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- 04/25/15--07:00: _6 ways Jay Z could ...
- 04/26/15--06:00: _A beginner's guide ...
- 04/26/15--07:43: _Obama's 'anger tran...
- 04/26/15--09:16: _Trailer for Tom Har...
- 04/26/15--12:11: _Kids performing Ozz...
- 04/27/15--05:21: _Stephen Hawking had...
- 04/27/15--07:05: _Cookie Monster lead...
- 04/27/15--09:49: _Fans demand refunds...
- 04/27/15--10:26: _Attention, foodies:...
- 04/27/15--11:00: _Get up close and pe...
- 04/28/15--07:14: _'The Descendants' i...
- 04/28/15--07:30: _These 5 weed-centri...
- 04/28/15--08:35: _Justin Bieber crash...
- 04/28/15--08:49: _'Deadpool' writers'...
- 04/28/15--09:44: _Larry Wilmore did n...
- 04/28/15--11:37: _You ain't never see...
- 04/28/15--11:50: _Against Me!'s Laura...
- 04/28/15--12:56: _A new era of podcas...
- 04/28/15--14:05: _Yahoo announces its...
- 04/28/15--14:36: _YouTube announces n...
- 04/25/15--07:00: 6 ways Jay Z could save Tidal
- 04/26/15--06:00: A beginner's guide to cord cutting
- 04/28/15--07:30: These 5 weed-centric mixtapes are positively dope
- 04/28/15--08:35: Justin Bieber crashes a high school prom: Super or super sad?
- 04/28/15--08:49: 'Deadpool' writers' next movie will be about New Coke's epic fail
- 04/28/15--09:44: Larry Wilmore did not keep it 100 with last night's Bruce Jenner bit
- 04/28/15--11:37: You ain't never seen an 'Aladdin'-themed proposal like this one
- 04/28/15--12:56: A new era of podcasting begins on SoundCloud
- 04/28/15--14:05: Yahoo announces its 18-show lineup of original programming
- 04/28/15--14:36: YouTube announces new partnerships with Fine Bros., Smosh, and more
It comes as no surprise—save, perhaps, to its multimillionaire celebrity backers—that Jay Z’s would-be Spotify-killer, Tidal, hasn’t made a dent in the streaming music market. It’s the sort of thing that generally happens to new businesses that charge more than their established competitors while offering little in the way of advanced features (or functional basic ones).
Is all lost just three weeks after the app’s fanfare launch? Not necessarily. Jay Z may have 99 problems, but Tidal is just one. Here’s how he could turn this unmitigated disaster around.
Roughly 90 percent of people who heard about Tidal had the same reaction: “You mean like the laundry detergent?” No, that would be Tide. Nonetheless, the names are similar, and Tidal is largely unknown—which means rebranding remains a viable option. Why not combine forces with a trusted Procter & Gamble product whose social media game is so on fleek?
2) Divorce Beyoncé
The single biggest obstacle in Jay Z’s quest to become a kingpin on the scale of Donald Trump or Mark Cuban? The ol’ ball-and-chain. All due respect to his wife, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, but she hasn’t done much since Destiny’s Child disbanded in 2005, and for some reason America seems to despise her. Once Jay finally manages to move on from this doomed relationship, he’ll be free to marry Tidal, his glamorous, A-list music app.
3) Hype an exclusive premiere of Memphis Bleek’s The Process
Long marketed as Jay Z’s brilliant protégé and the next hip-hop superstar, Memphis Bleek’s singles have cracked the Billboard Hot 100 just twice. His last album, 534, was tepidly reviewed, and his follow-up, The Process, has been “in the works” for a decade, so you know it’s straight fire. With the world on pins and needles as they await its indefinitely postponed release, Jay can capitalize on the buzz—or use Memphis as a scapegoat.
4) Drop an apology album
Rappers are always talking a big game about grindin’ and staying on top; perhaps it’s time Hova flipped the script and spat some humility. After all, the only thing we like more than a triumphalist narrative is the schadenfreude of seeing someone crash and burn. He could even go experimental and record backing tracks composed of nothing but fart sounds (with guest Gene Belcher from Bob’s Burgers). The title practically pitches itself: Magna Farta… Holy Fail.
