It Sounds Like Kanye West and Kid Cudi Have a Secret Project in the Works

Rare good news alert.

Kanye West and Kid Cudi are reportedly working on a “top-secret project” together. At least, that's what this report from Page Six would have us believe. In an article that confusingly refuses to name Cudi in the headline (opting instead for “ex-protégé”), sources let loose what they (allegedly!) know about the collaboration.

“[Kanye West and Kid Cudi are] going to drop some crazy collaboration out of the blue,” one source claimed. “They're going to drop some surprise project on everybody. They're recording it now.” According to an insider, “nobody knows what it is” and the artists are keeping the creative process minimal. The alleged recording setup is just West, Cudi, and an engineer.

The report adds that sessions have taken place in Japan, where the two were spotted earlier this month paying Graduation cover artist Takashi Murakami a visit at his studio.

 

Long time no see @kidcudi and #kanyewest. Thank you for coming to my studio. It was fire 🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) on Aug 11, 2017 at 3:41am PDT

Takashi previously teased a “project that I can not say yet” with an Instagrammed photo gallery. The mystery project was teased with images of nude art, a guitar case, and a Marshall half stack:

 

A post shared by Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:16pm PDT

Fans have been sharing photos of the 808s & Heartbreak collaborators out and about in Tokyo:

 

칸예실사 👅

A post shared by 정 민수 (@carborfiber) on Aug 11, 2017 at 11:25pm PDT

 

A post shared by TeamKanyeDaily (@teamkanyedaily) on Aug 12, 2017 at 11:07pm PDT

West and Cudi were also seen last month at a Los Angeles-area recording studio with Plain Pat, a name any self-respecting fan will know means something great is almost certainly afoot.

Cudi surprised us all this week with the announcement of his Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin' Tour. The 25-date trek, which includes a spot on Tyler, the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival in Los Angeles, kicks off Sept. 30 at Philadelphia's Skyline Stage at the Mann.

In a perfect world, West would pop in during the Flog Gnaw set to run through this underrated collab:

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Here’s Why People Think Drake Is Opening a New Restaurant in Toronto (UPDATE)

UPDATED 3:21 p.m. ET: It sounds like Drake might be out here diversifying his investments. 

Images showing an advertisement for what looks like a restaurant/sports bar named Pick 6 with the OVO insignia​ over it have appeared in Toronto's financial district. Pick 6's location used to house the Houston Bar and Grill. There hasn't been an official announcement or confirmation from Drake or his camp that whatever that is opening will in fact be a restaurant. But, it does seem like it's a good guess. 

 

#working #pick6 #dukester #nuffsaid #believethat @chubbsview

A post shared by @georgecigardukes on Aug 13, 2017 at 6:32pm PDT

This wouldn't be the first time Drake has been connected to the restaurant business. Back in 2015 Drake came up with the name for chef Susur Lee’s upscale comfort food eatery Fring's in Downtown Toronto. He even DJ'ed for the opening party, which was attended by high profile guests such as Serena Williams, Jaden Smith, and his mother Jada Pinkett.  

Drake is also investing in the green tea company called MatchaBar. The company, which is partnering with Whole Foods for distribution, is having its ingredients sourced from a family farm in Nishio, Japan. Matcha is a type of green tea leaf that is finely ground into a powder and contains a decent-sized dose of caffeine. 

Shortly after these rumors started taking off, a source close to the situation confirmed to Complex that claims of a new restaurant are simply not true.

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Justin Bieber Gets Exposed Trying to Pick Up Gym Employee Through Instagram DMs

If you're a rich and famous star, you should get one thing straight: your DMs are not going to remain private for long. The ease of screenshotting has turned every conversation into fodder for social media, so you better get used to hiding your thirst.

Unless your name is Justin Bieber, I guess. The Biebs is still waltzing through DMs with no fear, and this time he found a rather obscure target to set his sights on.

Jessica Gober, a 22-year-old employee at Fitness on Broughton in Savannah, Georgia, has been tasked with increasing the social media presence for her employer. That directive led to this boomerang, with Gober modeling an energy drink for the page:

At the time, the gym only had 73 followers on Instagram, but somehow, someway, the page attracted a very famous follower with the post. After spotting Gober on their page, Biebs did what any fired up young man does when a thirst trap is thrown in front of them: he fell right into it, reaching out through the generic gym page to holler at Gober. She documented the exchange on her Twitter page, sharing the receipts of Bieber's interest.

justin bieber is thirsty
Image via Instagram

I'm all for shooting your shot, but I have a lot of questions about how/why Bieber was trolling through a page for a Savannah gym with minimal social media presence. Best believe that if this was any old person off the street thirsting after random gym employees, they'd get hit with the “creepy” tag and shunned by the public.

