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- 08/16/13--14:30: _Kendrick's Feuds So...
- 08/16/13--15:00: _Casting Tina Fey's ...
- 08/16/13--15:30: _The Best, Worst and...
- 08/19/13--12:00: _T.I., Flosstradamus...
- 08/19/13--12:30: _Here Are Seniors Re...
- 08/19/13--13:45: _Chloe Sevigny Goes ...
- 08/19/13--14:15: _It's Never a Good T...
- 08/19/13--14:36: _Recap: The Masque o...
- 08/19/13--15:29: _Janelle Monáe Debut...
- 08/19/13--15:45: _Terry Crews = Major...
- 08/20/13--07:30: _Some Pretty Cool Li...
- 08/20/13--09:40: _Kurt Braunohler On ...
- 08/20/13--09:45: _RuPaul Picks People...
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- 08/20/13--12:20: _Listen to Body/Head...
- 08/20/13--13:50: _"What the F*shion" ...
- 08/20/13--14:25: _Your Pre-VMAs Reuni...
- 08/20/13--14:48: _Cher's Wig Game Is ...
- 08/21/13--07:30: _Here's Richard Simm...
- 08/21/13--09:30: _A$AP Ferg's '90s Ga...
- 08/16/13--14:30: Kendrick's Feuds Soundtrack Breaking Bad's Best Characters
- 08/16/13--15:00: Casting Tina Fey's Forthcoming "Cheers on Fire Island" Show
- 08/16/13--15:30: The Best, Worst and Weirdest of the Week
- 08/19/13--12:00: T.I., Flosstradamus, UZ and More On Trap Music's Evolution
- 08/19/13--14:15: It's Never a Good Time to Talk on Breaking Bad
- 08/19/13--14:36: Recap: The Masque of the Gilded Corpses
- 08/19/13--15:29: Janelle Monáe Debuts Her New Song "PrimeTime," Featuring Miguel
- 08/19/13--15:45: Terry Crews = Major Lazer (In a New Video, That Is)
- 08/20/13--09:40: Kurt Braunohler On His New Album, NYC vs. LA, and Dildo Wings
- 08/20/13--09:45: RuPaul Picks People Up in New Web Series "RuPaul Drives..."
- 08/20/13--12:20: Listen to Body/Head's New Song, "Actress"
- 08/20/13--13:50: "What the F*shion" Takes On Women Dressing for Men and It's Too Good
- 08/20/13--14:25: Your Pre-VMAs Reunion *NSYNC Dossier
- 08/20/13--14:48: Cher's Wig Game Is Back on Track in the New "Woman's World" Video
- 08/21/13--07:30: Here's Richard Simmons Crashing a Wedding With a Glitter Gun
- 08/21/13--09:30: A$AP Ferg's '90s Gangsta-Rap Style Takes Us Back to the Future
In this weekly column, MC/DJ Hesta Prynn pairs pop culture stories with an original playlist.
Walter White has alienated nearly everyone in his life during his ascent to drug kingpin. Similarly, Kendrick Lamar has recently entered into a feud with, well, everyone. This week's Five n Five pairs songs from rappers that Lamar has dissed with characters from everyone's favorite show, Breaking Bad. Let's face it, it's lonely at the top.
1. Jesse Pinkman -- "House Party" by Meek Mill
Sample lyric: "Gotta be a natural born star, doing shit that money can't. Welcome to my house party."
All that's missing from Pinckman's suburban open-house lifestyle is a high school senior bouncer selling red cups at the end of the driveway.
2. Saul -- "Trouble on My Mind" by Pusha T
Sample lyric: "This is for the critics, who doubted the chemistry. Two different worlds, same symmetry. And this black art, swee the wizardry. When you at the top of your game, you make enemies. You'll never finish me."
Better call Saul.
3. Gus Fring -- "Ambition" by Wale
Sample lyric: "Ambition is priceless, it's something that's in your veins"
Gus Fring was Walt's benefactor, then friend, then enemy. Mirroring Walter White's story of a self-made man who worked for the benefit of his family and ultimately became addicted to the game, Fring was arguable one of the greatest TV villains of all time.
4. Walter White -- "Started from The Bottom" by Drake
Sample lyric: "Boys tell stories 'bout the man. Say I never struggled, wasn't hungry, yeah, I doubt it. Started from the bottom now we here."
The unofficial theme song for the series, substitute some words here and there and Drake is telling the story of Walter White.
5. Hank -- "I Got This" by Big K.R.I.T.
Sample lyric: "Now I suppose I'm doing quite alright ever since I blew/ Don't be worrying about mine, player/ Worry about you."
Hank and Walter have finally been brought face to face. We've seen this character at his worst and best both physically and professionally. The end of the series may hinge on him.
When we heard NBC just bought a new comedy from Tina Fey that's been described as "Cheers...based on Fire Island" and is centered around a young woman who goes to the island and reconnects with her father, we couldn't help but imagine all of the various -- and, ideally, shirtless -- casting opportunities. From Matt Bomer as a porn peddler to punk Rachel Dratch, here are our picks.
We'd love to see Whitman in the lead as a young woman who moves to Fire Island to reconnect with her father. In our version, we'll first meet Whitman's character when she's working as a sous chef in Austin, Texas at a locally-sourced, Mexican-inspired vegan restaurant. Already burned out from spending hours in the kitchen, Whitman discovers that her boyfriend (who also happens to own the restaurant where she works) has been cheating on her with a trashy hostess who has a snake tattoo on her lower back. In need of a change, Whitman decides to move to the East Coast and reconnect with her father -- whom she hasn't seen since she was a child. She moves to Fire Island where she offers to help develop a food program at her father's bar, comprised mostly of tempeh tacos and mango-spiked guacamole.
John Benjamin Hickey as...The Dad
We'd like to see the Tony Award-winning The Normal Heart actor play Whitman's dad, a former commodities trader who realized late in life that he was gay. Having made a bundle in the stock market before the recession, he's now traded in his Wall Street job and moved out to Fire Island where he owns The Stowaway, a high-design surf bar that attracts a mix of Williamsburg boys on the island for the weekend and an old guard of fabulously wealthy men who have been partying in the Pines since the Tom Bianchi era.
After being ousted by Jane Krakowski on 30 Rock, it's high time that Rachel Dratch got a great part on a Fey-helmed TV show. Dratch's role would come in the form of a Carla Tortelli character -- a wisecracking waitress who doesn't take shit from anyone. In our version she'd be a married, punk lesbian who occasionally stops making quips about the patrons to preach about the benefits of raising young children on a gluten and lactose-free diet. Also, can Cyndi Lauper please make an occasional cameo as her wife?
