Rihanna’s ninth studio album is reportedly complete

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Rihanna’s ninth studio album is reportedly completeRihanna Album Simone Joyner Credit

Rihanna‘s sources let Us Weekly in on a little secret: her 9th studio album is complete. It’s been three years since RiRi dropped her previous Anti LP,  which featured hit songs like “Work” with Drake, “Kiss It Better,” “Needed Me” and “Love on the Brain.”

The upcoming album looks to explore the Barbadian artist’s dancehall roots, having sifted through 500 tracks from various producers looking to nab publishing credits with the pop icon. Out of the 500 songs, only 10 will make it to the long play. An unnamed source told Rolling Stone, “They’ve [Rihanna’s team] been having writing camps and trying to keep them quiet for almost a year and a half now. I’ve been flying to Miami, flying to L.A., cutting records nonstop for this project.”

Three years is a long time between album; however, when the scope is to explore roots and deliver a project meant to thrust dancehall back into the popular sphere, it’s worth the wait.

H/T: Complex

Photo Credit: Simone Joyner/Getty Images

Travis Scott, Big Boi to perform alongside Maroon 5 at 2019 Super Bowl

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Travis Scott, Big Boi to perform alongside Maroon 5 at 2019 Super BowlTravis Scott Live 2

It’s official: Travis Scott will be in “Super Bowl” Mode for Super Bowl LIII. After flirting with the possibility of a Travis Scott guest performance for several months, Super Bowl halftime show organizers have now confirmed that the Astroworld album-maker will appear alongside previously announced halftime headliner, Maroon 5. Fellow rapper Big Boi is also slated to join Scott and Maroon 5.

Scott’s Super Bowl booking comes after philanthropic collaboration between Scott and the NFL, who will collectively donate $500,000 to “social justice accelerator,” Dream Corps. “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” Scott said in a statement that followed formal announcement of his entertainment confirmation. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change,” Scott added.

A source close to the “Sicko Mode” artist told Billboard that Scott’s participation in the halftime show was contingent upon the NFL’s agreement to contribute a donation to Dream Corps. Many artists rejected the NFL’s Super Bowl 2019 halftime show bids, including Rihanna, Jay-Z, Adele, and Cardi B, each of whom reportedly rejected the entertainment offer to show solidarity to prior San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the National Anthem in “protest against police brutality” in 2016. Storied and dedicated in his efforts to to bring attention to the issue of police brutality in the nation for many years preluding Kaepernick’s on-field opposition, JAY-Z supposedly attempted to dissuade Scott from accepting a halftime slot at Super Bowl 2019 prior to Scott’s confirmation.

Photo credit: ABC News

H/T: Noisey

Rihanna confirms new album in 2019

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Rihanna confirms new album in 2019Rihanna Needed Me Remi Ep

In an Instagram comment under a post for her Fenty Beauty cosmetics line, Rihanna has confirmed her upcoming studio album will be released in 2019. The follow-up to her 2016 album, Anti, has surfaced as a reggae album influenced by Bob Marley and Supa Dups, the producer for her 2016 Drake collaboration “Too Good.” Earlier this year, Rolling Stone reported the Bajan superstar was going back to her roots, collecting more than 500 dancehall and reggae infused productions for her upcoming LP, dwindling the collection down to 10 songs of her choosing. Among the producers listed, Skrillex, Supa Dups, Boi-1da, and Chronixx stood out.

Rihanna recently made an appearance on Donald Glover’s trailer for his new film, Guava Island. She distanced herself from Donald Trump and the NFL by sending a cease and desist to the president for using her music at his rallies and rejecting a Super Bowl offer in support for  Colin Kaepernick. In September, she advocated for worldwide education support initiatives through a published op-ed in The Guardian.

Rihanna confirms new album in 2019IMG 2768

H/T: Spin

Rihanna declines Super Bowl halftime show in support of Colin Kaepernick

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Rihanna declines Super Bowl halftime show in support of Colin KaepernickRihanna Nfl Superbowl Halftime Show Decline

Rihanna is reportedly the latest artist to turn down an offer to perform at the NFL’s Super Bowl halftime show in support of former star quarterback turned-civil rights champion Colin Kaepernick. According to a source, the NFL badly wanted the Barbadian hitmaker to perform at next year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta. The singer declined to perform as a show of support for Kaepernick’s stance on the ongoing national anthem kneeling controversy. Taking Rihanna’s place will be radio rock kings Maroon 5.