In any case, the reactions were mixed to Bieber's attempt to get with Gober. The Bieber hive was out in full force, shaming her for sharing the exchange or condemning her for not trying to finesse some cash out of the superstar.

But outside of the Bieber fanatics, Gober has plenty of supporters, and you knew people were going to come out and roast the Biebs for this one.

And bless little Bieber's thirsty-ass heart, because he inspired a wave of copycats with his DM slide heard 'round the world. Fans of Bieber's decided they'd join in on the fun, mocking the DM to Gober in messages sent to him personally.

Though the pile-on will continue, Gober has actually stuck up for Bieber in interviews conducted since the DMs went viral. She insisted Bieber never went over the line, and says the gym actually reached back out to him at some point over the last few days.

“We didn't think Justin Bieber was being creepy, the gym did respond to him on Instagram,” Gober told Buzzfeed. “I don't think he had any inappropriate intentions by simply asking who I was.”

And hey, the gym now has over 1600 followers on Instagram, so Bieber indirectly helped them get the publicity they were searching for. No harm, no foul.

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UFC President Dana White Posts Video of Conor McGregor Knocking Down Paul Malignaggi in the Ring

Amid concerns over Conor McGregor's ability to survive in the ring against Floyd Mayweather, UFC president Dana White released two videos from McGregor's sparring sessions with Paul Malignaggi. On Friday, The Notorious held an open workout at UFC headquarters in Las Vegas where he put some odd training techniques and slow heavy bag speed on display for those in attendance. 

White also responded to the people doubting McGregor's boxing skills by posting two videos of The Notorious sparring with Malignaggi, including a clip where it appears Conor knocked down the former world champion. 

Earlier this month, Malignaggi abruptly quit as McGregor's sparring partner after photos from their session leaked. The former boxer claims he was pushed in the photo showing him lying on the mat with Conor standing over him.

The circus leading up to this fight is nearly coming to a close. Mayweather and McGregor will finally meet in the ring on Aug. 26.

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Kodak Black Disses Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert, Says He Doesn’t Listen to Them

Kodak Black loves to talk. It seems like every other day, a new soundbite pops up from the Florida rapper. One minute, he's casually shitting on black women, the next minute he's going in on D.R.A.M. for allegedly jacking his sauce. On this day, we're being treated to yet another installment of Unsolicited Thoughts From Kodak Black.

During a recent Instagram Live session, fans asked Kodak for his opinion on some of his contemporaries. Specifically, a couple of the most popular Lil rappers of our time: Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty. Kodak let it be known that he's busy enough working on his own music. 

 

You won't catch #kodakblack listening to #liluzivert or #lilyachty. More info in link in bio

A post shared by DJ Akademiks (@akadmiks) on Aug 10, 2017 at 1:44pm PDT

“Aye listen here, man listen,” he starts out. “I got some new albums coming out. I am not like these other niggas.”

Then, he launches into a brief, random-ass freestyle about Uzi and Yachty

“I don't even listen to Uzi/These niggas dick in the booty/They confusing the community… I don't even listen to Yachty/He don't even be dropping no knowledge,” he raps.

Toward the end of the clip, Kodak admits that he's “forever a project nigga,” and he misses the adrenaline rush from “hitting licks.” For his own sake and future, he should probably listen to that little voice of reason we all have inside and move in the opposite direction. Far, far away. Maybe paintballing could help distract him? Hey, it worked for Chief Keef.

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Here’s the Story Behind That Big-Ass CN Tower Replica Drake Had at OVO Fest

On Monday, August 7, during the eight annual OVO Fest, Drake performed on a big-ass replica of the CN Tower in order to recreate the cover of his album Views. To give you a sense of the scale of this impressive duplicate, here are a few pictures from his Instagram:

 

You don't know…what's in store…

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Aug 8, 2017 at 9:42pm PDT

 

Building a ladder of love to you…and I hope that love you built one too

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Aug 8, 2017 at 2:14am PDT

 

6 God and I live up to my name

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Aug 8, 2017 at 2:49pm PDT

Damn.

