Archive | July, 2012

R. Kelly Embraces Trey Songz And Dismisses R&B Beef

31 Jul

During a memorable appearance on "RapFix Live," The-Dream declared that there wasn’t enough "winning" in R&B these days, and R. Kelly, the self-proclaimed Pied Piper of R&B, couldn’t agree more.

According to Kells, singers should leave the beefing to rappers and get back to doing what they do best: making music. R. Kelly, who has more than a dozen studio albums in his catalog, has some advice for the new generation of R&B singers, and most of it revolves around staying out of trouble and remaining focused on the music.

"I feel there’s a lot of talented guys out there when it comes to R&B, and what I urge guys out there to do, that’s coming up under me, [aiming for] longevity, is to stay away from beef," R. Kelly told MTV News. "Stay away from beef, stay true and respectful to music and to the ones that inspired you to do what you do."

A few of the recent R&B beefs that might have been fresh on Kelly’s mind: Chris Brown’s scathing exchange of words with Brian McKnight, The-Dream and the Weeknd trading jabs on Twitter and, of course, his own beef with Trey Songz. There has been bad blood between the two singers for some time now, but it seems like Kells is ready to move on as he named Trey Songz among a list of artists he listens to regularly (in addition to Jay-Z, Drake, Beyoncé and Kanye West).

The 27-year-old singer took issue with R. Kelly when he remixed his classic single "Trapped in the Closet" from the POV of the man hiding in the closet, and R. Kelly responded by debuting part two of the song and revealing that the man in the closet was gay. Since then, they’ve traded insults back and forth, with Trey Songz continuing to call out R. Kelly in interviews for using Auto-Tune and not being original, but that’s now a thing of the past.

"I think that’s going to be the key to having longevity and it’s also going to be the key to keeping R&B alive," Kelly said of avoiding conflict between singers. "You don’t want R&B singers to get into beef. Leave that to the rappers, let them do that — R&B, be classy. That’s for the ladies and having babies and having fun."

  1. image?.Caption R. Kelly

    Photo: MTV News

Rick Ross Delivers His Greatest Rap Moment On God Forgives

31 Jul

Rick Ross wasn’t the chosen one, but the greats rarely are. Jay-Z started out as a hypeman for little-known eighties rapper Jaz-O and Lil Wayne was an unassuming teen in the Hot Boys who was forced to carry the Cash Money mantle when all of its stars went their separate ways. Back in the early 2000s, few thought the Teflon Don, a third-string talent on Miami’s Slip N Slide records, would reach the top of rap’s mountain, but there he stands.

With all of his success, Ross is now ready to extract sweet revenge on his doubters. There were questions surrounding the release of God Forgives, I Don’t, but then again there are questions surrounding every Rick Ross release of late, as if the Bawse’s reign will inevitably end. It’ll take more than a corrections officer controversy, a pair of seizures or what seems to be an oversaturation of the rap market to stop the Bawse, and God Forgives is the irrefutable evidence.

The clanging of car keys and the inescapable Maybach Music drop start off the 14-track ride, which simply glides with little to no bumps in the road. The amazing part is that the Bawse knows how good he is and draws a clear line, so either you’re with him or left you’re to wallow far outside of his power circle. On "3 Kings," Ross unites Jay-Z and Dr. Dre while at the same time claiming his own throne. Then he continues to build an empire for his protégés Meek Mill and Stalley on "So Sophisticated" and "Ten Jesus Pieces," respectively.

Rozay’s rhymes are sharper than ever, but his strongest suit has always been his impeccable beat selection. On "Ashamed," the former d-boy seems embarrassed by his former life as a drug dealer, but never apologizes over Cool & Dre’s fitting soul selection. Musically, though, it’s the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League that provides the grandest musical moment on the symphonic "Maybach Music IV." The track builds from a bassy intro to a wild string affair that culminates with a full-horn section, which blossoms just before Ne-Yo begins to belt out his powerful chords. Even Ross himself marvels at the instrumentation when he spits, "I love the way the beat dip/ Same way I love to see a ki flip."

The pace of "MMIV" seamlessly changes at least three times before it transforms into the album’s next track, the brilliant, Andre 3000-assisted "Sixteen." Rather than craft a formulaic three-minute-and-thirty-second radio track, Rozay gains major artistic points on the eight-minute conceptual masterpiece. "How the f— can I squeeze my whole life into a 16 bar verse?" Ross asks before breaking hip-hop’s status quo.