5) Harness the Tidal power of the moon
Tidal needs to go big or go home. Like, James Bond villain big. The ultra-wealthy musicians behind it could easily combine their capital to fund a massive gravity-manipulation ray that leverages the moon’s influence over ocean currents in order to extort entire coastal cities—and Kanye—into subscribing to the service (or face the consequence of drowning in a flash flood if they dare refuse). Why shouldn’t climate change benefit Madonna?
6) Invent time travel
If all else fails, Jay should look into the possibility of time travel (or “chronological disruption,” as the Silicon Valley startup set would have it). Aside from being a decent market play in its own right, this technology would give him the opportunity to return to the moment he decided to set all his money on fire by investing it in a poorly designed app that absolutely no one wanted—and shoot his former self in the face. Straight gangsta.Photo via Matthew Harrison/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)
Choosing a cable provider is the very definition of “the lesser of two evils.” There’s nothing like the news of the failed Comcast–Time Warner Cable merger to bring that into sharp relief. And the desperate desire to escape that terrible choice is why the notion of cord cutting is growing in popularity.
Research from MoffetNathanson states in 2014, 1.4 million U.S. TV homes ended their pay-television service, with another 4.2 percent saying they expect to join the ranks of cord cutters in the first half of 2015. More than a million of those who gave up on cable come from the two leading service providers: you guessed it, Comcast and Time Warner.
While consumers long have complained about the rising cost of pay-TV service, bad customer service, and a lack of choice, it wasn’t until the proliferation of high-speed Internet bandwidth and the advent of streaming services such as Netflix that there were options beyond the set-top box. With “over the top” streaming boxes such as those from Roku, Amazon, and Apple TV, cable subscribers are now provided another option in what many consider a one-sided deal.
But this cord cutter thing is tricky. For one thing, it depends on what streaming viewer camp you belong to. For cable guys wanting to ditch the box, there will be sacrifices in both choice and convenience. There also are some fine-grain decisions that must be made on selecting the right streaming box for your needs, what level of bandwidth you will need to enjoy a satisfactory streaming experience, and what services you want to buy to replicate your previous programming choices.
There are alternatives to cable TV, and for those who never have subscribed to cable, streaming TV opens up a world of untold excitement and adventures. Perhaps it’s too much of a good thing?
The true cost of cable
The simplest way to think about cord cutting is to compare the components of a streaming package that would be similar to the same services via cable.
Using my Time Warner service as an example, my total bill for high-speed Internet and cable is $165. That includes monthly digital service for $64.99, which includes DVR, more than 200 channels, and a set-top box. It also affords me the ability to watch my channels on my mobile services, but with the caveat I only get the entire selection if I am in my home. The key part of that grand total is the $64 for high-speed Internet, which provides up to 300 Mbps service.
With many combo premium service bundles available (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.), it’s nearly impossible to attach prices, but they list out as follows: HBO (20 channels), $9.99 a month; Showtime (17 channels), $9.99 a month but currently is offered free; Cinemax (15 channels), $9.99 a month; and Starz (12 channels), $9.99 a month.
Time Warner also offers pro sports packages, including MLB Extra Innings for $195 for the season, Web access to the service, and Sports Pass for $8.99 a month, which includes premium college sports and soccer matches. Cable does not offer access to NFL games in season, as DirecTV owns exclusive rights.
Included with Time Warner’s subscription is streaming access to a number of standalone “TV Everywhere” apps such as HBO Go, Showtime, Lifetime, A&E, the History Channel, and live feeds from ABC.
To sum up, for my monthly $165 I receive digital cable, HBO, and Showtime (which is free). Somewhere in there, I’m paying for a few advanced programming tiers, but only for a few channels. Like most cable subscribers, I spend plenty of money on a number of networks I have no intention of watching. For example, until the other day I didn’t know we had access to a music network called Revolt (owned by P. Diddy). Good to know, but definitely not my thing.
How to cut the cord
Moving from the dark side of cable to the bright light of cord cutting, let’s take my $165 monthly budget and see what that will buy in the world of streaming.
