The Week in Music Politics:
Pharrell Williams gave the NYU Class of 2017 Graduation commencement speech this year, which included inspiring messages on gender equality and social justice.
Nicki Minaj and Stormzy helped fans get through college this week. Stormzy donated 9,000 British pounds to send a fan to Harvard, and Nicki gave thousands in student loans and tuition funds to students who showed her their straight A report cards on Instagram.
At the Webby Awards, which celebrates online excellence, Solange took home the award for Artist of the Year saying, “so humbled, honored, and filled with gratitude. Thank you @TheWebbyAwards and the phenomenal Kara Walker,” a visual artist who presented her with the award and also works in exploring racial identities.
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:
L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic Records, a division of Sony, one of the most famous record exec.’s who’s worked with Fifth Harmony, Boys II Men, Outkast, TLC, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Kanye West, Usher, and Rick Ross, just to name a few. Disappointingly this week, The New York Post published an article about an unnamed co-worker’s claims of sexual harassment. Sony Music responded swiftly with their statement “L.A. will be leaving the company. We are not allowing a culture like that in this company, no matter how much a person brings to the bottom line.” The firing of L.A. Reid due to sexual harassment claims is their second recently, following their letting go of Dr. Luke, who had been wrapped up in court over sexual assault claims from pop-singer Kesha.
The Week in Music Business:
For those who thought American Idol had come to an end with last year’s final season, the show is being revived by ABC (previously, it was on FOX). Katy Perry has already signed up to be a judge, and reportedly Chris Daughtry, who came in fourth in season 5 of the show. Taylor Hicks, winner of season 5, spoke out saying that he believes a winner of the show should be picked instead. Sounds like he’s a little butt-hurt that his season rival Daughtry was more successful than him despite coming in fourth.
The Week in Music Charts:
Travis Scott broke a world record for most times a song has been performed by an artist in a single concert this week by performing his song “Goosebumps” 14 times in a row. The previous record holder was Jay-Z and Kanye West for performing their Watch the Throne track “N****s in Paris” 12 times during a show Paris.
The Week in Music Merch:
Phoenix are touring North America right now with a vending machine full of CD’s and other merch. It’s been getting a lot of buzz and attention for its innovative method to sell merchandise at a show.
Also releasing merch this week is Bjork, with her book of sheet-music entitled 34 Scores for Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Celeste due out June 5th. “I sat down and wanted to decipher and reevaluate what musical education meant to me,” she said, “maybe i [sic] should share digital notation that people could connect to their synths or do harpsichord versions of electronic beats to enjoy in the living rooms and hopefully families singalong to.”
The Week in Music Obituaries:
Chris Cornell, rock musician and guitarist from the band Soundgarden (and later Audioslave), was found dead in his hotel room this week from an apparent suicide. Along with Pearl Jam and Nirvana, Chris Cornell and his band Soundgarden helped shape the Seattle grunge movement in the 90’s. He was 52 years old.
The Week in Music Oddities:
Last week, KRS-One mentioned the wrong Beastie Boys member in the song “Hip-Hop Speaks from Heaven” that paid homage to dead rappers. Posting to Twitter, KRS-One wrote: “I mistakably [sic] paid respect and condolences to the wrong Beastie Boy member King Ad-Rock when it should have been MCA… In light of this, I am redoing the song ‘Hip Hop Speaks From Heaven’ and I am pulling the original version off of my digital release. Historical accuracy is extremely important to me, so I accept all responsibility for this error.”
The Week in Music Releases:
- Snoop Dogg – Neva Left
- Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
- Wavves – You’re Welcome
- The Notorious B.I.G. & Faith Evans – The King & I
Lastly, because I love anytime Desiigner is completely unintelligible, here’s a video of him not knowing how to respond to a political question on The Breakfast Club.