Ryan Lewis’ New Role? Troll!

Hip-hop sensations Macklemore (left) and Ryan Lewis (right). [Photo: courtesy of bet.com]

Hip-hop sensations Macklemore (left) and Ryan Lewis (right) [Photo: courtesy of bet.com]

Do you love hip hop? I mean, really love hip hop? Would you recognize your favorite artists on the street? Jay Z, Drake, Macklemore? How about Ryan Lewis; would you recognize him? Well Jimmy Fallon was willing to bet you wouldn’t, and who better to prove it than Ryan Lewis himself!

In a recent piece for NBC’s The Tonight Show, the musician/DJ/producer took to the streets of New York to ask people what they thought about Ryan Lewis. The results? Pretty damn funny.

I especially love the face of the girl in the white shirt! You can practically count down to the moment when she finally puts two and two together. ūüôā

Lewis and Macklemore began their friendship and business relationship back in 2006 and have been working together ever since. While his partnership with the popular hip hop star is surely his most lucrative and prominent venture, Lewis has also collaborated with a variety of other artists and even produced his own album titled Instrumentals.

 

Jay Z vs. Drake Feud Boils Over to Lacrosse

Drake, Jay Z, beef, hip hop, karaoke, Karaoke Cloud

Drake and Jay Z performing during happier times (photo courtesy of postalmusicmag.com)

How are rappers Jay Z and Drake linked to art, fondue, and lacrosse? The answer isn’t apparent unless you’ve been keeping up with the jabs they’ve been throwing at each other. Despite previous collaborations on Jay Z’s “Off That” and Drake’s “Light Up” and “Pound Cake” the two have been in an ongoing feud. However this isn’t shocking. Hip hop has a fiercely competitive nature, not seen in any other genre of music. When you add in egos and reputations to defend, it’s easy for things to heat up between artists.

Unfortunately, there can be causalities in beef. It seems Jay has put another target on his back and made an enemy: Major League Lacrosse. We can easily assume he prefers basketball considering his former part ownership of the Brooklyn Nets, but this isn’t an issue of favorite sports. The tension stems from a verse in DJ Khaled’s “They Don’t Love You No More” where he says presumably about Drake, “Haters wanna ball let me tighten up my drawstring / Wrong sport boy, you know you’re soft as a lacrosse team.”

In hip hop lyrical capabilities shine with the use of metaphors, clever word play, and delivery. More often than not, this results as someone or something else being the butt of a joke. According to Billboard, professional lacrosse players were not amused:

‚ÄúLacrosse is often called the fastest sport on two feet. Players are on the field dodging and shooting balls at over 100 miles per hour‚Ķ With that said we don‚Äôt think Jay Z knows what he‚Äôs talking about when he calls lacrosse ‚Äėsoft.‚Äô I can guarantee you it is anything but a ‚Äėsoft‚Äô sport‚Ķ Mr. Carter would not last one minute on a lacrosse field during a match and he is more than welcome to come to any of our games and try.‚ÄĚ


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Fallon Showcases Brian Williams’ Mad Skillz!

Brian Williams on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (photo courtesy NBC)

Brian Williams on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (photo courtesy NBC)

Jimmy Fallon is at it again! Famous for his comedic tributes to music with skits like the¬†History of Rap¬†with Justin Timberlake and the Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing¬†with Will Smith, Jimmy has also featured NBC Nightly News’ very own Brian Williams in a series of re-mixed news broadcasts set to popular hip-hop tracks. Thanks to Fallon’s tech-wizards on Monday night (4/21) Williams was laid back, sippin’ on “Gin and Juice.”

While Williams is highly respected as a news journalist, the thing about pop-culture is that you also become famous for whatever the pubic decides you’re famous for. “It’s all anyone mentions to me anymore,” he told Fallon in an interview Monday night on the Tonight Show. According to Williams, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. approached him at a New York Rangers game and informed him that he, Williams, was now a “huge figure in the rap and hip-hop community.”

The Snoop Dogg remix is only the most recent in what has become an ongoing series featuring “B-Dubs,” one of the many nicknames Fallon has given to the prolific news man. Among others, Williams has also covered Sugar Hill Gang‘s “Rapper’s Delight” (with an assist by fellow anchor Lester Holt) and “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

I love how Fallon regularly mixes music with comedy. Not only are the skits funny as hell, but they also help to pique interest in various music genres and remind people that yesterday’s music was pretty dang awesome!

Past, Present, Future: The Women of Hip Hop

Female rappers, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Nicki Minaj

Photo courtesy of bet.com

It’s a man’s world. That could easily be the slogan for the male-dominated industry of hip hop. As an aspiring female rapper it takes skill, drive, and a certain ‘it’ factor to break through. Consistency, a solid fan base, and surviving the ups and downs of the business keeps you relevant.

In honor of women’s history month, Billboard featured a female MC¬†each day¬†during March. The end result is a list of the 31 greatest¬†female hip hop artists of all time. From pioneers like MC Lyte and Queen Latifah, to women like Lil Kim and Trina who owned their sexuality, to groundbreaking artists like Missy Elliot, they¬†all had an impact on the genre and culture. Through each generation¬†women rappers have offered¬†the female perspective. None have done it¬†quite like Salt-N-Pepa, Lauryn Hill, and Nicki Minaj.