First, we take $65 off the top for high-speed Internet access. The 300 Mbps is more than sufficient for HD-quality picture. For the streaming box, let’s go with the newest Roku for $85. On the assumption it will continue to provide leading streaming networks, we can amortize the cost for two years, taking $3.50 off per month. That leaves us $96.50 for additional content.
Next, in order to get local network TV channels, we will need a decent HD indoor antenna. For a one-time cost of $40-50, the Mohu Leaf family of products is great, and that gives me ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, and some indie networks. Keep in mind, receiving local channels does not include the ability to record them, so your options are to set your alarm clock or buy a $200 home DVR unit.
So with my remaining $95.50, my first purchase is Hulu Plus because it allows me to watch many of those shows I could not record at my convenience. While it’s not great for original content, Hulu Plus also includes some good British TV shows (such asDoctor Who), older network shows (The Rockford Files, Airwolf), and the occasional interesting movie.
For the best original content, the next payout goes to Netflix for $7.99 a month. If you are new to the service, the cost is $8.99. A Netflix subscription offers original shows, like The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and a string of new shows in production. I find the TV and movie choices vary in quality from month to month with the occasional surprise, but mini sports documentaries such as ESPN’s30 for 30 and strong narrative documentaries such as Into the Abyss offer great viewing options.
With more than $79 left in the till, we head over to Sling TV, where we will drop $60 for the entire slate of programming. Sling is available on every streaming box as well as via a mobile app. The basic package is $20 a month and includes (according to the service’s site) ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, CNN, A&E, Lifetime, History, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Disney Channel, ABC Family, IFC, H2, El Rey Network, Maker, and Galavision. For $5 more, we can add the sports extra for those specialty ESPN nets (BuzzerBeater, News, Bases Loaded) and the SEC network for those LSU and Florida State fans.
The next $15 nets you Lifestyle Extra (DIY, Cooking Channel); World News Extra (Bloomberg, France 24, Russia Today), and Hollywood Extra (three EPIX movie channels and Sundance Channel). The last $15 goes for Sling TV’s HBO service, which is the live airing of the pay network’s programs such as Game of Thrones and True Detective. Sling’s version of HBO does not currently offer HBO on demand.
With the remaining $19, we can buy a lot of popcorn or spend it on three or four PPV movies. So for less than a month of cable, we are able to build a robust slate of content with a little wiggle room left over—though perhaps not as much as former cable subscribers might have hoped.
The choice is yours
There are plenty of considerations to ponder in the seemingly complex world of cord cutting. Despite what many think about cable, the service itself is fairly reliable; streaming TV can have issues such as flaky reception when too many users are on at the same time. Just ask Sling subscribers who were interrupted while watching Game of Thrones. And in the case of problems with your streaming box, you are left to your own devices to resolve technical issues.
By no means is the cord cutter package I suggest absolute. For example, by spending more on your streaming box and grabbing an Amazon Fire, you get Amazon Prime content, which has a growing list of original shows such as Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle. If you buy an Apple TV box, your first three months of HBO are free. There are tradeoffs everywhere in the cord cutting jungle.
No matter what cord cutting package you devise, there is a lot of free content to supplement your choices. The best of the complimentary lot are YouTube, Vimeo, Shout TV, Twitch,Crackle, and Pluto.TV.
The choice is yours—cord or no cord. Either way, there’s more to watch than your mother would approve of. Don’t sit too close to the set, and don’t forget to do your homework.Illustration by Max Fleishman
There were quite a few highlights from last night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, including SNL cast member Cecily Strong's gold-standard set. The most significant one: We got to see a different side of President Obama, via his anger translator.
If you're a fan of Comedy Central's Key & Peele, you're likely familiar with Luther (played by Keegan-Michael Key), Obama's "anger translator," who takes the president's even-handed communiques and gives them a blood pressure-elevating reality check. For five glorious minutes, we got the full blast.This morning, Key tweeted that this sketch was actually four years in the making, which makes it all the more amazing.
Screengrab via C-SPAN/YouTube
Tom Hardy in a musical? That's not the oddest thing about this trailer for London Road, a new film that serves as a hybrid of musical and documentary about a series of real-life murders in a small British community.
