Taylor Swift Gives Emotional Performances Of "Lover" & "False God" On "SNL"

Taylor Swift made her return to Saturday Night Live last night. The 29-year-old gave fans two emotional performances her songs “Lover” and “False God,” a track she had yet to perform live. She teased that the night might be an interesting one for fans earlier this week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon saying, “Yeah, I’m fine with saying … well, you know, we have to be a little cryptic, just because it’s fun. I’ll probably do ‘Lover’ but in a way I haven’t performed it before. And then I’m going to do a song that I have never performed at all live.”

The performances were very solid. “Lover” being performed as a piano-led acoustic track helps tug on heartstrings with extra force. As the camera pulls in closer and closer to the singer, the listener can’t help but become engrossed in the performance. Her rendition “False God” is still subtle, but here, she gives slightly more upbeat energy. The saxophone earns a beautiful 20-second solo half-way through the track. It’s nice to see Taylor moving from the past few years and making good music again. Check out both performances below and tune in next week for an appearance from Camila Cabello.

Kanye West Made Rick Ross Rewrite "Devil In A New Dress" Verse At The Last Minute

Rick Ross’ memoir, Hurricanes, came out last Tuesday and he let fans get a free preview it FADER. The excerpt he chose to share chronicles the creation process Kanye West‘s “Devil in a New Dress”, which contains a Rick Ross verse “that many his] fans consider to be the best his] career.”

The passage starts f with Ross being summoned by Kanye to join the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy recording sessions in Hawaii. At the time, the two artists had not seen each other for eight years, as Ye sent in his “Maybach Music 2” feature. Ross recalls entering the studio – which Kanye booked all three rooms indefinitely – and seeing the famous sign rules that stans have probably seen on the Internet before. Notable orders include: “NO TWEETING PLEASE THANK YOU” (which was stipulated twice), “NO ACOUSTIC GUITAR IN THE STUDIO” and “JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP SOMETIMES”.

Among the “murderer’s row emcees, producers and songwriters” that Kanye had flown to Hawaii was Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, who featured on several  the classic album’s tracks. Ross had no idea who he was at the time, but he ended up “smoking a whole bunch joints and kicking the shit” with “this hippy motherfucker”. 

Ross mentions the massive amount respect he gained for Nicki Minaj after watching her write her iconic “Monster” verse from scratch. He originally wasn’t supposed to be featured on the song, but he “convinced Kanye to let him] whip up a little four-bar bridge.”

Turns out Rozay was also the one who brought Kanye and Pusha T together. The two didn’t really know each other before, but Ross imagined that Push would be a good addition to the recording sessions, so he suggested that Kanye get him over there. This period obviously led to a blossoming musical, pressional and personal relationship between them. 

It was only several months after the Hawaii trip that Kanye reached out to Ross to meet at a New York studio. It was the day before MBDTF was to be handed in. Ross had already recorded a verse to “Devil in a New Dress” in Hawaii, but Kanye thought Ross had more potential. “I know that you can do something better than that,” Kanye said before abruptly exiting the studio. Ross took on the challenge and crafted his legendary verse. Nicki Minaj has shared that Kanye played this same motivational trick on her when recording “Monster” and it proved to be just as effective. 

Stream Deluxe Edition Of XXXTENTACION’s "?" Album

XXXTENTACION’s team has released a deluxe version of the late rapper’s 2018 album ? a little over a year after his death. The expanded edition is comprised of the original 18-track LP along with instrumentals and bonus tracks.

All five songs from X’s A Ghetto Christmas Carol, a remix featuring Rico Nasty and a freestyle titled “Hope” are among the new additions. The project also includes voice memos from the deceased artist.

View X’s ? (Deluxe) stream, cover art and tracklist below.

