Nicki Minaj

Why Nicki Minaj and her butt can't have it both ways

She protests a little too much over her latest controversy

So Nicki Minaj wants to know why models get no push back— so to speak—when they flash their asses in photo spreads and yet the world is all over her famous backside after she posts a shot of her “Anaconda” single cover that features her derriere.

After the photo went viral and threatened to break the internet, Minaj got some praise, but she also got her share of grief, so last night, she started posting photos of such things as the last Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover and asking why that’s “angelic”and yet her butt shot is “unacceptable.” She even threatened to post some more explicit photos, but decided better of it… or maybe she’ll just wait for that until the next time she’s desperate for some publicity.

Well, Nicki, you have every right to cop a squat and show off your formidable rear, but here’s a few reasons why you're causing such a stir and why you may want to think this through.

1. Your shot is aggressively in your face in a way the model shots are not. Add high heels and it would be a trademark stripper pose. Whether it’s the crouched position or the disappearing pink thong or the come hither look, your shot is sexualized in a way that the other shots are not. That's fine if you want to be known primarily for that asset as opposed to others, but maybe not such a smart move, if not.

2. The sad fact is that women can still not have it both ways. I’m not saying that it’s OK that we can’t, I’m just saying that we haven’t gotten to the place yet where a women who plasters her bare ass in a provocative pose all over the internet is then going to be taken completely seriously for her music. Some folks won’t see it as an issue, but given the comments flooding the internet, others do. You don't get to cry foul when people focus on your behind and your looks instead of your music if you're doing to flaunt your appearance this way. When Lil Kim showed up topless other than a pasty,  we all knew it was because the music was secondary to the spectacle. Is that the message you want to send?

3. You seem to be working really hard to clean up your image: the funny wigs are gone, you’ve been dressing classier at awards shows. No one says you have to wear a nun’s habit (actually, you’ve already tried that and it didn’t go over so well), but it feels like you back slid here. We’re not saying that women can’t express all different facets of themselves, but there’s sexy and there’s tacky and this seems more of the latter.

4. Look at you. Everyone’s talking about you. Again. Good for you. But wouldn’t it be nice if they were talking about the music instead of your ass?  With "Pills N' Potions," people were talking about the song and how it showed a different side of you. But now, everyone's just talking about your butt. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but for someone who has pretended for the last 24 hours that those doesn’t care what people think, you’re spent a lot of time on Twitter fanning the flames.

What do you think? Is the photo too much?


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Beastie Boys

Revisiting Beastie Boys' 'Paul's Boutique' 25 years later

What did the critics say when it first came out?

The stakes were high for the Beastie Boys on their second album, “Paul’s Boutique.” The trio’s first set, 1986’s “Licensed To Ill,” had catapulted Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Adam “MCA” Yauch, and Michael “Mike D” Diamond into rap’s forefront with tunes like the bratty anthem, “Fight For Your Right (To Party)”showed three white New Yorkers could steal the rap spotlight.

But the bigger question was if they were making novelty music for frat parties or were here to stay. “Paul’s Boutique” authoritatively proved it was the latter.

When it came time for “Boutique,” which came out 25 years ago today, on July 25, 1989, the Beasties had split with producer Rick Rubin and turned to the Dust Brothers.  The album came with a more serious, dedicated attitude and a quarter century after its release, it is considered the Beastie Boys’ masterpiece.

So how was it received when it first came out? Here’s a look at some of the initial reviews in 1989 for “Paul’s Boutique.”

Rolling Stone gave it four our of five stars with David Handelman declaring, Yet with the dense, crafty Paul's Boutique (produced by the Dust Brothers, including Tone-Loc helmsman Matt Dike), the Beasties reinvent the turntable and prove they're here to stay. Gone is Rubin's wailing guitar (and with it, probably, the chance of a crossover hit single), but in its place is a nearly seamless set of provocative samples and rhymes — a rap opera, if you will, complete with an Abbey Road-like multisnippet medley called "B-boy Bouillabaisse." If the misogyny, hedonism and violence of the first album bothered you, the sequel shows little remorse — merely replacing beer with cheeba — but it's a much more intricate, less bludgeoning effort.”

