Yesterday, at 2:53 p.m. EST, Billboardpublished a very important headline.
"Outkast to Reunite for Coachella 2014?"
For the first few reads, you don't see the question mark. All you see is "Outkast" and "reunite" and you fall down. But then you get back up, see "at Coachella" next to "2014" and then you simply faint.
Eventually, you gain some emotional stability and read the piece. You see things like "is indeed in talks" and "multiple sources have confirmed" and "some conversations" and the amount of excitement is almost unbearable. So you start texting and emailing and calling friends, making absurd, completely necessary plans, while discussing the incredible sacrifices necessary to pay for (and stay at) Coachella for two weekends.
On Sunday night in NYU's Skirball Center, Aubrey Drake Graham walked out onto a hashtagged-blessed stage to talk to Rap Radar's Elliott Wilson in the fifth installment of his town hall–like, State of the Rapper interview series (previous guests: Tyler, The Creator; Wale; J.Cole; Macklemore). On the surface, the idea of listening to someone interview a rapper for 90 minutes is a torturous premise. One can only handle so many layup questions and cliché-fueled answers.
But I went anyway. Because it's Drake. And whether I liked it or not, I'm in too deep with this guy.
Over the course of the fireside chat (embers replaced with champagne, of course), Drake tackled most questions in an extremely transparent manner and gave details about his career and philosophy on life that even the casual fan would find interesting.
When this vast, important film festival — street name: "TIFF" — moved its hub to downtown Toronto, it was a win. The streets are smaller. The food is better. And so are the multiplexes and nightlife. There are also fewer businesspeople to trip over and protests to avoid. (I'm not kidding: I have missed the start of many a movie because of some worthy-cause march.) The festival built itself the TIFF Bell Lightbox, which is in use year-round as a state-of-the-art moviegoing facility. Most years I leave sad I'm not Torontonian. But I think the downtown luster has begun to tarnish.
January, 2013: Beyoncé does an interview with GQ to promote her upcoming Super Bowl halftime show performance. She tells GQ she's been working on her fifth album at the Carter family's Hamptons spread. She's been hosting recording sessions with Pharrell, The-Dream, Timbaland, making tracks influenced by Prince and doo-wop. Word spreads online that the album is complete, ready for release.
February: Beyoncé performs a medley of her biggest hits at the Super Bowl. She does not premiere any new songs. In lieu of a new single or the release date for a new album, a commercial airs during the game announcing the impending kickoff of the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. In the tour's ad, Bey ballroom walks in slow motion dressed like a steampunk Marie Antoinette to the strains of a new Beyoncé song called "Bow Down/I Been On." Shortly thereafter, Bey's self-directed documentary Life Is But a Dream premieres on HBO to mostly bad reviews.
Joey Bada$$'s breathless, mind-boggling '90s fetishization — the kid was born halfway through the decade — rolls on. I mean, I don't know for a fact, but I'm pretty sure the last person to have said the phrase "word is bond" had just unironically purchased limited-edition Brand Nubian vinyl and was wearing an upside-down/backward Puma visor.
Within one second of the public's first viewing of Baz Luhrmann's take on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, it's clear music will be a centerpiece.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, saying "New York ... 1922 ..." over the Kanye–Jay–Frank Ocean track "No Church in the Wild." After first listen (and viewing), it didn't make any sense, and that hasn't really changed with subsequent viewings. The song, while quite effective as the backing for 2012's Safe House, seemed like an odd pick for our first impression of a film adapted from one of our most celebrated American novels.
Shia LaBeouf appeared on Letterman and spoke about his Broadway beouf with Alec Baldwin. "Now what did you do to him?" asked Letterman, a friend of Baldwin's. Short answer: two impulsive people clashing and creating "fireworks," tension between the two "as men — not as artists, but as men," and definitely not the PR-generated "creative differences" that were cited as the reason behind LaBeouf's departure. But we knew that already.
Over the past nine months, the two members of OutKast, Big Boi and André 3000, have produced statements in the form of lyrics, tweets, and interview responses that at times signal a potential reunion, and at other times drive home the point that the end isn't just near; it's here.
First, the bad:
There was Big Boi's July tweet, in response to why André was on Frank Ocean's "Pink Matter" and not him:
Dre didn't want an OutKast Record Coming out on anybody else LP RT @joeyde_: whhhaaaaaa @bigboi why werent you on it to begin with?!