Not that the MMG CEO ignores the need for radio: There are more than enough moments like the sex-ode "Touch ‘N You" (featuring Usher) and the middle-finger-waving street chant "Hold Me Back." Still, the LP is well-balanced and expertly sequenced. Just as the melodic "MMIV" and "Sixteen" are placed one after another, Ross delivers his street jams in bulk as well. So after "Hold Me Back" is the kinetic "911" and then the schizophrenic-sounding "So Sophisticated."

At this point in his career, Ross’ well-laid album structure shouldn’t be surprising. He did it on 2009’s Deeper Than Rap and then again on Teflon Don a year later. God Forgives, I Don’t should leave no doubt about Rozay’s place in the game, only expectations for more greatness.

What do you think of Rick Ross’ God Forgives, I Don’t? Let us know in the comments!

  1. image?.Caption Rick Ross’ God Forgives, I Don’t

    Photo: Warner Bros.

Missy Franklin Gives Justin Bieber Olympic Fever

31 Jul

It’s practically the second question any NBC sport reporter asks a young, female Olympic athlete right after, "how does it feel to win your first medal?" or "how does it feel to have just missed out on a medal?"

"Is it true you’re a big Justin Bieber fan?"

The answer is pretty much always yes. But in the case of sudden teen swimming phenom Missy Franklin, the admiration goes both ways. The 17-year-old Aurora, Colorado native qualified for the women’s 200m freestyle race on Monday night and then turned around less than 15 minutes later and won the women’s 100m backstroke while setting an American record.

Vote for your favorites now in MTV’s Summer Jam Games!

Among the millions of minds blown was that of Bieber, who tweeted, "heard @FranklinMissy is a fan of mine. Now I’m a fan of hers too. CONGRATS on winning GOLD! #muchlove."

Franklin, who also got some words of encouragement on Tuesday (July 31) from season 10 "American Idol" champ Scotty McCreery, couldn’t believe that Bieber shouted her out, writing, "I just died! Thankyou!"

The perpetually smiling teen known as Missy the Missile, turned down some pretty fat endorsement deals and bonuses so that she could retain her amateur status and swim in college. She will swim in seven events during her Olympics run, which kicked off with a starring role in the viral lip dub hit cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s "Call Me Maybe" by members of the U.S. swimming delegation. The video has been seen more than 4 million times since it was posted on Thursday.

Just weeks after the horrific movie theater shootings in Aurora that killed 12 and injured 58 while she was training in France, Franklin told CBS News that she dedicated all her Olympic races to the folks back home. "Every single race I’m going to have that Colorado incident back of my mind," she said. "It’s such a terrible thing and I’m so shaken by it. They’re in my thoughts this entire process."

  1. image?.Caption Justin Bieber

    Photo: Getty Images

Rick Ross Won’t Forgive If You Miss ‘RapFix Live’

31 Jul

God forgives, but Rick Ross won’t if you don’t tune in to the next episode of "RapFix Live." Rozay will hit the couch Wednesday to talk with Sway about his highly anticipated God Forgives, I Don’t album, out now.

"I knew approaching this album, I wanted to approach titling it a lot different from previous albums. I wanted it to be strong and impactful," the Maybach boss told MTV News of his new LP when he sat down for our Hip-Hop Music Preview. "The first half is God Forgives: It’s a lot of us need forgiveness. I Don’t represented the street aspect of life. I feel we have both sides that we deal with in life. I gave ’em one of those feelings that it was a motion picture, a masterpiece, five-star."

Rozay’s road to release was a bumpy one. Originally, God Forgives was planned for a 2011 drop, but after Ross suffered a pair of seizures in October, he took a little more time to focus on his health and prepare his latest work. Still, MTV’s Hottest MC in the Game has stayed plenty busy by dropping his critically acclaimed Rich Forever mixtape at the top of the year and then MMG’s Self Made, Vol. 2 in June.

"If you doubted us being here three years ago, five years ago, you don’t understand hip-hop, you don’t understand the power of rap music," he told MTV News earlier this month.

The last time Ross graced "RapFix" with his presence, he brought the bulk of his Maybach Music Group with him, so you never know who the Bawse has on his guest list.

Catch Rick Ross on "RapFix Live," Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on RapFix.MTV.com, and be sure to join the Twitter conversation using the hashtag #RapFixLive. Send your questions for the artists @MTVRapFix!

  1. image?.Caption Rick Ross on "RapFix Live"

    Photo: Natasha Chandel/ MTV News

Conor Maynard’s ‘Massive Buzz’ Sparked By Bieber-Like Beginnings

31 Jul

Conor Maynard has a backstory very similar to 18-year-old Justin Bieber.

