D’Angelo Performs at Bonnaroo Festival, First U.S. Show in 12 Years (Full Audio Stream)!

I was fortunate enough to see D’Angelo live earlier this year when he played his comeback gig at Brixton Academy back in March. And it’s fair to say the ‘R&B Jesus’ is officially back.  Those European shows were the perfect warm up for what’s to come. The 38-year-old soul legend took to the stage in the US for the first time in 12 years this weekend to perform at the  Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee.

D’Angelo took to the stage for the first time in 12 years in the United States and chose the fields of Manchester, Tennessee to perform alongside Questlove to a throng of Bonnaroo Festival revelers in the early hours of Sunday morning. The R&B icon joined The Roots drummer, as well as James Poyser and a nine-piece band for over an hour playing cover tracks from legendary acts including the Jimi Hendrix classic “Have You Ever Been (to Electric Ladyland),” The Beatles’s “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and “What is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin. Listen in on the full audio stream from the show below to see how the Virginia singer’s return to live performances shaped up.

Click here to hear the live concert in full.

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New Video: G.O.O.D. Music – “Mercy” (Feat. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz)

Kanye West is slowly building a rock solid team under his G.O.O.D Music label and  they’re coming for Young Money in more ways than one. The visuals for “Mercy”, which features Ye, Big Sean, Pusha T &  2 Chainz, is finally here and although rather simple, the black and white vid is artistically entertaining. And even features some crazy dancing from Mr West himself. What more could you want?!

I’m an old skool rap fan, so I’m glad to see the return of the ‘crew phenomenon’. Check out the official video below.

Mac Miller – Live At The HMV Forum, London: Review!

Defying Tradition.

If there’s ever an artist to defy the traditional route of making it to the top of the charts, then Mac Miller’s your man – proving you don’t need a big label in order to reach the dizzy heights of success. While the twenty-year-old Pittsburgh native may be considered a newbie in the rap world, having only one official album under his belt, Malcolm McCormick gained legions of fans worldwide, after releasing seven mixtapes over the last five years. And the hard graft paid off, because the young wordsmith’s debut LP ‘Blue Slide Park’ became the first independently released record to top the Billboard charts in over fifteen years. So when the rising hip hop star brings his ‘Blue Slide Park’ tour to the UK, it’s no surprise Miller’s Brit fans turn up in their droves for the occasion.

It’s one of the hottest days in the year and just one glance at the audience outside the HMV Forum and you can feel the jubilance and excitement in the young crowd. Once inside the insanely hot North West London venue, the atmosphere is electric – even before the main man’s hit the stage. So when Miller arrives, there’s no surprise pandemonium erupts as ecstatic fans fist pump and go crazy for their idol.

Dressed in a white “I LOVE LDN” T-shirt, jeans and hat, Miller keeps it simple, with no gimmicks. Taking rap back to its essence, the US star is simply joined on stage by his DJ and hype man – the show is purely about the music. “Yo London, make more muthf*ckin’ noise,” he confidently declares, before spitting verses from his debut LP and numerous mixtapes – showcasing an impressive catalogue of material for such a young artist (Miller released his first mixtape at the tender age of fifteen).

Songs such as ‘Loud’, ‘Party On Fifth Av’ and ‘My Team’ has sweat-drenched revellers energetically shape-throwing, whilst rapping along to every word. Miller’s live delivery is precisely sharp and stage presence incredibly strong. Current radio smash ‘Frick Park Market’ raises the temperature, but it’s tracks from the K.I.D.S. mixtape that are the highlight of the night, with the likes of ‘Knock Knock’ and ‘Nikes On My Feet’ causing frenzied applause.

Feeding off the crowd’s infectious energy, Miller even provides some dance moves – showcasing his humorous side. The hour long set also includes tributes to Michael Jackson and the late Beastie Boy, MCA. And saving the best for last, Miller closes the impressive hyperactive show with his smash and fan favourite ‘Donald Trump’.

The name Mac Miller may still be unfamiliar to many, but it’s only a matter of time before this young contender starts to really rival some of hip hops heavy players.

Don’t Get Caught Up In No Throne | Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) “N****s in Poorest”

Like a lot you, I was happy when I got the news that Jay-Z and Kanye West would finally be bringing their Watch The Throne Tour to the UK. I’ve been a Jigga fan since I can remember. OK that’s a lie, more like since 1997 – which is a damn long time. And Yeezy has been doing his thing for quite some time now, so the chance of catching these two rap Juggernauts live at the same time, is something most  rap fans won’t wanna miss (including myself).

