Entries tagged with: Rza
see, he likes rap too
Martin Shkreli, the Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO who was backing Geoff Rickly's label until they severed ties in the wake of the news surrounding Shkreli's greedy price-gouging, has found his way into the music news once again. Bloomberg reveals Shkreli as the purchaser of that million-something dollar Wu-Tang Clan album that recently sold. Via the article:
Shkreli heard about Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and thought it would be nice to own, too. He attended a private listening session at the Standard Hotel hosted by Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes. Shkreli, who describes himself as a bit of a recluse, recalls Gilkes telling him that if he bought the record, he would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and rappers who would want to hear it. "Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer," Shkreli says. (Paddle8 declined to comment, citing their policy of client confidentiality.) He also got to have lunch with RZA. "We didn't have a ton in common," Shkreli says. "I can't say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him."Shkreli, who met Geoff Rickly for the first time in a similar way (he purchased the guitar Geoff used to write most of Full Collapse), isn't saying how much he paid for it, but Billboard says "someone familiar with the deal says that the Wu-Tang Clan sold him the album for $2 million."
The article adds that RZA emailed Bloomberg Businessweek a statement saying, ""The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli's [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity."
Shkreli has continued to piss people off in the times since the initial news of him raising the price of Daraprim came to light. "I think I could have it raised it higher and made even more profit," he said at the recent Forbes Healthcare Summit in Manhattan (via Gawker). "I could have made more profits for our shareholders, which is my primary duty. No one wants to say it, no one's proud of it, but this is a capitalist society, capitalist system, capitalist rules."
He also very recently got a ton of media attention for skillfully manipulating the stock price of another drug company which he now also owns. Plus, he allegedly photoshopped an X-Ray for sympathy, stalked and harassed an ex-coworker's family, and more.
Ghostface Killah is having quite the prolific year. He already released a collaborative album with BADBADNOTGOOD, and this Friday (7/10) he releases a collaborative album with Adrian Younge, Twelve Reasons to Die II. (It's the followup/sequel to 2013's Twelve Reasons to Die.) The album features Ghostface's fellow Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and RZA, neo-soul singer Bilal, the quickly-rising Vince Staples and more. You can stream the whole thing over at the NY Times. The song with Vince is also streaming below.
Ghostface isn't the only Wu-Tang member working with interesting collaborators lately. Inspectah Deck's collaborative project with underground Boston duo 7L & Esoteric, aka Czarface, released their second album this past June. It's called Every Hero Needs a Villain and features Wu-Tang pals Method Man and GZA, plus DOOM (who's also on the Ghostface/Badbadnotgood LP), Large Professor, R.A. the Rugged Man and Juju of The Beatnuts. It follows their 2013 self-titled debut, and to quote HipHopDx, it's "one of the rare sequels that matches the original in quality." You can listen to an Rdio stream of the whole album, and a Soundcloud stream of the DOOM-featuring single "Ka-Bang!" below.
Ghostface and Raekwon are kicking off a tour this week, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Rae's immortal Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. That hits NYC on July 20 & 21 at Irving Plaza. Tickets for both are still available. Ghost is also playing Slipknot's festival, and Wu-Tang are playing Riot Fest Toronto and Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest.
Earlier this year rappers RZA (who is starring in a porn star biopic) and Azealia Banks (who is naked in a recent issue of Playboy) both appeared in a BrooklynVegan post about pornography. Together again, now we find out that RZA and Azealia are working on a different movie, together. Azealia's publicist says:
Today Azealia Banks confirmed that she will be starring in a new Lionsgate/Codeblack Films motion picture film titled "Coco."According to IMDB, the movie is called "Spoken Word", but maybe that is wrong. Deadline adds that "she stars with Common, Jill Scott, Lucien Laviscount, Lorraine Toussaint and Hana Mae Lee. It has a script from Nicole Jefferson Asher and will be produced by Paul Hall. "
Directed by Wu Tang Clan's RZA from a screenplay by Nicole Jefferson Asher, "Coco" will be produced by Paul Hall and has already starting filming in the U.S.