The Super Bowl has been the place of some of the most legendary musical performances from icons including Michael Jackson, U2, and Prince. Rihanna now joins JAY-Z as the second artist in as many years to deny a chance to perform at the big game, which is well known to send catalogue streams and sales skyrocketing. Football in America has grown more politically and socially charged than ever before, and it’s reasonable to assume the music world will see more hardline stances about the once-coveted halftime spot.

Photo Credit: AFP

Calvin Harris is the producer behind Donae’o’s newest rap release

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Calvin Harris is the producer behind Donae’o’s newest rap releaseCalvinharris Hero

Calvin Harris has long since proven his ability to produce a diverse array of genres. He has released hip-hop collaborations with the top names in Hollywood like Katy Perry and Pharrell Williams and has brought mega-stars like Rihanna and Sam Smith into the electronic music world. Now, he’s continuing to diversify as the producer for North London rapper Donae’o.

The track is titled “Chalice” and is out now on Universal‘s Island Records. “Chalice” melds Latin infusions with a pulsing beat that certainly skews from sounds we have previously heard from the producer. The production takes the listener back to the early 2000s rap era and will undoubtedly get stuck in the listener’s head with its catchy tune. “Chalice” would be at home in both a hip-hop club or on the radio and will likely see similar success to other Harris productions that seem to permeate the airwaves globally.

Rihanna’s team reportedly has close to 500 records ready for upcoming dancehall album, including material from Skrillex and Boi-1da

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Rihanna’s team reportedly has close to 500 records ready for upcoming dancehall album, including material from Skrillex and Boi-1daSkrille Rihanna White 2

Rihanna and her label, Roc Nation, are in the midst of completing an album devoted to singer’s Caribbean roots. Sources close to the project have also suggested she’s also working on a different pop-oriented album. For the last year, team RiRi has been searching for beats, collecting what sources say is close to 500 records from different producers for the dancehall album alone. One producer whose asked to remain anonymous told Rolling Stone, “They’re only choosing 10 records. They’ve been having writing camps and trying to keep them quiet for almost a year and a half now. I’ve been flying to Miami, flying to L.A., cutting records nonstop for this project.” Apparently the Barbados-born pop queen’s A&R is still asking for records.

Many of the singers and producer’s who’ve contributed to the project believe Jamaican artists will benefit from the high-profile release. Producers listed as potential collaborators include Drake affiliates Supa Dups and Boi-1da, reggae artist Chronixx, electronic pop royalty Skrillex, and an army of others. The “Work” singer has been enlisting demos from top-tier Jamaican talent to further penetrate the American market. Dancehall may be seeing a steep rise in representation in pop music currently, though Rihanna’s upcoming work looks to seal that envelope. Nearly half of Spotify’s most played songs ever have a soca inspired rhythm — from Drake to Dillon Francis. With Rihanna’s team hard at work intentionally highlighting Jamaican producers, fans might be introduced to a whole new genre of popular music soon.

H/T: Rolling Stone

Moby throws shade at Kanye on Twitter

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After a wave of Tweets demonstrating continued support for Donald Trump, Kanye West was sure to rankle some on social media. Among them is Moby, the world-famous electronic producer and known activist who, as of late, has largely advocated against the U.S. President.

In response to a number of West’s tweets, Moby utilized the same platform to send him message:

According to Pop Crave, West’s comments created a negative ripple among other artists with significant influence, including Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, and more, who have recently un-followed him on Twitter.

West hasn’t taken to the platform in regards to Trump, though his erratic tirade of Tweets continues. Here’s a few of West’s pro-Trump Tweets below:

 

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory Vol. 31

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dexter's beat lab

Dexter’s Beat Laboratory is a weekly collection of songs from DA music editor and staff writer Robyn Dexter. With a taste that can only be described as eclectic — to say nothing of a name that lends itself to punnery — DA is happy to present a selection of tracks personally curated by Dexter for your listening pleasure.


Tim Schaufert‘s releases in the past few months have been nothing short of perfection. His latest, “Runaway,” is a gorgeously haunting partnership with frequent collaborator CASHFORGOLD. Her delicate vocals juxtaposed with a minimalist trap beat make for an almost eerie atmosphere.


This sultry number comes to us from Luna and Sarah De Warren. With a deep-set melody driving the verses, the collaborators lead up to a chorus that brings a Middle Eastern accent to the song. The dance floor-ready track brings a modern flair to the exotic melody, combined with vocals that are both seductive and heavenly at the same time.


