Posted in 'Pink Friday', All On The Cover, “Monster”, Billboard Magazine, Drake, Eminem, Jay Z, Kanye, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Young Money

All On The Cover: Nicki Minaj Covers Billboard Magazine

Nicki Minaj is gracing the cover of Billboard Magazine for the month of November 2010. Nicki recently sat for an interview with BILLBOARD Magazine to promote ‘PINK FRIDAY’.

Check out a few excerpts from her interview after the jump….

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On her last job:

“The last job I had was as an office manager in a little, tiny room where I literally wanted to strangle this guy because he was so loud and obnoxious,” Minaj recalls. “I would go home with stress pains in my neck and my back. That’s when I went to my mother and said, ‘Look, I’m not going back to work.’ I’d been fired like 15 times because I had a horrible attitude. I worked at Red Lobster before that and I chased a customer out of the restaurant once so I could stick my middle finger up at her and demand that she give me my pen back. I swear to God I was bad.”

On being a NY rapper:

“When I started rapping, people were trying to make me like the typical New York rapper, but I’m not that,” Minaj says. “No disrespect to New York rappers, but I don’t want people to hear me and know exactly where I’m from. I wanted the album to be universal and versatile. It really feels like it speaks for every one of my personalities.”

On getting respect in a male-dominated field:

“When I do songs like “Monster,” when I’m on a record with Jay-Z and Kanye West, when I’m on a record with Wayne and Em — I definitely think the dudes give me respect,” Minaj says. “They haven’t come easy but I think people are starting to give me more props.”

On “Your Love”:

Although first official single “Your Love” reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, the track wasn’t even meant to be released.

“I didn’t like the song and I didn’t put it out,” she says. “Someone stole it out of the studio and put it on the Internet and I cried because I was mortified. I was humiliated and remember telling Drake, ‘This is going to ruin my career.’ ”

On her work ethic:

“I push people around me but I don’t push anyone more than I push myself,” she says. “I tell people all the time, ‘You want to work for me? You have to give 250,000%,’ because when I’m in the booth, I don’t half-ass it. I demand perfection from everyone around me and if you can’t live up to that, then bye-bye.”

The Young Money rapper will be releasing her debut album ‘Pink Friday’ on November 22nd.

 

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Photo Source: MagXone, Billboard.com


Posted in "Billionaire", "Fuck You", "Grenade", "Just the Way You Are", "Nothin' on You", "The Doo-Wops & Hooligans Tour", 'Dr. Feel Good', “The Other Side”, B.O.B., Billboard Magazine, Bruno Mars, Cee-Lo Green, ELLE, Elle Magazine, ELLE US, Kanye, Kanye West, Music News, Saturday Night Live, SNL

Music News: Bruno Mars Speaks to ELLE Magazine About His New Album & On How Kanye Stole His SNL Idea Plus More

Prior to Bruno Mars performing on Saturday Night Live, he sat down with ELLE Magazine and got into depth about his new album, what he thought about Kanye West‘s SNL Performance, and what his future plans are.

Check it out after the jump…

If you don’t recognize Bruno Mars, then just turn on the radio. He’s the R&B mastermind writer/producer behind practically every ounce of DJ-fuel: Cee Lo’s snappy Motown kiss-off “Fuck You,” B.O.B’s sultry single “Nothing On You” and Travie McCoy’s catchy ode to capitalism, Billionaire.” On Tuesday, the 24 year-old Hawaii native released his solo debut, ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans,’ anchored by the melodic “Just The Way You Are.” And this weekend, he’ll provide the soundtrack to Saturday Night Live.

ELLE: Even though you were behind some of the biggest songs of the summer, was going solo always your goal?
Bruno Mars: I got signed at a young age, and, it’s not like the movies—you don’t get signed and all of a sudden hit songs falling into your lap, so I had to learn and see the way things were behind the scenes. Luckily, I got a chance to sell one of my records. That helped pay rent, so I figured that I’d just start producing for other acts and then hopefully, one day labels would hear me sing these demos and take a chance.

