Apple Faces Backlash From Congress For Apple Music in China Purge

Following the removal of pro-Democracy songs in China, Apple is facing a backlash led by Republican politicians. Apple Music in China removed several Hong Kong singers from its platform.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke to The Verge about Apple’s decision to be complicit in the Chinese government’s attempts at censorship.

“It’s disgraceful to see one of America’s most innovative, influential tech companies support the Communist Chinese government’s aggressive censorship efforts within China as we near the Tiananmen Square Massacre’s 30th anniversary.”

Rubio says Apple has turned a blind eye to egregious human rights violations in exchange for access to the Chinese market. Jacky Cheung’s song with lyrics referencing the Tiananmen Square massacre was .

Representative Cathy McMorris Rodger (R-WA) joined in the admonishment of Apple yesterday. She said the company needs to “be a stronger voice for freedom around the globe.”

Oregon Representative Greg Walden chimed in, adding,

“We need to ask serious questions to ensure human rights are being protected. If these reports are true, Apple owes the public an explanation.”

Every year around June 4th, the Chinese government goes into overdrive to censor mentions of the protest.  Apple has obliged the government by censoring emojis, removing VPN apps, and now censoring songs on Apple Music.

Several outspoken pro-democracy activists have had their music removed from Chinese streaming services. These songs still remain available on Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and US versions of Apple Music.

Apple is working to expand its retail operations in China, which means the company has to align itself with China’s government. Last year Apple moved its Chinese customer data to a local firm in southern China. The firm has very close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

Human rights watchdogs called Apple a sell-out for that move.  This shift essentially gives the Chinese government access to all Chinese user data.

Apple Faces Backlash From Congress For Apple Music in China Purge

Apple Faces Backlash From Congress For Apple Music in China PurgeApple Faces Backlash From Congress For Apple Music in China Purge

Apple Faces Backlash From Congress For Apple Music in China PurgeApple Faces Backlash From Congress For Apple Music in China Purge

G-Eazy Has Secured The Lil Wayne Vocals

G-Eazy has been sitting comfortably in “album mode” for some time now. The “West Coast” rapper, whom we have come to dub affectionately as “The Bay Area Greaser,” previously teased the best music his career – nay, his life. While such claims tend to fly willy-nilly during the pre-album rollout, G-Eazy has ficially doubled down, revealing one the project’s guest features in the process. “Lil Wayne vocals just came in !!!,” writes Young Gerald, Twitter. “Albums gonna be historic.”

The untitled collaboration is not the first time G-Eazy and Weezy crossed paths. Their previous hit “Order More (Remix),” which featured the additional talents Yo Gotti, found the pair trading verses. Given G-Eazy’s “historic” declaration, it stands to reason that he’s getting some peak Wayne. Of course, Weezy F. Baby has made a habit killing features when called upon, so we shouldn’t be surprised at Gerald’s fanboyish-glee excitement. 

Look for more news on G-Eazy’s upcoming project to surface in the coming months. It’s been a while since Beautiful And The Damned dropped, and we look forward to seeing what he’s got cooking up. Especially given the recent hype he’s been stoking. 

G-Eazy Has Secured The Lil Wayne Vocals

Ronald Martinez/Getty s

Smokepurpp Unleashes A Thirty-Seven Minute Freestyle Odyssey

Fresh f the release a melodic new drop called “Remember Me,Smokepurpp has stepped overseas to set Tim Westwood’s studio ablaze. Taking a page out Juice WRLD’s playbook, Purpp decided to freestyle for nearly forty minutes, opting to go f-the-dome. While that might be a gamble to some, others recognize the merit in preserving the lost art spontaneous bars. Ever the good sport, Westwood proceeds to bless Purpp with no shortage instrumentals, including “XO Tour Life,” “Duppy,” “ZEZE,” “Roll In Peace,” and many more.

Smokepurpp Unleashes A Thirty-Seven Minute Freestyle Odyssey

Mike Coppola/Getty s 

For the most part, Purpp tackles each beat with a noted lack finesse. Yet the rawness with which he spits is part the charm; you’ve gotta admire a man willing to brave uncharted waters on live radio. Though he’s hardly breaking lyrical barriers, every so ten he stumbles upon a dope flow, catching fragmented lyrics and building greater schemes around them. True, dying-cat dips into falsetto occasionally derail the ship, Purpp does occasionally stumble upon a few gems throughout the journey.

