Jay-Z and Marina Abramovic: Pop Music Stops Ripping Off High Art, Starts Trying to Become High Art

The big news in New York’s art world this week was Jay-Z’s video shoot at Chelsea’s Pace Gallery. If you’ve somehow avoided reading about it, the idea was basically that Jay-Z’s suitably art-centric concept for a video to accompany new song “Picasso Baby” was recreating Marina Abramovic’s The Artist Is Present MoMA performance from 2010, a process that involved him lip-syncing the song for six hours straight, accompanied by various celebrity types, the occasional ring-in… and Abramovic herself. Reactions ranged from excitement (HuffPo gushed that “Jay-Z is an artist — one of the defining artists of our time”) to bemusement (Gothamist called it “artful mockery of the art world”) to hand-wringing despair (Hyperallergic declared the event to be the day performance art died). … Read More

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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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Jay-Z Addresses the Illuminati Rumors (Again)

Analysts at AllHiphop.com have zeroed in on a facsimile of lyrics Hov has written for a track on his upcoming album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, to neither confirm nor rebuke the allegation that Shawn Corey Carter is a member of the Illuminati. … 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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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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