Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rapper Flavor Flav Stopped for Speeding, Pot in New York

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — State police say rapper Flavor Flav was ticketed for speeding and driving without a license en route to his mother's funeral in suburban New York.
Flavor Flav
The rapper, whose real name is William Drayton, was allegedly driving 79 mph in a 55 mph zone Thursday morning on the Meadowbrook Parkway.

Police say the Long Island native also had a small amount of marijuana, and had 16 suspensions on his license.

Police say he was released on an appearance ticket so he could attend the funeral for his mother, who died Dec. 31.

The rapper is due in court Jan. 28. The name of his attorney was not immediately available.

He was a member of Public Enemy, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.

2Pac Set To Hit Em Up In New York City

Late music icon Tupac Shakur's legacy will be revived later this year in New York City with a musical production called Holler If You Hear Me in the works.

If all goes accordingly, diehard Pac fans will be able to see the musical production this spring.
Face it, as hip hop fans, we can't get enough when it comes to 2pac. Well good news hip hop fans 2pac is coming back, though not in the standard hip hop musical form, he'll be returning in musical form; literally. The musical titled Holler If You Hear Me is set to hit the stages of the Palace Theater in New York on May 26th. Instead of being a musical based on his life and times, it will be a tale of friendship, family, revenge, change and hope" set to the musical backdrop of classic Pac material, the musical is definitely something to check out. Be sure to mark your calendars for May 26th and cop tickets if you're in the New York City area. (Stupid Dope)
The late rap mogul's mother is reportedly a key producer behind the musical.
"Holler" isn't a biographical account of Shakur, who was killed at the age of 25 in 1996 following a shooting in Las Vegas. The musical production will use the rapper's lyrics to tell a story of contemporary inner-city lives. Among the producers of the musical are Afeni Shakur, the rapper's mother; movie and TV producer Eric L. Gold; and Chunsoo Shin, the prominent Korean theater producer who recently collaborated with the La Jolla Playhouse on another pop-music themed musical, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." (Los Angeles Times)
Buzz behind a musical coming together surfaced online back in September.
Kenny Leon will direct "Holler," which will feature a creative team that includes "Wicked" choreographer Wayne Cilento. Rumors of the Shakur musical had been circulating for months, though no official announcement from producers had been made until Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reported in September that Leon had workshopped the musical three times. (Los Angeles Times)
Some reports claim the production could be up for a Tony award next year.
The show's opening night is scheduled for June 19. "Holler if Ya Hear Me" will not be in the running for the 2014 Tony Awards, the Broadway industry's highest honor, because performances begin after the April cut-off for Tony eligibility. The show will be eligible for award consideration in 2015. (New York Times)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Universal to 'Retire' Paul Walker's 'Fast & Furious' Character

Director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and the studio will tweak the script and add scenes so footage of the late actor's Brian O'Conner character can still be used -- but the franchise can continue.

This story first appeared in the Jan. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Now that Universal has decided to move forward with Fast & Furious 7 despite the Nov. 30 car-crash death of Paul Walker, speculation has turned to how the film will deal with the demise of one of its key stars. 

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Sources tell THR that Walker's character, Brian O'Conner, will not be killed off in the film, now set for release April 10, 2015.

Instead, the plan is to "retire" the character in a way that the studio hopes will satisfy fans of the franchise and make use of the existing footage of Walker, who died about halfway through the Fast 7 shoot.

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In the weeks after the tragedy, director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Universal's lead executive on the Fast films, pored over the footage Wan had shot. The trio then devised a plan to tweak the existing script so that Walker would remain a part of the story but could be written out, allowing the franchise to continue without him.

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The changes will require some additional scenes to be written and shot, but the eight-month delay of release provides plenty of time.

Universal declined comment.

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Will Smith Breaks Silence on James Avery's Death: 'Every Young Man Needs an Uncle'

Smith portrayed Avery's nephew on the 1990s sitcom; the actor died last week from complications from open heart surgery.

Will Smith
Will Smith is paying tribute to his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star James Avery, who died last week from complications from open heart surgery.

Smith, who portrayed Avery's nephew on the 1990s sitcom, posted an undated photo of himself along with Avery and the rest of the cast on his Facebook page late Sunday night, writing that the picture was taken the last time they were together.

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"Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery," Smith wrote. "Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace."

Avery, who portrayed patriarch Judge Philip Banks in more than 140 episodes of Fresh Prince, died Dec. 31 at age 68 in Glendale.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Avery's son on the sitcom, which ran from 1990-96 on NBC, broke the news of his death on New Year's Day on social media.

