Yelle (the last "e" is silent) is not just another hipster chick in leg warmers and lamé (even though she's partial both). The French electro hip-pop tart's got the blogosphere appropriately atwitter over her spazzy live performances, aerobics-inspired videos and intentionally low-budget (think cable-access) '80s steez, despite the fact that she hasn't even released an album in the States yet.
When, like us, you don't speak French, Yelle -- think Lily Allen's snark meets M.I.A.'s wardrobe meets Nelly Furtado's flirt factor -- who's got the makings of a modern-day European Blondie, sounds like she's just engaging in universal boy-issue lament set to hyper computerized blips and beeps and Casio beats.
But beneath the retro patina and language barrier lay raunchy, NC-17 lyrics about matters of… "size," (zut alors!), sex toys, and girl-on-girl action, coated with a sweet gloss of poppy saccharine.
Flo Rida is, unsurprisingly, from the state denoted by closing the space between the rapper's two-part stage name. Or, you could just refer to the enormous postcard pictorial he has inked across his hulking back.
But don’t let his bulked-up, tatted and often-shirtless appearance or innuendo-laced lyrics fool you into thinking he’s a straight thug or strictly into dropping booty beats. The guy is essentially a big teddy bear -- albeit an obscenely ripped teddy bear of Dr. Dre-like proportions. And he just wants to make a little something for everyone.
“On this album I talk about the happiest of times to the sad times, to the lovable times. You know those times when you just loving your girl, and you know, past relationships, and it’s basically just an everyday life album,” he told illroots.com of his mainstream debut. “I try to put something on there where it’s like the best party you ever had or the worst time you ever had, so you might want to grab a tissue.”
But aside from his one-name wordplay, Flo Rida, born Tramar Dillard, doesn't need gimmicks -- he's already got clubs, cars and cellphones bumping with his infectious hip-hop tracks -- "Low," featuring T-Pain, was one of the most-downloaded iTunes tracks of 2007, and shot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, with the Timbaland-backed "Elevator" rising quickly behind. And now he's following up his radio-ready singles with en entire album of them.
In their Artist of the Week clips, OneRepublic throw caution -- and their serious image -- to the wind and have fun with some of the Spinal Tap-type moments they've experienced. Although ... we're not really sure if any of them ever had to carry a sword or wear a dress. Hoping to separate fact from fiction, we caught up with the guys while they were in NYC recently to talk about their music, being out of their element and how they're planning to take over the world. Here's what they had to say...
Buzzworthy: As our Artist of the Week, why did you decide to show your humorous side?
Ryan Tedder: Our videos are kind of serious. Our music is on the serious side. Part of our whole mission is trying to bring back music that says something. Between the two videos we have out, some people might think we're this brooding, depressing band. But that's not the case. We wanted to show people that there's a whole other side to us. We actually don't take ourselves seriously.
BW: How did you come up with the theme?
RT: We find absurd humor to be the funniest. The British version of The Office is our favorite show. We love the Farrelly brothers and Will Ferrell. So where all those converge is where our humor is and what we think is funny. We're into funny, awkward moments, so we wanted to incorporate that. The idea for shooting at Medieval Times came from the movie The Cable Guy, which we all love. We were all just like, "Hell yeah, we have to do it there."
Drew Brown: It was one of the biggest productions we've ever done.
RT: Bigger than our music videos.
DB: It looks like a movie.
RT: Or a Mexican soap opera. Read More...
After several years of unsigned ups and downs and singer Ryan Tedder writing hits for other artists (including Jennifer Lopez and Ashley Tisdale), OneRepublic struck gold with "Apologize," the first single off their debut album, Dreaming Out Loud. The song, which was featured on Gossip Girl, One Life to Live and the season 3 premiere of The Hills, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in November and is still hovering in the top 10.
Of course, 1R owes much of their meteoric rise to the Midas touch of Timbaland, who remixed "Apologize" on his album Shock Value. But now the band is stepping out from behind Tim's hulking shadow with their latest video, the epic "Stop and Stare." And as MTV's Artist of the Week, they're showing off their lighter side by making fun of the Spinal Tap-type moments they've encountered along their road to success -- which have apparently included run-ins with wizards, wenches, swords and a vulture feast.
We caught up with Ryan and his bandmates -- Zach Filkins, Eddie Fisher, Brent Kutzle and Drew Brown -- when they were at NYC's Roseland Ballroom last week and got an entertaining earful about what it was like delving into the Middle Ages and getting all medieval.
"The shoes hurt," Ryan quipped about his costume, adding that he thought the medieval theme suited them well. "We find absurd humor to be the funniest. The British version of The Office is our favorite show. We love the Farrelly brothers and Will Ferrell. The idea for shooting at Medieval Times came from the movie The Cable Guy, which we all love. We're into funny, awkward moments."
Looking for the perfect pick-me-up? How about doing donuts through downtown L.A. with Silversun Pickups? Yeah, that'll wake you up ... and so will SSPU's new video "Little Lover's So Polite," directed by Joaquin Phoenix.