"I'm extremely excited and vigorously inspired to be working with Azealia Banks in my new directorial installment," director Rza continues "producer Paul Hall and I have assembled a cool and eclectic cast to surround Azealia. Our story, which is set in today's contemporary youth culture, will bring a new voice to cinema that needs to be heard."
Banks will play a fiery 20-something female rapper named Coco. Set in Brooklyn, the film documents her struggles in pursuing a career in hip-hop, while also attempting to fulfill her parent's expectations of finishing college. Having returned to school, Coco soon discovers the vivid world and ultimate power of the spoken word, where she finds her one true voice and an unlikely love in the classroom.
Azealia Banks played a show at Irving Plaza earlier this month, and before that Coachella (where the above photo by Samantha Saturday is from). Check out a video from the NYC show with her international tour dates listed, below.
Coolio's PornHub collaboration is so last year. This week, the worlds of music and porn can't stop finding new ways to collide:
Wu-Tang Clan member, and no stranger to acting, RZA will be appearing in the upcoming biopic on the "World's First Latina adult film star" Vanessa del Rio (titled Vanessa del Rio). It also stars Zulay Henao as the lead, with Drea de Matteo (The Sopranos), Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black), and others. In the director's chair is metal music video guy Thomas Mignone (Type O Negative, Megadeth), and Datari Turner produced. RZA "portrays a character who works the doors at the burlesque club Vanessa dances at. After hours, he secretly uses the club's audio gear to pursue his true passion of music, laying down tracks and rhymes in the new hip hop and rap genres being explored at the time."
In other news, though it was initially announced that Miley Cyrus would be showing her "Tongue Tied" video (made with filmmaker Quentin Jones) at the previously-mentioned, upcoming NYC Porn Festival at Secret Project Robot, the video will not actually be part of it. Why not? NY Post says "The festival's organizer lied when he said Cyrus had personally submitted the film." Huh.
Luckily for those who still want to see the video, you can watch it below. It might not be the safest thing for work, but it's not really any more risqué than her "Wrecking Ball" video that's all over cable TV. Unlike her participation in the "Free the Nipple" campaign, there's no actual nudity.
Meanwhile, the fest otherwise goes down as planned at Brooklyn's Secret Project Robot from February 27 through March 1 and tickets for individual screenings can be purchased at the festival's website. Unlike Miley, musician James Franco will be there, and like Miley, he was nominated for but did not win a Grammy this past weekend.
Azealia Banks almost nude
In still more music/porn news, it's been announced that rapper Azealia Banks will pose nude for Playboy. The editors say it's "sure to break the Internet." Kim Kardashian's palms are already sweating. This may be Azealia's first nude photo shoot for mainstream media, but it's not like she hasn't come close before.
And in one last bit of news related (but not to porn) to RZA, his fellow Wu-Tang Clan member GZA is saying he's finally going to release that new album Dark Matter this fall. Ahead of that, he's released a non-album single, "The Mexican" (based on Babe Ruth's 1972 song of the same name) which features Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello on guitar, Hanni El Khatib, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson (whose band just announced a tour). Listen below.
photo: Mos Def at Rock the Bells 2011 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
The Eric Garner protests, like last weekend's Millions March, in NYC continue, and as you've probably seen and heard, many of those lending their voice to the cause are prominent musicians. Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey), offered an audio statement called "Thoughts On The Upheaval From A Global Perspective" via Stop Being Famous, as Billboard points out. Here's some of what he said:
Where are we? We're at a critical time. We're at a watershed moment for humanity. The urgency to 'change this miserable condition on this earth,' as Malcolm X said, is occurring to many of us, reaffirming itself.You can listen to the audio below.
It's the opportunity for necessary change, positive change, and it's not necessarily convenient or comfortable as I'm sure it is with any period of growth. I read somewhere that in order for an arrow to fly, the bow has to be drawn back. There's some pressure involved and I think we're all feeling that pressure. Some of us are more aware of it than others. Some of us are trying to drown it out. But we all feel it one way or another, in indelible ways in these times and days.
