The Black Keys Announce New Album in 2013

Though it might seem like The Black Keys would want to take it easy for a little while after the last two years, which saw the release of the group’s two most popular albums, a deluge of festival performances, and many major licensing deals, they just can’t seem to stop putting out new records. And that’s a good thing.  The Akron, Ohio duo of drummer Patrick Carney and guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach have been churning out a new album almost every year since their sophomore record Thickfreakness came out in 2003, and they have recently announced that their upcoming album will definitely be completed in 2013.

In an interview with CBS Local, drummer Carney noted that he and Auerbach want to “take a few months off to do normal things like go to bed early and wake up early, walk the dog, that kind of stuff,” but that those things will only happen after their next album is recorded. Now that is some work ethic. Somebody should tell that to Dr. Dre, who seems too busy making obscene amounts of money off of his Beats headphones instead of finishing Detox, which has been in the works for over a decade. Keep ’em coming, guys.

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The Second Coming of Dr. Dre

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome musical artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more.  Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce you to some of your favorite acts of the last few decades, and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future!

THEN: Gangsta rap pioneer André Young (a.k.a. Dr. Dre) was born to teenage musician parents in 1965. He grew up to be a staple in the music scene of south central Los Angeles, deejaying at as many clubs and parties as would hire him. Along with his group N.W.A. (for whom he was also producer), Dre was at the forefront of the gangsta rap movement until 1992, when he went solo and founded Death Row Records with Suge Knight. His debut record, The Chronic, went triple platinum within a year, solidifying Dre’s status as a full-fledged rap heavyweight. He spent the following few years focusing on producing and mentoring new, up-and-coming artists, sitting behind the board for artists like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and 50 Cent. Dre also released a sophomore solo album, 2001, which went sextuple platinum. In 2004, he began work on a third album, Detox, but after pushing back work for other projects and losing his son to a heroin overdose, the album was never completed. (more…)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soundcheck: Drama And Delays – Rap Release Round-Up

It was only a month ago that Lupe Fiasco was poised for a comeback. Now, on the heels of his latest release Lasers (out today), it seems the conflicted Chicago rapper is back in the dumps.  The album has received less than stellar reviews from critics, many insisting he’s lost his cool. Turns out, the trials and tribulations of the music game may have indeed pushed Lupe to his limit.  Aside from his very public battle with his label, Atlantic Records, it seems his beef runs even deeper than pushed back release dates and title changes.

To add a belated insult to injury, the label rejected one of his early demos for the album, Nothing On You, with one exec calling it wack. It must have stung to watch B.o.B. and Bruno Mars perform the track, nominated for Record of The Year at last month’s GRAMMY Awards. Lupe told New York Magazine, the situation was almost too much to bare.  It was less about the bruised ego but more the audacity of it,” he said. I was super-depressed, lightly suicidal, at moments medium suicidal”and if not suicidal, willing to just walk away from it all completely.

Thankfully, the emcee made it through his suicidal thoughts and seems to be reluctantly resolved to going with the flow.  With two albums left on his Atlantic contract, Lupe seems to have surrendered to the business of ˜the business.’ He told the Chicago Sun Times that despite being happy with the final product, it didn’t make up for drama it caused.  The climate of this record was very weird, in some instances surreal. I became very abstract. I had to create this commercial art that appeases the corporate side. I had to acquiesce to certain forces. Hopefully within that I snuck in some things I actually wanted to say any way I can.

Critics aren’t being so understanding, with some saying Lupe has lost his swagger, calling the album confusing, conflicting, and contradictory.  Of course, I beg to differ.  Not onlybecause I am a Lupe fan, but because the contradictory nature of his lyrics speak to the dichotomy in all of us.  It’s a line we straddle every day, wearing different hats at different times, but yet, when an artist presents himself as anything but cookie-cutter, it’s a problem? He goes hard at the right- wing conservatives in the same song that he criticized President Obama as well as the terrorists responsible for 9/11. Is that really such a stretch?

What’s more troubling to me is how talented artists, once excited and enthusiastic about living out their dreams, can be beaten down so hard in this industry, that suicide seems like a viable option.  It wasn’t long ago we all watched the public unraveling of Britney Spears, once America’s sweetheart, being hauled off to UCLA for suicide watch. Fantasia Barrino attempted to take her life last year after mounting a major comeback campaign. Dr. Dre’s battle with confidence is evident from the new material being released from his ten-year-in-the-making album, Detox. Kanye‘s bouts of mental instability could easily be attributed to the pressure of this game.  While some chalk this up to the antics of moody, brooding artists, it’s much more likely that the turmoil of the music business is enough to drive even the brightest stars to the edges of sanity.

Lupe’s release isn’t the only one we’ve been waiting for, but it looks like we won’t hold our breath.  J. Cole has yet to announce an official release date for his debut album, which was originally slated for a February drop date. His single In The Morning features Drake and is making quite the impact in radio and video circuits, but it’s yet to be seen what this highly- anticipated album will deliver.  His mentor and label head, Jay-Z, is also dragging his feet with his own release with pal Kanye West, Watch The Throne.  Kanye initially promised to have the record out in February, but no singles have been released since January’s H.A.M.  Lil Wayne has finally delivered his 6 Foot 7 Foot single and video, setting fans’ tongues wagging for his promised, full-length release later this year. With the way things are going, we expect a few delays from at least one of Weezy’s slated projects, which include a collaboration album with Baby, Like Father, Like Son 2, a solo project, and a full-length album with Drake.

The Dr Is In: Dr. Dre Offers Up Kush—Set to Detox in 2011

After years of reneged release dates and rap-world rumors of its completion, it seems Dr. Dre is finally ready to release his ten-year-in-the-making album, Detox¦maybe.

The first official single, Kush, released on Nov 18th,  features Snoop Dogg and Akon, and debuted at Number 48 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after a partial sales week, making it Dre’s first appearance there since “The Next Episode” in 2000.

As the title suggests, the track is an ode to a particularly popular strain of marijuana, and features the classic, west coast sound he helped cultivate over twenty years ago.

The prolific west coast rapper, turned producer, turned executive, turned actor who burst onto the scene in 1988 with N.W.A. and birthed the gangsta rap era with Straight Outta Compton hasn’t stopped since.  His debut solo album, The Chronic was released on Death Row Records in 1992 and introduced the world to G-Funk style rap. He produced Snoop Dogg‘s debut album, Doggystyle, in 1993; the first-ever rap album to debut at Number 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

The Aftermath president, (who also launched the careers of Eminem and 50 Cent) began work on Detox in 2004, but stopped to focus on production for other artists, and was re-scheduled for release in 2005.  When that date was canceled, three years passed before Snoop told Rolling Stone magazine the album was done in 2008, sparking industry-wide confusion of the seemingly phantom record. Another year passed before Interscope Records announced they would release the album in 2010,  with an unauthorized version of Under Pressure, the rumored first single hitting the internet in June.  Now, that the real single has officially dropped,  Detox is slated for an early 2011 release date.  It’s likely that this release will actually materialize an album, but Dre says it will definitely be his last. If Kush is any indication of what fans can expect, it may well have been worth the wait.

By Cortney Wills

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.