Whenever London producer Dimension posts a new track, madness is sure to ensue. His latest release, “Raver,” draws its power directly from its name. “Raver” is pure UK drum & bass insanity in the best possible: it’s chock-full of deep bass, racing BPMs and energized vocals. Unlike his last release (an emotive, melodic collaboration with Wilkinson), “Raver” brings out the raw intensity of a London dance floor late at night.


Earlier this week, Sound Remedy quietly released a 10-track LP called Seeds. Most of the album’s track tap into the softer side of the LA artist’s production, like this one. “Sunset in Palos” is the opening track on the album and serves as the perfect introduction to the nine tracks ahead. Something about the subtle sweetness of the guitar reminds me of Lost Frequencies‘ “Are You With Me,” and I love it.


I typically try to use new-ish tracks on this series, but this one is an exception. I found StarGuy and Flamingo‘s remix of Rihanna‘s “Kiss It Better” last week after hearing it in StarGuy’s StarCast mix with Lenno and have had it stuck in my head ever since. It’s a few months old, but its old-school disco vibes bring a funky twist to the modern song.

N.E.R.D’s self-titled fifth studio album is a chaotic affair rooted in social commentary

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No_one Ever Really Dies: even the acronym by which American funk rock supergroup N.E.R.D — Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo, and Shay Haley — were founded upon suggests a non-traditional marriage between chic nonchalance and latent sentimentalism. Consider the collective sense of fervid urgency that is currently igniting the veins of millions of disenfranchised American and global citizens, inject a lethal dose of vogue funk and bottle it up in vivacious, supercool packaging: this more or less captures the sonic universe defined on N.E.R.D’s self titled, fifth studio album.

People began taking note of signs posted around Los Angeles and featured at Tyler the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival that read “No One Ever Really Dies” in late October, 2017. A few days later, the N.E.R.D proceeded to release No_one Ever Really Dies’ lead single “Lemon” before debuting the full LP a few days later at ComplexCon. It marks the first release for the famed group since 2010’s Nothing.

Since their inception, N.E.R.D has been raveled in collective confusion — not undue to their own struggles in defining their own artistic focus. The group’s first album, In Search Of, was originally produced digitally, but was pulled from the shelves of record stores worldwide and re-recorded utilizing live instrumentation from the rock band known as Spymob. Its re-release was met with ubiquitous disapproval from critics, giving way to another two albums plagued by their supposed failure to define a singular style.

Perhaps N.E.R.D’s first three albums were simply misunderstood by the masses, or maybe they served as quasi “trial and error” sessions in which the group refined their own characteristic style. One thing is certain: the outfit’s production M.O has always strayed from the traditional linear structure. Each of N.E.R.D’s five studio albums see them taking increasingly audacious risks, and No_one Ever Really Dies looks to be their most rewarding effort yet.

It kicks off with the exuberant frenzy that is “Lemon,” featuring one of contemporary pop music’s most exalted figures: Rihanna. The 29-year-old global superstar bops from verse to verse with palpable swagger, as if she’s playing pop-scotch on the red carpet.

“Lemon’s” sample of a man yelling “wait a minute” is former United States Senator, Arlen Specter, at a 2009 Pennsylvania town hall meeting while “shout out to them people” and “mad ethnic right now” are both phrases sampled from a viral twitter video originally posted by a rapper by the name of Retch. As the record bounces between verses, it usurps the listener with its dazzling flow. Before long, the project’s focus begins to take root.

Much like adjacent industry colleagues Gorillaz, N.E.R.D’s propensity to showcase a plethora of contemporary styles runs the risk of seeming misconstrued, pulling away from the album’s central focus; some would argue that such overbearing features can make such a project seem disjointed, but it pays off on No_one Ever Really Dies. Rather than cloud the group’s artistic intuition, each embellishment serves an integral purpose in building the stylistic framework by which listeners will contextualize the album.

High profile vignettes from artists like Future, Wale, Gucci Mane, M.I.A, and Frank Ocean imbue the album with a sense of urgency and are an relevant statement about the current musical zeitgeist heading into 2018.

“Voilà,” featuring Gucci Mane and Wale, carries the momentum onward.  Since being released from prison in 2016, Radric Davis — better known by Gucci Mane — has turned a 180. “They think I’m a magician” sings Davis, alluding to the fact that the general public is undoubtedly shocked at his life changes over the last two years, and that many people doubted him along the way. The Atlanta rapper revealed in an interview with TIME that, during his stint in prison, sobriety and exercise helped him lose 90 pounds and get his life back together.