RZA also spoke to Vanity Fair about it, saying:
The value of a man's life has been totally reduced. It has never been even put at the proper value, when it comes to a black man... But we have an old-school mentality of what you can do, as a cop, and how someone already considered a criminal, even when he's not committing a violent crime, or a real crime. Selling a cigarette is not really a crime, standing on the corner is not a real crime, at the end of the day.On Sunday (12/14), when Aretha Franklin attended the premiere of Selma (the film based on Martin Luther King and the 1965 civil rights marches of Selma, Alabama) in NYC, she was interviewed about how important she thinks a film like Selma is coming out at this time, and said:
But in this case, with Eric Garner, there is not a criminal here. This looks more like the ego and frustration of a man--forget that this guy was a cop. Take the uniform off. If you take the uniform off of those guys, it looks like a neighborhood beat down. It looked like a black guy got jumped by a bunch of white guys. It looks like this gang jumped that guy.
I think that it's gonna bring a higher level of consciousness to everything that's happening, particularly between the movie and the Fergusons and all of the different happenings that we've had lately involving all of the young African American men. There is certainly a correlation between the two, the timing, and i think most importantly the timing. What was happening way back when and what is still happening now.Lil B just released a song called "I Can't Breathe," which you can listen to below.
Meanwhile, money has been raised for Eric Garner's family via Fundly and Indie GoGo campaigns. Fundraisers, like the one Russell Simons was at, are becoming more common. Two happening in NYC just popped up today:
One is a show billed as "BLACK LIVES MATTER" happening on December 23 at SOB's. No artists announced at the moment, but tickets are on sale now.
The other is a noise show happening December 30 at Palisades with live sets from Nick Klein & Shredded Nerve, Miguel Alvarino, Appetite, Saran Man, Negation, Coil's Drew McDowall, Pure Matrix, POI, Bookworms and Young Male, as well as DJ sets from Analog Soul, Half Life and Pharmakon (aka Margaret Chardiet). That one's $12 at the door.
They may not really need the fundraisers in the end though, as the New York Times reports that New York City comptroller Scott M. Stringer is also "seeking to negotiate a settlement of a $75 million civil rights claim brought my Mr. Garner's family."
Stream the Lil B song and Mos Def speech below...
Vegan and Wu-Tang Clan member RZA helped PETA out by speaking in their new promotional video, where he says he wants you to go vegan for "a better tomorrow." It's also a pretty good cross-promotional tool considering one of Wu Tang's two new albums is called A Better Tomorrow and is due out next week (12/2) via Warner Bros. Watch the new PETA video and stream A Better Tomorrow's recent single, "Necklace," below...
Raekwon, in a controversial new interview with Rollling Stone, explains what he thinks of "Keep Watch" off the upcoming Wu-Tang Clan release:
I hate it. I hate it. I don't hate shit, but I hate that fuckin' record. It ain't the gunpowder that my brothers are spitting; it's the production. And I ain't shitting on the producer because he's one of our soldiers. But if it ain't where it need to be... It's 20 years later. We talkin 'bout a whole new generation is sitting here representin' and making fiery shit and you telling me that we comin out with some mediocre shit? That ain't part of our plan.He goes on to say that there is a very small chance he'll even appear on the new album. RZA says he just thinks creatively they are on different paths (watch an interview at VladTV).
Ghostface plays Vassar College on April 26.
And speaking of Wu-Tang soldiers, one of them recently allegedly cut off his own penis and jumped off a building. TMZ has since pointed out that Christ Bearer "is remarkably in stable condition" but permanently without penis.
Thinking inside the box:
Veteran Staten Island hip hop crew Wu-Tang Clan are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year with a few different projects. First up is a story that would sound like an early April fools joke if it was from anyone else -- The Wu - Once Upon A Time In Shaolin is a new 31-track album recorded in secret over the last couple years. Your chance at hearing it, though, is only slightly better than your odds of scoring a reservation at Rao's.
