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Why @kanyewest is fantastic for music

Why Kanye West is fantastic for music

Since 2003, I’ve been a fan of Kanye. It wasn’t easy to begin with, my brother introduced me to his early mixtapes and I wasn’t gripped – at that point I was very much into rappers that had a more powerful voice, so truthfully Kanye’s lyrics went a little over my head. Then I revisited his songs and began my obsession. The fact that this man is such a talented producer, and a true fan of rap is evident.

His consistency in his albums, production, and who he aligns himself with further affirm where he’s headed. The self confessed ego that he has is justified and according to him propels him further, so where’s the issue?

After watching “Runaway” the film, which despite some of it’s awkward acting, I was extremely impressed. It came off as more of an arthouse attempt than your generic music video, plus a rapper promoting ballet? Ye is definitely a boundary breaker.

His forthcoming album continues to impress, and with G.O.O.D. Fridays (Kanye and friends always releasing a new song every week) being so consistent – right now I have “The Joy” lifting my mood – you can’t help but wait in awe for where Mr. West’s legacy will continue to.

And Beyonce did have the better video, be honest.

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50 cent Articles

50 Cent and Susan Boyle – I Dreamed In The Club?

50 Cent and Susan Boyle – I Dreamed In The Club?

In an interview, the musician also disclosed he would like to party with the Britain’s Got Talent sensation, who has been reported to be shy towards her new found fame.

The 48 year-old Scottish spinster last week reached number one in the US album charts with her debut release, I Dreamed a Dream.

It has since held on to the spot on the album charts.

Boyle is said to have already made £5million in two weeks from 3.3m global sales of her debut album of the same name.

It was the best US opening for a female artist’s debut album, and the second best overall, since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, according to Billboard.com.

The original rendition of the song on the talent show has had millions of views on YouTube and attracted celebrity followers including Demi Moore.

Now 50 Cent, the 34-year-old rapper who was shot nine times in 2000 before finding fame, is the latest celebrity to praise Boyle.

“Susan Boyle is hot right now. I got to get her on a track, for real. We’d make a hit,” he told the Daily Mirror.

“Everyone is talking about her, the lady from Britain’s Got Talent.

“She’s got an amazing voice, and together we’d get everyone dancing. I’m always looking to do something new and she’s cool, so I’ll ask somebody to let her know.”

He added: “I’d love to take her clubbing, show her around my world. She’d have a great time.”

Boyle has also claimed topped the charts in Australia and Ireland.

Although she ultimately failed to win Britain’s Got Talent, her April audition for the show became an international YouTube phenomenon.

It has now been viewed more than 300 million times on the Internet.

Source: Telegraph

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Catfight: Battle of the Divas

Beyoncé vs. Mariah Carey

New feature. Biggest divas in the music world today, head to head. Let’s get to it.

There aren’t a lot of people who haven’t heard of Beyoncé and Mariah; they’re only two of the biggest selling female artists ever. Both multi-platinum artists came from well-documented (and marketed) beginnings: Beyoncé pulled a Justin Timberlake and after leading Destiny’s Child to all-time-best-selling-female-group success, branched out into an even more lucrative solo career, while Mariah Carey owes much of her earlier success to the sharp eye of music mogul and ex-husband Tommy Mottola.

The fascinating thing about these two artists is that they’re not just all-glitter and no-talent like your average pre-packaged pop star. They have pipes. Mariah is famous for her ability to break glass with her high notes, and even though Beyoncé doesn’t have quite as great a range, her vocal virtuosity has always earned much acclaim, even since the Destiny’s Child days. That doesn’t stop these two women from flaunting what they’ve got though; a few seconds of either’s music videos is enough to notice that sex appeal is just as strong a selling point as talent (who would’ve thought Mariah would still be going this road as she’s nearing the big 4-0?), and don’t they know it. Well, at least their management people do.

