Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist w/ over a decade of experience. Lover of good music, fringe movies, day baseball & chicken shawarma. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
In the "seen it all" world of hip-hop, where fans stand with arms crossed and an "impress me" look on their face, it's tough to grab people's attention. That said, Duece Bug's latest video, which is for "Give The Drummer Some," features something most hip-hop fans haven't seen before – an emcee rapping while playing the drums.
This is a skill Duece Bug has been honing for a number of years, and it makes for some really interesting visuals. It's extremely rare for bands to have a drummer be their vocalist (with a few noted exceptions, like Genesis), and in hip-hop, where we expect emcees to be all over the place to move the crowd, Duece Bug is one of the only ones who tackles that task from a seated position.
Check out the Edwin Escobar directed clip, which also features DJ Connect and Kenny Cash, as Duece Bug looks to bring something new to hip-hop.
At its very best, rock music can move a listener both physically, and emotionally. New York City rockers Ionia, with their hard driving music that can inspire raucousness, and socially aware lyrics that can inspire action, are a perfect of example of this.
This week’s edition of Neighborhood Watch: NYC features the operatic folk of Scout Paré-Phillips, the dream pop of Shana Falana, the gorgeous vocals of Domino Kirke, and a socially conscious booty video from hip-hop artist D’Chrome Foster.
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with thoughts on everything from Michelle Branch’s newfound single status, to Vanilla Ice pulling a one man Ocean’s Eleven, to Kelly Clarkson’s search for collaborators, and since it’s Pop Shots you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
* Michelle Branch has reportedly filed for divorce from Teddy Landau, her husband of eleven years. Although I'm absolutely sure "Are You Happy Now?" was shouted a number of times, there's no word on if their divorce will be written up on Hotel Paper.
* Ariana Grande found herself in the middle of a controversy this past week, as Australian group SAFIA accused her, and video director Max Landis, of lifting the concept from the video for SAFIA's single "You Are The One" for Grande's latest, "One Last Time." Landis, not one to back down, noted SAFIA's video seemed to be inspired by an earlier video by Perth rock group Injured Ninja, for the song "Fallopian Tube Screamer." In a related story, Injured Ninja lifted the name for their song "Fallopian Tube Screamer" from my childhood Big Wheels.
* V Magazine is catching a lot of flack, and deservedly so, for their photo spread of Selena Gomez in their spring 2015 issue. Gracing the cover topless and made up to look even younger than she already does, many are accusing the magazine of embracing child pornography. I see it as yet another reason to buy the SI Swimsuit Issue instead.
* In Taylor Swift's continued takeover of the world, the songs from 1989 that were originally only available on the Target special edition of the album will be released one at a time via iTunes. For Swift fans, new music is always great, and for Apple, well, they'll find out exactly how many people they can handle using iTunes at once.
* Drake's unannounced mixtape, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart this past week with pure album sales of 495k, and a total number (which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA)) of 535k. This should give him more than enough money to buy the jerseys of every NBA playoff team, and every college basketball team that makes the NCCA Tournament this year.
* Vanilla Ice was arrested for burglary last week. Somewhere, Queen and David Bowie said, "Again?"
* In a grand irony for someone who claims to not want to be cliche, Lady Gaga and Taylor Kinney became engaged on Valentine's Day. This is terrible news for anyone who was hoping to score a woman who wears raw meat. Looks like it’s back to CraigsList for you steak and legs connoisseurs.
* In an interview with BBC Radio 1, Kelly Clarkson revealed her upcoming album won't have very many guests on it, but it’s not from a lack of trying. According to Clarkson, John Legend will be aboard, but, "Everyone usually says no." She added, "Sometimes I feel like I have the plague, or leprosy, they're like, 'If you get too close…'" All this talk of guests for a Kelly Clarkson album makes me wonder what happened to Miss Independent.
* Pussy Riot, inspired by the Eric Garner tragedy, and subsequent protests, have released their first English language song, titled "I Can't Breathe." Production was handled by Miike Snow's Andrew Wyatt, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Russian bands Scofferlane, and Jack Wood. The song, and production lineup, sends an important message to all the aspiring artists out there that all you have to do is spend nearly two years in a Russian prison to break into the US market.
* Carly Rae Jepsen is releasing a new single, titled "I Really Like You," the video for which will feature Maple Leif Garrett (aka Justin Bieber) and Tom Hanks. Admit it, if I told you this was set up by Make-A-Wish you'd believe me.
* Blur are back, and they’ve announced they’re planning on releasing their first new album in 12 years. American audiences probably best remember Blur as "not Oasis."
* Finally, Chinese new year was last week, so in honor of entering the year of the ram, here’s some Rammstein. Nothing says, “Happy New Year” like German metal!
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
I don't think I'm breaking any news when I say most hip-hop artists like being in the spotlight. When the mic is in their hands, they want all eyes on them. That's part of the reason why this clip for Queens emcee Bryant Dope's "Vibrant Soul" is so unique. He's not in it at all.
Instead of featuring himself, Bryant Dope features performance artist Felicia Limada doing an interpretive dance to the song. It's something that's very cool, and a nice break from the egoism normally associated with hip-hop.
"Vibrant Soul" also stands in stark contrast to the misogyny that permeates so much of hip-hop, as both the song, and the video, celebrate women.
The single is the first off of Bryant Dope's upcoming project, Raw Dope 2, which is due out March 11th. If you want more info, check out the interview I did with him last year.
In a bustling Rockwood Music Hall a diminutive blonde makes her way to the stage. Midway through her first song everyone has stopped talking, and turned their attention to her, enraptured by the voice they’re hearing. This is the power of Hayley Coupon.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.