Stream Deluxe Edition Of XXXTENTACION's "?" Album

Disc 1:
1. Introduction (Instructions)
3. Moonlight
4. SAD!
5. the remedy for a broken heart (why am I so in love)
6. Floor 555
8. infinity (888) f. Joey Bada$$
9. going down!
10. Pain = BESTFRIEND f. Travis Barker
11. $$$ f. Matt OX
12. love yourself (Interlude)
13. SMASH! f. PnB Rock
14. I don’t even speak spanish lol f. Rio Santana, Judah & Carlos Andrez
15. changes
16. Hope
17. schizophrenia
18. before I close my eyes

Disc 2:
1. ALONE, PART 3 (Instrumental)
2. Moonlight (Instrumental)
3. SAD! (Instrumental)
4. the remedy for a broken heart (why am I so in love) [Instrumental]
5. Floor 555 (Instrumental)
6. NUMB (Instrumental)
7. infinity (888) [Instrumental]
8. going down! (Instrumental)
9. Pain = BESTFRIEND (Instrumental)
10. $$$ (Instrumental)
11. love yourself (interlude) [Instrumental]
12. SMASH! (Instrumental)
13. I don’t even speak spanish lol (Instrumental)
14. changes (Instrumental)
15. Hope (Instrumental)
16. schizophrenia (Instrumental)
17. before I close my eyes (Instrumental)

Disc 3:
1. Nocturne (A Tribute to XXXTENTACION)
2. Hope (Freestyle)
3. Jah on drums
4. NUMB (Acoustic)
7. hate will never win
9. Red Light!
10. Indecision
11. voice memo 1: ALONE, PART 3
12. voice memo 2: SAD!
13. voice memo 3: Moonlight
14. voice memo 4: the remedy for a broken heart
15. voice memo 5: going down!
16. voice memo 6: changes
17. voice memo 7: before I close my eyes
18. voice memo 8: SAD! video concept

Martin Guitars Joins D'Addari's Growing String Recyling Program

Martin Guitars Joins D'Addari's Growing String Recyling Program

C.F. Martin & Co. has announced an official partnership with D’Addario’s Playback string recycling program.

D’Addario developed the program to give the public a way to recycle guitar and orchestral strings.  Many municipal recycling programs do not accept these items as they have no way to dispose of them properly.

Since it was founded, the Playback program has recycled over 3.9 million strings according to D’Addario.

Playback string recycling is offered at many instrument dealers, but the option to mail-in used strings also exists. The partnership with Martin Guitars reaffirms the guitar manufacturer’s commitment to sustainability.

Martin also used the tie-up to highlight its own eco-friendly efforts.  The Martin Guitar factory also has other programs in place to recycle string waste, sound holes, sawdust, and more.  The company also told DMN that 85% of Martin guitars are built with .

Martin says its participation in the Playback string recycling program reaffirms their commitment to .

Brian Vance — D’Addario’s Director of Product Management — said the official partnership will raise awareness of another oft-overlooked waste product.  “[Martin Guitar’s] support reflects their like-minded commitment to eliminating string waste and protecting our planet,” Vance said.  “Together, we hope to show how leading brands can work together as models of corporate responsibility and positive change.”

The Playback program is powered by TerraCycle, an international up-cycling and recycling company.  TerraCycle not only recycles products, it also turns waste into new materials and products.  After old guitar strings are collected, for example, they go through a process to separate the metal from nylon. The metal strings are melted down and smelted into new allows. Nylon strings are recycled into many different plastic applications.

TerraCycle has over 330 string recycling centers across the United States; most are partnerships with local musical instrument dealers.

Exaggerating His $35 Million Investment, Businessman Henry Cárdenas Purchases Arena Bogotá

Cardenas Marketing Network’s (CMN) top boss has confirmed a major acquisition.

Henry Cárdenas, the company’s President and Executive Director, has reportedly returned to Colombia to “fulfill his professional dream” of owning and operating Arena Bogotá.

CMN aims to convert the arena into an “iconic venue that will showcase world-class events.”

The purchase is valued at over $30 million.  This marks an important investment into Columbia’s booming live concert industry.  The 24,000-seat arena will open in the second fiscal quarter of 2020.

According to a press release, the “mega-structure” will serve as a destination spot for tourists.  Events will include live music performances, business conventions, and sporting events.

Arena Bogotá occupies a plot of land exceeding 1 million square feet.  The venue itself along with “other event space” will take up 750,000 square feet.  The roof will be 131 feet high.  Overselling the venue, Cárdenas’ company said the arena has the capacity “to resist over 110 tons.”

This unrivaled roof will certainly take acoustics and sound systems to new heights, allowing attendees to experience their favorite singers/music in a whole new way.

