This past weekend, Grantland editors Robert Mays and Emily Yoshida went to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Because we couldn't just let them go and have a nice time among the rave kids and B-list celebrities in Indio, we decided to make them do a scavenger hunt. Who won the weekend (other than Daft Punk)? Join us and find out!
Yoshida: We arrive at the box office to get braceleted up. Girl working the booth in the press line does not seem to be enjoying her job very much. I am starting to understand the exact level of mental and physical punishment I am about to endure, and am already worried about how to acclimate to it. This will be a complicated mental exercise.
Mays: Eight minutes. That’s exactly how long it took from the start of my first set of the weekend until I spotted my first ownerless cowboy boot. You can imagine, then, how upset I was when I realized that points for loose cowboy boots weren’t included when the final list was pared down. This could’ve started better.
In the past week, brothers Jeff and Eric Rosenthal of sketch comedy duo ItsTheReal have released a DJ Drama–hosted mixtape, Urbane Outfitters, with the likes of Hannibal Buress, Bun B, Maino, Lil Jon, and Freeway; been written up in a variety of outlets, from the New York Times to Billboard to Fast Company; and retweeted Macklemore nine times. To close out their week, they're doing our Songs of the Week, because it's the final step in "making it."
N.O.R.E. ft. 2 Chainz, French Montana, and Pusha T, "Tadow"
Jeff Rosenthal: These are the things that go “tadow” for French Montana: his chopper, her ass, his money, and his bling. I don’t know if it’s a sound or an adjective or a combonomatopoeia, but it’s certainly something I’m adding to my everyday-speak.
Rembert Browne: Why aren't you guys in the N.O.R.E./P.A.P.I. video for "Built Pyramids”?
Here is a crowd-sourced Dunder Mifflin ad that will air during the Super Bowl in Scranton, and only in Scranton.
• Oh, and hey guys, got any hot sexy plans this weekend? Maybe gonna eat some poached veal with Larry King? Wear something trampy on your date with a pickup artist skeeve in a rape van? No? You could always try this online dating service that uses humans instead of algorithms if you’re interested in capturing the sensation of being set up by your “fabulous, drunk aunt.” Or you could save the $99 and just ask your own fabulous, drunk aunt for the hookup. Fabulous, drunk aunts have been making it happen since two-thousand-never.
There's Club Kelz ["Fiesta (Remix)," "Ignition (Remix)"], Chicago Steppin' Kelz ("Step in the Name of Love," "Happy People"), Trapped Kelz ("Trapped"), Infidelity Kelz ("Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)," "When a Woman's Fed Up"), Nasty Kelz ("Feelin' on Yo Booty," "Bump n' Grind"), and, of course, Stupid Nasty But Still Sweet? Kelz ("The Zoo"). Perhaps his greatest iteration, however, which is also the starkest contrast to his other personas, is UPLIFTING KELZ.
The other R. Kelly personae are what make him versatile. Uplifting Kelz is what makes him a legend.
Be it 1996's "I Believe I Can Fly," 2002's post-9/11 "The World's Greatest," or 2004's "U Saved Me," the man knows how to make you feel things, believe in something, get through whatever ails you, and transport to a place where there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Sometimes in this world, opportunities arise that we do not deserve. But when they come around, we seize them, driven by a fear of missing out, as well as the promise of memories that will undoubtedly be made and the stories that will be told for days, months, and years into the future. These opportunities can come in the form of a new job or a chance encounter, and of course there are those that come in the form of an invitation to travel around the world with Rihanna.
Anita Baker covers Tyrese's hit from 1999 and makes it very much her own. I really hoped this would be a cover of Massive Attack's "Lately," because Ms. Baker would absolutely kill it doing Shara Nelson's part. Anita Baker is a national treasure, a Detroit Lions fan, and one of my favorite celebrities on Twitter. The first label she was ever on was called Ariola Records, which makes me laugh because I am an idiot. Last night she simultaneously live-tweeted the debate and the Lions-Bears game and it was glorious. She makes use of caps lock when appropriate, loves to drink cups of coffee, and always ends with her initials, "ab." A sample tweet from Anita: "FREE GIFT!! Limited Time offer! Get it NOW. While it lasts!! His GIFT...of This Brand New Day!! :) ab"
Best YouTube Comment: "The Queen of Quiet Storm —AnneBoleynMarquess
Yesterday marked the official release of the highly anticipated, been-leaked-for-days, Kanye West–led G.O.O.D Music collective album Cruel Summer.
