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.

Don’t Be Mad At Gwyneth Paltrow, Be Mad At Jay-Z & Kanye West For Calling Their Song “N***as In Paris”!

Over the last few days I’ve read numerous blogs and publications bashing Gwyneth Paltrow for using the ‘N’ word on Twitter during a “Watch The Throne” gig in France. And by no means do I support the usage of such language, but I think the backlash is aimed at the wrong person.

The Hollywood actress – who’s BFF’s with Jay-Z and his wife Beyonce – got onstage with Jigga and Kanye West during the show and later tweeted a photo of herself standing near the rappers, with the caption “Ni**as in paris for real.”

And that’s when the outrage began. “How dare she use the N word?” Many gasped. “She should know better” a lot people said. Erm, shouldn’t Jay-Z and Kanye know better? If you’re going to name your song “N***as In Paris”, then what do you expect? She obviously didn’t mean it in an offensive way, but it’s clearly an offensive word.

I totally understand why people will say she shouldn’t have tweeted that, but what I don’t understand is that why is nobody criticizing the rappers? They’re the ones who are promoting the word like it’s ‘cool’. Let’s deal with the root of the problem. Let’s be mad at the ones who ignorantly promote the word, not just the fans who naively (and ignorantly) imitate them. I LOVE hip hop music – and Jay-Z & Kanye are two of my favourite artists – but I think it’s about time we heard less of the ‘N’ word in rap songs (especially in the songs title).

Here’s British rapper AKALA talking about why he’s decided to stop using the ‘N’ word in his lyrics.

Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne, 02 Arena, London, Live Review!

Six months after completing the US leg, rap royalty Jay-Z and Kanye West finally bring their highly anticipated Watch The Throne Tour to UK soil. And it’s undoubtedly worth the wait.

It’s not hard to see why Yeezy and HOV refer to themselves as “The Throne”, as cocky as it may be. Jay-Z, an emerging billionaire, has more US number one albums than Elvis Presley, with a successful career spanning over fifteen years. And his protégée Kanye West is close on his heels. While at times it’s easy to dislike Mr West, the flamboyant rapper’s musical genius often overrides his ego-fuelled gaffes. So it’s no surprise the rap juggernauts joint show is the hottest ticket in town, with celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessie J in attendance.

The 20,000-strong crowd patiently waits as the reigning monarchs of hip-hop are fashionably late to hit the stage at London’s O2 (as part of five consecutive shows at the Greenwich venue). But fans are unfazed by the 45 minute wait, as the anticipation only fuels excitement. Suddenly, the music dips and the venue erupts into frenzied applause, as the superstar rappers emerge. Sticking to their “all black everything” motto, both are decked out in black clothing from head to toe – with West donning what appears to be a skirt over his leather trousers. And in an intriguingly unique entrance, West, 34, and 42-year-old Jigga enter the stage on boxes from opposite sides of the venue, spitting back and forth with one another, opening the historic night with ‘H.A.M’.

Both stages slowly rise, with images of barking dogs and wildlife projecting from each, as the duo performs tracks from their smash hit joint album. As the intro to Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ plays, Jay sprints to the main stage to join his collaborator, and the pair break into the LP’s leading single ‘Otis’. Accompanied with a giant American flag draped at the back, it’s at this point the show really gets underway.

The tour may be called Watch The Throne, but both MCs – to the delight of fans – play numerous tracks from their impressive back catalogue of hits. Jay-Z’s ‘Jigga What, Jigga Who’ and ‘Big Pimpin’’ takes older fans back to the Roc-A-Fella heyday, while West’s ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ and ‘All Falls Down’ garners rapturous screams and excited shape-throwing gestures.

Showcasing their natural stage chemistry, Yeezy assists Jay during a rendition of ‘99 Problems’, while HOV returns the favour on West’s ‘Gold Digger’. A personal highlight comes when the pair takes it down a notch, grabbing a seat, whilst casually conversing, reminiscing about earlier days –which proves a great intro to Jigga’s breakthrough 1997 single ‘Hard Knock Life’.

Despite its wide success, some critics have questioned the ‘Watch The Throne’ album, claiming the record’s over-the-top boasting of wealth, designer garments and private jet lifestyle, in a time where most are feeling the pinch of the credit crunch, suggests the rap icons are slowly losing touch with their original hip hop fanbase. And while elements of that cannot be disputed, the albums triumph (both commercially and within the hip hop scene) proves rap fans (and pop fans alike) are very much so onboard with the duo’s “luxury rap”. And The O2 gig is a testament to that.

The US stars close their breathtaking two-hour set with an extended version of ‘N****s In Paris’ – which is reloaded an astonishing FOUR times, providing a perfect encore to what is quite frankly an EPIC show. Jay and Kanye are well and truly sitting on top of the hip hop throne, with no contenders remotely insight of knocking them off anytime soon.

Words by Vanessa Laker

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

Kanye West & Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne Tour’s Finally Coming To The UK & Europe!

