Jay Z’s Tidal Streaming Service Launches With Push From Beyoncé, Kanye, Jack White, Nicki Minaj, More

Everybody turns their social media profile pictures turquoise

By Amy Phillips on March 30, 2015 at 1:35 a.m. EDT

Jay Z's Tidal Streaming Service Launches With Push From Beyoncé, Kanye, Jack White, Nicki Minaj, More

Jay Z’s newly purchased high-fidelity music streaming service Tidal is being re-launched today. The rollout began with many high-profile artists, including Beyoncé, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Madonna, and Coldplay, as well as Jack White’s Third Man Records, changing their social media profile pictures to a turquoise square. Many also posted about the service. Update 9:40am 3/30: Daft Punk and Arcade Fire have also joined the social media push. Update 12:07pm 3/30: Tidal’s official Twitter account has posted a star-heavy teaser featuring appearances from Madonna, Beyoncé, Chris Martin, Rihanna, Kanye West, Jack White, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk and more. Watch that below.

At 5 p.m. Eastern, Jay Z is making a “special announcement” at a New York launch event.

Tidal offers lossless CD-quality audio and video. There will be no free, ad-supported plan; monthly subscriptions cost $19.95. The service has deals with all of the major record labels. It also offers expert-curated playlists and editorial. Tidal is being positioned as a rival to Spotify. For example, Taylor Swift’s catalog is available on Tidal. (She removed it from Spotify last fall.)


Brian Wilson Says He Cut Frank Ocean From His Album Because Frank Wanted to Rap, Not Sing

Also says Lana Del Rey canceled on him

By  Jeremy Gordon on March 26, 2015 at 12:22 p.m. EDT

Brian Wilson Says He Cut Frank Ocean From His Album Because Frank Wanted to Rap, Not Sing

Brian Wilson’s new album, No Pier Pressure, is out April 7. Originally, it was set to feature Frank Ocean and Lana Del Rey. However, when the album was officially announced, they were both missing from the tracklist, which Wilson’s representative attributed to a conflict in scheduling.

Now, Wilson has given a more definitive explanation for their absence, in an interview with Vulture. “Well, Frank Ocean didn’t want to do the song,” he said. “He wanted to do rap, so we canceled him.”

As for Del Rey, Wilson says she peaced out altogether. “Lana Del Rey, uh, she just canceled out on us,” he told Vulture.

No Pier Pressure still features guests like Zooey Deschanel, M. Ward, Kacey Musgraves, and members of the Beach Boys.

Also in the Vulture interview, Wilson says he doesn’t listen to “today’s music”, including Kanye West, who he’s never heard.

Listen to “Sail Away” from the album:

Run the Jewels and Zack De La Rocha’s “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)” Video Is a Battle Between Cop and Unarmed Black Man

Director A.G. Rojas: “We were tasked with making something that expressed the intensity of senseless violence without eclipsing our humanity.”

By Zoe Camp

Run the Jewels and Zack De La Rocha's

Photo by Dinesh Bangara

Run the Jewels, aka Killer Mike and El-P, have released the video for “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)”, their Run the Jewels 2 highlight featuring Rage Against the Machine’s Zack De La Rocha. Directed by A.G. Rojas, the clip features a battle between two exhausted men: a cop and an unarmed black man. The cop is played by Shea Whigham (“Boardwalk Empire”, “Agent Carter”) and the kid by Keith Stanfield (Short Term 12, Snoop Dogg in the upcoming N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton). Stanfield also portrayed civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was killed by Alabama statetroopers, in last year’s Selma. Watch it below.

Rojas writes:

When Run the Jewels sent me this, I knew we had the opportunity to create a film that means something. I felt a sense of responsibility to do just that. We had to exploit the lyrics and aggression and emotion of the track, and translate that into a film that would ignite a valuable and productive conversation about racially motivated violence in this country. It’s provocative, and we all knew this, so we were tasked with making something that expressed the intensity of senseless violence without eclipsing our humanity. For me, it was important to write a story that didn’t paint a simplistic portrait of the characters of the Cop and Kid. They’re not stereotypes. They’re people—complex, real people and, as such, the power had to shift between them at certain points throughout the story. The film begins and it feels like they have been fighting for days, they’re exhausted, not a single punch is thrown, their violence is communicated through clumsy, raw emotion. They’ve already fought their way past their judgments and learned hatred toward one another. Our goal was to highlight the futility of the violence, not celebrate it.