Forbes reports that only one copy of the album is being produced which will be kept in a handcrafted engraved silver-and-nickel box and will then be toured in museums. It is there that the public may pay to listen to the album via headphones after a thorough screening process to keep pirates at bay. After the museum tour, the album will be put up for sale "in the millions," says RZA. He's got more to say about the record:
We're about to sell an album like nobody else sold it before. We're about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music. We're making a single-sale collector's item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.For a Wu-Tang Clan album you will be able to purchase, the group -- who are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year -- will release A Better Tomorrow this summer. Maybe. Dissent within the group -- mainly between RZA and everyone else -- might make this A Better Tomorrow (Or The Month After That). Says Raekwon in a recent (and mammoth) feature on Grantland:
It's like getting the United Nations to all agree on one fucking thing. Italy ain't having it. Japan is on some shit. You know what I mean? Now, here it is, the 20-year anniversary that's so decoratedly respected that we might not even be on time for this shit.Whether the album is done or not, you can stream a track from it, "Keep Watch," below.
photos by Jamie Goodsell, additional photos by Katharine Hansen
DIIV / Charli XCX / DJ Jazzy Jeff @ Bonnaroo 6/14/2013
Bonnaroo's inaugural hip hop Superjam--an R&B/rap counterpart to the festival's long-running, rock-dominated all-star jam sessions--was an uninhibited, messy rager for still-partying night owls at the Tennessee music fest. Paul McCartney might have been the Friday night highlight, but if you wanted to dance, this was the show to see.Bonnaroo 2013 is definitely in the record books already, and we've posted a set of pictures from Day 2 (6/14) big names Paul McCartney, The Wu-Tang Clan, Wilco, and Jim James. But there was other stuff going on that Friday as well, including sets from Calexico, Big K.R.I.T, Charli XCX, Glen Hansard, DIIV, Amadou & Mariam, and the hip hop "Superjam" featuring RZA, Jazzy Jeff, Schoolboy Q, Solange, Chad Hugo (Neptunes/NERD) and more. Photos from those acts are in this post.
The slickest and sickest set came from Solange, who enraptured the crowd with a funky, lovely cover of the Fugees' version of "Killing Me Softly." She also sang the hook on surprise guest Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele single "Cherchez La Ghost" and covered "Umi Says," an uplifting jam from Mos Def's solo debut. - [Fuse]
Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli has been working on his new album, Prisoner of Conscious since before the release of 2011's Gutter Rainbows, and after continuously delaying it, he's finally set to release it for real this time. It comes out next week (5/7). The record features contributions from some pretty hot of-the-moment guests, including Miguel ("Come Here") and Kendrick Lamar & Curren$y ("Push Thru"). It's also got a track produced by Harry Fraud ("Upper Echelon"), one produced by RZA with a verse from Busta Rhymes ("Rocket Ships"), and a handful of tracks produced by Oh No. You can stream/watch videos for "Come Here," "Push Thru," "Upper Echelon," "Rocket Ships" and two other cuts from the album below, along with the full tracklist. That's the artwork above.
Talib's next hometown gig is this weekend on Sunday (5/5) at Union Hall, where he'll be providing "music and monologues" followed by improv comedy from Coal, Swag, and Sandino, which will be inspired by Talib's set. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
All dates are listed, along with song streams and the album tracklist, below...
photos by Wei Shi
Ghost BC / The Three O'Clock / Thee Oh Sees fans
After two weekends, Coachella 2013 officially came to a close this past Sunday (4/21) with sets from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Wu-Tang Clan, Grimes, Vampire Weekend, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jessie Ware, Tame Impala, and more. Pictures of those artists, and some of the comparatively smaller but not less exciting artists that we missed at Weekend 1, like Ghost B.C., The Three O'Clock, DIIV, and Thee Oh Sees, are in this post.
We didn't catch James Blake this time like we did the first time, but he brought out RZA (who was there with Wu-Tang Clan) to perform their song, "Take A Fall For Me," which appears on James' new album, Overgrown. You can watch a video of that below.
In case you haven't been keeping up with our coverage, pictures of Weekend 2 Day 1 are HERE and Weekend 2 Day 2 are HERE. For Weekend 1 pictures, check out day 1 (HERE and HERE), day 2 (HERE) and day 3 (HERE).
More pictures from Weekend 2 Day 3 and the James Blake video below...
