Saturday, December 1, 2012

How Katy Perry & Capitol/EMI Turned Fearlessness, Gut Instinct, Well-Crafted Material Into Massive Success

Katy Perry certainly began her relationship with Capitol/EMI Records on a provocative note-or is it all new artists that favor a first single about kissing someone of the same gender?

Executive VP of marketing/promotion Greg Thompson remembers there was "some spirited discussion" about whether "I Kissed a Girl" should be the calling card from Perry's first album for the label, One of the Boys, in 2008.

"We definitely had a few people that pushed back on us," Thompson recalls. "I seem to remember a little [protest] rally in a Beaumont, Texas, parking lot. But Katy believed in it, and we believed in it-and her-so you have to kind of make the decision that the song is just so great that even if it ruffles a few feathers, the passion that will come on the other side of the spectrum will more than compensate for any backlash.

"The song was a huge hit," he adds, "and it began a series of undeniable hit singles for her."

It also set the tone for Perry's relationship with the company, a mutual fearlessness built on well-crafted material and gut instincts that's led to domestic sales of 4.1 million albums and 50 million singles, according to Nielsen SoundScan, as well as 11 top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. That includes five No. 1s from 2010's Teenage Dream, making Perry the only woman with five No. 1s from one album.

"What's happened here is that you have an incredibly gifted individual at the core of it all," Thompson says. "She's not just somebody with a nice voice or who plays a nice guitar. She's the complete package-and not just as an artist, but as an individual."

EMI senior VP of marketing Bob Semanovich felt that way when he first met Perry during her time with Columbia Records, where, as she did with her managers, she introduced herself by doing a cartwheel into his office for their first meeting.

"She just had that thing, that star power. She just lit up the room," he recalls. "She was incredibly engaging. I remember I went home that day and said, 'Wow. I just met one of the biggest pop stars in the world.'"

That, of course, wouldn't happen until Perry got to EMI after a fruitless tenure with Columbia, and Island Def Jam before it.

"Most artists would've packed it up after the first couple labels, but [Perry] is very persistent," Thompson says. "She's got an incredible work ethic, and she finally got in a position to put all the pieces together and surround herself with people that could bring all of that to the world's attention."

As the chart-topping success of "I Kissed a Girl" established Perry as a star, and ultimately superstar presence, it also helped put EMI in a position to approach each of her subsequent singles with a sense of event.

"We create individual marketing plans for each song and video," Semanovich says. "We try to find something unique . . . and we create really robust plans around each one. The most important thing people need to know is this is Katy's vision. All of the videos are her idea or she has an idea and then we work with a director to expand upon her idea. But it's all Katy, and our job is to get Katy's vision out to the world."

During those campaigns, EMI has made extensive use of its social media reach and Perry's own platforms, launching the releases to her 28 million Twitter followers and 48 million Facebook friends. The company has also found strategic partners for the rollouts; the particularly extravagant campaign for "E.T." placed a Perry hologram on "Entertainment Tonight," while replicas of the video's Martians paraded around the streets of New York with QR codes on their backs, which allowed passersby to get a look at the clip. Fans could also download their own Martian masks and post pictures of themselves wearing them.

EMI was also able to parlay Kathy Beth Terry, Perry's adolescent alter ego in the "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" video, into its own independent identity.

"You want to create momentum in anticipation for the video," Semanovich says. "Wherever you premiere it, people are going online and watching it. So we try to launch them on as many platforms as we can, simultaneously around the world: online, broadcast TV, all different opportunities that present themselves. We know everything ends up online anyway, so it's a matter of what else you can use for maximum impact."

Thompson says that throughout the One of the Boys album cycle and then into Teenage Dream and Perry's "Part of Me" 3-D film, "it became pretty exciting when we started to see the way the public was eating up single after single. I can't say we laid it out in advance and everything went exactly as planned. It was pretty smooth the way it rolled out, but we did spend a lot of time taking a look at things, constantly."

Perry herself, he adds, "is very involved and very aware. She has great instincts. She was extremely passionate about 'E.T.,' for instance, and that was a home run."

Thompson acknowledges that, given Perry's success to this point, "obviously the bar is set pretty high for her." He notes that "some people would argue that she shouldn't go away at all." But at the same time Perry's current break will refresh all concerned as she prepares to start recording again.

"It's rolled really well, and the film was a fantastic way to end the cycle for Teenage Dream and to really leave people hungry for more," Thompson says. "She has accomplished so much that what's next for her is to go and follow her heart and make another great record-which I have no doubt she will.

"And then it's up to the team to work with her to live up to what we've been able to do so far," Thompson adds. "We can't wait." •••


Bad Boy Records rapper French Montana is continuing his war of words with G-Unit's 50 Cent, now daring his current music foe to a Nielsen SoundScan battle.

