Westside Gunn Shares "FlyGod Is An Awesome God" Release Date

Not long after Griselda’s own Benny The Butcher revealed the release date for his upcoming The Plugs I Met, Westside Gunn came forward to detail his own upcoming endeavor. Yesterday, the entrepreneurial emcee shared the news that his FLYGOD IS AN AWESOME GOD album will be arriving on July 5th, though he’s opting to keep additional information close to the chest. One might be inclined to guess that Conway, Benny, and Daringer will be gracing the album, though given Westside’s extensive network, the sky is the limit.

The project marks his first full-length album since last year’s Supreme Blientele, a gritty serving Buffalo hip-hop styled after Ghostface’s classic a similar title. We can only assume that FLYGOD IS AN AWESOME GOD will bring forth more the same classic Gunn sound. Given that Griselda is ficially part the Shady Records family, perhaps we can expect Em and his camp to shine an additional spotlight on Westside’s upcoming effort; though a feature is unlikely, one has to wonder how Shady will factor into the movements moving forward. Perhaps we’ll soon find out.

Check out the ficial album artwork below, and be sure to sound f with your opinions. Are you excited to hear another studio album from Westside Gunn?

UMG Secured a Massive Settlement from NBCUniversal After the 2008 Fire — But Shared Nothing Back With Artists

The crisis surrounding UMG’s handling of the Universal Studios Fire of 2008 is worsening with news of a massive settlement in 2009.

As Universal Music Group faces the specter of dozens of lawsuits stemming from its mishandling of the 2008 Universal Studios fire, another buried fact has surfaced.  According to details unearthed by multiple sources, Universal Music Group secured a sizable settlement from NBCUniversal in 2009, based on Universal Studios’ negligence leading up to the 2009 fire.

Both media conglomerates share the ‘Universal’ moniker, but they haven’t been part of the same umbrella since 2004.  Still, there were obviously some shared operations, including media asset storage.

The settlement followed four years of litigation between the parties, which apparently ended in a confidential high dollar settlement.  That settlement was most likely very substantial, though as far as we can ascertain, none of that money was redistributed back to artists whose masters were affected by the blaze.

Last week, an investigatory piece by the New York Times revealed that roughly 500,000 priceless master recordings were destroyed in the 2008 fire.

At the time, Universal Music vehemently denied that any substantial damages had occurred, while flat-out lying to major news outlets like the New York Times. the Los Angeles Times, Deadline, and others.  According to the Times, an internal email from Universal PR exec Peter Lofrumento described the fabrications fed to the major pubs, while gloating about misleading LA Times reporter Jon Healy into misreporting the situation.

King said to expect legal filings as soon as this week.  Industry attorney Ed McPherson is also gathering information in preparation for possible litigation against Universal Music Group.

Digital Music News is currently canvassing around in search of relevant court documents.  According to LA Times journalist Randy Lewis, paperwork was filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court back in 2009.  But those filings may have been redacted, given the confidential nature of the settlement.

Attorney Howard King told the Times that the rumored settlement figure is ‘ridiculous,’ but affected artists were none-the-wiser.  “We’re hearing ridiculous numbers,” King said.   “That would be a good fact to find: how much Universal Music got and then forgot to report to their artists, and to share with their artists.”

Meanwhile, Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge has remained entirely quiet on the matter.

Grainge took the reins in 2011, years after the blaze occurred.  But multiple sources have noted that the disastrous damage created by the fire was well known inside UMG.  Now, 11 years later, UMG is facing a serious fallout with dozens of artists and their estates, with a serious PR and artist relationship nightmare just getting started.

Despite an obvious cover-up in 2008, Universal is still trying to downplay the issue.  The label unsuccessfully attempted to discredit the New York Times, while essentially denying (again) that any substantive damage had occurred.  Whether the label decides to reverse that approach is unclear, but highly doubtful.