But while I’m excitedly anticipating the show – which will hit London’s 02 Arena on May 20th – I have to admit I was very slightly disappointed with the lyrical content of the Watch The Throne album . This may sound hypocritical as I casually blast “Otis” loud on my iPod, but as much as I love HOV and ‘Ye, the lyrical content for this record is very questionable. But like a lot of today’s hip-hop music, we tend to over look lyrical content in favour of a nice flow or heavy bass.

This is why I was so happy when Yasiin Bey (formally known as Mos Def) dropped his version of the pairs widley poppular “N–ggas In Paris”, titled “N-ggas In Poorest”, where the Brooklyn native ‘keeps it real’ in a candid, raw, politically charged and some-what controvesial video/song about what’s happening in many parts of society.

I say controversial beacause he constantly echoes the lines “Don’t get caught up in no throne” – which is a clear reference to Jay and Kanye. And even more interesting is the fact that Mos Def Yasiin is signed to Kanye’s G.O.O.D record label. Awkward!

Not that I’m knocking Mr Carter and West, because I’m genuinly a HUGE fan of them both (HUGE I tell you, Huge), but a lot of mainstream hip-hop lacks purpose with regards to lyrical content. I’m not saying MC’s should become all political on us and start preaching (we damn sure don’t need that), but some of their songs should have more substance. Hip-hop used to be able to really talk to people. Yes we all like those club bangers that can get us on the dance floor, but there’s got to be more.  There has to be a limit to how many times you can talk about your new Rolex or that “other other Bentley” you just purchased. Especially in these hard economic times when most of the world is feeling the true brunt of the repercussions of the recession.

To be honest I don”t expect much change in mainstream hip-hop anytime soon – especially if  many people (including myself), happily purchase such records reguardles of what we really feel about the lyrical content. Like I said at the beginning, I’m happily waiting for the Watch The Throne show to come across the pond.  This is why we have to Salute artists like Yasiin Bey for being bold enough to put out something so real in a genre where ‘really keeping it real’, doesn’t get you the type of recognition and accolades you deserve. “N*ggas in Poorest” may be a little bit too real for some people, but hey, more power to you Yasiin. Hip-hop needs people like you to keep the balance in a very unbalanced genre. And on that note I’m gonna stop my rambling and let you listen to the song. It’s a very powerful message.

RIP Malcolm X

Shakira signs to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Label!

If you thought Jay-Z‘s label was strictly “urban” , then think again. Where as Roc-A-Fella may have been straight up hip-hop, HOV’s branching out to all genres of music this time around. The rap mogul has just signed Shakira to his Roc Nation imprint. XXLmagazine reports that the Colombian superstar – who has  two Grammys and eight Latin Grammys under her belt –  is now label mates with the likes of Rihanna, J Cole and  Santigold.

Shakira, Shakira! She’s throwing up the Roc. The superstar Colombian singer has signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for management, XXLMag.com has learned.

With worldwide appeal, Shakira has sold more than 60 million albums and won 12 Billboard Latin Music Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards and two Grammy Awards.

With the signing to Roc Nation for management, Shakira joins the likes of Rihanna, Wale, Santigold and Melanie Fiona, who are all signed under Roc Nation’s management umbrella. Managed producers under Roc Nation include Jahlil Beats, No I.D. and S1.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

Jigga may not have been the most valid boss when he was head of Def Jam, but the On The Next One MC is really making his mark with his current label as he continues to take Roc Nation to new heights.  He’s definitely got his eyes set on becoming a billionaire – and soon.

New Music: Rihanna – Birthday Cake (Remix Ft. Chris Brown)

I’ve gotta hand it to Rihanna and Chris Brown for knowing how to generate the media’s attention. Last night RiRi finally dropped her controversial “Birthday Cake” remix – on her actual birthday – which features none other than her ex lover Breezy. The sexually charged song won’t help kill rumors that the former sweethearts are still lusting for one another. With lyrics such as:

“Girl, I wanna f-ck you right now.
Been a long time. I been missin your body.
Lemme lemme turn the lights down.
When I, when I go down it’s a private party.
Ooh ooh, it’s not even her birthday,
but I wanna lick the icing off.
Give it to her in the worst way.
Can’t wait to blow her candles off.”

