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Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 9:47 am
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Rihanna will be in Washington D.C. next month with hundreds of other celebrities who are taking part in various inaugural balls following the swearing in of Barack Obama.


       The pop star will headline the Recording Industry Association of America’s Presidential Inauguration Charity Ball, to benefit Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization.


       Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, tells People.com: “We could not be happier that Rihanna will be performing at the Inauguration charity ball to benefit Feeding America.       

       “Rihanna’s involvement will help raise awareness about the prevalence of hunger in America and help bring more aid to the 36 million Americans who do not always know where they will find their next meal.”       

       Elsewhere on the night of Jan 20, Sting will be performing at the Creative Coalition ball, while Kanye West is said to be in talks to perform for the Impact Film Fund, according to People.com.


Common Sells Over 81K, EPMD’s Comeback Fails To Chart In The Top 200 December 17, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment,Hip Hip — Ryann Hayman @ 11:25 am
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Chi-town vet Common just missed the top 10 on his debut week on the Billboard 200, while label boss Kanye is steadily on pace to reach platinum status.

According to the Nielsen SoundScan, Com’s 8th studio album, Universal Mind Control, landed at the number 12 spot, selling around 81,700 copies in its first week. The 16 year vet opted for a more party vibe with this record, working extensively with The Neptunes and OutKast producer Mr DJ. UMC features appearances by G.O.O.D. music leader Kanye West and Cee Lo Green, among others.

With his third week on the charts, the Louis Vuitton Don’s latest release, 808’s & Heartbreak is inching its way to platinum status. After officially going gold last week, Ye now sits on 719,900 albums sold. Standing 6 seats up from his associate Common, the super producer/rapper sold 126,800 discs this week.

On his second week on the charts, hip-hop hookman extraordinaire Akon drops from the number 7 position to number 18, selling 63,000 copies of his new album, Freedom. The Senegalese-born singer has sold a total of 173,900 CDs so far.

Failing to make it on the top 200 this week is We Mean Business, the comeback disc by hip-hop legends EPMD. Bay Area heavyweights Keak Da Sneak and San Quinn’s collabo CD, Welcome To Scokland, also failed to make the charts.

Next week look for new releases by Soulja Boy and Plies to debut in the top 10.


KANYE, LIL WAYNE TOP TIME’S 2008 LISTS December 16, 2008

Filed under: Entertainment,Hip Hip — Ryann Hayman @ 10:08 am
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Time Magazine has revealed that Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” and Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” are respectively its top single and album of 2008.      

      Below are the publication’s reasons for selecting the two artists as the year’s best.


“Love Lockdown” 

• Singing in an Auto-Tuned monotone with little regard for melody, West sounds ghostly as he recounts his romantic failures in brutal detail. Just when “Love Lockdown” seems too brittle to sustain itself, humanity arrives in the form of an army of Japanese taiko drums. At first it sounds like pop-guns going off, but the drumming gets faster, warmer, wilder, and matched against West’s distant vocals “Love Lockdown” turns into a dance song about misery — far closer to “Love Will Tear Us Apart” than any hip-hop ancestor. It’s easily the most interesting pop experiment this year, and, if you grant its premise and stick with it, also the best.


“Tha Carter III”

• “Tha Carter III” is beyond sprawling, but its lack of discipline is also its point. It’s a pop showcase for Dwayne Carter, the very peculiar cough syrup-swilling New Orleans rapper who swears he improvises all of his rhymes. Whether he really does is anybody’s guess, but amid all the Auto-Tuned vocals and effects — no rapper enjoys hearing his own voice distorted more — are shrewd commercial choices (the No. 1 hit “Lollipop,” the Jay-Z duet “Mr. Carter”) and extended periods of verse that take rap back to its essence: talking. On “DontGetIt,” over a sample of Nina Simone’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” Wayne tells a 10-minute life story that meanders into an indictment of drug laws and an out-of-nowhere slam of Al Sharpton. The words are smart, but the delivery — just behind the beat, in a voice that sounds like Miles Davis lecturing on Robitussin — is hypnotic.



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 10:38 am
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Beyonce Knowles’s current No. 1 song “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” has been named the Best Single of 2008 in a new poll from Rolling Stone magazine.


       The publication’s “Singles of the Year” tally features Santogold’s “LES Artistes” at No. 2, Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” at No 5, “American Boy” from Estelle feat. Kanye West at No. 7 and T.I.’s “No Matter What’ at No. 10.       

