
They also continued their hotly anticipated U.S. takeover with their morning show debut on Good Morning America back in February.
With the new songs on the way, Blackpink is going to be hitting the global market hard. The girls have a jam-packed schedule over the next few months, as they’ll be descending upon Coachella this April and then heading out on their first North American tour on April 17. They’ll begin in Los Angeles, and then travel to Chicago, Newark, and Atlanta — and Blinks have their hammers ready.
If you’re still new to Blackpink, make sure you brush up on everything there is to know about the group before it’s time to memorize another set of fan chants.
We suggest starting with “Whistle” to get those Blink juices flowing again.
Last year, Logic and Joseph Gordon-Levitt made a bold, one-of-a-kind announcement: through Gordon-Levitt’s online creative collaboration platform HITRECORD, the pair were looking for writers, musicians, and vocalists to contribute to “Do What You Love,” a record with Logic’s vocals that they wanted to turn into a worldwide, collaborative effort. On Friday, they released an official video at South by Southwest for the tune featuring a myriad of collaborators, frolicking and having a good time.
“This is what happens when you bring over 20 people from across the globe having never met in person to collaborate on a song” is the text that prefaces what’s going on at the beginning of the video. Logic and Gordon-Levitt pull up to a gas station in the middle of nowhere in a spooky purple van, dubbed the Mystery Machine like the Scooby Doo gang’s infamous transport vehicle. After a brief debate about who’s going to get the gas because neither feels like doing it, Logic gets out and opens the back of the van, freeing the enormous group of talented musicians. As they hold their instruments and airplay, these collaborators connected through HITRECORD trade smiles as Logic raps about the importance of doing what you love. A second rapper and singer get their turn to shine with some powerhouse performances that rock the gas station. In the end, Logic does end up getting someone else to pump the gas for him. But if we’re talking about sheer common sense, it probably would have expended less energy getting the gas himself instead of putting on an entire show. We like this version better.
The process behind this complex collaboration is captured in Band Together with Logic, a YouTube Originals film executive-produced by Gordon-Levitt that follows Logic’s journey to create this song as well as what his creative process is. In addition to creating songs with online collaborators, the rapper is preparing to release his first book, Supermarket, on March 26.
Check out the happy video up above.
Pratt enthused that he’s also ready for “the upcoming stadium tour.”
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As long as we’ve had love, we’ve had to play its game. Think of playing it as purchasing a lottery ticket: You hope for the best, but chances are, it might not turn out well. What happens when you lose so much that you fear to play again? Teyana Taylor answers this question in her new video for “Issues/Hold On.” In the new clip, which dropped Friday (March 15), we follow her apparent marriage to A$AP Rocky in what appears to be the 1970s. It’s a beautiful, cinematic affair — directed by Teyana “Spike Lee” Taylor herself, as the credits reveal — that shows the path to victory in love that we can all learn from. Be persistent.
“Issues/Hold On” is a myriad of afros, platform shoes, and those gigantic records that go to outdated players we no longer know the names of. Cupid has stricken Taylor and Rocky, who peck each other on the lips like nervous fifth graders and smash buttercream icing on each other’s faces while the blinding whites of their teeth shine through the mess. This is the honeymoon phase where losing isn’t on both players minds, just love and how it will stretch eternally. But things change soon enough. Rocky is revealed to be a little flirtatious, and Taylor flips out on him.
Things eventually return back to normal. Taylor’s upset, but she gets over it. Maybe she’s thinking too hard about laughs. After all, laughs are preferable to frowns. But there’s always the threat of infidelity, that another woman will find the warmth in Rocky’s smile that attracted Taylor to him in the first place. Eventually, Rocky is caught chatting a lady up again, and Taylor gets indignant nearly immediately.
As the song plays in the background of this film’s most vulnerable moments, we hear Taylor’s thoughts. She’s hesitant, fiercely protective of what’s hers. As the video’s final scene shows, though, it can all be forgiven — sometimes it just takes a little sex.
Taylor’s K.T.S.E. dropped last year; she released the visual for “Gonna Love Me” with Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, Method Man, and Raekwon in December and dropped “WTP” in January. Check out the streamy, nostalgic new video above.
Independence is looking damn good on Iggy Azalea.
Last year, the Aussie rapper exited her deal with Island Records to record as an independent artist, and now, she’s given us the first taste of what she’s been working on. On Friday (March 15), Iggy dropped “Sally Walker,” an unexpected spin on the kiddie anthem “Little Sally Walker” that repurposes the lyrics to encourage her girls to “go on, do your thang.”