ELLE: You famously wrote Cee Lo’s “Fuck You.” How did you two meet?
BM: We’re label mates, and I knew that he was working on his album so I just kept putting it in everyone’s ear, like, “Yo, I need to work with him. It’d be a dream come true.” We hooked up at the studio, we started working, we did a couple of records together. We did a record on Travis McCoy’s album called “Dr. Feel Good,” which he’s singing on; he’s on my album, “The Other Side,” so it’s only natural. We all got to the studio and came up with one of our favorite songs.

ELLE: Were you worried “Fuck You” wouldn’t get airplay because of the lyrics?
BM: You know sometimes, you just gotta do things that feel right. And Cee Lo’s the type of artist who’ll say whatever the hell he wants to say.

ELLE: What are you going after sound-wise on your solo album?
BM: I’ve been a songwriter and a producer for a while now and I’m always hopping around from different genre to genre, and I’m hoping “Nothin’ On You,” “Billionaire,” and “Just The Way You Are,” were a warning to people that I might not just stick to one sound. So on [Doo-Wops & Hooligans], I was just really trying to be open. I would just sit down in the studio, pick up a guitar, and write a song, whether it called for a reggae beat or whether it was a ballad. It was kind of a free fall. Let me just do what I want; let me get this out of my system. And I’m already thinking about my second album.

ELLE: You must be excited to perform on SNL this weekend.
BM: Geeze. The first time you’ll see me singing “Just The Way You Are” on TV is on that show, live.

ELLE: Will you try to weasel your way into a skit?
BM: I don’t know how those things work. I’d love to, but I’m fine with just performing.

ELLE: And you’re following the Kanye performance from last week. Did you see it?
BM: Yeah, wasn’t that incredible? That was my idea! I was gonna wear a red suit and have ballerinas dancing to “Just The Way You Are.”

ELLE: You better talk to your stylist, ASAP.
BM:
No, I’m just kidding. He was amazing though, definitely, he definitely woke me up. Now you’re making me nervous. What the hell is going on? This is supposed to be a nice, sweet interview.

ELLE: Oh no, didn’t they tell you we just try freak you out here at ELLE?
BM:
Right, like, “This is your first big moment. Good luck following Kanye.”

Plus check out Bruno Mars performs “Grenade” in this extended session of Billboard’s Tastemakers series LIVE at Mophonics Studios NY.

Bruno Mars – “Grenade” (Studio Session) LIVE!!!

Source: fashionelle.com, YouTube


Posted in "Last Girl on Earth Tour", "Loud", "Love The Way You Lie", "S&M”, 'Rated R', 'Doritos Late Night', 'Last Girl On Tour', 'Pon De Replay’, 'So Kodak', All On The Cover, Avril Lavigne, “Cheers”, “Fading Away”, “Firework”, “Hot Toddy”, “Man Down”, “Not Myself Tonight”, “Only Girl (In The World)”, “Only Girl”, “Peacock”, “rebelle fleur”, “What's My Name”, Battleship, Billboard Magazine, Currently Reading, Drake, Ester Dean, Gabriela Schwartz, IDJMG, Julie Pilat, Katy Perry, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, newstands, Nicki Minaj, Peter Berg, Reb’l Fleur, Rihanna, Saturday Night Live, Tor Erik Hermansen

All On The Cover: Rihanna Covers Billboard Magazine

This is definitely Rihanna‘s moment to shine. She has been spotted globally everywhere promoting her new album ‘LOUD’. She has also just  joined the Kodak team as its newest spokesperson for their ‘So Kodak’ campaign as well as the ‘Doritos Late Night’ campaign. You can now check her out gracing the the cover of Billboard Magazine. Below I have a few excerpts as well as photos magazine scans from her feature.

Excerpts after the jump….

It’s been just six weeks since Rihanna’s wax figure was unveiled, but already it needs a makeover. The creepily life-like sculpture, which assumed its place in Madame Tussaud’s Washington, D.C., outpost on Aug. 31, immortalizes the biker chick-meets-”Blade Runner” look that the pop star rocked this past winter: shoulder-padded blazer, airtight corset, shimmery makeup and a haircut that only she could pull off, part-buzz cut and part-blonde-streaked, sideways swoop.