Exactly how that impacts UMG’s pending sales process is unclear.  UMG’s parent, Vivendi, has been discussing the sale of a 50% stake, with the label fetching Wall Street valuations as high as $50 billion.

More as this develops.

New Music: Wale ‘Folarin’

Wale is back with another one. After dropping “Gemini (2 Sides)” last week, the D.C. rapper unleashes his namesake “Folarin.”

Over the horn-heavy production, he addresses his peers (“Don’t hate rap / I just hate rappers that like perpin’ / Real ice on fake ni**as or vice versa”) and his status in the game (“I’m always in the shadow of average ni**as wit more funding”), while dropping a couple Nintendo references (“Every beat I smash like I’m Ike, Snake, Cloud, or Kirby”).

Wale is now gearing up for the release of his sixth studio album, due later this year on Warner Records.

Paul Rudd Implores Fans To Rally Behind "Ant-Man 3"

Though the cinematic possibilities the Marvel Cinematic Universe appear endless, the fate certain heroes remains uncertain. Sadly, the affable fan-favorite Ant-Man stands among them. Paul Rudd recently opened up about his future in the MCU, speaking with Yahoo about the possibility a third Ant-Man movie. As he tells it, the fans will have to speak up should they wish to see a conclusion to the trilogy.

Paul Rudd Implores Fans To Rally Behind "Ant-Man 3"

Keith Tsuji/Getty s

“I don’t know,” Rudd says, when asked whether he’ll ever don the suit in another solo film. “You need to make a call to the top brass and start a campaign to make it happen.” We’ve already seen Rudd reprise the role  Ant-Man in two solo films, as well as appearances in both Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. In fact, many felt he gave one the strongest performances in the climactic Avengers chapter, so you’d think a reward would be in order.

Yet money talks, and Ant-Man has never been a box fice darling – at least, not in relation to other Marvel Cinematic Universe titles, many which stand among the most lucrative flicks in cinematic history. Of course, Yahoo also claims a source has assured fans that Ant-Man 3 is on the way, but concrete news its production has yet to be confirmed by Marvel Studio President Kevin Feig. Perhaps it’s time for the fans to mobilize, lest Ant-Man go the way his namesake, and retreat underground, destined to be forgotten. 

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Previously Unheard Miles Davis Album 'Rubberband' Releasing Soon

A previously shelved Miles Davis album is now seeing the light of day.

The famous jazz artist shocked the music world in 1985 when he left long-time label Columbia Records. He joined with Warner Bros. Records soon after and began recording the Rubberband album. The album was recorded in Los Angeles at Ameraycan Studios, with producers Randy Hall and Zane Giles.

Davis took a radical in the sessions, with hints of funk and soul grooves. He also planned to feature vocalists Al Jarreau and Chaka Khan on the album. Eventually, it was shelved, and Davis went on to record Tutu, with Rubberband forgotten for over 30 years.

Rhino/Warner Records will release the entire 11-track Rubberband album on September 6th.

Formats will run the gamut, spanning streaming, an LP vinyl release, and even a CD version.

Davis fans got a taste of the long-lost album last year with the release of a 4-track Rubberband EP for .  The 11-track album was finished by original producers Hall and Giles, in cooperation with Davis’ nephew, Vince Wilburn Jr. Wilburn Jr. played the drums for the first sessions in 1985-86.  The album also features newly recorded vocals from Lalah Hathaway and Ledisi.

Rubberband Track Listing

  1. “Rubberband Of Life” – featuring Ledisi
  2. “This Is It”
  3. “Paradise”
  4. “So Emotional” – featuring Lalah Hathaway
  5. “Give It Up”
  6. “Maze”
  7. “Carnival Time”
  8. “I Love What We Make Together” – featuring Randy Hall
  9. “See I See”
  10. “Echoes In Time/The Wrinkle”
  11. “Rubberband”

Davis played both trumpet and keyboards on the album and was joined in the studio by several artists including keyboardists Adam Holzman, Neil Larsen, and Wayne Linsey. Percussionist Steve Reid, saxophonist Glen Burris, and Davis’ nephew Vince Wilburn Jr. on drums also feature on the album.

