Yes, the day after the new Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories, is streaming in full on iTunes, I am writing about Cam'ron.
AND I COULDN'T BE MORE THRILLED.
Why? Because, for his latest single, Cam dipped back into his most hilarious, oddly-genius, career-spanning schtick: rapping over beautifully cheesy TV theme songs.
There's something about the words coming out of his mouth, sometimes nonsensical, other times in the 99th percentile of vulgarity, always entertaining and full of confidence, that works perfectly with a wholesome '80s sitcom theme.
"F**kin' Problem," the song that bumped A$AP Rocky into the mainstream, is still hanging onto the midsection of charts, and sounds more and more like a Linkin Park song with every replay, but today I'd rather talk about Rocky's would-be other single "Wild for the Night," which has been struggling to get an airplay foothold for a few weeks now (where is 2 Chainz when you need him?) and which I have just had to resort to playing on repeat in my car. Rocky released a big-budget on-location video for the track earlier this week (see above), which included a bonus Skrillex mini-track at the end and got people talking about the song again for about 24 hours, but its time seems to have already passed, and the video hasn't even cracked 1 million views on YouTube yet. It's a reminder that in the chart world "Problem" is still bigger than A$AP Rocky, and with his Vegas days nearly upon us, the Skrillex Factor may no longer be quantifiable, if it ever was.
It was May 2004. My closest childhood friend was graduating from high school in Montclair, New Jersey, and my mother and I made the trip up from Atlanta to watch him walk across the stage. It was my first trip up north, and I was excited but nervous. After the ceremony, picture-taking, and some family time, it became clear I was tagging along with Dean, the graduate, for the requisite postgraduation party.
While no stranger to a high school Bacardi Limón grinding session, the scene at this Jersey rager was markedly different from the ones I'd grown accustomed to back home. It was spring 2004 after all, and in Atlanta that meant one thing: the all-out radio assault of singles from the legendary The King of Crunk & BME Recordings Present: Trillville & Lil Scrappy. Between the Trillville side ("Neva Eva," "Get Some Crunk in Yo System," "Some Cut") and the Lil Scrappy side ("Head Bussa," "No Problem," "F.I.L.A. (Forever I Love Atlanta)"), one album managed to supply the entire soundtrack for the first quarter of the year.
These were not the songs played in Montclair that night.
For 10 days, Grantland staff writer Rembert Browne is at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, collecting stories while trying not to die.
Schoolboy Q is having a phenomenal time in Austin.
As the second most famous member of the Kendrick Lamar–led Top Dawg Entertainment crew, Q had a great deal to celebrate on Wednesday, with a headlining position at SXSW staple THE FADER FORT Presented by Converse and then a cameo across the street at the Spotify Live compound to crash Kendrick's headlining set.
Beyond rapping, one of the hallmarks of Schoolboy's appeal (along with one of the reasons I didn't mind seeing him twice in less than three hours) is that he'll say anything and do anything and, more often than not, people will enjoy it.
Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the '80s. Every so often, we'll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn't seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he's watching the video, then we'll post those thoughts here. This week's installment was picked by Rembert (as spotted by this tweet from rapper/producer El-P): the "City of Crime" music video from Dragnet. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the '80s, e-mail us at email@example.com.
There is a song called "Gangnam Style" by a human named Psy and it's the worst song of 2012. It is very popular, with its official video tallying more than 970 million views on YouTube, but it is still the worst song of 2012. The dance associated with the song has really taken off, making appearances in every wedding reception, bar mitzvah, and after-funeral party attendable, but it is still the worst song of 2012. At one point it was the top rap song on the Billboard charts, an especially awkward achievement, partially because it is to rap what I am to body sculpting, and partially because it's easily the worst song of 2012. And finally, the song has become an easy target for spoofing and remixing, which, for once, makes complete sense, because it is the worst song of 2012.
One of these remixes hit the Internet this weekend, by Philadelphia rapper Cassidy. On paper, this is strange, because he has long prided himself on being pretty much the "realest" man that has ever walked this earth, never concerning himself with "publicity" or "selling out" or "making money." Doing a remix to the most popular/worst song of the year seems like the opposite of that lifestyle — that is, until he takes it in the most unconventional direction possible.
