N.W.A, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé Streams Increase As Well As Other Artists During Nationwide Protests

Protest Songs by Black Artists Have Skyrocketed

So have songs by Public Enemy, D’Angelo, Killer Mike, and Childish Gambino.

Following the murder of George Floyd, people have been protesting in all 50 states for the Black Lives Matter movement and against police brutality. Naturally, the process of fighting for justice lends itself to be soundtracked. So it should come as no surprise, then, that songs by N.W.A, Kendrick Lamar, and Beyoncé have all seen an increase in streams as a result.

N.W.A’s eternal classic “Fuck Tha Police” has become a modern political anthem once again, even being blasted over police scanners in Chicago by Anonymous over the weekend. According to Rolling Stone, that “Straight Outta Compton” cut has seen a whopping 272% increase in on-demand audio streams from May 27th through June 1st, as compared to its streaming numbers five days prior to Floyd’s death.

Protest songs by more contemporary black artists have skyrocketed on streaming platforms as well. Kendrick Lamar’s staple “Alright” went up 71%, a unifying single that FOX News once tried (and failed) to blame as being inflammatory. Beyoncé, who issued a statement regarding Floyd’s death, saw her track “Freedom” go up 70%. Others saw an even bigger jump, like Killer Mike’s “Don’t Die” spiking 542%, Childish Gambino’s breakout “This Is America” upped by 149%, D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s “The Charade” increasing by 122%, and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” being streamed 89% more than usual.

Listeners have been returning to some of the most classic protest songs, too, according to these statistics. James Brown’s 1968 song “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud” saw a huge 455% increase and Nina Simone’s 1967 number, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” went up by 34%.

Artists have been chiming in about Floyd’s murder and Black Lives Matter protests nearly every day now. JAY-Z called Minnesota’s governor to demand justice for Floyd, Fiona Apple marched in Santa Monica, and Halsey got hit by a rubber bullet while protesting in Los Angeles. Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington, and Denzel Curry wrote a new protest song called “PIG FEET”. Even Bruce Springsteen and David Lynch have been showing up online to voice their support. If there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s that Americans are fed up with the pervasive, systematic, and harmful racial injustice the country’s black communities face.

Watch Artists’ videos here: https://bit.ly/3eR7dxd


Halsey denies ignoring ‘her black side’and she hits back!

HALSEY: “I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one

Halsey has hit back after being accused of failing to claim “her black side”.

The 25-year-old singer has been extremely active during the Black Lives Matter protests following the tragic death of George Floyd, who was killed after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

And while she’s been praised by the majority for her involvement in the protests, during which she offered medical help to those injured by the police, one person took to Twitter on Tuesday to accuse her of ignoring her own mixed-race heritage.

“Notice how @Halsey never claims her black side, but she ‘supports.’ Stop being ignorant. She’s never claimed her Black side. This is why I will NEVER support her. On her post she says ‘let black ppl speak,’ not ‘let our ppl speak.
‘ Nah, f**k her (sic),” the person wrote in a now-deleted tweet.

In response, Halsey, who has an African-American father, wrote: “Im white passing (mixed heritage but looks white). It’s not my place to say ‘we.’ it’s my place to help. I am in pain for my family, but nobody is gonna kill me based on my skin color. I’ve always been proud of who I am but it’d be an absolute disservice to say ‘we’ when I’m not susceptible to the same violence.”

Speaking previously to Playboy magazine about her race, Halsey said: “I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a black woman. So it’s been weird navigating that. When I was growing up I didn’t know if I was
supposed to love TLC or Britney.

NewsDesk/Music-News; June, 2020

Top New Singles of the Week: Rosalia and Travis Scott, Juice WRLD, Juelz Santana, Tank and the Banga!


Listen to VARIETY’S top tracks here: https://bit.ly/2AlskbZ

Welcome to Variety Music’s third-ever Fri 5, our collection of the best, most noteworthy or simply most remarkable new songs from the past week. It is not complete or definitive or a fight-to-the-death “best of,” but rather a bunch of songs that we find interesting — because a world without five interesting new songs every week would be a sad world indeed. (Read last week’s Fri 5 here, and the week before’s here https://bit.ly/2AlskbZ)

Of course, the blockbusters this week are Lady Gaga’s stellar return to form, “Chromatica,” and the Rosalia-Travis Scott tag team “TKN,” both of which we already reviewed — following are five we haven’t.

Juelz Santana “Justice for George” It’s impossible to ignore the horrors we see on our screens every day, and George Floyd’s completely unjustified death — okay, we’ll say it, murder — at the hands of Minneapolis police
officer Derek Chauvin has galvanized the country. Veteran rapper Juelz Santana earlier this week dropped a segment of a song that addresses the larger issue of police brutality against the black community, but was
posted on Instagram with a photo of Floyd.