Tight race so far, but I have a feeling this debate can be settled by looking at how disgracefully divalicious their backstage demands are. Or… maybe not, since no list of outrageous requests made by divas these days is complete without Beyoncé and Mariah. Oh, I’ve got it now – this will definitely decide the winner of this Catfight: arm-candy. That’s right. Jay-Z may not be much to look at, but he’s certainly intriguing, and by intriguing we mean dirt-rich- all-powerful-hip-hop-king. Nick Cannon, on the other hand, can be counted on for a good laugh – he is (was?) a comedian after all. I think we can safely say that Beyoncé has chosen well, based on the Eminem Test: Eminem may enjoy picking fights with people, but he probably won’t be messing with Mr. Sean Carter anytime soon… at least, not in the way he disrespected Mimi and Nick. With her husband’s less than stellar career, her own waning popularity, and B’s sheer overpowering star power, Mariah Carey loses out by a hair in the battle of the divas.

Winning cat: Beyoncé

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The Red Room club, Vancouver, B.C. Abusive security guard pushes around small female photographer

The Red Room club, Vancouver, B.C.

It’s not often that we take the time to take issue with a venue, but last night for the Swollen Members show, we experienced our fair share of bullshit and manhandling. Our photographer, a small 110lb woman, while in the middle of taking press photos was forcibly grabbed and completely removed from the venue. The beefy, 350lb security guard in charge of doing this was extremely aggressive towards her – a woman who was neither posing a threat, fighting or struggling, but trying to express to him that she was attending the show under the pretense of taking photos for an approved and requested review.

What this was to prove, or who this showed an example to is beyond me. No idiot in the audience that was hellbent on causing a problem or a ruckus would have been dissuaded to fight due to a small girl being removed. Plus, the fact that she wasn’t physically fighting him, but solely trying to speak with him was a reason for him to lose his temper and physically force her out of the club, damaging her clothing in the process.

Upon bringing this up with the club’s head of security that same night, and the management, we were met with excuses and claims of “That didn’t happen.” With “16 cameras” as we were told that were videotaping it, apparently it still didn’t happen. So to the people who run The Red Room, if you wish to refute the fact the she struggled while being forced, that she didn’t endlessly try to talk to the guy and she wasn’t forcibly pushed, please, show us the footage. But from what we experienced, the truth is that a show review that was otherwise going to go well, turned into a review of the club and the physically aggressive security picking on the wrong woman instead of the moshing, drunk and angered men who were intent on causing fights and actually making a problem for the club and it’s patrons.

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The Problem with Leakage

It seems like no one really has to wait until official release dates anymore to get a listen to new albums. The rule of thumb is: the more popular the artist, the earlier his or her tracks leak, and the faster they spread. Just ask Ciara. While her latest album can’t exactly be considered a flop, it’s definitely no fantasy ride, as pretty much the entire project leaked to the internet weeks and weeks before it was due to be released. You just can’t hit them listeners like you used to – and when it comes to responsibility, again, larger projects means more people being involved and more people being involved means a higher chance of someone letting something slip.

Then again, leaking one track early has the potential to make your entire album – if it’s good enough. Usher’s “Yeah!” (how could we forget?) lit everything on fire when Lil’ Jon, its producer, deliberately let it loose while Usher was prepping “Burn” as the lead single. Fans loved it, critics loved it, and Confessions went Diamond in the US (that’s Platinum status times ten for you people who’ve never heard of it). Brilliant marketing tactic… or just crazy luck?

Off the top of my head, upcoming artists whose albums in danger of pulling a Leona Lewis include: Ryan Leslie (although it’s doubtful because he’s writing and producing everything himself); Rihanna (although it’s unbelievable how tightly under wraps her new project is); Mary J Blige (she is working with quite a few producers); and of course, Usher (can you say high-profile??). While fans who just can’t wait for new music may benefit from all this lack of discretion, admittedly, it’s pretty damaging to the artists themselves. You’ve got artists like Cassie who are leaking songs every day, and although it’s not clear whether or not this is being done deliberately, it’s definitely not helping their careers – from what we’re seeing now, at least.

Rihanna’s new album is by far the most interesting out of the upcoming releases; she may not be the best singer, but everything she touches turns to gold. What I can’t fathom is how no one, apart from her camp, has any information whatsoever about her fourth album. It’s slated to drop in November, but as of right there isn’t even a hint as to what the name may be. Impressive. It’s doubtful that she’ll last all the way to the day of release without at least a song leaking (apart from the lead single), but the building anticipation promises pandemonium – could this be the antithesis to Usher in 2004? Or will a major leakage happen and make this just another warning for artists and producers who want to leak tracks without knowing what they’re doing?