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"I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away. He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly," the actor wrote on Twitter. In a posting on Facebook, Ribeiro said, "The world has lost a truly special man."


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Last week, Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who also appeared on Fresh Prince, posted her own thoughts on her Facebook page: "Damn. I just heard about James 'Uncle Phil' Avery. One of tv's great 3 dimensional characters. Something hard for African Americans to nab."


Avery also voiced Shredder in the 1987-93 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and James Rhodes in the Iron Man animated series.
"Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace"

"This photo was the last time we were together"
Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle
Phil. Rest in Peace

"This photo was the last time we were together"

SFX and Clear Channel Partner for Digital, Terrestrial Radio Push

SFX is partnering with Clear Channel on a marketing and content initiative that will place EDM-related programming on Clear Channel’s terrestrial and digital radio stations, and in its live venues.

Announced in a press release this morning, the partnership will leverage the brand power of Beatport -- a dance-dedicated online music store, and one of SFX’s many acquisitions in the EDM space -- to create three new products.
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Beatport-branded programming will include a national DJ talent contest airing live on select Clear Channel stations nationwide, including Evolution, iHeartRadio’s dance music hub (curated by BBC legend Pete Tong). An “original live event series” is also in the works, specifically a national program slated for Halloween 2014.

Perhaps most significant, however, is a weekly Beatport Top 20 Countdown, which will air on at least 10 major-market Clear Channel stations, including Z100/WHTZ in New York and KIIS-FM in L.A.  Beatport’s Top 10 chart is already one of EDM’s primary bellwethers, signaling a new potential star or dominant hit on the current festival-driven scene. But artists with big Beatport tracks don’t always “crossover,” lacking a platform beyond the site to grow.

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Tony Yayo Speaks On Mazaradi Fox's Murder: "S**t Is Definitely Real"

New York rapper Tony Yayo has come forward to speak out on the fatal shooting of close friend and fellow G-Unit affiliate Mazaradi Fox in his Southside Queens neighborhood.

Upset by the news, the "Talk of New York" acknowledged the violence around his neck of the woods.

"It's crazy out here, man," Yayo said in an interview with DJ Whoo Kid. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, rest in peace to Mazaradi Fox. Southside all day. You know how it is in these streets, man. Yeah man, it's not a game out there. People's not playing. Sh*t is definitely real. You know? Rest in peace to Fox, condolences to his family, his daughters and everybody. Yeah, man. They only got guns in America. When we go to Paris - they don't have guns over there." ("Whoolywood Shuffle")

New York authorities believe the rapper's horrific shooting may have been all about revenge.

A police source indicated the Fox slaying was possibly gang-related. Five years ago, Fox pumped two .25-caliber bullets into Queens gangbanger Rashawn Carter, authorities said. The victim survived the shooting. Charged with attempted murder, Fox was later convicted of attempted assault and sent to prison. In a bizarre twist, Carter was then executed in a brazen February 2010 street hit witnessed by the local precinct commander. "What a stroke of luck," one police source dryly observed. "The person you were trying to kill gets killed by someone else." (New York Daily News)
G-Unit Records released a statement on Fox's shocking death on Friday (January 3).

Digital Sales Decrease"We're sorry to hear about the tragic news. Our sympathy goes out to his family and friends. Despite reports, he was never on the G-Unit record label," says a representative for G-Unit. "50 Cent was in his New York studio and was saddened when he heard the news. He sends his condolences to Mazaradi's family," said a rep for 50-Cent. (This Is 50)
50 Cent hopped onto his Twitter page to react to Mazaradi's passing.

"Saddened by the news of Mazaradi's tragic passing my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends #smsaudio," Fif tweeted January 3. (50 Cent's Twitter)
G-Unit's Lloyd Banks and Yayo also paid their respects.

'Wolf of Wall Street' Financiers Threaten Legal Action Over Article Alleging Corruption

Lawyers representing Red Granite Pictures, the Malaysian financial backers of The Wolf of Wall Street, are threatening to sue a journalist who wrote an article suggesting government corruption may have been involved in the financing of the film.

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Red Granite Pictures' CEO is Riza Aziz, stepson of the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. In an article published to her critical news blog, Sarawak Report, journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown suggested that Red Granite Picture's resources and Aziz's personal wealth may have come -- at least in part -- via illicit means. She also alleged that Aziz's mother, Malaysia's first lady, has been actively promoting the film in the Muslim-majority country, despite its R-rating and portrayals of sex, drugs and debauchery. 