RZA screams "J'Accuse!!!" at Teichiku Ent. (more by Dana [distortion] Yavin)
RZA is taking a bold move of fighting back against a copyright infringement lawsuit, filing a lawsuit of his own against JVC Kenwood Holdings, which includes Teichiku Entertainment:
RZA (born Robert Diggs) is upset that the record label Island Def Jam has withheld more than $50,000 in royalties based on the claims that one of Teichiku's sound recordings was illicitly used on Kanye West's 2010 song, "Dark Fantasy," which RZA produced.Follow that? RZA seeks to "commence declaratory relief actions to squash some of these claims and, perhaps, recover our costs of defending" with the lawsuit, which is one of several in the works.
As a result, RZA is going to court to get a declaration that "Dark Fantasy" is not an infringement... According to the latest lawsuit, RZA was notified that "Dark Fantasy" contained an unauthorized sample from "Gincyo Watadori" performed by Meiko Kaji. The defendant demanded compensation.
What happened next, according to RZA's court papers, was that West's label Island Def Jam refused to pay royalties, claiming "that it is entitled to indemnification from plaintiff against defendant's copyright infringement claim."
So RZA is going to court against the accuser in an attempt to show the sampling allegation has no merit. -[Hollywood Reporter]
Yay! More lawsuits!
As mentioned, James Blake will release his sophomore full length album, Overgrown, on April 8 via Atlas/Republic, and he's just revealed the artwork (above) and the tracklist (below). Most interestingly, the tracklist reveals that there is a song called "Digital Lion," which will feature contributions from Brian Eno, and a song called "Take a Fall For Me," which will feature rapping from the RZA. In the words of Katy Perry, take that, Bon Iver.
James will also be going on a tour in support of the album, which comes to NYC on May 9 at Terminal 5. Tickets for that show are still available. He recently expanded the tour to include more international shows. Check out an updated list of dates and the video for Overgrown single, "Retrograde," below.
Meanwhile, Brian Eno has an upcoming event in NYC too, as part of Red Bull Music Academy. He'll be presenting the NYC premiere of his audio-visual installation, 77 Million Paintings, in May, along with an "illustrate talk" at Cafe Rouge on May 6. Tickets to that, and all other RBMA shows, go on sale March 4 at 10 AM.
GZA at MHoW, June 2012 (more by Ryan Barkan)
GZA has always been one to think outside of the box. From his pairing with Grupo Fantasma to his on-stage collaborations with Black Lips and on and on, dude is not afraid of branching outside of the traditional comfort zone for an MC.
That said, it is still somewhat of a surprise to see him team with the cello-driven Rasputina, blues/jazz guitarist Robben Ford, Doomtree-affiliated MC Dessa and the Mediterreannan stylings of Pavlo for a show at Stage 48 (605 w.48th St) in Manhattan on January 12. Tickets are on sale for this mindblowingly diverse lineup.
In Wu-related news, a reminder for those obsessed with the kung-fu aesthetic of Wu-Tang: RZA's new film The Man with The Iron Fist is in theaters now.
by Fred Pessaro // BBG
RZA / Method Man @ Best Buy Theater, 2011 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
Warning, the following post will attempt to use every single alias for Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, also known as The RZA
Ruler Zig-Zag-Zig Allah (#1) is ready to prove that he has Iron Fists as a filmmaker, but also doesn't want you to forget that he is still wields the Iron Mic. Bob Digi (#2) will play Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 3 as part of the burgeoning Iron Fists tour, a set of US dates that so far involve shows in Chicago, Baltimore and Texas. All dates featuring The Abbott (#3) are still trickling in as we speak, but you can get your tickets to MHoW when they go on sale Thursday (9/20) at noon. Full tour schedule for Prince Rakeem (#4) is still on the way.
The RZARectah (#5) is also welcoming the soundtrack for The Man with the Iron Fists (in theaters Nov. 2) that he directed/produced/starred in, and you can stream a track from that movie below alongside a list of all known Bobby Steel (#6) tour dates.