Robert Christgau, reviewing for Playboy, noticed the sea change: “If Paul's Boutique (Capitol) doesn't jump you the way great rap usually does, it also announces that these guys aren't about to burn out on their vaunted vices--not cheeba, not pussy, certainly not fame. With Rick Rubin producing hard rock full-time, Paul's Boutique doesn't pick up on the expansive pop-metal hooks that made them rich and famous. It's not as thick and threatening as Public Enemy or as waggish as De La Soul. But the Beasties and Tone-Loc's Dust Brothers have worked out a sound that sneaks up on you with its stark beats and literal-minded samples, sometimes in a disturbing way, and while I don't hear a "Fight for Your Right," I also wasn't smart enough to handicap "Wild Thing" as the biggest rap single in history. Bearing down on the cleverest rhymes in the biz…the Beasties concentrate on tall tales rather than boasting or dissing.”

“Paul’s Boutique” peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard 200, but time has given the album a certain revered, elder statesman status among rap titles.  Spin ranked it No. 12 among its 100 Greatest Albums released between 1985 and 2005; Pitchfork listed it at No. 3 on the Top 100 Albums of the 1980s, and Time Magazine named it among its “100 Greatest Albums of All TIME.”

“Hey Ladies” was the only hit from “Paul’s Boutique,” reaching No. 36, but the entire album’s influence only continues to grow.

What’s your favorite track from “Paul’s Boutique?”

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Exclusive: Dawes performs 'Someone Will' for Guitar Center Sessions: Watch

Exclusive: Dawes performs 'Someone Will' for Guitar Center Sessions: Watch

SoCal band performs tale of unrequited love

Dawes will star on Sunday’s (27) episode of Guitar Center Sessions on DIRECTV’s Audience Network, but you don’t have to wait until then to get a sneak peek at the Southern California’s folk rockers’ appearance.

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Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks sets release date for '24 Karat Gold' set

Album will be the singer's first since 2011's 'In Your Dreams'

Stevie Nicks will mine her past on new album, “24 Karat Gold: Songs From The Vault,” out Oct. 7 on Warner Bros.

The album, recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles and produced by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, famed session/touring guitarist/producer Waddy Wachtel and Nicks, features music written by the Fleetwood Mac enchantress between 1969 and 1995, Nicks tells Billboard. “Each song is a lifetime. Each song has a soul. Each song has a purpose. Each song is a love story,” she said. “They represent my life behind the scenes, the secrest, the broken hearts, the broken hearted and the survivors. These songs are the memories—the 24-karat gold rings in the blue box.”

The album will in various editions. The standard packaging includes photos taken by Nicks over the last several decades. A deluxe CD set will include two bonus tracks and a 48-page photo booklet. A limited edition double vinyl set will be released a week prior, on Sept. 29.

Nicks will begin previewing snippets of songs from the album Aug. 5 via her Instagram account, stevienicksofficial.

She returns to the road with Fleetwood Mac on Sept. 30. The tour includes the long-awaited return of singer/keyboardist Christine McVie to the band.

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Icona Pop

Exclusive: Icona Pop hits Mexico City with Miley Cyrus in clip from 'I Am Icon': Watch

Things take a strange turn south of the border

Swedish pop duo Icona Pop broke big around the world in 2012 with its smash, “I Love It.”

Since then, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo have been traveling the globe touring with acts like Passion Pit, Matt & Kim, Marina and the Diamonds, Katy Perry and, earlier this year, with Miley Cyrus on the North American leg of her Bangerz World Tour.

The pair, who released “This Is… Icona Pop” last year, chronicled their adventures on the road with Cyrus for a reality series on fashion and lifestyle website Refinery29. “I Am Icon” debuted July 10 and in this exclusive clip from the July 24 episode, they discover that there’s a bit of chaos waiting for them south of the border as they discover that the head of production for the festival they are playing has just been fired.

But there are also fans waiting for them, as Jawo talks about how excited they are because their biggest fan base on Facebook is in Mexico City.

To watch "I Am Icon," go here.


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Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, One Direction to headline iHeartRadio Festival

Nicki Minaj, Eric Church and other superstars set for Sept. 19-20 event

Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Coldplay, Zac Brown Band and Iggy Azalea will play the Clear Channel’s fourth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival, set for Sept. 19-20 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Also on the bill are Usher, Ariana Grande, Motley Crue, Eric Church, Ed Sheeran, Train, Lorde, Calvin Harris, Bastille, and more.