McConaughey's character will be what would happen if Sam Malone fused with Dallas, the actor's awesomely creepy character from Magic Mike. He may appear like a humble man of working class origins who's also a recovering alcoholic, but when midnight hits, McConaughey can often be found dancing in jorts and cowboy boots on top of the bar, pouring tequila into patrons' mouths. He's deeply attracted to a new, snobby bartender (played by Chace Crawford), but simultaneously put off by the young man's pretentious, New Canaan upbringing and the fact that he was once a deeply closeted lacrosse bro at Middlebury.
Gould and Burstyn will play a married couple who raised their family in Port Washington before retiring and moving full-time to their summer home in Fire Island. They've had a home on the island since LBJ was in office and have witnessed the, uh, significant demographic changes. They're lovable fuddy-duddies who enjoy heading to the bar at 5pm for a round of Cape Codders. They also attempt to set their single daughter up with every gay bartender in the joint.
Chace Crawford as...The Boarding School-Educated Bartender
Chace would be great as a haughty, Diane Chambers-esque bartender working under McConaughey. Coming to Fire Island after suffering a minor breakdown in the big city, his WASP-y uptightness would constantly come up against Fire Island's looser, more sexually free environs. We'd love to see a simmering, will-they-or-won't-they relationship develop between him and Matthew McConaughey. Swoons all around.
We can see Diggs playing a David Geffen-esque recording industry svengali with a dose of Jack Donaghy's right-wing ruthlessness. When not making record deals, Digg's character will spend time on his other interests, which include buying repossessed yachts and raising Shetland ponies on his massive estate. Digg's character will also be Hickey's foil -- with the bar abutting his property, Diggs will attempt to buy it out so he can expand his estate in order to add a small pony-racing track.
Best Proof That Sheep Are Amazing and Perfect: This video of sheep bleating en masse to literally whatever this man says. -- Max Kessler
Biggest Note-to-Self of the Week: Attend Mark Summers' Drunk Double Dare, which , according to this Buzzfeed interview with the host of Nickelodian's most beloved '80s game show, he hosts every June in Philadelphia as part of "Beer Week." WHAT! -- Elizabeth Thompson
Most Bizarre/Morbid P.R. Pitch We Received All Week: This one. -- Abby Schreiber
Most Mind-Bending Use of Paper: Photographer Alma Haser's origami-enhanced portraits. -- M.K.
Superfan We're Most Worried For Of the Week: Whoever this person is in Miami offering blowjobs or handjobs to anyone who buys Lady Gaga's new single "Applause" on iTunes for $1.29. That is some dark shit. -- E.T.
Best Gospel Song of the Week: "Keep Yo Business off Yo Facebook," courtesy of a Christian gospel choir in an undisclosed church. They have some good points. -- M.K.
Most "Wait, WHAT?" Headline of the Week: This one: "Something Was Born Inside A Little Boy's Knee And He's Keeping It As A Pet." -- A.S.
Best Response to Justin Bieber's Nude Grandma Serenading: Emblem3 (side note: who or what is Emblem3?) tweeting this picture along with the message: "Hey @justinbieber, we're in Canada ready for the jam sesh!" -- M.K.
Darkest Sign We've Reached the Cronut Nadir: This photo of two girls rifling through a garbage for cronuts. -- A.S.
Game-Changing Bar Mitzvah Entrance Routine: This Dallas boy's, who entered his party amidst a burlesque performance. All other Bar and Bat Mitzvahs need to step.it.up. -- A.S.
Best Madonna Tribute of the Week, Ever: Madonna Scholar Louis Virtel does a masterful ranking of Madonna Louise's top 55 videos for her 55th birthday on the Backlot. -- E.T.
The rabbit warrens of Soundcloud don't have anything in common with the inner city streets of Atlanta but, as hip-hop and EDM heads have noticed, much like that Southern city, the music-sharing site has become a hub for trap music -- or, rather, its electronic-tinged spinoff.
Original trap, which rose to prominence after T.I. released Trap Muzik in 2003 (an album that was, incidentally, co-produced by Kanye West), took its moniker from "the trap," a term typically associated with the inner city streets of Atlanta and the drug-dealing culture therein. "We just did what was on our mind at the time," says DJ Toomp, the Grammy-winning, Atlanta-based producer who's worked with everyone from T.I. and Kanye to Mariah Carey and Rick Ross and who executive produced Trap Muzik. "[T.I.] and I understood that whole movement, we both had partners that were locked up and we saw the lifestyle of the big-time guys back then." Of the genre's 808-heavy sound, Toomp adds, "You gotta give props to Rick Rubin. The way he was using the 808 drum machine back then -- what he was doing with the Beastie Boys -- wasn't too far from what we were doing."
For the most part, the Internet is trap 2.0's street corner, with new productions and songs spreading like wildfire with the click of a mouse. Though the origins and the audience might have changed (not to mention the fact that many dance-trap mixes lack rap vocals entirely), much of the sound elements remain: the 808 drums, frenetic hi-hats, booming bass, the prominent use of snares and vocal chops.
Flosstradamus, the Chicago-and-Brookyn-based DJ duo who first achieved popularity in the mid-00s with raucous rap-dance mash-ups and who are widely credited with being leaders in the new trap game, says the genre's evolution started as one big digital game of telephone. In fall of 2011 "I was making rap demos and the style and beat I was making was a trap beat for a trap rapper," Flosstradamus' Josh Young (a.k.a. J2K) explains. "I put the genre as 'trap' on Soundcloud because that was the influence and what it sounded like." He adds, "The rappers were slacking off and not returning the product in time." Young says he and his partner Curt Cameruci (a.k.a. Autobot) "got frustrated with people not doing our projects fast enough so we started putting the songs out ourselves."
Young says that the duo's "post-apocalyptic trap" EP, Total Recall, released in February of 2012 by Diplo's Mad Decent imprint, Jeffree's, was actually intended for Sir Michael Rocks (The Cool Kids rapper formerly known as Mikey Rocks). "He passed on the track and we threw it up on Soundcloud with the genre 'Trap' because of the style of drums I used."
"And the kids that were hearing [those tracks] and latching onto it had no reference for what original trap was so they thought it was a new genre," Young explains. "That's why it became what it was."
While their productions may have initially been intended for trap artists to rhyme over, it was their January 2012 remix of a decidedly different style of song -- Major Lazer's "Original Don" -- that "blew [new trap] out of the water for the first time," as Young puts it.