Check out Purpp’s exercise in lyrical gymnastics below. Is the young man deserving an A-for-effort? Before doling out judgment, perhaps you oughta step to the mic and take up the challenge. Though Black Thought he is not, Purpp deserves credit for taking a risk and having some fun in the process. Did he deserve some bombs dropped in his honor?

Waka Flocka Shot At During Atlanta Studio Session

It is being reported by Complex and several other sources that Waka Flocka had to dodge bullets while walking into his studio session last week. The shooting reportedly took place on April 4 at Waka’s Atlanta studio. Details are still relatively unclear but it appears as though three gunmen opened fire, causing a barrage bullets to nearly hit the rapper and his entourage. Waka was among a dozen people entering the studio and one man was reportedly hit in the right arm. Flocka was not harmed during the shooting. It’s currently undetermined whether or not Waka Flocka was the intended target. Thankfully, he’s safe. 

Waka Flocka Shot At During Atlanta Studio Session
Prince Williams/Wireimage/Getty s

Last year, Waka announced his retirement from the rap game, returning months later with several new remixes and singles. The man doesn’t seem to be done just yet. He’s still living the “family life” as he put it in November but he’s finding time to hit the studio every once in a while. 

The shooting news has been confirmed by local stations in Atlanta, who caught wind the incident today. Right now, the suspects have not been arrested as the search continues for them. After the truly unfortunate events a couple weeks ago, we’re glad that Waka Flocka was not harmed in the shooting.

Lakers Had To Stop Lonzo Ball From Undergoing "Unauthorized" Surgery: Report

Magic Johnson‘s time as a member the Los Angeles Lakers’ front fice has come to an end, but the details regarding his final few months as President Basketball Operations are now staring to surface.

According to a report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, disgraced Big Baller Brand co-founder, Alan Foster, and LaVar Ball had pushed second-year point guard Lonzo Ball to undergo unauthorized surgery on his injured left ankle, but Magic ultimately convinced him not to.

The Lakers reportedly had no idea what LaVar, Foster and Lonzo had planned until it was almost too late. Charania reports that Lonzo actually flew to Ohio in preparation the surgery when he called Magic, who informed Ball the Lakers could void his contract if he went through with it without the team’s knowledge or consent.

Just a small example the headache that comes along with being the Lakers’ President Basketball Operations, especially when you’ve got a character like LaVar Ball behind the scenes. 

Speaking LaVar…

Less than 24 hours after Magic’s resignation, Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” invited him onto the program to share his thoughts on the matter. Naturally, the Ball Father had plenty to say, including the following statement:

“Magic, from my point view now, listening to him talk, he’s just a face. I don’t think his say-so is like his say-so. … I’m trying to figure out who’s in charge the Lakers]. The system is crumbling down. I don’t know what’s going on over there.”

J. Cole & Nipsey Hussle Planned To Collaborate In 2019: "Supposed To Be The Year"

Within the same Rap Radar where he reflected upon the Dreamer 3 sessions and his objectives for the label (at large), J. Cole mentioned that loose plans were in place to collaborate with Nipsey Hussle before his demise. The topic kind revealed itself organically, as Elliott Wilson (with Brian “B.Dot” Miller seated beside him) was in the process asking him about his dealings with Meek Mill when the conversation took a turn towards Nipsey. Meek was among the guests honor invited to perform at last weekend’s Dreamville Fest in North Carolina. 

J. Cole & Nipsey Hussle Planned To Collaborate In 2019: "Supposed To Be The Year"

Tiffany Rose/Wire/Getty s

“We had text like maybe three weeks ago,” Cole said his correspondence with Nipsey. “He was like, ‘Yo, I would love to…,’ I’m like, ‘Hell yeah, this the year.’ Cause when he hit me I realized, ‘Damn we ain’t got no joint together.’ … So when he hit me I was like, ‘Bro this the year, we gotta get one.'” He added, “This year was supposed to be the year.”

During the aforementioned Dreamville Fest, J. Cole performed a special rendition “Love Yourz” in dedication to Nipsey. “I just seen footage yesterday all types different sets and hoods walking together in L.A. to pay homage and pay respect to Nipsey Hussle,” he told the crowd, in reference to the gang summits that emerged out Nipsey’s passing. “So, I need us to do the same thing tonight.” You can stream the footage below.

J. Cole & Nipsey Hussle Planned To Collaborate In 2019: "Supposed To Be The Year"

Within the same Rap Radar where he reflected upon the Dreamer 3 sessions and his objectives for the label (at large), J. Cole mentioned that loose plans were in place to collaborate with Nipsey Hussle before his demise. The topic kind revealed itself organically, as Elliott Wilson (with Brian “B.Dot” Miller seated beside him) was in the process asking him about his dealings with Meek Mill when the conversation took a turn towards Nipsey. Meek was among the guests honor invited to perform at last weekend’s Dreamville Fest in North Carolina. 

J. Cole & Nipsey Hussle Planned To Collaborate In 2019: "Supposed To Be The Year"

Tiffany Rose/Wire/Getty s

“We had text like maybe three weeks ago,” Cole said his correspondence with Nipsey. “He was like, ‘Yo, I would love to…,’ I’m like, ‘Hell yeah, this the year.’ Cause when he hit me I realized, ‘Damn we ain’t got no joint together.’ … So when he hit me I was like, ‘Bro this the year, we gotta get one.'” He added, “This year was supposed to be the year.”

During the aforementioned Dreamville Fest, J. Cole performed a special rendition “Love Yourz” in dedication to Nipsey. “I just seen footage yesterday all types different sets and hoods walking together in L.A. to pay homage and pay respect to Nipsey Hussle,” he told the crowd, in reference to the gang summits that emerged out Nipsey’s passing. “So, I need us to do the same thing tonight.” You can stream the footage below.

eOne Acquires Audio Network for $215 Million

Entertainment One (eOne) has confirmed a major acquisition.

The content company has purchased popular U.K. indie music company, Audio Network, for $215 million.

Under terms of the deal, the former company writes the move “locks eOne’s position as a leading end-to-end global independent music brand.”

Confirming the acquisition, Darren Thoop, eOne’s President and CEO, explained the company remains “very pleased to welcome Audio Network.”

The combination of eOne’s front-end commercial artist catalog and Audio Network’s extensive premium production music creates a one-stop solution for business customers seeking high-quality music.”

The purchase grants eOne complete ownership of the British indie music creator, publisher, and licensor.  Founded in 2001, Audio Network currently operates in nine countries – the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, and Japan.

Audio Network has over 150,000 high-quality tracks across all genres, used primarily in TV, film, and advertising media.  The indie company represents over 1,000 artists, composers, and producers.  Its clients span across TV, advertising, digital media, and enterprise industries.

eOne added both company’s rosters will ultimately “benefit from [our] rich traditional record label services and extensive film, television, and brand capabilities.”

“‘The addition of Audio Network further enriches [our] integrated partner offering and full-scope capabilities, generating more monetization opportunities for commercial artists through relationship-based sync placements.

Though now an eOne subsidiary, Robb Smith, the indie music company’s CEO, will continue to lead Audio Network.  Founder and Andrew Sunnucks will serve as Chairman.  The indie music company’s current executive management team will continue to report to Smith.

Celebrating the acquisition, Sunnucks added Audio Network’s “relationships with artists and composers have been at the heart of our business from the very start.”

In joining eOne, we’re becoming part of an incredible global entertainment family, and will have the continued opportunity to create and record the world’s best music and share it globally.

J.P. Morgan Chase Bank reportedly financed the transaction.  Milbank LLP served as an advisor for eOne.  Jefferies International advised Audio Network while Taylor Wessing provided legal counsel for the British indie music company.

 


Featured image by GFDL (CC by 2.0).

Jessie Reyez Opens Up About Working With "Legend" Eminem

In April 2018, it was revealed that Eminem was once again hitting the studio, joined by his “talented friend Jessie.” Months later, Kamikaze emerged out the blue, featuring two appearances from Canadian singer Jessie Reyez, including the emotional single “Good Guy.” Many were immediately taken by her voice, which evokes memories Nelly Furtado’s early-game run, and sought out her deeper catalog. October’s Being Human In Public helped push her further into the spotlight, and the recent “Imported” remix with 6LACK further cemented her a friend hip-hop. Now, sitting down with Zane Lowe, Reyez opened up about working with one the rap game’s legends. 

Jessie Reyez Opens Up About Working With "Legend" Eminem

Scott Gries/Getty s

“It was sick. He’s mad sick, man. That’s crazy to work with a legend. Another legend.  Here in LA. Man, it was cool to be able to come up with it in front him too, because it wasn’t something that was copy and paste, it was like, we vibed, we met, Rosenberg was there,” explains Reyez. “He played me some beats and I was like, oh this is cool. Sometimes I have my notebook, I always have notebooks, and I write stuff down sometimes. If the faucet’s too wide, and there’s too many things coming, then I gotta do that, right? But every now and then, I’ll get blessed, and it’ll just come and so I’m just rocking, and I’m trying to hear it, and I’m trying to catch it, and I’m just figuring out the words, and Rosenberg and him were there, and they’re just vibing and chilling.”

“And then it was there. Then it just came. Then I was like, cool let’s do it,” she continues. “And we did it, and he was like, “You never had this before?” I’m like, “Nah.” He was like, “That’s dope.” And I was like, “Yeah!” Crazy, man. It was nuts to be able to get that praise from him. It’s crazy. He’s mad talented. Working with him was sick, and I love … He’s super sarcastic, man, and I’m fluent in sarcasm, so we were just right here, it was perfect. Love it.”

For more from Jessie, be sure to check out the full interview through Zane Lowe. 

Nike Air Flightposite One Receives Colored Piping: Details

With so many shoes existing in the Nike library, it’s not surprising that some shoes don’t get as much love as others. There are plenty models that get brand new makeovers almost monthly, while other sneakers get few releases and even fewer new colorways. One those shoes is the Nike Air Flighposite One. Backing f the success the Foamposite, the Flightposite has a futuristic-looking silhouette that typically comes in a solid upper. It appears as though Nike is looking to change the fortunes the Flightposite One by giving it a brand new colorway with an interesting unique twist.

Instead a solid upper, the piping that is interwoven throughout has a distinct baby blue color to it. Meanwhile, the rest the upper is dressed in an iridescent rainbow shell. Meanwhile, the top half where the tongue is comes in black, with a baby blue Nike swoosh. There are no laces on these shoes as a zipper is used instead.

According to Sneaker News, these will be dropping on May 4th for an unconfirmed price.

Nike Air Flightposite One Receives Colored Piping: Details

  Sneaker News

Nike Air Flightposite One Receives Colored Piping: Details

  Sneaker News

Nike Air Flightposite One Receives Colored Piping: Details

  Sneaker News
Nike Air Flightposite One Receives Colored Piping: Details
  Sneaker News

Steelers Veteran Issues PSA After Big Ben Labeled A "Racist" On Twitter

With Antonio Brown gone from the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’s still managed to haunt the team. Last week, he got into a public dispute on Twitter with wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster over pretty well nothing. Then today, former running back Rashard Mendenhall took to Twitter to call Ben Roethlisberger a racist, something he ended up walking back just a few moments later. It was a bizarre rant, to say the least.

In the wake Mendenhall’s comments, fensive lineman Ramon Foster took to Twitter with a PSA, urging all Steelers players to stop with the social media rants. Instead, he wants players to report to him or Maurkice Pouncey. From there, the two veteran players will help facilitate a conversation to mend fences.

“Moving forward…any former player or affiliate the Steelers who has an issue with anyone still in the locker room, please contact me or Maurkice Pouncey or anyone else you feel you can talk to,” Foster wrote. “Whoever you have an issue with, we will get you their number so you can address them. I PROMISE. These media takes might give y’all good traffic on your social media outlets but the guys still in that locker room, who y’all still know personally have to answer for those comments. Call them what you want, but call them personally and tell THEM. Defend who you want to defend but you don’t have to mention the team at all.”

Foster and Pouncey are attempting to repair a broken locker room that has been left shattered in the wake Brown and Le’Veon Bell’s departures.

PPL Reaches Record Q1 International Revenue Distribution

British collecting society PPL has reported its largest Q1 international revenue distribution.

For the first quarter of 2019, the company for performers and labels collected £16.1 million ($21 million) from over 50 global collective management organizations (CMOs).

Marking a record distribution of international revenue, PPL distributed the money to 40,000 performers and recording rightsholders.  This figure exceeds the previous record Q1 distribution, which took place in 2017.  The British collecting society had allocated £15.7 million ($22 million at the historic conversion rate) to 33,000 performers and recording rightsholders.

As the name suggests, PPL’s international collections service collects money from overseas CMOs for members’ music broadcasted and played publicly.  This includes recorded music played on TV, radio, several streaming services, and private copying.  The British collecting society stated this money remains “an increasingly important revenue stream” for performers and rightsholders.

Attributing its continued success to the “breadth” of its international relationships, PPL confirmed ten payments were over half a million pounds (more than $653,000) each.  Following a bilateral agreement between PPL and AKIE, an Albanian performers society, the company’s Q1 2019 distribution included a first-ever payment from Albania.

PPL now has 92 international collection agreements in place across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Speaking about the record distribution figure, Peter Leathem, PPL’s CEO, said,

Today’s record Q1 distribution comes off the back of our announcement in January that our international collections grew by 40%in 2018 to £70.9 million ($92.7 million).