The Rubberband recording sessions were engineered by Reggie Dozier, whose brother Lamont Dozier formed part of Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland.  Rubberband includes linear notes from George Cole, the writer of The Last Miles. It also features an original painting by Miles Davis as the cover art.

Fans can easily pre-order the album here.

Ariana Grande Expresses Interest To Guest Host On "Catfish"

When Ariana Grande isn’t singing, performing or making sweet tunes in the studio she’s seemingly tuned into Nev Schulman’s MTV series Catfish. TMZ caught up with Nev outside LAX and asked the series creator about any celebrity guests host he would have on the show. Ariana came up as a suggestion since Nev found out only recently that she was a fan his show. 

Ariana Grande Expresses Interest To Guest Host On "Catfish"
Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty

Nev got all kinds notifications on his phone when people tagged him one evening, letting him know that Ariana was watching his series when she was posted up in a hotel room. After heading to her prile on Instagram he saw that she already followed him and he was shocked, but course, flattered. 

“So I followed her back – I’m actually embarrassed to say I wasn’t following her,” he explained, detailing how he DM’d her thanking her for the support. “She wrote me back and we started chatting, talking about how she’d love to come on the show.”

He added: “Fingers crossed, when we start making more episodes maybe Ariana will do one – I’d love to have you, Ariana.” The new season  Catfish may be the best yet. 

T.I. Tapped to Star In Flint Water Documentary Produced by Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment

Rapper/actor T.I. just secured a significant film role.

The multidimensional rapper will star in a feature-length work about Flint, Michigan’s water crisis.

The movie is (tentatively) entitled Flint, and it will be produced by Will Smith’s studio, Overbrook Entertainment.  T.I. will be joined by John Ortiz, who achieved acclaim for his part in multiple Fast & Furious installments.

The two previously worked together on 2007’s American Gangster.

A production schedule and release date haven’t been established for Flint, which will touch heavily upon Flint’s water crisis while exploring a riveting murder-mystery storyline.

With 10 bestselling albums to his credit, the 38-year-old T.I. has a natural springboard to diversify.  He’s appeared in many works, including Entourage, Ant-Man, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

T.I. will also star in a 2020 film adaptation of Monster Hunter, a commercially lucrative and internationally successful video game series.  Filming for Monster Hunter recently concluded, and the movie is currently in the post-production stage. Milla Jovovich and Ron Perlman will co-star.

Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment was founded in 1997, and in the interim, it has brought a multitude of successful projects to the market, including I Am Legend and The Karate Kid, amongst many others.

As if all this wasn’t enough, T.I. is also in the process of completing two new albums, Kill the King and No Mercy 2.

There’s a saying in the entertainment industry: “If people aren’t paying attention today, they won’t remember you tomorrow.”

There’s a saying in the entertainment industry: “If people aren’t paying attention today, they won’t remember you tomorrow.”
That mantra may be doubly true in the modern context, with celebrities and musicians often forced to blitz audiences to stay relevant.  That’s truer for some artists than others, but fractured attention spans and non-stop media flows have made it challenging to command sustained and lasting audiences.  On that note, T.I. is double down in both the studio and on the set to keep his name top-of-mind.

Pandora Launches an Audio Advertising Consultancy to Improve Ads… on Pandora

Pandora announces ‘Studio Resonate’ to help advertisers craft optimal audio commercials.

Pandora, now wholly-owned by Sirius XM, just revealed Studio Resonate, an internal branch designed to help interested individuals, companies, and groups optimize their advertising strategies and take advantage of market trends.

Stated in short, Studio Resonate will make it easier for Pandora users to create professional ads and marketing strategies, which can then be used to reach listeners on… Pandora.