Stating he’s very proud to now serve as the “entertainment ambassador in my native country,” Cardenas explained,

For the first year of operations we plan to perform between 130 and 140 shows, which means about three events per week, which will include family events, corporate, live music, sports (e.g. motocross, Olympic sports, indoor soccer, boxing, volleyball, tennis, basketball, etc.), eGaming, parades, and equine events, among others.”

Once again overpromoting the acquisition, he added no other venue in Latin America – nor even North America – will match Arena Bogotá.

As a way to compare the relative size, we can look to the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, which includes 17,000 seats, whereas Arena Bogotá will have 24,000.  This great space gives us the flexibility to perform events / shows that we otherwise may not have been able to do.  In short, the capacity of Arena Bogotá will be three times greater than any other arena that exists in Latin America.

Concluding his statement, Cardenas said the venue’s capacity will remain “three times greater than any other arena” in the region.

Whether the businessman can actually pull off this feat remains to be seen.  After all, Arena Bogotá may easily become a disastrous, underwhelming venue which featured just too many promises.

Besides, what’s wrong with just saying you purchased an arena in your home country?


Featured image by Pictures of Money (CC by 2.0).

Big Machine Is Releasing Taylor Swift's Early Singles on Vinyl

The move follows an that included Taylor Swift’s valuable early masters.

Perhaps timing isn’t Big Machine’s strong suit.  Or, maybe the just-sold label group doesn’t really care.  Either way, recently-acquired Big Machine Label Group is now hawking colored 7″ vinyl releases of some of Taylor Swifts earliest (and most valuable) hits.

For $10 a pop, Big Machine is now selling vinyl copies of Swift’s ‘Tim McGraw’ and ‘Teardrops on My Guitar,’ both from Swift’s classic, self-titled debut album from 2006.  And those are just the first two singles being re-released.

The singles are part of a broader 13th anniversary celebration of that release, which arrives in October.

Accordingly, Big Machine is staggering the release of singles from the album to heighten anticipation.  Of the two, ‘Tim McGraw’ is a traditional black vinyl, while ‘Teardrops’ starts the colored rotation.

Taylor Swift fans are being alerted to the 7″ limited-edition vinyls email (guess Big Machine kept the email list, too).  Earlier today (July 10th), Big Machine alerted fans to the availability of the ‘Teardrops’ vinyl.  It looks like the alert for ‘Tim McGraw’ was sent weeks ago, quietly kicking off the series (and right before the sale of Big Machine was announced).

“Act fast!” the latest email urges. “We just released a Limited Edition 7” Vinyl of ‘Teardrops On My Guitar’ with Acoustic B-Side Recording!”

The acoustic recording was recorded in 2007, just one year after Swift released her debut.

Interestingly, Big Machine also announced the vinyl releases on Instagram — with comments turned off.

Of course, there’s nothing especially interesting about a 13th anniversary, especially one that arrives in October.

So perhaps this July-timed release is happening at exactly the right time — at least for Big Machine to rub this one in.

Just last month, Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) was sold to Scooter Braun-owned Ithaca Holdings in a deal valued north of $300 million.  The acquisition was blasted by Taylor Swift, who lambasted Scooter Braun as scum and blasted Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta as a sellout (to put it mildly).

Swift said she didn’t have an opportunity to repurchase her own masters, something Borchetta flatly denied.

“This is my worst case scenario.  This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept,” Swift slammed on Tumblr, referencing Borchetta.  “And when that man says ‘Music has value’, he means its value is beholden to men who had no part in creating it.”

Taylor Swift’s attorney, Donald Passman, later stated that Swift never had a chance to gain ownership control over her masters.  Apparently only Scooter Braun was afforded that luxury, which may explain Swift’s consternation.

Drama aside, Swift fans are quickly scooping up the limited-edition gems.

‘Tim McGraw’ is now sold out.  ‘Teardrops on My Guitar’ remains on pre-order, and is likely to be sold out within days (if not hours).  Other singles are now in the pipeline.

And the drama continues…



Devin The Dude Drops "Still Rollin’ Up: Somethin’ To Ride With" Album

Devin The Dude is back with a brand new album titled Still Rollin’ Up: Somethin’ To Ride With. The project is the Coughee Brothaz veteran’s first studio LP since 2017’s Acoustic Levitation.

The weed-friendly MC’s latest work is comprised of 12 tracks. Fans will have an opportunity to see Devin perform some of the songs in person as he’ll be touring throughout the summer in support of the album.