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Top 5: Hip-Hop Protégés

Snoop Dogg

Snoop D-O-double-G has been around for so long that it’s hard to imagine him being the protégé of anyone. He is, though. Way back in the early nineties, Cordazar Calvin Broadus was fresh out of high school and a couple of convictions of cocaine trafficking. His freestyle over an old En Vogue song somehow made its way to The Dr. Dre’s ears, and after an audition, Snoop Doggy Dogg found a home at Death Row Records. He certainly has a thing for doctors, as he not only caught the attention of Dr. Dre, but also The D.O.C. (from gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A.), who gave him pointers on how to craft some good rap. Random fact: Snoop is a spokesperson for “Chronic Candy,” made in Switzerland and tastes like… you guessed it: marijuana. On second thought, maybe that’s not so random.

Eminem

Probably the most famous protégé in the history of hip-hop, Eminem made a huge name for not only himself when his Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers LPs came out, but also Dr. Dre, the man who seems to be some kind of talent magnet. That or he just knows how to pick those rappers; thanks to Em, his label, Aftermath Records, found its biggest star, and with Dr. Dre producing the bulk of his albums, Eminem became the rapper that you and your mom knew about. In any case, Eminem’s undying obsession with controversy ensured that music listeners will always be likewise obsessed with Slim Shady – and how could we not? It’s not everyday that a non-African-American rapper has the power to shock you like no gangsta rap has ever done.

50 Cent

From one rapper with an eye for talent to another, Eminem must’ve been taught well by Dr. Dre because when he picked up 50 Cent, he got Aftermath Records another multi-platinum superstar rapper. A little know fact about 50 is that he had some help before Eminem and Dre came along; Jam Master Jay was technically his first mentor in the art of writing songs. After 50 Cent got shot in the infamous nine-bullet-wound incident, one of his CDs found its way into Eminem’s hands, he got flown out for an audition… and everyone knows what happened after that. The lesson here? If you want to make it big you’ve got to go straight to the top – that’s where the people with the jets are.

Drake

You might know him as that guy in the wheelchair from that Degrassi show, but apparently, Aubrey “Drake” Graham raps even better than he acts. Actually, it might have something to do with the producers of his show getting rid of the entire cast, but that’s a different story. After working on a bunch of mixtapes in his early career, Drake finally ended up on Lil Wayne’s Young Money label, and was (still is, probably) one of the most hyped Canadian rappers in a long, long time. It remains to be seen if Lil Wayne, his mentor who’s pretty young himself, can pull a Dr. Dre, but given how Drake is doing on the charts, the chances look pretty good.

Danja

Rappers aside, one of the biggest protégés in hip-hop music has to be “Danjahandz,” or simply Danja, who’s been the perfect student for Timbaland. This record producer has worked with Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Lloyd Banks, T.I., and of course, Timbaland himself, picking up a couple of Grammys along the way. Stepping out of his mentor’s shadow though, Danja’s experience with piano and drums sets him apart from other beat-makers who go completely digital and forgo their instruments, and this strategy earns him at least 50k per track at the last count. Not too shabby.

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Top 5: Paper Gangsters

Can’t say they’re gangsta with a straight face.

DJ Khaled

I watched about six minutes of this DJ Khaled on MTV Cribs before I decided on the topic for this article. Listening to this man talk was just straight up bad. From yelling “We da bessssst,” upon entry into his home (and repeating it countless times after that), to basically overdoing every physical and verbal aspect of the stereotypical gangster rapper, there’s maybe an extremely small chance that DJ Khaled is as gangster as he makes himself out to be. Since he completely blew that image out of proportion on Cribs, though, that’s highly unlikely. Mr. Khaled Khaled is by far the most annoying rapper I have ever had the misfortune of noticing.

Kevin Federline

Why oh why didn’t you just stick to dancing, K-Fed? Oh right, you wouldn’t have gotten half of Britney Spears’ fortune if you did. Kevin Federline started out as a backup dancer, then went into modeling, rapping, and being Britney’s baby daddy. His rap “career” was just a huge embarrassment to hip-hop, with his debut album being dissed by everyone in every direction; you can’t really rap about how you’re “gangster” and a “star” while every song on your album is about how you’re going to throw away your (insanely wealthy) wife’s money on weed and parties. It doesn’t work, Fed-Ex.