Per Pandora’s official statement, the team at Studio Resonate will assist marketers, individuals, and brands as they craft audio advertisements with respect to the medium itself — not just, as is often the case, adverts that are carried over from the internet and/or television.

In this way, Pandora believes marketing strategies can be made more effective, and the results of these strategies can become more fruitful.

Though some industry experts are skeptical of Studio Resonate (both in terms of its purpose and its bility), there can be no denying that Pandora has made a tremendous splash in the music-streaming industry; with over 80 million monthly users to its credit, Pandora is one of the most popular streaming services in the U.S.

The company was founded in 2000, and in February 2019, it was purchased by Sirius XM for $3.5 billion.  To this point, little had changed in the way that Pandora is operated, but Studio Resonate marks a turning point for Sirius XM’s ownership; it’s unlikely that Pandora’s previous owners would have taken such a step.

Only time will tell whether or not Studio Resonate is successful.  But in a day and age when the vast majority of individuals are streaming, the potential for unique audio advertisements that elicit responses from targeted individuals seems limitless.  In theory, a division like Studio Resonate will help these ads to, well, resonate.

Action Bronson Teases New Album "Only For Dolphins"

Dolphins may not have an appreciation for hip-hop culture (at least as we know it), but Action Bronson has singled them out all the same. The zany and talented lyricist has been a busy man late, having allowed his artistic career to manifest in new and exciting ways. If you haven’t yet seen his paintings, check out his IG and take a look; the man is a regular scholar Bob Ross, and whips up some dope canvases. Yet, multi-talented though the man may be, Action’s true raison d’etre remains music. On that note, he’s been hard at work on his upcoming new album Only For Dolphins, as well as a few new books. 

Prolific though he may be, Bronson never manages to stretch himself thin. While it’s unclear when Only For Dolphins will ultimately end up dropping, Bronson confirms that he is indeed cooking up in the studio. Not only that, but he’s getting ready to drop f a pair books, following up his recent Stoned Beyond Belief. Expect plenty Bronson’s colorful vernacular to shine across both mediums, and more details will be revealed in the near future. Are you on board for whatever Bronson is selling? 

Action Bronson Teases New Album "Only For Dolphins"

Mike Coppola/Getty s

Snoop Dogg Hilariously Reviews New "Child’s Play": "Damn, Chucky Is Back"

Orion Pictures is getting ready for the release the reboot  Child’s Play. The franchise is over thirty years old at this point with the original film making its debut in 1988. Any time a studio decides to remake a classic film — regardless genre — it can either be a success or a complete and utter flop. With the new Child’s Play film set to launch next week, Orion Pictures have tapped Snoop Dogg to let you know whether the film is worth watching or not.

Snoop Dogg is back with the latest episode “Snoop Dogg’s Hot Box Office” on VH1 where he gives hilarious takes on the latest films. The rapper takes on Child’s Play on the latest film while seemingly giving his stamp approval. Peep the clip below.

The promotion around Child’s Play has been pretty hilarious. Toy Story 4 is set to be released on the same day and they’ve been using the Pixar film as a means to promote the new slasher flick. They initially flipped the promotional Toy Story 4 poster to make it seem like Chucky, or Buddi rather, killed Woody. A following promotional poster shows Buddi roasting Slinky Dog over a fire. Most recently, they shared another poster Buddi blasting Buzz Lightyear.

Keep your eyes peeled for the new Child’s Play dropping on June 21st. 

Universal Fights Back Claims 2008 Fire Destroyed Eminem & Tupac’s Masters

Yesterday, an article was published regarding a destructive fire that happened over a decade ago in 2008. At the time, it was revealed that one park attraction and a video vault were burned down at Universal Studios. That alone was a major deal because, in the vault, there were tons important moments in cinematic history. It took over ten years for this new information to come out but thousands master recordings were reportedly destroyed in the fire as well. Universal had allegedly tried to keep it a secret because how insane the prospect 500K masters burning down sounds, but they’re now forced to fight back the claims.

