Beyonce Releases New Album ‘Homecoming’

Beyonce, the queen of surprise and so much else, has again dropped a record with no warning: a live album to go with an upcoming Netflix documentary on her performance at Coachella last year.

The album entitled “Homecoming,” just like the film, was released in the early hours of Wednesday across all major streaming platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play.

It breaks that more than two-hour performance — she actually took to the stage twice last year at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — into 40 tracks.

READ ALSO: Twitter Storm As Omotola Blasts Buhari’s Administration Over Performance

Beyonce was the first black woman to headline the festival.

Her set paid tribute to the musical heritage of historically black American colleges and she was backed up by dozens of dancers and a marching band.

Beyonce first dropped an album without warning in 2013: the record “Beyonce” suddenly appeared in the iTunes music store with no advance notice.

And she has repeated the tactic since then with albums like “Lemonade” and “Everything is Love.”

Nicki Minaj Hunting For Tracy Chapman As Album Waits

Nicki Minaj

 

Rapper Nicki Minaj said Wednesday that she is pushing back her new album as she desperately seeks to reach Tracy Chapman to clear a sample.

Chapman, the deep-voiced and intensely private folk singer behind socially conscious songs such as the 1988 classic “Fast Car,” has pulled off the increasingly rare feat of being nowhere to be found online as Minaj pleaded via her 20 million followers each on Instagram and Twitter.

In a tweet this week that she later deleted, Minaj wrote that a song on her upcoming album, “Queen,” features one of “the greatest rappers of all time” but that she had “no clue it sampled the legend #TracyChapman.”

Minaj, whose album will be her first in four years, proceeded to poll her followers to ask whether she should delete the track or delay the album.

The latter option apparently won. Writing on her AppleMusic account on Thursday, Minaj said the album would come out August 17. She earlier had announced it for June and then pushed it back to August 10.

Minaj also posted a text conversation conducted through a fan in which Chapman is offered $2 million to grant permission in time for an August 10 release.

Chapman, 54, has said that she has no desire to spend time on social media.

A number of fans voiced offence at Minaj’s full-court push.

“I can’t believe that this is the kind of disrespect that Tracy Chapman is getting for merely not replying!!” tweeted one user with the handle @nasque.

Minaj did not specify the rapper behind the supposedly obscure Chapman sample but her praiseworthy tone led fans to think she was referring to Eminem. The two rappers have suggested in flirtatious public remarks that they may be romantically involved.

Chris Brown, the singer and rapper controversial over his history of domestic violence, sampled “Fast Car” in his song “Run Away.”

Minaj, one of the top women in hip-hop, has already released three songs from “Queen” including “Bed,” a tropically infused, sexually charged duet with pop singer Ariana Grande, and “Chun-Li,” a nod to Asian martial arts and video-game culture.

AFP

R. Kelly Reveals He Was Sexually Abused In 19-Minute Song

 R Kelly arrives for the 2013 American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, California. Frederic J. BROWN / AFP

 

Singer R. Kelly, the target of a boycott campaign over his treatment of women, hit back Monday in a 19-minute song in which he reveals he was abused himself.

Entitled “I Admit,” the marathon song nonetheless is heavier on denials than acknowledgement as the “I Believe I Can Fly” star vents frustration over the stream of allegations against him.

“I never thought it would come to this, to be the most disrespected artist,” he sings over a mid-tempo R&B beat.

“So I had to write a song about this, ’cause they always take my words and twist it.”

Halfway through the song, Kelly says that a family member touched him sexually from a young age until he was 14.

“So scared to say something / So I just put the blame on me / Now here I am, and I’m trying my best to be honest.”

The Time’s Up movement for gender equality has urged the music industry to part ways with Kelly in the wake of Bill Cosby’s conviction, calling for a world in which women “can pursue their dreams free from sexual assault, abuse and predatory behaviour.”

Kelly was acquitted in 2008 of charges of child pornography after a video allegedly showed him in sexual acts with an underage girl.

More recently, a woman in Dallas complained to police that Kelly knowingly gave her a sexually transmitted disease and BuzzFeed News published an expose in which it said that the singer was keeping six women in virtual slavery with control over their diets, clothing and sex lives.