“All they wanna do is prosecute us/ Shoot us when they ain’t gotta shoot us,” Santana raps. “They kill us, turn around, and then protect their own/ Meanwhile, we can’t even protect our own/ If we try, they lock us up and don’t wanna send us home/ Next time you see your kids they be already grown.” Hopefully it is the first of many songs to come that speak out against the mind-boggling number of injustices we see in Trump’s America.

Juice WRLD featuring Trippie Redd “Tell Me U Luv Me”
This track is the second to be released from a forthcoming posthumous album, apparently called “Outsiders,” assembled by the family of Juice WRLD, the Chicago rapper who died last year of an accidental overdose at just 21. (The first posthumous song, “Righteous,” dropped last month.) While little information accompanied the release of this collaboration with his friend Trippie Redd, the midtempo song comes with a video directed by Cole Bennett and a call for support to the Live Free 999 Fund, a charitable organization which aims to help young people struggling with their mental health. The fund was established by the rapper’s mother, Carmela Wallace, earlier this year.

Tank and the Bangas “For Andre” As if to contrast with these strife-filled times, New Orleans polyglot group Tank & the Bangas released a breezy song about long-low-laying Outkast member Andre 3000, who occasionally
drops brilliant verses on other artists’ songs but has been largely MIA for almost 15 years. So the group paid him tribute (even singing at one point, “I want to marry Andre”), just because. “We love André 3000. We love
Outkast. André has culturally shaped hip-hop in a very unique way from his clothing to his cadence,” they wrote in a statement accompanying the song. “Tank fell in love with him along with the rest of the world a long time
ago. For his birthday, we all thought an ode to him would be the perfect gift.”

Blimes and Gab “Shellys (It’s Chill)” One of the glories of working in music is the great, feel-good songs that come out of absolutely nowhere — and this track from Blimes and Gab is not only a great, feel-good song that came out of nowhere, it’s a perfect summer song. A tag team of Seattle MC Gifted Gab and San Francisco-bred Blimes Brixton (who describe themselves as “your badass aunties who secure the B.A.G.”), the pair had an earlier
single, “Feelin’ It,” featured on “Insecure” and their debut album, “Talk About It,” drops next month.

Tayla Parx “Dance Alone” Variety 2018 Hitmaker honoree Tayla Parx — who has crafted hits for Ariana Grande, Janelle Monae, Christina Aguilera and others — speaks for a lot of us with this mid-tempo ‘70s soul groove,
which has perhaps the defining chorus of 2020: “I don’t wanna dance alone…” Her second album, titled with equal acuity, “Coping Mechanism,” is out later this year.

By Jem Aswad, June, 2020 for Variety

Rosalia and Travis Scott Unleash Epic New Collab ‘TKN’


Watch Rosalia and Travis Billboard video, “TKN” here: https://bit.ly/3etALRn

With a group of intrepid kids in tow, Rosalía and Travis Scott have dropped their highly-anticipated collaboration “TKN” and an accompanying music video that is full of life today (May 28).

The CANADA-directed video, shot in Pomona and North Hollywood, Calif. in February, starts with a baby sitting on the grass who is then picked up by Rosalía.

A group of kids then appears, and with Rosalía as their fierce leader, they take to the streets to start a dance revolution.

“Travis is an artist who I’ve admired a lot since the beginning of his career and I can’t imagine a better artist to collaborate with on this song,” Rosalía said in a statement. “I feel that now is the moment to release this song, after so many months of staying indoors, missing freedom or being with people we love. I hope ‘TKN’ gives you energy, makes you dance, and gives you strength if you’re going through difficult times. With all my love <3.”

“TKN” is Rosalía’s third release of the year, and it becomes her second collaboration with Scott. In 2019, the Spanish singer-songwriter jumped on a remix for “Highest in the Room” alongside Lil Baby.

Along with Rosalía’s powerful and dramatic vocals, the upbeat and energetic track features Scott singing some lines in Spanish.

Watch Rosalia and Travis in “TKN” video here: https://bit.ly/3etALRn

May, 2020 by Griselda Flores for Billboard

Watsky Set the Guinness World Record for Longest Rap Marathon, Guess How Long He Lasted?! 🤪

San Francisco’s Watsky set the Rap Marathon Guinness World Record

Earlier this month, Watsky successfully set the Guinness World Record for longest rap marathon by an individual by spitting bars for 33 hours 33 minutes and 19 seconds straight.