But Rihanna has moved on since then, now sporting mostly shoulder-length, barrel-curled locks in a shade twice as fluorescent as fire-engine red. Her new look is less severe, more romantic. A day after the figure’s unveiling, a photograph of the Barbadian singer kissing her waxen self appeared on Twitter and made it abundantly clear how much she’s changed.

“A lot of people dress like Lady Gaga now. I’ve just stepped off into a whole new look and style,” Rihanna says calmly, phoning in just before a flight to London after a nonstop week of work and play in New York. “The whole shoulder pad thing, and the architectural look, is so sharp-edged and tough. I’m over that. I like floral prints now, which I never liked.

“Trends are boring,” she adds. “It’s boring to see everyone doing the same thing.”

On the bluntly titled, Stargate-produced and Ester Dean-penned “S&M,” for example, Rihanna proudly claims her vices: “I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it/Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it/Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.” On “Cheers,” a twangy bar song that samples Avril Lavigne, she name-checks Jameson Irish whiskey and chants, “Cheers to the freakin’ weekend-drink to that!” “Man Down,” a reggae song featuring rap provocateur Nicki Minaj, turns her into the protagonist of her own murder fantasy. “I took his heart when I pulled out that gun . . . rum-puh-pah-pum, man down . . . oh mama, I just shot a man down.”

“At this point, there’s no denying that she’s more than a cool voice, a pretty face and a hot style,” says Stargate’s Tor Erik Hermansen, who with Mikkel Storleer Eriksen make up the Norwegian duo. “She has a swagger which is unbelievable.”

Hermansen says Rihanna pinpointed “Only Girl” as her lead single “the minute she heard the song. She picks and chooses everything, which to me is crucial. And she has good taste.”

“This is the truest Rihanna album yet because it sounds the most like her first one,” Reid continues. “[2005 debut single] ‘Pon De Replay,’ that was obviously Rihanna at her purest, with that Caribbean-flavored dance-pop music. After that, she went in many different directions only to find herself right back where she really started. Though I think the songs are much better now. Her growth as a vocalist is really evident.”

Rihanna Moves On from Chris Brown

While ‘Loud’ is a crucial album for Rihanna in the wake of lower-than-usual sales for ‘Rated R,’ Reid says the latter album was really her most pivotal. “The last one, to us, that was the one. She was brave. She was speaking what she felt at that moment, and it didn’t matter who came with a song that we thought was a hit. Every song had to tell the story she wanted to tell. ‘Loud’ is the album where she doesn’t have a point to prove. She can just have fun and be Rihanna.”

The singer wholeheartedly agrees. ” ‘Rated R’ showed that I wasn’t a shallow artist,” she says. “I have some depth. There was definitely some growth, going through that dark moment in my life.”

Rihanna never refers to her relationship with Brown in specifics and says she “definitely” prefers to let “Love the Way You Lie” speak for itself, which of course is made easier by the fact that it’s not on her own album. “It’s kind of like the closing to that chapter, and now we’re in a new stage,” she says.

“What happened in her personal life, the way she handled it and worked through it, is truly amazing,” Hermansen says. “As tragic as that was, just to see how she grew as a person and an artist, I think the whole world looked at that and said, ‘OK, this girl is no joke.’ ”

GETTING ‘LOUD’

This isn’t an accomplishment that her label takes lightly, though Reid believes there’s a catch. “She’s clearly multiformat, but the challenge is, which format is hers? As a recording artist, you can have a hit and be a visitor to each format, but to have true artistic success you have to own it. I think she owns rhythm and top 40, but we do suffer a little because we don’t have urban on lock. When you have a black girl from the islands, you want to have urban on lock. So one of the goals that we had was to not force that, but to try and make records we thought were hits and where she could shine.”

“The challenge is complicated when you’re making music that sonically appeals to a dance/top 40 audience,” WQHT (Hot 97) New York PD Ebro Darden says. “When Rihanna makes music that fits the appeal of hip-hop, we play it.”

Julie Pilat, assistant PD/music director for KIIS-FM Los Angeles, says that Rihanna’s multiformat appeal “seems like more of a strength than a weakness,” adding that the star is “welcomed with open arms wherever she goes.”