Like the Biebs, the British singer was discovered by a chart-topping R&B star after he started posting videos on YouTube. But in this case, it was Ne-Yo who discovered the young talent.

"I did a cover of Ne-Yo’s ‘Beautiful Monster,’ " Maynard told MTV News. "[Ne-Yo] told a story where one of his friends called him [like] ‘Yo man, isn’t this kid singing ‘Beautiful Monster’ better than you singing it?’ He was a bit like ‘Ah, no, I’ll check that out.’ And he was like ‘Oh, damn, this kid does sing better than me.’

"It was funny how he kind of found me and then he told me that story," he continued. But, Maynard was initially apprehensive when Ne-Yo’s camp reached out to him.

"I remember when I first got that phone call, it was from someone who claimed to be his manager," he recalled. "And I was like, ‘OK, I want to believe this. It’s a bit shady.’ I just didn’t want to get out to America and then, you know, have one of my friends calling from my hometown go ‘It was me, got ya!’ So I had to make sure. Sure enough, I was sitting on Skype with Ne-Yo about 1:30 a.m., talking about music and him wanting to sign me. That’s what started this massive buzz in the U.K."

From there, labels began to fight for Maynard’s attention. With his debut album, Contrast, already out abroad and the Capitol release set to drop in the States in September, Maynard isn’t just getting Ne-Yo’s attention. He’s also caught the eyes of Frank Ocean, who wrote a song for him, and super producer Pharrell Williams, who also worked with the singer and paid him a massive compliment.

"It’s been crazy. I had to get very used to meeting my idols very quickly," he said. "I got to work with some incredible people. There’s some amazing, amazing names I’m honored to have on this album and I had to get used to meeting these people before I even released a track.

"I had to control myself [and] not want to run in there and lick their faces. I had to control that. I had to be normal at the same time," he added. "It was exciting and it made me very, very driven to want to prove myself to them. Pharrell kind of sits me down and says, ‘I think you’re the future of pop music.’ And I’m like ‘OK.’ For me, it made me want to prove that."

Do you think Conor Maynard is the next big thing in pop music? Let us know in the comments!

  1. image?.Caption Conor Maynard

    Photo: MTV News

Nicki Minaj Is Big Pimpin’ In ‘Pound The Alarm’ Video

31 Jul

Nicki Minaj is taking her fans home to Trinidad in her new "Pound the Alarm" video. The VMA nominee does her best impression of Jay-Z in his "Big Pimpin’ " days, gallivanting around town with feathered-up dancers, shimmying and shaking what their mamas gave them.

The Carnivàle-themed clip follows Minaj as she embeds herself with the parade-goers, donning skimpy looks that leave little to the imagination, with the exotic locale of her island nation serving as the picturesque background. In between spitting lines about being a "bad bitch," the rapper reclaims her spot on the dance floor, thanks to the song’s beat-heavy production. The shimmering, summery vibe of the video perfectly complements the bouncy track, in which Nicki invites you to "Come fill up my glass a little more."

Nicki rounds up some of her fire-breathing, costumed pals, throwing them on a float and hosting a dance party right in the middle of town. While her barely there looks will stand as the most memorable parts of the video, fans might be more tempted to visit the island nation after viewing the clip than trying on those outfits. Not only are the people beautiful, but so are the clear blue waters and sunny hillsides that are Nicki’s greatest co-stars. Well, that and Minaj’s very suggestive, gyrating dance moves.

When the sun sets and night falls on Trinidad, the fireworks explode and the party isn’t even close to ending. But when the dust settles, Nicki is left cleaning up the mess her crew left behind. As she walks through the rubble of the bash, her silhouette, up against the moonlight, proves that Nicki is the baddest in all of Trinidad.

It’s the second video from Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded that finds Nicki cavorting on the beach. On Tuesday, Nicki received several VMA nominations, one of which was for Best Female Video for her equally fun and sexy "Starships" video.

The 2012 MTV Video Music Awards will air live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Thursday, September 6, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Head to VMA.MTV.com now through August 24 to vote for your favorites, or text BNA to 22444 to vote for Best New Artist all the way through the show!

  1. image?.Caption Nicki Minaj in her "Pound the Alarm" video

    Photo: UMG

Kanye, 2 Chainz Vie For Hip-Hop Crown In MTV’s Summer Jam Games

31 Jul

While the whole world is watching the 2012 Olympic Games in London, we at MTV News have kicked off a little competition of our own with our first-ever Summer Jam Games. Instead of handing out medals to athletes, we’ll be crowning our favorite musicians with the best feel-good summer jam.

Fans can vote in five categories: Hip-hop, pop, R&B, EDM and rock, with gold, silver and bronze medals being handed out next week. There are a ton of tracks to choose from, so here’s a breakdown of the top contenders in the hip-hop category.




Vote for your favorite song, discuss and share on Facebook and Twitter in the Summer Jam Games!

G.O.O.D. Music feat. 2 Chainz, "Mercy"
After dominating 2011 with Jay-Z and the Throne, Kanye is back, this time with his G.O.O.D. Music cohorts. "Mercy" has all the ingredients for a big-time summer banger: banging beat, dope lyrics and Kanye West. No wonder it’s currently atop the Billboard Rap chart.

2 Chainz feat. Drake, "No Lie"
2 Chainz has been buzzing up a storm all year, and the first single off of his highly anticipated solo debut album Based on a T.R.U. Story doesn’t disappoint. Let’s face it: Nothing says summer like Drake singing on your song’s hook, and the infectious Mike Will beat has been igniting dance floors since the song’s release in May.

Ca$h Out, "Cashin’ Out"
Credit Ca$h Out with having the catchiest rap hook of the summer and the smarts to damn-near self-title his first single so you wouldn’t forget his name. Just a note for the kids: When Ca$h sings that he’s "ridin’ ’round wit that Nina," he actually means a gun, not a girl named Nina. And when he says he’s "smokin’ on Kesha" — well, just use the context clues.

Young Jeezy feat. Ne-Yo, "Leave You Alone"
Thugs need love too, just ask Young Jeezy. For his stand-out TM 103 single the Snowman enlisted Ne-Yo and veteran G-Funk producer Warren G. for a breezy top-down tune. The song shot up to #2 on Billboard‘s rap charts and is sure to be a staple for summer time cook-outs for years to come.

Meek Mill feat. Drake, "Amen"
Last year, Meek Mill made serious waves with the street-banger "I’ma Boss," and this year, he’s focused on the ladies with "Amen." Not only does the song have a catchy tune, it also comes with a little controversy, and that never hurts any one. Despite a Philadelphia pastor’s plea to ban Meek’s "blasphemy," the track has crept into Billboard‘s top 10 rap songs and become a club favorite. Thank God!

Chief Keef, "I Don’t Like"
Who doesn’t love a little ignorance? Sometimes with all of this summer heat, you just want to blow off a little steam, and rap rookie Chief Keef has made the perfect anthem. Since Keef uploaded the song’s video onto YouTube in March, it has garnered more than 10 million views on YouTube and yielded a Kayne West remix. What’s not to like about that?

Rick Ross feat. Jay-Z and Dr. Dre, "3 Kings"
Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre generate more than enough heat with their solo records, so you can only imagine the craze surrounding their team-up. "3 Kings" doesn’t have a catchy hook — in fact,"3 Kings" doesn’t have a hook at all — but the soulful rap exhibition has dominated DJ’s summertime playlists and is a dark horse of summer song of the year.

Usher feat. Rick Ross, "Lemme See"
It’s a thin line between R&B and rap, especially when genres blend so perfectly. For the steamy "Lemme See," Usher recruits Rick Ross to create the perfect lady anthem. OK, so the track doesn’t scream beach party, but it’s perfect for the late-night ride home.

Nas feat. Swizz Beatz and Miguel, "Summer on Smash"
Nas knows there’s nothing like the power of suggestion. If you want to have the summer on smash, then just make a song called "Summer on Smash." Though relatively new, this Life is Good track finds the Don riding alongside Swizz Beatz and R&B singer Miguel. Sounds good to us.

DJ Khaled feat. Kanye West and Rick Ross, "I Wish You Would"
DJ Khaled had rap’s biggest song of the summer with last year’s "I’m On One" and this year the disc jock looks to reclaim his crown. This time he pairs Kanye West and Rick Ross over a rowdy Hit-Boy track on "I Wish You Would." Khaled has some tough competition, but then again all he does is win, win, win — no matter what!

Forget about the Olympics, vote now in MTV’s Summer Jam Games! Polls are open and will close at midnight ET Sunday (August 5). Guide your favorites to golden glory, and help spread the word via Twitter, using the hashtag #SummerJamGames

  1. image?.Caption Kanye West

    Photo: Guillaume Baptiste/ AFP/ GettyImages