Montana hit Fif with a slew of disses and even poked fun at Chicago rapper Chief Keef leaving the rapper in Nevada by not showing up for a recent music video shoot.
"#Dunkeykong should send @Eminem & @adamlevine flowers for TRYINN to save his career come catch this fade monkey," Montana tweeted November 30th.
"@50cent if u really about Dat life lets drop our album da same day and see who sell more u had your turn old man."
"@50cent how your sun burn doin from waitin in da desert for 12 hours lol" (French Montana's Twitter)
Fif kept things short and sweet by taunting Montana's status on Bad Boy Records.
"LMAO @Frenchmontana gonna find out what we already know. Puffy gonna run like a b!tch you on ya own boy.," 50 tweeted. (50 Cent's Twitter)
This week, Curtis Jackson publicly went after French and called him the new version of incarcerated rapper Ja Rule.
"He runs his mouth prematurely, he's not ready to compete on any level with me," Fif said in an interview. "When I drop a record and it becomes the number one selling record in twelve hours, after you saying that, I think you should be quiet a little bit. You should hear the crickets now. So moving forward, I'll put him completely out of business. I'll put him out of business off the block, the corner -- he only had one song and you didn't even care about it because it was him, it had four other people on it. You don't got to pick a side -- my run itself will pick a side. That's your new Ja Rule right now. He's going to be your new Ja Rule." (Peter Parker)
Days prior, the Bad Boy Records rookie questioned Fif's selling power.
"[I'm dropping Excuse My French next year] because I ain't want to be part of the billing cycle. I am 'the' most important person in that [Bad Boy Records] building, that's how you got to look at it. You know 'Donkey' ain't doing too good," French said in an interview with DJ Drama, referring to 50 Cent. "[laughs] It's bad over there, nobody's really doing nothing. Shout-out toKendrick Lamar doing all them numbers, that's beautiful. ... [Have I talked to 50 since the Twitter disses?] Nah, you know, things people do when they cold. That's what happens. " (Shade 45)
Check out a recent French Montana interview:

Carly Rae Jepsen: Billboard's Rising Star 2012

(Photo: Vanessa Heins)

Carly Rae Jepsen describes the evening of Sunday, Nov. 11, as a "Cinderella night" - and one that would've been unimaginable a year ago.

At the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards held in Frankfurt, Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" was nominated for song of the year, alongside hits like fun.'s "We Are Young," Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" and Rihanna's "We Found Love."

Those three songs spent a combined 24 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, but Jepsen's smash, which held onto the peak position for nine frames last summer, was too undeniable to defeat. After performing "Call Me Maybe" earlier in the evening, Jepsen strode onstage in a flowing silver gown to collect the song of the year prize, and made sure to let the moment sink in.

"I had shivers up and down my spine the whole night," Jepsen says the day after the awards. The 26-year-old, who also earned the MTV Europe Music Award for PUSH artist of the year, met 2011 Billboard Woman of the Year Taylor Swift at the awards show, and received a Twitter shout-out from her pal Justin Bieber for the pair of wins.

"It's been such an impossibly wonderful year," she says, "and it just keeps getting better."

>Last November, Jepsen was still throwing wishes in wells: As a modestly successful pop singer from Mission, British Columbia, Jepsen had just released a single, "Call Me Maybe," that had quietly debuted on the Canadian Hot 100. But the year that followed has been a fairytale for the artist, earning her a spot alongside the world's biggest mainstream music stars through a pair of smash singles, a top 10 album debut, a slot on a best-selling arena tour and, most important, the arrival of a genuinely sweet pop persona.

Jepsen's wholly organic path to success - marked by, but not defined by, the impossibly catchy song of the summer - has earned her the 2012 Billboard Rising Star award. The singer/songwriter is set to receive the honor at Billboard's Women in Music event on Nov. 30 in New York.

In hindsight, the success of "Call Me Maybe" was staggering. Since making its debut on the Hot 100 in early March and reaching the summit 15 weeks later, the single has sold 6.1 million downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan, making it the second-biggest-selling digital song of 2012. The track ruled top 40 radio for the summer season and beyond, garnering an astounding 2.4 billion in cumulative audience on Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart, according to Nielsen BDS. In September, Billboard named "Call Me Maybe" its Song of the Summer, making Jepsen the first artist to claim the honor with a first Hot 100 hit since Katy Perrywon with "I Kissed a Girl" in 2008.

The song's refrain, marked by streamlined strings and a flirtatious phone-number swap, inspired viral tributes from the all-male Harvard baseball team, the U.S. Olympic swimming team, Perry and Bieber, who eventually helped sign Jepsen to his Schoolboy Records label (along with Interscope and her Canadian label 604 Records) last February. But as 2012 progressed, Jepsen's appeal spread outside of her lone smash: "Good Time" paired the singer with "Fireflies" artist Owl City, and the collaboration has sold 2 million downloads, according to SoundScan.