Rihanna raps back:

Remember how you did it, remember how you did it
If you still wanna kiss it, come come and get it
Put a candle on my muthaf-ckin back, baby blow it..
Daddy make a wish, put this cake in your face..

Check out the full song below:

Grammy’s 2012 – Full Winners List!

Adele was the undisputed champ of the Grammy’s, taking home all six awards she was nominated for. Other big winners of the night were Foo Fighters, who nabbed four gongs and Kanye West, who also won four – but failed to turn up. Chris Brown was the comeback kid, For the past couple of years Breezy has being pretty much banned from the ceremony after his 2009 bust with then-girlfriend Rihanna, but not only did Breezy perform, he also took home a award best R&B album.

Congrats to all of the winners and nominees: here is a complete list of winners at the 2012 Grammy Awards, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012.

 Pop vocal album: Adele’s 21

Album of the year: Adele’s 21

Record of the year: Adele’s Rolling the Deep

Best pop solo performance: Adele’s Someone Like You

Song of the year: Adele’s Rolling in the Deep

Short-form music video: Adele’s Rolling in the Deep

Best rock performance: Foo Fighters’ Wal

Long-form music video: Foo Fighters’ Back and Forth

Hard rock/metal performance: Foo Fighters’ White Limo

Rock song: Foo Fighters’ Walk

Rock Album: Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light

Best rap performance: Otis, by Kanye West and Jay-Z

Rap performance: Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Otis

Best new artist: Bon Iver

Alternative music album: Bon Iver’s Bon Iver

Country duo/group performance: The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow

Folk album: The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow

Country solo performance: Taylor Swift’s Mean

Country song: Taylor Swift’s Mean

Dance recording: Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Dance/electronica album: Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

R&B album: Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E.

Country album: Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night

Recording package: Caroline Robert’s Scenes from The Suburbs, for Arcade Fire

Pop duo/group performance: Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse’s Body and Soul

Pop instrumental album: Booker T. Jones’ The Road from Memphis

Traditional pop vocal album: Tony Bennett and various artists’ Duets II

R&B performance: Corinne Bailey Rae’s Is This Love

Traditional R&B performance: Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona’s Fool for You

R&B song: Cee Lo Green and Co.’s Fool for You

Rap/sung collaboration: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie’s All of the Lights

Rap song: All of the Lights

Rap album: Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

New age album: Pet Metheny’s What’s It All About

Improvised jazz solo: Chick Corea’s 500 Miles High

Jazz vocal album: Terri Lyne Carrington and various artists’ The Mosaic Project

Jazz instrumental: Corea, Clarke and White’s Forever

Large jazz ensemble: Christian McBride Big Band’s The Good Feeling

Gospel/contemporary Christian music performance: Le’Andria Johnson’s Jesus

Gospel song: Kirk Franklin’s Hello Fear

Contemporary Christian music song: Laura Story’s Blessings

Gospel album: Kirk Franklin’s Hello Fear

Contemporary Christian music album: Chris Tomlin’s And If Our God Is For Us…

Latin pop, rock or urban album: Mana’s Drama Y Luz

Regional Mexican or Tejano album: Pepe Aguilar’s Bicentenario

Bands or Norteno album: Los Tigres Del Norte’s Los Tigres Del Norte and Friends

 Tropical Latin album: Cachao’s The Last Mambo

Americana album: Levon Helm’s Ramble at the Ryman

Bluegrass album: Alison Krauss and Union Station’s Paper Airplane

Blues album: Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator

Regional roots music album: Rebirth Brass Band’s Rebirth of New Orleans

Reggae album: Stephen Marley’s Revelatino Pt. 1: The Root of Life

World music album: Tinariwen’s Tassili

Children’s album: All About Bullies… Big & Small

Spoken world album (includes poetry, audio books and story telling): Betty White’s If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)

Comedy album: Louis C.K.’s Hilarious

Musical theatre album: The Book of Mormom

Compilation soundtrack for visual media: Boardwalk Empire: Vol. 1

Score soundtrack for visual media: Alexandre Desplat’s The King’s Speech

Song written for visual media: I See the Light (from Tangled)

Instrumental composition: Bela Fleck and Howard Levy’s Life in Eleven

Instrumental arrangement: Gordon Goodwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band

Instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist: Jorge Calandrelli’s Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me), for Tony Bennett and Queen Latifah

Boxed or special limited edition package: Dave Bett and Michelle Holme’s The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story

Album notes: Hear Me Howling: Blues, Ballads & Beyond as recorded by the San Francisco Bay by Chris Strachwitz in the 1960s

Historical album: Band on the Run (Paul McCartney Archive Collection – Deluxe Edition)

Engineered album, non-classical: Alison Krauss and Union Station’s Paper Airplane

Producer of the year, non-classical: Paul Epworth

Remixed recording, non-classical: Cinema (Skrillex Remix)

Surround sound album: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Super Deluxe Edition)

Engineered album, classical: Aldridge: Elmer Gantry

Producer of the year, classical: Judith Sherman

Orchestral performance: Brahms, Symphony No. 4 by Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

 Opera recording: Adams: Doctor Atomic

Choral performance: Light & Gold – Eric Whitacre, conductor (Christopher Glynn & Hila Plitmann; The King’s Singers, Laudibus, Pavão Quartet & The Eric Whitacre Singers)

Small-ensemble performance: Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music from Slide

Classical instrumental solo: Schwantner: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by Christopher Lamb, Giancarlo Guerrero conducts Nashville Symphony

Classical vocal solo: Joyce DiDonato with Kazushi Ono and Orchestre de l’Opera National de Lyon with Choeur de l’Opera National de Lyon for Diva Divo

Contemporary classical composition: Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein’s Elmer Gantry

Crystal King Perfroms ‘Keziah’s Dream’ Live on the Sporah Show!

Hello guys. Wow it’s been a while since I properly updated my blog (apologies). But thanks for consistantly continuing to read and keeping the stats high and I’m officially back now… And what better way to come back than with some great new live music?!

Now, Crystal King may seem like a new name on the scene, but the east London singer-songer writer has actually been doing her thing on the underground live circuit for quite some time now, but with her EP dropping soon, you’ll be seeing (and hearing) a lot more of this talented songstress in 2012 and she’s definitely One To Watch.

Miss King recently popped into the Sporah show to perform an acoustic version of her song ‘Keziah’s Dream’. Check it out below:

V Festival 2011 with Eminem, Rihianna & Elie Goulding: The Review!

V Festival 2011
Chelmsford, Essex

When it comes to festivals, the line-up doesn’t come more pic ‘n’ mix than Virgin Media’s V Festival. And while V (generally) opts for commercial acts, when it comes to genres, the bill is about as randomly diverse as a night bus stop in central London.

Over the weekend the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Hanson (Yep, those guys are still around), N-Dubz, Pendulum and Tinie Tempah all graced the stages at Highland Park and Chelmsford for the annual late summer festival. And while there’s something in there for everyone, this trait has its cons, as well as pros.

Arctic Monkeys were Chelmsford’s Saturday headliners and injected some much needed rock ‘n’ roll to the weekend. And while the weather was unpredictable and rainy the previous day, Sunday is the definition of summer, as the sun beams down in Essex.

Spread out over four different locations across the park, acts of all genres take to the stage. Ellie Goulding is an early crowd pleaser. Songs such as Starry Eyed set the tone and the petite singer proves a hit with revellers.

In general scheduling and timetables clash heavily, meaning you have to choose between many top acts. A large amount of audiences at the Script’s set seem to be Rihanna fans who turned up early to the get a good spot for the Bajan stars set.

Rihanna performs on day two of the V Festival at Hylands Parl (Pic: Getty)

Although it provides a wide range of music, V Festival generally caters to pop fans and Rihanna’s appointment is a fine and fitting one. Dressed in a pair of the tiniest black leather hot pants, fishnets and a tied up denim shirt, the 23-year-old sizzles as she churns out hit after hit of her chart-topping songs. While her vocals are not the strongest, the likes of Disturbia, S&M and Rude Boy have the crowd joyously singing along and waving their hands. A rendition of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song is well received, but it’s the finale performance of Umbrella that garners the biggest applause and prompts many revellers to erm… get out their umbrellas.