These achievements are made possible by the expertise and hard work of the staff throughout the company and we will be working hard throughout 2019 to maximize revenue for those are entitled to receive payments from PPL.

Praising the company’s “position and specialist knowledge” in the global music industry, Lauren Oxenbury, Director of International, added,

We continue to invest, along with our fellow CMOs, in raising the quality of data and the efficiency with which it’s exchanged around the world.

This means we can be faster and more accurate in our identification of music use on a global scale, and therefore distribute more royalties to PPL performers and recording rightsholders.

 


 

Blueface Shows Love To Nipsey Hussle After Crips Call Him Out

Earlier this week, Blueface was called out by one his fellow Crips after he failed to pay his respects when Nipsey Hussle passed away. As somebody that came up on the West Coast who reps Crip, you would think that Blueface would be one the first to react to Nipsey’s murder. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case. Word may have gotten back to him that people weren’t happy because nearly two weeks after his passing, the “Thotiana” rapper has finally spoken out.

Blueface Shows Love To Nipsey Hussle After Crips Call Him Out
Prince Williams/Wireimage/Getty s

During one his club appearances this week, Blueface took time to pay tribute to Nipsey Hussle. His memorial post was not as detailed as many others, including YG and Snoop Dogg, but at least it exists now. The rapper posted a video himself with the screen behind him pixelated with a photo Hussle, writing “RIP Nip” on top the image. Many members the hip-hop community were surprised that it took such a long time for Blueface to speak out but with Nipsey Hussle’s Celebration Life taking place today, it’s better late than never.

Do you think Blueface should have spoken out a little sooner or are you happy he said anything at all? Take a look at the post below.

Brett Favre Hails Aaron Rodgers "The Best Player In The Game"

There has been some chatter around the NFL these days about Aaron Rodgers and whether or not he’s a good teammate who is difficult to coach and even more difficult to play with. Rodgers has defended himself on numerous occasions, labeling any former teammates who are spreading these stories as “irrelevant” and “bitter.” Clearly, Rodgers doesn’t enjoy having his name dragged through the mud. 

When Rodgers was a young quarterback, he was mentored by teammate Brett Favre, who eventually moved on from the Packers in 2007. Favre spoke to TMZ Sports about Rodgers current situation and fered some advice, all while praising the Super Bowl-Champion.

“I just feel they should have won more,” Favre said after explaining how Rodgers is the best player in the league. “They were that good.”

As for the accusations being thrown at Rodgers, Favre said the quarterback should remain calm and not resort to “dagger throwing” as that’s the worst way to go about things.

“He’s really at the stage now where I was when he came into Green Bay … and now he sorta sees why I did the things that I did and was more reclusive than younger players,” Favre explained. “I think as you get older you’re a little bit more guarded, maybe a lot more guarded for reasons like this.”

Rodgers will also have to deal with a new coach this season who the Packers hope can help turn things around.

Oprah Winfrey Claps Back At "Hateration" Over "Leaving Neverland" Interview

The allegations against Michael Jackson have been around for decades but Leaving Neverland brought the claims the accusers back into a mainstream conversation. After the docuseries aired, Oprah hosted After Neverland, a Q&A with Wade Robson and James Safechuck. As you could imagine, she faced a serious amount backlash. In a recent interview with Trevor Noah, she opened up about why she was okay with taking a bullet in order for Michael’s accusers to speak.

Oprah Winfrey Claps Back At "Hateration" Over "Leaving Neverland" Interview
Liaison/Getty s

Per Hollywood Reporter, during the “Between The Scenes” segment  The Daily Show, Oprah opened up about the backlash she faced after doing the After Neverland. “I haven’t had that much hateration since I did the puppy episode with Ellen DeGeneres, the episode in which DeGeneres came out as gay],” she joked. 

“I realized that a lot people were going to get triggered by watching Leaving Neverland]. And a lot people will not understand what the pattern is,” Oprah said. “I had done 217 shows trying to get people to understand that it’s not about one person; it’s about the pattern, it’s about the seduction,” she continued. “People call it ‘molestation,’ but there is a big seducing that goes on, and the pattern that seducing. And that was important enough for me to take the hateration for it.”

While Oprah was okay with taking the “hateration” at the time, it appears as though she and HBO have been trying to distance themselves from the controversy. Earlier this week, it was reported that HBO has stopped airing Leaving Neverland while Oprah’s clips from After Neverland are no longer available on her YouTube channel.