Both songs previewed "Kiss," Jepsen's sophomore album released in September, and a more radio-friendly departure from the acoustic-leaning songwriting of her 2008 debut, "Tug of War." Fortunately, the singer had already been shifting her creative focus before "Call Me Maybe" took off, and the hook-filled "Kiss" is the work of an artist comfortable in her own skin.


"There's been a natural progression from folk to pop that's been happening for a while," Jepsen says. "And 'Call Me Maybe' was the first time that I really embraced it, and saw that it could be embraced by other people too."

The mainstream opportunities have been plentiful following "Call Me Maybe," from performances at this year's Billboard Music Awards and MuchMusic Video Awards to an opening slot on Bieber's Believe tour, which began Sept. 29.

Through Nov. 12, the North American leg of the arena trek has attracted 400,097 fans to 28 sellouts, according to Billboard Boxscore, and Jepsen has been front and center, utilizing big-budget stagecraft while presenting Kiss tracks to thousands of screaming fans.

But as Jonathan Simkin, co-founder of 604 Records and Jepsen's manager since 2007, points out, the singer/songwriter's mainstream pop moment would not have been sustainable if she had strayed from her musical instincts. Simkin has helped build the durable careers of Nickelback and Theory of a Deadman - as well as been associated with acts like Len and Daniel Powter who couldn't move past their lone hits - and believes that success is based on more than presenting one great song to the masses.

"Trying to 'stay true to what you are' sounds kind of corny, but there's a lot of pressure in this business to make spur-of-the-moment decisions," Simkin says. "[Jepsen is] a real artist-she writes this stuff. And I've always said to her, 'Write what feels honest to you.'"

Jepsen has been honing her craft ever since placing third on "Canadian Idol" in 2007 and starting to work on Tug of War. The "Idol" stint prepared her for larger audiences, but in the years preceding "Call Me Maybe," Jepsen worked tirelessly to improve her songwriting. Simkin says Jepsen would constantly volunteer to co-write with her labelmates, while 604 Records project manager Kesi Smyth recalls "listening parties" in the back lounge of the label's office, where Jepsen would invite friends and family in to give feedback on her ideas.

"She would sit down and play 20 different acoustic songs for us, just to plan her next direction," Smyth says.


G.O.O.D Music's Pusha T has confirmed recent rumblings surrounding a new Ludacris track snippet where he goes at Cash Money's top bosses and explained its motivation.

Rather than feed into the speculation, Pusha has let the world know Lil Wayne and Birdman are specifically targeted on the new teaser.
Though Lil Wayne wasn't mentioned by name, avid hip-hop listeners were sure he was talking about the Young Moneyrapper. During P's exclusive interview with VIBE, he confirmed that he was indeed talking about Weezy and Birdman. "It's new and was for Luda's album," Pusha told VIBE. He also explained his motivation for the verse. "Oh, because it's a Swizz beat. You got to blame Swizz. See, when Wayne got a Swizz beat... with the "Ghoulish" track; he got busy, well, he tried to." (VIBE)
He also revealed what type of reaction Ludacris gave him over the diss.
Pusha says Ludacris wasn't aware he would be taking shots at the YMCMB family and ended up asking him to change his verse upon hearing it. However, the G.O.O.D. Music rapper says he has no plans on doing so. "I play by old school rules. I play by the fundamentals and foundation of what hip-hop was based on," Pusha explains on why he rarely mentions his targets by name. (VIBE)
Speculation on Pusha's subliminal wordplay surfaced Wednesday (November 28) night.
A snippet recently surfaced of a new Ludacris song in which Pusha T is taking some shots at Birdman and Lil Wayne. From the lyrics that leaked it looks like Pusha is only taking subliminal shots at the two, which is not very new, but it's still very clear who he is talking about. Check out the lyrics below and look out for this song to drop soon. "With your baby mama f*cking every rapper in the business/N*ggas saying you was better when the drugs was in your system/Now your crack swag gone ever since u came from prison/Got you tweeting all stupid, is you skatin', is you dissin'/Found out your ghost leased and your phantom just rented/Won't leave it in your name like Pac when he went missing/Makaveli lives on so I'm riding on you b*tches" (Complex)
A few days ago, the Virginia-bred rapper discussed his stance toward Weezy F. Baby.
"I put out a record. He puts out a record. Like I said, it's not about diss records to me. It's about making good music. I feel like everything I've put out thus far in regards to anything that has to do with me having an issue or so on and so forth, has been an immaculate record," Pusha said in an interview. "I can't say that for everybody else. Everybody else who may have thrown a shot here or thrown a shot there, whatever the case might be, at me, I can't say their record was awesome. I think that I was shaking souls with 'Exodus.' I think I was shaking souls with 'New God Flow.' ... It's not a personal beef. I don't personally know any of them. These guys have made great music in their day. These guys got fans, tons of fans, so I can't really let anybody speak ill, somebody with that many fans and somebody with that type of visibility and with that type of history, I can't just let them make statements against me and be quiet about it. That can be viewed as a victory." (Booska-P)
Check out the Pusha T snippet:

