Drake Drops 2 New Songs, “God’s Plan” and “Diplomatic Immunity”

It appears to now be Drake season. The Toronto rapper has returned on this now gorgeous Friday evening to bless the music-hungry masses with not one, not three, not twelve, but two new songs. 

You can listen to the two new tracks, which are titled “Diplomatic Immunity” and “God's Plan,” over on Apple Music and iTunes or below on Spotify. The songs are part of a two-track EP titled Scary Hours.

“God's Plan” was produced by Cardo​, Boi-1da and YeX while “Diplomatic Immunity” was produced by Boi-1da and Nick Brongers. 

Drake hopped on social media to let the world know he was releasing new music about an hour before the songs became avaiable on streaming platforms.

 

GODS PLAN AND DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY LIVE ON ALL PLATFORMS WORLDWIDE MIDNIGHT 🕛

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Jan 19, 2018 at 8:03pm PST

Even Drake's friend Odell Beckham took to Instagram to tease a line from “God's Plan” prior to the song's drop.

 

“Don’t pull up at 6am to cuddle wit mee…”

A post shared by Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) on Jan 19, 2018 at 6:45pm PST

Drake's last project, 2017's More Life, boasted features from Young Thug, Giggs, Skepta, Quavo, Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Kanye West, Jorja Smith, Sampha and Partynextdoor

Speaking to Hollywood Reporter for a cover story back in November of 2017, Drake expressed his interest in making a pivot into producing films. He, along with LeBron James' production company Springhill Entertainment, will be reviving the UK drama Top Boy. The show will be coming to Netflix in 2019. 

 

🇬🇧🙌🏽 COMING SOON

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Nov 8, 2017 at 6:04am PST

While talking about his music career, Drake remarked: “I'm sure I'll stop [making music] one day.” He continued, “When it starts to feel like I'm making it up. Hopefully I'll catch it before I ever get there, right? But right now it feels like we just started, so I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. But I do plan on expanding—to take six months or a year to myself and do some great films. Music's always there.”

With these new songs and a possible album on the way, it doesn't seem like Drake will stop making music anytime soon. 

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Apple Music’s Carl Chery Joins for Unsigned Artists Advice, Streaming Playlists | Everyday Struggle

On today's holiday special #EverydayStruggle, Apple Music's Carl Chery joins Nadeska and DJ Akademiks to talk about helping unsigned artists, the streaming services playlists revolution, industry secrets, and much more. 

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N*E*R*D Shares Cover Art and Release Date for New Album

N*E*R*D just announced the release date for their long-awaited new album. NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES will be available on Dec. 15 for everyone who missed its surprise ComplexCon unveiling. The trio also shared what appears to be the album cover, which will certainly look nice saved to one's Apple Music library.

 

A post shared by N.E.R.D (@nerd) on Nov 22, 2017 at 5:00am PST

The album boasts N*E*R*D-worthy contributions from a variety of artists including Future and Kendrick Lamar, as well as André 3000 and Rihanna on the previously released tracks “Rollinem 7's” and “Lemon.” Ed Sheeran, Gucci Mane, Wale, and M.I.A. also make appearances.

You'll find the NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES tracklist below:
1. “Deep Down Body Thirst”
2. “Lemon” f/ Rihanna
3. “Voilà” f/ Gucci Mane and Wale
4. “1000” f/ Future
5. “Don't Don't Do It” f/ Kendrick Lamar
6. “Kites” f/ Kendrick Lamar and M.I.A.
7. “ESP” 8. “Lightning Fire Magic Prayer”
9. “Rollinem 7’s” f/ André 3000
10. “Lifting You” f/ Ed Sheeran
11. “Secret Life of Tigers”

The album marks the trio's first one in seven years, following the 2010 release of Nothing. The 10-track collection was supported by the singles “Hypnotize U” and “Hot-n-Fun” featuring Nelly Furtado.

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Amazingly, we are now a mere two years away from the band's 20th anniversary, a milestone I personally hope results in a tour featuring Pharrell and company shredding through their debut, In Search Of…, in full all across the world. I couldn't possibly be the only person still obsessively listening to “Rock Star” at least once a day.

