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. 🙂

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’état.

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.

 

The 2014 Grammy Awards: Big winners and big moments.

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“Music’s biggest night” always leaves us talking the next day, and the 56th Annual Grammy Awards were no exception! Star-studded and packed with big moments (which, of course, have already gone viral), it was a tour de force of conversation starters. Here were some of our favorites.

Punking the Competition: The French electronic/dance artists, Daft Punk, “Get Lucky” and steal the show with 4 big wins, including Album of the Year (“Random Access Memories“), Record of the Year (“Get Lucky”), Pop/Duo Group Performance of the Year (“Get Lucky”), and Dance/Electronica Album of the Year (“Random Access Memories”).

Ringo and Paul, Together Again: It may not have quite been a Beatles reunion tour, but anytime Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney get together it’s an opportunity for music lovers to rejoice. Sunday night these two legends reunited and gave the crowd something to cheer for.

4 More for Macklemore: After kicking off 2014 by winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Hip-Hop Artist, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis extend their winning streak by taking home 4 Grammys; Rap Performance of the Year, Rap Song of the Year (both for “Thrift Shop”), Rap Album of the Year (“The Heist“), and New Artist of the Year.

The First Couple of Music Kick Things Off With a Steamy Performance: Fresh off being named the most powerful people in the music industry (check out our post on Billboard’s Power 100), Jay Z and Beyoncé heat things up with their lead-off performance of “Drunk In Love.”

From the Super Bowl of Music to the Actual Super Bowl? Winning! Primed to entertain the masses at the Super Bowl XLVIII half-time show, Bruno Mars warms up at the Grammys by taking home the coveted Pop Vocal Album of the Year award for his second studio album “Unorthodox Jukebox.” Don’t ever change, Bruno! We love you “Just The Way You Are.”

What were your favorite moments from this year’s Grammy Awards? Let us know in the comments below. Afterwards, be sure to check out all of the Karaoke Cloud powered apps and products (KaraokeOnVEVO, Sing-N-Share, etc.) where you can give your own performances of today’s hottest songs from many of today’s biggest artists!

Forget About Dre? No way, says karaoke ace!

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In a market saturated by modern-day hip hop and performers like Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West, it can be all too easy to forget about the innovators who are largely responsible for the success of today’s artists.

Grammy winner Dr. Dre is one such innovator. Best known for his triple-platinum album “The Chronic,” (considered by many to be one of the greatest rap/Hip-Hop albums ever produced ) Dre was also instrumental in the careers of several other iconic artists, including Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

At least one fan refuses to forget this fact. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mr. Vincent Marcus! This fresh young talent pays homage to both the legendary Dr. Dre and arguably his most famous progeny Eminem with this spot-on karaoke rendition of the appropriately-titled 2001 hit “Forgot About Dre.” (NSFW)

With his smooth transitions and impressive flow style, this young man could easily have a career in the music industry. Dre, if you’re out there, Mr. Marcus may be just what the “Dr.” ordered.