It's officially October, the United States government is currently shut down, and Miley Cyrus just put out an above-average pop album — three realities no one wants to hear, but that we all have to accept as fact.
I can't explain where September went. As for the government shutdown, I could explain it, but it would just be a string of expletives followed by the calling out of congressmen à la Kendrick's "Control" verse.
Miley, however, is something we can, and should, talk about. At semi-length. And now that the stream for her new album, Bangerz, is available on iTunes, the discussion can take place without all the nonsense. Nothing about her VMA performance. Or her interviews. Or her outfits. Or her friends. Or her haircuts. Or the fact that she's the first woman to bend over and wiggle while looking back at it. None of it.
So far, helpfully, each iteration of Drake has had a clear and distinct through-line. In the first round, tracing roughly from his mixtape So Far Gone to his proper debut Thank Me Later, it was Drake as a broken-hearted oversharer, all tears, regret, raw nerve endings, and feelings. With Take Care and the next go-around, the feelings were still there, but they were less romantic, more existential: This was Drizzy, newly famous man, figuring out who he was and who he wanted to be. Now, with the upcoming Nothing Was the Same (out September 17), comes Round 3. This time, he's obsessed with charting the rise; it's Drake as autobiographer. And if there's one thing he wants us to take away when this is all said and done, it's this: He did this shit himself.
On "All Me," the Big Sean and 2 Chainz–featuring cut he released last night, Drizzy hammers home on the party line. But how valid and thorough are his claims of fiercely independent self-actualization? Let's investigate!
You're rapping over that Mims song?! Mims??!!! It's been, like, six years! He was famous for like 45 seconds! Die Antwoord — just when I thought you couldn't have gotten any less one-note, you go and do something like this ... and totally redeem yourselves!
To complete the implicit analogy between this new track from Ross's God Forgives, I Don't and David O. Russell's early classic Three Kings: Jay-Z is obviously George Clooney, Dr. Dre is probably Ice Cube, and so Ross is Mark Wahlberg? And Gunplay can be Spike Jonze?
A question on the occasion of the 13th or 14th time I've listened to Chief Keef's "I Don't Like (Remix)" today: Is anybody better at co-optation through collaboration than Kanye West?
Chief Keef is a previously superunknown, dreadlocked 16-year-old rapper from Chicago's South Side. Earlier this year, he became a viral fascination after a video of a very, very excited young man in a wood-paneled rec room celebrating Keef's release from jail on weapons charges became a hit on Worldstarhiphop.com. Keef was big among local high school kids, but he seemed to have no connections whatsoever, even on the regional level; in a hip-hop moment where even upstart blog-rap types like A$AP Rocky seem to arrive pre-assimilated, with label/media/fashion cosigns in place, that appearance of total aesthetic purity goes a long way. So did the detail that Keef has managed to blow up despite still being under house arrest at his grandmother's home, which is also the kind of hook that gets the attention of editors at outlets not normally known for commissioning long-form profiles of newish rappers (call it the Earl Sweatshirt Exemption).
Demi Moore has joined the biopic Lovelace as Gloria Steinem, whose involvement in the story came through a profile she wrote of Linda Lovelace for Ms. describing how the porn actress was forced into shooting the infamous Deep Throat. Also newly onboard are Adam Brody, as Deep Throat co-star Harry Reems, and Eric Roberts, as lie-detector expert Nat Laurendi. Wait, hold up, sorry: Seth Cohen is playing a porn star? Probably should have led with that information. Grade: B [HR]
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
DOOM feat. Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, “Retarded Fren”
When official word came down that underground rap’s king weirdo DOOM was actually teaming up with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (for a track on Complex, Lex Records’ 10th Anniversary compilation), it was tough not to geek out a little bit. Which means the end result — a perfectly adequate DOOM track for which Yorkey and Greeny provide a beat that sounds like the score for a chase scene in a stylized neo-noir movie — is, through no fault of its own, just a touch disappointing. But what were we expecting? For Thom to throw down some bars? The best part is when DOOM shouts out the Lex anniversary show he’s playing with Ghostface tomorrow. That plug will age well.