Drake told the crowd that he asked “19 companies” to construct the copy, and was declined by every single one. Look at those pics again and tell us that's not reasonable. However, his request was finally accepted by a man named Eric Pearce, who owns a company called Las Vegas' Show Group Production Services, which had previously handled production orders from Justin Bieber, Guns N' Roses, and Roger Waters.

According to CBC News, Pearce and his crew had roughly three weeks to assemble the structure and then move it more than 2,000 miles to the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. They were able to do this by first planning on how to construct it in a single weekend, and then by working on it 24 hours per day, seven days a week. “We didn't have time to make any models,” Pearce said. “We simply looked at photographs.” Additionally, members of Drake's team (who themselves were led by production design firm GP-SK Design) gave insights, imagery, and scaled references of the 1,815 foot tall tower.

Pearce, who understandably called the task “very difficult,” says that a replica of that magnitude would traditionally take more than twice as long—six to eight weeks—to complete. As the CBC reports, the final product filled up almost all of the stage, and even included the observation deck's EdgeWalk trolley equipment. Pearce added that the prop was “two or three times the traditional rock and roll star set.”

After it was completed in its factory in Vegas, it was tested, since it likely would've been very bad for business if the set collapsed and killed Drake. It was then packed onto five tractor trailers and driven across the U.S. to Canada. While the cargo was a secret, Pearce also said there really wasn't much time for word to get out.

When the set finally did make it to the stage, it was constructed under the supervision of Pearce's guys, who had been sent from Nevada. Now that the show is over and the replica has served its purpose, it's heading back to Vegas so it can sit in storage. Pearce also didn't divulge how much it costs, or give his two cents on whether or not it was worth it to concoct such a gargantuan pain in the ass model for such a brief usage.

But if you need a big replica of a landmark, and you need it done quickly, you now know who to turn to.

Seems like a practical bit of information to have.

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Kendrick Lamar Shares Thoughts on Wack Rappers, Ghostwriting, and Drake’s Music

This year belongs to Kendrick Lamar. For the latest chapter in the Damn era, Lamar appears on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone. The instaclassic interview sees Lamar reflecting on his recent successes and the state of the world around him, while also answering lighter inquiries about his favorite Drake songs and his unknowing involvement in Taylor Swift's public feud with Katy Perry.

 

A post shared by Rolling Stone (@rollingstone) on

 

At the top of the interview, Lamar is asked to reveal his vices. For Lamar, the biggest vice is being addicted to the chase of his work. “It turns into a vice when I shut off people that actually care for me, because I'm so indulged spreading this word,” he told writer Brian Hiatt. “Being on that stage, knowing that you're changing people's lives, that's a high.”

For Damn, Lamar said, the initial goal in the studio was to make a “hybrid” of good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp a Butterfly. “That was our total focus, how to do that sonically, lyrically, through melody—and it came out exactly how I heard it in my head…It's all pieces of me ,” he said.

Asked about being “on some level” a pop artist, Lamar gave an insightful answer sprinkled with wink-winks:

It gets tricky because you can have that one big record, but you can still have that integrity at the same time. Not many can do it…wink-wink [laughs]. Still have them raps going crazy on that album and have a Number One record, wink-wink. Call it whatever you want to call it. As long as the artist remains true to the craft of hip-hop and the culture of it, it is what it is.

Lamar also gave his official definition of a “wack artist,” originally referenced on the Damn track “Element.” According to Lamar, a wack artist is someone seeking approval by using other people's art and chasing other artists' versions of success. “Everybody's not going to be able to be a Kendrick Lamar,” he said. “I'm not telling you to rap like me. Be you. Simple as that.”

And elsewhere, Lamar shared his thoughts on ghostwriting, which has obviously been a hot topic in rap in recent years. He said that he feels it's impossible to consider yourself one of the best rappers if you use a ghostwriter to create your songs. “I called myself the best rapper. I cannot call myself the best rapper if I have a ghostwriter,” he said. “If you're saying you're a different type of artist and you don't really care about the art form of being the best rapper, then so be it. Make great music. But the title, it won't be there.”

Hiatt and Lamar later touched on “Humble,” Trump, Drake (“I got a lot of favorite Drake songs”), Beyoncé, Future, his relationship with Bono, fielding acting offers, and—seriously—a ton more.

Read Lamar's full Rolling Stone interview, featuring photography by Mark Seliger, right here.

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Mariah Carey’s Ex-Choreographer Explains Why She’s Fresh Out of F*cks to Give

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.

