The Week in Music Politics:
Following his dissatisfaction with the meeting with the mayor of Illinois two weeks ago, Chance the Rapper announced that he would be donating $10,000 to ten select public schools, as well as $1 million dollars to the Chicago Public School Foundation.
The act of kindness inspired Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett (of no relation), to follow-suit, stating that he would donate all of his 2017 endorsement money to community programs and initiatives that support women of color, as well as 50% of his jersey sales to inner-city gardening projects. He finished the announcement by asking other professional athletes to do the same for the cause of their choice saying: “we can make a difference. It’s up to us to help plant seeds of hope and help fuel the future.”
Elsewhere in music politics, Killer Mike was honored by the state of Georgia for his fight to keep Georgia’s water clean and encouraging young people to get out and vote.
InfoWars, a right-wing site helmed by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, published a lengthy article criticizing rock band “Portugal. The Man” for burning one of their newspapers in their new video against fake news sources. “Che Guevara and Karl Marx are proudly smiling up from hell,” wrote InfoWars. yeesh.
In other right-wing music criticism of the left-wing political criticism through music, Marco Rubio told TMZ that he believes that imagery in the new BadBadNotGood video featuring Snoop Dogg might encourage people to assassinate the President.
“We’ve had presidents assassinated before in this country, so anything like that is something people should be very careful about,” Rubio said. “I think people could disagree on policy, but we gotta be very careful about that kind of thing, because if the wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea and you can have a real problem.”
Sure, Snoop Dogg did point a gun at a clown dressed like Donald Trump in the video, but I’m pretty certain the video isn’t what had people up in arms about the President in the first place. Regardless, Billboard reports that Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen is of course taking action against any defamation of the President no matter how small stating:
“It’s totally disgraceful. Snoop owes the president an apology,” he said. “There’s absolutely nothing funny about an assassination attempt on a president, and I’m really shocked at him because I thought he was better than that.”
“I’m not really sure I understand the artistic value to having somebody dress up as Trump and firing a weapon at him,” Cohen added. “I certainly would not have accepted it if it was President Obama. I certainly don’t accept it as President Trump, and in all fairness, it’s not funny, it’s not artistic.”
He continued, “If you have a protest, that’s fine. Make a point. But he has to learn that they have to respect the office of the presidency … Just because you want to hide behind the guise of artistic capabilities or artistic freedom of speech doesn’t make it right, and Snoop knows that, and he played very close to the line here.”
“Shame on you, Snoop,” concluded Cohen, who suggested that Snoop could be doing more for the community beyond making controversial videos and could perhaps join Trump’s Diversity Coalition. “You should be better than that, that’s for sure.”
Our President of course, had to tweet something:
“Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
Ice-T on the other hand remained ambivalent about the controversial video, stating:
“It’s basically him saying everybody’s a clown including Trump, which I think we all agree. The part where you point the gun at the president, that’s against the law, you gotta know that… I was nervous… He’s messing with the line. We’ll see how this weighs out, but I roll with Snoop. I thought it was a good video.”
The Week in Music Beefs:
Remy Ma vs. Nicki Minaj heated up this week. It was starting to seem kind of stale, especially since Remy released a second track still without a Nicki response entitled “Another One,” and appeared on Buzzfeed stating, “I don’t regret it, but I’m not particularly proud of it either,” but Nicki came through.
Releasing three response tracks last week, Nicki also bet Remy Ma $500,000 in a since deleted instagram post that she couldn’t book a show or interview without mentioning “the Queen’s [her]” name, and challenged her to record a hit within the next 72 hours.
“Here @ Young Money, we don’t do diss records, we drop HIT RECORDS & diss u ON them… The greats took 3 months to respond to diss records. Queens don’t move on peasant time. Queens shut down Paris, then drop hits on #QueenTime.”
The Week in Music #NoRoleModelz:
In reference to J. Cole’s track “No Role Modelz” off the platinum-with-no-features record 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the following is an account of musicians and artists that left us all disappointed with their behavior this week:
Quavo, a third of the rap trio Migos, had recently been put on the spot for homophobic comments the group made about a fellow Atlanta artist. Trying to defend themselves once more, Quavo told Rolling Stone that:
“When [Makonnen’s] music came out I thought it was hard, so if he would’ve come out the same way…” He pauses. “I got a record with Frank Ocean [“Slide,” a Calvin Harris track featuring Migos and Ocean]. That closes my case.”
To me, it seems like the first sentence was going to go something like this: “I thought Makonnen was ‘hard’ until he came out as gay.” We might never know how that first sentence was going to end, but it seems that Quavo has elected for the clichéd “but I have gay friends” defense.
Young Thug, the Atlanta rapper who called airline employees “ants” when they wouldn’t let him onto his flight, apparently slapped a woman outside of a nightclub, according to TMZ, and now the police have a warrant for his arrest.
Vic Mensa, the Chicago rapper behind “16 Shots,” his anti-police brutality song detailing the shooting of Laquan McDonald, was arrested and posted bail for carrying a concealed weapon without the proper permit. You’d think he would be anti-gun, but I guess not.
According to NME, “Justin Bieber was caught up in an unfortunate altercation with a female fan who approached him for a photo. Filmed by a passer-by, the fan asked Bieber for a photo only for the singer to reply: ‘You have no respect level. Look at you – you’re making me sick.'”
