At some point along the trajectory of Jennifer Lopez's formidable career, you’ve probably found yourself dancing and humming along to one of her many ubiquitous pop hits. Now, more than a dozen years after her musical debut, the multi-hyphenate diva is ready to take a look back with her first retrospective package.
“Dance Again…the Hits” is set for release July 24 through Epic Records, her former longtime label announced Monday. Lopez has not left her current label, Island Def Jam, but admitted that she contractually owed Epic a package.
The greatest-hits package includes two new dance jams, “Goin’ In” (featuring Flo Rida) and “Dance Again” (featuring Pitbull), which recently hit No. 1 on the Billboard Dance/Club chart, along with signature hits “Love Don't Cost a Thing,” “If You Had My Love” and “Waiting for Tonight.” The deluxe edition includes bonus tracks and a DVD of music videos.
VH1 really seems to be following the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Amid growing criticism of its latest season of “Basketball Wives,” the network is introducing yet another title in a booming roster of provocative programs slanted toward African American viewers wanting to wallow in the behind-the-scenes drama (quite evidently, there is a ton) that goes on with women attached to the music and sports worlds.
“Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” a spin-off of the popular New York based docu-series in which slapping, drink throwing and hair pulling became a plot point, is set to premiere on the network on Monday.
The 10-episode series is anchored in a new crop of industry players: Grammy Award-winning producer Stevie J (Diddy, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey), his girlfriend, Mimi Faust, and his protégée, an up-and-coming Latina rapper named Joseline; rapper Lil Scrappy, his girlfriend, Erica Dixon, and his mother, a former hustler known as “Momma Dee”; Atlanta rapper Rasheeda, her manager-husband Kirk Frost; songstress K. Michelle; and Trinidadian R&B singer Karlie Redd.
Pop & Hiss caught up with two of the aspiring performers, Joseline and K. Michelle, to talk drama, putting themselves in front of the camera and, of course, music.
When Usher sat down with The Times for a recent feature, the 33-year-old was ready to show that he’s still the most viable heir to the late King of Pop's throne despite the emergence of more youthful sing-and-dance prodigies like Justin Bieber (whom he mentored) and Chris Brown (his stiffest competition).
His latest album, “Looking 4 Myself” – projected to bow at No. 1 on the Billboard chart next week – showcases the singer’s current mantra to “evolve or evaporate.”
The current influx of global, electronic dance music in pop music provided the foundation for the album. It's another example in which the multi-platinum, Grammy Award winner meshed his old-school R&B and urban textures with fresh influences – something that has garnered the singer criticism in the past.
Before a recent rehearsal at Burbank's CenterStaging, Usher let us dig deep in his back catalog from a career that stretches back two decades where we asked him to offer snap judgements on a handful of tracks:
News that New York City police are investigating an early Thursday morning brawl, reportedly between Chris Brown and Drake and their respective entourages at the club W.i.P. in Manhattan, will undoubtedly dominate hip-hop blogs for the coming days.
But as details, tweets, video and denials emerge, let’s get one thing out of the way: Brown and Drake -- whatever this alleged beef is about, stop it immediately.
For some time, rumors of a feud between the two have proliferated, but it's only been in the last few months that fans and bloggers have paid closer attention (and dissected) this alleged beef.
RELATED: Chris Brown, Drake reportedly brawl in New York City nightclub
Of course, fingers are pointed at a certain pop star as the catalyst: Rihanna.
Metallica is lending a hand to the FBI to help solve the murder of a 20-year-old college student who disappeared after a 2009 concert by the heavy metal band in Charlottesville, Va.
James Hetfield, lead singer and guitarist for Metallica, has recorded a plea for information in a video released by the Virginia State Police on Wednesday.
Morgan Harrington, an aspiring teacher and Virginia Tech student, went missing after she left a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 2009. About three months later, her skeletal remains were found on a remote farm about 10 miles from the venue.
Her T-shirt was found in front of an apartment building near the Charlottesville arena, but a camera she had with her that night and a distinctive Swarovski crystal necklace she was wearing have not been recovered. She was last seen hitchhiking, according to FBI reports.
An enhanced composite sketch of the suspect is displayed in the video, and the FBI says the suspect has also been linked through DNA to a September 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax City, Va., where a woman walking home from a grocery story reported being grabbed and dragged behind a maintenance shed before being attacked.
The Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers is offering $100,000 for any information leading to an arrest, and Metallica has put up a $50,000 reward. Hetfield’s PSA appears on YouTube and an FBI website dedicated to the case.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
As "American Idol" turns 10, we celebrate the milestone with 10 of our favorite contestants.
Ten years ago, a little show called “American Idol” made its debut on Fox.
Hoping to find the next pop superstar, the music competition has more than made an indelible mark in pop culture and is responsible for its share of lasting voices (Kelly Clarkson! Carrie Underwood! Daughtry! Adam Lambert!) and plenty of disposable ones.
Over the years, the aging competition has had plenty of growing pains -- acid-tongued judge Simon Cowell exiting, ratings dips and odd personnel choices (love you Ellen, but come on) -- but despite the show’s missteps, millions continue to tune in to watch from auditions (both inspiring and craptastic) to finals, and predict who will walk away with the title.