Kelly, 51, in the song, suggests racial bias and draws a contrast with positive portrayals of late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, known for his multiple relationships with younger women.

Kelly admits sex with “both older and young ladies” but adds: “Really, am I supposed to go to jail or lose my career because of your opinions?”

He also chides celebrities who have turned on him including singer John Legend as well as top streaming service Spotify, which briefly removed him from playlists as part of a crackdown.

“I’m not convicted / Not arrested / Dragged my name in the dirt,” he sings.

AFP

Drake Smashes Streaming Record With New Album

File photo by AARON M. SPRECHER / AFP shot July 20, 2017.

 

Drake has smashed streaming records with his new album “Scorpion,” with Apple Music and Spotify both reporting unprecedented listenership in its first day.

Apple Music said on Instagram that the Canadian hip-hop superstar’s fifth studio album was streamed 170 million times in the 24 hours since its release Friday.

The worldwide figure is the highest ever reported by any streaming service for an album over one day and comes even though Apple Music significantly trails industry leader Spotify in total users.

Drake has a lengthy relationship with Apple, which heavily promoted “Scorpion.” The hotly anticipated album inexplicably appeared two hours late on Spotify.

But “Scorpion” also set a record on Spotify, which heavily featured the album after it went alive.

The site Spotify charts, which tracks listening data, said that Spotify users streamed the album’s 25 songs more than 132 million times over the first day.

The figures smash the previous record for one-day streaming — rapper Post Malone’s album “Beerbongs and Bentleys,” which was streamed just under 79 million times on Spotify on the first day of its release in April.

Streaming records are being frequently broken as growing numbers of listeners embrace Spotify, Apple Music and competitors such as Deezer and Tidal, which allow unlimited on-demand music.

Just days ago, the Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin surpassed Drake as the artist with the most regular monthly listeners on Spotify — but Drake quickly retook the crown with “Scorpion.”

Drake has found massive success releasing sprawling albums and mixtapes of danceable tracks online without consideration to physical formats.

“Scorpion” features a posthumous duet with Michael Jackson, a collaboration with rap great Jay-Z and an admission that Drake secretly had a son with Sophie Brussaux, a French actress in pornographic films.

Falz Fires Up The Internet With ‘This Is Nigeria’

 

With nearly three million YouTube views in less than a week and an avalanche of reactions on social media, rapper Falz’s “This is Nigeria” has touched a nerve about the country’s problems.

The track and video, a cover version of US performer Childish Gambino’s “This is America”, sees Falz wander around a huge warehouse bare-chested as a series of violent scenes unfurl.

“This is Nigeria. Look how we living, nah! Look what we eating, nah!” he riffs to the camera.

Machetes replace the guns of the US version, where Gambino questions his compatriots about life for black people and police brutality.

That version has been viewed more than 220 million times on YouTube in the last month.

“This is Nigeria” was released on the video-sharing platform on May 25 and paints an unforgiving picture of life in Africa’s most populous nation.

Despite having generated billions of dollars from oil, more than 70 percent of Nigeria‘s 180 million people live in poverty, corruption is endemic and violent unrest commonplace.

If the track arouses passions, it’s because it overturns the status quo.

In Nigeria, it’s rare to see a music video open with anything other than scantily clad women sprawled over a luxury car or free-flowing champagne.

Music more often goes together with easy money than political conscience.

“I think we are too distracted by entertainment in general, by flashy lifestyle,” the 27-year-old Falz told the private Wazobia television channel this week.

“We need to pause and think and look at our social space. We have a voice as artists and we need to use that voice for the right purpose, we need to speak the true to wake people up.

“The terrible state of Nigeria has become so normalised.”

 Spirit of Fela 

Falz has won high praise in Nigeria and abroad for the track.

In the United States, hip-hop star P. Diddy shared the video on his Instagram account, celebrating “artists changing the game!!!”

Music journalist Joey Akan was quick to compare Falz to Fela Kuti, the icon of Afrobeat and freedom of expression during Nigeria‘s three decades of military rule.