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.

 

A post shared by anthonyburrell (@anthonyburrell) on Jan 29, 2017 at 5:37pm PST

“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.”

 

A post shared by anthonyburrell (@anthonyburrell) on Dec 6, 2016 at 6:59pm PST

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.”

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.

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Watch Drake Recreate ‘Views’ Cover by Performing on Replica CN Tower at Eighth Annual OVO Fest

Drake and company took to Toronto tonight to put on their eighth annual OVO Fest. The show took place in Toronto and saw performances from Partynextdoor, Majid Jordan, Roy Woods, Dvsn, and the anointed one himself, the ruler of the dominion known as the 6ix, Drake. OVO boss Drizzy also took the opportunity to announce that he is at work on a new album. The project will most likely be out next year. 

In the eight years of OVO fest, there have been plenty of surprise guests. Back in 2011, Drake brought out the legend known as Stevie Wonder. The superstar performed a medley of “I Wish,” “Ribbon in the Sky,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” and “Superstitious.” Rick Ross and the Weeknd also performed at the show that year.

In 2014  Lauryn Hill blessed the stage to perform her songs “Ready or Not” and “Lost Ones” and was joined by Drake to perform “Doo Wop” and “Draft Day.” Kanye West was in attendance in 2013 to perform “New Slaves” and “All of the Lights.” 

At the first annual OVO Fest, back in 2010, Drake had Eminem and Jay Z come out. 

For the latest OVO fest, which took place on August 7 at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto, Drake did it big by performing atop a replica of Toronto's famous CN Tower, impressively recreating the cover of his album Views. Drizzy also brought out Cardi B, who performed her hit track “Bodak Yellow.” Drake also had previous nemesis Tory Lanez come out to perform his “Controlla” remix. ​Oh, and if that wasn't enough Migos, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, French Montana, The Weeknd, Nelly, and Rae Sremmurd all hit the stage at the star studded show. 

Check out some clips from the eighth annual OVO fest below. 

 

$$ so many stars ☄️⭐️☄️$$

A post shared by stewie (@stewlittle_30) on Aug 7, 2017 at 6:38pm PDT

 

$$ 6 GOD 🙏🏾$$

A post shared by stewie (@stewlittle_30) on Aug 7, 2017 at 6:29pm PDT

 

DRAKE BROUGHT OUT CARDI B IM NOT OKAY MY SOUL HAS LEFT MY BODY @champagnepapi @iamcardib #OVOFEST

A post shared by Aubzie ⁶🙏🏽 (@_ovo_drake_xo) on Aug 7, 2017 at 6:53pm PDT

 

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Big Sean Previewed a New Travis Scott Collab and It Sounds Like a Banger

Lollapalooza 2017 wrapped up Sunday night in Chicago's Grant Park, capping off a four-day marathon of memorable performances. Ahead of Justice's closing set on the Bud Light stage Sunday night, Big Sean hit his Mike Carson-designed stage for an energetic cruise through his increasingly stacked catalog.

 

Set design on fleek, @mikecarson not just my brudda, he da best! #92 #Don

A post shared by BIGSEAN (@bigsean) on Aug 6, 2017 at 9:10pm PDT

At one point during his set, Sean gifted the Lolla crowd with a tease of a new collaboration with Travis Scott:

The track is rumored to feature production by Metro Boomin. Sean also referenced the track's possible title—”We Go Legend”—in an Instagram post on Monday:

 

We go Legend 🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by BIGSEAN (@bigsean) on Aug 7, 2017 at 8:50am PDT

Sean and Scott last appeared together on DJ Khaled's Grateful single “On Everything” alongside Rick Ross.

Sean released his biggest album yet, I Decided, back in February. The album has maintained some serious legs on the charts thanks to a marathon of singles and videos, including “Sacrifices” featuring Migos. The “Sacrifices” video was first released as a gift to fans who made a physical album purchase, with Sean informing them in May that they had been given access to an app that allowed them to get a look at the video before anyone else. Shortly after, the video was made available on YouTube.

This year's Lollapalooza lineup also featured Chance the Rapper, Run the Jewels, Lorde, Blink-182, Lil Yachty, 21 Savage, Majid Jordan, Arcade Fire, Charli XCX, Joey Badass, Rae Sremmurd, and so many more. Catch pro-shot footage of Majid Jordan performing “Her” and Wiz Khalifa running through “Young Wild and Free” below.

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