Check out Devin’s Still Rollin’ Up: Somethin’ To Ride With stream, cover art and tracklist below.

Devin The Dude Drops "Still Rollin' Up: Somethin' To Ride With" Album

1. You
2. Don’t Be Afraid
3. Trap-A-Nigga
4. Plates of Ramen Noodles
5. I’ll Say Anything
6. Pretty Little Thang You
7. I Tried
8. Sorry
9. You Got Me
10. Spinal
11. Somethin’ To Ride With
12. The Doobie Drop

New Music: Chris Brown feat. Justin Bieber ‘Don’t Check On Me’

In just three days, Chris Brown will release his highly-anticipated album Indigo featuring collaborations with Drake, Lil Wayne, H.E.R., and Justin Bieber.

The R&B heartthrob and pop superstar reunite on “Don’t Check On Me.” The melancholy acoustic jam, which was also produced by and features Ink, finds the two ruminating about a breakup.

“Don’t check on me / If we’re not together, then it’s probably for a reason,” they sing over the guitar-driven instrumental. “Every heartbreak has its season / It ain’t always summer in June.”

The pair previously worked together on “Next to You” off 2011’s F.A.M.E. and the remix to Bieber’s “Up.”

Bieber recently shared his support for Breezy on Instagram by comparing him to Michael Jackson. “Everyone wants to wait til people die To give them the credit they deserve,” he wrote. “I’m calling it now when CB passes away after a long full life, you will miss what you had in front of you the whole time … trust me watch you will see.”

Brown’s double album Indigo arrives Friday featuring the Drake-assisted hit “No Guidance,” plus collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, H.E.R., Gunna, Joyner Lucas, and more.

Post Malone’s "Dolly Parton" Ensemble Elicits Response From Dolly Herself

It’s no secret that Post Malone‘s influences extend well beyond hip-hop. After all, this is the man who helped Young Thug arrange a Bright Eyes cover, adding additional slime to the indie lovebird jam “First Day Of My Life.” Not to mention, his vast accumulation alternative covers, ranging from Bob Dylan, Green Day, and Nirvana classics. While his eclectic and varied tastes have occasionally drawn scrutiny from hip-hop purists, Post’s unique musical stylings have played a role in appealing to a wide-ranging audience. Now, it would appear the man is looking to infiltrate another musical market, by ficially donning the likeness a country icon. 

Post Malone's "Dolly Parton" Ensemble Elicits Response From Dolly Herself

David Becker/Getty s

During his set at Bonnaroo, Post repped for Dolly hard, adorning himself in various depictions her face. While a single shirt would be enough, Posty took it one further, opting for a matching getup that may very well draw the undying wrath  Trick Daddy. It didn’t take long for the ensemble to catch the eye Parton herself, who took to Twitter to send a little bit love in Posty’s direction.

“Love the outfit from head to toe @PostMalone,” she wrote Twitter, adding a wink for additional emphasis. As now, Posty has yet to make the most the interaction, but who knows what might become it? In all honesty, a Post Malone and Dolly Parton collaboration wouldn’t be entirely bizarre, especially in a post-old-town road landscape. 

Selena Gomez "Relieved" That Her Album Is Finally Complete

Selena Gomez hasn’t dropped f an album since 2015’s Revival. While she’s been featured on some singles here and there, fans are really here for a full body work from the singer and it looks like it’s finally complete. Selena paid a visit to Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show and discussed the project and how she feels so relieved that it’s finally finished.

Selena Gomez "Relieved" That Her Album Is Finally Complete
Samir Hussein/Wire/Getty

“I’m actually done. I have to do a few finishing things with it, but I’m just relieved. It took me four years now to even feel at a good place with this album,” she said, as seen in the clip below. “It’s just because I had such huge moments that happened in my life personally, that, how was I gonna capture that, and how was I going to actually feel good about what I was saying? So I just kept going and I’m relieved now.” 

As for the genre, it will be pop-focused. “I think there’s always going to be a sense strong pop in my music, but I definitely explored more with electric guitar, a lot more soulful tracks underneath things, acoustic guitar,” she explained. “It all kind hits different places that I feel like is my lane for music.”

There’s no word on when the tape will arrive, but at least we know it’s coming soon.

