T-Pain Kickstarts A Comeback With "Up Down"

In the last decade of hip-hop, few artists have had as many ups and downs as T-Pain. Having come up during the heyday of vocoder/autotune, the Florida-bred emcee has struggled to find radio hits in recent years. Still, his tours sold out and offers to collaborate continued to roll in. T-Pain kept quiet, working on major singles as opportunities arose, and now it seems he’s finally set for a comeback with his new single, “Up Down.”

Time can change a person in many ways, but those worried T-Pain would abandon his love of vocoder can rest easy knowing the rapper’s signature robotic voice is still completely intact on his new material. “Up Down” pairs Pain with Atlanta kingpin B.o.B. for a track about the girls at clubs that make you want to spend all of your money. It’s catchy, simple, and complete with a great hook. You can view the song’s official lyric video below.

T-Pain has certainly taken a major risk by refusing to change his vocal approach over the years, but “Up Downs” is proof enough he still knows how to craft a radio/club-ready hit. This track might be forgotten in a year, but it will certainly help T-Pain regain his credibility in the urban music scene. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on the performance. (more…)

The Best Social Media Sites You Might Not Be On Yet

Since you’re reading this post in a publication that is distributed through a music discovery Web site, there’s a good chance that you’re pretty familiar with the ins and out of the Internet. You’re on Facebook, maybe you’ve tweeted and there’s a good chance you’ve checked in on Foursquare. So, that’s it for social media, right?

Wrong. You can’t really think it’s OK to keep active with just the big players, the major social media platforms that everyone online is already familiar with.  These days, you can’t just be on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace (even though your band hasn’t been logged into for years). The reason is that the game is changing  every day. It seems every week there is some new social media or Web site that you need to get involved with. Since it can be daunting to peruse through all the different sites and understand both what they offer and what they can do for your band,  we’re going to highlight some of the more useful blogging tools that musicians like you need now.

Tumblr has been around for a while nowfounded on 2007, it’s a twentysomething in Internet years. But it really just began to come into its own in 2011, and now is as good a time as any to get into it. Why? There’s a few reasons. Tumblr’s simplified platform is easy enough for anyone to use and the various themes users allow anybody to make a clean, attractive blog. The ask and reply system allows for straightforward correspondence between users. But the most impressive aspect of the Tumblr experience? It’s personal. Facebook allows for mass communication, Twitter allows for mass broadcasts but Tumblr is far more intimate. The artists that do it right, like indie band Toro Y Moi or the Beastie Boys, combine little glimpses into who they are, from their interests to their lives. For more ideas and inspiration, check out the tumblrs for Tom Waits, Childish Gambino and OurStage’s own Bethesda.

Yes, you’ve heard of Google and chances are you’ve heard of (but maybe not used) Google+. Fair enough, you’re not alone if you’ve tried and not kept up with the search giant’s attempt to break into the social media game. However, it may just be the time to give it another look. A number of major name artists are beginning to make use of the burgeoning social media platform. Big names like Britney Spears, T-Pain, Mark Hoppus and Trent Reznor are all users. Google+ has already had it’s fair share of breakout stars, like OurStager Daria Musk. Daria has mastered the medium and became a sensation on Google+ overnight, with over 200,000 people tuning into her last livestreamed show. Check out footage from the Daria’s first Google Hangout concert below.

Finally, you would be forgiven if you’ve come across Pinterest and not thought anything about it with regards to your musical career. Pinterest is like an online cork board; users share images on their pinboards and can browse the pinboards of others for inspiration. At least at this early stage, Pinterest is like Tumblr but with a more human element, or Facebook without all the excess noise. While the number of musicians on Pinterest as of right now is limitedthe Backstreet Boys appear to have the the biggest presencethe service is still very young and growing fast. In fact, the invitation-only site has seen explosive growth in the past six months, growing from 2 million to 11 million weekly visitors between September to December of 2011. So while there’s no obvious strategy for musicians on Pinterestself-promotion is frowned upon and the service is image based for nowit would be good to get in on the ground floor of the wildly popular service.