“‘This is Nigeria‘ embodies the revolutionary and rebel spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti before him,” he wrote in an opinion piece published online by CNN.

“It shows that contrary to popular opinion among local talents, there is a demand for conscious music.

“Musicians tend to avoid political commentary, partly due to an ingrained fear of persecution from the powerful political class.”

For example, Nigeria‘s 2Baba last year announced a mass demonstration against economic recession but was forced to back-pedal under pressure.

Global superstars such as Davido or Wizkid meanwhile continue to perform for political bigwigs and captains of industry who are prepared to pay a small fortune for private concerts.

‘Bad Nollywood’ 

Falz — his real name is Folarin Falana — is not a nobody.

He gave up a career in law to go into music. His father is leading Nigerian human rights lawyer Femi Falana and excerpts of his speech on corruption are in the track.

One of Falana senior’s most famous clients was Fela Kuti.

Falz is giving a voice to the thoughts of many Nigerians who are tired of years of bad governance, and as President Muhammadu Buhari vies for a second term at elections next year.

After three years in power and repeated promises to turn the country around, they feel nothing has been done — and may even have gotten worse.

In Falz’s video, dancers wear long blue hijabs in a clear reference to the schoolgirls from Chibok, whose kidnapping by Boko Haram caused more outrage abroad than at home.

In other scenes corrupt police officers beat up young men and drug addicts, and generators run flat out to make up for a lack of electricity from the national grid.

Even Nigeria‘s numerous powerful evangelical pastors aren’t spared. They’re depicted as hypocritical charlatans on the hunt for cash.

Not everyone is a fan of “This is Nigeria“. Some have criticised it for “plagiarism” and of even being a “bad Nollywood” version of the US track.

“If we go by social media reaction… we could give him (Falz) the award for Best Political Commentary,” critic Oris Aigbokhaevbolo wrote on medium.com.

“He would deserve the award but that is only because there is no competition.

“Wizkid and Davido will not sing it, sequestered as they are in some club or festooned to a fluffy bed by a buxom broad.”

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UW_xEqCWrm0

AFP

Pop Star, Charlie Puth Breathes Jazz On New Album

Singer/songwriter Charlie Puth performs at the The Peppermint Club, on April 17, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. Photo Credit: VALERIE MACON / AFP

 

Charlie Puth’s silky falsetto made him a global star with the pop ballad “See You Again,” but his roots, he is quick to point out, are in jazz.

Puth spent a year and a half writing and revising his second album, “Voicenotes,” which comes out May 11 after a delay, and despite warnings that it was not commercially viable he found himself repeatedly turning to jazz.

But it’s not as if his fans will think he’s gone in a drastic new direction. Instead, Puth hears jazz in the warm chord progressions of the keyboards hidden under the pop texture.

“Voicenotes” — whose first single, “Attention,” is driven by a gently strummed guitar line and funky bass — harks back to the retro production of songwriters such as Babyface and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who Puth sees as heirs to the jazz tradition.

“The whole album is jazz disguised as pop music,” Puth told a news conference in Los Angeles.

“I’ve established a vibe where my music, it might lean adult in a way, but I still have 12-year-olds, teenagers, pre-teenagers — they are all singing the music.

“And that makes me the happiest guy ever because I’m secretly ‘edumacating’ them, whether they like it or not,” he said with a laugh.

Perfect pitch 

Puth took up classical piano as a child and was playing jazz by age 10 before heading to study at the Manhattan School of Music.

The 26-year-old, while acknowledging he failed at transcribing music in school, has an uncanny talent for recognizing pitches. In the course of a news conference, he identified the pitch of a cocktail being shaken by a bartender in the distance of the hotel and instantly replicated on keyboard the beep of a phone.

“See You Again,” which appeared in the action film “Furious 7” as a tribute to late actor Paul Walker and features rapper Wiz Khalifa, became a viral hit in 2015 and remains the second most-watched video ever on YouTube.

But Puth, whose first album “Nine Track Mind” also produced the hits “We Don’t Talk Anymore” and “Marvin Gaye,” said that “Voicenotes” felt more like his debut album as it was more sonically consistent.