A. Care about this.
B. Don't care about this.
C. Aggressively, vocally don't care about this.
They were that kind of band.
It went down on Friday, in Germany. During a solo set at Munich’s On3 Festival, a gig that was originally supposed to be a full Das Racist show, a grinning Heems delivered an announcement: "You guys wanna know a secret? I'm gonna do some Das Racist songs, but Das Racist is breaking up and we're not a band anymore. Here we go." Victor Vasquez, a.k.a. Kool A.D., followed that up by tweeting "for the record i quit das racist 2 months ago and was asked by our manager not to announce it yet. apparently @himanshu wanted to do it tho," to which Heems replied "hah dag, my bad dont even remember saying that shit."
It's December, which has historically meant three things for me: an aggressive holiday music binge; reminding my loved ones to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," because there are still a few non-Christians in America; and prepping myself for the inevitable, comically PC "Happy Kwanzaa" comment from someone who is just trying so hard to do right.
With regard to holiday music, for better or worse, I have an opinion on everything. One of those opinions is that "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is an overrated song. It falls in the same category as "Jingle Bells" as being just a little too corny for my liking. With that said, there are two versions, by The Temptations and The Jackson 5, that have found ways to funk it up a bit, and for years these were the only two versions I could tolerate. Until this morning.
This week on the Hollywood Prospectus Podcast, we're going east, young men and women. Andy and I, both having seen Silver Linings Playbook (don't worry, we don't talk about it) (but go see it!) have some brotherly love pumping in our hearts (3:30). The film is set in Philadelphia, in the weeks between Halloween and Christmas, and Andy I were nostalgic for our Thanksgiving breaks back in our hometown. So we decided to make a Spotify playlist celebrating the mid-'00s hip-hop that soundtracked so many of those trips home. We talked a little about why this was such a special time for rap music, salute the glory that is hip-hop one-hit wonders, and talk a little about the Philly premier of the dystopian Brad Pitt flick Twelve Monkeys. Nostalgia is in the house.
We get back to regularly scheduled programming with a whip-around through Sunday-night TV. I am kind of out on Homeland (19:35), and when it comes to The Walking Dead (29:45), Andy is wandering around in the forest covered in zombie entrails.
Brandon is a 23-year-old Berkeley, California, native. While not yet his full-time job, one of his greatest passions is the sport of basketball. This past Sunday, Brandon joined a crew of hopefuls attempting to secure a spot on the newly created Santa Cruz Warriors, a team within the NBA's Development League.
Traditionally, we here at Hollywood Prospectus don’t do much coverage of multimillion-dollar Silicon Valley venture capital investments. But when the recipient of a multimillion-dollar Silicon Valley venture capital investment is controversial hip-hop-lyrics-explainer website Rap Genius — controversial, I say! — then we have to get into it.
Watch this video, and then let me explain to you who is really at fault:
The protagonist in this short film is Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly. Obviously hyping himself up for future BET Awards scuffles (this happened last Friday), he got a little emotional at his in-house performance at the Microsoft Store at Lenox Mall in Atlanta, Georgia.
This fall is littered with new books by and about populist lit heavyweights: Michael Chabon's Telegraph Road, Junot Diaz's This Is How You Lose Her, D.T. Max's David Foster Wallace biography Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story. And right along at the top of the crop is NW, the first new novel from Zadie Smith in seven years. But a new book isn't the only thing Smith is dropping on us this month. Somewhere between her surely hectic promotion schedule and active social life (I'm picturing a lot of hoity-toity dinner parties where Jeffrey Eugenides gets big laughs with obscure references to Paris Review cover illustrations), Zadie found time to profile Jay-Z for the New York Times style publication T Magazine.
Yes, this is the billionth Jay-Z profile. But this one's different. And that's because, throughout the course of the piece, during which Zadie and Jay pal around over fish sandwiches, one thing is made abundantly clear. Zadie Smith isn't just a massively popular high-brow author; she's also a well-versed Jay-Z superfan. How delightful to learn! Now, let's analyze Ms. Smith's flexing of her Hova bona fides.