Soundcheck: Hot Ticket Tours

With the new year comes new talent, new music and new must-see shows from some of our favorite artists. While more hot ticket tours are sure to be announced as the months go by, here’s a few we’re already gearing up for in 2012.

Rick Ross: Although he’s been relatively quiet since last year’s numerous health scares, it seems Ross is ready to get back on the scene with a year full of features, releases and live gigs. On January 13, he will be at LA’s Nokia Theatre with Busta Rhymes, Y.G. and Eric B; following up with a show two weeks later at Webster Bank Arena in Connecticut.  In February, he’ll hit the stage for “The Maybach Massacre” featuring Waka Flocka Flame at Uno Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. This year is looking good for Mr. Ross, who began production last week on the video for his single, Rich Forever from his upcoming mixtape of the same title.  The video reportedly features Meek Mills, Drake, DJ Khaled and French Montana.

Bow Wow: The Young Money artist took to Twitter to confirm that he would be embarking on a world tour in 2012 in to promote his album, Underrated. He’s planning to hit North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, Japan and South America, but no official confirmation has surfaced.  Only time will tell if Bow Wows global bounce back comes to fruition, or is just wishful thinking.

Lil Wayne & Eminem: Though no dates have been confirmed, Eminem and Lil Wayne are rumored to be coordinating an international tour together for 2012.  Weezy first announced the news in November on his Facebook account, posting Headed to Fiji, Australia, then S. Africa¦on tour with Slim Shady¦a blessing¦thx to those who supported C4! 2x platinum! Love y’all With his album, The Carter 4 going double platinum, and Eminem being the show-stopping performer he is, there’s no doubt this tour will be the hottest ticket in town.  The two already have numerous successful singles under their belts, including No Love, Drop The World and ˜Forever.


Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Ri-Ri and Brit-Brit steam it up in new videos

The sex is most definitely on fire in Britney Spears’s new video for Criminal and Rihanna’s for We Found Love. Watch the femme fatale and S&M dominatrix put a lip lock on their love interests”Britney’s real life boyfriend Jason Trawick and Irish model Dudley O’Shaughnessy, respectively. Then take a cold shower, you perv.

Nicki Minaj spoofs Tunechi

Nicki Minaj is buds with Lil Wayne, so it’s cool for her to lampoon his PSA video from last week. What’s not cool are those dreadlocks, but hey, if you’re imitating a stoner, you gotta go method. Watch the female Weezy have her fun below.

The Bad

Rick Ross hospitalized for seizures

Rick Ross was flying to a gig in Memphis when he suffered a seizure and was rushed to a hospital after his plane made an emergency landing in Fort Lauderdale. After being released from the hospital to continue onto Memphis, the rapper suffered a second seizure on his new flight and forced the plane to make an emergency landing in Alabama. No details have been released about what has caused the Teflon Don’s seizures, but we hope whatever it is knocks it off.

Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon split

Indie rock’s ultimate power couple, Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, have separated after twenty-seven years of marriage. The announcement came from the band’s label, Matador Records, who said that Sonic Youth will play its South American tour dates in November, after which all future plans are undecided. Total bummer.

The Ugly

Adam Levine lashes out at Fox News

When Adam Levine tweeted for Fox News to stop playing his music on its evil f**king channel he effectively threw down the gauntlet, which Fox News correspondents Andy Levy and Greg Gutlfeld were all to happy to take up with a series of totally juvenile tweets. Exhibit A: Fun joke: Why did Maroon 5 cross the road? Because crappy music is legal there! Come on dudes, surely you can do better than that. Then again, maybe not.