Salt-N-Pepa

Photo courtesy of arktimes.com

When you think of female rap¬†in the 80’s¬†Salt-N-Pepa should automatically¬†come to mind. Hits like “Push It,” “Shoop,” and “Let’s Talk About Sex” solidified their position as the best-selling female rap group of all time. Their distinctive style, energetic vibe, and empowering female anthems¬†made members Salt, Pepa, and Spinderella icons. They served as a¬†voice for women of their time.¬†They joined forces with R&B group En Vogue on “Whatta Man” for a smash hit collaboration that was¬†true to their essence. They undoubtedly helped pave the way¬†for future female MC’s.


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Partners In Rhyme: Jay Z and Kanye kickstart Samsung’s concert series at SXSW

Kanye West, Jay Z, SXSW

Kanye and Jay Z kick off Samsung’s concert series at SXSW/photo courtesy itsbizkit.com

The dynamic duo of Kanye West and Jay Z gave a Texas-sized performance last night/early this morning, helping to kick off the music portion of this year’s SXSW conference in Austin. The concert was the first in Samsung‘s series of performances and filled the 4,600-seat Austin Music Hall.

According to the AP’s Chris Talbott, fans were lined up hundreds of yards around the block waiting to get in. Of the ones lucky enough to gain entry, many were admitted free of charge! How? Simply by showing their Samsung device complete with Samsung’s new Milk Music streaming service. Nice!

The hugely successful show also succeeded in stealing some of Apple‘s thunder as it was scheduled at the same time as the iTunes Festival hip-hop night (taking place just down the road at the ACL Moody Theater)¬†featuring Kendrick Lamar and¬†ScHoolboy Q.

Some speculate that it was a purposeful dig given the fact that Kanye had recently voiced some scathing remarks directed toward Apple CEO Tim Cook. During a concert in New Jersey, Kanye took a moment to state, “Stop trying to get performers to play your festival for free! You are rich as (expletive).” Coincidence? Not likely. ūüôā

Check out songs featuring Jay Z, Kanye West, and many other hip-hop icons with KaraokeOnVEVO and Sing-N-Share.

Jay Z For President! New chart shows that rap & hip-hop rule the nation.

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Everyone has a favorite artist or band. Want to know how your choice stacks up nationally? Well, here you go. Paul Lamere of the Huffington Post has released a map showing the most popular artists in the US, state-by-state.

After looking at the map for no more than 2 seconds one thing is easily apparent; rap rules the nation. Rock and roll has taken a backseat to rap and hip-hop as artists like Jay Z and Drake lead the musical coup d’√©tat.

This was a landslide by any definition of the term! Rap/hip-hop decimated all other genres by taking forty-four of the fifty states. Jay Z, voted one of the two most powerful people in the music industry by Billboard, proved his staying power by taking a whopping 22 states all by himself. Other popular hip-hop artists were Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (11 states), Drake (8 states), and Eminem (3 states).

It wasn’t a total no-hitter for rap, however, as the Grammy Award winning dance/electronic duo Daft Punk took four states. Fellow Grammy winners¬†Lorde and Imagine Dragons¬†each eked out spots taking a state a piece.

So what do you think? Is this chart accurate? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out KaraokeOnVEVO and Sing-N-Share for more of your favorite artists.

 

2014 People’s Choice Awards: And the winners are…

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January 8th marked the 40th anniversary of the People’s Choice Awards and what a night it was! Many forms of media and entertainment are honored on this night, but we, of course, want to draw special attention to the music industry aspect. Lots of categories and lots of winners so let’s get started!

One of the biggest winners of the night was Mr. Justin Timberlake. The triple-threat earned three wins in three separate categories — Favorite Album (The 20/20 Experience),¬†Favorite R&B Artist, and¬†Favorite Male Artist.

Katy Perry also earned a lion’s share of awards, doubling up with wins for¬†Favorite Music Video (Roar)¬†and¬†Favorite Song (Roar).

Successful comebacks are few and far between, but don’t tell that to the members of Fall Out Boy. Reuniting in 2013 after an extended “hiatus,” the 2000’s punk-pop icons released a new album (Save Rock and Roll) and earned the 2014 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Alternative Band.

Since their formation in 2010, One Direction has been headed in only… well, one direction; up! Continuing their gangbusters-like journey, the British boy band kicked off 2014 with a win in the Favorite Band category, beating out the likes of Maroon 5 and Paramore.

Social media is heralding the resurgence of the independent artist and, in my opinion, it’s a beautiful thing. One duo of said independents is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They’ve been blowing up the charts and now they start the new year with a huge win, garnering the award for Favorite Hip-Hop Artist in a category that included industry giants Jay Z, Kanye West, Drake, and Lil Wayne.

There’s almost nothing more to say about Taylor Swift that hasn’t already been said in a blog, news story, or the diary of every 13 year-old girl who dreams of being a singer/song-wirter. I mean, did anyone doubt that she would win this year’s award for¬†Favorite Country Artist? If you did I would strongly advise against taking any trips to Vegas anytime soon.

Ever feel like you’ve accidentally stepped into a time machine? I don’t remember driving off in a DeLorean this morning, but it sure feels like the early 2000’s with artists like Justin Timberlake and Fall Out Boy taking home the honors at this year’s PCA’s. Now, adding to the deja vu, we present the winner of this year’s Favorite Pop Artist award, Britney Spears! After break-downs and some much needed time off she has definitely worked her way back to the top of the pop world.

You know you’re off to a great new year when you edge out artists like Pink, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears. That’s exactly what Demi Lovato did to win this year’s award for Favorite Female Artist.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!