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.

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.

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

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

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.

Vanessa Laker Meets Mann: The Interview

His new track, ‘Buzzin’’, is currently setting dancefloors across the globe on fire, and is shaping up to be one of this summer’s big anthems. With 50 Cent tipping him for huge success, Mann is set to be one of hip-hop’s big breakout stars of 2011. The 19-year-old West Coast rapper popped into MTV HQ earlier this week, where he had a chat with The Wrap Up’s Vanessa Laker…

The Wrap Up: Hi, Mann! Your new single, ‘Buzzin’’, has got a lot of buzz surrounding it and is set to be one of this summer’s big anthems. Did you expect it to have such a huge response?

Mann: Actually, no. I expected people to like it, but when I wrote it, I didn’t expect it to be a single. I actually wrote it expecting it to just be something I put out on the internet and then it actually turned out to be a big song. It’s overwhelming right now, I still can’t believe it. 

TWU: And it’s blown up around the world…

Mann: Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s just very overwhelming. To be over here in the UK off of that song that I made, thinking it was just going to be a leak, is amazing.

TWU: The official remix – which is the main video – features 50 Cent, so how did that collaboration come about?

Mann: 50 heard the record on radio and actually just hopped on it and did it on his own.  He dropped it online, and when he did that, I was surprised. We reached out and he wanted to shoot the video, so we shot the video, and now 50 is a mentor of mine.

TWU: Being a new artist, how does it feel having someone of 50 Cent’s calibre, wanting to jump on your track?

Mann: I feel really blessed. Not a lot of new artists get such a big co-sign. Especially seeing as I’m not even signed under 50 Cent. He didn’t discover me or anything like that, he just really believed in the song and that feels great. We’re not even from the same coast!

TWU: Speaking of coasts, you’re from Los Angeles (West Coast) and a lot of the time, LA hip-hop is associated under the genre of gangsta rap. Was it a conscious decision for you to make an upbeat record for the clubs?

Mann: Very conscious. You know, it’s kinda hard to be a West Coast artist and not be gangsta, because people don’t know what to expect. And for a long time – because I’ve been signed since I was sixteen – I didn’t know the right way to come out as a West Coast artist and represent the West Coast, and not be on that gangsta tip. I think ‘Buzzin’’ was a great mix of keeping it West Coast and also keeping the fresh ideas.

TWU: Back in the day, California was very much so at the forefront of hip-hop, but these days there are noticeably fewer West Coast-based rappers doing hip-hop on an international level, but why do you think that is? 

Mann: Because we had to go back to the drawing board. The gangsta rap and stuff, it played its course. Everything repeats. Like, now in LA, there are a lot of new rappers coming up. There’s a lot of buzz going on in LA with a lot of new artists, and I feel like I’m at the forefront of that. There’s a lot of talent, so the lack of West Coat rappers, that’s probably gonna change soon. 

TWU: Speaking of new artists, there’s a wave of new young rappers, such as Wiz Khalifa and J. Cole, who are coming up and really doing their thing. Which new MCs are you rating and why? 

Mann: I’m a big fan of Odd Future. I’m also a big fan of Kendrick Lamar from LA. I mean, I’m a big fan of Wiz and Currency as well. But for me, as far as new artists go, I think Odd Future are great, just because of their originality and creativity. 

TWU: A few years ago, new hip-hop was bit stale, but right now there are so many new artists and it’s an exciting time for hip-hop music…

Mann: History repeats itself. There was a stage when it had gotten really pop. And when it gets like that, you need something under it. It’s the same thing that happened with disco. You get that other type of music that comes under it, that’s a lot more rough and raw, that people are fiending for, because things have got too pop. It’s just history repeating itself.

TWU: Growing up, which artist inspired you to get into music?

Mann: Mase was a big inspiration to me. He had one of my favourite albums and his videos and his swag was very on point. I was pretty young when he came out, and as a kid, it was okay to like him and my mum wasn’t mad. But he wasn’t corny, he was a cool guy, and that’s a good balance to have.

TWU: Your style of rap is quite unique – it’s rapping meets singing. How would you describe your musical style?

Mann: Really, it’s just music. I like to make music for everyone. I love to rap, but at the same time, I may want to express a melody in a way that rapping can’t do. So I’ll sing it. I think it’s good to have the combination and nowadays, you have to do it all.

TWU: You mentioned that you’ve been signed since you were 16 years old, so how did you get started in the industry? 

Mann: I’ve been performing since I was five years old. I’ve been performing all over LA for years. Then I started dancing, and then I started rapping. I do it all. I just love being in front of people and making people feel good.

TWU: And what’s your association with Sean Kingston?

Mann: We hung out in the studio and he introduced me to (music producer) J. R. Rotem (Britney Spears, Rihanna) and we did records early on in my career. We’re also good friends.

TWU: Before you were discovered on a mainstream level, you made a name for yourself on the underground with mixtapes. How important are mixtapes in the hip-hop world?