He simulcast the live stream across his YouTube, Facebook and Twitch channels from May 6-7, showcasing an impressive stream of consciousness fueled by mega-size energy drinks and a Scrabble dictionary. The charity spectacle raised funds for his band and crew who were sidelined by coronavirus postponing his Placement tour, for his fans for “lost travel expenses” and ticket refunds, and for other struggling musicians during this time through the organization Sweet Relief.

Overall, the San Francisco-born MC (real name George Watsky) raised $147,000, which will be seeded by $10,000 out of Watsky’s own pocket to bring the total to $157,000.

“It’s official,” he exclaimed on his Instagram last week. Watsky beat out Good Bison frontman Pablo Alvarez, who previously held the record in 2017 with 25 hours 56 minutes and four seconds, according to Miami New Times.

May, 2020 by Heran Mamo for Billboard, article: https://bit.ly/2X4Hds0

The Weeknd’s Epic ‘In Your Eyes’ Remix With Doja Cat Has Arrived: Listen 🎧

The Weeknd returns with a big one, “In Your Eyes” (Remix)” with Doja Cat!

After carving out several remixes for his After Hours album, The Weeknd returned early Thursday morning (May 21) with easily the biggest one of them all: an “In Your Eyes (Remix)” with Doja Cat.

Welcoming Doja to his funky playground, The Weeknd allows the multifaceted star to shine on the song’s second verse. After combing through the entrancing soundscape with her feathery croons, she switches into rap mode before allowing the XO star to regain momentum on the hook. “I can’t stop staring at you / It’s like I forgot that staring is rude / And that’s what five shots could turn me into / But you’ve done most things that
gentlemens do” she raps.

Doja is coming off her first Hot 100 No. 1 with “Say So” featuring Nicki Minaj. In a recent interview with Billboard, the Hot Pink star explained how the mega collaboration with Minaj emanated. “It was a conversation, kind of, for months,” she said. “And I was like, ‘I’d love to have her on a song. I know my fans would love to have her on a song. I always get tweets about it, so.’ It just happened. They did hit me with like, ‘Hey, guess who got on
your song?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’”

Fans looking for more starry collaborations with Doja should buckle up, as she and Ariana Grande also have a record on the way. “I’m obsessed with her. I love her,” Grande told Zane Lowe on his Apple Music show earlier this month.

“I was able to work with her earlier this year on this song that I want to save for whenever it’s time again, to drop,” Grande revealed. “I love her personality. I love what she brings to the table musically. She’s just such a
breath of fresh air. I think she’s brilliant and so talented. … We did this song together towards the end of last year and I love it so much. I remember when I first wrote it and sent it to her, she was in the shower and she was
like, ‘B—h, I love this. I’m in the shower.’ And I was like, ‘Shower. You can call me back.'”

Listen to The Weeknd’s “In Your Eyes (Remix)” here

May, 2020 by Carl Lamarre/Billboard

MC Lyte searching for new sitcom co-star in talent search competition! 😎

Rap pioneer MC Lyte has launched a U.S.-wide talent search to find her new co-star for an upcoming sitcom.

The hip-hop icon is developing a new half-hour series called “Partners in Rhyme”, which will center on a female foster kid and social media star who is convinced she will become the next Cardi B.

Lyte, real name Lana Moorer, will feature as a record label executive tasked with taking the teen under her wing, and to find her young co-star, she has teamed up with producers at U.S. network UMC (Urban Movie Channel) and officials at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) to launch the Shoot Your Shot casting call, inviting wannabe actors to apply for the role.

Five finalists will perform at the planned ABFF event in Miami, Florida later this year, when a winner will be chosen as the show’s lead.

Lyte, who has featured in TV series like Power, S.W.A.T., and Queen of the South, is working with Martin and The Jamie Foxx Show executive producer Bentley Kyle Evans on the project.

In a statement issued to Deadline.com, she writes, “It’s an honor to be in business with UMC for “Partners in Rhyme”.

“Teaming up with Bentley Evans and Harvest Studios made the creative process an amazing journey. I’m even more excited that my production company, Sunni Gyrl, led by Lynn Richardson, who also serves as Executive Producer, has planted its feet in the production world. I’m excited to see all of the casting submissions and find our co-star.”

“Partners in Rhyme” is expected to debut its pilot episode at the 2021 ABFF, before premiering on UMC.

Newsdesk/Music-News, May, 2020

What’s Better Than Joyner Lucas’ ‘Will?’ A Remix With the Fresh Prince Himself 😎

Joyner Lucas already paid the ultimate tribute to his rap king Will Smith with his recent single “Will.” The video found Lucas paying tribute to some of Smith’s most iconic movie and TV roles, which made Smith feel
“humbled and honored.”