As reported by Variety, Universal is now disputing the article that was published by the New York Times, saying that it is not totally factual. They say that the article contains “numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings the scope the incident and affected assets.” 

Universal Fights Back Claims 2008 Fire Destroyed Eminem & Tupac's Masters
David McNew/Getty s

“Music preservation is the highest priority for us and we are proud our track record,” says the statement from Universal. “While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some the details the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident – while deeply unfortunate – never affected the availability the commercially released music nor impacted artists’ compensation.”

Universal is not arguing the fact that over 500K master recordings were destroyed. However, they are hammering home the notion that they take music preservation more seriously than any their competitors. “UMG invests more in music preservation and development hi-resolution audio products than anyone else in music,” they continued before clarifying some the precautions they’ve taken.

Black Thought recently spoke to HipHopDX where it was confirmed that two classic The Roots albums were damaged in the flames. “We had a couple classics destroyed in the fire as well,” said Black Thought. “In short, that was the most depressing article ever. Not ‘EVER,’ but it was pretty heavy. I remember when it went down. Our first two classics — Do You Want More?!!!??! and Illadelph Halflife — were lost in the blaze.”

The fire has been referred to as “the biggest disaster in the history the music business.” 

Universal Fights Back Claims 2008 Fire Destroyed Eminem & Tupac's Masters
Andrew Gombert-Pool/Getty s

Paul Pierce Launches CBD Line Called "The Truth CBD Remedies"

Paul Pierce’s recent in-studio shenanigans and predictions have left some fans wondering what he has been smoking. The answer: The Truth CBD Remedies.

The former Boston Celtics stars announced his new company, Vape Vesper, last Fall and now he is introducing his own line CBD targeted toward fellow athletes. 

“I created The Truth CBD Remedies to fer athletes a product they’d not only enjoy, but fully trust — a reliable product I use myself,” said Pierce, according to Business Wire. “I’m passionate about making sure athletes have support before, during and after the main event. There is a lot noise in the CBD market. The Truth CBD Remedies partnered with Eaze Wellness because the shared commitment to getting high-quality products into the hands people that care deeply about their well-being.” 

Last year, after founding Vape Vesper, Pierce explained that CBD helps him deal with anxiety and depression.

He tweeted:

“To all the people who ask why I vape cbd who on here been stabbed 11 times had to deal with death threats and had to deal with anxiety when in large crowds and depression then u will kno.”

As part the launch, Pierce and Eaze Wellness have launched a sweepstakes, giving consumers a chance to win a variety prizes, including entry to a Boston event hosted by the Celtics legend. Click here for the ficial rules.

Kanye West (Again) and Pusha T Sued for Failing to Clear a 1972 Sample

According to Kanye West and his legal team, he doesn’t need to clear samples from other people’s works.

Last week, performance actor Ronald Oslin Bobb-Semple a lawsuit against Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Ty Dolla Sign.

Filed at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the actor claimed the artists, along with their collaborators, allegedly featured his voice without permission from his 2002 recording, ‘The Spirit of Marcus Garvey (Garvey speaks to an all-Black audience).’

In the lawsuit, Bobb-Semple aims to vindicate his rights “for the deliberate taking of his work and voice.”  Attacking Kanye, Cudi, and Ty Dollar, Bobb-Semple wants the court to force the artists to “disgorge their ill-gotten profits attributable to their infringement.”

Firing back against the actor’s claims, Kanye hid behind the “fair use” clause.  He apparently doesn’t need to clear any samples on his hits.

Now, his refusal has come back to haunt him.

What will it take for Kanye to learn sample clearances are necessary?

Fame Enterprises a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Colbert County in Alabama.  The company claims to own George Jackson’s ‘I Can’t Do Without You’ hit.

