Jay-Z

Is Jay-Z Falling Out of Love With the American Dream?

A couple of years back, Flavorwire ran a feature picking out ten of the 21st century’s most influential musicians. In retrospect, some of the selections were… adventurous, perhaps, but we stand by the choice of the man at the top of the list: Jay-Z. The key point about his influence on the music world is that it hasn’t always had a great deal to do with music — as I wrote at the time, “Jay-Z has defined the idea of the hip hop mogul, a man as much entrepreneur as musician.” With his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail out this week, it seems a good time to explore that idea further. … Read More

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The 10 Albums You Need to Hear in July

The summer is never exactly a bumper time for record releases, but still, there’s enough of interest in July 2013 to prevent this month’s schedule from being a sort of post-apocalyptic sun-blasted wasteland. Rejoice! As ever, Flavorwire has pored over said schedule to pick out the albums you need to hear over the next month, along with a roundup of everything else of note, be it good, bad or ugly. Yes, even Chris… Read More

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Why Is Hip Hop (And the Rest of Pop Culture) Still So Obsessed With Kurt Cobain?

In further proof that 2013 is the year of the shameless publicity stunt, Jay-Z has spent the last week or so drip-feeding the world lyrics for his upcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail. He’s released three to date, of which the most fascinating is “Holy Grail,” a somber meditation on fame and love that borrows the chorus from Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” (The second lyric released from the record, “Heaven,” references R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion” — sadly, however, “Oceans” does not contain any lyrics from Pearl Jam’s “Oceans,” which surely represents a missed opportunity to keep the ’90s alt-rock streak going.) … Read More

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Jay-Z Drops New Album Track List as Beyoncé Announces Fall Tour

Mr. and Mrs. Knowles-Carter continue their quest for world domination this week with two announcements: Jay-Z released the track list… Read More

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A Selection of Celebrities Who Want You to Think They’re Illuminati

Alas, poor Ke$ha. She so desperately wants to be controversial. She recently released new single “Crazy Kids,” and apart from being possibly the actual worst song this side of “My Humps” — a pounding inanity of “I don’t give a fuck because I’m soooooo craaaaazzzzy” clichés, set to an identikit beat and consigned to the deepest circles of musical hell with an appearance from Musical Antichrist will.i.am — it comes with a video that sucks like a turbo-charged Dyson. The clip features Ke$ha’s best determinedly controversial Vanilla Ice-esque cultural appropriation — corn rows! grills! — and if that weren’t enough manufactured “edginess,” she’s also adorned her hand with the all-seeing eye of the Illuminati. It’s hard to imagine Jay-Z inviting her into the New World Order, but anyway, she’s not the first artist to court controversy by leveraging Illuminati symbology. Here are some others. … Read More

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The 10 Best Songs We Heard This Week: These New Puritans, Arthur Russell

It’s Friday, which means we basically can’t wait to get into bed and sleep all weekend, and also that in the meantime we’re rounding up the best songs we’ve heard this week. The past several days were curious, largely devoid of big-name releases, etc., but there’s still notable new work from These New Puritans, The-Dream, Sharon Jones, and Eric Burdon (with help from Jenny Lewis.) Elsewhere, there’s pleasantly spaced-out electronic music from Airbird/Napolian and Stellar Om Source, an unreleased Arthur Russell track, wacky Ethiopian dubstep, and more! All this goodness is streaming now, and it all awaits you after the jump. … Read More

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‘The Great Gatsby’ Soundtrack Isn’t Good — But It’s Perfect for ‘The Great Gatsby’

There’s plenty about Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby that evokes an instinctively negative reaction — including, to an extent, the whole idea of a Baz Luhrmann adaptation of The Great Gatsby in the first place. So it goes with the film’s soundtrack; if you take a look at the tracklisting, you might blanch at the presence of Lana Del Rey, Fergie, and (gulp), will.i.am. But if you suspend your expectations for long enough to evaluate the way the music works within the context of the film — which also merits consideration on its own terms — you might find it works better than anyone might have guessed. … Read More

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Celebrities as Media Critics: How Grimes and Jay-Z Are Dictating Their Own Mythology

If you’re a Grimes fan, you’ve probably already read her fantastic Tumblr post about how she’s tired of the way she’s portrayed in the media. If not, it’s definitely worth a look, because it’s basically everything we love about Claire Boucher — it’s articulate, intelligent, and heartfelt. Given her ambivalence about her Tumblr posts being reported as news, it’s not clear how she’ll feel about the response to the post, which is being reported everywhere. Still, it’s a pretty fine example of how today’s celebrities — for want of a better word — are using their Internet presences to push back in a meaningful manner at how they’re portrayed in the media. … Read More

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What Your Favorite Pop Culture Idols Were Wearing as Teens

Our favorite photo of the week belongs to Star Trek: The Next Generation actor Wil Wheaton who shared an uber nerdy image of himself wearing ankle watches (with friendship bracelets!), acid-washed jeans, and a ratty Depeche Mode tee. We’ve featured the image of the Stand by Me star after the jump, along with photos of other pop culture idols and their (mostly) regrettable teen fashions. It’s a snapshot of simpler times, before the stylists and PR managers thoroughly preened them. See what a few of your favorite, famous teen heroes were wearing back in the day, below. … Read More

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