"'Original Don' came out and it was like, 'Yo, did you hear this song? Let's make something like it,'" L.A.-based producer ETC!ETC! says, citing the track as one of the catalysts behind his own experimentation with new trap. "Trap had been in hip-hop for a long time but what Flosstradamus did was give it a twist and make it into EDM and make it relevant. It made trap more exciting."
It wasn't long after "Original Don" came out that a slew of other young producers like RL Grime and Salva (whose joint remix of Kanye West's "Mercy" was arguably one of 2012's Songs of the Summer), Baauer (he of "Harlem Shake" fame), and a mysterious, masked DJ going by the name of UZ burst onto the the nascent trap scene. And, in a sure sign that the genre was taking off, other DJs bristled at being included in the movement, producers TNGHT being a particularly vocal example. Pretty soon everyone from Azealia Banks ("BBD") to Beyoncé ("Bow Down / I Been On") and even Lady Gaga ("Cake Like Lady Gaga") were incorporating trap beats into their songs.
And, aside from these mainstream artists and fairly well-known DJs, bedroom producers have been making their own mixes and posting them to Soundcloud, where you can also find thousands and thousands of tracks with the "trap" tag.
"It's attracting a wider audience" than other EDM genres, Young says. Trap "is based in hip-hop and everyone likes hip-hop. Even if you say you don't like it, you'll get drunk at a club and Biggie comes on and you'll know all the words and you're gonna nod your head." He adds, "I feel like trap is something that speaks to all generations -- or at least generations from the last fuckin' forty years."
And, with the majority of today's most popular forms of EDM being imported from Europe, there's something uniquely American-sounding in this hip-hop based dance music. "Finally the US kids have something to call their own, and at a time when everyone is listening to dance music, the most palatable and digestible sound is trap," UZ writes via email (in an effort to maintain his hidden identity).
"For many people, trap is a way out of a mundane life," UZ continues. "There is a certain vibe or quality that is captured by the ATL guys, something that is very real, dark, and grimey. What we do is add the party element to it." White Shadow, a Chicago-based producer and Lady Gaga's DJ (he's the one responsible for the pop star's foray into trap with "Cake Like Lady Gaga") agrees with UZ's assessment of why the genre has become so massive. Trap "is full of anger and emotion, almost to a point of violence but in the best way possible," he says. It's "a very effective delivery vehicle for chords that make people feel something."
Opponents of the genre have criticized its propensity for darkness as "trap music's fetish for context-free violent imagery," a co-opting of sorts of trap rap's original violent content without any of its origins. UZ's Uzi logo has often been singled out and one writer said the producer "embodies some of the worst tendencies of the trap phenomenon." For his part, the masked producer isn't fazed by proverbial haters. UZ writes, "Critics are just that: critical. They don't live this, they just sit back and tell everyone why they think something is good or not. Who cares what they say." He adds, "We make music for ourselves and if people like it, cool. If they don't, it doesn't bother me at all."
Other critics point to new trap's "whiter, less-rap-oriented rave crowd" audience as further proof of its problems. "Trap music's popularity among white hipsters from middle-class backgrounds -- the same demographic that flipped out over trap rap a few years ago -- can easily look voyeuristic or exploitative. The very fact that the term 'trap' has been adopted by a privileged class -- people who probably can't imagine what it would take to drive someone to deal crack -- is rankling to some," Miles Raymer writes in The Chicago Reader.
But, as UZ points out, "suburban white kids have been buying rap music and catapulting rappers' careers for years, so to think they wouldn't gravitate to this 'EDM Trap' explosion is naïve. Everyone likes to get a lil' gully and wild out sometimes."
Talking to the King of the South himself, T.I. says he has no problem with the new electronic sub-genre. "If a part of the evolution of this genre is that it goes from [being about] the lyrical content to what you hear sonically, if that's what it takes to keep the genre alive and keep it in the minds and hearts of people and is the common bond that brings people together to hear the music, then I'm not gonna say it's a problem," the rapper says. "I'm not gonna be one of those sour [artists] that says, 'It's not what I had in mind when I created this,' because you can't make people take away from it what you want them to take away."
"And, hey man, whatever is progressing the art form, I'm going to be in support of that," T.I. says. "Whatever keeps us growing, evolving, knocking down doors, removing limitations and expanding the genre, that's what I'm for."
In an interview with Stereogum, Gucci Mane producer Burn One says, "Trap has always been about a lifestyle and you can't emulate a lifestyle...But a name is just a name and no one owns a style of music...As long as it's good, it's cool by me."
Other trap producers seem bemused by the whole thing. "It's confusing," says DJ Toomp. "[New trap] is still considered house or EDM music to me. The last title I would give it is trap." Still, he says he's a fan. "I love it. I respect the sound. But they should change the name. It shouldn't take more than 60 seconds [to come up with a new name]. When you have something that strong in terms of a sound and movement, you can call it whatever and it'll get cool over night."
Over the last year or so, it appears that this movement also includes a particular fashion aesthetic. "You can definitely tell when someone is [dressed] for a trap show. 100%" ETC!ETC! says. "There's a lot of kids wearing Fox gear like Flosstradamus or wearing Pyrex Vision. They'll wear bandanas and cover their face like UZ. It's hood."
The style associated with the trap scene seems to be in line with broader trends; Fox and Pyrex Vision are joined in the marketplace by other buzzy luxury streetwear brands like Hood By Air or UK-based KTZ, whose athletic and motorcross-inspired pieces share a similar goth-y vibe. And Pyrex Vision, for its part, was founded by Virgil Abloh who, when he's not designing clothing, also happens to be Kanye West's art director and a member of DJ/art collective #Been #Trill, who have been known to spin trap-heavy sets at cool kid parties. Even Kim Kardashian has been spotted rocking some Pyrex Vision.
But for now, if fashion is any indicator of music preference, it may still feel like swagged out dubstep bros still outnumber the kids with bandanas over their faces 10-1 at your typical EDM festival -- though that could soon be changing. "All the dubstep DJs I know don't play it as much anymore. They play trap because it's more relevant," ETC!ETC! says. "But it is getting a little repetitive. As long as someone puts a new twist on it again, is has the chance to stay in the EDM scene for a while."
From today's perspective, that seems likely. "It's evolving so fast because it's from the Internet," Josh Young says. "Kids are defining it and finding out about it. Producers are finding out about it and reinterpreting it and progressing it every single day." But, he adds less optimistically, "It's all something the Internet has created, is going to progress, and will eventually kill."