RZA is The Man with The Iron Fists
Quentin Tarantino presents The Man With the Iron Fists, an action-adventure inspired by kung-fu classics as interpreted by his longtime collaborators RZA and Eli Roth. Making his debut as a big-screen director and leading man, RZA -- alongside a stellar international cast led by Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu -- tells the epic story of warriors, assassins and a lone outsider hero in nineteenth-century China who must unite to destroy the clan traitor who would destroy them all.RZA's movie The Man with the Iron Fists opens on November 2 and features a soundtrack with contributions from The Black Keys, Kanye West, Raekwon, RZA, Wu-Tang Clan, Flatbush Zombies (who just played Afro-Punk), Freddie Gibbs, Ghostface Killah, Kool G Rap, and many, many more. Stream the new RZA track "Blowin' In The Wind" at soundcloud, and dig on the eye-popping "red band" trailer for the film, the movie poster and soundtrack tracklisting below.
Nas @ Rock the Bells (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
That didn't take long. We just announced the intitial lineup. Check out the almost-full thing below...
Talib Kweli @ SXSW 2011 (more by BBG)
As part of "The Prisoner of Conscious Tour", he'll headline Le Poisson Rouge in NYC on May 28th with guests J. Pinder and Bajah and The Dry Eye Crew. Tickets for the show are on sale. All currently announced dates, including Black Star at Bonnaroo (where Kenny Rogers is also playing), are listed below, along with a video for a song from Talib's new album...
"Slated for a Summer 2012 release, Kweli's new album, Prisoner of Conscious (Blacksmith/EMI), features appearances from RZA, Busta Rhymes, Curren$y, Kendrick Lamar, Melanie Fiona and more. The video for the album's lead single, the Oh No-produced "Distractions", can be seen below."The video has actually been out for a while. You may have seen it - it's the one that features footage from Occupy Wall Street (which is about to be active again in honor of May Day).
Watch the Idle Warship video, the Talib video, and a trailer for a documentary about Res, with all tour dates, below...
GZA at Rock the Bells 2011 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
GZA, who is about to play two shows with Bad Brains next week, including one in Brooklyn at MHOW on 4/18 (sold out), has announced that he'll be performing his classuc solo LP, Liquid Swords, in its entirety at Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 14 as part of Northside Festival. He'll be backed by by Austin's Grupo Fantasma like he was at SXSW (videos HERE). Grupo Fantasma's "psychedelic funk alter-ego" Brownout opens the show. Tickets are on AmEx presale now and go on sale to the general public on Friday (4/13) at noon.
GZA released Liquid Swords in 1995 as his second solo LP and first to come out after Wu Tang's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). He's toured the album in the past and recently performed it again at Rock the Bells 2011. The videos for "Cold World" and "Shadowboxin" off Liquid Swords are below.
GZA and RZA (who produced Liquid Swords) have been planning a sequel to Liquid Swords which continues to be postponed, but GZA plans to release a different new album, titled Dark Matter, this year.
In other hip hop news, Schoolboy Q is in NYC to play SOB's tonight (4/11).
All dates and videos below...
photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin
"The WU TANG show at best buy theatre was jenkin like fuck 2nite..only thing was missing was @Raekwon @GhostfaceKillah the clan did it up doe" - LYVE1OH
Wu-Tang Clan recently played a few NYC-area dates including Best Buy Theater on Sunday (12/18). No Raekwon & Ghostface unfortunately, but Method Man, RZA, Masta Killa and others from the crew were in the house. Here are some pictures and videos from that show
In related news, Wu-Tang Clan revealed via facebook that Method Man is working on his "last album produced by the RZA." As HipHopDX points out, it's not clear whether they mean that it's going to be Method Man's last album or the last album that RZA produces for him.
More pictures and videos from the NYC show, and a recently-posted Ghostface vs Narduwar video, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Although Kanye produced most of the album, they also brought an impressive cast of outside producers incuding Q-Tip, 88-Keys, The Neptunes, The RZA, and Swizz Beatz. Kanye and his collaborators create a wide range of sounds touching on everything from classic soul to dubstep-infused electronica. The guest vocal spots are especially grabbing too. Jay-Z and Kanye, who have been two of the biggest names in hip hop for at least the last decade, bring in newcomer Frank Ocean of Odd Future on two of the tracks. Jay's wife, Beyonce, who also has Frank Ocean and Kanye on her new album, sings the chorus to "Lift Off." The album samples the vocals of legendary singers Otis Redding and Curtis Mayfield, and also features guest vocals by Mr. Hudson of Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music. You can stream "Otis" at Jay-Z's Life + Times website and listen to "H.A.M" below.
