Jay-Z

Ranking the 2014 Grammy Performances from Best to Worst

And so, the Grammys again. Since half the awards are given out before the ceremony even takes place, the abiding sources of interest these days are a) the outfits and b) the performances. As far as 2014 goes, the relevant points of interest on the former point were Pharrell’s hat (which, inevitably, already has its own Twitter account) and Kacey Musgraves’ curious dress. And the performances… well, as ever, they ranged from the almost sublime to the utterly ridiculous. Here’s our rundown of each any every one, starting with the best and working through to the ones that sent you to the fridge for several more… Read More

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What We Learned From the Five-Part ‘Beyoncé’ Documentary

As a belated Christmas present to all of us, Beyoncé just released the final installment of her Beyoncé mini-documentary — a five-part series detailing the process of creating her album, from writing to recording to filming all 17 stunning videos. We’ve known for quite a while, or at least since the strange quasi-confessional that was Life Is But a Dream, that Beyoncé only reveals what she wants us to see, so it’s difficult not to take all of her meditations on “finding the beauty in imperfection” and how liberating it is to work without a plan with a medium-sized grain of salt. That said, it’s not every day you get to watch Pharrell give Beyoncé a pep talk or hear a blown-away Justin Timberlake tell her, “There’s something wrong with you,” after a particularly incredible moment in the studio. Read on for everything else we learned from the Beyoncé documentary. … Read More

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10 “Retired” Musicians Who Broke Their Word

Perhaps you heard the screams of your younger sister and cousins on Christmas Eve as they scrolled through Twitter on their smart phones in between rolling their eyes at whatever conversation your dad and your uncle were having that night. Clearly nothing was more important than the shocking announcement that Justin Bieber would be retiring from music at the tender age of 19. Did you make any attempts to console them, suggesting that maybe, like many other musicians before him, Bieber might be a little dramatic (he did, after all, follow that tweet with one saying, “I’M HERE FOREVER”)? Maybe you can assure them that Bieber, like a few of these famous music acts, might come back around again. … Read More

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Why ‘Beyoncé’ Makes Me Want to Die

Look, I’ll be honest: I can’t stand Beyoncé. There’s something about her that has always stirred a sort of visceral loathing in me, something I’ve tried hard to articulate over the years. It’s a combination of the narcissism, the materialism, the arrogance, the faux feminism, and the awful, awful songs. And the fact that it seems I am the literal only person who feels this way (well, just about), while everyone else is writing articles like this. Beyoncé is not an avatar of perfection; she is a cashed-up diva with a temperature-controlled personal archive and a penchant for making propaganda films (and trampling people in her way). BUT! I am a professional. And I listened to Beyoncé with an open mind. I tried. I really did. This is what happened. … Read More

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The 10 Most Overrated Albums of 2013

It’s end-of-year list-making time, and right on cue, the first bunch of Best-of-2013 lists are starting to appear on various blogs and in magazines. And, as ever, there’s a certain orthodoxy about them, a pattern whereby you see the same record appear on list after list, and find yourself scratching your head and saying, “But, wait, that album sucked!” Well, if it’s any consolation, it’s not just you. Here are ten records to which your correspondent has had the same reaction — albums that seem to have gotten universal love despite being at best flawed and at worst… Read More

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About ’90s Hip Hop

This weekend was the 20th anniversary of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, the latest in a roll call of significant ’90s hip hop anniversaries that have fallen this year. All the reminiscence has gotten us thinking about that era of hip hop in general, and poring over the history that’s been written (and unwritten) about one of the genre’s golden periods. Culled from our research, here are ten things that maybe you didn’t know about ’90s hip… Read More

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Drake and the Rise of the New Pop Melancholy

In May 2012, GQ ran a profile of basketball überstar Derrick Rose. The article was a curiously moving piece of journalism, depicting Rose as a sort of cloistered figure, standing alone at the floor-to-ceiling windows of his condo on the 84th floor of Chicago’s Trump Towers, staring out at a city that he rules but no longer inhabits. The article is a fine portrait of the alienation that comes with being mega-rich, a window into a world where too much is never enough. This is a world that is appearing more and more in pop music… which brings us to Drake, the avatar of this new pop melancholy. … Read More

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Awesome Behind-the-Scenes Photos From the Sets of Famous Music Videos

In the course of writing about the director’s cut of the “Heart-Shaped Box” video yesterday, we came across a pretty great behind-the-scenes photo of Nirvana hanging out on set with the woman who appears in the video wearing a terrifying skinless fat suit. We’re very partial to such images here at Flavorwire, and we got to thinking that there must be more out there on the Internet. And indeed there are — so here’s a selection of some of the… Read More

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