Mann: Mixtapes are the most important. Three years ago, when I was 16, they weren’t as important, but then through time, after I got signed, I’ve seen how important they are now. I think after Drake, he kind of set the standard, where every artist – especially in hip-hop – needs to drop something for the fans, to assure them that their album will be worth it. 

TWU: Tell us a bit about your upcoming collaborations mixtape…

Mann: It’s called, ‘Fresh Man On Varsity’. We’ve got a lot of collaborations on there, from Kendrick Lemar to Frank Ocean. I’m trying to get Machine Gun Kelly on it too! I’ve got a lot of great upcoming artists on this mixtape. Everybody’s coming up and this project is about being young and doing things big. That’s what ‘Fresh Man On Varsity’ means. I just wanna reassure my fans and everyone that supports me, that I’m making music, real music.

TWU: And when can we expect to hear your debut album?

Mann: My LP, ‘Mann’s World’, will definitely be dropping this summer. We’re already working on it and it sounds amazing. We’re flipping a lot of records, kinda like what Snoop did with ‘Doggystyle’. We’re just keeping it real old school, but with new ideas and fresh concepts.

Eminen Talks About Near Death Experience

Eminem is well and truly back, with a new album – Recovery – released at the end of the month and if predictions are anything to go by it will be the biggest rap album of the year. In recent times Em has gone through some tough times, but is now officially on a straight and narrow path after beating his demands.

While at the E3 video game convention, Slim talked to Showbiz Tonight about his fight with drug addiction and how an overdose left him hours away from:

“It took me awhile to admit I actually did have a problem,” the musician said. “In the hip-hop world that I live in, it can be mistaken for weakness and the last thing you want to do in hip-hop is admit that you’re weak. But if I didn’t admit I was weak with this certain thing I was going to die.”

And when asked if he had any advice for anyone going through the same situation, the iconic rapper gave a heartfelt and very honest response: 

“That’s a tough question. I don’t know how you avoid it. I mean, I could say the cliched things, make sure you stay on the right path, you make the right decisions in life. You know, fame is a funny thing, man, especially, you know, actors, musicians, rappers, rock singers, it’s kind of a lifestyle and it’s easy to get caught up in it – you go to bars, you go to clubs, everyone’s doing a certain thing… It’s tough.”

Eminem is arguably the best rapper of our generation. His impact in hip-hop back then and to this very day is ridiculously huge. It’s good to see he’s back on a good path. I’ve been a big fan of his since I was a kid and I’m really looking forward to hearing the new album. But most importantly it’s good to see things are going well for him in his personal life and he’s back on track.

Here’ some vintage Slim Shady. I remember watching this live 11 years ago. Wow! I can’t believe it was that long ago, time really does fly. Here’s Dre, Snoop and Em at the 1999 VMA’s. Damn I miss the rap days:

Drake | Thank Me Later Tracklist

Here’s the full song titles, features, and production credits for Drake’s ridiculously anticipated debut album Thank Me Later. Not long to go now – June 15th.

1. Fireworks (Feat. Alicia Keys) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib)
2. Karaoke (Produced by Francis & The Lights)
3. The Resistance (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib)
4. Over (Produced by Boi-1da)
5. Show Me A Good Time (Produced by Kanye West)
6. Up All Night (Feat. Nicki Minaj) (Produced by Boi-1da)
7. Fancy (Feat. TI and Swizz Beatz) (Produced by Swizz Beatz)
8. Shut It Down (Feat. The Dream) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib and Omen)
9. Unforgettable (Feat. Young Jeezy) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib and Boi-1da)
10. Light Up (Feat. Jay-Z) (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib and Tone Mason)
11. Miss Me (Feat. Lil Wayne) (Produced by Boi-1da and Noah “40″ Shebib)
12. Cece’s Interlude (Produced by Noah “40″ Shebib)
13. Find Your Love (Produced by Kanye West)
14. Thank Me Now (Produced by Timbaland)

Ryan Phillippe Wants To A Become HipHop Producer…

He acted in Oscar winning film Crash and has been lighting up the big screen for over ten years now, but it seems Hollywood star Ryan Phillippe is an actor trapped in a rappers body. Just last month he told Men’s Health Magazine of his great rapping ability; “I rap really well. I can sound like Lil Wayne or Ludacris. I’m dead serious, I can spit!

Now the Cruel Intentions actor has expressed his desire to produce. Speaking exclusively with MTV US the actor spoke of his love for hip-hop and he’s appreciation of raps man of the moment Drake – Phillippe attended the rappers sold-out show at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia earlier this week.

“He was amazing,” Phillippe says. “Not only was it Drake, but he brought out Nicki Minaj. Birdman came out and Tyga and Soulja Boy. There’s this guy Jay Electronica that I’m really into right now,” he adds. He’s not just into the new generation of rappers either. Phillipe’s been a fan of rap since he was a little boy and sights Jay-Z and Biggie Smalls as two his favourite MCs. He also expressed his desire to produce, saying he hopes to “produce an artist” sometime down the line.

This feature was initially written for MTV The Wrap UP.