Shakira's Ex-Boyfriend's $100 Million Lawsuit Claims He Was Responsible for 'Unparalleled Financial Success'

Shakira's rise from Latin American star to global superstar, as told in the lawsuit filed by Antonio de la Rúa, her former boyfriend, was one of full of hard work, bold artistic moves, savvy management and love.

"The combination of de la Rúa's business and marketing talents with Defendant's artistic talents, beauty and sex appeal succeeded in propelling the value of the partnership far beyond anything either had previously achieved or believed possible," reads a section of the suit, one of many passages that strike a wistful note.

Now, de la Rúa is seeking to "recover his share of past and future partnership profits," says the suit, filed Nov. 20 by William Reid of Reid, Collins & Tsai in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

The complaint follows a brief writ of summons filed by Shakira in late October seeking damages from de la Rúa for misappropriation of funds.

His suit, in turn, provides a rare look at the intricacies of Shakira's career and seeks to "recover damages" of at least $100 million for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The monies, states the suit, are owed to de la Rua as part of his standing arrangement with the star, although there is no written agreement between the two.

"She was extremely successful as a recording artist long before Antonio ever became her business manager," says attorney William Reid.  "But the financial success she enjoyed with Antonio was unparalleled."

The purpose of the suit, however, is less striking than the story it tells, beginning in 2000 when Shakira first met de la Rúa in Argentina and detailing many events in her history that are peripherally known but not to this degree of detail. They include the decision to record "Hips Don't Lie" in order to save a flagging album, negotiations with Live Nation and the recording of World Cup anthem "Waka Waka."

De la Rúa and Shakira's romance became a business partnership in 2004, says the suit, after Shakira lost "millions" in her first world tour and de la Rúa "agreed" to become her "business partner" and head her business enterprises. No written agreement governed their partnership.

"De la Rúa spent more than six years building the 'Shakira brand into one the most valuable pop-star brands in the entertainment industry," claims the suit. "The profits earned by the partnership in 2011 and 2012, and millions of dollars that it will earn in the future, were generated by the deals he conceptualized, originated, negotiated and executed."

The relationship between de la Rúa and Shakira appeared to be so solid that, when the romance ended in 2010, according to the suit, Shakira posted the news on her website, noting that "We continue to be partners in our business and professional lives."

But less than a year later, in October 11, Shakira instructed an attorney to "terminate de la Rúa, as if he were a mere employee," according to the suit.
At press time, Shakira's camp had no comment in regards to the suit.

As for Shakira, she is currently expecting her first child with soccer star Gerard Piqué and will be a coach for the upcoming season of The Voice next spring.


After surviving a failed stage-dive at his sold-out Shepherd's Bush Empire show in the UK, Big Sean Don sat down with Tim Westwood to chop it up about G.O.O.D. Music, working hard and his upcoming album Hall of Fame.
Watch the three-part interview below. 
Part 1 - Shooting the "Guap" video in Detroit, Eminem reaching out and Kanye's musical arrangement on "Clique" and "Mercy," and almost not making "I Don't Like"
Part 2 - Catch phrases, the Law of Attraction, his upcoming album and "Detroit" mixtape
Part 3 - Concert Highlights