Blueface Adds Some Ukulele Flavor To "Bleed The Chicken"

Though Blueface has yet to drop f a debut studio album, the fbeat wonder has been building anticipation like never before. He’s already received co-signs from several prominent plays, and “Thotiana” proved to be somewhat a breakout hit, prompting remixes and challenges rivaled only by 2018’s “Who Run It” revival. In any case, the West Coast rapper is on the verge hitting ubiquity, and now he’s ready to bring his sound to an entirely different market. If you’ve been wondering if and when Blueface would deliver a ukelele remix “Bleed The Chicken,” consider your wishes answered. 

Yesterday, Blueface posted a video himself and ukulele player Einer Banks holding it down with a reimagining “Bleed The Chicken,” a title disturbingly rich in euphemistic imagery. As Banks plays the main riff (which sounds an awful lot like The East Flatbush Project & Des’ “Tried By 12,”, Blueface inquires about the pressing questions in life, IE, where’s the meat? While the answers have yet to be found, those appreciative imaginative acoustic remixes may find some passing joy through this video. Check it out below, and see for yourself.

Anderson .Paak Brings Out Lil Nas X To Perform "Old Town Road" In Boston

Lil Nas X has been everywhere for the past two months. After Billboard decided to remove his single, “Old Town Road” from the country charts, the song soared to the top the Billboard Hot 100. It’s maintained its position for the past seven weeks which is incredible for a breakout single. Since the song was released, he’s received praise from everyone in the entertainment world from Cardi B to John Mayer and more. His most recent co-sign came from one the hottest artists coming out California these days.

Anderson .Paak brought out Lil Nas X during his set at Boston’s Calling this past weekend. According to Billboard, .Paak’s keyboardist kicked things f with a rendition Ginuwine‘s classic hit, “Pony” before transitioning into Lil Nas X’s hit record. Lil Nas X made a grand entrance in his all white cowboy fit. It was previously announced that he would be a special guest at the festival but it was a surprise for the audience to see the young star join Anderson .Paak on stage.

Anderson isn’t the only artist to bring him out on stage to perform the hit record. A few weeks ago at Cardi B’s Fashion Nova Launch party, she surprised the audience by bringing out Lil Nas X to perform the single.

Peep the footage below. 

Interview With A Legend: Todd Rundgren (Our Latest Podcast)

I had the opportunity to speak with one of music’s most influential figures, Todd Rundgren.

Todd is a true pioneer of DIY.  He’s among the first to record, produce and play all the instruments on his albums.

He’s also teamed up with various bands throughout the years, including The Nazz, Utopia, The New Cars and Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band.   You may know Todd from hits like “Hello It’s Me” or “I Saw The Light,” but he’s also famous for “Bang On The Drum All Day”.

Rundgren is a constantly changing artist.  No two albums sound quite the same, he’s not afraid to progress.  Even being on the forefront of technology is par-for-the-course with Todd!

In 1992, he had the first ever commercially available downloadable music CompuServe.  He then pioneered a subscription platform (suspiciously similar to Patreon…. yes, shade) called Patronet.  It allowed fans to bypass the CD makers and industry middle-men and get content directly from Todd for a subscription fee of $40 per year.

He is also one of the most respected producers in music, having worked on albums for Badfinger, The New York Dolls, Grand Funk Railroad, The Tubes, The Band, Hall and Oates, MeatLoaf, Patti Smith, XTC and many more.

There was way too much to go over in 20 minutes, but I did my best with the time allotted.  Here is what we discussed (full transcription below).

Noah Itman: Excellent. Well Todd, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me; it’s really an honor to have you on the line.

Todd Rundgren: Oh, thank you so much.

NI: Excellent. So I wanted to talk to you just about all of the facets in your career within 20 minutes, so I’m going to try to cram a lot in there.

TR: No problem.

NI: So from The Nazz to now, you’ve reached so many different parts of music. And I feel as though the variety of albums you’ve created has been extremely diverse. So I’m curious, what has been sort of like the catalyst for change? What has allowed you to be such a shape shifter within music?

TR: Well, it’s part of what I grew up with. The Beatles were, well they were more than like a musical inspiration; they had a form factor that didn’t really exist before. I mean, there were always guys that [had] put bands together, but there was no sort of success [to] where The Beatles defined it. So that was the excuse to get into music in the first place, just find three or four other friends in the neighborhood, you form a band. And that meant that me, a guy who wasn’t too handsome, and too forward, I could be in a band. And once you became a Beatles fan, you realized that they didn’t stay still, they just kept evolving, and changing. So I thought that’s what you were supposed to do; so that’s what I did.

