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Swizz Beatz Talks ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’

Now that Yeezus season has arrived, most hip-hop fans are focused on the next big release: Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail.

Speaking in a new interview, world renowned producer/rapper Swizz Beatz offered a bit of insight into the record while talking about his working relationship with Jay-Z. The biggest takeaway from the clip is probably that Swizz believes Magna Carta Holy Grail is the best representation of Jay by Jay to date. You can view the full clip below.

Magna Carta Holy Grail is available exclusively to Samsung Galaxy users starting July 4, followed by a wide release. Continue reading ‘Swizz Beatz Talks ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’’

“Watch This!” Wednesday: Mumford & Sons, Kid Cudi & Swizz Beatz

We love passing new music videos around the OurStage office, and now we’re going to be sharing our finds with you. Here’s this week’s freshest new clips!

Mumford & Sons – “Lover Of The Light”

It’s hard to tell exactly what Idris Elba is thinking in this video, but it sure is nice to look at. The clip shows a blind man (Elba) who is seemingly thrilled by the sunrise, talking to himself at breakfast, and almost running to his death off the cliffs of Wales. Elba co-directed the intimate video, and does a great job telling a somber story backed by an uplifting song.

Kid Cudi – “Just What I Am” (feat. King Chip)

Don’t be fooled by the frame: This video isn’t quite fine art. Cudi claims “all my videos will be in a baroque frame. I create art, so it will be presented as such. ART IN MOTION.” Um, okay. Unfortunately for Cudi, the visual companion to “Just What I Am” is nothing we haven’t seen a million times before – red solo cups, crowded party, toasting to the good life. Oh well, the song’s not bad.

Swizz Beatz – “Everyday Birthday” (feat. Chris Brown & Ludacris)

Chris Brown wakes up in bed with a “crazy” girl, Luda wakes up in a shower, Swizz is chillin’ on a yacht in Cannes. So begins “Everyday Birthday,” a whirlwind visual feast of bottles poppin’, club hoppin’, and some very evil French girls.

More like this:

Mumford & Sons ‘The Road To Red Rocks’ DVD Trailer

Kid Cudi Signs On To Rom–Com “Two Night Stand”

Soundcheck: Maybach Music Makes Big Waves, Sign Omarion

Last week, Maybach Music Group made big waves when they announced some serious plans for 2012 that include a new Reebok clothing line with Swizz Beatz, three summer release dates for MMG artists and a surprising new addition to the team.

Rick Ross was joined by Warner Bros. and Def Jam Recordings executives Steve Bartels, Todd Moscowitz and Lyor Cohen, who spoke quite highly of The Boss.

“When I got a chance to meet him, I saw someone that was going to be undeterred in achieving the success that he has,” said Cohen. “He’s not satisfied. There’s no stopping him. I’m so grateful that I’m associated with him and that the Warner Bros. label is associated with him. The possibilities that Rick and Maybach Music are going to bring is going to be, in my mind, unprecedented.”

Swizz Beatz hit the stage to announce his partnership with Ross on a Big & Tall clothing line for Reebok. “He’s going to lead the big and tall movement,” said Swizz. “There’s a limit with clothes that stops at a certain point. With Ross, everything has to be custom made. I felt that instead of just doing a regular sneaker, we give Ross his own big and tall line.”

Continue reading ‘Soundcheck: Maybach Music Makes Big Waves, Sign Omarion’

BTJunkie Shuts Down: Is This The End of the Era of Free Downloads?

And so it goes: The war against filesharing and illegal downloading has officially begun. Earlier this week BTJunkie, one of the largest BitTorrent networks on the Internet, announced that it was shutting down for good.

“This is the end of the line my friends,” says the ominous message on their homepage. “The decision has not come easy, but we’ve decided to voluntarily shut down. We’ve been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it’s time to move on. It’s been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!”

This, of course, is following the FBI’s recent takedown of filesharing Web site Megaupload.com. Currently, the Web site’s founder Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz is under arrest, $50 million worth of assets were seized along with cars, guns, and valuable artworks that Schmitz had in his possession. Also supposedly involved with the Web site was Alicia Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz, who was rumored to be Megaupload’s CEO.

Of course, BTJunkie isn’t the only Web site that has begun to take defensive action.  FileSonic, FileServe, and Upload.to have all disabled their filesharing capabilities.