Rihanna’s set is a perfect warm up for the main man Eminem, who closes the show with an impressive 90 minute performance of songs from a career that spans over a decade. The Detroit MC was reportedly paid £2 million for his two day’s at V Festival and while I can’t say it was a £2 million worthy performance, Marshal Mathers rarely comes over to the UK, so it was a rare opportunity for fans to get a glimpse of arguably the best rapper of our generation.

Dressed in his trademark casual attire, Em’s set gets off to a slow start, but quickly picks up paste. Joined by his hype man, early tracks The Way I Am and My Name Is have the crowd amped up, but recent tracks such as Not Afraid and No Love from 2010’s Recovery also receive an equal level of applause. When Em brings out D12 for their hits Purple Pills and Fight Music, a moment of nostalgia kicks in and for a second I felt as though I was back in Secondary school.

At 38-year-old Eminem’s wild hell raising days are well and truly behind him (there were no chainsaws or cursing of other acts), but his stage presence was still very much in tact and 13 years down the line he’s still one of front runners in contemporary music.

The down point of the set was Em’s mic being too low, which meant at times his vocals were drowned out. Also the US star constantly referred to the crowd as ‘London, UK’ – someone clearly forgot to tell him we were in Essex. But even a technical fault and a slight geographical error wasn’t enough to ruin this memorable performance. Stan was a magical moment and reminder of Eminem at his very best. When Rihanna came back out on stage for the pair’s duet Love The Way You Lie, the crowd screamed with glee. Closing song Lose Yourself was a general crowd favourite and a fitting encore to an impressive show.

Although the Eminem of today’s live show is not quite on the same level of his performances of the past, fans were treated to something quite special and it’s clear to see just why Rolling Stone magazine recently named him the “King of Hip-hop.”

Kanye West Big Chill Festival 2011: The Review!

Big Chill, Eastnor Castle Deer Park

Before Kanye West even took to the stage for his grand headlining slot at Saturday’s Big Chill Festival, so much had already been written about the eccentric rapper. Living up to his diva status, West apparently booked the luxurious 12 bedroom Eastnor Castle for his stay – costing a whopping £7,000 per night. Known equally for his flamboyant stage sets and outspoken behaviour as well as his music, The Chi Town MC’s performance at the Eastnor Park venue is true to form and doesn’t disappoint in the creativity department, despite leaving audiences slightly divided in opinion.

Appearing half an hour late, many revellers are frustrated by the rappers tardiness and begin to jeer. But when West finally arrives on stage, appearing from the sound tower at the centre of the crowd, the boos soon turn to cheers. The 34-year-old begins his set with Dark Fantasy, while 20 ballerinas and his three-man band are situated at the Roman statue themed main stage.

Kanye West is not your average rapper and his theatrical set is more reminiscent of a Broadway musical, as opposed to a hip-hop show. It’s this artistic trait that separates West from his peers and pleasantly differentiates his live shows from his rap rivals.

He swiftly makes his way to the main stage and the show really begins. Power, Jesus Walks and Diamonds Are Forever are greeted with rapturous applause, as fans rap along and throw their ‘Roc’ signs in the air.

The two-hour set is a combination of new and old songs, taken from West’s five studio albums, as well as verses from Monster, Swagga Like Us and Katy Perry’s E.T.

Good Life and Love Lockdown are general crowd pleasers and have audiences singing out loud. And while fans are enjoying the up-tempo set, this is by no means the multi-Grammy winner’s best performance – an admission he expresses.

“I’m sorry for losing my voice earlier and turning up late, we’re trying to get this perfect,” he said during a seven minute talking period. “I’m very frustrated that I can’t perform at the level… I’m going to try as hard as I can to give you the best show I can. Even with half a voice.”

He went on express his frustration at being labelled a “monster” by the media and comparisons to Hitler: ‘I walk through the hotel, and I walk down the street, and people look at me like I’m insane, like I’m Hitler,’ he told the crowd.

While most fans appreciated the rappers honest and extremely personal accounts, some saw it as yet ‘another rant’. But either way, when the music kicked in, all divided opinions were vanished, as the crowd lapped up hit after hit, including Stronger, All Falls Down and Gold Digger – which garnered the biggest applause .

West closed his set with a touching Amy Winehouse tribute, playing a medley of the Brit singers ‘Tears Dry On My Own’ and ‘Back To Black’, after dedicating his show to his late mother.

Although audiences may have expected a little bit more from the festival’s biggest ever headliner, Kanye West on a bad day is still better than most on their very best.