NI: Well, I think it turned out to be a fantastic path. And with The Beatles in mind, the first time that I actually got to see you was at a Beatles tribute in Minnesota where I lived, you were doing a tribute with Ann Wilson, John Entwistle, and Alan Parsons. I’m wondering what that experience was like, to be able to do a cover show for a band that influenced you so greatly.

TR: Well I mean, that was a lot of fun, but more significantly I guess was playing with Ringo, and actually playing with a Beatle; as opposed to just playing Beatles material. And I guess through that, I also got — getting to know Ringo, you sort of get — you absorb a lot of history. It’s not like you sit down and grill him, but over the years, he tells you little anecdotes and stories about what The Beatles went through. So it’s as if you were a temporary Beatle, yourself.

NI: Wow, what a feeling.

TR: I know. You have to kind of — it’s something you have to sort of get over, if you’re going to play with Ringo; you can’t be in constant awe of the fact that he was in the world’s most influential band.

NI: Yeah, absolutely. I can see that being a hurdle myself. I also wanted to talk a little bit about your intersections with The Beatles production, specifically with Badfinger Straight Up. So within that album, it’s always been a favorite of mine, particularly your versions of songs. And one always stood out to me that I was curious about, and that is with the song “Suitcase.” I find the version from your production, versus George Harrison’s production, to be so wildly different that I’m wondering if it was the same tracks that were initially used, or if it’s completely re-recorded.

TR: Some things were re-recorded. When I got there, they had — actually, they were halfway through a second version of a record. So they did a whole album with Jeff Enric, and from what I understand, Apple America didn’t feel like there was a single on it. That’s when they went back and started working with George Harrison. But then George got distracted by the concert for Bangladesh. So he dropped out of the project, and then essentially just left it to me to tie together whatever there was from the first two recording projects. And then whatever else I did new. So when I first got there, we started recording material that had been written in the interim; that had not been available for the first two projects. And then when we got through those, went back and evaluated both the Jeff Enric sessions, and the George Harrison sessions, and then pulled out what I thought would fit. Even the George Harrison stuff had overdubs and remixes done to make it sound less like Phil Spector, which is what George — what all of his records sounded like in those days, like five acoustic guitar players, and the drums, like in the soup, way back, and lots of reverb and stuff. So I sort of undid that, trying to find a sound that wound unify all three sets of sessions.

NI: Well, it did really turn out fantastically; it’s one of my favorite albums. So moving forward to, I wanted to ask about A Cappellaa little bit. So within A Cappella, there’s — I feel like that’s a really unique album, in and of itself, just for the recording methodology that you used. Was there — so I know that you already mentioned that The Beatles were a major influence for allowing you to be so — just changing, in an evolving way. But with A Cappellaspecifically, was there a certain moment in time that spurred that influence?

TR: I don’t know that there was a particular moment.

I had in my head a lot of different possible projects that I wanted to try; I mean even at one point, I wanted to do an album that was essentially all marching band.

NI: Wow.

TR: But I never got to that. I could still get to it, I suppose. But essentially, I had in my head the possibility of doing an album that was essentially all vocally based. And it just seemed like, to me, the time to do it, mostly because of sampler technology. By then, I had a sampler, and I could like put vocal sounds into it, and essentially play it like a keyboard. So it could have been a much more sort of conventional sounding acapella record if all I did was sing, but I did a lot of processing of vocals, and vocal sounds, and putting them into a sampler, and playing them with the sampler and that sort of thing. So I think that technology did, ironically enough, have a hand in the Acappellaalbum, in terms of making it possible.

NI: So I’m glad that you mentioned technology, because I feel as though technology has been something that you’re always on the forefront of. I remember watching a video of you doing digital rendering of video in the 80s. And so I wanted to know what the future holds for your video and music combinations.

TR: Well, I’ve done a lot of video for the current show that we’re touring.

NI: Oh, awesome.