I am really proud of where we ended up, and I am very thankful that our actors Shea Whigham and Keith Stanfield committed to these characters 100%. They breathed complex life into two people who are usually portrayed in simplistic ways—as archetypes. I can tell you it was an emotional shoot day. It is tough to re-create moments that are so fresh and prevalent in our world today. It affected all of us in deep ways. But I believe that it is important that the way we feel when we see these events in real life has an effect on us. That we resonate with what we know to be right and we don’t numb ourselves out so those feelings can simply be swept away, we must confront them and take some action, however small, or we’ll be stuck in the same cycle of violence and hate.

Radiohead’s OK Computer To Be Archived in the Library of Congress

Alongside albums from the Doors, Lauryn Hill, Joan Baez, Sly and the Family Stone, and others

By Molly Beauchemin

Radiohead's OK Computer To Be Archived in the Library of Congress

According to an announcement made this morning by the National Recording Registry, Radiohead’s 1997 smash OK Computer will be preserved in the Library of Congress alongside the Doors’ eponymous 1967 debut, Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Joan Baez’ Joan Baez, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate from 1949, and more.

According to the press release:

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with annually selecting 25 recordings that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old. The selections for the 2014 registry bring the total number of recordings on the registry to 425, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items.

Also making the annual list were Sly and the Family Stone’s Stand! (from 1969), 20 songs compiled in 1995’s Sesame Street: All-Time Platinum Favorites, and other spoken-word recordings including Steve Martin’s second comedy album A Wild and Crazy Guy.

Listen to Radiohead’s “Karma Police”, off of OK Computer:

Sufjan Stevens Streams New Album Carrie & Lowell

By Zoe Camp

Sufjan Stevens Streams New Album Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan Stevens’ new album Carrie & Lowell is streaming over at NPR and The Guardian. Listen below. His Age of Adz follow-up will be released March 31 on Stevens’ own Asthmatic Kitty Records. We’ve already heard the title track, “No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross” and “Should Have Known Better”. Now, listen to the new LP in its entirety below.

According to a press release, Carrie & Lowell is named for Stevens’ mother and stepfather, and its 11 songs are about “life and death, love and loss, and the artist’s struggle to make sense of the beauty and ugliness of love.”

Chance the Rapper Stars in Mr. Happy Short Film

He plays a man contemplating suicide

By  Jeremy Gordon on March 20, 2015 at 12:46 p.m. EDT

Chance the Rapper Stars in Mr. Happy Short Film

Collin Tilley has directed a short movie called Mr. Happy that stars Chance the Rapper as Victor, a depressed guy who discovers a website—MrHappy.com—where he can hire a hitman to kill him. You can watch it below, via VICE.

In an accompanying interview with VICE, Tilley said he met Chance during the shoot for Justin Bieber’s “Confident” video. “We were shooting Chance’s part and we got to hang out all day and got into some really cool conversations,” he said. “Chance is like one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met and right away I was like, This dude is really special. We talked about film and he was telling me how he wanted to get more involved in it.”

He plays a man contemplating suicide

By  Jeremy Gordon on March 20, 2015 at 12:46 p.m. EDT

Drake Sued By Documentary Distribution Company

Producers recently threatened legal action after the rapper distanced himself from the film

By Evan Minsker on March 18, 2015 at 9:50 p.m. EDT

Drake Sued By Documentary Distribution Company

Drake’s Homecoming: The Lost Footage is a Drake documentary featuring a Toronto performance from 2009 and archival footage. It’s set to screen at select AMC theatres tomorrow. Drake publicly disavowed any connection with the movie, which led the film’s producers to say that they were considering suing the rapper for libel. According to TMZ, Drake has now been sued by the distribution company SpectiCast.