The film, starring Broadchurch's Olivia Colman, is based on a string of serial murders in which five prostitutes were killed over a five-week period in late 2006. The Ipswich serial murders were the work of a forklift driver named Steve Wright, who was sentenced to life in prison.
The new movie, judging by the trailer, focuses on the impact the murder had on the town of Ipswich, and the reactions of a shocked populace oblivious to the killer in their midst. The title, London Road, is the name of the road Wright lived on in town.The musical is written by British playwright Alecky Blythe and composer Adam Cork and started its life on the stage. It was commissioned by the Royal National Theatre and quickly became the surprise hit of 2011, becoming so popular it had to be moved into a larger venue.
Don't look to see Hardy taking over the show, though; the plot focuses on the community at large, and features the entire original cast of the stage production. No word on whether the Mad Max star gets his own solo, but London Road is already raking in critical acclaim, so we'll be there with bells on—even if we're not exactly sure what we're watching.
The Louisville Leopard Percussionists blew us away with their 2014 Led Zeppelin cover, but that wasn't their first hit. Back in 2012, they tackled Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." It's hard to believe these kids aren't actually professionals, much less that they do this kind of performing in their spare time. But the Louisville Leopards is actually a nonprofit organization designed to provide music education to kids ages 7–12 as an extra-curricular activity.
The best part is that the kids are clearly enjoying themselves, from all the head-bopping and bouncing around to the girl in the back jamming on the guitar. Not to mention the one kid with the T-shirt that just says "Rock on."
You got it, kid.
One month after Zayn Malik quit One Direction, we are still a world in mourning. At times like this, we turn to trusted authority figures—like renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
During an event at the Sydney Opera House this weekend, an audience member asked Hawking about the "cosmological effect" of Malik leaving 1D and breaking the hearts of his many fans. The question was facetious, but Hawking's response was surprisingly touching.
"My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics," he said. "It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe. And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction."
Hawking added, "This girl may like to know that in another possible universe, she and Zayn are happily married."
Since we live in a world where Stephen Hawking can answer boy-band questions via hologram, Hawking's parallel-universe speculation may not be as fantastical as it sounds.
Photo via Kurt Kulac/Wikimedia (CC BY SA 3.0)
Cookie Monster is hungry for justice, no matter the cost.
It was only a matter of time before Sesame Street tackled the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with Avengers: Age of Ultron coming out in a few days, the timing is ripe. (So are the veggies, for that matter.) Cookie Monster and his vegetable-themed “Aveggies” must defeat a bad guy bent on turning every vegetable into dessert—which would sound oddly delicious if the villain weren't trying to ruin vegetables everywhere.Screengrab via Sesame Street/YouTube
Last Thursday night, comedian Dave Chappelle performed a set at Detroit’s Fillmore, and it allegedly didn’t go so well.
While the first set reportedly went off without an kinks, several reports say that during Thursday’s second set, Chappelle chain-smoked, slurred his words, and repeated jokes. TMZ, always the most astute critics of popular culture, called the show “half baked” and a “drunken catastrophe.” A spokesperson for Chappelle told TMZ: “Out of the 50 shows on the tour, Thursday was definitely not his best set. On the flip side, the incident inspired some additional sharp-witted material and [Friday] he came back with a vengeance.”
In this short clip recorded by an audience member (despite requests not to film), Chappelle can be heard addressing hecklers:If you’ve been to a Chappelle show in the last couple years, you may have noticed that his audiences are often, well, vocal is a generous way to put it. When I saw him in Dallas in 2012, he put on a gold-star set, despite people in the audience drunkenly yelling things at him or calling out for him to do specific bits (Rick James). His Austin set that same month did not go well.
This adversarial relationship between Chappelle and his fans is unfortunate, but the Detroit show was not the first time this dynamic presented itself. Some comedians know exactly how to deal with hecklers—how to lure them into the bit and then swiftly dropkick them into silence. I’ve seen Chappelle perform around hecklers. Others have seen him walk off stage because of them. Earlier this year, a fan at a New Mexico gig allegedly threw a banana peel at him.
Sure, this could have been an off night, but others on social media remarked that a handful of audience members were to blame.An April 24 review from Click On Detroit explained that the last time Chappelle played the Fillmore, he was “heckled so hard that he stopped performing material, and just talked with the crowd for three hours.”
