Canadian artists Belly and The Weeknd cancel “Kimmel” performance because of Trump


Canadian artists Belly and The Weeknd canceled their scheduled performance on Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday because Donald Trump, who is currently running for the Republican Presidential nomination, was set to appear on the show that day.

Belly released a statement, giving his reason for canceling his performance:

“I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world — from religion to race,” Belly said in a statement. “I just didn’t want to feel like I was a part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs that majority of us don’t agree with.”

When asked by The Hollywood Reporter, the Jimmy Kimmel show, had no comment, and Trump and The Weeknd did not reply by press time.

Belly and The Weeknd were set to perform Belly’s song “Why Not,” which The Weeknd is featured on. Belly’s mixtape, “Another Day In Paradise” is set to be released on Friday.

Recently, artists have taken political stands by canceling performances. Several artists, including Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato and Bruce Springsteen have canceled performances in North Carolina due to the state’s HB2 Law, which requires transgender people to use the bathroom for the sex that they were assigned to at birth.


Rappers show their vulnerable side by talking about God


“We’re all self-conscious I’m just the first to admit it.” This line from “All Falls Down,” Kanye West’s single from his debut album “College Dropout” was the first time I’ve ever heard a rapper be vulnerable. I was used to rappers being bragadocious, something I just couldn’t relate too. Being sensitive and guarded was something I understood completely, and Kanye’s “All Falls Down,” an anthem about contradictions and human nature, is one of my favorite songs.

There was a lull in venerable raps until Kanye put out the album “808s and Heartbreak.” The songs talked about the fear of being unloved and destructive relationships. This album changed how rap artists talked about love, paving the way for artists like Drake.

Rappers showing their vunerable side continued with the discussion of religion. Ironically, one of the first mainstream gospel rap songs was also off “College Dropout,” with “Jesus Walks.” Yet another reason that “College Dropout” is Kanye’s best album and I have lost respect for friends who have told me “Graduation” is the best, but I digress. The influence of God started coming back with artists like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. J. Cole’s second album “Born Sinner” was about dealing with temptation while trying to be a man of God. Kendrick Lamar’s music has always had religious undertones. On the 2010 song “Growing Apart (To Get Closer),” Kendrick talks about his relationship with God and how he has been lazy, and then he says “I promise to stay faithful, focused and sanctified.” Several skits in his debut album “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City” included prayers. The lead single from his last album, “i” was about his Christian faith.

Chance The Raper has further pushed gospel rap to the forefront. His profanity free song, 2015’s “Sunday Candy,” was about church and his relationship with his grandma. Chance made public declaration of his Christianity when he performed the song on Saturday Night Live, becoming the first independent artist to perform on that show. He also performed the song “Somewhere In Paradise” that included the lyric “I might give Satan a swirly.”

In 2016 he continued to bring his religion to the forefront. He again performed on SNL, this time with Kanye West, Kirk Franklin and Kelly Price on the gospel rap song “Ultra Light Beam” that he cowrote for Kanye. He referenced his previous gospel rap song, “Sunday Candy,” by pronouncing “I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell.” The performance included a payer from Kirk Franklin and a gospel choir.

“Coloring Book,” the highly anticipated follow-up to his 2013 mixtape, “Acid Rap” which was heavily influenced by acid use, was influenced by the completely opposite subject matter, God. Songs included “Blessings” which featured the chorus “I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone/I’m gon’ praise Him, praise Him ’til I’m gone/When the praises go up, the blessings come down/When the praises go up, the blessings come down/
It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap/It seems like blessings keep falling in my lap.” The song “How Great” opens with “How great is our God/Sing with me, how great is our God/All will see how great is our God”

The inclusion of God into rap shows a more vulnerable side to rappers. Showing any type of vulnerability makes rap songs more relatable. However, this inclusion of God shows a progression in rap. Rap, a genre is is often cricticised for not being progressive is showing growth by increasing its subject matter.

Listen to some Gospel Rap songs below:

The Running Man Challenge brings back “My Boo” to Billboard Charts

Thanks to the viral sensation “The Running Man Challenge,” the song from the challenge Ghosttown DJ “My Boo” is now charting higher than when it was released in 1996. When it was released, its highest position was number 31. As of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week of May 21, 2016, its current position is number 29.

“The Running Man Challenge” started with Kevin Vincent and Jeremiah Hall, two high-schoolers from New Jersey in class. After posting it online, University of Maryland basketball players Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens found it and posted their own videos. The dance then took off with several celebrities, such as Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers, posting their own version of the dance to “My Boo.”

It is not surprise that the song is charting. People were either introduced or reintroduced to the 90s song, making them purchase or stream it. Also, people who participated in the challenge also streamed or purchased the song, bumping up the chart position.

Check out Kevin Vincent, Jeremiah Hall, Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens on the Ellen Show below.