Maybe we're just weirdos, but hearing senior citizens reciting the lyrics to A$AP Rocky's "Houston Old Head" makes us appreciate the Harlem rapper's clever lyrics all the more. Director Ross Harris, a Los Angeles-based ex-child actor (who, oddly enough, played the boy who got sexually harassed by a pilot in Airplane!), brought together a group of folks from a senior community center and film them animatedly reciting lyrics including "code red codeine, nose red cocaine / pimpin' bitches since lemon chicken shrimp lo mein." Can Rocky take these folks with him on his next tour?
[via Death and Taxes]
Back in February, we got the first glimpse of Chloë Sevigny's fifth collab with Opening Ceremony, inspired by '60s youth protests, and now we can finally snag one of the collection's gingham babydoll dresses or A-line coats for ourselves. Available in stores and online, the capsule also features knee socks and skirts printed with ankhs, cherries and Eye of Horus designs, baby blue faux fur coats and wide-leg trousers. And for the guys, Sevigny's teamed up again with skatewear line Vision Street Wear on a graphic sweatsuit. Take a peek at more of the goods, below, modeled by a flock of Sevignys.
One of the many things we'll miss most about Breaking Bad is Walter and Jesse's darkly funny (often literal) inability to communicate with each other -- phones go unanswered, messages go unheard and calls are consistently received at inopportune times. Though Breaking Bad fans are savoring these final, insanely good episodes, the series will be over faster than you can snap a flip-phone in half. In tribute, we've rounded up a few of our favorite instances of Walt and Jesse playing phone tag from earlier in the series. Enjoy, bitch.
Each Monday, Eli Yudin and Carey O'Donnell, authors of the very, very funny Twitter account @NotTildaSwinton, will be recapping the Real Housewives of New Jersey for us. Below, their next installment.
Carey: Auntie Tre and her brood pull up in a huge black SUV/hearse for a cousin playdate at the inflatable Gorga chateau. We're led to believe that this is apparently a normal occurrence, now that the Giudice/Gorga beef has temporarily cooled. Inside the kids play as Milania nearly defaces Melissa's "home studio" equipment from her stint as a "recording artist." Melissa shows Teresa the cover for her upcoming book on marriage where she appears alone on her grand staircase at home. Teresa feigns an "Oh, that's great," then adds in a nice 'Teresa-subtle' jab of "I usually include my FAMILY in my book covers," indicating the lack of Brudda Joe with Melissa, which actually makes sense. (OH GOD.) I imagined Teresa having an Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction reaction to Melissa's book, pulling over on the side of the road after leaving the Gorga's, imagining Melissa's book in Barnes and Noble, at airport bookstores, and vomiting. Melissa brings up some tabloid where her alleged cheating made the front cover. Teresa SWEARS she had nothin' to do wid it, and when Melissa asks her, "Am I cheater?" Teresa says "NOPE." NOPE NOPE NOPE. Melissa should feel very confident in that.
Eli: Melissa's book cover is the most bookiest of covers of all time. It seems that, despite her unrelenting cries for MORE WIND, she ended up with a book cover that says, above all else, "my house has many stairs." Though, in all truth, it's probably a very effective cover, because Melissa is the biggest thing on it, which is really what the audience for this book needs. Melissa's image is going to sell more books than her fresh and new ideas on keeping a sexy marriage. I haven't read the book yet, but I'm pretty sure it just pretty much tells you to take pole-dancing lessons and blow him, and the rest of the pages are coupons for breast augmentation. I'm sure for many couples that are experiencing marital problems, this book will be the perfect nail in the coffin. I agree that for once, Teresa makes a good point, in that this book looks less about a happy marriage and more about flipping real estate. Marriage, Italian Style! Just wanted you to read the name of the book, out loud.
Carey: We've already faced Kathy's big, floppy, brown Anthropology 101 fedora in one of the previous episodes, but everything I've written, everything I've ever known, has been leading up to KATHY'S HAT PART 2. Kathy's big fat ruby red Beatrix Potter hat! Kathy's hat! Kathy's hat! I want to see her hat room. She must have one. She wears it while grocery shopping with Creepy Rich. Rich, again, is very vocal about his discomfort in Kathy's budding cannoli bizz. Kathy says at one point, "I wanna change the way people look at cannoli."
Eli: Changing the way people look at cannoli is a lofty goal, Kathy! Why not first try to change the way people look at Twinkies, or gummy worms! I'm just saying, you're not Jose Andres, carving a swatch through the world of molecular gastronomy. You're making sugar bombs. Rich also will not shut up about "getting her a job" at this grocery store bakery, a joke that he seems to be convinced MUST work, and it's just that Kathy and the poor, condemned cashier who has to listen to their bickering haven't heard it enough times. To be honest, I'm just happy that at no point in this scene does Rich pretend to fuck or cunnilingate a cannoli. And for that we can all count our blessings.
Carey: Later at their house, Rich complains that he just wants her at home, or at the "test kitchen": that devastating and terrifying warehouse prison Rich rented out for Kathy to "play baker." Kathy never wants to go back to that fluorescent hell. One night, Kathy woke Rich up; "There are ghosts there, Rich," she whispered to him. I'm afraid of the test kitchen, too, Kath. Any day I don't wake up in Kathy's test kitchen is a good day by me. It reminds me of the kitchen in the very nicely furnished basement of my parish church back home. I'd go down during a mass to use the restroom and wander into the empty kitchen; all you could hear was the drone of the air vents bouncing off the metallic surfaces of ovens and stoves and it made me feel sad, and afraid, and older than everything. Stay away from there, Kath. Make your cannolis anywhere else. Keep you and your floppy hats safe.
Eli: One day there will be a launch party for "Kathy's Cannolis" from which Rich is noticeably absent. Everyone asks, but Kathy just responds sharply, "He's gone on business." The cannolis are tasted and are an immediate hit. She can barely bring out new trays with the rapidity to slake the thirst of the hordes. "They're so amazing, Kath!" says Caroline. "I dare say you've changed the way I think about cannolis! There's all the usual flavors, but one, just, this TANG I can't put my finger on! And it's amazing!" No one can identify this mysterious flavor, but what they do know is that they can't stop eating these things! Until Joe Gorga bites into a particularly girthy cannol' and his teeth crunch on something hard. Puzzled, he feels for the foreign object inside the strawberry mascarpone filling, and withdraws the broken arm of a pair of hideous bright red eyeglasses. His eyes widen. "IT'S RICH!" he screams, "THE UNIDENTIFIABLE TANG... IS RICH!" All the attendees start to vomit uncontrollably, except for Rosie, who just shrugs. Kathy is gone. Suddenly, the air starts to bubble, and Rich appears as a ghostly specter. "Joooosseeeppphhhh Gorrrrggggaaaaa..." he moans. "What is it, Rich?" stutters Joe. Rich's ghost points to Melissa, who's polished off quite a few cannoli over the course of the evening. "I'mmmm insiiiddeee youuurrrr wiiifffeee, Joeeeee... haaa ha haaaaaa..." Rich. Creepy even after death.