Immediately, it’s apparent: Karrine Steffans likes to talk, and her beef today is with source-less media, specifically Rolling Out. The urban entertainment site has offended the LA resident by blasting a list of her alleged ex-lovers, sex game ratings included.
“Half the list I don’t even know,” she states in frustration. “It’s so gauche, it’s so pedestrian. There are so many things that are beneath me. I am a three-time New York Times bestseller, I sold a bunch of books all around the world and I’ve been on Oprah. I do things that other people can’t do; I’m over here working. What I’m not over here doing is [going] online making lists.”
Or joining the cast of Basketball Wives LA, she says.
Rumors flew recently that the Drink, Fuck, Sleep writer would become the newest victim of reality TV lenses, maybe even adding some much needed excitement for the West Coast clique. Although, she stalled the rumor mill (for now), Vixen snatched up an hour with her to discuss the popular VH1 show, her objections to female friends, the 10-year anniversary of Confessions of a Video Vixen and how she reacted to Lil Wayne’s seizure news.
Have you been added to the cast of Basketball Wives LA?
Karrine Steffans: No, I’m not going to be on the show.
Do you know how that rumor hit the ‘net?
Someone told me that a cast member went to MediaTakeout and told them I was going to be on the show as a ploy to boost ratings because it was losing so much hype. So I called a particular cast member who I heard spread the rumor and she’s been dodging me which is weird.
Jackie Christie? The word is you two are friends.
[Laughs] I’m not going to say, but I called a particular cast member to ask. This is the second time that they’ve done that. The first time was for the first season. When I call her, no answer. Text message, no answer. Called her again, no answer.
Would you ever consider being on the show for real?
No, never. I don’t own the show, and I always remember and apply something that Magic Johnson taught me years ago—power is in ownership. If I don’t own it, I don’t want to be a part of it.
You did make an appearance once, right?Yes, that was enough. I didn’t particularly like the experience. After I was on the show, there was a strange string of events. I started getting phone calls from people on the show and saying things like, “After you left, such and such said this and that about you.”
Creating drama.
Exactly. ‘The such and such sisters didn’t like you.’ I’m not interested in drama. All my friends are men, so I don’t do the catty things that girls do. One of the main reasons why I wouldn’t be part of an ensemble cast full of women because it’s just not what I do. I don’t hang out with women in my real life and I don’t want to do it on television.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Alicia Keys Addresses Homewrecker Allegations in Jet Magazine

The singer says, "There's no need to fight what's not

Alicia Keys                                                                                                          Alicia Keys has been brushing aside accusations of being a homewrecker ever since husband Swizz Beatz' ex-wife, Mashonda, spread the rumor that Keys was the reason her marriage fell apart. In the latest issue of JET, the cover girl discussed the allegations and why she decided to ignore them.

"…[They] were apart for some time before we ever got together…that doesn't matter to those who take pleasure in trying to knock others down…there's no need to fight what's not true…," Keys said.

Initially, Mashonda seemed to have moved on from her initial accusations in the interest of her and Beatz' six-year-old son as last year the R&B singer wrote an open letter saying, "As a mother, Kasseem’s happiness is the single most important thing in my life. It took some time, but I now realize that even my former husband and his new wife are my partners in this wonderful journey."

In response to Keys' affirmation to JET that Beatz was separated when they became an item, Mashonda tweeted, "You can't create truth, it's already made……."

But it doesn't look like Mashonda's accusations are going to dampen the love Keys feels for her husband. During her interview Keys also explained why she and Beatz, who've been married for two years and have a two-year-old son together, are such a good match for each other.

"I'd never met a person where I could be fully myself…Swizz and I live in each other's shadow. So we can occupy the same space and there is nothing but equality. There's something really powerful about that."

Third Kevin Clash Accuser Steps Forward, Second Lawsuit

Kevin Clash
Despite a settlement and retraction from the first man who accused him of engaging in sex with a minor,Kevin Clash's legal troubles are far from over. The voice actor and puppeteer, best known as the voice ofSesame Street character Elmo, has been hit by more accusations of sexual abuse and a second lawsuit.

After Sheldon Stephens and Cecil Singleton came forward with claims that Clash had sex with them when the men, now adults, were minors, a third man has stepped forward to say he also had sexual relations with Clash when he was sixteen. The third accuser, who chooses to remain unnamed, tells the New York Daily News via his attorney Jeff Herman that he met Clash in a gay chatroom. Herman says he plans to file suit on behalf of his client in Manhattan Federal Court. TMZ is reporting the accuser claims Clash gave him alcohol and "groomed him."

Clash's first accuser, Stephens, settled his lawsuit with Clash for a reported six figures and agreed to issue a public retraction of his claims before having a change of heart. He is now seeking an attorney who will helpundo the settlement. The second accuser, Singleton, also filed suit last week.

Clash resigned from Sesame Street last week. Bosses at the long-running children's show said in a statement that Clash's "personal life has become a distraction." Sesame Workshop, the company that produces the hit show, has come under fire for not addressing the allegations, which first surfaced in June.

“When working around children, my feeling would be to always exercise on the side of caution and protect the children first and foremost,” a source close to the scandal told Fox News, adding that letting Clash keep working during the network’s internal investigation was “below the standard.”

Sesame Workshop responded by insisting they "took the allegation very seriously and took immediate action."

"We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communication with him,” Sesame Workshop said in the statement. “We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Although this was a personal relationship unrelated to the workplace, our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding our Internet usage and he was disciplined.”

Clash has maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal.


Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa recently discussed his infatuation with marijuana and the headline-generating arrests he has experienced over the popular drug.
Talking to television icon Larry KingKhalifa did not shield his passion for weed smoking.
"It makes me feel like I can get everything done in the right order -- If I think I'm doing better, then it's working on my brain. It actually makes other people think I'm doing good too," Khalifa said referring to marijuana. "[The arrests?] You pay the cost to be the boss. It should be legal everywhere, but me as one individual, I'm not going to make them think it should be legal. As many times as they're gonna slap the cuffs on me, they're gonna do it, but at the end of the day, they know what they can and can't do." ("Larry King Now")
Back in April, Wiz revealed his fiancée Amber Rose's stance on his smoking.
"[Weed smoking?] She's like, 'Get it away.' She doesn't hate it, but she will not do it. She'll roll it, she loves how it smells. She just doesn't want to get high 'cause she don't want to feel that." (Hot 97)
Recently, The LOX's Styles P spoke to SOHH about states like Colorado and Washington loosening up their marijuana laws.
"You know I was [excited when Colorado legalized marijuana]," Styles told SOHH. "I was glad for them. I say congratulations to them! That's a big step, and I hope it spreads. I pray [one day] it [hits New York]!" (SOHH)
Last year, New York rapper Smoke DZA told SOHH he feared marijuana becoming legal.
"I hope not," Smoke told SOHH when asked if he thinks marijuana will ever be legalized. "I would rather it be decriminalized than legalized. My whole thing is, on that subject, is when you legalize something, you give [the government] a chance to give you whatever they want. It's just like when Yahoo took over Myspace, it wasn't that cool any more. Decriminalizing would be the way to go because you could smoke your weed wherever you want and nobody could tell you anything. That's decriminalizing something. That's not getting penalized. But when you legalize it and you're able to buy it over the counter, they're sprinkling other stuff in the product. It's probably not the same [levels of] THC you're going to get. I'm not into legalizing, I'm into decriminalizing." (SOHH)
Check out a recent Wiz Khalifa interview:

Dr. Dre Tops Forbes' 2012 Highest-Paid Musicians List

Dr. Dre has finished a 12-month period of robust headphone sales and resurrecting Tupac Shakur in hologram form as Forbes' highest-paid musician of the year. The hip-hop mogul reportedly earned an estimated $110 million during a scoring period that ran from May 2011 to May 2012.

Along with catalog sales and payment for performances like his headlining set with Snoop Dogg at the Coachella fest, Dre hauled in $100 million pre-tax when HTC bought a 51 percent stake in his Beats headphone company last year, according to Forbes. Dr. Dre takes the annual money crown from U2, who topped last year's list with $195 million earned, thanks to their record-shattering 360 tour. This year, the veteran rockers slip to No. 4, with $78 million hauled in over the 12-month period.

The Top 5 of this year's list is rounded out by Pink Floyd leader Roger Waters, who grossed $88 million this year due largely to his epic The Wall tour; Elton John, whose rigorous touring schedule helped him collect $80 million; and U.K. boy band Take That, whose reunion trek contributed to a $69 million sum.

Other notable on the 2012 Forbes list include Justin Bieber, whose music and merchandise sales totaled $55 million to help him become the youngest artist on the list; Lady Gaga, who slips to No. 13 on this year's list with $52 million earned after clocking in at No. 4 with $90 million last year; and Beyonce, who, with $40 million accrued, out-earned her husband Jay-Z ($38 million) at No. 18. 

Dr. Dre's No. 1 ranking comes one month after he was named Forbes' hip-hop cash king in September. Diddy, Jay-Z and Kanye West were the only other hip-hop figures to make this year's overall list. 

Here is Forbes' Top 25 Highest-Paid Musicians of 2012: 

1. Dr. Dre ($110 million) 
2. Roger Waters ($88 million) 
3. Elton John ($80 million) 
4. U2 ($78 million) 
5. Take That ($69 million) 
6. Bon Jovi ($60 million) 
7. Britney Spears ($58 million) 
8. Paul McCartney ($57 million) 
8. Taylor Swift ($57 million) 
10. Justin Bieber ($55 million) 
10. Toby Keith ($55 million) 
12. Rihanna ($53 million) 
13. Lady Gaga ($52 million) 
14. Foo Fighters ($47 million) 
15. Diddy ($45 million) 
15. Katy Perry ($45 million) 
17. Kenny Chesney ($44 million) 
18. Beyonce ($40 million) 
19. Red Hot Chili Peppers ($39 million) 
20. Jay-Z ($38 million) 
21. Coldplay ($37 million) 
22. Adele ($35 million) 
22. Kanye West ($35 million) 
24. Michael Buble ($34 million) 
25. Sade ($33 million)


2 Chainz set it off the other night in Miami to an extremely participatory crowd. When it seemed like the show couldn’t get any better, Tity Boy brought out Miami Heat front man LeBron James and Young Money CEO Lil’ Wayne to perform their verses from the twerk worthy hit, “Bandz A Make Her Dance.
Press Play Below:


G-Unit leader 50 Cent recently shared some dicey words aimed at Bad Boy Records' French Montana and questioned his new rap rival's relevance as a hip-hop newcomer.

