Category: Eminem

The temporary return of Slim Shady at the BET Hip-Hop Awards

Shady Records Roster
There never was a real Slim Shady.

That was the point. It was the alter ego of a Detroit-galvanized, rock-bottom bad seed born Marshall Mathers. Mathers begat Eminem, who himself conceived the maniacal Shady, who spurred Mather's evolution from consecrated underground battle champ to international icon.

For a sub-generation who went from Wu-Tang to Rawkus Records, Slim Shady offered another possible detour. He was capable of being both hard-core and humorous, serious and scatological; the dirty rotten rhymer on underground Soundbombing collaborations and Missy Elliot deep cuts. Along with Jay-Z, Eminem effectively shattered the arbitrary divides that had heretofore cleaved underground rap from the mainstream.

Even those who don't find the latter claim true have to admit that the two, at the very least, caused kids to question what exactly was so bad with mainstream rap. After all, Eminem was on Interscope and was arguably more lyrical and more entertaining than anything simmering in the subterranean. 

A decade later, Eminem's "Recovery," the most commercially successful rap album of 2010, served arguably as a flash point for some of the problems ailing major-label rap. Although artistically uncompromising efforts still slip through the cracks (Waka Flocka Flame, Rick Ross, Big Boi, the Roots), rare is the album that escapes from the major-label world that doesn't sound intensely focus-grouped. 

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Pukkelpop Festival canceled after stage collapse kills five* (Updated)

Pukkelpop stage collapse Belgium music festival
Thursday’s storm-driven stage collapse at Belgium’s annual Pukkelpop Festival, which killed five people and injured dozens, prompted organizers to cancel the rest of the three-day event headlined by Eminem, the Foo Fighters and the Offspring.

One of several stages collapsed as trees were uprooted by a heavy storm that dumped rain and hail on the festival near the city of Hasselt in the eastern part of the country.

Festival officials said they decided to call off the rest of the event out of respect to the victims. Three people were still in critical condition Friday morning, according to the Associated Press. An estimated 60,000 people attended.

"I have seen many tropical storms, but this was unprecedented," Chokri Mahassine, organizer of 26-year-old festival, told AP. 

Participating musicians quickly Tweeted reactions. 

“Our deepest thoughts and sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives today at the show in Belgium,” Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars wrote. “We are absolutely devastated that this celebration ended in tragedy. To those that were injured we are sending thoughts and prayers. Obviously under these horrible and dangerous circumstances, and out of respect for those who have passed, Thirty Seconds to Mars will not be playing. We love you all and hope tomorrow brings a better day.”

The Foo Fighters wrote: “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the tragic events at Pukkelpop.”

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Eminem's 'Recovery' passes 1 million digital downloads in U.S.

Eminem Grammys 2011-Robert Gauthier 
Eminem’s “Recovery” this week has become the first album to sell 1 million digital downloads in the U.S., the rapper’s label, Interscope Records, announced Tuesday. That's about 25% of the collection's U.S. sales total, which is nearing 4-million copies since its release last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The achievement comes just a week after Eminem returned to the No. 1 slot on the national sales chart with his collaboration with rapper Royce da  5’9”, “Bad Meets Evil,” giving Eminem his second No. 1 album within 12 months.

“Over the years we've made a concerted effort to engage Em's online fan base,” the rapper’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, said in a statement, “so this achievement is especially rewarding. Eminem made an amazing album with ‘Recovery’ and the fans responded in record numbers.”

“Recovery” gave Eminem his sixth No.  1 album, and it yielded two Grammy Awards, for rap album and rap solo performance.  He is making only a handful of concert appearances in 2011, most recently at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee on June 11. Other tour dates are noted on his website.

The digital milestone for an album was reached 5 1/2 years after Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” became the first single to pass the 1-million mark for paid digital downloads in 2005.

RELATED:

Eminem and Royce da 5'9" reunite

Grammys: Eminem for best rap album

Stefani's 'Hollaback' set to break digital mark

-- Randy Lewis 

Photo: Eminem performs at Staples Center in February at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Adele reschedules concert dates canceled because of laryngitis

Adele in Rotterdam-Paul Bergens-Redferns 
Adele is back in action and has resumed the North American tour that was abruptly halted earlier this month by a bout of laryngitis. The British soul singer, whose sophomore album “21” topped the U.S. sales chart for 10 weeks, has rescheduled 14 dates she called off because of illness, and added six more to the itinerary.