“I wanted songs that only I can do, not generic songs that everyone else could sing,” Rihanna says. Her collaborations with Dean went a long way in this regard, no doubt in part because both are young, successful female pop hitmakers of color in a heavily male-dominated field.

Dean, who specializes in rhythmic pop songs with a naughty streak (her most recent work includes Usher’s “Hot Toddy,” Katy Perry’s “Peacock” and “Firework,” and Aguilera’s “Not Myself Tonight”, co-wrote “S&M,” “Fading Away” and “What’s My Name,” which will be the second single off “Loud.” She says Rihanna’s biggest strength is that “she doesn’t try to sound like you; she sounds like herself. She’s not in there trying to figure out how she can beat you singing your song. She goes in there and says, ‘I’m going to sing this song because I fucking love it.’ ”

“She really captured me, everything I would say and how I would say it,” Rihanna says of Dean. “Some people get it halfway right. She just gets it and knows exactly what you want to hear.”

Rihanna may not do much of her own songwriting, but by all accounts she was more active than ever in guiding the creative choices for “Loud.” Writing camps took place several months ago in Los Angeles and Miami, where Rihanna, who nearly always uses “we” when discussing the making of her album, says about 100 writers and producers were invited to collaborate and craft songs for consideration. “We gave them guidelines and a bunch of topics,” she says. “We’d have 10 writers in one room and five writers in another room and put them with one producer, then split the group up and put them with another producer.”

“Obviously those are extreme conditions to create something under,” Hermansen says, “but we enjoyed the urgency of the whole project.”

Rihanna Hits the Studio With Drake

For her recent collaboration with Drake, a remix of “What’s My Name” that will appear on “Loud” as a bonus track, Rihanna personally presented the track to the Canadian MC. “She played the record to Drake backstage somewhere to try to get him on a verse,” Hermansen says. “She’s calling me up saying, ‘Where are the files?’ That’s one thing you don’t hear often from artists on her level.”

“Drake is the hottest rapper out right now,” Rihanna says, “and we’ve always been trying to work together. He’s the only person I thought could really understand the melody of the song, and the minute he heard it he said, ‘I know exactly what I’m going to do. I love it.’ And he did it like three days later.”

Much of the actual recording was done while Rihanna was on the road for her “Last Girl on Earth tour,” which kicked off in April in Europe and wrapped in August in the United States. (It will resume early next year in Australia.)

DIRECT TO FAN

Rihanna is the first to admit that making a personal connection with her fans hasn’t been her strong suit up to now. “I just felt like there was this big distance with us,” she says. “You know, they love me, they love how I dress and they move to my music, but they don’t really know who I am.”

That started to change in late August when Rihanna took over her Twitter account, which before had only been used to issue formal announcements. “No more corny label tweets!” she declared, and soon she was going even more direct, announcing the title of her new album in a live chat on fan site RihannaDaily.com. “I just got on there and started talking. Some of them didn’t believe that it was me, like, ‘Oh, fake Rihanna,’ ” she says of the first time she visited the chat. “So I got my best friend to Facebook RihannaDaily so they knew it was really me.”

Rihanna utilized Twitter and Facebook to debut her album cover at the end of September, posting partial images of the artwork on the social networks, then directing fans to her official website RihannaNow.com for the full reveal.

“Fan engagement is a huge driver for us,” IDJMG senior director of marketing Gabriela Schwartz says. “We had a lot of fun with our digital rollout for ‘Rated R,’ which was more about intrigue, countdowns, teasers and building anticipation. This is ‘Loud’ and it’s inclusive, it’s in your face and immediate, which is exactly what the album represents.”

As for other high-profile looks, Rihanna is booked to perform on ABC’s “Good Morning America” fall concert series Nov. 17, the day after “Loud” streets, and on the Halloween episode of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

For the first time, Rihanna is also delving into other sectors of the industry. She’ll launch her first fragrance, titled Reb’l Fleur (a play on words from a tattoo on her neck that reads “rebelle fleur” next spring, and she’s currently filming scenes for “Battleship,” an action movie directed by Peter Berg.