But rather than just make a surprise cameo in the “Will” video and express his admiration, Smith did the one thing that was sure to completely blow Lucas’ mind: he hopping in the booth to add a verse for the remix of the

“Will Remix (Feat. Will Smith)” dropped on Friday (May 15). After Lucas’ opening verse, the global icon slips in to talk about some of his biggest inspirations, while promising Lucas that he’s a “legend in the makin’ too”:

“I feel like a prince that turned to a king (Ayy)/ Found me a queen, started a family and got me a team/ On top of my dreams, Joyner, I know you inspired by me/ Like I was inspired by Nelson Mandela, I give him a rose for
every endeavor/ And shoutout to Julius Erving, one of the legends I worship (Worship)/ Muhammad Ali put the work in, he was the champ, the greatest, he earned it/ I love that you think that I’m perfect but I have plenty
mistakes and burdens/ My grandmama thought I was worth it,” Smith raps, going on to also pay homage to Eddie Murphy, late Fresh Prince co-star James Avery, his longtime partner-in-crime Jazzy Jeff, wife Jada Pinkett-Smith, Bad Boys co-star Martin Lawrence and, of course, his kids.

Listen to “Will” remix: https://bit.ly/2Z4xG5O

2020 by Gil Kaufman, May 2020/Billboard

Kamasi Washington has scored Michelle Obama’s new Netflix documentary

“Working with Kamasi Washington on the musical score for ‘Becoming’ was a dream come true,” the show’s director Nadia Hallgre said of the collaboration. “Not only is Kamasi a masterful musician, he also has a unique sensitivity that he pours into his music. His music reaches deeply into your soul.

“Mrs. Obama loves music, and when I read the line in her book ‘And heaven, as I envisioned it, had to be a place full of jazz,’ I knew immediately Kamasi was the artist that could interpret her experience musically. His sound is contemporary and timeless, a magical fit to her story.”

The full soundtrack for Becoming will come out next week (May 15) via Young Turks.

Speaking of the creation of the soundtrack, Washington said: “It was such an honor to work on Becoming – a beautiful documentary film that sheds light into the life of our remarkable former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Working w/ the incredible director Nadia Hallgren to create the musical score for this amazing piece was truly a blessing.”

He added: “Barack & Michelle Obama’s time as President & First Lady had a profound impact on the history of this country & the world. This film gives a unique insight into that impact. Hope you all enjoy it! If you dig the music we’re gonna release a soundtrack for the film on May 15th!!”

Washington also recently scored the finale of long-running HBO drama Homeland. He released his most recent album, ‘Heaven and Earth’, back in 2018.

Speaking of the double-album release, the artist said: “This idea inspired me to make this album ‘Heaven & Earth’. The reality we experience is a mere creation of our consciousness, but our consciousness creates this reality
based on those very same experiences.

“We are simultaneously the creators of our personal universe and creations of our personal universe.”

By Will Richards May 2020/NME

Library of Congress Launches Open-Source Hip-Hop Sampling Tool

The Library of Congress’ Record Collection, image via Library of Congress

Producers will have access to the library’s vast audio collection, which dates back more than a hundred years!

The Library of Congress, led by current “innovator in residence” Brian Foo, is launching an open-source hip-hop sample tool called Citizen DJ. A preview is currently available, and the full service will launch this summer.

Users will have access to a massive audio collection that dates back over a hundred years, almost to the invention of the phonograph. According to the L.O.C., there will be three ways to access these sound files: an interface for searching by sound and metadata; a simple music-creation app that easily allows the collection to be remixed with hip-hop beats; and various “sample packs” full of thousands of clips from particular collections.

While Citizen DJ will be available for use in other musical genres, Brain Foo’s intention was to bring back the golden age of hip-hop sampling. A data visualization artist at the American Museum of Natural History, Foo pines for the “collage-based” music of the ’80s and ’90s, before lawsuits led to “excessive restrictions on how audio could be sampled.” He said, “today, collage-based hip hop as it existed in the golden age is largely a lost (or at best, a prohibitively expensive) artform. I believe if there was a simple way to discover, access, and use public domain audio and video material for music making, a new generation of hip hop artists and producers can maximize their creativity, invent new sounds, and connect listeners to materials, cultures, and sonic history that might otherwise be hidden from public ears.”

You can help the Library of Congress beta-test Citizen DJ by spending about 15 minutes playing around with the preview.

Like so many of us, the Library of Congress has been on a hip-hop kick recently. Last year, JAY-Z ‘s The Blueprint was entered into the archive and this year it was followed by Dr. Dre’s The Chronic.