Carey: The only part I feel compelled to talk about from the dinner party at Aladdin's Restaurant/hookah bar/belly dancing was seeing Rosie's Malboro Reds out on the dinner table. But it WAAAAS interesting to see the ENTIRE clan in the same room at the same time. I'm not sure that's happened all season. They better test it out before they go to do more holistic trust falls and cry cry cry in the upcoming group vacay to Arizona. Will Doctor V make another appearance? Arizona IS closer to L.A. than Lake George! Hope all is well in LA, V! L.A.!
Eli: Also, it's important to note that Rich makes "jokes" to Melissa about the similarities between Joe Gorga's "Tarzan" (dick) and the hookah spout. Cool.
Carey: This meandering, endless episode begins to reach some climax when Melissa, Joe and their lil' cherubs are playing outside in the snow. Melissa gets a call from Tre-Tre, inviting her sister-in-law and brudda to her upcoming launch party for her "Milania" hair product. HAIR PRODUCT. I looked on Milania Hair Care's Twitter. Even amidst Teresa and Joe's current trial and prison time looming, someone is still running the account; tweeting at fans, etc. I imagine some intern, first excited to be on the "ground floor" of a quasi-celebrity's new company but now frustrated, sending out these kinds of sad tweets: "Goodnight! Remember our FREE GIVEAWAY continues tomorrow." Get it while it's hot, folks. Teresa then tells Melissa it MIGHT be a good idea to confront some of the ladies thought to be fueling the cheating rumors about Melissa, including Melissa's former BFF Jan. "We'll confront them togetha," Teresa says, "just like Dr. V says!" Oh, V! Yay V and L.A.! Melissa is like, wait, why are you inviting them to your party? Teresa reminds her they're all "salon" owners and it's STRICTLY professional. You know, Melissa?! Obviously! This is a hair product and salon owners need hair product! As all this is happening, dusk begins to stretch itself over Northern New Jersey; Kim D opens her eyes, still in the small pond in the back of the Gorga's yard. She rises from it, ice forming in her blood hair. She inhales the freeze and it burns her throat. 'It's time,' she thinks.
Eli: I know I can seem like I'm being incredibly negative towards most of the cast members in these recaps, but why stop now? To me, the idea of Teresa selling hair product is about as appealing as Steve Buscemi-brand toothpaste. "Do you ever look at your hair and think to yourself, 'This looks too natural! I want hair with the texture and color of half-cooled tar, and I want it halfway down my forehead!' Well, now you can! With Milania brand hair cement!"
Carey: The launch starts off semi-OK. Melissa and Joe arrive, and Teresa appears at least somewhat happy to see them. Kim D walks in wearing an entirely gold sequin dress with gold eye shadow on. So much so, that at first glance, I thought it looked like she had painted eyeballs on her eyelids. Which would have made more sense to me. They awwwwwwll get to minglin' and drinkin' "Milania cocktails" to celebrate the kickoff of this counterfeit business endeavor when SUDDENLY Jan saunters over, flushed from alcohol, and congratulates Teresa. Melissa and her get into it almost immediately:
"WHY YOU GOTTA BE SAYIN THAT!" Melissa says.
"CAUSE YOU MET UP WHICH'YR EX, I SAW YOU." Jan says.
"MY SISTER-IN-LAWL WAS WID ME THAT NIGHT, RIGHT TRE?" Melissa says.
I Googled Melissa's ex boyfriend, Bryan. His Twitter is @bulldog_nj. His bio is "It Doesnt Matter How many followers you have, Hitler Had Millions Jesus Had Twelve!" Bryan is definitely a history buff. He's apparently "finally getting my side of the story out or should I say "truth" very soon" -- in other words, Star or In Touch is going to feature him in a side blurb and give him $10,000. Teresa says nothing, though. Kim D watches, wide-eyed, panting in excitement, a few feet behind them. 'Be silent,' she thinks, watching Teresa. Teresa hears this in her head. Jan and Melissa go at it a little more, then Jan says, "And the Oscar goes to you, Melissa. Thank you, baby Jesus," and disappears into the crowd.
Eli: Jan gets herself some screentime, Melissa gets to defend herself, Teresa's not in jail yet, everybody's happy! Also, back to Kim D's golden eyeshadow. It is genuinely discomforting, making her look like some sort of half-roasted marshmallow golem. She seems particularly discomforted in this episode, which I think could be a side-effect of her needing to transfer her essence to a new vessel very soon, if she can no longer subsist herself with blood spilled in woman-to-woman combat.
Carey: Then out of NOWHERE comes "Penny." Penny is also a salon owner and one of the women that was spewing the cheating venom at that dinner Teresa attended earlier in the season where Jan also was. Penny's like, "Yeah, I definitely said something (about your cheating), I'm not gonna lie!" to Melissa. Melissa is like, "Who are you?" Seriously, no one seems to know who this 'Penny' is. Teresa takes this opportunity to break her silence of not assisting her sister-in-law as she was berated by these desperate fame mongers, to make this moment about herself and clear her name and asks Penny to tell Melissa if they're friends or not. Penny says they're "acquaintances" and Teresa says, "SEE? I TOLD YOU!" Ohhhhhhh, Teresa. Aren't you just exhausted? You truly can't help yourself. Penny lets Melissa know that Teresa had *NOTHING* to do with the ruuuumas, and Melissa says this very poetic, James Joyce-ian line "Penny was tellin' me something different with her eyes." WITCH!! Teresa repeats to Melissa and Joe, "Wasn't I tellin' you the truth? I had nothin' to do wid it!" and even though Melissa is far from convinced, she is genuinely an empathetic person and knows how hopeless her sister-in-law is. But for her husband, she sighs, "Yes, we believe you, Teresa." Teresa goes running off through the party, practically skipping.