The lawsuit reportedly speculates that Drake distanced himself from the film to draw attention to his tweets about OVO Fest, which he posted after disavowing the film. It was previously reported that Drake had indeed signed a contract with the promoters of the Homecoming concert.


Drake Concert Film Coming to Theaters

Drake’s Homecoming: The Lost Footage chronicles a 2009 Toronto show

By  Jeremy Gordon

Drake Concert Film Coming to Theaters

UPDATE: Drake has come forward via Twitter to deny any association with the film. “The Drake Homecoming film is not something OVO or Drake have any part in,” he said. “I feel it is my responsibility to inform and protect my fans.”

Drake’s Homecoming: The Lost Footage is a Drake documentary built around a Toronto performance from 2009, right before he signed with Young Money. The film will screen at select AMC theatres on March 19. Watch a trailer below, via All Hip-Hop.

It’s unclear if the film is officially associated with Drake and his camp. It was executive produced by and features interviews with Rap-A-Lot Records’ James Prince and his son Jas. The Princes are currently involved in a lawsuit against Drake’s management and Young Money Records.

In the trailer, Jas says, “Wayne told me he sucked. He was like, ‘Jas, you know, don’t play me that shit no more, he’s not good.'” Bun B is also featured in the film.

Homecoming comes on the heels of the surprise mixtape If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late and the Jungle short film.

Kendrick Lamar Confirms To Pimp a Butterfly Tracklist

Check it out below

By  Molly Beauchemin on March 12, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

Kendrick Lamar Confirms To Pimp a Butterfly Tracklist

Previously, Kendrick Lamar shared the singles “i” and “The Blacker the Berry”, announced the March 23 release date, and revealed the artwork and title of his good kid, m.A.A.d. city follow-up. Now, he’s confirmed the 16-song tracklist for To Pimp a Butterfly. Check it out below.

Go behind the scenes with Lamar at Kanye West’s Barclays Center Yeezus show.

To Pimp a Butterfly:

01 Wesley’s Theory
02 For Free? (Interlude)
03 King Kunta
04 Institutionalized
05 These Walls
06 U
07 Alright
08 For Sale? (Interlude)
09 Momma
10 Hood Politics
11 How Much A Dollar Cost
12 Complexion
13 The Blacker The Berry
14 You Ain’t Gotta Lie (Momma Said)
15 i
16 Mortal Man

Here’s “The Blacker the Berry”:

Watch Kendrick Lamar perform “ADHD” at the 2012 Pitchfork Music Festival:

Death Grips’ the powers that b Gets Release Date

The band’s final album is coming very soon

By  Molly Beauchemin on March 11, 2015 at 10:35 p.m. EDT

Death Grips' the powers that b Gets Release Date

Death Grips have announced the physical release date for the powers that b—their final album consisting of the previously-released Niggas on the Moon and the forthcoming Jenny Death. The double album will be released via Harvest on March 17, Consequence of Sound points out. It features their recently shared track “Inanimate Sensation” (below). Check out the tracklist below.

In 2014, Death Grips announced their official break up in a letter posted on Facebook that said that they “are now at our best and so Death Grips is over”. They also stated that the powers that b would still “be delivered worldwide”. Read the rest of the note here.

Earlier this year, they released a surprise instrumental LP called Fashion Week.

Read Mike Powell’s eulogy for Death Grips.

the powers that b:

Disc 1: niggas on the moon
01 Up My Sleeves
02 Billy Not Really
03 Black Quarterback
04 Say Hey Kid
05 Have a Sad Cum BB
06 Fuck Me Out
07 Voila
08 Big Dipper

Disc 2: jenny death
01 I Break Mirrors With My Face in the United States
02 Inanimate Sensation
03 Turned Off
04 Why a Bitch Gotta Lie
06 The Powers That B
07 Beyond Alive
08 Centuries of Damn
09 On GP
10 Death Grip 2.0