Akon

Like 50 Cent, Akon has built his entire image on the “hardened gangster.” Unlike 50 Cent though, Akon’s street cred is completely hollow. For a guy who brags in every other interview about being an ex-ringleader of a huge car theft ring, writes songs about being “Locked Up,” and has a record label called “Konvict Muzik,” Akon has never been convicted of anything substantial. Ever. Actually, he did do three years probation for gun possession, but really? Gun possession? Aren’t guns more common than fast food in the States?

Rick Ross

No, this ain’t Ricky Ross the LA drug trafficker; this is William Leonard Roberts II. The big thing with this big man is this: he’s no drug dealer; he used to be a corrections officer. Yeah, he had a gun alright. Thing is, he wore the badge too. Rick Ross also claimed to have gang ties to Miami’s Carol City Cartel when he was busted for marijuana in ’08. Unfortunately, he couldn’t prove it, his lawyer prove it, and the officer in charge had to take his case off the gang task force. Paper gangster much?

50 Cent

Okay, okay. I get that Fiddy has the roughest childhood out of all five rappers/singers on this list. No father, mother was murdered when he was eight, grew up in Queens, sold crack, and even got caught at his high school with drugs and guns – G-Unit isn’t an empty name. However, as of right now, I think it’s safe to say that 50 Cent doesn’t have much time for anything other than straight business. He has a young son who’s a pretty important part of his life, from what he’s said in interviews, and it’s hard to imagine him going back to the street life, especially now that he’s made his gold. Curtis Jackson III is in business with Reebok, Vitamin Water, movies, video-games, and TV – in addition to music, of course. You’re more likely to find him in a suit than swinging a rag, although if he is swinging one, it’s probably Louis Vuitton. He’s come a long way, and I have to say that out of the five artists on this list, he’s the most deserving of mine, so props to you, 50.

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OLD DIRTY BASTARD VS KANYE WEST. EVEN RAPPERS SAMPLE PR STUNTS.

OLD DIRTY BASTARD VS KANYE WEST.
By: Sepher Cadiz

Do you not see the genius? Do you not see the hidden agenda? Do you not see the hilarity behind it all?

I do. I do. And I certainly do! Funny? Yes, hilarious for on reason and one reason only–Even Publicity stunts are sampled by Rappers! But let’s probe, disect, and conclude–who did it better?

ODB RAGES GRAMMYS

OR

Kanye West Rages Taylor Swift

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Top 5: Michael Jackson Wannabes

You know that really bad cliché about truly great artists who will never die? These five artists are doing their best to make sure this cliché stays alive for the King of Pop.

Usher

He sings like him, glides like him, and owes 99.9% of his success to the late Michael Jackson. Usher’s R&B crown rests largely on the gloves and the smooth moves, trademarks of the original King of Pop. Apart from dance, Usher and Michael Jackson share an almost fanatical support from the African-American community at their respective heights of popularity. MJ’s influence on Usher’s performance style is so thorough that anyone who calls himself a fan of Usher (whether he knows it or not) is inevitably a fan of the man who originally popularized the moonwalk. Just sayin’.

Justin Timberlake

You could call Usher the black Michael Jackson… or you could call Justin Timberlake the white Michael Jackson. At the risk of getting a “Too soon,” I’ll just keep my mouth shut. What’s there left to say? Ever since he ditched ‘N Sync, JT has made no secret about his love for Michael Jackson. His first ever solo performance at the VMAs had the fedora, the gloves, Michael-Jackson-inspired choreography, and falsetto after falsetto. Even after his music started transitioning toward a more rock and even electronic sound, JT is not afraid to experiment and take risks. Just like someone who released Thriller back in ’82. If Michael Jackson were 25 years-old today, he’d be Justin Timberlake. Except for the… never mind.

Chris Brown

Chris, Chris, Chris. If it weren’t for his shocking assault on Rihanna, he’d be one of the biggest stars of this generation. Originally touted as the next Usher, this 20 year-old can literally dance his shoes off – as if you can be the next Usher without knowing how to do a decent glide. His singing leaves a bit to be desired, but hey. Like every other artist on this list, Chris Brown’s dancing is the most immediate connection to the legacy that Michael Jackson left behind; his tribute performances of Billie Jean and Thriller make that much clear. Now if only he can do something about that voice – oh and fix his ruined image.