All this recent activity has brought to question where the future of music acquisition is headed. Let’s face it; many if not most of us have used some of these Web sites. Some of us even rely on them. But with more and more of them shutting down, and with SOPA and PIPA looming over the horizon, its no wonder that the Internet has taken a turn for the hostile. Piracy and illegal downloads have plagued the entertainment industry longer than we can remember, and now these industries are biting back. So where does that leave your average listener?

Well, the thing about the Internet is that someone will always find a way to bypass the system. We would hope that, in the future, the music industry might even take a hint from one of these Web sites and revolutionize the entire system of acquiring new music. For now, it looks like we’ll just have to go back to feeding our money to The Man…

 

Soundcheck: Can A Drummer Get Some?

Is it possible that the most ground-breaking hip hop album of 2011 will come from a punk? Punk rocker that is, as in Blink 182, +44, bad ass super drummer, Travis Barker. While he’s floated around the hip hop scene for years, (touring and collaborating with Cypress Hill, Paul Wall and T.I among others), he’s about to pull a whole new rabbit out of his hat. His full-length, solo album, Give The Drummer Some is jam packed with hard-hitting tracks, laced with lyrics by some of hip hop’s best including Lupe Fiasco, Snoop Dogg, Drake and Lil’ Wayne. The all-star line up is as eclectic as the music—which fuses hip-hop, punk, rock and electro— resulting in a truly unique style.

The album’s rap roster is rivaled by its impressive production credits which include DJ Khalil, The Neptunes, Swizz Beatz, RZA, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Chuck Inglish, Kool Kojak, Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, Dr. Dre, Eric Valentine, A-Trak, Kanye West and Barker himself. The album’s title comes from the Ultramagnetic MC’s track of the same name, appropriately derived from James Brown‘s hit, “Funky Drummer”.

Give The Drummer Some features an unbeatable line-up of rappers rocking out, including RZA, Rick Ross, T.I.,The Cool Kids, Raekwon, Tom Morello of RageAgainst the Machine, Slash, Steve Aoki, Pharrell, Kid Cudi, Yelawolf, Swizz Beatz, Bun B and Tech N9ne.

With a roster like this; it’s no wonder some songs have already made it onto the internet; some being released by Barker as previews, and others leaked before their time. On January 28, Barker released a preview of “Come N Get It”, a track produced by The Neptunes, featuring Clipse (together in rare form since Pusha T’s solo signing). The official single, “Can A Drummer Get Some?” features Lil’ Wayne, Rick Ross, Game and Swizz Beatz and was released on February 1. In it, Game goes hard, spitting lyrics over Barker’s banging like “Back from the dead but they never found my killer/So I jumped up out this grave like Michael Jackson in Thriller/Iller than most emcee’s cause I be killin’ ‘em/Most emcee’s turn into ghost emcee’s/Yeah, give a drummer some.”

Barker has been a mainstay on the pop/rock scene since his days with his uber-successful band, Blink 182, ruled the charts in 1999, and his family-based reality show, Meet The Barkers, aired on MTV in 2005. His on-again, off-again romance with ex-wife, Shanna Moakler kept him in heavy headline rotation until their 2008 divorce. The California native snagged serious media attention again in 2008, after he and the late DJ AM survived the tragic plane crash that killed four people. The drummer spent months in the hospital and suffered second and third degree burns over much of his body; ultimately battling through to make a full recovery.

Now, the inspiring rocker is ready to take the hip hop world by storm, finally bringing his brilliant idea to fruition with this 12-track masterpiece; adding one more accomplishment to his growing list when it hits stores on February 22.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

OK Go releases “Last Leaf” video

If you read this column with any regularity, you know that if OK Go releases a video, it’s likely to show up here. Today we present you with “Last Leaf,” wherein a few slices of toast provide the backdrop for a poignant, stop-motion vignette. We still can’t tell if the animation is etched onto the toast itself, or projected. Either way, it’s a bread-winner. Hope you like.

Best duets this week—Conan and Jack or Rihanna and Jon?

Does the joy on Jon Bon Jovi’s face when a culturally relevant (and minxy) pop star joins him onstage do it for you? Or is it seeing Conan O’Brien wield an axe and do his best rockabilly snarl? You don’t have to answer yet—watch the clips below and then decide who wins the week’s best duet.

The Bad

NKTOBSB co-headlining tour

Muffle your squeals, 30-year-olds! New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys have joined forces FOR THE OLD-ENOUGH-TO-BE-YOUR-DAD TOUR*. Stop thinking about your mortgages and toddlers and rediscover the glory of A.J. McLean’s goatee!

*Not the real tour name, but it should be.