Eli: Penny is also wearing all gold. Everyone seems to be wearing some combination of gold and black, which lends the evening a very strange energy, like that of watching a civilization on the brink of collapse. You expect a fire to break out, and for everyone to be trapped inside, the firefighters breaking open the doors to find the ballroom littered with charred bodies, sparkling gilt affixed to their bones by the heat. "What happened here?" the firefighters will ask, walking through the ash. "I think I've found our ignition point," calls one of the men, pointing to an incinerated table display. "There was a pyramid of pressurized hair sprays on this table. My guess is that there were some candles lit too close, and when the canisters heated up, they ignited. No one in here even had a chance." The rest of the crew gathered round to inspect the flash point, but one rookie wandered over to the nearest wall. "Uh, guys?" he quietly asked. The chief turned to answer him, but before he could speak, his jaw dropped. The rest of the crew looked up to see what had rendered the chief silent. "What in the hell..." murmured one of them. Up on the nearest wall, the char marks betrayed a clear outline. The image, displayed in stark negative, was the silhouette of some sort of huge bird, contorted, seemingly in pain.
Carey: Kim D, turned back to crow, perches atop a tree branch as she watches Jan stumble outside the launch invite in a fake fur, her heels slightly unstable on the icy patio. She sits down on a bench and lights a cigarette.
"You did well," Kim D thinks.
Jan hears this as she breathes in, the orange ember lighting her face. She looks around her, then above, seeing the crow. "Why did you come to me?" Jan asks the crow, softly, with tears in her eyes. "You came to my dreams and now I can't sleep. I'll never sleep."
"Follow me," Kim D thinks. "Follow me now, into the woods. It'll be nice there, and quiet. You can sleep forever there. Don't you want to sleep?"
"Yes." Jan said, her voice breaking.
The crow cawed and took off from the branch. Jan trailed beneath. She took her heels off and ran through the snow, glowing blue in the moon and leading into the woods that looked like a mouth, ready to swallow up the world and everything in it. Jan began to laugh, and cry, and laugh. She felt sad and afraid and absolutely wonderful. The snow began to pierce her feet and legs like blades, but she didn't care. Ahead of her was everything she ever needed.
Janelle Monáe's sophomore album The Electric Lady -- out September 10th -- is already one of the most hyped of the year and now everyone has even more reason to get excited: Monáe just released the audio for her duet with our Music Issue cover star Miguel. Called "PrimeTime," the track is just as soulful as you'd expect of the two heavyweight crooners: the sweet, layered melody is driven along by light guitar strumming, while Janelle and Miguel sing to one another about love and sensuality. This is a slow jam at its best.
[h/t Lindsey Weber]
Major Lazer has a new video out today for "Scare Me," their track featuring Peaches and Timberlee, and we finally get to see the titular Jamaican major IRL. Played by former NFL player (and Old Spice peddler) Terry Crews, we first meet ML when he's called to duty by...Nick Kroll. The League actor plays the head of a sketchy shadow government that needs Major Lazer's help in fending off a "rotten warlord" named General Rubbish who's somehow affiliated with one of the dudes from Workaholics. The whole clip is fun and pulp-y (and a little silly, especially with the in-your-face e-cig product placement) but if you're looking for something to rouse you out of any Monday afternoon doldrums, this is the thing to do it.
"Scare Me" appears on Free the Universe, out now
Oof. [via Knusprig Titten Hitler]
David Lynch's hair is made from unicorn teeth and pixie dust. [via Afternoon Snooze Button]
Call Bronwen. [via Humor Train]
If you played in a band for any stretch of time over the last two decades, chances are you dreamt of putting out an album on Kill Rock Stars, the Olympia-bred label that brought us such canonical indie acts as Bikini Kill, Elliott Smith, and Sleater-Kinney. That dream is about to come true for Kurt Braunohler, but don't expect any Unwound-style feedback solos on How Do I Land?, Braunohler's debut album and the label's first comedy release. What you do get is a potent distillation of Braunohler's affable weirdness: a style, combining classic joke-telling with surrealist urges, that on one track has him eating a hardboiled egg while reading off his least popular tweets.
We recently caught up with Braunohler in his adoptive home of Los Angeles. Read on to learn more about the Kill Rock Stars deal, the skywriting caper that gave the album its name and cover, and the unbelievably strange sketch, conceived with Braunohler's comedy partner Kristen Schaal, that inspired the "CD + Personalized & Engraved Glass Double Dong" merch package.
How did the deal with Kill Rock Stars go down?
It was totally crazy, actually: it was just through Twitter. They had retweeted one of my jokes, and I jokingly responded that, if my 14 year-old self knew that Kill Rock Stars retweeted one of my jokes, after a lot of confusion as to what Twitter was, he would then be very excited. And then from there I just, on Twitter, said, did you ever think of doing a comedy album? They immediately got in touch with me and were like, "We've been talking about it for a really long time, and we think that you'd be a great first album." Literally, it was within a day. The afternoon is when I tweeted, and by the evening I was going to make a record with them.
Tell me about the "aha" moment that led to you hiring a skywriter to write "HOW DO I LAND?" over Los Angeles.
I'd been doing this greeting card project for a while, where I sign greeting cards with alternate endings and put them back on the shelves for unsuspecting shoppers to find (see: "Making the World a Better Place" on the new album), and I was just thinking like, there's got to be a bigger venue for giving people a little, weird treat. And then I just sat down to write a bunch of stuff, and skywriting was the first thing that came to mind. And right after skywriting, "HOW DO I LAND?" came into my mind, and then I spent the next three hours trying to figure out other funny things that a skywriter could say in under ten characters. Then I let people vote, and overwhelmingly everyone wanted "HOW DO I LAND?" I should have trusted my first thought; I wouldn't have had to sit there and bang my head against the wall for three hours.
Is ten characters the industry standard for skywriting?
Yeah, it's $4,000 for ten characters.
The Twitter of the skies. So when did you move to LA?
I moved in October.
And how are you liking it so far, compared to New York?
I don't think there's any comparing them. New York City will always be my favorite city. But Los Angeles is like a fun paradise place to live in for a while.
Are you there indefinitely?
Oh, I would like to come back to New York. But right now I'm gonna play the LA game for a bit and see how I like it.
What's it like being immersed in show business all the time?
I mean, what's overwhelmingly shocking is how many comedians are there. When I walk into a bar, or a comedy show, I'm looking at 90% people I knew in New York. Everyone I know in LA, I knew from New York. So in that way it's very similar. Of course, there's all the bad things, like the traffic, and there are a ton of shitty people. But I don't ever interact with shitty people, surprisingly, 'cause I only interact with people I know. The one thing that I don't think people realize about it is, there's some insane number like 56,000 square acres of parkland just in the city, and it's overwhelmingly beautiful. Which I like.
I did not know that.
Also I surf, so that really helped me lock into it. If I'm driving up to Malibu to go surfing, I drive through a giant mountain pass canyon, which is all green and lush and not a house in sight, for like half an hour. It's amazing.