In the accompanying clip — which was shot in Atlanta and directed by Colin Tilley — Iggy slays at, of all places, a funeral. It’s a morbid but stylish affair that’s just crazy enough to work, especially since the pack of mourners includes RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Shea Couleé, Mayhem Miller, and Miss Vanjie, as well as beauty guru James Charles. There’s blood, hearses, and gravestones, but also plenty of twerking, latex, and fierce choreo performed on a cemetery lawn.
And just when the “Money“-esque piano line begins to get lodged inside your brain, Iggy switches it up and concludes the video by previewing a hype new song called “Started” that finds her boasting, “I started from the bottom and now I’m rich … You started out hating, now you love my drip.”
“Sally Walker” is the lead single off Iggy’s forthcoming album, In My Defense, which will mark her first release under her joint venture with Empire. In January, she hyped up the project by tweeting, “I’m really proud of my album. It shits on 95% of everything I’ve ever made & its only half done.” She added, “#InMyDefense really is that album that’s gonna make you wanna say fuck you to your own reflection for ever doubting you.”
I fell in love with AJR the first time I heard “Sober Up,” a bittersweet plea to a loved one to help someone “feel something again,” with a whimsical singsong chorus and some help from Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo to bring it full circle as a track that felt like light pining for a relationship from the past. So when I heard “100 Bad Days,” the group’s latest single, I fell for it, too. The indie-pop trio penned a track all about taking the lemons life unceremoniously tosses at you and making the sweetest lemonade you’ve ever tasted – or one killer story about how one of them gave you a black eye. It soars as a reminder that no matter what negativity you face in your everyday life, you can turn it all into something great, or at least become more interested because of the experience. Brighter days are most certainly coming, no matter what you’re going through. —Brittany Vincent
Zacari is the newest face of Top Dawg Entertainment, home to artists like Kendrick Lamar, SchoolBoy Q, SZA, and Jay Rock. His voice is soft yet firm, evident in “LOVE.” from Lamar’s 2017 album DAMN where he floats on the chorus like feathers in a gust of wind. Today, he’s released his debut EP, Run Wild Run Free. With a sole appearance from Lil Yachty, this seven-track body of work looks to showcase the brunt of the singer’s skills.
Zacari’s been working with the TDE roster for some time now. In 2016, he offered some supporting, weightless vocals to Isaiah Rashad‘s “What’s Wrong” and also Ab Soul‘s “Raw (Backwards).” The chemistry must have manifested itself in the repeated comingling because the following year, Zacari would appear on “LOVE.” that was his true introduction to the mainstream space. His chorus was stunning, acting as a true plea for affection that felt genuine instead of worrisome. The singer told Billboard in 2017 that the song was actually one of the records that he, along with his producer Teddy Walton who produced the track, played for Lamar during their first real session together. Kendrick quietly asked for the record after mulling over it mentally for a few seconds. Little did both of them know that the song would go on to spend 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.
Run Wild Free features Zacari’s recently released single, “Don’t Trip.” Its submissive drums and hesitant use of melodies make it a unique listen in the R & B space; you can hear and taste the classic R & B inspirations while he thrusts into unexplored territory with his stringy voice. There’s nothing quite like his voice currently swimming around streaming services. It’s easy to see why TDE scooped him up so fast.
Check out his new EP up above.
Anderson .Paak wastes no time. He released his third studio album Oxnard in November. It’s over for that rollout; the ink is dry, the envelope has been sealed. Now, the road to his fourth LP Ventura is open and the first single has been released, “King James.” This funky number gives the world its first taste of what the new album is going to sound like and if this is anything to go off of, it’s time to break out the platform shoes, tracksuits, and velour shirts. It’s time to groove, baby,
.Paak’s raps in an wide smile that shows off his beautiful teeth. Of course, we aren’t in the studio to actually know how he delivers his lines but there’s a warmth to how the slight hoarseness in his voice grips the groovy production that he frequents. “King James” magnifies this intensity on funk, with the shoulder-bopping beat bringing the listener back to the beach shores of the 1970s. There are no phones around, no MacBooks, no annoying smartwatches that people are using to talk to virtual assistants. Just you and the laughs of the crowd around you, soaking in the sun on a warm day in spring. On the track, .Paak shows love to basketball elite Lebron James for his work for the African American community. He also takes the opportunity to acknowledge some problematic issues in the country such as the possible erection of a border wall and the response to the kneeling of Colin Kaepernick.
“King James” packs the excitement for Ventura. .Paak took to Twitter yesterday to divulge to fans more details about the coming LP. It’s going to be a concise affair, clocking in at eleven tracks. There are also some surprising features up there from artists such as Brandy, André 3000, Jazmine Sullivan, Nate Dogg, and Smokey Robinson. The album drops on April 12 so it’s right around the corner. In May, .Paak will be embarking on the Best Teef In The Game Tour with his band, the Free Nationals.
Take a listen to the smart, funky tune up above.