During an exclusive interview with Buzzworthy, singer Brian Aubert gave us a first-hand account of what went into shooting the seemingly innocent video ... apparently the band (and crew) had to hold on for dear life as the pickup truck they were filming on went speeding through the streets. "Joaquin got me all amped up and I started getting into it, so he got even more into it and we started going crazy, zipping down the street and doing all kinds of crazy things," Brian said. "At one point the camera guy fell out of the truck and Joaquin just grabbed him and was like, 'Did you get the shot? Did you get the shot?' It was so exciting."
Some other tidbits Brian shared about the video? "Joaquin played the song at double speed so it was really, really fast -- chipmunk style. That's why we're kinda in slow motion. And if cars went by, they went by. There's a bus that went by with people staring at us. You can see the city whipping by us and smoke [coming up from the tires]."
Hold onto your hats, folks. It's time to take a ride with Silversun Pickups...
(Photo: Lyndsay Siegel)
Lest you've just returned from a year-long deep space mission, Vampire Weekend is a little indie rock band from a big city full of lots of other little indie rock bands. They started out almost not on purpose at all, yet they ended up the biggest little indie band in mainstream music today. So big that they landed the cover of Spin and a Saturday Night Live gig within weeks of their self-titled debut. So big that they were the subject of just about any major music story in 2007 that didn't involve the downfall of a certain former Mouseketeer, a beehived British singer or the entire record industry.
In April 1974, seven-year-old Janet Jackson -- the youngest of the nine Jackson siblings -- stepped onto the stage of the Las Vegas MGM Grand and joined her older brothers, whose rise to fame was already very much in progress. Fast-forward 30 plus years, and the Jackson 5 is no more (and you can probably fill in most of the rest of that story yourself).
Janet, however -- 10 albums, 5 Grammys and over 30 #1 singles later -- went on to become one of the best-selling artists of all time, and she's still going stronger than ever. Forget the last name. And you know her first name ain't "Baby." So drop the name "Janet" anywhere in the world where there's access to an FM radio, and they'll know who you're talking about.
In honor of Black History Month, we're honoring one of the foremost leaders and thinkers in Black America today: Dr. Cornel West.
Dr. Cornel West is an Ivy League-educated professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University. A renown, controversial philosopher, orator, scholar and activist, Dr. West has written close to 20 profoundly influential books on the topics of race, politics, culture and religion, including the best-selling book, Race Matters.
It's not unusual to see West -- a cancer survivor and the son of a Baptist minister -- keeping company with everyone from students to senators, rabbis to rappers. In fact, West has a hand in making hip-hop music too: aside from his involvement with Russell Simmons's Hip-Hop Summit, West has two albums to his name.
On his first album, Sketches of My Culture, released in 2001, he skillfully set the ramifications of slavery to soulful spoken word grooves. On his latest album, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations, released in 2007 with the Black Men Who Mean Business, he set his thoughts on being Black in post-9/11 Bush Country to funk, soul and hip-hop rhythms. Joining him: hip-hop and R&B heavy-hitters Prince (one of the first times the artist has ever allowed his work to be sampled), Jill Scott, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, Andre 3000, Killer Mike, The Roots' Black Thought and the late Gerald Levert.
"Kick, Push" redefined a segment of hip-hop. Don't think it didn't, because before Lupe Fiasco laid down his rhymes about skateboarding just about nobody linked the usually aggro lifestyle sport with a laid back flow. For a minute, he was the poster boy of a previously untapped scene, but Lupe is way above exploiting himself into a corner as a one-trick gimmick. He proved to be way too smart for that.
After "Kick, Push" earned him notice on his own terms -- the success followed a few years chasing the dream as a member of da Pak, an aborted solo attempt and notable guest appearances -- Lupe dropped his first full album, Food & Liquor in 2006, and it was hailed as not only one of the best albums of the year, but as one of the best debut hip-hop albums ... ever. How do you follow-up noise like that?
Just before the close of 2007, Mr. Fiasco delivered The Cool. There's a concept to the album, about a boy who falls prey to the lure of the street. But it's not littered with stereotypical egotistical boasting that has sunk so much hip-hop to laughable, unlistenable nonsense. There are no skits packed with inside jokes. Instead, it's laced with narrative substance. But Lupe's not here to beat you over the head with message. Instead, he's a gifted storyteller who has an ease in taking listeners on a ride. Just try to deny the tale in the powerful "Hip-Hop Saved My Life."
This is the week you're going to really get to know Lupe Fiasco. As MTV's Artist of the Week, he'll be featured on the channel all week long. Plus, you can watch his music videos, a bunch of live performances, check out his lyrics, photos and much more on his MTV.com artist page.
But while you're here, check out Lupe's "Superstar" video and his updated, old-school Artist of the Week version too. And watch all of the Grammy winner's MTV Artist of the Week videos right here.
Bad Brains are, in short, legendary. Epic, even. They're incontestably, verifiably, indisputably and irrefutably one of the most iconic American hardcore bands of all time. They came of age in the early 1980s, blowing apart the Washington, D.C., scene with a unique fusion of punk aggression and reggae grooves. Oh yeah, and they're old. (How old? Their first album was issued in 1982 on the cassette-only indie label ROIR). They came up at a time when speed was king, bands raging about politics was de rigeur, and the underground music scene of which they were a part created the aggressive sounds that would influence mainstream music for the next decade and beyond. In short, they were at the forefront of a genuine musical movement.