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Here’s Why Drake’s ‘More Life’ May Not Be Nominated for a Single Grammy

Do you remember where you were when Drake dropped More Life? I imagine most of you do, with headphones up LOUD to the Apple Music broadcast of the playlist that felt like the best of Drake's albums. That's right, even if it's one of the best albums of 2017 (so far), Drake's always considered this to be a playlist (which would explain the volume of collaborators throughout the release). That said, it's still surprising that, according to HITS Daily Double, Drake has not entered More Life for “any 'genre album' awards.” Even the official Grammys website took a look at Drake riding the wave of the digital revolution with this playlist, but the question is, why?

It's hard to say. Many have been conflicted on what to call More Life. Sure, Drake says it's a playlist, but what do we, the critics, call it when it comes to breaking down the best releases of the year? It's hard to ignore the release when literally every song hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It could also just be a sign o' the (digital) times, where the confines of what denoted an album or a mixtape or a “project” or whatever are virtually unnecessary. The thing is, just doing a bit of a glance at Drake's history can (hopefully) help us shed some light on why More Life would not have been submitted for genre album awards for the Grammys.

Drake still doesn't consider it an album

Drake, and his crew, are adamant that More Life should be treated as a playlist, and not a proper album follow-up to Views. Nineteen85 told Billboard that because Drake had “so many good ideas,” he “just wants to put it out without making it a big ordeal.” He also alluded to the idea that Drake “has a bunch of people in a space, hanging out,” as well as saying More Life somehow helped “introduce new music and new artists to the rest of the world.” You might think that's crazy, but the average Drake listener wasn't up on Black Coffee or Jorja Smith before he featured them on this release.

Even the “more tune for ya headtop” drop during the initial release (which debuted on OVO Sound Radio before popping up on Apple Music) made this feel more like Drake just running through a gaggle of bangers that he was sitting on without a proper destination, as opposed to a refined statement. Hell, it was 22 tracks, with little to no interludes, which made for more of a mixtape vibe than anything.

Drake has some issues with the Grammys

Back in February of 2017, Drake sat down with DJ Semtex for an interview that was recorded the day after the Grammys. In it, Drake explained why he wasn't feeling the Recording Academy for, in essence, pigeonholing him and his output, primarily because of “Hotline Bling,” which won two Rap Grammys (Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance) despite Drake not spitting a single bar on the track.

“I’m a black artist, I’m apparently a rapper, even though 'Hotline Bling' is not a rap song,” Drake said. “The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m black.”

Maybe Drake decided to be super petty, dropping a project that he knew had some Grammy-worthy heat on it that he wouldn't submit to the Grammys out of spite. You almost hope that these rumors are true and Drake never speaks on it, just because he can. Keep it 100: even if Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z put out some critically-acclaimed albums in 2017, going up against Drake's More Life in a Rap Album category would be interesting.

The bigger statement here, though, is Drake sort of carving a lane all his own. He can and does rap on the regular, and has had loads of success in the rap game, but he's also surpassed the usual “rap” goals, and is a bona fide pop star. No one wants to be looked at as one particular thing, especially when they've exhausted that box. Maybe Drake is just looking for his proper respect and figured ducking the Grammys was the best statement he could make.

Drake's more focused on his next album

Oh, you didn't know? You must not be following Drake on the 'gram. The 6 God has been posting a number of studio shots since the tail-end of summer 2017, and said he was “about to go back to making this new album” during OVO Fest back in August. With no real word on when we will be hearing new material, or when this new album would be released, it really has been quiet on the new Drake music front. He's taking in movies and basketball games, and we have to imagine that these exercises are breaks for inspiration outside of the studio, where he has to be hyper-focused on topping Views.

At the end of the day, these aren't confirmed rumors; we won't 100 percent know that More Life isn't up for anything until the 60th Grammy nominees are revealed on Nov. 28. That is, unless Drake comes out and confirms these reports. Again, he might not even need to, though; mans might not even be thinking on the next batch of Grammy awards. Drake's probably so focused he's working on the 61st Grammys ceremony.

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Post Malone’s “Rockstar” May Have Hit No. 1 Because of This YouTube Trick

This week's Billboard Hot 100 chart shows Post Malone's smash “Rockstar” sitting at No. 1. The song has plenty to like, including a 21 Savage feature and lyrical shout-outs to original AC/DC frontman Bon Scott and the Doors' Jim Morrison (though, if Malone watched the movie, he'd realize that guitarist Robbie Kreiger, not Jim, actually wrote “Light My Fire”).

But, as pointed out by Fader, the song may have had some help in getting to the top spot, thanks to an interesting move on the part of what appears to be Republic Records. An account that looks like the official Republic channel—it's not verified by YouTube, but hosts exclusively Republic artist releases, the label's account has tweeted videos from the account, and has 100,000 subscribers—posted a video to YouTube that, at first glance, appears to be “Rockstar.” It is, to the second, the exact length of the finished song, and is billed as “Post Malone feat. 21 Savage – rockstar.” But when you click on the video, it is only the hook of the song, repeated over and over.

In the description of the video, there is a link to hear the song on your streaming service of choice. The video has been played (or accessed) nearly 42 million times. Presumably a portion of the 42 million who accessed the video ended up clicking through to stream it somewhere else, which would have helped the song on its way to No. 1.

So why go through all this trouble to move would-be YouTube viewers over to streaming services? While Republic has yet to comment, it's easy to speculate. Streaming counts heavily towards the Hot 100. While the exact formula for the singles chart changes week to week, streaming is generally accounts for between 20-30 percent of what counts on the chart (the other two-thirds or so comes from sales and radio play). So, steering people towards playing the song on Spotify or Apple Music, after having played the track on YouTube, gives the song multiple streams, as opposed to the single stream that a lone YouTube play would rack up. YouTube views count towards the Hot 100, although for less than a stream, and have for the past several years.

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How Chance the Rapper’s Manager, Pat Corcoran, Reimagined the Music Business | Blueprint

Pat “The Manager” Corcoran and Chance the Rapper, two self-taught kids from Chicago, set the bar for what independent artists can achieve, but it didn't come easy. In our new episode of Blueprint with Complex's Editor-in-Chief Noah Callahan-Bever, Pat explains how the two met, the backlash around the release of Coloring Book, and the one thing that threatened their independence.

Chance and Pat's decision to roll with Apple Music for the release of Coloring Book was met with some criticism as people believed it changed their narrative of being independent. Pat disagrees with that stance, and also explains why they went with Apple. “We wanted to put the project in the hands of someone who was going to take the project seriously, who understood Chance, who would love the music and would be a champion for that music,” he says around the 32:50 mark. “We took all the meetings and the phone calls. We spoke with everyone: Tidal, SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music, even smaller streaming services like Audiomack. It was sort of like taking meetings as a high school all-star athlete and going to different colleges and seeing who's gonna care about us the most and who's going to help put us in the right position to win and succeed and have a great career in the majors. At the end of the day we went with the company that believed in Chance most… it wasn't about the money. It was about the people inside that building.”

Pat also details the pushback they received from Def Jam when securing features from Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and more for Coloring Book. “It took the wind out of my sails when the first thing I heard from the Def Jam CEO was, 'No way… not gonna happen. No way in fucking hell.'”

“Those were tough conversations to have, especially with being so close to the Kanye camp,” Pat adds.

Watch the full interview above and subscribe to Complex to catch upcoming episodes of Blueprint

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Apple Music just provided another reason not to delete Facebook Messenger from your phone.

Here’s Lil Uzi Vert’s Debut Album ‘Luv Is Rage 2’

Few albums started a louder conversation in 2017 than Lil Uzi Vert's Luv Is Rage 2, and it wasn't even released. Until now.

After what felt like endless delays, the Philly rapper has finally dropped his debut studio album. Fans received an official announcement the day of its release along with an album cover that featured a nod to Virgil Abloh's Off-White. Uzi Vert also shared what appeared to be alternate covers for the much anticipated project, or at the very least some other illustrative ideas he had kicking around:

 

2 🚧🔥® 12am. Okay Bye 🤓….Luv

A post shared by 16 (@liluzivert) on Aug 24, 2017 at 1:54pm PDT

The wait for Lil Uzi Vert's proper debut included the massive success of “XO Tour Llif3,” which has reached triple platinum and also earned an unofficial slot on the shortlist of song of the summer contenders. Uzi Vert also upped his stage presence, becoming one of the the most exciting new acts to catch live. He's definitely been on a rock star wave.

The release of Luv Is Rage 2 didn't come without controversy, either. Back in July, five songs from the artist were shared on DJ Drama and DJ Don Cannon’s Gangsta Grillz show on SiriusXM, without Uzi's knowledge. Keep in mind, Drama and Cannon have worked closely with Uzi Vert and have played a pivotal role in his success, so seeing the moment go down was a little awkward, though things seem to be cleared up now. Like Jay Z rapped, nobody wins when the family feuds.

The 16-song project only includes one holdover: “XO Tour Llif3.” The rest of it is all new material, which was a smart move on Uzi Vert's part. The guest list is as short as can be in 2017: only Pharrell and the Weeknd pop up on “Neon Guts” and “Unfazed,” respectively.

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You can stream and download Luv Is Rage 2 on Apple Music/iTunes, or check it out below via Spotify.

Lil Uzi Vert has a number of show dates lined up through the end of the year, including stops in Ohio, California, and Arizona; check his official website for the schedule.

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Tidal Nabs New CEO, Their Fourth in Over Two Years

Variety reports that former Kobalt Music Group president Richard Sanders has been named as the new CEO of Tidal. Sanders becomes the fourth person in just over two years to hold the position in the Jay Z-owned streaming service. 

Former Tidal CEO, Jeff Toig, left the company earlier this year. Toig offered some stability after the streaming service kept dealing with one shakeup after another. 

Even though Toig's departure came shortly after Sprint purchased a 33 percent stake in Tidal, which was worth a reported $200 million, the company was never able to close the paid subscribers gap on its competitors Spotify and Apple Music. Sanders comes to Tidal after serving as president of global marketing for Sony Music and executive for RCA and Arista Records, in addition to his most recent job at Kobalt which he left in May.

If Tidal wants to have a long, sustainable future, it all starts at the top with its leadership. The company cannot continue to go through a carousel of sorts where one person comes on for a short amount of time before making way for the next hire. Luckily, the methodical rollout of content related to Jay Z's latest album 4:44 has kept people coming back for more. However, all that will eventually come to an end, and Sanders will need to find a way to right Toig's wrongs. If he fails, Tidal may be in line for yet another change sooner than expected. 

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Who Is Tone Stith, the Latest Artist to Get a Co-Sign From Drake?

Drake was spotted with rising singer/producer Tone Stith in Houston, Texas Monday. In a video shared by TMZ Thursday, Drake is seen sitting in on the New Jersey-based artist's tour rehearsal and talking with Stith about, well, that's hard to say due to the fact that the audio isn't all that great:

Reports claim Drake is taking Stith “under his wing” after Monday's meeting, which was arranged by an important person in Drake's path to success: Jas Prince.

 

Happy bday bro!!! @tonestith #CanWeTalk

A post shared by Jas Prince (@jas.prince) on Jul 25, 2017 at 11:21pm PDT

Stith, whose previous work includes multiple tracks on Chris Brown's 2015 album Royalty, is set to join August Alsina's Don't Matter tour Thursday night with a performance at the Aztec Theater in San Antonio, Texas. The month-long trek will also see the 22-year-old artist providing support for Alsina in Atlanta, Toronto, New York City, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.

 

A post shared by Antonio Stith (@tonestith) on Jul 5, 2017 at 3:02pm PDT

Stith currently boasts more than 80,000 combined followers across his social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), a number that's sure to rise after the Drake co-sign and the release of Stith's latest project Can We Talk. The 11-track collection, available on Apple Music and other streaming services now, includes the single “Get It Right.”

In a message shared with his fans at the time of the official “Get It Right” video's release, Stith outlined the intention behind his art. “I feel it is my responsibility to spread love and happiness through my music, and want you to know that I'm always keeping you in mind whether I'm in the studio making new material, rehearsing to put on the best show possible, or even just being a good person to everyone I meet along the way,” Stith said.

Stith recently shared a cover of Drake's More Life cut “Madiba Riddim,” joining previous Stith renditions of songs from Bryson Tiller and Justin Bieber.

The latest release from Stith arrived this week to mark his birthday. Listen to “2122” below.

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