Do you live near the ocean?
No, I don't, I live on the East Side. I would live by the ocean but every single person I know is on the East Side.
What was the logic behind recording your album in the Pacific Northwest?
It's Kill Rock Stars, so I felt like I had to shoot it in the Pacific Northwest. I mean, hell, if I could have shot it in Olympia, which is the fabled home of Kill Rock Stars -- they're now in Portland -- I would have shot it in Olympia. But it's such a small town, so I just did the two cities just around it, Seattle and Portland. Also, Portland and Seattle are some of the best comedy fans in the country. They love comedy and they're super smart and enthusiastic.
Were you tempted to go into more high-concept territory for this album, or were you more inclined to keep it classic standup-style?
I think my standup is probably a mix between more of a classic style and something a lot weirder. I do have a lot of stuff that's just straight up jokes. But I also have a whole portion of the album where I just eat a hardboiled egg that's been in my pocket for 45 minutes while reading tweets that I wrote that everyone on the internet hated.
I heard that on the album (see: "Sad Snack"). Are you actually eating that in real life?
I am actually eating that, yeah. So I think it goes back and forth. With this album at least, it does have a lot of getting comedy off the stage and into the real world. And I don't know if I'll do that forever or if it's just for this album, but that's kind of a theme of it.
There are several merch packages for your album, one of them involving a double dong. And in "Dildo Jog" on the album, you explain that you once bought a double dong for a sketch. I'm curious about the sketch that you bought the original double dong for.
It's this fucking super weird sketch that Kristen and I have done, I think twice, and both times it has never worked. Which is: at the beginning of Hot Tub, we're already onstage, but we're wrapped up in butcher paper on the ground, like in a cocoon, and then when the show starts, this beautiful music comes on, and we slowly unfold ourselves from being wrapped up in the cocoon, like we've been molting for however long -- since the last show, is the theory -- and then we come out of it and Kristen has these beautiful butterfly wings on her back, and I spend a lot of time complimenting them. And then I'm like, how do my wings look? And I turn around and it's just two dildos on my back. And she's like, "They're nice. They look really nice." And I'm like, well, describe them! I did such a good job of yours. What do they look like? She's like, "Well they're...they're a little more...they're dildos." And then we become a crime-fighting team: when we see criminals Kristen will fly towards them and distract them, and then I come and I fuck them. So it's pretty weird.
Do you still have that first double dong?
No, because it was made of something that smelled horrible. I had it wrapped up in a plastic bag in my closet and I took the jacket out -- it was permanently attached to the jacket now, 'cause I cut the double dong in half -- and it just smelled like chemicals and horribleness and I was just like, fuck this, it's not worth it, and I threw it away.
And now your fans can have this experience, thanks to the double dong package.
I wanted to make it classy, so it's a glass double dong, and then there's a personal message from me engraved to you.
We premiered your "Three Things" video a couple weeks ago. Have you actually done those three things?
Yeah, I've definitely yelled "Nothin' but net!" I did do the "Y'all ready for this," but it was in a cafe where I knew the people who were working, so it wasn't that bold. But when I thought of it I did it, and then I wrote it down.
What about the Facebook photo-liking thing?
Yeah. And now that I have that joke, people do it to me all the time. And even though I know that it's coming from my joke, I still find it creepy.
How Do I Land? is out today on Kill Rock Stars
Move over Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, there's a new car-based web series in town and it's much gayer. The folks over at World of Wonder have created a new series called RuPaul Drives..., which finds RuPaul picking up notable people about town -- in this case, popular YouTube twink Tyler Oakley -- and taking them for a ride. The drive is part interview and part sparring of the wits: Ru brings his A-game, telling jokes like his passenger is strutting down the runway in the fishiest drag. It's pretty amusing, but it's also nice to hear Ru answer random questions about himself (turns out his go-to karaoke song is "Achy Breaky Heart") and actually kind of weird to hear him swear without being bleeped over. Watch above and dream of RuPaul picking you up someday.
Nicola Formichetti is setting out to revamp Diesel and one of his most visible first moves will be his new ad campaign. Diesel ads have always erred on the side of eccentric -- you could create an entire book of the strange and sometimes hilarious stuff that appears in old issues of PAPER -- but instead of focusing on an odd concept (like the "Be Stupid" campaign), Formichetti instead cast some oddball models -- found via Tumblr and word of mouth -- and made simple portraits overlaid with their social media info. The first few images of the new campaign came out today and indeed, the great Tumblr search seems to have yielded some freaky, wonderful personalities. Most of them are NYC-based creative people like Michelle Calderon, a 22-year-old pink-haired graffiti artist pictured above and hyper-androgynous model Casey Legler (pictured below). For the month of September the campaign will only be published in Vogue, so pick up your September issue and start scouring.
Body/Head -- the experimental noise duo made up of Kim Gordon and Bill Nace -- just shared the first official song from their upcoming record Coming Apart, out September 10th. Called "Actress," the supremely climactic song puts Kim Gordon's unmistakable half-speaking, half-singing vocal style up against a fuzzy guitar riff. Coming Apart will be Body/Head's first widely distributed release and we can't wait to hear the rest of it. Listen above.
[via Rookie Mag]
Congratulations VFiles: the crew in charge of making "WHAT THE F*ASHION" are bona fide comedic geniuses. The web series -- which follows New York stylist Casey Jane Ellison as she moves to L.A. and tries to create a new style -- gets funnier and funnier with every passing week. The latest episode is all about dressing for guys, and to figure that out, CJE consults an Internet forum called "What Men Like to See Women Wear." The results are all spectacular, but our favorite has to either be the outfit concept for "casual old Hollywood glam girls" or the "Contempo Ren Fair" ensemble, which is "perfect for looking like you don't know you're sexy." Watch above.
(Photo on the right by Julian Mackler/BFANYC)
Relationship Status: Married Jessica Biel last October.
Post *NSYNC Career Highlights: He's released three multi-platinum solo albums -- Justified (2003), FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006), The 20/20 Experience (2013) -- and has a fourth on the way; he's had well-received acting roles in The Social Network, Friends With Benefits and, obviously, "D*ck In a Box"; and created a clothing line, William Rast, in 2005 that's had a surprisingly long (if recently under the radar) tenure. JT's also invested in restaurants (because of course he has) starting with L.A.'s now-closed "1930s Shanghai-meets-Blade Runner" dim sum palace, Chi (R.I.P.), and, more recently, Southern Hospitality, an NYC BBQ joint that's probably giving Guy's American Kitchen and Bar around the corner some (not so) healthy competition.
Memorable controversy: Janet Jackson's Super Bowl nip slip
Style Evolution: From ramen noodle hair to "Suit & Tie."
(Photo on the right by Joe Schildhorn/BFANYC)
Relationship Status: Since coming out in 2006, Bass has publicly dated some pretty foyne-looking guys including reality star Reichen Lehmkuhl and, currently, this dude.
Post-*NSYNC Career Highlights: Who can forget On the Line? (Don't answer that.) Aside from appearing in that 2001 flick, making a cameo in Zoolander and competing on Dancing With the Stars in 2008, Bass has a string of forgettable IMDB credits that include a role in I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and voicing a character on Disney Channel show Handy Manny. In 2007 he had a six-month run on Broadway as Corny Collins in Hairspray. Also that year, he wrote a memoir, Out of Sync, which, believe it or not, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List.
Memorable controversy: Remember Lance Bass in space? And remember when it didn't happen?
Style Evolution: From frosted tips to partial highlights. (Also scope him out in Adam Lambert-style goth makeup.)
Relationship Status: He appears to be dating a glamour model of sorts named Kathryn Smith.
Post-*NSYNC Career Highlights: Chasez released his first -- and only -- solo album, Schizophrenic, in 2004, which had middling sales but awesomely emo cover art and a music video starring Tara Reid. He also was one of the judges for all seven seasons of America's Best Dance Crew, wrote songs for Backstreet Boys, The Cheetah Girls and Basement Jaxx and, most recently, launched Girl Radical, a "Supermassive American Girl Group" featuring eleven members that's in the vein of Japanese pop group AKB48 (which has 48-60 members at any given time). The group just came out with a music video for a cover of No Doubt's "Just a Girl." Perhaps he'll become the next Lou Pearlman?
Memorable controversy: Chasez has mostly avoided controversy although back in 2004, a scheduled halftime performance at the NFL Pro Bowl was cancelled following his fellow *NSYNCer's Super Bowl halftime debacle with Janet Jackson.
Style Evolution: From UCSD frat boy to Fabio Lite to that hot guy who works at the Apple store Genius Bar.
Relationship Status: Married with two children.
Post-*NSYNC Career Highlights: After letting us get our hopes up that he'd be making an ultimately ill-fated comedy album, Fatone (pronounced "Fat-one") moved on to the Great White Way where he starred as Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and Mark Cohen in Rent. Other acting credits include appearing in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and something called Homie Spumoni. Last year he followed in Lance Bass' footsteps and competed on Dancing With the Stars (where he did the tango to a jazzy remix of the Star Wars theme) and he's currently hosting a cooking show on the Live Well Network called My Family Recipe Rocks.
Memorable Controversy: He was excluded from JT's wedding.
Style Evolution: From red-haired juicehead gorilla to that exurban dad you know with unfortunate tattoos.
Relationship Status: Engaged to a marketing rep named Karly Skladany
Post-*NSYNC Career Highlights: He had a wonderfully terrible fashion line called FuMan Skeeto that went bust in 2002 and was last heard making music with a band called Nigels11 (though, sadly, the last post on their website dates back to 2010). He also appeared on Vh1's Mission Man Band, which attempted to form a "super group" with Kirkpatrick, Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees, Rich Cronin from LFO and Bryan Abrams from Color Me Badd. The whole thing just made us feel sad.
Memorable Controversy: Eminem rapped about kicking his ass.
Style Evolution: From a pineapple head rave DJ to that sad dude who still goes to Warped tour.
Cher's back on the charts with her new video and single for "Woman's World," which will be available for download October 13th. The track is exactly what you would expect from the diva: dancey, thumping, and destined to be played at gay parties all over the nation. So let's concentrate on the most important part of the video: Cher's wig game. First of all, Cher has clearly gotten very, very acquainted with paper shredders because her main wig is a giant number made of nuthin'-but-newspaper. Maybe that's commentary on being tabloid fodder, but we're not going into it because there are two more important wigs to talk about! One is a blown-out-to-death, natural (on a Cher scale) ginger weave and the other is a stick-straight dalmatian number with razor-precise bangs. So we can all breath a sigh of relief: despite some well-publicized bumps, Cher's wig game is still right on track. There's also a crew of ladies of all shapes and sizes looking happy to bust a move -- which, duh, they're in a Cher video. Watch above.
1) Here's an insane clip of Richard Simmons crashing a wedding with a glitter gun on General Hospital. He plays a villain named Richard.
2) Richard Simmons has been playing a villain on General Hospital and nobody told us?
3) You really only need to watch to the 3-minute mark. Highlights include Simmons shouting our new favorite catchphrases: "Tramp Champ" and "Sour Pooses." [Jezebel]
A high school math class in upstate New York has discovered that Double Stuf Oreos do not actually contain double the stuf. More like 1.86 times the stuf. Oh here go hell come. [Gawker]
As rap crew history shows, "next up" is rarely an enviable position. For A$AP Ferg, a member of Harlem's A$AP Mob, escaping the shadow of the group's ringleader A$AP Rocky -- who in a few short years has gone from underground rap curiosity to celebrity fashion plate -- seemed impossible. But after gaining a cult following thanks to a show-stopping verse on Rocky's "Kissin' Pink," Ferg now stands out as one of the crew's most gifted and enigmatic MCs. "I'm a natural leader," he says, as confident in conversation as he is in his music. "I could never just fall in the background."
For as much raw talent as Ferg has, his debut LP Trap Lord is going to be something of a trial by fire to new ears. The dark, hard-edged work that harkens back to the gangsta-rap of the early '90s, is the antithesis of A$AP Rocky's hypnotic luxuriousness. "I know with this new style that it's probably not going to win a lot of people over at first," Ferg admits. "But when they hear the album, they're gonna get it, like, 'Oh shit, this nigga crazy!' They gon' love it."
Enlisting personal heroes like Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (a group many have cited as an influence on Ferg's flow) and Cypress Hill's B-Real, Ferg refused to weigh his album down with of-the-moment rappers. "These are legendary voices, bro, I didn't even have to put their names on it," he says, elaborating on his vision of marrying current styles with classic forms. In his first single, the shadowy but infectious "Shabba," Ferg imagines himself as the dancehall legend Shabba Ranks, complete with gold tooth and chains. Ranks' music was a fixture in Ferg's household growing up, and explains his tendency to slip in and out of a Jamaican patois. "My whole thing is creating future music, and bringing the renaissance into the future."
Trap Lord is out now via RCA