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In a lengthy legal notice sent to Brown, which she first shared with BuzzFeed, Red Granite's lawyers say they "write to object to the numerous false, misleading, defamatory, and malicious statements concerning RGP made in the article."

The undersigning lawyer, a partner from Santa Monica-based Loeb & Loeb LLP, demands that Brown retract the piece and compel other outlets that picked up the story to pull their versions as well or else face litigation.

Brown, a sister-in-law to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is one of the most prominent critics of the Malaysian Government. Although she was born in the former British colony, she has been banned from entering Malaysia since July 2013, due to her aggressive reporting. 

Red Granite Pictures previously co-produced Friends With Kids (2011) and Out of the Furnace (2013). Next up on the company's slate is Dumb and Dumber To.

Digital Music Sales Decrease For First Time in 2013


Under the subheading, "Where Did the Money Come From?", Brown's original story says, "How Riza Aziz emerged as a major bankroller of Hollywood movies is of obvious interest. Could it be linked to his family position and circle of associates?"

Loeb & Loeb insist that the article is an "irresponsible, shoddy, malicious screed that was clearly concocted by a writer or writers (and/or editor or editors) intent on pressing a transparent, political agenda."

The Sarawak Report article also quotes at length from an interview given by Aziz and RGP co-founder Joey McFarland to The Hollywood Reporter in May 2012, when Aziz said, "I will say that I have money invested in the company. It shows that I have skin in the game and am committed from a financial point of view. We also have a group of investors, mainly from the Middle East and Asia."

McFarland also mentioned in the interview that RGP's involvement in Wolf came about because of a personal friendship between Aziz and Leonardo DiCaprio.


In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, Brown said, in part: "Malaysia has one of the most controlled media in the world, so this powerful family are not used to inconvenient issues being aired, and I assume this is why they have reacted so aggressively."

She added, "We would be delighted if he could publicly account for his sources of income and tell us how he got so apparently wealthy or who his wealthy backers are."

The Sarawak Report story also questioned Aziz's recent purchase of a multi-million-dollar penthouse apartment in New York City. According to reports in the local Malaysian press, those allegations led opposition lawmakers to demand that Riza be investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Will Smith Breaks Silence on James Avery's Death:

The article has had a wide impact in the Malaysian media, with some outlets now calling on Prime Minister Razak to clarify the origins of his stepson's wealth and financial involvement in Red Granite Pictures. 

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Digital Music Sales Decrease For First Time in 2013

By , New York

For the first time since the iTunes store opened its doors, the U.S. music industry finished the year with a decrease in digital music sales.

While the digital track sales decline had been expected due to weaker sales in the first three quarters, the digital album downturn comes as more of a surprise as the album bundle had started out the year with a strong first quarter.

Overall for the full year 2013, digital track sales fell 5.7% from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units while digital album sales fell 0.1% to 117.6 million units from the previous year’s total of 117.7 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

While industry executives initially refused to attribute the early signs this year of digital sales weakness to the consumer's growing appetite for streaming, in the second half of the year many were conceding that ad-supported and paid subscription services were indeed cannibalizing digital sales.

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While  SoundScan has not yet released its annual streaming numbers numbers, so far industry executives have been reporting that the growth in streaming revenue has been offsetting the decline in digital sales revenue.

Overall, album sales suffered an 8.4% decline, dipping to 289.4 million units from nearly 316 million units in 2012. The CD declined 14.5% to 165.4 million units, down from 193.4 million in the prior year, while vinyl continued its ascension rising to 6 million units from the 4.55 million the format tallied in 2012. That means vinyl is now 2% of album sales in the U.S; digital albums comprise 40.6% and the CD is 57.2% and cassettes and DVDs 0.2%.

Meanwhile, album plus track equivalent albums fell to 415.3 million units, down from 449.5 million units in 2012, which represents a 7.6% drop.

Despite the decline in album sales, million sellers increased in 2013 to 13 titles versus the 10 that passed that milestone the prior year when Adele’s “21” led the way with 4.4 million units followed by Taylor’s Swift;s “Red,” which scanned 3.1 million units. In 2013, only one album sold more than one million units, Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, with 2.4 million units.

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The top selling track in 2013 was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. & Pharrell, which scanned nearly 6.5 million units, followed by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz  with 6.1 million units and Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive" with 5.5 million units. Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra was the top selling digital song with 6.8 million units the prior year.
In 2013, 106 songs hit million units mark, versus 108 titles that achieved that feat in 2012.