Gucci Mane’s raspy verses are not typically associated with the sparkling funk-verve that characterizes N.E.R.D, but his lyrics add a serene sense of tranquility to the track: “I might pull up on a skateboard with me and P. Hoes gon’ still pay me attention” he raps. Gucci Mane’s fabled status in trap music history is a welcome blessing on “Voilà.”

Pharell picks up the pace immediately afterward with “1000.” Turning a corner, he chants the intro, “Kinetic energy a thousand times higher!” As the drums halt to half speed, morphing into a tribal rythmn, Future belts his verse, “Rick Owens boots, I’m walkin’ on a few thousand” sings the Atlanta trap superstar. “1000” is an honest, yet ostentatious glimpse into the life of some of hip hop’s wealthiest superstars: complete with designer boots, Ferragamo belts, and models in the bed.

Pivoting from the gaudy introspection on “1000,” N.E.R.D moves into outward social commentary at breakneck speed with “Don’t Don’t Do It!” The track, which features the father of modern hip hop, Kendrick Lamar, is a statement detailing the discriminatory behavior of law enforcement and, on a larger scale, society as a whole.

“Pac-man wanna prosecute you. Raise your hand up, and they’ll shoot ya’. Face off, face off.” spits Kendrick Lamar, the beat carrying his conscious rhymes a mile a minute, “Adolf Hitler. Grandkids slayed off. N****s, same rules, same chalk. Different decade, same law.” Lamar’s verse is more than simply an apt statement confronting the malevolent behavior of systemic racism — it’s a warning call. “Soon or later sides gon’ switch. You know Johnny got that itch,” raps Lamar, “How many more of us gotta see the coroner? Slain by the same badge, stop, wait, brake, fast!”

N.E.R.D’s ability to pivot from effervescent dance jams to socially-conscious funk ballads at headlong speeds — all the while utilizing atmospheric transitions and carbonated beat change ups — is mesmerizing. No_one Ever Really Dies seems to weave into one theme and out of another before the listener can make the conscious realization that the song’s structure had changed. The album’s biggest success is its mellifluous ability to shape shift and keep listeners engaged the whole way through. Listeners find themselves knee deep into a pop tsunami for one moment, and are catapulted into an incendiary diatribe on today’s current political situation the next.

“It’s crazy out here and right now, what we’re discovering is the truth only matters when it sounds cool. And when it doesn’t sound cool, people just choose to not fucking believe it,” explained Pharell during the album’s listening session. “So, that’s how they’re gonna use their minds. We need to use our minds a little bit stronger.”

Nearing the end of the album, N.E.R.D orchestrate a symphonic finish — complete with features from such fabled artists as Andre 3000 and, to a lesser extent, Ed Sheeran. “Rollinem 7’s” lyrics stream from the Outkast co-founder’s mouth in effortless fashion.

The combination of M.I.A and Kendrick Lamar on “Kites” is a further testament to N.E.R.D’s versatility and their ability to mold to fit any of the featuring artists’styles.”I’m letting off kites over barriers” sings M.I.A, the Sri Lankan avant pop legend alludes to the absurdity of nation’s having borders. Her ultimate goal, like other artists’ on the LP, is to make music that transcends the unavailing barriers that serve only to divide us as a human race.

Consistent with M.I.A’s verse, N.E.R.D’s newest album is a virtuosic, funk driven house party rooted in social and political commentary. Rather than serve as purely an escape, No_One Ever Really Dies acts as an atmospheric groove that exists entirely within the gloomy corners of the current political period. N.E.R.D is back to inspire change in provocative fashion, and their fifth project is a chaotic affair deeply rooted in the ongoing narrative of social progress.

 

 

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Rihanna & SZA – Consideration (Will Clarke remix)

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Will Clarke tackles Rihanna and SZA’s collab, “Consideration,” in his latest imaginative reproduction, tricking out the track in a musical “glitter” that, in accordance with Rihanna’s lyrics, “makes it gold.”

A producer of booty shakin’ beats, Clarke crafts a remix that functions as much as an attitude-infused flip of the original as it does an invitation to writhe to the song’s dark house glow on the dance floor. Airy synths ascend and fall as Clark splices the original, foregoing the majority of the song’s lyrical work to loop Rihanna’s second verse, “Let me cover your sh*t in glitter I could make it gold.”

When played to a live audience, Clarke’s take won’t fail to provoke an anticipation surrounding the song’s build, and a comparable satisfaction taken in its descent, Clarke orienting the remix’s fluttering build and drop around the lyric. Clarke puts forth a remake that is sure to shimmer among the various songs in his set lists.

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