I have to admit, I haven’t been one of those swept away by the recent Yeezus phenomenon, though Kanye‘s most recent album did receive some pretty high praise, including two Grammy nominations (though according to Kanye, he definitely deserved even more nominations. Two just won’t do.) But for those who felt Yeezus was snubbed by so few nominations, or who simply don’t want to see the album fade away, you won’t have to. Directed by Hype Williams (Belly), Kanye is bringing Yeezus to the silver screen. Unfortunately, the details are pretty scant right now, but you can check out a short trailer for the film here. Will you be seeing Yeezus when it hits theaters?
I imagine that there’s a certain feeling of flattery in being named one of the most illegally downloaded artists of the year. Musicmetric, which analyzes data from Bit Torrent, has revealed that at over five million downloads each, Bruno Mars and Rihanna earned the top spots in this category, while Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, and Flo Rida rounded out the top five. Also in the top 10 were Kanye West, Jay Z, Eminem, Drake, and Pitbull.
Gregory Mead of Musicmetric reminds readers that the analytics “don’t condone piracy,” but rather help artists plan around where their fans are, in order to optimize tours ” similar to what Iron Maiden has started doing. Musicmetric also measures social media success, and found Taylor Swift to be the winner, with an added 29.5 million new followers in 2013, with Katy Perry close behind at an added 29.2 million new followers.
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Kanye West has found himself tangled in a lawsuit for sampling a vocal track of soul singer Ricky Spicer (The Ponderosa Twins Plus One) in his track, “Bound 2.” Spicer filed a lawsuit against West this past Monday, along with Roc-a Fella Records, Universal Music Group, and Island Def Jam Music Group, with Spicer seeking “an injunction and damages for alleged violations of New York civil right of publicity law (section 51), unjust enrichment and common law copyright infringement.”
The lawsuit states that after recording “Bound” with The Ponderosa Twins at age 12, Spicer went on to perform with acts such as James Brown and Gladys Knight. “For all his accomplishments,” the court papers state, “Mr. Spicer was not fairly compensated.” Check out the two tracks below and let us know what you think. (more…)
What a character Kanye West is. Sometimes he comes off totally bonkers, other times he appears to be an artist of a caliber so high that we can barely keep up with him. But the best is when both happen in one instance. Take his little impromptu speech at Harvard University last month, in which he veered from incoherent to highly-conceptual in the space of a single sentence. Now comes video of a November 8th performance in San Antonio, Texas, where Kanye has clearly had enough from some audience members who won’t stop imploring him to remove his Maison Martin Margiela-created mask – part of his stage costume.
He tells the fans that they can see his face “every motherfucking day on the Internet” before stating his chief problem: “I came here, I open up a mountain…and you tryin’ to tell me how to give you my art.”
You do not fuck with Kanye’s art.
He goes back to a freestyle explaining why he wears the mask, taking it all with a little humor, but then one woman continues to shout at him to take off the mask. He then signals to security to have the woman removed, to the delight of the crowd.
“Do I look like a motherfucking comedian? Don’t fucking heckle me. I’m Kanye motherfucking West.”
Kim Kardashian has nothing to do with this story, but now that I’ve mentioned her, way more people will read this. Hi, Kim fans!
Amid the avalanche of criticism aimed at Kanye West’s over-the-top, obviously green-screened, naked Kim Kardashian-featuring, fake motorcycle-riding new video for “Bound 2,” is one common complaint that just keeps recurring: the video is too damn cheesy.
And, yes, it is. Yes, it’s the visual equivalent of a romance novel you’d find in the supermarket checkout line, or a drunkenly ill-conceived artistic partnership between Lisa Frank and Thomas Kinkade. But, of course, when a video is this incredibly kitschy, it’s usually a signal that the people who created it must have done so intentionally. Other than a basic lack of self-awareness on the part of the director and star, how else could you explain why an idea so cheesy is executed so gleefully and without restraint?
And if you look at it as intentional, then maybe it’s possible to see the the video as a deliberately corny ode to the feeling of falling in love, to the understanding that the cheesy and stupid emotions that you never thought would ever possess you can be both surprisingly real and frighteningly in the driver’s seat when it comes to your decision-making; that the cheesiness of those emotions actually isn’t fabricated, but real, and might in fact be the only thing really worth championing in a world where so much else is fake and manufactured. This might explain why cheap green-screening takes the center stage in the video: as the visual equivalent of the inherent corniness that real, uncool, stupid-looking human love entails.
