Kanye West Sues Roc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam, And Others

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Kanye West & Jay-ZKanye West has filed a pair of lawsuits in what may be an attempt to extradite himself from contracts and reclaim control over his career. One lawsuit is against EMI, the song publisher that has administered the rights to his songs since 2003, shortly before the hip-hop star released his debut album, The College Dropout. More »

Meek Mill, Jay-Z & Sixers Co-Owner Michael Rubin Launch New Criminal Justice Reform Organization

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On Wednesday (Jan. 23), Meek Mill and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin launched their REFORM Alliance Foundation at New York City’s John Jay College to help raise awareness for criminal justice reform. On hand to join Meek and Rubin were REFORM’s founding fathers, headlined by Jay-Z and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The esteemed … More »

Skrillex tells TMZ that he doesn’t think JAY-Z needs to pull his collaborations with R. Kelly from streaming platforms [Watch]

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Skrillex tells TMZ that he doesn’t think JAY-Z needs to pull his collaborations with R. Kelly from streaming platforms [Watch]AP R Kelly

As a myriad of artists including Chance the Rapper, Lady Gaga, and Celine Dion, pull their productions with R. Kelly from streaming platforms in response to sexual misconduct allegations made against the R&B crooner, Skrillex doesn’t think that JAY-Z needs to follow suit. “You know, I don’t think he needs to do so,” Skrillex told TMZ cameramen when asked if he felt that JAY-Z should remove his songs with R. Kelly from streaming services. JAY-Z and R. Kelly co-released “Best of Both Worlds” in 2002, and “Unfinished Business” in 2004. “It’s hard,” Skrillex added, “It’s like, look: there’s a word. It’s called ‘occhiolism.’ It’s the awareness of the smallness of your own perspective. If JAY-Z wants to keep [the] music because it’s music he made a long time ago, it’s part of the archives, it’s part of history, that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. That doesn’t mean he supports bad people.”

Skrillex, however, did vocalize his support of Sony‘s decision to nullify R. Kelly’s record dealer with the Sony owned imprint, RCA Records. “I think everyone in their own sort of private world should make their own choices, but I support that,” Skrillex said.  Sony has yet to release an official statement regarding R. Kelly’s departure from RCA, which would provide insight on the nature of R. Kelly’s divorce from the label, specifically, whether Sony and R. Kelly mutually agreed to void the vocalist’s deal.

R. Kelly remains at the center of sexual misconduct speculation following the release of Lifetime’s six-part docuseries, Surviving R. KellySurviving R. Kelly chronicles R. Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse of several women who were reportedly underage at the time of their sexual encounters with the artist. R. Kelly has since denied all such allegations of sexual misconduct.

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/AP

H/T: Complex

TIDAL reportedly under investigation for inflated streaming data

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TIDAL reportedly under investigation for inflated streaming dataTidal

Authorities in Norway are now investigating TIDAL over the alleged streaming number inflations that came to light back in 2016. The Jay-Z-owned company that has long been under speculation and scrutiny now faces an investigation led by the Norwegian Authority for Investigation of Economic and Environmental Crime, also known as Økokrim, according to a report from Bloombergquint.

In March of 2016, TIDAL reported that Kanye West‘s The Life Of Pablo, which was exclusively released on TIDAL, earned 250 million streams in 10 days. At the time, the streaming service claimed they had more than 3 million people subscribed. Those numbers would infer that every TIDAL subscriber was playing The Life Of Pablo more than eight times a day. After TIDAL reported Beyoncé‘s record-breaking album Lemonade was streamed 306 million times in just 15 days after its release, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv raised their eyebrows and began to look closer. After January 2017 investigation, the major accusation was that “Beyoncé’s and Kanye West’s listener numbers on TIDAL have been manipulated to the tune of several hundred million false plays… which has generated massive royalty payouts at the expense of other artists.”

TIDAL has called Dagens Næringsliv’s reporting a “smear campaign” in the past and hired a third party to investigate what it is calling a data breach. After the Bloombergquint report, a TIDAL representative was reached by Complex and stated, “TIDAL is not a suspect in the investigation. We are communicating with Økokrim. From the very beginning, [Dagens Næringsliv] has quoted documents that they have not shared with us in spite of repeated requests. DN has repeatedly made claims based on information we believe may be falsified. We are aware that at least one person we suspected of theft has been questioned. We cannot comment further at this time and refer to our previous statement, which still stands.”

According to IFPI’s 2018 Global Music Report, streaming accounted for 38.4 percent of total music revenue and grew 41.1 percent from the previous year. Streaming’s global influence on the industry continues to grow and evolve is already a multi-billion dollar industry despite what seems to be a lack of regulation.

H/T: Spin

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

Surviving R. Kelly Producer Says Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Questlove And More Declined Interviews For The Series

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R. KellySurviving R. Kelly, the miniseries tracing the singer’s alleged history of sexual and physical abuse, premiered on Lifetime last night. The comprehensively researched series features over 50 interviews, including with R. Kelly’s accusers, family members, and friends, but it includes a surprisingly small amount of appearances from celebrities. The only musicians interviewed in the documentary … More »

Jay-Z reportedly trying to persuade Travis Scott to withdraw from 2019 Super Bowl halftime show

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Jay-Z reportedly trying to persuade Travis Scott to withdraw from 2019 Super Bowl halftime showTravis Scott Live 2

Jay-Z is reportedly trying to persuade Travis Scott to withdraw from 2019’s Super Bowl halftime show, where Scott is to appear alongside Maroon 5 as a special guest. Maroon 5 secured the entertaining bid for event, hosted at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3. Both Jay-Z and Rihanna refused offers to play the halftime show, 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. Jay-Z has sought to bring attention to the issue of police brutality in the nation for many years preluding Kaepernick’s on-field opposition and notably dedicated a song to Kaepernick during his 2017 performance at The Meadows Music and Arts Festival. Prior to his appearance at the New York festival, Jay-Z attended the Trayvon Martin Peace Walk in Miami in February 2018. The rapper additionally announced his support of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to improve police-community relations in 2015.

Jay-Z is now said to be actively “attempting to talk Scott out of performing” at the Super Bowl. Both of the Carters were spotted at Scott’s December 19 show in Los Angeles. Jay-Z, however, is not the sole hip-hop artist voicing opposition to Scott’s Super Bowl guest slot — Meek Mill took to Twitter on December 20, writing that Scott “don’t need that [the halftime billing] he on fire already!” Meek urged Travis to “stay strong in this sh*t.”

H/T: NME

The 20 Best Music Videos Of 2018

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vidsIn the early days of this century, you could still turn on your television and, every so often, catch a music video. It didn’t last. Music videos still exist on television, but niche ventures like the MTV Jams Channel only exist in the shadowy nether reaches of cable subscriptions, and that’s not where music videos … More »

The Top 40 Pop Songs Of 2018

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The Top 40 Pop Songs Of 2018Y’all wanna hear something crazy? I’ve been writing this weekly pop column for five whole years now. It seems like just yesterday that I published the inaugural installment explaining why The Week In Pop would be a good addition to the Stereogum portfolio. As we approach the precipice of 2019, I’m fairly certain … More »

The Number Ones: The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”

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The-Jackson-5-I-Want-You-BackIn The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my way up into the present. More »