She’ll make up her missed performance at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Aug. 15 and her date at the Hollywood Palladium on Aug. 17, two of 10 shows she’ll play in August, beginning Aug. 9 in Vancouver, British Columbia. The other 10 will move to October, wrapping up Oct. 21 in Grand Prairie, Texas. 

The six new dates will tour stops her to Las Vegas; Atlantic City, N.J.; Durham, N.C.; Orlando, Fla.; Miami and Spring, Texas. Pioneering rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson, who had been slated to open most of Adele's tour, will appear on the bill for her August dates, but not for the October leg, according to a spokesman for Sony Music, Adele's label.

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Eminem and Royce Da 5'9'' reunite for new 'Bad Meets Evil' EP

Eminem 
What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, the news that Eminem and Royce Da 5'9" were recording an EP would've sent the subterranean realm into all-out spazz mode.

At the time, Eminem was the underground hero made good when the term "underground" didn't need to be put in scare quotes. He was a battle-scarred Rap Olympics and Scribble Jam vet who had clawed his way onto the Interscope roster and managed to become both America's sweetheart and national nightmare. Songs such as "My Name Is" and "The Real Slim Shady" cemented his spot as a pop sensation and guest spots on the "Soundbombing" compilation and Sticky Fingaz's record secured his status as an expert at making big records without selling out.

In the early '00s, Slim Shady began introducing D12, his crew of Detroiters that included local hero Proof, well-known producer-rapper Kon Artis (Mr. Porter) and diaper-rocking weirdo Bizarre. Boosted by an Eminem cameo, the group's "Purple Pills" cracked the top 20 of the Billboard charts.

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Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Eminem dominate Billboard Music Awards nominations

Billboard_Awards

The nominations for the 2011 Billboard Music Awards were revealed Wednesday and Rihanna, Eminem and Lady Gaga lead the pack.

Rihanna trumped her peers with 18 nominations, including top Hot 100 artist, top female artist, top R&B artist and top dance/electronic artist. "Love the Way You Lie," her Grammy-nominated collaboration with Eminem, scored six nods on its own.

Eminem continued his reign as awards season darling with 16 nominations, including top Billboard 200 artist, top artist, top male artist and top rap artist, while Lady Gaga trailed behind him with 12. Though she should scoop up a trophy for top dance/electronic album given "The Fame," "The Fame Monster" and her remix EP are in the running.

Katy Perry and Shakira both dominate the top pop and latin song races, respectively, as both singers have three singles a piece vying for statues in the categories.
 
Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber earned 11 nominations each and compete with Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj and Taio Cruz for the top new artist award.

The Billboard Music Awards looked at artist performance based on chart profile, social network and streaming activity during the eligibility period of Feb. 28, 2010, to March 1, 2011. The 46 categories are based on data from Nielsen SoundScan, radio airplay, social media consumption and tour grosses, which is reflected in categories such as streaming awards for video and audio, touring and digital media.

After its cancellation and subsequent hiatus in 2007, the telecast returns to television this year. It will air live May 22 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on ABC.

Rihanna, the Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Taio Cruz have all been confirmed as performers.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Twitter.com/gerrickkennedy

Photos: (Left) Lady Gaga celebrates after receiving a Grammy for best pop vocal album on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

(Middle) Eminem celebrates after receiving the award for the best rap album on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

(Right) Rihanna accepts the international female award onstage at the the Brit Awards 2011 on Feb.  15 in London. Credit: Dave Hogan / Getty Images

Eminem claims he's a G.O.A.T., and offers evidence

Kjca6cnc At the dawn of the Napster age, Eminem completists used to endlessly trawl for random guest appearances, freestyles and other free-floating flotsam and jetsam. From his appearance on Sway and Tech's "The Anthem," to appearances on the Madd Rapper album, to radio show freestyles, the young Slim Shady was snarling, elastic and lawless.

During an era in which shiny-suited rappers and boy bands churned out pop with a platinum glaze, Marshall Mathers was resolutely anarchist. It felt like you were watching a young Ali, defiantly outside the system but meticulously plotted by someone who knew exactly what he was doing. Floating like a butterfly, antithetically opposed to the cornballs who made "Butterfly." Awesome.