The question was asked, because both Big Boi and André spent time in the studio separately, while Ocean's channel ORANGE was being made, but as we now know, only one made the final cut. And, according to that tweet, we have a hunch why.
A few months ago, when the buildup began for Big Boi's second solo album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, I made a pact with myself that if it looked like the project was going to be underwhelming, I just wouldn't give it any coverage. I'd pretend like it never happened. The idea of the Outkast-related hot streak coming to a crashing halt (again, Idlewildnever happened. We all made that up, collectively) was too much to accept, and if bad things were looming, my plan was to simply sit this one out.
But then I realized something else. If it was good, it was going to be awfully hard to write about the project without bias. Beyond the facts that I'm from Atlanta and that my first concert was Outkast opening for Lauryn Hill and that Outkast is easily the most important musical act of my life — beyond all that — there's nothing I want more in music than a successful Big Boi/Andre/Outkast project.
So, if I were to say, after a week of listening to the album nonstop, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is easily a top-five rap release of 2012, should you take that with a grain of salt (or, if you will, a sprinkle of grits)? Absolutely.
"I used to be a way better writer and a rapper when I used to want a black Carmengia.
Now a n---- speedin' in a Porsche, feeling like I'm going off of course."
— André 3000
Three notes here:
The one obvious criticism: I really don't like how André 3000 is TOTES ripping off Kendrick Lamar's style here.
Chill, bro. That's a joke. Stay out of my inbox about it.
By the time you get to the end of this song, chances are you'll forget that T.I. is even alive because André 3000 is GODDAMN TOUGH here, son. If you're a rapper and you're on a song with him and he starts doing that hyper-nasally sing-song thing that only he and God can do, then just fuck your life. You're taking that L, that's all there is to it.
It’s been a couple of years now that Andre 3000 has been associated with a lead role in a Jimi Hendrix biopic, and that delay – plus Three Stacks’ general on-and-off reclusivity — meant it sure felt like this project was never actually going to happen. But, surprise!!!, it’s happening. The Playlist notes:
Titled "All Is by My Side," the film is gearing up start lensing in three weeks in Ireland, with a six week production schedule mapped out. John Ridley, the writer behind "Three Kings," "U-Turn" and the forthcoming "Twelve Years A Slave" has penned the script and will be directing as well ... The film will essentially cover Hendrix's breakthrough period from 1966 to 1967, when he was discovered in a New York club by Linda Keith, a model and girlfriend of Keith Richards at the time, who introduced him to The Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham and producer Seymour Stein (who both declined to work with him), and eventually to manager/producer Chas Chandler who helped launch his career. He went to London, recorded Are You Experienced? and the rest, as they say, is history.
What, exactly, is Andre 3000's thought process when it comes to leaving the plush, luxurious, and fully stocked underground bomb shelter he calls home? We don't hear from the guy for years, then he pops up on Ke$ha remixes and in Gillette commercials and God knows what else. It's jarring!
Every week we ask Molly Lambert to dive deep on one of the Billboard top ten songs of the week charts. This week's victim? The R&B and Hip Hop list, which Molly kindly transformed into film adaptations before grading.
1. Jay-Z & Kanye West, "Ni**as in Paris"
Wizards In Paris (G): A CGI-saturated family adventure about Apples (Jay-Z) and Grapes (Kanye West), two koalas on the loose in the City of Lights after stowing away on a luxury cruise (where they romance gold-digging squirrels, upend a millionaires' buffet and eat so many shrimp). Arriving in Paris on a chilly snowy night, the rascally marsupials face racist cabdrivers, a steep conversion rate, and evil time-traveling steampunk stage magicians. The movie climaxes with an exciting chase through the Chanel flagship store and an epic tumble into the catacombs to face off with both the metropolis's fabled wizards and their own fragile furry mortality. Listen:Here Grade: A
Landing a verse from André 3000, the Big Foot of hip-hop, is a great way to show your industry pull. The problem here for Jeezy, though, is that Drake’s album just had a brand new 3 Stacks feature, while this “I Do” verse has been floating around for over a year. Come on, ‘Dre: goddamn Ke$hagets a new one, but Jeezy has to settle for scraps?