Moving over to market share, the Universal Music Group came in first with 38.9% in albums plus TEA, thanks to its acquisition of the Capitol Music Group, while Sony Music Entertainment finished with 29.5%, and the Warner Music Group tallied 18.7%. While these market share totals are by distribution ownership, where indie labels collectively are calculated as having a 12.3% share, next week’s Billboard will also show market share by label ownership where the indies are expected to have nearly 35% market share.

Moving over to genres, R&B which includes rap was the only genre to post an increase in 2013, with album sales growing 1.2% to 50.7 million from 50.1 million units in 2012, which all things considered is pretty impressive in a year where album sales declined 8.4%. The only other genres to outperform the U.S. album market were EDM, which declined 0.3% to 8.8 million units; and rock, down 5.9% for the year to 100.8 million units.

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Despite the decline in digital album sales, download stores like iTunes gained market share growing to 40.6% of U.S album sales, while mass merchants like Target and Walmart saw sales drop 16.3% to about 78 million units and now comprise nearly 27% market share; with chain stores like Best Buy and Trans World seeing sales decline by nearly 20% to 39 million album units to comprise 13.5% market share.

Meanwhile non-traditional CD merchants like Amazon, Starbucks and concert venues saw album sales increase by 2.4% to 36.5 million units; and indie merchants dropped by nearly 12% to 18.3 million units. Respectively, the former comprises 12.6% of album sales while the latter accounts for 6.3%.


News: Young Scooter On Doe B's Murder: "Tip Blessed Him W/ A Chance But He Ain't Survive These Streets"

Atlanta rapper Young Scooter is the latest entertainer to keep slain hip-hop artist Doe B's memory alive with the release of his tribute, "Letter 2 The Streets."On the track, Scooter acknowledges Doe's passing and stresses the dangers of being a performing artist.

"Rest in peace Doe B, that sh*t sad to see," Scooter raps. "I remember when he used to get the gas from street/He was born a country boy n*gga just like me, Tip blessed him with a chance but he ain't survived these streets/N*ggas hate everyday, that's the way the game go/Gotta keep some shooters with me when I rock these shows/You ain't safe in these clubs, you know money, it talks/And for the right price your partner'll knock you off." ("Letter 2 The Streets")
Over the weekend, Grand Hustle head T.I. joined friends and family alike to remember Doe B at a funeral service in Montgomery, Alabama.

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Some said it was fitting that even in death rapper Doe B drew a full house, as people packed the church and overflowed into areas outside for his funeral Saturday afternoon. A large crowd of mourners also attended the Saturday morning funeral of Kimberle Johnson, an innocent bystander killed during the same shooting, Funeral services for Johnson, 21, and Glenn Lamar Thomas, 22, known as rapper Doe B, were both held at True Divine Baptist Church on Troy Highway. The two services lasted about four hours and had statements from family, friends and in the case of Thomas, an appearance from rapper T.I., who signed Thomas to his Grand Hustle Records label in 2012. (Montgomery Advertiser)
According to reports, a third victim of last weekend's shooting was 20-year-old Tim Hamilton.

Family members and Montgomery police say Tim Hamilton, 20, died Friday night. Hamilton had been in critical condition in a Montgomery hospital since being shot Saturday. Two others were killed and five others were injured in the shooting at the Centennial Hill Bar and Grill, formerly known as the Rose Supper Club. (WSFA News)
Last week, 25-year-old Darius Thomas gave himself up to authorities
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Police in Alabama have arrested a second suspect in connection with the murder of rapper Doe B and a woman at a bar in Montgomery on Saturday (28Dec13). Darius Thomas, 25, has been charged with two counts of capital murder after turning himself in on Wednesday night (01Jan14), according to uneral arrangements for Doe B are currently underway and he will reportedly be laid to rest on Saturday (04Jan14). (Hollywood)
Prior to Thomas, another 25-year-old suspect received multiple charges after turning himself over to authorites on Sunday (December 29) in connection to the shooting.

Montgomery police charged Jason McWilliams, 25, with two counts of capital murder in connection with the slayings of Glenn Thomas, 22, and Kimberle Johnson, 21, at Centennial Hill Bar and Grill. McWilliams turned himself in late Sunday night, police said. Thomas was a rapper known as Doe B while Johnson was a student studying social work at Troy University, about 50 miles south of here. (USA Today)

Pitbull & Ke$ha's 'Timber' Takes First U.K. No. 1 for 2014

“Timber” (Mr.305/Polo Grounds/J/Sony) by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha debuted atop the U.K. singles chart yesterday (Jan. 5) to become the market’s first No. 1 single of 2014. Ellie Goulding’s “Halcyon” (Polydor/Universal) climbed 6-1 to top the album bestsellers for the first time, in its 65th chart week. 