Usher splits his pants for Bill Clinton’s birthday

Speaking of immature, we are can’t help but snicker over the fact that Usher split his pants during his performance at Bill Clinton’s birthday concert. The wardrobe malfunction prompted the singer to quip, I work hard. Lady Gaga followed up that excitement by changing they lyrics to Bad Romance to Bill Romance and channeling Marilyn Monroe while singing, Happy Birthday to the former president. Still not as entertaining as a pants split, but at least she tried.


Soundcheck: Beach Cruisin' With Glasses Malone

It’s been a long road for Glasses Malone, the Watts, California native who began work on his debut album, Beach Cruiser in 2006. Now, the almost five-year-in-the-making, project has finally hit the streets.

Featuring verses from the likes of Akon, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne and Lupe Fiasco, the album is a gangster rap throwback that remi

nds us what made hip hop great.   Malone is a story-teller, and on Beach Cruiser, he depicts the gangster life to a T with his signature ganster-soul style. His single, Sun Come Up features Rick Ross, Birdman and T-Pain and is already heating up the airwaves.  An admitted former Crip, Malone is not as aggressive as hislyrics may suggest.  On the contrary, his demeanor is pleasant and friendly.

It’s been such a journey and I am so blessed, he says.  ˜Feel Good Music’ is my favorite song on the album.  It sums up my mood.   The track he’s referring to closes out thealbum on an oldies-inspired high-note; a testament to the almost five-year journey it took for him to get here.

Back in 2005, he hit the scene with his Crack Mixtape release and followed up with White Lightning¦Sticks in 2005. That year, he signed a $1.7 million deal with Sony, but was released when the label dismantled its urban division in 2007. After a label jump to Cash Money Records, and Mack 10’s HooBangin’ imprint, the album was pushed back to April 2008.  He released two singles that year, Certified featuring Akon and Haterz featuring Birdman and Lil Wayne.  Despite the strength of the first singles, they failed to gain traction on radio and the album continued to be pushed back¦and back.  In the meantime, Malone joined Slaughterhouse and Tech N9ne for their K.O.D. Tour in 2009, and made numerous guest appearances on other albums in 2010.


An Open Letter To Pop Music From China

From the desk of the Cultural Authorities at the Ministry of Culture

To the Citizens of the People’s Republic of China:

Addressing the immense quantities of vulgar media assaulting our Internets, we, your Cultural Authority, have taken to protect you, the People, with a nationwide ban of an additional 100 songs to our already existing list. The outrageous influx of western popular “artists” into our Internets is absolutely unacceptable. Western “Pop Music” no longer represents beauty: it has come to stand for excess, for irreverence; it strives to shock, disturb and break taboos. Is this the moral compass that the youths of nations are supposed to be following? This art form has become soulless, sterile, and focuses on the egoism of the individual.

In our original treatise, we exposed our reasoning on the decision. Unfortunately, it seems that our release wasn’t presented in a simple enough format for the mass divulgence of our message. Therefore, we present here an abridged list to the reasons by which we believe this music is undermining our national culture:

American Role Models

– By limiting both illegal and legal material (as we have said before, the content [doesn’t] necessarily contain illegal content), there will no longer be a  general lack of supervision and regulation over market behavior. We can’t have people not doing what we tell them to!

– Considering the wealth of music in our country, we don’t see the need to listen to the same forty songs, eight times a day.

– The formulaic nature of the imported songs isn’t enough to keep our attention for long enough. Sorry, please try again.

– We see no reason to feature T-Pain in every song.

– You will no longer catch our attention only by being brash and outrageous: been there, done that.

Western pop music has become utilitarian: it only has a value if it has a use. The audience craves nothing but a quick dose of perceived happiness and satisfaction, only due to the comfortable safety given by familiarity and association. How many of these songs would you describe as “beautiful”?

Until pop music gets its act together and stops sucking, we’ll be enforcing the country-wide ban.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sadly, this is only a fictionalized account of why the Chinese government decided to ban 100 songs. If only these were the actual reasons. . .