But, of course, according to Kanye, that’s not what he means. In an interview yesterday with The Breakfast Club on New York’s Power 105 FM, Kanye stated straightforwardly that his intention with the video was “to show you that this is The Hunger Games. I want to show you that this is the type of imagery that’s being presented to all of us, and the only difference is a black dude in the middle of it. Admittedly, this is a pretty vague statement, but his remarks later on in the interview clarify his position a bit, as he goes on to say: “We’re enslaved by brands¦We’re controlled by peer pressure. We’re controlled by the desire for a particular car.”
We used to have a feature here on the OurStage magazine called Watch This Wednesday, where we would round up the videos that had been kicking around that week for your viewing pleasure. Today, we have to institute a “Why Watch This?” Wednesday, in direct response to the time-devouring clips that have been put out lately.
Let’s start with no one’s favorite ego maniac, Kanye West. He and his famous partner, sex tape star Kim Kardashian, pretend to ride a motorcycle in front of a green screen, making us recall with fondness the Alicia Silverstone/Jeremy London pairing in Aerosmith‘s dumb “Amazing” video. Kanye and Kim are either masters of subtle satire or are the two least self-aware people on the planet. Place your bets.
Why watch this? So you can tell your grandkids that you saw and recognized the signs of the decline of civilization. This is the uncensored version. Don’t avert your eyes, coward.
Next up is Katy Perry, who is, as you know, the worst. This pusher of progressively bad music also fancies herself a ‘personality,’ and, not content to confine her creative output to music, she shows up on SNL, in commercials, and as the comedic heroine of her “Roar” video. Now she returns to her glam side with the official video for “Unconditionally,” which is what we in the smart-ass-jerk business call “pointless.”
Why watch this? Perry appears to be, literally, on fire at several points, which is something.
You may have seen a video for West’s new single “Black Skinhead” floating around the net the last day or so. We wrote about it yesterday, in fact, and just a few short hours later Kanye took to Twitter to express his frustration with the clip’s release.
In a series of tweets, Kanye opened up about the creative process and official release plans. “The BLKKK SKKKN HD video that leaked yesterday was not the official version. Me and Nick Knight have been working on this video for 5 months and for creatives it’s heartbreaking when something like this happens. The final version will be ready within the next week. So any website that may have the unapproved / unfinished ruff. I ask you to please take it down. Allow me and Nick to give the world what we’ve been losing sleep over. And to who ever leaked the video¦ FUK YOU!”
Always classy, Kanye.
As people who try and support music as much as we can, we will be pulling our link to the leaked video. Keep an eye on our social feeds in the week ahead for the video’s official release.
Following the unusual planned projection release of his “New Slaves” video, Kanye quietly let “Black Skinheads” find its own place in the world by uploading the clip without warning at some point in the last 24 hours. The visuals are typically overdramatic Kanye, with muscly shirtless CGI men reciting the lyrics against the deepest black and lightest white. It’s strange, and certainly worth a watch, but at the same time is as confusing as could be. You can view the video on Slate.
Yeezus is in stores now, and we highly recommend fans of Kanye give it a spin if they haven’t already. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on the video for “Black Skinhead.”
The pop music world is still absorbing the impact of Kanye West‘s Yeezus, but yesterday afternoon another member of the hip-hop elite took on one of the album’s biggest beats and delivered an equally enjoyable (if not better) song.
Turning “New Slaves” into “New Chains,” Hit-Boy has delivered a new single on the back of the lead Yeezus single that makes the familiar production feel fresh once more. Hit-Boy doesn’t spit lyrics quite like Kanye, and that’s okay because no one should ever try to imitate Mr. West, but what he does bring to the table is just as heartfelt and honest. You can view the video for “New Chains” at the end of this post.
Hit-Boy found success as a rapper with the release of his HitStory mixtape, but now all eyes on him to make the next move. “New Chains” seems to hint at a future release, but Hit-Boy is keeping details slim. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on “New Chains.” (more…)