Fans are demanding refunds for the Thursday show, though the venue told TMZ it’s not responsible for artists’ content. Apparently during his Friday gig, Chappelle made a joke about the refunds, “and he got plenty of laughs for it.”
Netflix is premiering a show unlike most of its original programming. Chef's Table takes viewers inside the lives and restaurants of six world-renowned chefs—and it’s a feast for the senses. Non-foodies will enjoy it, but for foodies? This is your new favorite show. Watch a sneak peek in the trailer below.The six-episode show is beautifully shot, giving viewers a real sense of place for each chef, showing off not only the chef’s kitchen, but their lives working in the food industries of six very different countries.
Featured in the program are Ben Shewry (Attica Restaurant in Melbourne, Australia), Magnus Nilsson (Fäviken in Järpen, Sweden), Francis Mallmann (El Restaurante Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, Argentina), Niki Nakayama (N/Naka Restaurant in Los Angeles), Dan Barber (Blue Hill Restaurant at Stone Barns and in New York City), and Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy).
The show is available in its entirety as of Sunday, April 26 on Netflix.
Three more of YouTube’s brightest channels take the spotlight in a new round of advertising campaigns aimed at bringing attention to the creativity of the platform.
Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart, and Dude Perfect are the newest stars of a line of ads that seek to draw more eyeballs (and advertising dollars) to the world of YouTube. Combined they command the attention of 9 million subscribers.Last year YouTube began advertising its creators with a campaign that focused on Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Rosanna Pansino. The trio became the de facto faces of the platform. Phan has gone on to launch her own multichannel network, and Mota interviewed the president and spent time on Dancing With the Stars.
Helbig is already on her way to mainstream success with her recently launched E! show, while Hart boasts a bestselling book. While a lot of the YouTube attention has been on female creators, or show-based creators like Vice or SciShow, Dude Perfect hits the sweet spot of young men and sports, with a channel filled with trick shots. This new campaign also opens the YouTube attention up to LGBTQ creators with its focus on Hart.
The ads include both videos and billboards, which fans and the creators themselves have been eagerly spotting and snapping pictures of.
Photo via myharto/YouTube
This movie has everything: a setting that combines American high school teen hijinks with fairytale fantasy, Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent, arbitrarily ridiculous-yet-fabulous leather costumes, middle-aged Cinderella and Prince Charming having a preppy son named Chad, an evil queen whose name is literally Evil Queen, her daughter named Evie to match.As soon as we heard about this movie last year, we were certain it would be the next Disney Channel sensation. It's directed by High School Musical's Kenny Ortega, involves more Disney characters than you can shake a stick at, and doesn't take itself remotely seriously. Eat your heart out, Once Upon A Time.
Screengrab via Disney Descendants/YouTube
BY CLYDE LOVELLETTE
The servers of rap-mixtape-hosting site Datpiff surge with activity around April 20 as rappers upload mixtapes based around their favorite marijuana-related holiday. Year after year, especially in the Bay Area, rappers profess their love for smoking indo in the form of white clouds drawn on mixtape covers and extra splift-out beat purchases. Rap isn’t the only musical genre that loves pot, but it is the most overt. But once the smoke clears out, what matters is: Can this wave of new releases sustain continued smoke outs well into 2015? Below are the season’s most enduring, rewarding 4/20-themed mixtapes—along with the genus of weed each mixtape elicits.
1) Luniz — High TimezLuniz made one of the most well-known Bay Area rap songs and one of the most well-known weed rap songs in 1995’s “I Got 5 on It.” But the duo of Yukmouth and Numskull hasn’t charted since the second single from that same 1995 album, Operation Stackola. I remember a couplesongs from Silver & Black, their 2002 album, getting on the radio in NorCal. They haven’t dropped anything since then besides a greatest hits album, at least in part because Numskull did seven years in prison for 12 counts of felony rape charges.
