The Jazz-Rap Explosion Of 1993, 25 Years Later

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Guru - JazzmatazzTwenty-five years after its release, hindsight reveals one now-dated aspect of Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Volume 1: The front cover refers to its fusion of hip-hop and jazz as “experimental.” In 1993, the legendary MC was between two classic Gang Starr albums — 1992’s Daily Operation and 1994’s Hard To Earn, both of which were relatively slept-on … More »

Spotify Rescinds Hateful Conduct Policy, Restores XXXTentacion To Playlists

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SpotifyA few weeks ago, Spotify announced a new hate content and hateful conduct policy which resulted in the removal of R. Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music from Spotify-curated playlists and other editorial promotions, though the music was not removed from the streaming service itself. They faced some backlash over the selective implementation of the … More »

Kendrick Lamar Accepts His Pulitzer Prize

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Kendrick LamarKendrick Lamar has a new nickname: Pulitzer Kenny. More »

Did Kendrick Lamar strong arm Spotify into walking back its artist conduct policy?

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Spotify can’t seem to stay out of the headlines as of late. When the music streaming service updated its behavioral policies and made the editorial decision to remove R. Kelly and XXXTentacion from it’s “algorithmic playlists,” due to the artists’ histories of sexual assault allegations, many voices sprang forth in response to the controversial move.

First, the US-based women’s advocacy group, UltraViolet, came forth to urge Spotify to hold other artists accused of sexual assault and/or gender-based violence accountable as well. They named Chris BrownRed Hot Chili PeppersNelly, and Eminem in their open letter to the music streaming giant. Spotify responded in a statement,

“We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions—what we choose to program—to reflect our values,” Spotify said.

Naturally, the hip-hop community went up in arms over the streaming service’s decision. After the policy was enacted, it was reported that XXXTentacion was projected to lose $60,000 a year because of the platform’s removal of his content. In a backwards move, R. Kelly’s streaming rates actually made a slight climb in numbers — from 6.5 million weekly streams to 6.7 million. Now Bloomberg reports that Grammy award winner Kendrick Lamar called Spotify CEO, Daniel Ek. and Head of AR, Troy Carer, to threaten to pull his music from the platform if the policy remained in tact.

And it worked. Spotify has walked back on its current policy.

The new policy arrives in the midst of the #MeToo and #TimesUp social media movements, which led to the more recent #MuteRKelly initiative. Yet, whether they consciously or knowingly did so, Spotify injected themselves into a controversial cultural moment surrounding sexual assault — even as employees themselves have begun publicly rejecting the policy. Whether the streaming giant is in the right or wrong remains up for debate, but allowing a single artist to strong arm an entire digital platform, similar to the way Taylor Swift steered Apple Music’s initial launch, sets a menacing precedent.

H/T: High Snobiety.

Kendrick Lamar Interrupts White Fan Who Rapped The N-Word Onstage

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Kendrick-LamarWhite people! If you are listening to rap music and rapping along, you cannot say the N-word. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your car by yourself. But if you’re out in public, around people of color — whose whole days could potentially be fucked up by hearing you say it — you especially cannot … More »

Kelly Clarkson Addresses Santa Fe Shooting, Covers Kendrick Lamar And Taylor Swift At BBMAs

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Kelly Clarkson performs at BBMAS 2018Kelly Clarkson is the host of the 2018 Billboard Music Awards, and she opened the show with an impassioned message about gun violence in the wake of this past week’s school shooting in Texas. After a performance by Ariana Grande, Clarkson returned to the stage to give the award’s opening salvo, which included a lot … More »

Jay Rock – “Win” (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)

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Jay-Rock-WinThe Los Angeles rapper Jay Rock hasn’t achieved the same level of celebrity or acclaim as Kendrick Lamar or Schoolboy Q, both of whom came up alongside Jay Rock as part of the Black Hippy crew and the TDE label. But Jay Rock has always been an emotive, incensed, driven rapper, and good things are … More »

Frank Ocean’s music gets in-depth analysis in Spotify Studios’ Dissect podcast, stream the first episode now

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Over the course of two seasons, Spotify’s award-winning Dissect podcast broke down Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly with the hopes to develop a deeper understanding of the artists and what their music conveys about the human experience.

Accordingly, Frank Ocean’s Blonde is the new subject for Dissect’s third season.

Season three of Dissect will see the host, Cole Cuchna, spending hundreds of hours breaking the lyrical and musical detail of Ocean with a six-episode mini-series on Channel Orange, followed by eleven episodes on Blonde. With an analytical, All Songs Considered NPR-style, and a deep love and appreciation for his music, Cuchna surpasses all previous delves into Ocean’s life work.

“I have a soft spot for artists who use their platform to challenge and progress the art form, not rest on the success they’ve had in the past,” Dissect’s host Cole Cuchna told Pigeons & Planes, “Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Frank Ocean have all done that, and we absolutely need these types of artists in the world, especially when they have such a massive reach.

“Frank Ocean has an incredibly interesting story. As I was researching his music and his background, I realized that his art and his personal actions move in parallel in pursuit of the same thing: truth and authenticity.”

The first episode of season three, which begins by discussing Ocean’s early life in New Orleans, his move to Los Angeles after Hurricane Katrina, and moves into his landmark 2011 mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, is available for streaming now.

Listen to it here.

H/T: Pigeons & Planes

Ariana Grande Talks New Album Sweetener And Sings Goth-Rock Kendrick In Fallon Takeover

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Ariana Grande season is basically here. Grande has recorded a new album with Max Martin and Pharrell, and while she hasn’t yet announced anything as concrete as a release date, the charm offensive has already begun. Grande has released the very good first single “No Tears Left To Cry,” and she’s droppedMore »

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: