2017 was a banner year for hip-hop. Fans got projects from their favorite legends (Jay Z, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Big Boi, Gucci Mane) and new legends (Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Lil B, Vince Staples, Rapsody), as well as got introduced to a slew of upcoming artists that are looking to make an impact in 2018. Yet, even with such an abundance of music to choose from, we’re still waiting on albums by the likes of Pusha T, Earl Sweatshirt, Travis Scott, The Internet, and much more.
In regards to Earl, he has promised new music in 2018, which is good news for people who have been anticipating a follow-up to his 2015 output, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. Travis Scott and Quavo gave us an early Christmas present with Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho, but Scott’s AstroWorld and a Quavo solo project will likely be the most-talked about albums of the New Year. Finally, after months of singles and killer verses over some popular songs, Nicki Minaj is poised to remind everyone why she’s one of the greatest MCs and a pop force with her new album.
Certainly there’s plenty of more albums we’re anticipating, but here’s a list of albums that we need right now.
What can really be said about the legend, the diva, the high-note-hitting extraordinaire Mariah Carey? She’s got the voice of an angel and has been holding it down in the music industry since 1990—do you hear me? 1990. That’s 27 years. She’s had countless fine moments, and she's made history along the way; in 2008, the classic anthem of promiscuity “Touch My Body” became Carey's 18th No. 1 single on the Hot 100, making her the solo artist with the most number ones in the chart's history. Between her forever-relevant hip-hop collaborations (“Me and Mariiiiiah, go back like babies with pacifiers“), powerful ballads and monstrous pop hits, Carey's success and impact are undeniable. She also has adorable kids, whom she brought up onstage to help her sing during a recent date from her All the Hits tour with Lionel Richie.
But something ain't right these days. To keep it a buck, I'm starting to get concerned. It all started back in late December, when Mariah was tasked with performing on ABC's annual New Year's Rockin' Eve showcase. Production issues made things go horribly awry, with Mariah claiming she couldn't hear and “didn't have a sound check” for certain songs. Instead of going along with it, asking to start over, or even singing a line or two, Mariah just walked around the stage, awkwardly, until the performance finally came to an end. The last thing she said was, “It just don't get any better,” before walking off stage unceremoniously.
Technical glitches were reported on set, so most fans took the botched show with a grain of salt, with some of them even getting a few jokes off in the process. But as of late, Mariah's been a little… off. And she doesn't seem to give a shit. A few videos have surfaced on social media recently, showing the singer doing the absolute least onstage during her performances.
A post shared by Cami R (@cammiemimi) on Jul 31, 2017 at 6:19am PDT
Someone else out there in the internet world is apparently as concerned as I am, because they took the time to make a video comparison of Mariah performing in the late '90s versus today.
Nobody is saying Mariah was serving up intricate choreography back in the day—she’s got those fucking pipes, so she technically doesn’t have to do anything but stand there and sing. (Adele does it on the regular, and you don’t hear anyone complaining.) But Mariah at least had a little shimmy in her back then. During her Vegas residency at Caesars Palace, which ran from 2015 to this summer, she was a little less fluid—which, duh, it's been more than 15 years—but she was still willing to generally move her limbs. Here she is in 2015.
So what happened? As it turns out, there might be a pretty simple reason for the change in Mariah’s recent shows. In January, almost immediately after the New Year’s Eve fiasco, Mariah fired Anthony Burrell, her now-former choreographer and creative director. In a phone conversation, Burrell said he’s been busy since then with Breaking Barriers Dance Intensive, a program in its fourth year that provides professional dance education and world-class training to youth and adult dancers in inner-city environments. (He's also been quite occupied with his role as a dancer and choreographer for Parkwood Entertainment—you know, Beyoncé's camp.) But he’s had a couple of free moments to view the recent videos of Mariah’s performances, and he’s not surprised by the dip in… we’ll call it quality of show.
“It's just typical Mariah,” Burrell said. “Mariah is clear: when she doesn’t wanna do something, she doesn’t do it. She’s performing with lackluster and no fucks given, and it’s taking away her star.”
As her choreographer, Burrell said he was focused on making sure Mariah was comfortable onstage as not just a singer, but an all-around performer.
“Working with an artist like Mariah, who’s not a mover first, it’s always a challenge to get them to think physically and not just vocally,” he said. “You always have to keep in mind that they’re a singer first. The priority is not teaching them 100 counts of 8, or endless routines. I wanted to give Mariah a modern push to revamp her, give her a fresher, more modern feel, make her more aware of her body and her lines, and not look like her feet hurt when she’s walking.”
Burrell had been working alongside Mariah for four years before they parted ways in January. Throughout that time, he says, Mariah had come to trust and depend on him heavily for show design and physical awareness while performing. Now, Burrell says, there's no one guiding her, and it's showing.
“You're a legend,” Burrell said. “But you don’t care, your team doesn’t care. They’re not guiding and directing her. She’s back to where she was before. It's not like she's never looked this bad before; I just stepped her game up.”
Burrell said that during his time in Mariah's camp, he got the sense that her team was flat-out inexperienced. “It felt like they were so new at their jobs, and had no direction,” he said. “When you’re green, you’re playing things by trial and error, and there were a lot of errors. I was very vocal about things that weren’t right. When you try to take a shortcut and you don’t know the clues, you’re bound to get fucked up or screwed, because you don’t have the experience of running a tour or a billion-dollar empire. Some of the dancers her team hired are great dancers, but they’re not choreographers or creative directors.”
Overall, though, Burrell said Mariah is a “world-class artist” and “a great person to work with.” But his experience—and his departure—definitely puts things into perspective.
Let’s not get it twisted: I’m here for Mariah, until the day she decides to retire that crystalline voice of hers. (Well, 99% crystalline. Hey, nobody's perfect.) So are many, many of her dedicated fans, who refer to themselves as her “lambs” or “lambily.”
All the haters ; please – don't mess with the #lambily when it comes 2 Mariah ; we ll always have her back ; leave us and her alone pls 🌈👋🏻
A post shared by Mariah's#1Stan😘🐑 (@allidoislovemariah) on Aug 1, 2017 at 2:00pm PDT
But as much love as there is out there for Mariah, there's no denying the fact that she's scaled back on the amount of effort she puts in onstage. Then again, Mariah's longstanding status is that of a queen. And when you're a queen, you do as you damn well please. Just don't do it at the expense of your loyal subjects, Mimi—that's all I ask.
Earlier this month, on Valentine’s Day to be precise, a brand new Facebook page NWYR, pronounced ‘New Year,’was created without too much fanfare at all. As it turns out, the project is, in fact, a new alias of W&W which will mark their return to trance music. While the NWYR project will debut at Ultra Music Festival late this year there are still no details about how that performance will look.
Now, in the last several days two videos have popped up, one official and one not, that appear to show one, potentially two, new tracks in the pipeline from the NWYR project. The first comes from trance page Yalla Trance from before the weekend while the second comes directly from the NWYR official page from several hours ago. While the first clip features a much longer song and claims to be a collaboration with Armin Van Buuren, it doesn’t reveal any release details like the second clip does. In the second clip, NWYR teases a different track along with the date ‘March 26th’ which is presumably the date for their Ultra performance. Whether that new track is a new single or not is still to be determined, but trance fans should nevertheless be excited about the potential of this new project!
Ever since Migos’ biggest hit started to gain notoriety around the turn of the New Year, dancemusic fans have been hearing a lot of ‘Bad and Boujee‘ remixes. Everyone from Luca Lush, R3hab, and more, have tried their hands at remixing the trio’s #1 hit; but the biggest one may be constantly played on repeat soon.
Zhu dropped his very own ‘Bad and Boujee’ remix at Air + Style Festival in Los Angeles last night, surprising fans. Zhu’s version moves astray from remixes of past, paying homage to the original and going towards a more musical direction Zhu is known for. A dark atmosphere, pitched vocals, and Zhu himself singing on it, this version is certainly one we’re excited for.
Coming off of his epic New Year’s Eve performance at Snowglobe, producer Illenium has just revealed a brand new preview of his latest single, “Fractures.” Thrown over a custom video showing fantastic live footage of Illenium’s shows and his dedicated base of fans in the crowd, the track comes as a very similar sound to his yet to be released ID previewed at Snowglobe.
The immediate appeal of “Fractures” comes from its warm, future bass center and soaring vocal accompaniment. Featuring pulsating synth ripples and powerful, echoing percussion, the track appears to be one suited for Illenium’s live performances more than anything else.
Listen to the short preview of the song below, and keep your eyes peeled for its official release.
Axwell & Ingrosso have dangled yet another carrot in front of us with the release of the video for ‘Dream Bigger.’ Or rather, that carrot is upside down and we, the viewer, are descending into it as if it were a black hole of dreams. Some of it you’ll recognize (New York’s Flat Iron Building makes several cameos), and with some of it you’ll make your own meaning after seeing it again and again. Overall though, the instrumental for ‘Dream Bigger’ lends itself to this triangular trippy world continuously as it consumes the viewer. The distinct Justice-esque vibes are a perfect catalyst for the audio-visual mindfuck of the video.
The video comes following the Spotify premiere of the track on New Year’s Eve. With the full scope of the track releasing in pieces like this, all we can do is wait for the next carrot (the addition of vocals by Pharrell) to appear. Maybe one day the biggest of their golden carrots (a full album from the duo) will drop. But when that happens remains to be seen though we expect it some time this year. For now, take a moment and dive into an experience that only two former members of the Swedish House Mafia can give us, one that blows our minds:
LIGHT Nightclub is seriously stepping things up for its third year. As if the Mandalay Bay nightclub didn’t stand out already with its use of Cirque du Soleil performers, its residency roster for 2015 features a wide array of talent.
Beginning this month, LIGHT will expand past super star DJs with “The Beat Presented by LIGHT,” live open-format performances. Artists include GRAMMY award winning artists will.i.am and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Also making his debut is DJ Mustard, who will have a monthly residency in Las Vegas, the first of his career.
Don’t worry, LIGHT hasn’t forgotten about EDM. This year, Disclosure will be bringing their “Wild Life” shows to Las Vegas, which was recently a big success for New Year’s Eve in New York City. Fatboy Slim and Morgan Page will be joining the ranks as well. Returning to LIGHT is most notably techno titan Carl Cox, Axwell and Ingrosso, who made their first appearance as a duo there, and Alesso. The full list of 2015 residents can be found below. For dates, check out LIGHT’s website.
Alesso A-Trak Axwell Baauer Bassjackers Carl Cox Clockwork Disclosure DJ Mustard FatBoy Slim GTA Henrix Ingrosso Macklemore + Ryan Lewis Morgan Page Norman Doray Stellar Steve Powers Sultan + Shepard Tony Arzadon will.i.am
Were you with us on New Year’s Eve to see Eliot Lipp?
Lipp brought samples of his new album to the dance floor when he played Schubas in Chicago. Check out the action below, and if you missed it, we talked with the producer about his new music, touring, live band and more here.
The British EDM duo of Jonney and Oren, better known as Let’s Be Friends takes us back to the early 2000’s with their remix of Gwen Stefani’s “What You Waiting For?” Coming out the gates strong in the New Year, this pulsing hard electro reworking is one you definitely don’t want to miss out on. According to the duo, this song is also their way of showing love to one of their favorite artists. Check out the single below, and make sure to keep an eye out for more great releases from this duo in 2014. As always, enjoy!