Birdman isn’t the center of attention on the Rich Gang mixtape, but let’s take a moment for Birdman anyway. For someone who, at least according to conventional wisdom, cannot rap, Brian “Baby” Williams sure has verses on a lot of classic songs. “Big Ballin’,” “#1 Stunna,” “Bling Bling,” “Shine,” “Get Your Roll On,” “What Happened To That Boy,” “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy,” “We Takin’ Over” — the Birdman verses might not be the moments you remember best from these songs, but they’re there. On top of that, you can make the argument that Birdman is the greatest A&R in rap history. Lil Wayne and Drake and Nicki Minaj are all transformative rap stars, people who have remade the genre in their own images, and they all owe Birdman their career in one way or another. That’s not even mentioning the late-’90s moment where Birdman and his brother Slim took a mob of New Orleans rappers even grimier and more impenetrably Southern than the No Limit roster and made them even more popular than the No Limit roster, all while rapping over beats that sounded like what would’ve happened if the alien garbage snake from Star Wars tried to make Detroit techno. Birdman barely raps at all on Rich Gang: Tha Tour Part 1, and he mostly limits his on-mic participation to ad-libs and inspirational money-talk montages. (The tape-opening minute-long tirade — “That Rich Gang lifestyle: marble floors, gold terlets, and chandeliers” — is Peak Birdman.) But his real significance on the tape is this: He’s taken two relatively fringey Atlanta cult-rap weirdos, and he’s presenting them not as if they’re rising voices but as if they’re massive stars already. And because he’s Birdman, you believe it.
Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring brought his signature moves to BBC’s Later… With Jools Holland last night. They performed “Seasons (Waiting On You)” which is, of course, off their most recent album, Singles, and the group gave a characteristically passionate performance. The band also posed for an appropriate picture in front of a large sign before the performance. Watch below.
The latest Speedy Ortiz song comes to us via Brooklyn art collective Famous Class, whose monthly LAMC single series solicits an unreleased song from a musician for a 7″ single and asks that musician to curate the B-side. It’s a charitable endeavor, with 100 percent of digital proceeds going to the Ariel Panero Memorial Fund at VH1 Save The Music. For the October entry in the series, Speedy submitted “Doomsday,” a brightly sung mid-tempo sway that’s both quirky and dramatically sweeping. It’s a pleasant complement to the aggressive guitar onslaught of this year’s Real Hair EP. Hear it below.
Coolio’s “Fantastic Voyage” came out in 1994, so Spin decided to include the 51-year-old rapper in their ongoing ’94 celebration. Specifically, they played him a series of hits from that year and asked him for commentary. While listening to Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box,” he recalled his reaction when he heard about Kurt Cobain’s death, asserted that he wanted to do a song with Cobain, and suggested that the people close to Cobain should have enabled his heroin addiction. Here’s the transcript:
Tom Morello has addressed what he’s calling “Pancake-Gate” in a long Facebook post that sees the Rage Against The Machine guitarist try to justify his actions against Seattle’s 5 Point Cafe and provide context to the whole situation. (For those of you just tuning in, see here for how this all started.) Morello goes into a detailed blow-by-blow of what he says happened that night, including a long conversation he says he had with the doorman, who he calls “a hipster version of a Studio 54 doorman.” (The doorman in question, who goes by the name Roach, gives his own story.) Apparently, after not getting into 5 Point, Morello and his party made their way over to “the trusty, attitude free, IHOP where we enjoyed a drama free stack of hotcakes.”
When Dan Snaith named Caribou’s new album Our Love, he knew people might initially picture some kind of fairytale sentiment. But nothing is ever that simple, least of all love, and Snaith not only knows that, he’s used that complexity as his main inspiration. The singles “Can’t Do Without You” and the title track have made Caribou’s first album in four years fiercely anticipated. Since the breakthrough success of Swim, a risky personal record that led to an opening slot for Radiohead, Snaith shifted gears and rediscovered his love for club music, building the DJ persona Daphni from a goofy side-project into a powerful entity of its own. But a lot has happened over the last few years: Snaith had his first child and gained a new perspective on everything happening in his life. Moving forward from both Swim’s bare emotion as well as Daphni’s dance-music groove, Snaith began forming his new album. Our Love is a record as complicated as its namesake. Snaith can evoke feelings of startling vulnerability and fear, excitement and romance, over arrangements that can be close and intimate before swelling to booming dance-inducing climaxes — and he’ll often accomplish all that in a single song.
The New Pornographers have revealed the video for Brill Bruisers single “Dancehall Domine.” Directed by Leblanc + Cudmore, it finds Carl Newman and Kathryn Calder performing in a film studio amidst some absurd circumstances. Explains co-director Scott Cudmore:
Grimes served as an inspiration and soundtracked the runway show for Manish Arora’s ready-to-wear spring/summer 2015 collection, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week. When asked in an interview about who could be “the face” of his new collection, Arora responded, “Grimes, the singer. We think of her going to places like the Burning Man Festival. A strong, independent, experimental woman!” Grimes tweeted her appreciation for the collection yesterday: “so stoked/ honoured that manish Arora played so many deep cuts.” Those deep cuts were “Crystal Ball” and “Vanessa,” both from her 2011 Darkbloom split with d’Eon. Other tracks highlighted during the show included “Genesis” and “Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U).” You can watch the full runway show below.