Yukmouth has been a formidable solo artist in his own right, and this tape is a lot like his recent output, and not just on account of all the references to reefer. There’s also a certain kind of musicality and maturity to High Timez, like when Cheech and Chong wanted to make Woody Allen movies. On the titular track, Yukmouth shouts out a tongue-twisting number of rappers. There’s a narrator named Linno the Winno, who’s a wino despite the ID tags’ spelling, basically doing a Mike Epps-esque old man character with William DeVaughn and Curtis Mayfield in the background.
The production from the Mekanix gets pretty funky, and the bits of hyphy and mob music make it rattle windows. B-Legit and Dru Down appear right alongside newer Bay mainstays like J-Stalin and Beeda Weeda. It’s laid out like an E-40 album, in other words. B-Real from Cypress Hill and Ras Kass (who I just found out is still rapping) both show up expertly prepared for the occasion. Only when Luniz sound like they’re trying to replicate a Tyga record (reaching for precious gloss and making bad pop in the process) and Yukmouth does a fake patois is the tape unenjoyable.
Strain: The kind of weed you hit after not smoking in years and forgot how much you enjoyed before going back to your children.
2) Audio Push — The Good Vibe TribeI kind of gave up on former Jerkers Audio Push by the time they collabed up with one of Kanye’s producers, Hit-Boy. They haven’t put out their own project since 2013, meanwhile being featured on countless Hit-Boy projects. They return here with seemingly no Hit-Boy, and a lot of Atlanta influence. These late-period trap beats suit the duo.
The tape’s running theme is sitting around a campfire with a girl who kicks knowledge and it’s easily the most realistic smoking experience of any of the mixtapes here. A lot of the musicality that was present on the Luniz mixtape is likewise present. The beats are very contemporary, and even when they’re not hitting, they wouldn’t be out of place on a dance floor. The eight-minute centerpiece “Mary Jane/SixtyOneImpala” starts out with a weeded-out R&B joint, and suddenly those skronky horns come out and it’s a bouncy back-and-forth.
G-Eazy shows up early to rap like Macklemore with a blaccent, Fat Trel makes a brief cameo, and OG Maco steals a track. The mixtape is pretty breezy even with the heavy beats, but when Vince Staples opens “Mind Trap,” it’s like a punch to the liver. Casey Veggies and TDE-signee Isaiah Rashad also contribute to the reality check/downer vibe.
The closing song gets a little too navel-gazey—talking too much after the party’s over doesn’t look great on Oktane and Price.
Strain: The kind of weed that makes chatting with your friends about life questions feel like the most important thing in the world.
3) A-Plus - Logrowlize It! Vol. 3
A-Plus is one of the founding members of the legendary rap collective Hieroglyphics. He’s one of the four members of the Souls of Mischief and it’s obvious from this tape that he’s a veteran of weed music. Just like the previous editions of Legrowlize It!, this is mostly instrumental. It doesn’t sound like much more than a beat tape where each beat kinda changes up about somewhere in the middle.
The final song, “Bomb Yo,” features Del the Funky Homosapien and is way too aggressive for a 4/20-themed mixtape. Del sounds bold enough, but A-Plus starts rapping fast and veers dangerously close to militantly sanctimonious Tech 9ine territory.
Strain: The kind of weed that completely evaporates the minute some shit pops off.
4) Street Wiz — 4/20 Vision 3Street Wiz is not Wiz Khalifa. He’s a weed carrier in Currensy’s New Orleans-based Jet Life crew. The movie he uses to frame his third annual 4/20 tape is Blow, and he sounds like Juicy J on a lot of it.
There are no listed features, but there are other rappers here. Then again, Street Wiz sounded like Slim Thug and Wiz Khalifa in his other 4/20 mixtapes, so maybe it’s all him. As a three-year veteran in the 4/20 mixtape game, he sticks to the theme well by mentioning he smokes weed a rotund amount. The tape sounds best when S. Wiz (the name on his jersey for Currensy’s rec team) changes up his flow or when it sounds like someone else is rapping.
Strain: The kind of weed where you run out of ideas and fall into a groove, like a pregame turning into the whole night because you found enough ingredients to make a decent sandwich. Call it a day.