Listing Kanye, Pusha T, Def Jam, Universal Music Group, and G.O.O.D. Music, the complaint says both Kanye and Pusha T’s 2018 hit, ‘Come Back Baby’ contains “repeated, unauthorized, [and] unlicensed samples’ from Jackson’s song.  Jackson had recorded ‘I Can’t Do Without You’ before 1972 at Fame’s recording studio in Alabama.  Thus, claims Fame, the song doesn’t remain subject to the Copyright Act of 1972.

Kanye and Pusha T’s song from the album, Daytona, uses Jackson’s recording in the chorus.

Never have I been locked up in a world of misery / I need you darlin’ to set me free / Come back, baby, try me one more time / Ooh, baby, I’m ’bout to go out of my mind / I can’t—.

As Kanye and Pusha T rap about “drug addiction and the money made from selling drugs,” Fame claims the company would never license Jackson’s work.  In addition, alluding to Kanye’s past and recent legal problems over sample clearances, Fame says all defendants have “a pattern and practice of willfully sampling sound recordings without consent or permission.”

Fame has requested the disgorgement of profits, compensatory, consequential, incidental, and punitive damages in an amount to be determined by the trier of fact in this case, plus statutory fines, costs, interest, and expenses.

You can view the lawsuit below.

 


Featured image by Jason Persse (CC by 2.0).

Eminem, Tupac & 50 Cent’s Masters Destroyed In Massive 2008 Fire

Over a decade ago, there was a devastating fire at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Flames started to burn down parts Building 6197, which was known as the video vault, during the early hours June 1, 2018. If you’re familiar with the situation, you know that plenty film reels and videos were destroyed because the flames. However, a new article by the New York Times Magazine is reporting that approximately 500,000 song titles were also irreparable because the damages. That information had never been disclosed until now, where legendary artists like Tupac Shakur, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Snoop Dogg, and more are all affected.

Eminem, Tupac & 50 Cent's Masters Destroyed In Massive 2008 Fire
David McNew/Getty s

Universal had originally only said that the King Kong attraction and a video vault were burnt down but it turns out that they were hiding the fact that tons master recordings also perished in the fire. In a confidential report by UMG in 2009, the company admitted that around half a million song titles were lost as well. 

Of the artists that lost masters in the fire are Aretha Franklin, whose first recorded appearances are gone forever, Buddy Holly, who lost nearly his entire catalog, and Etta James, who lost her hit single “At Last.” There are several hip-hop stars that lost music in the fire too including Eminem, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, The Roots, Tupac Shakur, and others.

The article notes that the fire was the “biggest disaster in the history the music business,” which sounds accurate. Losing 500,000 masters is a big deal.

Eminem, Tupac & 50 Cent's Masters Destroyed In Massive 2008 Fire
Andrew Gombert-Pool/Getty s

Jimmy Kimmel Teases Pretend Involvement In "Spider-Man: Far From Home"

Spider-Man: Far From Home is less than four weeks away from hitting theaters and it looks as though Jimmy Kimmel has injected himself into the hype by creating a fake teaser scene for the upcoming movie. The late-night show host told his studio audience just how much he’s loved Spiderman since he was a kid and how blessed he felt to be involved in the film. 

Unfortunately for Jimmy, he’s not really in the movie and the clip (as seen below) was just a fun studio joke for Jimmy to live out his dream with the film’s lead actor Tom Holland joining him to make it seem real. The skit sees Jimmy as a dry cleaner attendant who’s familiar with Peter Parker. Despite having all the clues in front him, he doesn’t seem to figure out that his valuable customer is the real Spiderman. 

Jimmy Kimmel Teases Pretend Involvement In "Spider-Man: Far From Home"
Victor Chavez/Getty s

While that clip would be a nice adjustment to the storyline, the real plot if as follows. “There are these threats to the world, the Elementals, elemental creatures. And Mysterio is someone who knows about them and wants to make sure that the world is safe from them,” Jake Gyllenhaal, who stars as Mysterio previously stated.

“And Nick Fury asks him to come on and help because he’s the only one who really understands them. And then he teams up with friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and unfortunately has to make him become more than a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”