Justin Vernon also wrote a hook for "That's My Bitch" and according to the album's liner notes, he also sings the part. Elly Jackson of La Roux sings the song's chorus and Q-Tip handled some production duties. Check the song out on grooveshark. Justin comes in at 1:45.
Speaking of Justin Vernon, he and his 9-piece version of Bon Iver played their first of two NYC shows with The Rosebuds at United Palace Theatre last night (8/9). They also play Prospect Park tonight (8/10). Both shows are/were sold out. More on last night in a bit.
Jay-Z & Kanye have two upcoming sold out shows at Izod Center and other dates too.
'Watch the Throne' tracklist and video below...
Havoc of Mobb Deep @ the kick-off in LA (more by Graeme Flegenheimer)
In addition to initially announced Rock The Bells lineup (Nas playing Illmatic? Mobb Deep on The Infamous detail? wow), the festival has made some interesting additions like Erykah Badu performing all of Baduism (on select dates), Common performing all of Be (on select dates), Killah Priest performing all of Heavy Mental, Slaughterhouse, and DOOM. More lineup details are below.
The NYC show on 9/3 at Governor's Island gets the Erykah Badu appearance, and tickets are on presale, password is "ILLMATIC". General sale begins Saturday, 6/11, at 10:00 AM.
In other Hip Hop festival news, Brooklyn Hip Hop Fest's lineup has expanded too adding MOP (!), Torae, Random Axe (Sean Price + Black Milk + Guilty Simpson), eLZhi, Marley Marl, Roli Rho (5th Platoon), Grand Wizzard Theodore and Twilite Tone. Tickets are on sale for all Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival events, including an after-party at Southpaw on July 16th which proclaims to have "special guests invited including the entire BHF '11 lineup".
Full Rock The Bells details, alongside some videos, below...
photos by Graeme Flegenheimer
Cypress Hill @ House of Blues - Sunset Strip - 5/24/2011
The line-up for the ROCK THE BELLS 2011 FESTIVAL SERIES--presented by Boost Mobile in association with GUERILLA UNION and powered by BlackBerry--will feature an array of seminal and up-and-coming hip-hop artists on three stages. Headliners include Ms. Lauryn Hill, Nas,Erykah Baduand Cypress Hill. See the current line-up below and look for more performers to be announced soon.The Guerilla Union pre-sale for the ROCK THE BELLS 2011 FESTIVAL SERIES will go from June 3 at 10am PST - 10pm PST. The general on-sale starts on June 4.
This year's festival will head to four major North American markets. Kicking off in the Los Angeles-area on August 20 at the San Manuel Amphitheater, ROCK THE BELLS will then head to San Francisco on August 27 at Shoreline Amphitheatre. The festival moves to the east coast for a show in New York on September 3 at Governor's Island (co-promoted with Bowery Presents, Highline, Mad Dog Presents) before wrapping in [a TBA venue in] Boston on September 10.
ROCK THE BELLS featured a number of headliners performing their most influential albums in their entirety for the first time in the history of hip-hop entertainment last summer. The tradition continues this year with Ms. Lauryn Hill performing her landmark, multi-platinum selling, multi-GRAMMY winning album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill and Nas performing his breakthrough debut album Illmatic with special guests AZ, Pete Rock and DJ Premier. Nas says about performing Illmatic this summer, "For years people have been asking me to do Illmatic in so many ways, from stage plays to movies to books, but the time wasn't right. Where music is going now, the time is right. This will be my biggest production and it only makes sense to do it on the best rap tour which also happens to be a brand I've built and am a partner in. Can't wait to kill it with my comrades AZ, Premo & Pete Rock!"