5 Essential Chance the Rapper Songs to listen to before Coloring Book


Before listening to Chance’s newly released mixtape, “Coloring Book,” here are five essential tracks to check out. Whether you have been a Chance fan since his first mixtape “10 Days” or you recently became familiar with him after his SNL appearances, reflect on Chance’s career so far with these songs.

“Acid Rain”-From “Acid Rap”

“Acid Rain” can best be described as the thesis statement of the mixtape that brought Chance The Rapper to the limelight. On the track, Chance opens with the line “kicked off my shoes, tripped acid in the rain” as he reflects on his life. He touches on friends, the past and violence in Chicago, including the murder of his best friend that he witnessed. After venting off his problems, he feels clean and ends the song with

I am a new man, I am sanctified,
Oh, I am holy, I have been baptized,
I have been born again, I am the White Light
Rain, rain don’t go away.

“Sunday Candy”-From “Surf”

This profanity free ode to his grandma is the sweetest thing Chance has ever written (pun fully intended). Chance talks about the unconditional love that he and his grandma share and his chorus focused on God is probably one of the best gospel rap songs out there. Some enderaring lines include

She could say in her voice, in her way that she love me
With her eyes, with her smile, with her belt, with her hands, with her money
I am the thesis of her prayers

I like my love with a budget, I like my hugs with a scent
You smell like light, gas, water, electricity, rent

“Angels”- From “Coloring Book”

“Angels” started a new chapter for Chance The Rapper. “Angels” explores Chance’s personal growth, from being an independent artist, to a father and also a role model to his city. “Angels” is the perfect bridge to Chance’s new era.

“Wanna Be Cool”-From “Surf”

“Surf” made history as the first album that was given away free on iTunes, which Chance references on the track “Angles” with the line “I even got Steve given out Apples for free.” “Wanna Be Cool” was a declaration of being comfortable with yourself and not changing to fit in, something Chance is all too familar with by not following the normal path of having a label. In an age where everyone is trying to find esteem anywhere but themselves, this is Chance’s anthem for the misfits.

“Wonderful Everyday”-Not from any album

Chance’s cover of the cartoon “Arthur” theme song, Chance reintroduces his audience which grew on with this show with its powerful message of being kind and believing in yourself.

[Photos] BOSCO and Yuna at Lincoln Hall


Yuna took her tour, with opening act BOSCO, to Lincoln Park’s Lincoln Hall on May 6. The diverse crowd, including many wearing headscarfs like Yuna, were excited to hear their eclectic music.

BOSCO, a Brooklyn based R&B and electronic singer originally from Savannah Georgia opened up the night with with music from her newest project with Speakerfoxxx, “Girls In The Yard.” While many people were there strictly for Yuna and were unfamiliar with her music, she won the crowd over with her energy. While mixing the heavy hitting beats of electronic music and the soul of R&B, she got the crowd dancing by jumping around and screaming from them to turn up on her megaphone. She also brought a few fans on stage with her to dance female focused anthem “Beemer.”

Yuna had a completely different energy. She has a calming strength. With her opening song, a cover of Beyonce’s “Sorry” she did her own take of the kiss-off song, making it more emotional and taking away the sassiness of it.

Yuna continued to take her audience on an emotional journey with songs from her catalog dating back to 2008. Songs connected to her songs about love, feeling alone and going after your dreams.

Yuna has had a unique career. After earning a law degree in her home country Malaysia, she decided to pursue music instead. Her current single, “Crush” featuring Usher has peaked at number 15 on the US Adult R&B Songs.

Check out pictures from the show below.

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Prince’s reign continues on Billboard charts


Prince’s albums continue to rule the charts after his passing on April 21 2016. The first Billboard week after his death, May 7 2016, three of his albums, “The Very Best of Prince”(no. 1), “Purple Rain (Soundtrack)”(no. 2)  and “The Hits/B-Sides”(no. 6) were in the top 10 on the Billboard 200. The following week, five albums were in the top 10, “The Very Best of Prince” (no. 2), “Purple Rain” (no.3), “The Hits/B-Sides” (no. 4), “Ultimate” (no. 6) and “1999” (no. 7).

Prince’s music is not available on most streaming services, so most of these sales count for pure album sales.

[Photos] Teyana Taylor’s Unplugged 2016 tour makes a stop at House of Blues Chicago


Teyana Taylor brought her Unplugged 2016 tour to House of Blues Chicago. Playing songs off of her 2014 debut album, “VII,” and her recent mix tape,  “The Cassette Tape 1994,” Taylor got the crowd pumped with her soulful voice and her complex choreographed dance moves.

Taylor who is also a new mother that gave birth to her first child with Cleveland Cavaliers’ basketball player Iman Shumpert back in December, had her baby girl on stage for the show, being held while wearing a protective headset as she watched her mother sing.

Check out pictures of the show and stream her album below.

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