Keith Richards attacks Swedish journalist

Strangely enough, it seems a lifetime of soaking your liver in Jack Daniels doesn’t mellow you out. Keith Richards found this out when confronted with a reporter who had negatively reviewed a Rolling Stones concert in 2007, calling the band “amateurs.” Richards hoisted himself off his rocker* and demanded the reporter, Markus Larsson of the Swedish publication Aftonbladets, apologize. When that didn’t happen, Richards proceeded to give Larsson a couple wallops about the head, hissing, “You’re lucky to get out of here alive.” Don’t feel bad, Markus. At his age, Richards is lucky to get out of anywhere alive.**

*not really
**snap.

The Ugly

Courtney Love shows The New York Times what class looks like

Courtney’s school of class involves getting tipsy before your interview with The New York Times, sending the reporter and photographer up to your room at the Mercer Hotel, then showing up an hour later drunk and completely naked. Read this indelible tale of elegance and refinement in its entirety here.

Miscellany

Q&A With Matt & Kim

In 2004, after meeting while pursuing art school degrees at the Pratt Institute, friends Matt and Kim decided to form a band— even though Matt had never played keyboard and Kim had never played drums. Surprisingly, the indie pop duo was able to self-release their first EP a year later. Matt & Kim continued to tirelessly practice, write, record and tour—which eventually earned them thousands of new fans, sets at massive festivals, a gold single (“Daylight”) and a VMA for their “Lessons Learned” music video.

Earlier this month, Matt & Kim released their highly-anticipated new album, Sidewalks, and received rave reviews from Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard and more. Though these two hardly take a break from their work, we got the chance to catch up with Matt Johnson about the new record, the group’s influences and life on the road.

OS: Your last album, Grand, was recorded in your childhood bedroom, and you mixed it on your own. How was the recording process different for Sidewalks?

MJ: Well, the recording process was different because we didn’t do this one on our own. We had some people who knew what they were doing helping us, which was nice. While we were very proud of Grand and we’re very happy with what came out, we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. We were just guessing about, “I think this is how you mic a kick drum…” but there’s all these techniques that have worked for years and years that the guys we worked with on this latest one knew. But basically, what this came down to, was that Kim and I could concentrate more on the actual songs than the technical aspects of having to know what the fuck you’re doing.

OS: When the band first started, you didn’t even play your respective instruments. Did you start taking lessons and learning theory or did you just learn by ear?

MJ: We’re still figuring it out (laughs), just going by ear. Yeah, Kim had never played drums, I didn’t play keyboard. I played guitar and bass in bands, I sort of sang in other bands, but it wasn’t so much singing as screaming in punk and hardcore bands. I never tried to hit actual notes. Really, the only thing that has expanded our ability of playing is that we’ll write something that’s kind of harder than what we can actually play and then we just have to practice it enough to be good enough to play it. But singing was the one thing that I took a couple lessons for, mostly because I was really singing from all the wrong places and screwing my voice up super bad. When you have to sing every single night, it gets to be a lot. Also, I’m not opposed to singing on key, that wouldn’t be so bad (laughs).

OS: You and Kim started with, and still have, a very DIY approach to this band… how did you get the band to grow in terms of doing your own promotion?

MJ: We have a machine that does a lot of things, and that machine is Kim. For all the beginning years of this band when we did so much for ourselves, Kim booked all our own tours, she answered every e-mail about everything, she handled this and that….she doesn’t need to sleep. Her last name’s Schifino but I like to call her “Machine-o,” I think it might fit better! So it was a lot to take care of. Even now, we want to be so involved in so many things, but we have to give things away because there’s just so much and we’re on the road so much. Thankfully, we have a great team that takes care of a lot, but we still stay involved with everything and approve everything and put our input in.

OS: The two of you met at the Pratt Institute and continue to use your art skills for the aesthetic elements of the band. Where do you draw your artistic influences from?

MJ: Kim has had a style she’s worked in and you can notice from the album covers that they stay in a similar style, which is typical among artists that work in a wave rather than changing everything up. We like keeping things in that style. The fact of the matter is, through the last few years of this band, there’s been no time for anything non-band related. So whenever Kim works on art, it’s related to the band. Whenever an opportunity comes up that we need something for the band, it gives her a chance to work on art stuff again. But for me, I’m really involved with the videos. I have a lot of ideas on what makes a good video and a bad video. People have definitely appreciated our videos and they’ve had such a reach. We have one we’re shooting in a couple weeks that I’m excited about, it will definitely make some people angry.

OS: You won a VMA for Best Breakthrough Video for “Lessons Learned” and developed the concept for it yourself…which has you and Kim taking all your clothes off in Times Square. Do you have any crazy ideas for things you’d like to try in future music videos?

MJ: Yeah, it never hurts to get naked! We definitely have a dumb idea we’re going to do, coming up. We were supposed to shoot it before the tour started, but things got a little too hectic so we had to push it back. But it will be fun and  it will be very much another Matt & Kim video.

OS: Even though you’re an indie pop act, you seem to be influenced by a lot of hip hop. Which hip hop artists influence you the most?

MJ: We’re big fans of whatever is fun. But I think a lot of who I find inspirational in the hip hop world are different producers, because I key really into beat and melody and composition, even more than to lyrics, for any sort of music. I think there’s producers like Swizz Beatz and Pharrell and the Neptunes and Timbaland, who make really creative, awesome, energetic music that can be very bizarre but still have such a reach. I think that’s very inspirational.

OS: You were on tour for most of 2010 playing both club shows and festivals. How were the two types of shows different from each other and how did the fans react to the new material?

MJ: Well, we’re not playing anything off Sidewalks yet. When people go and see a band and the band’s like, “Who wants to hear some new songs?” The general feeling in the crowd is sort of, “Well, I’d rather just hear the things I know and can sing along to,” and that’s my feeling when I go and see a band. So, being that the album wasn’t really out, people didn’t have a chance to study up yet. We decided that we’re really going to make this the last tour of Grand and we added some other little bits and pieces of new stuff and kept it fresh, but we’re waiting on Sidewalks for what will probably be a late spring, early summer trip. But as far as clubs and festivals, I love doing both, for similar and different reasons. Kim and I give every show we play 110%. There’s no point to doing it if you’re not going to give 110%. We love it and if I can squeeze 112% out, I totally do. But this year, with Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits and places where you’re playing in front of 30,000 people…it’s pretty wild, because you can feel all of that from so many people. But then when you’re in a tighter atmosphere, playing for 1,000 people or 1,500 people, everyone’s so close and they’ve paid just to see you and they know all your songs and they can sing along really loudly. That can harness that same energy that all those people can as well, but whoever’s willing to go wilder is usually my favorite. We love doing both.

OS: You and Kim live together in Brooklyn when you’re not on the road. How do you like to spend your time when not working on your music?

MJ: It sounds almost like it’s impossible, but Kim and I don’t ever really do things that aren’t really related to Matt & Kim. This last year, we never took more than one consecutive day off. But we’re happy working really hard on everything band-related. After shows sometimes, we’ll come back to the bus and we have a lot of things on Hulu, TV shows that we keep up to date with—Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia—that’s sort of a good downtime for us, to take an hour and just chill. But we don’t usually take more than hour at a time!

Be sure to pick up Sidewalks, in stores and on iTunes now. Check out the band’s award-winning video for “Lessons Learned” below!


Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Timbaland announces Timbo Thursdays

First Kanye West announced he would release a free download every Friday, dubbing them “G.O.O.D. Fridays.” Then Swizz Beats jumped on board with “Monster Mondays,” wherein HE would ALSO release a free track. Now Timbaland is getting in on the free-for-all with “Timbo Thursdays.” Follow him on Twitter to see if he puts his music where his mouth is.

New album, free track from The Decemberists

The Decemberists have announced the release date and title of their new album. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, so head over to their Web site for all the details, and a free MP3 of “Down By The Water.” Off you go now.

The Bad

Kanye West considered the worst thing about Dubya’s presidency

Of all the many less-than-stellar moments of George W. Bush’s tenure in the Oval Office, it was Kanye West calling him racist in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that really stuck in his craw. In his new book, Bush recalls telling his wife it was the worst moment of his presidency. Let’s be clear, that would be worse than 9-11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the actual devastation of Katrina. Words. From a rapper. Were the worst. To quote West himself, “no one man should have all that power.”

John Mayer links malaria to Justin Bieber in PSA

Funny, and a little inappropriate—in other words, your typical John Mayer public speaking engagement. In this PSA for Malaria No More, Mayer urges donors to help African children reach Justin Bieber’s age. “With your help, by buying a malaria net for just $1, we can help, by the end of the year, to get these kids to Bieber. Next year we’ll go Jonas Brothers; after that Twilight kids, but baby steps, baby steps. Let’s get them to Bieber.” See the PSA in its entirety below.