5) Oun-P — MedicationOun-P (pronounced Oon P) got on MTV the same way he did on 106th & Park’s Freestyle Friday, but he’s singing a lot on this Medication tape. He’s a battle rapper from the Bronx, and there are parts on the tape where the weed wears off and Oun-P’s temper flares somewhere between Dipset’s pseudo-dictatorship threats and Fabolous’s punchlines. On the other hand, he gets high enough to bust out the Auto-Tune on one track and get his Dom Kennedy on with another.
When Oun-P finds a combination of West Coast everyman rapper and East Coast street rapper, the results are downright interesting. But when the Drake and Wiz Khalifa influences get too obvious, it’s just tiring retread. There’s a lot of bad melodies and tedious weed talk. He even uses the Makonnen “Tuesday” chorus to frame a verse of his ode to marijuana, “Marijuana.”
Strain: The kind of weed where you feel yourself a little too much and sing along to the Weeknd even though everyone has already told you you can’t hit that high tenor.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
Prom dress? Check. Corsage? Check. Justin Bieber? Definite check. In a total surprise move, the “Boyfriend” singer decided to crash a high school prom this past weekend.
On Saturday (April 25) night, Bieber showed up at Chatsworth Charter High School in Southern California and, based on several videos and tweets, made some of the most magical prom memories ever. It’s unclear why Bieber showed up at the dance—maybe he's feeling sad about missing out on some of those classic high-school experiences?—but he did.
“Justin Bieber showing up at our prom? I think we know who had the best prom this year,” reads a tweet from the Chatsworth senior class.
While there, the singer, who was also joined by Hailey Baldwin, took to the dance floor and shared a few of his sweet moves. Some of the prom goers posted videos of the surprise visit to Twitter, which can be seen below.
As we devour every Deadpoolset photo and twiddle our thumbs until we can see Ryan Reynolds on the big screen, the film’s writers have already announced their next project.
According to Deadline, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick will tackle a movie about the doomed debut of New Coke next. April 23 marked the 30th anniversary of the “new” Coca-Cola formula, which consumers rejected pretty much across the board. A couple months later, Coca-Cola reverted back to the old formula. Can you imagine the social media beatdown the company would face if it tried that today? It would have to switch back in a matter of days.
If you’re thinking, “But a movie about New Coke sounds boring,” you're not alone, but Reese and Wernick optioned the rights to Thomas Oliver’s book The Real Coke, The Real Story, which explores the disastrous launch and will hopefully bring some of that dark Deadpool humor to it. As AV Club points out, the casting will be everything, especially that of Coca-Cola founder John Pemberton, who kind oflooks like Ryan Reynolds here.
Since stepping into Stephen Colbert’s slot, Larry Wilmore has certainly added some fresh conversation and much-needed diversity to Comedy Central. But last night, he had one of his first missteps.
After a bit about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Wilmore addressed Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer about transitioning to a woman. After uncomfortable jokes about what “parts” Jenner has now and how he’s a “mean girl,” Wilmore brought out Colin Quinn, dressed as Pinocchio, to explain how he transitioned to a “real boy,” minimizing the complex issues of the trans community to a punchline.
Perhaps because Jenner’s a celebrity, Wilmore (and his writers) thought joking about his transition was fair game, but to quote one of Wilmore’s own segments, that was some weak tea.H/T Digg | Screengrab via Comedy Central
Ridiculousness star Rob Dyrdek didn’t come in on a magic carpet ride, but he still managed to make some wishes come true in a magical proposal.
He took his girlfriend Bryiana Noelle Flores to see a production of Aladdin at Disneyland on Saturday, which happened to be her favorite show. He managed to step away during the performance (making an excuse to use the restroom), only to make his grand entrance on stage on top of a prop elephant (with assistance from the production) in the middle of the show.Once Dyrdek appeared onstage, the Genie offered to grant him three wishes. Unlike Aladdin himself, Dyrdek knows exactly what he wants to wish for, and although his wishes are cutting it close to the Genie’s rule of not being able to make someone in love with you, the Genie determined that it didn’t break the rules and granted them for him. When the Genie pointed Flores out in the crowd, although surprised, she came onstage. Dyrdek then asked for a gift to show his love for her. He gave her a diamond ring. The happy couple are now vacationing in the Caribbean, where they’re hopefully well-hidden from Jafar and his dastardly ways. H/T Elite Daily | Photos via Rob Dyrdek/Twitter
If you thought Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’” was strictly a yacht rock staple, Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace just proved you wrong.