Ne-Yo

Music, check. Fashion, check. Dancing – well, Ne-Yo poses more than dances, but close enough. Check. Shaffer Smith is the closest to what Michael Jackson would’ve been if he’d stuck with R&B instead of experimenting with different genres. He rocks the fedora too, but that might be more of a sneaky way to hide his receding hairline. Ne-Yo even has his own equivalent of MJ’s signature hiccup: the holler. Except of course it doesn’t sound as cool as the hiccup and he really overdoes it. And the choreography… it’s strange because the man tries to move, he really does. He has maybe two or three go-to moves/poses that come up about ten times per performance – check them out, they’re not hard to miss. Compared to the others on this list though, Ne-Yo is nowhere near the prolific dancers they are. Song-writing’s his bread and butter, and it’s probably better that way.

Ciara

The only female on the list, Ciara Princess Harris has no problem taking risks with her choreography – just like… guess who. The woman who comes closest to putting on the moves like Ciara is probably Michael’s sister, Janet Jackson. Like Chris Brown, Ciara’s singing has a long way to go before she can get anywhere close to MJ’s level, and honestly, I can tell you it isn’t happening anytime soon. Her tribute performance of “Heal the World” is perfect evidence. Cici’s “1, 2 Step,” fortunately, is on point and her dancing is the best tribute that she could give the King of Pop.

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What’s in a Muse?

In Greek mythology, the muse is a goddess or spirit that inspires the creation of literature or art. Popular culture often refers to the muse as she exists in the world of rock and roll. The Yoko Onos and Patti Boyds of the music world. Women who markedly changed not only the lives but the music of their respective lovers, arguably for better or worse.

Inspired by these mythical creatures, I got to thinking, do emcees have muses? I mean hip hop is art too, no? And it is a genre of music just as wildly expressive as rock and roll. Thusly, I sought to examine the existence of the hip hop muse.

I considered the catalogue of the hip hop ode to a woman. Frequently with a decidedly darker edge, emcees have historically paid homage to women. We have all heard Biggie’s “Me and My Bitch” or the ghetto love anthem “Your All I Need” by Method Man and Mary J. Blige, but I consider these songs more as thug valentines; fleeting displays of love and admiration, but not necessarily inspired works of art.

Undeterred, I was determined to find an emcee that appeared inherently changed by the presence of a female counterpart. Immediately, my mind settled upon Kanye West. Fitting that Kanye would be the only rapper I could think of with a recognizable muse as he fancies himself a true ‘artiste’ in the purest sense.

Since being spotted around town with bald-headed, buxom beauty Amber Rose, Kanye has been blessing tracks with lyrics that seem for lack of a better word, inspired. His delivery, cadence and over all style seem to possess a new-found fervor, that I will go on record to say, I didn’t think he had in him*. Accustom to Kanye’s more sing-songy style, these days, Kanye is sounding hungry!

Observe (Pre Amber Rose):
I got a Jones like Norah for your sorror’
Bring more of them girls I’ve seen in the Aurora
Tammy, Becky, and Laura, or’a Shirley
I’m tryin’ to hit it early, like I’m in a hurry
See, that’s how dude became the young pootie tang tippy tow (“School Spirit”, College Dropout)

Now, I’m sure it’s not the wackest shit you ever heard, but it’s far from the best shit you ever heard either.

Observe Kanye’s lyrics, post Amber Rose:
This the fast life we are on a crash course
what you think i rap for to push a f-cking Rav 4,
but i know that if I stay stunting,
all these girls only gon want one thing,
i can spend my whole life good will hunting (“Run This Town”, Blueprint 3)

Save for his comment poking fun at Rav 4s, currently my dream vehicle, not bad huh? The attempt at wit is decidedly more clever, tongue and cheek rather than nonsensical and corny. Admittedly, it may be a bit early to say that Amber Rose has changed Kanye’s music, a full length album would of course be a better indicator, but a close listen to Kanye’s recent work would prove that Kanye is stepping his game up. It’s debatable whether or not this improvement is due to Amber Rose’s good-good, but if a chick as bad as Amber Rose wont do the trick, I don’t know what will.

*Author’s note – Just my personal opinion. Die hard Kanye fans need not argue.