Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Pinkprint

The Pinkprint is Nicki Minaj's busting-out-all-over magnum opus, a love letter to her supernova star power and hip-hop radicalism, her teeming brain and her body electric. 

Minaj's previous album, 2012's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, was dominated by psycho-glam role-playing. Now, as the Blueprint-referencing title implies, she's more Hov than Gaga. She talks about taking off her mask on "Feeling Myself," a wild ego-trip throwdown with BeyoncĂ©. The realness she reveals is genuinely dazzling.

Classic Hip Hop format Rescuing Radio

There are ridiculously dirty tracks like "Anaconda" – but there's also raw-boned introspection on songs like "All Things Go," a slow, searing confessional addressed to an ex ("Ten years ago, that's when you proposed/I looked down: 'Yes, I suppose.' "). Minaj puts on incinerating lyric displays (check her Biggie-tinged flow on "Four Door Aventador"), dabbles in victory-lap pop ("The Night Is Still Young") and drops stormy goth-R&B ballads ("The Crying Game"). 

LA Reid talks A&R

The best tracks have a bit of all these things: Riding diabolically hot beats from producers like Mike Will Made It and Hit-Boy, she breathes fire and oozes soul every time she touches the mic. This is a rap royal in full flex. We're lucky to watch the throne.

Victim of Diddy and Shynes NYC shooting

Classic Hip-Hop Format Rescuing Radio Stations


While radio stations have seen their audience decrease as tech-savvy consumers flock to satellite radio and streaming audio, broadcasters might have finally found a format that can lure listeners back to FM: Classic hip-hop. Playlists that shine the spotlight back on artists like the Notorious B.I.G., Naughty By Nature and Missy Elliott are currently sweeping the nation, with major broadcasters like Radio One, iHeartMedia and Cumulus Media frantically changing the format of underperforming stations to the sounds of classic hip-hop, the New York Times reports.

The Times focuses on Houston's KROI, a struggling Radio One-owned all-news channel that briefly – as a stunt – adopted an all-BeyoncĂ© format. KROI was one of the first radio stations to pick up the classic hip-hop format, and over the course of two months, KROI – now dubbed Boom 92 – jumped from a 1.0 share to a 3.2 share, and their audience jumped from 245,000 to 802,000. As a result, Radio One is hatching Boom-branded stations everywhere from Houston and Dallas to Philadelphia.

Nowhere is the resurgence of classic hip-hop more evident than Atlanta, where the number of radio stations broadcasting that format ballooned from one to three over the course of a week in late-November. Old School 99.3 was the first to arrive; a week later Cumulus Media's OG 97.9 – first song played: Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice" – and, hours later, Radio One's Boom 102.9 were all spinning classic hip-hop in Atlanta.

Victim of Diddy and Shynes NYC shooting

"I went to work with one, I came back with three. Who's going to outlast who? I have the least overhead. I have the least amount of debt. It's crazy," Old School 99.3's Steve Hegwood told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this month. "This format hits the sweet spot of 35 to 49 year olds, which advertisers love."

However, there is evidence that the market is becoming too saturated with classic hip-hop. While all three Atlanta stations are still standing, one of the two classic hip-hop stations in Dallas changed formats to straight urban after two weeks, the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. The New York Times adds that while the listenership of radio stations that switched to classic hip-hop nearly tripled in some markets, those numbers have steadily declined as the uniqueness of the format wore off or, in some case, the format was copied by another station.

 LA Reid talks A&R

Still, even with the slight decline, classic hip-hop stations are still outperforming their predecessors' format, so expect even more old school rap to flood the FM dial in 2015.

Solange Reportedly Hit With Tax Lien, Just Days After Her Wedding

Solange Knowles
After one of the most fabulous celebrity weddings of 2014, it seems Solange may have suffered a bit of misfortune. According to TMZ, the newlywed was hit with a tax lien just days after her New Orleans nuptials to video director Alan Ferguson.

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The article reports that the singer owes the State of California $55,000. Filed just three days after her ceremony, the debt stems a two-year period between 2010 and 2012. Earlier this month, Solange announced her latest partnership with Puma for her Wild Wonder line, for which she serves as creative and art director. She is also the new face of clothing brand Eleven Paris. 

LA Reid talks A&R

Something tells us this won’t be a problem for the new Mrs. Ferguson for too long.