Sometime around "Lose Yourself," he switched up his style. You can attribute it to the drugs, or the influence of G-Unit, or the massive success he acquired in the wake of his performance in "8 Mile." But suddenly, Em had become technically obssessed to the point of constipation. Whereas his earlier work had a relaxed, goofball charm, he now incorporated chainsaw noises and gunshots, and started rapping in a husky growl that suggested he spent most of his days amped up on Mountain Dew: Code Red while listening to Avenged Sevenfold (not that there's anything wrong with Avenged Sevenfold fans).

His music seemed rigid, like a basketball player bulking up but suddenly losing his speed and agility. "Relapse" marked a resurgence of sorts. By any account, the album was brilliantly rapped, but difficult to stomach. Still, there was no denying that it was a work of genius -- perhaps the songs weren't all there, but the skill was. If Hannibal Lecter could have recorded a rap album, this would've been it. Brilliant, sinister, scatological and a parent's nightmare. It's no wonder that Odd Future used it as a blueprint.

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Billboard Hot 100 notches 1,000th No. 1 single: From Ricky Nelson to Lady Gaga

Rick Nelson 1958 Lady Gaga 2011

Lady Gaga has snagged a piece of pop music history in landing the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 this week with her new single “Born This Way.”

Even more significant than posting the highest first-week digital sales by a female artist, with 448,000 downloads of the song, according to Nielsen SoundScan, Gaga scored the 1,000th No. 1 single on the Billboard chart since its inception in 1958.

In recognition of the milestone among chart watchers, Billboard has posted a chronological listing of all 1,000 chart-topping songs.

The first? Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool,” which beat all comers on that first Hot 100 chart dated Aug. 4, 1958. With that in mind, some might consider it a shame that America’s latest teen idol, Justin Bieber, didn’t land the No. 1 slot this week to bookend the half-century-plus period that began with pop music’s original teen idol. (Life magazine is credited with coining the phrase in a feature story on Nelson’s rise to stardom.)

Pop & Hiss thought we’d take the opportunity to scan through the years for some of the chart’s other high- and lowlights.

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Grammy Awards provide a big boost for indie music

Arcade Fire-Grammy Robert Gauthier 
Arcade Fire’s album-of-the-year Grammy award on Sunday night for “The Suburbs” was a victory for a lot of people, and not just because it seemed as if the Canadian rock collective brought half the population of its native Montreal onstage during its show-closing musical performances.

It also was a win for the grassroots community of independent musicians and record companies to which Arcade Fire and its label, Merge Records, belong. Combined with the win in another of the top four Grammy categories -- jazz bassist-singer Esperanza Spalding’s upset for best new artist -- indie labels and artists came away from Sunday night’s ceremony with two major boosts to their self-esteem.

“A lot of the jaws that hit the floor when those two categories were announced were those of independents,” said Jim Selby, chief executive of Naxos of America, the independent Nashville-based classical label that racked up 35 nominations and took home 10 awards for its artists and distributed labels Sunday. “Independent artists winning against Eminem? A lot of people were thinking, ‘This is insane!' "

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Herbie Hancock + a Beatle? = Grammy time

Herbie Hancock 2011 Grammy Awards-Allen J. Schaben 
A night of full of upsets and other surprises started early with Grammy voters’ verdict in the pop collaboration with vocals category. In a field featuring tracks that teamed superstar combinations of Eminem, B.o.B. and Hayley Williams; Elton John and Leon Russell; Lady Gaga and Beyoncé; and Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg, the Grammy went to … Herbie Hancock.

Now, we know how much the Grammys love Herbie, most illustriously when he took the 2008 album of the year award for "River: The Joni Mitchell Letters” album of the celebrated singer-songwriter's music. This time, he trumped the pop, rock, rap and R&B heavy hitters with his version of John Lennon's "Imagine,” from his "The Imagine Project" collection, for which he was joined on the Grammy-winning track by Pink, India.Arie and a group of international friends.

The award also delivered yet another example of the Grammy night adage: Never underestimate the power of a Beatle.

The music industry's love affair with the Beatles surfaced two other times Sunday, with awards to Paul McCartney for solo rock vocal for his rendition of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" from his “Good Evening New York City” live album, and the award for historical album for "The Beatles in Stereo," the 16-disc box set that packaged stereo versions of all the Fab Four's original studio albums.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Herbie Hancock at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.

 

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