TR:  Since it’s a combination of the usual spring tour that I would do. But since I don’t have a record out, we’re sort of focusing on the book that was released in December. And that entails not just playing the songs, but there’s also a lot of archival material. And it’s essentially parts of the show where the band almost becomes a soundtrack to the video; in other words, the point of focus would be the video more than would be the actual live performance. Because there’s a travel log, essentially, about the trip that I made around the world. There’s sort of a fashion show video that shows all of the different outfits that I’ve worn, and that sort of thing. So yeah, I continue to do video, and actually, it’s become so much easier than it used to be; that I’m able to do the lion’s share of it just on my iPad.

NI: Wow, that’s impressive.

TR: Well, yeah. The impressive part is the fact that I can do it on the iPad.

NI: Yeah, just as a one man act, I mean, that’s extremely cool. And it’s really your voice that’s being translated then, so it’s your visual message, which I think is extremely cool. On the technology note. So being the first like major artist to be commercially available download, what was the inspiration, like what got that as such an important factor for you to have that available?

TR: Well I was attending a lot of computer conventions, and things like that, and symposia, and I was giving talks about certain stuff. And I got invited to one that was focusing in particular on sort of music and arts, and computers. And had reached a point here, in around the mid ‘90s, that unfortunately, everyone is now scrambling to monetize the internet. I think up until that point, it had been, essentially, a free forum of ideas and stuff. So I got the idea, since I didn’t have anything in particular that I wanted to speak about, or I wasn’t hyping a product. I was just listening before I had to do my speech, and it occurred to me that you could devise something that would replace what a record company does; in that a record company, essentially, is a bank, in a way, and they get money from people who buy the records.

And then they give it to you, but they usually give it to you in advance, before the record has sold. And I realized, if you already had an audience, and you went directly to that audience, and you said, okay, I will give you a behind the scenes look at what I’m doing, and give you things that the average public would not have access to, if you pay me upfront, essentially, to make the record. And that was the basis of Patron basically replacing the record company, or taking them out of the formula, and allowing the artists to go directly to their audience to get funding for their projects.

NI: It’s so interesting, and especially with the name being Patron. I wonder with the service Patreon becoming so prevalent currently, if you feel as though there’s sort of a similarity between the two concepts.

TR: Well, that was the essential concept, the whole idea was to build an environment that fans of artists would occupy. But that it would also be — it would be like an authoring environment, so everyone who was a member could also have a space that people could visit, and you could expose your work even if you didn’t have an audience yet. You could build an audience using that environment. But I also discovered all of the issues that are now plaguing YouTube and other similar services, bad actors within your own system, privacy, and security issues, and all of that other stuff. In the end, I didn’t have the resources to keep up. So that’s when I just stopped supporting it.

NI: I can understand it. I also had a music tech venture that had a similar outcome, but nowhere near as cool as Patronet, so definitely can relate to that. So to go back to music, with White Knight, there was — the focus seemed to be collaborations. I’m curious, what was the order in which that was determined? Did you decide that you wanted to do an album of collaborations and then reach out to the different artists that participated? Or was it that you had this pool of artists that wanted to work with you, and so that was the creation of the White Knightalbum.

TR: It was more the former than the latter. I wanted to get into collaboration for a couple of reasons. One is it’s actually a more normal way to work nowadays; the music world is rife with collaboration, so I thought, let’s give this a try. It was also, aside from the creative possibilities, when you’re in a world where you have to essentially promote yourself, in a post recording industry world. One of the best ways to do it is to collaborate, because every time you work with someone, you get exposed to their audience, and they get exposed to yours. So I think aside from whatever musical successes White Knight might represent, it was the audience expansion part that I was just as interested in, and that seemed to be going fine. So I’m going to continue to do collaborations, although I won’t necessarily base entire albums on them. It’s kind of the other issue we’re dealing with; the fact that audience listening habits have changed so radically, that making an album is sometimes overkill, because people buy songs. And then occasionally, they buy albums, but they don’t make the kind of quality time to listen to a whole album anymore. So you’re kind of wasting — to a degree, it’s wasted effort, for some portion of audience.

NI: I can understand that, but I still feel, at least on a personal level, that the cohesive nature of an album is something that I personally really appreciate, and [that] I feel as though you particularly excel at. I mean, A Wizard, a True Star, which I had the pleasure of getting to see live at the anniversary tour, through Liarsand White Knight.  Just the cohesiveness of the album, to me, it’s always been something that I really appreciate. So if there’s any — just thought that I could interject there; I think that your fans still very much appreciate it.