The album title comes from the vocal notes function on his iPhone, which Puth said he constantly uses as he sings out tunes that come to his head.

He wrote the album in his parents’ home in New Jersey, saying it was important to connect with family after so much time on the road.

“It’s incredible, truly, how the more famous you get, the more alone you are,” he said.

Eager for collaborations 

Puth collaborated on the album with Boyz II Men, whose sound is in tune with “Voicenotes,” as well as the folk-rock legend James Taylor, whom Puth called a longstanding inspiration.

Puth said he would be happy to go full jazz and play with the jazz greats such as Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock — if they called him.

“That would be incredible,” he said.

Puth’s retro turn into 1980s and 1990s R&B comes amid the success of Bruno Mars, who borrowed liberally from the genre on his Grammy-winning last album.

Puth believed that the sound popularized by artists such as Janet Jackson and Bobby Brown still feels fresh.

“I didn’t invent this style of music. All I’m doing is the 2018, 2019 version of it,” he said.

AFP

Drake Announces New Album, Reigns On Singles Chart

FILE PHOTO Superstar Drake                                                                                                Credit: AFP

 

Hip-hop superstar Drake teased a new album Monday, all but certain to prove a major commercial success as he dethroned himself on top of the singles chart.

The Toronto artist posted on Instagram a picture of himself with his back to the camera sporting a jacket that read “Scorpion” and “June 2018.”

Drake, who separately put out a picture of a necklace with a scorpion pendant, did not reveal an exact release date or other details.

He has often played with the traditional album format, instead of putting out sprawling song collections marketed as mixtapes.

But one consistency in his prodigious output has been a commercial achievement.

His song “God’s Plan” topped the US singles chart for 11 weeks — until being dethroned Monday by another of his songs, “Nice for What.”

His latest song was streamed in the United States more than 60 million times and downloaded 88,000 times in the week through Thursday, tracking service Nielsen Music said.

Drake, 31, has roots as a rapper but has increasingly gone in a pop direction and incorporated the infectious beats of Jamaican dancehall, most notably on his hit “One Dance,” which is the second most-streamed song ever on Spotify.

AFP

Justin Timberlake Gets ‘Personal’ In First Album In Five Years

Pop superstar Justin Timberlake on January 2, 2018 announced his first album in nearly five years, promising more “personal” songwriting inspired by his home and family.
VALERIE MACON / AFP

Pop superstar Justin Timberlake on Tuesday announced his first album in nearly five years, promising more “personal” songwriting inspired by his home and family.

The 36-year-old singer and actor said that “Man in the Woods,” his fifth solo studio album, will come out on February 2 — two days before he headlines entertainment during the Super Bowl, generally the most watched television event of the year in the United States.

Timberlake unveiled the album with a short video on social media that, true to the album’s title, shows him walking reflectively in scenes of nature from a snowy forest to a sunny corn field.

“This album is really inspired by my son, my wife, my family, but — more so than any other album I’ve ever written — where I’m from,” Timberlake says in the video.

“And it’s personal”

Timberlake — who had a son in 2015 with his wife, actress Jessica Biel — grew up near Memphis, Tennessee, one of the capitals of blues and soul music as well as rural-rooted country.

The video features snippets of acoustic guitar, hinting perhaps at a more somber sound for the album, but closes with Timberlake in the studio with all-star pop producer Pharrell Williams.

Timberlake, one of the top-selling artists of the 21st century both as a solo artist and with boy band NSYNC, rose to fame with an electronic pop sound before finding a new voice by bringing in R&B, notably on his 2006 album “FutureSex/LoveSounds.”

He last released full albums in 2013, putting out “The 20/20 Experience” and “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2” in quick succession.

Even without albums, Timberlake has kept putting out music, scoring a mega-hit in 2016 with “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” a giddy summer song that appeared in the animated film “Trolls.”

But Timberlake has focused increasingly on acting rather than music in the past several years, most recently starring as a bookish and seductive lifeguard in Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel.”