Outside of downplaying Montana's buzz, Fif likened the rapper to incarcerated foe Ja Rule.
"He runs his mouth prematurely, he's not ready to compete on any level with me," Fif said in an interview. "When I drop a record and it becomes the number one selling record in twelve hours, after you saying that, I think you should be quiet a little bit. You should hear the crickets now. So moving forward, I'll put him completely out of business. I'll put him out of business off the block, the corner -- he only had one song and you didn't even care about it because it was him, it had four other people on it. You don't got to pick a side -- my run itself will pick a side. That's your new Ja Rule right now. He's going to be your new Ja Rule." (Peter Parker)
A few days ago, Montana said Fif's rap career is hurting due to a lack of selling power.
"[I'm dropping Excuse My French next year] because I ain't want to be part of the billing cycle. I am 'the' most important person in that [Bad Boy Records] building, that's how you got to look at it. You know 'Donkey' ain't doing too good," French said in an interview with DJ Drama, referring to 50 Cent. "[laughs] It's bad over there, nobody's really doing nothing. Shout-out to Kendrick Lamar doing all them numbers, that's beautiful. ... [Have I talked to 50 since the Twitter disses?] Nah, you know, things people do when they cold. That's what happens. " (Shade 45)
Recently, Fif suggested rap newcomer Chief Keef is better than French.
"@chiefkeef got his own style. I'm talking about artist that don't have albums out yet. He way better then frenchie.," Fif tweeted Sunday (November 11) which is likely directed toward French Montana or possibly Atlanta rapper Frenchie. (50 Cent's Twitter)
Last month, 50 publicly fired some shots directly at French Montana.
"French Montana you ain't Sh!t boy. You out your league talking about me you hoe.i read your little interview what the f*ck is you high.," Fif tweeted October 10th.
"French your Sh!t so weak you never had a song by your self fool. Ain't nobody's waiting to hear your verse. Girl"
"Do you realize this fool @Frenchmontana hasn't sold one record and talking about sales." (50 Cent's Twitter)
Check out 50 Cent's interview:

Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' at 30: How One Album Changed the World

Steve Greenberg ( @steviegpro) is the founder of S-Curve Records and a Grammy winning record producer who had an integral role in developing the careers of Hanson, Joss Stone and the Jonas Brothers, among many others.

When executives of CBS Records went about the business of preparing for the November 30 release of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in the fall of 1982, they knew they had on their hands a terrific album by one of the biggest superstars in the music industry. But they were also a bit concerned, since the timing of Jackson's follow-up to his mega-selling 1979 album "Off The Wall" could not have seemed worse.

For starters, the record industry as a whole was in a bad slump, with shipments industry-wide down by 50 million units between 1980 and 1982. CBS Records' own profits were down 50% and sales were down over 15% for the year. As a result, major company-wide layoffs occurred in mid-August, on a day the company would remember as  "Black Friday." CBS desperately needed Jackson's album to be a hit, but market conditions appeared daunting.


With sales of 29 million, according to the RIAA, "Thriller" is the best-selling studio album in U.S. history. The set is tied with the Eagles' best-of collection, "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975."

"Thriller" has spent the most weeks (37) atop the Billboard 200 of any album by a single artist. Only the "West Side Story" soundtrack (54 weeks) has reigned longer. 

The "Thriller" No. 1s "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" are two of Jackson's 13 Hot 100 leaders, the most of any solo male artist.

"Thriller" became the first album to generate seven Hot 100 top 10 hits.

Stories circulated in the press about how the slump in the business stemmed from kids feeding their money into the coin slots of video game arcades instead of spending it on music. But that trendy theory was, to say the least, inadequate in explaining the industry's malaise. What really had happened over the previous three years was a seismic technological shift that had torn apart the very idea of the mass audience upon which pop hits depended: By the end of the 70s, 50.1% of radio listeners were tuned to FM, ending AM's historical prevalence and hastening the demise of the mass-audience Top 40 stations that had dominated the radio ratings since the 1950s. By 1982, FM commanded 70% of the audience-and among the 12-24 year old demographic, it was 84%. Consequently, a mass pop music audience that crossed demographic lines could not be sustained. Instead of listening to stations which offered "the best of everything" as they had on the old AM Top 40's, the abundance of choice on FM afforded listeners the luxury of hearing only the musical sub-genre they liked on more narrowly formatted stations, without having to wade through everything else. The result of this shift was that each audience segment had only limited exposure to the music played on the formats targeted to other audience groups.