The Ugly

“King” Hammer releases terrible video

Oh boy. OK, so here’s the back story again for those who missed it. In Jay-Z’s track “So Appalled,” he took a swipe at MC Hammer with the lyric, “Unlike Hammer $30 million can’t hurt me.” Hammer wasn’t having that, and went straight to work crafting a bush league rebuttal called “Better Run Run.” The cringe-worthy video is below. Watch a dude who is supposed to be Jay-Z get chased through the woods by a devil, and then get baptized by Hammer. Which part is scarier? You tell us.

Demi Lovato throws down in airport

When Disney stars go bad, they go real bad. Teen sweetheart Demi Lovato dropped off the Jonas Brothers tour after a physical altercation with a backup dancer in an airport in Peru this week. Lovato, who is reported to have battled bulimia, promptly checked herself into a treatment facility.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Gordon Pinsent reads excerpts from Justin Bieber memoir

Get your LOLs right here, folks. First up, a memoir written by a 16-year-old. Ha! And, it’s entitled “First Step 2 Forever.”  The laughs don’t end there. Here’s a video of the esteemed actor Gordon Pinsent doing a dramatic reading of Justin Bieber’s riveting tome. Enjoy—we did.

Alicia Keys gives birth to Egypt

Not the country! That would be sooo 3150 BC. Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz (born Kasseem Dean) welcomed a baby boy this week named Egypt Dauode Dean. May he grow up to become a very successful pharaoh.

The Bad

Glastonbury Festival shelved for 2012 due to toilet shortage

We wouldn’t wish more port-a-potties on anyone, but this does give us pause. England’s Glastonbury Festival has been canceled for 2012 due to the Olympics taking place in London that same year … and the ensuing toilet shortage. Athletes are such loo-sers.

Kanye’s album cover art banned? He wishes.

Kanye West is a legend in his own mind. But he may also be a victim in his own mind as well. The rapper griped on his Twitter page that Wal-mart had censored the cover art for his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Tweeted the rapper: “So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they [sic] cover but I can’t have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings.” Oh the injustice! Is it too much to ask for a man to be left in peace with his armless polka dot monster? IS SOCIETY SO INTOLERANT—what’s that? Wal-mart didn’t censor the cover? Oh. Uh, never mind. As you were.

The Ugly

Cantankerous singer pegs bottle at Mumford and Sons

Mark E. Smith of the band The Falls was getting ready for his set at a Dublin music festival when a terrible caterwauling struck his ears. Next door, the hugely successful English folk band, Mumford and Sons, was warming up. “I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers,” Smith explains. So, understandably, he threw a bottle at them to encourage them to silence their plaintive yawping. The bottle fell short of its target and Mumford and Sons went on to sell one trillion records.

Miscellany

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Eminem and Jay-Z rock Yankee Stadium

Part one of Jay-Z and Eminem’s Home and Home Tour, which took place last week in Eminem’s hometown of Detroit, was a success (to put it mildly). And Part two, which took place this past Tuesday at Yankee Stadium in Jay-Z’s home turf, looks like it was just as epic, if not more so. Featuring repeat guest performances by Drake, Kanye West and Dr. Dre, the concert also featured surprise guests Swizz Beatz, Nicki Minaj and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who joined buddy Jay-Z for a medley that included snippets of “Clocks” and “Viva La Vida.” Check out the clip below—goosebumps on the house.

Ted Leo + Paul F. Tompkins = “Bottled in Cork” video

Lampooning the archetypal rise and fall of a rock star, this new video from Ted Leo is a real hoot, thanks to a comically rich performance by Paul F. Tompkins, who plays the part of Leo’s would-be manager, Reginald Van Voorst. Enjoy the LOLs.

The Bad

Hootie and the Blowfish to get SC monument

It seems mean-spirited to throw this in the “Bad” section, but we didn’t have room for it anywhere else. Honest. And even if we were griping about the expense of funding such a monstrosity (your words, not ours), it wouldn’t change the fact that Hootie and the Blowfish are getting a big monument in Columbus, South Carolina. The band formed there on the campus of USC nearly 25 years ago, and went on to sell 16 million copies of their record, Cracked Rear View. The monument will be unveiled on October 21. Put that spray can down.

Weezer autotunes the news

If you have a sour Hootie aftertaste in your mouth, cleanse your palate with this video wherein Weezer autotunes current events. Catchy and informational!

The Ugly

George Michael sentenced to prison

George Michael was sentenced to eight weeks in jail and a five-year suspension of his driver’s license after he drove his Range Rover into a Snappy Snaps photo store (real name) on July 4th. Somebody won’t be singing “Freedom” anytime soon.

Miscellany

 


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