“My favorite part has been shooting in the ocean,” Rihanna gushes, sounding her most excited. “We were going at top speed, and I had to shoot this really badass weapon off the front of the boat. There was gunpowder all in my mouth by the time it finished.”

Rihanna has a stuntwoman for her more daring scenes, but per usual, she’s more likely to take charge. “They always want me to sit down when the dangerous stuff happens, but I am a control freak,” Rihanna says. “So I said, ‘No.’ She doesn’t do it like I would do it.”

For full feature check out Billboard.com

Posted in 'Wake Up!', ?uestlove, All On The Cover, Barack Obama, Billboard Magazine, Currently Reading, John Legend, newstands, President Barack Obama, The Roots

All On The Cover: ?uestlove & John Legend Cover Billboard Magazine

Billboard has done a cover story on the collaboration between John Legend and The Roots. The album is entitled ‘Wake Up!’ which drops on September 21st . The article mainly focus’ on how John Legend & ?uestlove decided to work together and give out a political message during a great time of need. This is the type of collaboration you dream of (another would be RZA and Nas which is also coming soon) and the timing is perfect considering how apathetic people right now. Even if you aren’t too political you will be rewarded with great music but if you listen carefully you’ll also get some messages on life that you may just need to hear. You can stream the entire album below so hopefully this holds us over until September 21st when we can actually pick up the album.

America seems to always be at war,” John Legend muses as he casually plinks the keys of his piano at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. “While politicians go home safe to their families, we’ve got a government willing to sacrifice people’s lives every day.”

Check out a few excerpts from their interview below after the jump…

About the Album:

Legend: It is a different climate, but I think it makes the album even more relevant now. You would think now that we have a black president, everything’s all good, but there has been more racial tension than ever before. A lot of people feel like they’re losing grip of what America used to be. They long for a bygone era when America was whiter, when it was more Christian, when it was more this, more that — they long for a more traditional America. You see that conversation, that battle, being had in America right now, so it feels like these songs are super relevant, even more so than in 2008.

Thompson: Absolutely. There’s a song that deals with patriotism, which connects to what’s going on in New York with the mosque near ground zero. “Hang on in There” deals specifically with the definition of an American: “Do you consider me an African American like you consider yourself an American?” Every day, new subjects and ideas are being raised that make this album relevant.

About meeting President Obama:

Thompson: Every time I saw him, he ragged on me about my hair. The first words that came out of his mouth to me were, “Man, you haven’t cut that thing yet?” I’m almost certain that at the end of this project, a performance at the White House is in order. I’m putting that out there.

Legend: He’s a fan of hip-hop and R&B. He’s made that pretty clear in some of the conversations he’s had about his iPod, and he knew how to wipe the dirt off his shoulder, so clearly he’s pop culture aware. I think President Obama will dig this album.

Their Next Move:

Legend: I’m starting the next solo album now. Kanye and I are executive producers together. I also worked on Kanye’s album a little bit, on the “Power” remix and other stuff. But God only knows what Kanye is actually going to put on the album and what’s going to be on the other five-song album he’s putting out.

Thompson: We’re actually considering doing a children’s record next, with “Yo Gabba Gabba!” Kirk [Douglas], our guitarist, was a kindergarten teacher before he joined the group and he has at least 200 songs in his arsenal-great, noncondescending kid songs like the real smart stuff that came from “The Electric Company.” Kirk’s a genius about making kids songs.

Between that and “Wake Up!,” it seems like the Roots are consciously reaching out to a younger generation.

Thompson: When I was a kid listening to the stuff we cover on “Wake Up!,” I was 2 or 3 years old. My mom and dad and sister constantly fed me music, and that planted the seed. So I hope there’s a parent out there that takes to this record and plays it a lot for their kid, and that this becomes the soundtrack to some 3-year-old in 2010 who will be a 23-year-old in 2030 and say, “Man, I grew up on this record.”

Read the entire article here.

Listen To A Full Stream of “Wake Up!”:
{“Wake Up!” John Legend and The Roots by billboard}

Source: Billboard