The Week in Music Business:
Billboard chart history was made with Future’s latest records Future and HNDRXX, which came out one week after the other. Since both records went to #1, Future became the first artist “in the nearly 61-year history of the charts to achieve back-to-back #1 albums in successive weeks,” as Stereogum reports.
Following Metro Boomin last week, Travis Scott has announced the launch of his own label as well, entitled Cactus Jack Records. As of now, that is all the info we have.
Jay-Z and Roc Nation have created a startup investment venture fund by the name of Arrive. The company has yet to invest in any company’s, but as Business Insider points out, Jay-Z is not stranger to investing in startups, having invested in both Away, a high-tech luggage maker, and JetSmarter, the “Uber of Private-Jets.”
Spotify made a weird move by deleting its inbox feature, disallowing users to share songs and chat within the app itself. According to their announcement, it was due to “very low engagement,” which they say future updates will work on different sharing and communicating methods.
There have also been reports from Financial Times that while nothing has been written in stone just yet, Spotify plans to negotiate with the major labels to allow paid users to access their “biggest album releases” ahead of free users for a “period of unspecified exclusivity.” While this move might aggravate its large free user base, it would help spotify stay afloat and even gain some paid users.
Soundcloud, recently announced that they would no longer remove DJ mixes last December, and this week have added on that Soundcloud Premier, will feature options for producers and DJ’s to get paid for song streams. Right now it’s an invite-only program, but you can contact SoundCloud for more info and to apply.
Coachella and Panorama’s parent company GoldenVoice has unveiled a third festival this year in Pasadena, CA called Arroyo Seco Weekend from June 24th-25th. Notable acts include Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, Weezer, the Shins, and Andrew Bird. So all your favorite folky-indie-rockers. Check out the full lineup and get tickets here.
The Week in Music Merch:
In a new contest, the Shins are giving away their first tour van to the best submitted video of a cover of one of their songs from their new record.
Spoon made their own taco, which you can get if you live in Austin, Texas and go to Veracruz All Natural. It’s called “El Norteño,” and comes with a fried egg, bacon, red onions, Monterrey jack cheese, red bell peppers, and tortilla chips. All proceeds go to American Getaways, which helps aid refugees and immigrants in Texas.
ANOHNI took to Facebook this week to announce a secret song that she will send you if you email her a “gesture of anonymous vulnerability.” Read her full post here.
Black Eyed Peas have announced a partnership with Marvel to drop in July with a graphic novel called “Masters of the Sun.” According to Billboard:
“the saga begins with the city of Los Angeles under attack by aliens, while humans are morphing into zombies. The main character, Zulu-X, who also has a penchant for hip-hop, is thrust into the middle of the action-packed adventure, fighting a nefarious ancient order with the combination of wisdom and street smarts.”
“The Black Eyed Peas and I have begun a new journey,” says Will.i.am. “We’ve been working on this original story for years and partnering with Marvel to bring this book to life is more than a dream come true.”
Marvel Comics also flipped a couple more hip-hop variant covers for their comics. This time around they went with Migos, The Firm, 50 Cent, The Weeknd, and Brand Nubian. My personal favorite is the The Weeknd flipped for Groot. Check them out via 2DopeBoyz here.
Oh, Remember those limited edition David Bowie stamps? Well according to the British Press Association they’re in space now.
The Week in Music Oddities:
While these next items aren’t necessarily for sale, a recent profile in The New Yorker detailed all the cool memorabilia that Jack White has in his home in Nashville:
- A three-lane bowling alley with a special ball reserved for Bob Dylan that has John Wayne’s face painted on it
- James Brown’s drivers licence from the ’80s
- A copy of Action Comics #1, from June 1938, the issue that introduced Superman
- Elvis Presley’s first demo-recording ever made from 1953 (White is said to have bought it for $300,000 from an auction)
Jack White also said that his pre-show ritual involves drinking Whiskey-Red Bull’s, and breaking things with baseball bats, stating: “you have to work yourself up into a frenzy.”
Another odd pre-show discovery, NME reports that Adele enters the stage secretly on her arena tour by sitting in a box that’s wheeled out by her stage crew while the lights are still dark.
“Adele apparently plays on her iPad while she’s been transported to the stage, but the source admitted that it’s a ‘sweaty and unglamorous’ part of the show…”
In other news, Jimmy Kimmel put together the OK Go-Go’s a supergroup of OK Go and the Go-Go’s, who performed a mash-up of their songs “Here it Goes Again” and “Our Lips Are Sealed” which you can watch below:
The Week in Music Releases:
- The Shins – Heartworms
- Murs – Captain California
- Too Short – The Pimp Tape
- Conor Oberst – Salutations
- Depeche Mode – Spirit
- Real Estate – In My Mind
- Rick Ross – Rather You Than Me
- Spoon – Hot Thoughts
- Nicki Minaj – “No Frauds,” “Regret In Your Tears,” and “Changed It”
- Frank Ocean – “Chanel” and “Chanel (A$AP Rocky Remix)”
- Smino – blkswn
Lastly, here’s a video of Desiigner incoherently barking like a hyper-active seal while trying to beat the world record for the amount of Jell-O eaten under 60 seconds: