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Lana Del Rey Teams Up with Producer Emile Haynie on "Wait For Life"

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 3.09.39 PM.pngvia David Crotty/PatrickMcMullan.com

It's Monday and it's scientifically the saddest day on earth, apparently, so it's only fitting that Lana Del Rey decided to drop a moody, new track. The singer teamed up with producer Emile Haynie, lending vocals to a cut on his forthcoming album, We Fall. Previously, Haynie worked with Del Rey on Born to Die and the result of their latest collaboration is "Wait For Life," a perfect track for Lana Del Rey to do what she does best: bring her flare for the dramatic into a quiet, sad moment.

Haynie's new album, out February 24 on Interscope, will also feature Dev Hynes, Lykkie Li, Father John Misty, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and more. Until then, listen to "Wait For Life," below.

ICYMI: Listen to Frank Ocean's Haunting Tribute to Aaliyah

ocean-frank-507ed3e6ed64b.jpgThere are both good and a not-so-good ways to honor Aaliyah's R&B legacy and lasting contribution to music. Lifetime's biopic? Bad. Drake's tattoos? Possibly worse. But Frank Ocean's cover of The Isley Brother's "At Your Best (You Are Love)," a song that Aaliyah made undeniably her own on her 1994 album Age Ain't Nothing But a Number, is definitely among the good ones.

Ocean posted the emotional cover to his Tumblr three days ago, on what would have been Aaliyah's 36th birthday. Listen to it, below.

Report: Karl Lagerfeld Hates Selfies and Ugly People

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 5.45.05 PM.pngLast Friday, New York Times Magazine ran a profile on Brad Kroenig, model and current muse to Karl Lagerfeld. But it was honestly hard to care about Brad when we were blinded by all the glorious Karl Largerfeld quotes that the article offered up. Through the eyes of our trusty model guide, we were treated to a rare glimpse inside the mind of the fashion designer.

We learn, for example, that Lagerfeld's opinions on ugly people are succinct: "I hate ugly people," Kroenig remembers the Chanel designer saying to him. "Very depressing."

We also learn that he feels the same way about ugly people as he does about selfies: "'I hate selfies,' Lagerfeld said. 'Don't use your film for ugly purpose.'"

Small planes, it's revealed, are yet another thing that's frowned upon.

So what does Karl Lagerfeld actually like? Choupette of course, Brad Kroenig, presumably, Brad's adorable 6-year-old son Hudson -- also Karl Lagerfeld's grandson -- who travels with them everywhere, and sending faxes, his only way of communicating with friends, as some might remember, until recently.

[h/t Gawker

Jessica Pratt is Really Good at Twitter (and Music); Stream Her New Album Here

On Your Own Love Again, Jessica Pratt's haunting, stripped-bare second album, is now streaming on NPR. To paraphrase her entry in our "Hottest Acts to Look Out For in 2015" post, "the fragility of her vocal delivery and her simple but timeless melodies" are in full force here. And while it's tempting to play the album by candlelight, sipping spanish wine or whatever it is that Leonard Cohen drinks, I recommend the surreal experience of pairing On Your Own Love Again with Pratt's Twitter feed, which can rise to near-Dril levels of weird-Twitter brilliance.

On Your Own Love Again is out January 27 on Drag City. Stream the album on NPR, here.

Broad City's Abbi & Ilana Looked Like Two '60s Lounge Singers On Kimmel Last Night


Broad City's Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer made their debut appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night and, as you might expect, looked nuts and were completely charming. In the clip above, the two explain to Jimmy how they chose their matching lounge lizard outfits [update: we were helpfully reminded that these costumes are actually a nod to Dumb & Dumber] after having initially splurged on the "best dresses ever." Give it a watch, above.

Listen to St. Vincent's Electric New Song, "Bad Believer"

stv-badbeliever.jpgOur reining goddess of rock, St. Vincent is getting ready to release the deluxe edition of her 2014 self-titled album. "Bad Believer" is the first cut from the re-issue to be unveiled, and it's such a fun track. You'll be singing it all day. Give it a listen, below.

The deluxe edition of
St. Vincent is out February 9th.

Artist Clayton Cubitt's "Hysterical Literature" Series to Make Its First Museum Appearance


Alongside various other book-centric works at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Clayton Cubitt's "Hysterical Literature" series will be on view as part of a new exhibition called Bibliotecaphilia.

Cubitt's "Hysterical Literature" series first appeared online in 2012 and the on-going project quickly gained attention. The videos in the series depicted fully clothed women sitting at a table reading a literary work of their choice aloud, with one small twist: they were having orgasms courtesy of an unseen vibrator under the table. The film portraits are in black-and-white and the reading material is serious, but the videos themselves are often funny at times -- they show the subjects laughing and trying to keep it together enough to, um, finish -- and they feature various women from porn actress Stoya to comedian Margaret Cho.

In interviews, Culbitt has said that he wanted to capture the candid essence of his subject's personality with this project in reaction to "the era of the ubiquitous selfie." "It occurred to me that someone's choice of literature is one of the most personal reflections of him or her as a person," the artist told Slate. "Using the format of a book reading as the excuse for the exercise allowed me to illustrate a battle between mind and body, between 'high art' and 'primal urge.'"

Here's Stoya's take on the experience, who read from Supervert's Necrophilia Variations for the project:

As I start reading, my disbelief is suspended. I forget what is about to happen. The first touch on my thigh sends all available blood to my vulva. I continue to enunciate properly, focusing on the text. I've broken a sweat. If this goes on for much longer my hair will be plastered to my head with perspiration as though I've been working out or engaging in acrobatic man/woman penetrative fucking. I stumble over a word, my concentration breaks as I go back to pronounce it correctly. Neither the Hitachi or the woman wielding it will be denied, but in the interests of art (and because this feels so beautifully filthy I don't want it to stop yet) I hold out as long as I can. This section of the world that I'm inhabiting slows down, zooms in. Like a stretched rubber band it suddenly contracts, and I am lovingly punched with an orgasm.

Watch Stoya's work of art, above, and then head to Mass MoCA on the 24th to see the entire Bibliotecaphilia exhibit.

Kim Kardashian Reveals the Cover Art for Selfish

Genius photographer of our generation Kim Kardashian is almost ready to reveal her life's work, Selfish, a collection of selfies taken over a decade of Kardashian-Jenner vacations, as witnessed below:

Although Kim Kardashian is on a merciless quest to take 1,200 selfies on her trip to Thailand in the above clip from Keeping Up With the Kardashians, her book clocks in at a mere 352 pages. With all the possible angles, degrees of cleavage and side-boob, various lighting choices, outfits, and possibly even belifes, we're sure that Kim had to make some serious sacrifices when it came to editing the book down. But in the end, only one selfie can rise up to rule them all on the book's cover:

Kim posted the cover of Selfish to Instagram earlier today, with the caption, "So proud to share the cover of my book Selfish, out in May! Thank you Rizzoli for making this happen & being the best partner. A big thank you to the Donda team & Kanye for inspiring this idea & helping to design this book so I can share a decade of selfies in such an intimate & artistic way! Can't wait for you to all see this book!"

Kanye, reportedly, is proud too.   

5 Indie Graphic Novels That Even Comic Book Haters Will Like

We're only half a month into 2015 and it's already looking like a good year for indie comics. Our five favorites are a diverse lot to choose from, including a collection of diary strips, a tragicomic travelog, an anthropomorphic allegoric adventure story, a schizophrenic comics education syllabus and a gripping Faustian tale from a master of the medium. Take a look, below.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 2.58.24 PM.pngSyllabus: Notes From an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry
Drawn & Quarterly

OK so we cheated a bit and carried Syllabus over from the tail end of last year, but surely its author, Lynda Barry, shouldn't be held to such trifling constraints as the space-time continuum.
Even though this loose teaching guide comes a full 20 years after Scott McCloud's landmark book Understanding Comics, the notion of teaching sequential art in the world of higher education still feels a bit novel. While educators looking for administrative handholding will find nothing of the sort in these aesthetically jam-packed pages, the good news is that Lynda Barry fans will find a direct line into the cartoonist's brain, as she deconstructs her own methods into clever lesson plans with simplistically brilliant titles like "On Liking and Not Liking Our Drawings." There's a real sketchbook aesthetic to these scanned pages and a sense that Barry is working ideas out before our very eyes. More often than not, the result is equally delightful and insightful as in, "Compare my comic strip about being exhausted with the strip about a barbarian sticking his butt out. Which makes you feel more alive?"

The viking butt, obviously.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 2.59.05 PM.pngThe Sculptor by Scott McCloud
First Second

Speaking of Scott McCloud, the artist plays with Faustian archetypes in The Sculptor, a 500-page tome about David Smith, a sculptor who finds himself at his artistic bottom and washed up in his mid-20s. An encounter with Death midway through a boilermaker binge leaves Smith with the ability to manipulate any surface with his hands as if it were clay in exchange for his own life. McCloud's a master when it comes to the plotting, pacing and building toward a truly wonderful climax -- and an ultimately heartbreaking finale.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 2.59.36 PM.pngDisplacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley

In preparation for the Caribbean cruise she is about to embark on with her nonagenarian grandparents, cartoonist Lucy Knisley reads David Foster Wallace's "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again." The late writer's decades-old essay is still the gold standard treatise when it comes to talking about the floating absurdity of cruise ships -- and for good reason. Knisley excerpts a particularly dark passage from the work, accompanied by her own thought bubble that reads, simply, "uh-oh." In the end, Knisley's own take on the experience is decidedly less cynical, which probably says more about her own personal outlook than anything else. After all, she's agreed to go along for the ride to act as a sort of chaperone for her aging grandmother and grandfather, both suffering from advanced senility. Knisley's able to achieve an impressive balance between humor and poignancy, juxatposing observations on the bizarre line-up of nighttime entertainment and the strangeness of her fellow passengers with thoughtful observations on aging and excerpts from her grandfather's World War II journals.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 3.00.57 PM.pngDiary Comics #4 by Dustin Harbin

"It's weird how you cobble together a life out of many disparate little bits," Dustin Harbin writes about life as a freelancer, though the sentiment just as easily applies to the experience of a diary comics writer. As with any work of autobiography, the real trick is in deciding what to leave in and take out, distilling the events of a day or week down into one to four panels. This type of discipline is what's motivated many cartoonists to make diary strips a daily part of their workflow and Harbin's no different. It's easy to see the link between his early, ink-scratched catalogs of events and his decision to keep on a regular working schedule. But the artist breaks from this comic-a-day routine fairly early on and a disjointed narrative (the reader has to use his/her imagination to fill in the story's gaps) is counterbalanced with more fully fleshed-out art.

Another plus is that when Harbin gives himself more time, he's able to transform his anecdotes with symbolism and reflection, as with a dinner the artist has with cartooning legends Chester Brown and Seth. In the scene, Harbin finds himself floating above the table in a euphoric daydream, only to have the latter chide him for use of metaphor. We'll have to disagree with Seth on this one -- in the case of Diary Comics, a little metaphor goes a long way.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 3.01.28 PM.pngHenni by Miss Lasko-Gross

Arriving in the midst of horrific stories about religion being used to justify violence, Miss Lasko-Gross's third book about a young girl rebelling against her religious upbringing seems particularly well-timed. But Henni has nothing to do with our own era -- or our universe altogether. Instead, the comic is set in a primitive land populated by anthropomorphic cat-like creatures and the artist's flat, child-like art is a perfect companion to these stories about tightly-knit communities blindly following ancient teachings. Where Henni really shines, however, is on the titular protagonist's quest, as she begins travelling from village to village, taking in the slight variations on common beliefs held by each group -- and the brutal punishments that come with being a non-believer.

Charli XCX and Rita Ora Take a Delightfully Campy Roadtrip in "Doing It" Music Video


Charli XCX once told us that she's "inspired more by movie characters than musicians," and that definitely comes through in the video treatment for "Doing It." Like Britney Spears before them, Charli XCX and Rita Ora embark on a wildly nonsensical road trip in the name of girl power and friendship. Although Charli XCX doesn't confirm this OBVIOUS Crossroads reference, she explains,

"The video was very inspired by Thelma & Louise, Natural Born Killers and Barbie. Rita and I went out to the Californian desert and shot in some incredible places with some incredible people. I was very inspired by Florida strip clubs, 70s fashion (I'm wearing flares!!!!!) and David Lachapelle. It was so fun working with Rita on this. We had a wild time."

Watch Charli XCX wear flares, above.

A Brief History of New Kids On the Block's Incomparable Steez


PAPER wasn't the only venerable institution to celebrate its 30th anniversary last year. New Kids On the Block, that other bastion of cutting-edge cool and peerless cultural acumen, also got started in 1984. And because we all learned this morning that NKOTB will spend much of this summer touring the world, supported by Nelly and TLC, and partying like it's 1990 -- when, according to Forbes, they were more successful than Michael Jackson, Madonna and every other pop star -- here's a brief timeline of the boys from Boston through the years, beginning with their first incarnation, as Nynuk. If the tour doesn't work out, they can always move to Ridgewood and start over under that name; they'd be selling out Silent Barn in no time.

c. 1984: Awkward pre-teen boy poses, Menudo-worthy wardrobes and Donnie Wahlberg looking like a clean-cut nerd = Nynuk in all its short-lived glory.

1986: Besides the fact that Joey McIntyre looks like a 7-year-old long-lost Culkin sibling, their debut album cover gets extra bonus points for the fact that 80% of the band has mullets.


c. 1988: This is the Hangin' Tough era so obviously that means Joey will look like he's about to give someone a knuckle sandwich, Donnie's wearing a backwards scally cap and... Jonathan Knight's wearing a gold and black vest? Yep, nothing screams "don't fuck with me" like a vest that looks like it's straight out of a Vegas MC's wardrobe and some nice shiny leather loafers.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 4.12.54 PM.pngc. 1989: Jordan Knight is the human equivalent of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

c. 1990: Are they wearing guyliner?

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 4.26.00 PM.pngc. Early '90s: #Would (even with Danny's dog tags).

c. 1994: This promo shot around the time of Face the Music screams 'blue steel' and gives us douche chills.  

2008: Is this a man band about to sing "Summertime" or a group of dudes "in real estate" about to drop $2k at a shitty club in East Hampton? You be the judge.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 4.18.09 PM.png2013: Hey, did you know NKOTB is from Boston? They're from Boston. BOSTON!

2015: #WheresDonnie

Watch a Puppy and a Blindfolded Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Sing the Astonishing "Blindlessness"


"I can't see what I am doing / It's like a dog is standing on my face." So begins the eerie and flat-out gorgeous "Blindlessness." Clearly Will Oldham, aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, has been spying on PAPER, which is actually run by a handful of very agile puppies. The dog in this video mostly stands beside a blindfolded Oldham, adding its own vocals throughout the song. And because Oldham can tenderly cover AC/DC's "Big Balls" and release a an aching ballad called "You Have Cum In Your Hair and Your Dick is Hanging Out," no amount of yapping can diminish the song's beauty.

Watch the video, directed by Kyle Armstrong, above. "Blindlessness" and its a-side, "Mindlessness," are out now on Drag City.

Lil Wayne's Sorry 4 The Wait 2 Is Here

B71tne8IAAEUp3t.pngIt's no Tha Carter V, but Lil Wayne's mixtape, Sorry 4 The Wait 2, has finally dropped.

Sorry 4 The Wait 2 includes tracks with Drake, 2 Chainz, mack Maine, and a Beyoncé remix featuring Christina Milian. Lil Wayne also reworks the Rae Sremmurd hit "No Type," Dej Loaf's "Try Me" and everyone's favorite song to turn up to, "CoCo" by O.T Genesis.

Although the feud between the rapper and his label, Cash Money, seems to have cooled down there's still no word on when Tha Carter V will be released. So, for now, enjoy Lil Wayne's apology for the wait. Download it here.

Sorry 4 The Wait 2 tracklist: 

1. CoCo
2. Sh!t
3. Trap House
4. Selsun Blue
5. Used To ft. Drake
6. No Type
7. Fingers Hurting
8. Hot Nigga
9. HollyWeezy
10. Drunk in Love ft. Christina Milian
11. You Guessed It
12. Try Me ft. Mack Maine
13. Preach ft. 2 Chainz
14. Alphabet
15. No Haters
16. Admit It ft. Shanell
17. Dreams & Nightmares

Watch Kanye West, World's Cutest Kid, Recite a Poem Dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.


Before he took the Def Jam Poetry stage, Kanye West was a very cute middle schooler with a dream and a tiny tie.

Yesterday, Kim Kardashian took to Twitter to post a video of husband Kanye West reading a poem dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. in 1990 as a belated MLK Day tribute. The clip shows a young Kanye, with the confidence and charm of current day Kanye, reciting an original poem:

"A man who fought for freedom / A man who fought for equality. Those who were against him / Were too blind to see / What this man was fighting for / So Blacks, Hispanics, Jews and Asians could put their foot in the door / Yes, we know that this man is great / That's why today we celebrate / Everyone lifts their voice and sing / For a man who wanted freedom to ring / Martin Luther King is who I'm speaking of / A man whose name means love."
Watch the world's most adorable video, above. 

Is Kendall Jenner's First Estée Lauder Ad a "Selfie"? (Probably.)

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 1.34.57 PM.png
Kendall Jenner's modeling career got a big boost in November when it was announced that she'd star in a campaign for Estée Lauder and now, two months later, the results are in. As the new face of the cosmetic brand's 'Little Black Primer,' a tinted lash product that you can wear as a substitute for mascara, a primer to enhance volume and length, or a waterproof topcoat, Jenner appears clad in black and (we think) shooting a selfie. While the brand hasn't posted anything confirming that the first campaign image takes a page from Kendall's big sister's playbook, the photo appeared earlier on Fashionista, credited to Estée Lauder, and considering the fact that the company booked Kendall with hopes of tapping into her massive -- and young -- social media audience, a selfie shot seems particularly appropriate. We got a peek at another image from the shoot, below, and an accompanying video which shows Kendall clomping around and giving the "finger-in-the-air-rock-god-pose." Give it a watch, below.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 1.40.52 PM.png

Starting Saturday, You Can Watch The Interview on Netflix

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 2.03.31 PM.pngBad news for people who just want to stop hearing about The Interview: the notably meh film is coming to Netflix.

Since being pulled from theaters, the controversy-prone movie has grossed $40 million in Video On Demand and streaming sales but if you, rather wisely, have yet to pay for the film, starting Saturday you can watch it for (basically) free on Netflix.

While we're speaking of dictatorships and Saturday plans that don't involve leaving your apartment, you can also watch the 47-minute long footage from that time we made James Franco do whatever we wanted. Call it a prequel to The Interview. Get ready for the best weekend ever!

[via Deadline]

Artisté Shia LaBeouf Talks About Working With Sia on "Electric Heart"


Although there's been some controversy surrounding Shia LaBeouf's role in Sia's "Elastic Heart" music video, it's hard to ignore the emotion and physicality he put into his heartfelt performance. We've been hard on Shia LaBeouf in the past for, frankly, doing dumb shit, but his turn as a nearly nude, caged man really moved us. Seriously!