Though recent winners of the competition have followed a distinct pattern -- a record number of 132 million votes helped Georgia-bred troubadour Phillip Phillips win this season -- contestants have found success in virtually every genre including pop, R&B, country, rock, gospel, dance and musical theater.
To celebrate the show’s landmark, here’s 10 songs from 10 of our favorite contestants to grace the “Idol” stage. Sorry fans of Season 9, that was a tough one for this writer to watch -– or like.
Odd Future crooner Frank Ocean announces long-awaited Def Jam debut and supporting tour.
This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Frank Ocean has been pretty quiet since his stellar debut at Coachella earlier this year, but late Thursday night the Odd Future crooner dropped a mysterious video online teasing his highly anticipated Def Jam debut.
Over a shot of a BMW station wagon, Ocean's distinct voice is heard singing a new track about a lady (the seemingly empty car could be parked outside her house). The brief teaser serves as the announcement for Ocean’s upcoming album, "Channel Orange." Def Jam confirmed the album will hit stores July 17.
Ocean continues to slowly reveal details from his forthcoming album, later debuting the full track previously teased in the clip. The album's first single, "Pyramids," clocks in at nearly 10 minutes. Check out the sweeping track here.
Fans have patiently waited for more music from the singer after Def Jam initially announced plans to re-release “nostalgia, ULTRA,” Ocean’s debut mixtape that he issued free after he grew frustrated with the label. The album garnered a cult following and championed Ocean as a reinvigorating force with his ear for avant-R&B hooks, textured narratives and deft sampling.
In a January interview with the BBC, Ocean confirmed he had made up with the label and an album would be coming in the spring.
To support the album, Ocean will embark on a 14-date tour that he announced on his Tumblr page on Friday. The Channel Orange tour will kick off July 13 in Seattle and wrap up Aug. 1 in Detroit. He will celebrate the album's release with a show at the Wiltern on July 17. Tickets are on sale now through LiveNation. They are $34 including surcharges.
Check out the trailer below:
[For the record, 4:05 p.m., June 8: details about Frank Ocean's new single were added to this post.]
Coachella 2012: Hiccups aside, Frank Ocean shines
Best of 2011 in local hip-hop and R&B: Gerrick D. Kennedy
Frank Ocean's 'nostalgia, ULTRA' re-release will be 'lite,' singer hoping to clear samples
— Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: Frank Ocean performed in the Gobi tent on the first day of Week 2 of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio on April 20. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times
As news of the death of former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Bob Welch spread Thursday afternoon, fans began digging into the musical archives as they paid their respects to the 66-year-old and his music.
He might not be as synonymous with Fleetwood Mac as Stevie Nicks or Lindsey Buckingham, but Welch's early contributions helped paved the way for the sound the band is celebrated for today.
RELATED: Bob Welch dies: Former Fleetwood Mac guitarist, 'Ebony Eyes' singer
The L.A. native achieved success with a solo career in the late '70s that spawned a slew of hits including "Hot Love, Cold World," "Ebony Eyes," "Precious Love" and "Sentimental Lady” -- a track originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac but later redone by Welch.
He also formed two other short-lived outfits: a hard rock trio, Paris, that released two albums before dissolving, and Avenue M, which backed him on tour and never released an album.
To give the fans a boost, Pop & Hiss has dug through his contributions to music for few selections. Listen after the jump:
Though “MDNA” offered the 53-year-old pop icon her eighth No. 1 when it pushed 359,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, the disc quickly plummeted on the charts (sales dropped a record 88% the second week it was out). Nine weeks after its release, “MDNA” is currently seated at 105 on the Billboard 200 chart.
At the moment, brand spanking new copies of the album can be purchased for the bargain-basement price of 42 cents on Amazon. Talk about a steal!
Sure it's a clean version of the standard edition of the disc and shipping costs more than the album, but spending less than $4 for a recently released physical album these days is a rarity.
Is there any way to improve on HBO’s critically acclaimed series “The Wire”? Well, it could be turned into a Broadway musical, of course.
Before fans of the beloved drama cry foul, protective of the legacy of the TV series that closely examined the drug-ridden streets of Baltimore, it should be noted that the musical is all in good humor, courtesy of the folks at Funny or Die.
The parody managed to recruit nearly half the original cast, including Larry Gilliard Jr. (D'Angelo Barksdale), Felicia Pearson (Snoop), Andre Royo (Bubbles), Sonja Sohn (Kima) and Michael K. Williams (Omar), where they employ their best jazz hands.
In the four-minute clip, they manage to turn the gritty street tales into something more family-friendly and tease the musical's cheery songs such as "Omar's Comin,' " "It's All in the Game" and a sad ballad, "I'm Just a Burner," told from the point of view of the prepaid cellphones used by drug dealers.
Check out Omar breaking into song and dance, a singing syringe and Snoop in a dress (yeah girl, your hair looks good) below:
Now, if only Funny or Die would give the musical treatment to a few other critically acclaimed dramas that have made all-time best lists. “Oz,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Sopranos” and “The West Wing” come to mind.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: In an image from a video released by Funny or Die, actor Michael Kenneth Williams, best known as Omar Little in the HBO series "The Wire," reprises his role for the comedy video "The Wire: The Musical." Credit: Funny or Die / Associated Press.