Billboard columnist Mike Harrison noted in 1981 that "No longer is there an exclusive Top 40 anything, but rather an ever-changing multitude of Top 40's, depending upon the genre one wants to research or focus on. He added "Those who enjoy a-little-bit-of-this-and-a-little-bit-of-that….constitute a minority." In fact, by 1982 many markets, including major ones like New York City, didn't even have a mass appeal Top 40 station anymore. Precision targeting of audiences meant that radio stations needed to avoid playing anything that fell outside their target listeners' most narrowly-defined tastes. Failure to do this would lead to listener "tune-out," the fatal turning of the dial.

This situation led Newsweek, in an April, 1982 article titled "Is Rock on The Rocks?" to assert that increased fragmentation had drained most of the excitement from the pop scene, as there was no longer much cross-fertilization between musical styles. Newsweek concluded their article on what they called "rock's doldrums" by reminiscing about the "good old days" when Elvis Presley and the Beatles created excitement by providing an identifiable center to the pop music world, recording music that the various segments of the pop music audience could all share. According to Newsweek, Elvis and the Beatles were "Phenomena produced by a nation responding in unison to the sounds on every Top 40 radio station." The magazine went on to predict that "In today's fragmented music marketplace, no rock star can hope to have that kind of impact."

If that prognosis wasn't enough to give CBS Records executives sleepless nights, one aspect of radio's fragmentation was particularly scary: Since the start of the decade, black music had been increasingly banished from most white-targeted radio stations. This was partially due the virulent, reactionary anti-disco backlash that resulted in the implosion of that genre at the end of 1979. As the 80's dawned, programmers increasingly stayed clear of rhythm-driven black music out of fear of being branded "disco," even when the black music in question bore little resemblance to disco.  This backlash was greatly magnified by the demise of AM mass appeal Top 40 radio at the hands of FM, which led to black artists being ghettoized on urban contemporary radio, while disappearing from pop radio, which focused on a more narrow white audience.

How dramatic was the decline of black music on the pop charts in that period? In 1979, nearly half of the songs on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 pop chart could also be found on the urban contemporary chart. By 1982, the amount of black music on the Hot 100 was down by almost 80%. The fall of that year represented the nadir of black music's presence on the pop chart: Not one record by a black artist could be found in the Top 20 on the Top 200 album chart or the Hot 100 singles chart for three consecutive weeks that October-a phenomenon unseen since before the creation of Top 40 radio in the mid 1950s.

In this environment, numerous No. 1 urban contemporary hits, like Roger Troutman's "Heard It Through the Grapevine" or "Burn Rubber" by the Gap Band, failed to make the pop Top 40, and one, Zapp's "Dance Floor," failed to even crack the Hot 100. Prince's "1999," which would later emerge as a pop culture anthem, flopped at Top 40 radio even as it soared up the urban chart. A black superstar like Rick James could sell over 4 million albums while remaining unknown at the time to most listeners of white-oriented radio. His "Super Freak," which like "1999" would eventually come to be considered iconic, peaked at No. 16 on the Hot 100 in 1981, and was not played at all on many pop stations, whose programmers shied away because it had "that disco feel."

In all of 1982, only two No. 1 records on the Billboard Hot 100 were by black artists: Lionel Richie's "Truly" and "Ebony and Ivory" by Stevie Wonder in tandem with Paul McCartney (In fact, they were the only two records by black artists to even make the Top 3). And those two records veered so far into easy-listening territory that neither of them even made it to No. 1 on the black chart (Billboard rechristened the R&B chart as the Top Black Singles chart in June of 1982). In fact, the only record to hit No. 1 on both the pop and black charts during all of 1982 was by a white act: "I Can't Go For That" by Hall & Oates.
A seemingly impenetrable wall had been erected between the black listening audience and its white counterpart; for the most part, neither black kids nor white kids had any idea what the other was listening to. And just as it seemed things couldn't get more difficult for a black artist hoping for across the board appeal, something new and scary appeared on the scene: MTV. MTV's playlist was just as fragmented as that of white radio, and it was taking the music world by storm.


Today's R&B is looking for a young voice with an old soul and Jacob Latimore is the one for the job. Linking with and Vibe Magazine to release his first mixtape "This Is Me", we find Jacob in the up swing of his on the rise career. He tore down the Scream Tour this summer with fellow heart throbs Mindless Behavior and released the single to this project titled "Blast Off" with Diggy a few days ago.
Download the mixtape and enjoy Jacob at his most free lyrically and musically. We have a lot to look forward to with his talent and passion for the R&B genre. Check him on Youtube and on Twitter @JacobLatimore