TR: Well, I’ve always been an album artist; it’s been easier for me to come up with an overarching concept to guide the writing process. And I probably will continue to make records that way. It’s just that the way that the music finds its way into people’s ears may naturally have to change; in other words, it goes back to something like before the ‘60s, when an album was exactly that, it was a collection of songs that had been previously released. So it’s possible to record an album, but you don’t release it as an album, you release a bunch of songs, and then eventually, you release the album.  And that can, I guess, ostensibly satisfy both kinds of listeners; those who are just taking things a song at a time, and that dwindling audience who makes time to sit down and listen to a whole album.

NI: That makes sense, and I think that there’s definitely a place for both. So thinking of just individual tracks. One question I had for you was, for the various places that you’ve had synchronized placements, is there one that was a favorite for you? That you were like oh, it really blends well with my song, or you just particularly like the film or TV show that you were being synced in?

TR: Well, I don’t think about it too much. It’s not like I — when you’re doing sync licenses and things like that, that’s kind of found money, so you don’t mettle with it that much. There are probably circumstances in which I wouldn’t want the music to be used, but otherwise, if someone thinks that it’s especially appropriate, I’m not going to be precious about it. It still bothers me to hear Beatles songs used in commercials, but it’s a whole other audience now; a lot of times they’re selling products to people who weren’t even born when The Beatles were big. So they don’t feel the same way about it. And likely people don’t feel the same way about my stuff. I do have to say that it’s never been a large part of my income, except for one instance, and that was “Bang The Drum All Day.” And especially when it became the theme song for Carnival Cruise Lines, I almost could have retired on that. But then they started sinking all those boats, and they had to change their image. So waiting for someone else to come along to nab that spot.

NI: Okay, well thank you so much for your time, Todd. I really do appreciate getting this opportunity to speak with with one of the most important figures in rock n’ roll history.

TR: Thank you very much. I wish we had more time, but it’s one of those things.

Travis Scott Teases New Track "Highest In The Room" At Rolling Loud

Have we reached a point where Travis Scott‘s outward antics, including his widely-publicized relationship with Kylie Jenner, have come to garner more interest than his actual music? We can only hope that is not the case, as Travis once again looks to be cooking up in the studio. And why wouldn’t he seize momentum? The man has proven to be a genuine superstar, with Astroworld topping charts and spawning a multi-million dollar tour. Though he’ll likely ride Astroworld until the wheels fall f, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him ushering in some new music in the coming months. 

We’ve already seen the fruits his recent labour, as Kylie Jenner previously previewed an unreleased Travis track, which finds Travis taking a smooth acoustic guitar and high-pitch “Tiny Tim”-esque sample. Over the weekend, Scott implemented the upcoming song into his Rolling Loud set, which has been tentatively titled “Highest In The Room.” The track itself is relatively laid-back, but Travis brings no shortage live energy to the mix. You can check out footage the performance YouTube below, as originally posted by HypeBeast

Does Travis have another hit on his hands? Sound f below.

Isaiah Rashad Teases Smooth New Track From Upcoming Album

Isaiah Rashad has solidified himself as TDE‘s unsung hero, having amassed an excellent discography while taking his sweet time in crafting each effort. Of course, the idiom suggests art cannot be rushed, and Rashad ascribes to that theory in principle. Yet another idiom suggests that good things come to those who wait, a bittersweet truth with which his fans are well familiar. Still, the rapper has not been frugal with his snippets, and once again he’s taken to Instagram Live to preview an upcoming look at his new project.

Isaiah Rashad Teases Smooth New Track From Upcoming Album

Frazer Harrison/Getty s

The track features a misty, wandering synth pad, paired with a steady drumline – arranged with an acoustic kit, at that. Rashad brings forth a laid back chorus, creating a smooth, melodic, and soulful vibe. Around a minute in, Isaiah switches up his cadence and begins spitting, evoking memories The Roots on the somber How I Got Over. Overall, the track sounds extremely promising, and we can’t wait to hear this one arrive in full.

At this moment, no release date details have been released, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see him drop at some point this year. It’s been three years since The Sun’s Tirade, and even the most ardent perfectionist must have his due. For now, it’s till in Rashad we trust.