L.A. Reid Talks A&R Eye, Usher's 'Steel Eyes' and Sean Combs' Work Ethic


L.A. Reid Talks A&R Eye, Usher's 'Steel Eyes' and Sean Combs' Work EthicFormer X Factor mentor and current Epic Records CEO and president L.A. Reid sat down with NewsOne for a short series of interviews about the principals that led to his success, the current state of the industry and black music, and what it takes to succeed as a musician.

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"I spent many years working with Kanye West, and the truth is I was quiet most of those days, because there was so much to be learned from him." 

Reid also spoke off Usher's success, which he predicted when the singer was only 14 years old. "I saw someone who's willing to work harder at it than anyone else... and I saw that on the first day I met him."
"I don't think that the greatest talent on earth, in music, are the people we hear on the radio and the people we see on TV. Those are the people that work the hardest." Reid cited Sean Combs as an example of the phenomenon. "There are probably guys who can rap better and dance harder."

Victim of Diddy and Shynes NYC shooting

Reid also lamented what he sees as a deficit of forward-thinking black music, citing the success of Adele and Sam Smith as evidence of that changing landscape. "I can say a lot of things, some of them that wouldn't be politically correct."

Idris Elba Responds To James Bond Critics: ‘Isn’t 007 Supposed To Be Handsome?’

Idris Elba

Yup, ladies love Idris Elba. 


After ruffling a few feathers – namely Rush Limbaugh’s – with the possibility that he might be the first black James Bond, Elba has spoken on the matter. Taking to Twitter with a silly-faced selfie, the British heartthrob noted that only one description of the 007 character should matter: being handsome.
Can’t argue with the man there, can you? 

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Let’s all cross our fingers that he gets the chance at the groundbreaking role.

LA Reid talks A&R

North Korea called President Barack Obama "a monkey"

Sony Hack: North Korea Calls President Obama "a Monkey"

Pyongyang, North Korea SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea called President Barack Obama "a monkey" and blamed the U.S. on Saturday for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the comedy The Interview.

North Korea has denied involvement in a crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures but has expressed fury over the comedy depicting an assassination of its leader Kim Jong Un. After Sony Pictures initially called off the release in a decision criticized by Obama, the movie has opened this week.

On Saturday, the North's powerful National Defense Commission, the country's top governing body led by Kim, said that Obama was behind the release of The Interview. It described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary.

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"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," an unidentified spokesman at the commission's Policy Department said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Read more Activists Say North Koreans Want to Watch 'The Interview'

He also accused Washington for intermittent outages of North Korea websites this week, after the U.S. had promised to respond to the Sony hack.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House on Saturday.

 LA Reid talks A&R

According to the North Korea commission's spokesman, "the U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing a tag."

The commission said the movie was the results of a hostile U.S. policy toward North Korea, and threatened the U.S. with unspecified consequences.

Victim of Diddy and Shynes NYC shooting
North Korea and the U.S. remain technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The rivals also are locked in an international standoff over the North's nuclear and missile programs and its alleged human rights abuses.

The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against North Korean aggression.

Victim Of Diddy And Shyne’s NYC Shooting Incident Speaks Out 15 Years Later

Today (Dec. 28) marks the 15-year anniversary of the infamous NYC shooting incident that involved Diddy, Shyne and Jennifer Lopez back in 1999. When an altercation between the rap mogul and a fellow Club New York patron Matthew Allen led to a shooting that left three people injured, Lopez was arrested and released, Diddy was acquitted of all charges and Shyne spent eight years in prison. Diddy later settled civil suits from the victims in 2011, shelling out over $2.3 million.

LA Reid talks A&R

Digging up this story, UpNorthTrips posted the newspaper cover story on Instagram, which led to a surprising find.

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A victim of the shooting, Natania Reuben, who caught wind of the post, took to the comments to shame the New York Daily New headline, which she says gave sympathy to the celebrities instead of the victims. Reuben was shot in the face during the incident and paid a $1.8 million settlement from Diddy. She expressed thankfulness for having survived the ordeal.

SEE ALSO: Shyne Goes At Diddy...Again. Is He The Right Target?

Remaining resentful towards Diddy for getting himself acquitting and allegedly letting him take the fall, Shyne was released and deported to Belize in 2009. He reconciled with his former Bad Boy boss in 2012, after which he severed ties with Diddy yet again a few months later.