The A.V. Club recently partnered with Grace for its One Track Mind series, and as an added bonus after performing Against Me!'s “Pretty Girls (The Mover),” she did an acoustic cover of the 1982 Michael McDonald hit, using the beat from the Cure’s “Close to Me” as the rhythm section. Who knew the two worked together so well?H/T A.V. Club | Screengrab via A.V. Club
Podcasting is so hot right now, and SoundCloud is on it.
SoundCloud is perfect for podcasters looking for an intuitive hosting platform that’s built on the most stable infrastructure and provides the most detailed statistics to help you understand and grow your audience.
Podcasting is big business these days, and SoundCloud reportedly had more than 15,000 podcasters sign up for the beta test. It also boasts 175 million unique monthly listeners.With podcasts like Serial and NPR’s Invisibiliadominating the iTunes top 10 and sites like Earwolf birthing more litters every day, SoundCloud has entered a crowded market. But the platform’s real-time commenting feature sets it aside from other networks, proving podcasting is not a “solitary experience,” as explained in today’s blog. Podcasts are another social network.
Photo via Nicolas Solop/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
CEO Marissa Mayer presented the shows before Yahoo’s NewFront presentation, revealing a variety of programs from smaller, evergreen programs, concerts, Supefan Live (a show similar to The Talking Dead), to a show from Naomi Campbell and Michelle Rodriguez, a reality show from Simon Cowell, and a live news program for Katie Couric. The shows are either live, scripted, or put out by digital magazines. Mayer is aiming for the millennial audience, something she confirmed in her presentation.
Along with picking up Community after its cancellation last May, Yahoo only announced two original programs at last year’s NewFront presentation.
The only longform series announced, The Pursuit, is a comedy that “aims to be Friends updated for the digital age.” With that announcement, Mayer addressed the criticism that came with a recent report from the Wall Street Journal suggesting that Yahoo wasn’t as interested in longform programming
"We certainly are interested in original and exclusive content,” Mayer said. “That said, we are interested in scripted video but only when it really plays to our audience. So we feel that The Pursuit is a great comedy for millennials, but a lot of the content we're going deep on is more news-oriented and, even if they're originals, they're really deeply aligned with some of the key verticals we've been investing in for years.”
There is no set date for when any of the shows will premiere; when asked by Adage, a Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment on the shows’ schedule.
Beyond its general promotion of YouTubers in ad campaigns and roundabout investment through YouTube Spaces worldwide, the Google-owned company is now making direct investments in a spate of new content from already-proven YouTube successes.
The site is backing four specific projects. Emmy winners The Fine Bros., who’ve excelled with the React series of programming, will produce a “new scripted comedy series that takes a satirical look at the world of singing competition shows,” while YouTuber Joey Graceffa will lead “an all-star cast of YouTubers in his all-new murder mystery reality series.” Prank vs. Prank will also see backing for a celebrity-focused new prank show, as will Smosh, the heavyweight with 35 million subscribers across its channels, which will produce a new comedy series focused on a working in a theme restaurant.
Additionally, YouTube announced a film partnership with AwesomenessTV, with several feature-length films starring YouTube stars released direct to YouTube before expanding to other platforms. YouTube claims this strategy will become “a new distribution paradigm for years to come.”
“We work with amazing creators to make great short form content on YouTube every day,” said AwesomenessTV CEO Brian Robbins in a press release. “We think the platform is really ready for long form, so now we will make movies that will star YouTubers and premiere on YouTube. We will turn YouTube stars into movie stars.”
This is not the first time YouTube has directly funded creation. Its Original Channels Initiative, started in 2011, poured 100 million into original content and creators on the platform, including SourceFed, Young Hollywood, and CrashCourse. In 2012 YouTube stopped drawing attention to the program, instead seeking other paths to support its creators. This new spate of funded projects is much smaller in scale and more targeted than the previous version, which could help it have more attainable success.
YouTube wrote that it hopes to release the first film project in the fall, with no deadline or release scheduled for the other funded projects.
Screengrab via Smosh/YouTube