They released their smash hit album Watch The Throne back in summer and have since completed a full US tour, leaving many fans wondering, will Jay-Z and Kanye West bring their WTT tour across the pond?

Today it has officially been announced that the two rap heavyweights will finally be brining their joint tour to Europe this spring/summer, playing at London’s 02 Arena on 20th May (woohoo). Tickets go on sale at 9am this Friday are are likely to sell out  QUICK.

WATCH THE THRONE EUROPEAN 2012 TOUR
 
MAY 2012
Sunday 20 O2 Arena London
Thursday 24 Zurich Hellenstadion, Switzerland
Saturday 26 Herning Arena, Denmark
Monday 28 Oslo Telenor Arena, Norway
Tuesday 29 Stockholm The Globe, Sweden
JUNE 2012
Friday 1 Paris Bercy, France
Saturday 2 Paris Bercy, France
Sunday 3 Antwerp Sportpaleis, Belgium
Tuesday 5 Frankfurt Festhalle, Germany
Friday 8 Dublin O2 Arena, Ireland
Monday 11 Manchester Arena
Wednesday 13 Birmingham LG Arena
 
Additional dates to be added
 
 
Tickets go on sale 9am on Friday 24th February priced at £60.00/£49.50/£39.50 London and £55.00/£47.50 Regional (subject to booking fee) and are available from here

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.

Jay-Z Denies Kanye West Feud!

Jay-Z has denied reports suggesting that him and Kanye West are currently feuding over their Watch The Throne tour details.

Over the weekend The New York Post reported that the rap megastars are ”barely speaking to each other” after disagreeing over tour production costs. Whilst Jigga wants to keep costs low, Yeezy is allegded to want to spend big on stage props and apparently wants to spend   $400,000 (£245,250) per show.

“Jay-z can’t deal with Kanye. Jay is a stone-cold businessman. He wants to recoup all of his money from Live Nation,” the US newspaper wrote. “But Kanye wants to upstage rock stars with a blowout show. He doesn’t care about costs. He has a lot less to gain from the shows.”

However, Jay-Z has dismissed this strory,  telling New York’s Hot 97 radio station that the false gossip only helps promote their collaborative project.

“I kinda want to spend a gazillion dollars. They got it backwards, but it’s all good. I know that we’re doing something right now. When I woke up to all that, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, we must be really hot right now’,” he explained.

However, Jay-Z insisted that while he and West “get on each other’s nerves”, they do not allow the negative aspects to take over and instead become empowered by those who don’t support their sound.

“The people who have a problem with Kanye or myself are the people that are complacent in life. People don’t like to be pushed. It’s, like, annoying. It’s a thing when people are pushing you to be greater, and we push each other to be greater,” Jay-Z said.

Good good, I’m glad to hear all is well in the ‘Watch The Trone’ camp. We’ve been waiting far too long for this project, so there’s no space (or time) for any squabbles.

Kanye West x Jay-Z’s ‘Watch The Throne’ Tracklisting!

Watch the Throne

Hip-hop’s biggest release is nearly upon us. With rumors flying that Kanye West and Jay-Z‘s highly anticipated joint album Watch The Throne will be out on August 2, Life + Times reveals the official tracklisting.

The 12-track standard edition features vocals from BeyonceFrank Ocean and Mr Hudson.

Watch the Throne Tracklisting

1. “No Church in the Wild” feat. Frank Ocean
2. “Lift Off” feat. Beyoncé
3. “Niggas in Paris”
4. “Otis” feat. Otis Redding
5. “Gotta Have It”
6. “New Day”
7. “Prime Time”
8. “Who Gon Stop Me”
9. “Murder to Excellence”
10. “Welcome to the Jungle”
11. “Sweet Baby Jesus” feat. Frank Ocean
12. “Love You So” feat. Mr Hudson

Bonus
13. “Illest Motherfucker Alive”
14. “H•A•M”
15. “That’s My Bitch”
16. “The Joy” feat. Curtis Mayfield

I can’t wait for this LP to drop. Something tells me it’s going to be a classic!

Justin Bieber Denies Snubbing Kanye West!

Rumors have been rife that Justin Bieber snubbed Kanye West. Reports claimed  the rapper asked the teen pop sensation to feature on his and Jay-Z‘s upcoming Watch The Throne joint album, but the biebs turned him down, fearing being associated with controversial  Yeezy would be bad for his squeaky clean image.

“Justin likes Kanye’s music, but he’s worried he’s done too many controversial things and it would hurt his image,” a source alleged to Hollywood Life.

“Between the sex scandals, political gaffes and interrupting Taylor Swift, Kanye is known as a genius but a big risk to associate with!”

Justin was quick to squash these rumors and took to his twitter to address the issue. The 17-year-old tweeted:

“some rumours…i just dont know where they come from. me and @kanyewest are good. This right here is just FALSE. (sic)”