That's why we were so disappointed when Shia LaBeouf decided to put clothes on and talk about working with Sia on "Elastic Heart" in a behind-the-scenes video. In the clip, starting at around the 3-minute mark, the actor/artisté begins discussing how the collaboration with Sia came about: The two met at a coffee shop (the birth place of all great artistic creations!) and Shia LaBeouf began to tell Sia about his "auxiliary art stuff," which the singer -- unlike anyone else on earth, we presume -- LOVED. The rest, as they say, is history. But let's allow Shia LaBeouf to recant that history in his own words:

"Sia proabably picked me because she identifies with some aspects of my personality. We both push boundaries a bit. I think we're in this middle ground between pop and something else. I also believe in like the power of art, so her work is very cathartic... and all of my work, especially for the last five years, has just been my soul bared on film... I feel like being here to make art is some sort of redemptive thing for myself and for me. It's completely selfish. I'm here for completely selfish reasons."

Sia and Shia: similar names, similar hearts. Now get back in that cage and DANCE, Shia!

Watch the behind-the-scenes footage from "Electric Heart," above.

Karen O's New Video Will Break Your Seasonally Affected Heart


Karen O's new video for single "Day Go By," off last year's ridiculously gorgeous Crush Songs, is a double whammy of emotion. First, there's the song. O tells Vogue she wrote it, "when I was living in Los Angeles and my boyfriend was stuck freezing in New York -- I really needed my fix of being with him but was miles away." It should make you feel a small, knotty feeling in the center of your chest and/or stomach. Don't worry, that's just your heart exploding into a million little pieces -- a typical, totally normal response to hearing O's keen paired with dreamy acoustic guitar. Second, and this is what will really destroy you if you are currently on the East Coast or in the Midwest, there's the beautifully shot sun-drenched clip itself, directed by Vanessa Hollander and Wilson Philippe. The lovely, simple footage features a couple hanging out in a magical far-off place where the sun doesn't set at 3:30 pm and there are other colors besides grey, swimming, riding a motorcycle and sitting by the ocean. Are you and your seasonally affected self slowly sliding down a wall sobbing right now, realizing you won't be able to wear high-waisted yellow shorts for at least another four months? Same. Wallow with us and Ms. O in our wintertime sadness above.

10 Reasons Why You Need to Jump On the Empire Bandwagon Immediately

Empire_171a2_FNL_hires1.jpg(Photo credit: Michael Lavine/FOX)

FOX's new monster hit, Empire -- brainchild of Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, the team behind The Butler -- has already been rewarded with outsized ratings and critical acclaim for its gleeful, hip-hop-inflected, semi-absurdist take on the soap opera. The show follows music mogul and former drug dealer Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) as he prepares to take his label, Empire Records, public. In the process, he incites a succession rivalry among his three sons -- straight-laced Andre (Trai Byers), crooner Jamal (Jussie Smollett), and Tyga-esque bad boy rapper Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) -- and is forced to contend with the return of his ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), who gets released from prison and returns with a big axe to grind. If you're not already sold on the synopsis, here are 10 more reasons you need to be watching this show.

1. There hasn't been a soap opera this good since the '80s

With its near-neon color palette, characters' shocking -- yet believable -- antics, and underlying references to King Lear, Dynasty and The Lion in Winter, Empire feels like a new, exhilarating peak for a recent soap opera trend that includes the likes of Nashville and all those Tyler Perry shows on OWN. It's a welcome vacation from the heavy seriousness of TV's dense, literary, anti-hero ridden "Golden Age."

2. Taraji P. Henson is an absolute badass

Taraji P. Henson's acting abilities shouldn't surprise anyone who's gone to the movies over the last decade but if there were still any doubts, Empire should put them to rest. As soon as her character Cookie is released from prison, she crashes like a natural disaster through the lives of her sons and ex-husband as she tries to claim her share of a record label started with $400,000 -- her  $400,000 -- in drug money. Always high-heeled and clad in animal print, she's like a Machiavellian princess who buys her diamonds from Jacob the Jeweler.