Full album sets can also be expected from: Cypress Hill performing their 1993 multi-platinum album Black Sunday, featuring modern rock radio mainstay "Insane In The Membrane"; Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star performing their 1998 self-titled debut album; Raekwon & Ghostface teaming up for critically acclaimed, platinum selling Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and more.
"I am excited that this year's Rock The Bells will continue its rich history and tradition by presenting the best and most ambitious festival programming in Hip Hop," says festival co-founder and Guerilla Union head Chang Weisberg. "The bar has been set high and this year's line-up will certainly stake its claim. With ten of the biggest records in the history of the genre and the freshest new talent bubbling from the underground, this summer's Rock The Bells is another dream come true."
ROCK THE BELLS will feature three main stages this year. The two returning stages are the ROCK THE BELLS STAGE and the PAID DUES STAGE, which will feature independent hip-hop acts that performed at the Paid Dues Festival this past April in San Bernardino and new artists-on-the-rise. Paid Dues Festival creator Murs says, "I am excited that I once again have the privilege of hosting the Paid Dues Stage. We will have the honor of showcasing some of the best talent in independent hip hop as part of the worlds largest and longest running hip hop festival... the Paid Dues stage is gonna be the one to watch this year."
The 36 CHAMBERS STAGE is a new addition to the festival and will primarily feature members of the Wu-Tang Clan as well as artists selected by stage curator and Wu-Tang Clan mainstay RZA. A fourth stage that will also be added to most markets is the GRINDTIME NOW STAGE, which will feature battle-style performances.
The lineup was announced last night at a show at House of Blues in LA. Mobb Deep, Souls of Mischief and Cypress Hill all played and pictures to prove it are in this post. More of them below.
The full lineup is also below...
DOWNLOAD: Raekwon - "Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang" (MP3)
Raekwon at Best Buy Theater (more by Brook Bobbins)
HipHopDX: Can you elaborate for me a little bit on how [Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang] is different from your last official solo LP [Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II]?Well, maybe that explains why RZA wasn't in attendance at Best Buy Theater on 12/29. When Raekwon celebrates the release of his new LP Shaolin VS Wu-Tang at Music Hall of Williamsburg on the day of its release, March 8th, RZA probably won't be throwing confetti. Tickets go on sale Friday (1/28) at noon for the show that will feature DJ sets from Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg from Hot 97. The show is Raekwon's lone tour date thus far.
Raekwon: [Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt. II] was me going back into my Godfather status... But this album is more constructed to be like a real, real Wu album. When you think of Wu's early music, how we had the karate skits and the music was coinciding and sounding choppy like that karate format, this album is carved out in the same significance. I had to make sure that I upgraded too, because we dealing with a whole new sound [in Hip Hop], a whole new generation of listeners. And [so] for me, it's still gotta feel new but still feel old, youknowhatImean...
HipHopDX [You & RZA] ...obviously dealt with any disagreements that arose with 8 Diagrams, so with the sound of Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang being back on that 36 Chambers tip, why not go to the architect of that sound for some new sonic designs?
Raekwon: Well the architect, he didn't really wanna co-sign this because he felt like the whole energy of this album being made came to... you know, challenge him as being one of the Grandmasters. I respect where he coming from. I mean, one thing everybody gotta realize is the Clan, it's a lot of us, man. And every now and then we have difficulties in communicating wit' one another.
Check out the title track for Raekwon's Shaolin Vs Wu-Tang which is available for download above and streaming below, along side some video.
photos by Brook Bobbins
"tonight in nyc they played "Duel of The Iron Mic", "97 Mentality", "No Said Date", "Do You Really (Thang, Thang)", "Grid Iron Rap", "One Blood Under W", "Dat's Gangsta", "7th Chamber" and "Protect Ya Neck"
Cappadonna, Streetlife and Boy Jones were there, and Masta Killa sort of took on the role that RZA usually does as the MC of the show at some points.
Math was doing some crazy shit in a Jam Master Jay tribute at one point using more than just his hands." [Sparrow Daene]
The Wu-Tang Clan, sans RZA, brought their tour to Best Buy (formerly Nokia) Theater in Times Square on Wednesday night, 12/29. They'll be celebrating New Years Eve in Pittsburgh. More pictures from the NYC show below...