       Beyonce’s husband, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, also made the list at No. 22 with “Swagga Like Us,” a collaboration with T.I., West and Lil Wayne.      

       View Rolling Stone’s entire “Singles of the Year” list here.



Filed under: Entertainment,Fashion — Ryann Hayman @ 10:34 am
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Rumors of Kanye West deciding to put his music career on hold to study fashion design in Europe are picking up steam.


      The rapper/producer, who is currently designing his own line called Pastelle, has reportedly decided to move to London to take on an apprenticeship at a design house.


       A source tells Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper: “He’s applying at Louis Vuitton, Raf Simmons and others. Everyone is surprised at just how seriously Kanye is taking his fashion dream. He is always in the front rows during the Paris and Milan fashion weeks. He absolutely loves London and wants to absorb the fashion over here.”


       The reports were first generated by the following quote attributed to West: “I’m going to go and take an internship and just do something that’s like completely normal and just rap on the weekends or something.”



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 10:31 am
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Maya Rudolph’s return guest spot and Kenan Thompson’s role in a digital short were the lone African American appearances on “Saturday Night Live” over the weekend – other than musical guest Kanye West. 


       New York’s African American governor David Patterson was played by Fred Armisen, a cast member of Venezuelan, German and Japanese heritage who also plays President-elect Barack Obama.     

       Of the 90 or so actors to grace the “SNL” stage since its 1975 premiere, only eight have been African-American. And that’s an issue for “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd.


       In an AOL interview, she points out that there aren’t even enough African-Americans for a proper skit of her ABC daytime show. While Thompson portrays co-host Whoopi Goldberg, Shepherd’s character is simply left out of the sketch.      

       “Couldn’t they have gotten Maya Rudolph to play me?” Shepherd asked. “She is so awesome! They need more black people in their cast!”       

       “I agree with her,” Baron Vaughn, a black comic, told the New York Daily News. Diversity “doesn’t seem to be something that interests them.”       

       “Plenty of black people that I know have been on ‘SNL,’ and they haven’t been utilized to the best of their abilities. As much as I love Fred Armisen, there needs to be someone who can do a better Barack [Obama],” Vaughn added.      

       Harlan Halper, co-owner of Comix comedy club, told the Daily News: “Fred has done an admirable job, but they should try to address this issue with renewed diversity by looking for comedians who would play the role of Barack, but go way beyond that.”


       A spokesperson for “SNL” said: “Casting is an ongoing process at the show. We are constantly looking for new people. We’ve been auditioning every couple of months or so, and we’ve seen numerous African-American performers and continue to look.”



Filed under: Entertainment — Ryann Hayman @ 2:44 pm
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Kanye West scored his third straight No. 1 album on The Billboard 200 as “808s & Heartbreak” debuts in the top slot above contenders “Chinese Democracy,” the long-awaited return of Guns N’ Roses, and a surge from Taylor Swift’s “Fearless.”      

        West’s Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam set moved 450,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. It’s the artist’s lowest debut sales frame since his first album, “The College Dropout,” bowed with 441,000 in 2004.      

       His last release, “Graduation,” began with 957,000 at No. 1 last year, while sophomore set “Late Registration” checked in with 860,000 at No. 1 in 2005.


       Swift’s “Fearless” and GNR’s “Chinese Democracy” are No. 2 and 3 respectively, followed by Beyonce’s “I Am … Sasha Fierce” (Music World/Columbia), which drops 1-4 in its second week with 257,000.       

       Ludacris debuts at No. 5 with “Theater of the Mind” (DTP/Def Jam) at 213,000. It’s the first time one of the rapper’s albums debuted anywhere but No. 1 since 2001’s “Word of Mouf” bowed and peaked at No. 3.       

       Meanwhile, Beyonce’s track “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” has become the singer’s fifth solo No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart – one more than she scored as a member of Destiny’s Child.      

       The single climbs one notch to the top, swapping places with T.I.’s “Live Your Life.” Another Beyonce song, “If I Were a Boy,” held at No. 3, and another former T.I. chart-topper, “Whatever You Like,” held at No. 4. Newcomer Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance” featuring Colby O’Donis rose two places to No. 5.


       Top debut honors went to Kanye West’s “See You in My Nightmares” featuring Lil Wayne, which started at No. 21.