It's not bad.
Saying that about most albums is grounds for celebration. Singles can be good, but few albums really stand out as "not bad," with the rare few deserving the honor of being called "good." Kanye West is one of those artists who has dwelled in the elevated realm that is "great," a world unknown to most, since he began releasing albums in 2004. So to have anything associated with his name described as "not bad" is a bit of shocker.
But where did it go wrong? How can an album with five of the more notable rap songs of 2012 ("New God Flow," "Clique," "Cold," "I Don't Like (Remix)," and "Mercy," with the latter serving as the song of the summer, and arguably the year) be such a letdown? Is it musically a disappointment or is this just a byproduct of the high expectations that we have for anything Kanye West is attached to?
He’s growing old like the rest of us, sure, and maybe prone to weepy fits of nostalgia for a bygone era where music was earnest and not controlled by social media, shock value, and fucking stupid neon hats, but there’s still something noble about R. Kelly’s quest to dig up the classics of R&B and process them through his personal branding machine. This project started in earnest in 2009, when he began singing Sam Cooke songs during his sets. Then came the infamous Christmas party where he performed the entirety of Cooke’s 1964 show at the Copacabana, which, in turn, inspired Love Letter, Kelly’s throwback album that featured the single “When a Woman Loves.”
This song does not exist. It does not contain the lyric “I ball harder / no tennis racket.” It does not contain the lyric “Swag out this world, you should call me Venus / that’s my sister, my name is Serena.” Those aren’t real lyrics. This song does not exist.
Danny Brown, “Jay Dee's Revenge”
If you’ve ever spent any significant amount of time in Michigan, you know worshiping the late hip-hop producer J. Dilla is practically written into the state constitution over there. Which, if you’ve ever spent any significant amount of time driving around a mind-numbingly freezing Michigan winter in a decrepit Mercury Sable blasting his bass monster beat for Frank n’ Dank’s “Marajuana” over and over again, you understand why. (This Danny Brown track comes off the latest posthumous Dilla release, Rebirth of Detroit.)
Yes, it's finally here. The "Trapped in the Closet" podcast. Reality Czar David Jacoby sits down with Rembert Browne and Jay Caspian Kang to talk about R. Kelly's masterpiece, with scattered discussions of Coachella, cruises, and holograms sprinkled in for good measure. A few of you will really, really like this.
"The P-P-Package. The P-P-Package. The P-P-Package. The P-P-Package." — Pimp Luscious
Once these lines were stuttered at the end of Chapter 22, it was the end of an era. Although R. Kelly stated in an IFC behind-the-scenes screening of this final chapter that it was "going to end with a beginning," there was no way to tell if we'd ever see Sylvester (husband of Gwendolyn, brother-in-law of Twan), Pastor Rufus (husband of Cathy, lover of Chuck), James (husband of Bridget, lover of Gwendolyn), Big Man (little person male stripper, lover of Bridget), Rose (the nosy neighbor, husband of Randolph), Pimp Luscious (pimping partner of Bishop Craig), Narrator, and the other members of the incestuous Chicago community ever again.
Scoring no. 1s. Breast-feeding in public. Your fave could never! Grade: B Best YouTube Comment: "I sang this song great. Very hard song to sing. Me and Beyonce are the only people who can sing it good." —MrRodriguez1956
Madonna featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, “Give Me All Your Luvin’”
This song sounds like Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” which on its own isn’t the worst thing ever, but it pointedly contains the lyrics, “Every record sounds the same / You’ve got to step into my world.” Also: Madonna made M.I.A. and Nicki awkwardly shake pom poms around just in case anyone forgot for a second that she was playing the Super Bowl halftime show this Sunday, and then only gave them four worthless, tacked-on bars each? On the plus side: Doesn’t she look amazing, folks?!
All season, Grantland editors Jay Caspian Kang and Mark Lisanti will answer five very important questions about each performance episode. They're already starting to crack under the pressure, so by the top 12 things should really get interesting.
Who was your favorite contestant from Aspen? (And keep in mind by “favorite” we mean “the one you liked the most, you feel me, don’t overthink it, dawg.”)