AFP

Simi Drops New Music Video Featuring Jide Kosoko

Singing Sensation, Simisola Ogunleye has dropped a new music video off her self-titled album Simisola.

The Extreme Music artiste today, November 8, released the visuals for her song titled “Owanbe.”

READ ALSO: I Don’t Intend To Keep Making A Caricature Of My Private Life – Tonto Dikeh

The video, which is produced by AJE Films, features Nollywood actors, Jide Kosoko and Odunlade Adekola with their hilarious and comical expressions adding drama to the video.

The video is the setting of a typical colourful Lagos Owanbe party, with party lovers grooving to Simi’s sonorous voice.

Watch the video below:

George Michael Tops UK Charts Again After 27 Years

This file photo taken on September 05, 2011 shows British singer George Michael performs on stage during his new European tour, “Symphonica” at the O2 Arena in Berlin on September 5, 2011. The popstar died aged 53 on December 25, 2016. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

George Michael’s chart-topping 1990 album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1” returned straight to number one in the British charts on Friday, 10 months after the British pop star’s death at the age of 53.

The remastered record sold over 56,000 copies to come first in the charts in the largest first-week sales for a re-released album in charts history.

The album was reissued to coincide with a new documentary about the star’s rise to fame.

Its instant appeal matches the success of the original release — Michael’s second solo album after he left the duo Wham! — which also shot straight to number one in September 1990.

It went on to sell more than eight million copies worldwide.

Michael — who was found dead on Christmas Day last year — personally oversaw the remastering of the record prior to his death.

It includes an “MTV Unplugged” set from 1996 and a previously unreleased track, “Fantasy”, featuring Nile Rodgers.

The album was released following the airing earlier this month on British TV of the film “George Michael: Freedom”, which the singer had also been personally guiding before he died.

David Austin, Michael’s manager, long-term collaborator and close friend since childhood, said the team behind the efforts were “incredibly proud” to have immediately topped the charts.

“It’s no great secret that George was a perfectionist and it shows, he was over everything from its inception to its finish and it’s a blessing and rare gift to be guided by such genius,” he added in a statement.

Michael, one of the most successful British artists ever, enjoyed album sales of more than 115 million, alongside Andrew Ridgeley in the band Wham! and then as a solo artist.

AFP

TLC To Release Fifth And Final Album On Friday

Pop group TLC is set to release their fifth and final album on June 30.

Although it’s the end of recording together, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, left the door open for other ways to collaborate:.

“If we do a residency in Vegas that would be awesome. And you never know, we might do movies and other things,” explained T-Boz.

In the 90’s the girl group claimed and still holds the title of the best-selling American girl group of all time with hits such as, “Scrubs,” Unpretty” and “Waterfalls.”

The ladies said their new self-titled album is classic TLC with a range of ballads to girl power anthems. Late member, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes” will be included through an interlude.

“It’s the essence of what you remember her for, that loud spunky voice. Her talking about what we thought in an interview about like, ‘they say we weren’t going to sell no albums, wait a minute, what you mean we ain’t going to sell no albums.’ So you know, it’s like what you loved her for,” T-Boz said of Lopes, who died in a car crash in 2002.

TLC produced the album with the help of their fans via a Kickstarter campaign.

Halsey Tops Billboard 200 Chart With “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom”

United States pop singer Halsey scored her first No.1 album on the Billboard 200 chart with “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom,” making her the first solo female artist to top the album chart in 2017, according to data on Monday from Nielsen SoundScan.

Halsey, who shot to international fame last year as the featured singer on The Chainsmokers’ hit summer single “Closer,” sold 105,000 units of her second studio album.

Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn.” held onto second place on the Billboard 200 with 72,000 more units sold in its eighth week, while The Beatles extended their chart comeback with a further 44,000 sales for 50th anniversary remastered “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which dipped from 3rd to the No.4 spot.

The Billboard 200 album chart tallies units from album sales, song sales (10 songs equal one album) and streaming activity (1,500 streams equal one album).

On the digital songs chart, which measures online single sales, Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” featuring Justin Bieber held onto the top spot for a fifth week with another 140,0000 copies sold.