3. It tests the limits of savvy political incorrectness

From Chris Rock on down, one consistent complaint throughout 2014 was a newly invigorated (and, via Twitter, fiercely enforced) political correctness. Empire says goodbye to all that, especially through Lucious and Cookie, who sometimes sound like a two-headed Archie Bunker. Their treatment of Jamal's sexuality is particularly striking: slurs like "sissy," "queen," and even the f-word fly, all while the show's unspoken moral sense stands firmly behind their middle son. If 21st century audiences ever learn to differentiate the worldviews of fictional characters from those of their creators, it may well be Empire that teaches them.

4. Terrence Howard has an impeccably protected neck

We're only two episodes in, and Lucious Lyon (played to trembly-voiced, high-pitched perfection by Terrence Howard) has already modeled more colorful ascots and turtleneck-scarf combos than we can count. This sartorial quirk is just one of a million in a show whose costume designer, Rita McGhee, boasts credits from classics like Mo' Betta Blues, Martin, and In Living Color.

5. The show has a quiet respect for Black art

Fans of contemporary art will enjoy spotting the Lyon family's seemingly endless -- if so far unmentioned -- store of beauties from the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kehinde Wiley. What they lack in decorum, decency, loyalty, etc., they more than make up for in curatorial sense.

6. Its supporting cast includes Academy Award nominees

From a surprisingly salt-and-peppered Malik Yoba, of New York Undercover fame, to Gabourey Sidibe, whose last Lee Daniels' project -- Precious -- netted her an Academy Award nomination, Empire's overqualified supporting cast promises endless B- and C-plotlines to keep all of the recappers -- and Twitter users -- occupied for weeks to come.

7. There's original music from Timbaland

Speaking of underrepresented genres, Empire occasionally departs from its soapiness and turns into a surprisingly competent musical, helmed by mega-producer Timbaland, who performs double-duty as songwriter and producer. The music -- comprised mostly of selections sung by Jamal and Hakeem -- bears the guru's fingerprints all over: several tracks from the early episodes sound like Justin Timberlake B-sides.

8. There was that bib

While there's been no shortage of gags peppered throughout Empire's first two episodes, there was perhaps none quite so ridiculous as the "blowjob bib." We got our first glimpse of the accessory last week in a scene between Andre and his wife Rhonda (Kaitlin Doubleday) that ends with the latter fastening a cloth around her neck and chest in advance of performing fellatio. It's also a pretty good indication that the writing staff doesn't take its plotlines too seriously and has an ease with blue humor.

9. President Obama's 'invisible cameos' have been awesome

POTUS has figured into each of Empire's two episodes, first mentioned brusquely by Lucious, then as the subject of a drunken, YouTubed rant from Hakeem, who calls the 44th President a "sellout," among other choice words. In an effort to apologize for his son's egregious behavior, Lucious then calls Obama (apparently the two are buds) who, it's implied, curses out the mogul on the other end of the phone. Good recurring guest, if you can get him.

10. It's becoming a platform for meta-cultural criticism

By having the show revolve around a huge hip-hop label, Empire's writers seem to have wide latitude to address other relevant socio-cultural-economic issues of the day. Lucious has already taken a page from Taylor Swift's playbook and raged against our unstoppable streaming/downloading culture, and the label's already-rocky IPO feels like a reflection of hip-hop's growing (and sometimes still uncomfortable) role in the global economy. Here's hoping there's more sly commentary like this to come.

Broad City's Abbi and Ilana Interviewed Sleater-Kinney and of Course It Was Perfect


The facts are already established: Broad City is amazing. Sleater-Kinney is awesome. So, if you put the two together in an attempt to scientifically engineer a flawless 80-minute panel discussion, it's going work. Those are just the facts, people.

Watch Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City chat with the members of Sleater-Kinney about their new album, No Cities to Love, being a band while simultaneously being women (which is possible!), and so much more, above.