In what is traditionally a fallow sales period around the beginning of the year, the Pitbull single sold an impressive 138,000 units in the week to Saturday night, while last week’s No. 1, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (Back Lot) sold another 108,000 as it fell into runner-up spot. The No. 1 single on the corresponding chart a year ago was James Arthur’s “Impossible” (Syco Music/Sony Music Entertainment), which sold 74,000 units in its second week on top.

Will Smith Breaks Silence on James Avery's Death:

“Timber,” currently at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, is the third U.K. No. 1 for both Pitbull and Ke$ha: he reached the summit twice in 2011, with Jennifer Lopez (“On The Floor”) and Naver, Afrojack and Ne-Yo (“Give Me Everything”), while she hit the top with Flo Rida in 2009 on “Right Round” and again in 2011 with “We R Who We R.” 

The two climbers in the singles top ten were both long-runners, Goulding’s “How Long Will I Love You” moving back 7-5 and Martin Garrix’s former No. 1 “Animals” (Positiva/Virgin/Universal) 13-8. Two new releases from 3 Beat/All Around The World/Universal debuted in the top 20: “Million Pound Girl (Badder Than Bad)” by Fuse ODG at No. 14, and “Control” by Matrix & Futurebound featuring Max Marshall at No. 18. 

Sales Down 2013
Goulding’s album, released in October 2012, was initially held off the No. 1 spot by Mumford & Sons’ “Babel,” with a deluxe version entitled “Halcyon Days” hitting No. 5 in early September last year. Total sales of “Halcyon” now stand close to 665,000, according to the Official Charts Company.

Gary Barlow’s “Since I Saw You Last” (Polydor/Universal) held at No. 2 on the new chart, while BeyoncĂ©’s self-titled Columbia/Sony album climbed 4-3. Last week’s No. 1, “Swings Both Ways” (Universal Island) by Robbie Williams, fell to No. 4. 

There were top ten rebounds for John Newman’s “Tribute” (Universal Island), 16-5; Bastille’s “Bad Blood” (Virgin/Universal), 11-6; Rudimental’s “Home” (Asylum/Warner Music), 34-7; Arctic Monkeys’ “AM” (Domino), 12-8; and Avicii’s “True” (Positiva/PRMD/Universal), 19-9. “Now! That’s What I Call Music 86” (Sony Music CG/Virgin EMI/Universal) started a seventh straight week atop the compilation chart. 

Future Rips Producer After Shady Move: "Who Told This Dumb A** N***a To Leak That"

Atlanta rapper Future may be engaged and ready to spend the rest of his life with Ciara but that didn't stop him from unleashing some fury onto producer K.E. On The Track over the weekend.

Future publicly went after the popular hitmaker for allegedly leaking one of his old tracks.

"Who told this dumb a** n*gga to leak that ROCKY track I did 3years ago..smh #lame#phuckboy#phuckyomixtape#honest," Future tweeted January 4.

"I'm just being honest" (Future's Twitter)
K.E. appeared to respond to Future's comment with some subliminal remarks.

"Future - Rocky (Prod. KE) ->"



"Life is good" (K.E. On The Track's Twitter)

'Wolf of Wall Street' Financiers Threaten Legal Action Over Article Alleging Corruption 


According to reports, the "Rocky" record premiered online over the weekend without Future's permission.

K.E. On The Track just ran into a bit of controversy with producer Major Seven over a beat he was accussed of stealing. Now, you can add Future to the list of people that have a problem with the beat maker. Yesterday, a track by Future titled "Rocky," which is purportedly off the K.E.'s upcoming mixtpe I Am Music Pt 1., hit the Internet. (XXL Mag)
The controversy comes weeks after K.E.'s "Devil Is A Lie" Rick Ross and Jay Z collaboration landed online.

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Bey and Hov are a true power couple -- just a few days after Beyonce dropped her new record in the dead of night, Jay Z and Rick Ross are out with a new K.E.-produced single "The Devil Is A Lie," off Ross' upcoming LP, Mastermind. After teasing the hell out of the collab on Twitter Thursday (December 19), Rozay dropped the song via SoundCloud this afternoon, along with a tweet teasing Mastermind reading: "Mastermind on the way." The track is a true tour de force: frenzied, studded with horns and driving drum machines, with both Barneys and Kendrick Lamar's "Control" verse getting shoutouts. (MTV)

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