Ryan Seacrest returns as host of the 2-day fest, which will air on stations in 150 Clear Channel markets, stream on Yahoo, and be condensed into a two-night prime time special on The CW, Sept. 29-30.


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Magic's 'Rude' spends a second week at the top of the chart

Could Sam Smith be headed to his first No. 1?

Magic! continues to cast a spell on the Billboard Hot 100 this week as “Rude” remains at No. 1 for a second week.

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Miley Cyrus and Pharrell Willams

Pharrell Williams and Miley Cyrus get playful in 'Come Get It Bae' video: Watch

Cyrus pours some sugar in a non-Def Leppard way


Miley Cyrus leaves the tweaking to others in the video for Pharrell Williams’ “Come Get It Bae.”

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Shovels & Rope
Credit: Lesie Ryan McKellar

Exclusive Premiere: Shovels & Rope's dark new song, 'Evil': Listen

A tale of two misfits who are very misunderstood

Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, collectively known as Shovels & Rope, release their sophomore set “Swimmin’ Time,” Aug. 26.

The set follows the husband and wife duo's highly acclaimed breakthrough, ‘O’ Be Joyful,” a set of largely acoustic tales that featured their voices wrapping around each other and slithering in and out of stomping melodies, especially on the semi-autobiographical, “Birmingham,” which was named Song of the Year at the 2013 Americana Music Awards.

One of the best tunes on “Swimmin’ Time” is the swampy, dark “Evil,” a story about two misfits, a young tomboy and an older man, who is emotionally lost following the sudden death of his wife and an accident that leaves him brain damaged.

“The rough little girl takes pity on him and his children, bringing them apples, him, cigarettes and helping with the kids,” Hearst and Trent tell HitFix. “Their interaction raises suspicion in the small town, and the cops bring her in for questioning, perhaps with her damaged friend in custody, where she explains that they were helping each other, and that all they ever shared was their mutual loneliness.  Alas, it is a story about a town with 'two Boo Radleys' who depend on each other to survive.” Hey, any tune that in any way references "To Kill A Mockingbird" works for us.

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5 Seconds of Summer

Rating 5 Seconds of Summer's new set via the Boy Band-ometer

How do the Aussie cuties compare to 1D, Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync

So if One Direction is a 10 and 98 Degrees is a 1, where do 5 Seconds of Summer, whose full-length self-titled debut comes out today (22), fall on the Boy Band-ometer?

Let’s look at a few factors and bring in a few more boy band metrics.

*Harmonies: The pinnacle of Boy Band Harmony is Backstreet Boys on “As Long As You Love Me,” followed closely by Boyz II Men on “I’ll Make Love To You.”  On each, their voices wrap around each other in a gorgeous blend of longing. Few boy groups seem to understand that singing in unison is not the same as harmonizing and  warbling “Oh, oh” together a lot—on almost every song— doesn’t constitute harmony. The members of 5SOS tend to trade off on lines and then all four sing together. BSB and B2M have nothing to worry about.  GRADE: C

*Songs: Remember how other than “You Don't Know You're Beautiful,”  1D’s first album was filled with forgettable ditties. It took a few albums in for the lads to get something as memorable as “Story of My Life.”  For a first full-length album, 5SOS succeeds better than most: there are no clunkers on here, but there’s very little that’s memorable other than “Don’t Stop” and mid-tempo “Long Way Home.”  Ballad “Amnesia” has just the right amount of maudlin anguish to make us understand that the boys in 5SOS are way more than just pretty faces. GRADE: B-

*Vocals: Lead singer Luke Hemmings has a pleasing, serviceable voice and the rest chime in adequately, but there’s not a super singer like ’N Sync’s Justin Timberlake or Hanson’s Taylor Hanson lurking among the four. GRADE: B-

*Bounceability: The majority of songs on “5 Seconds of Summer” are upbeat ditties that serve as reliable fodder for working out just as much as for dancing, especially the first half of the album. The band’s label keeps stressing 5SOS’s “pop-punk,” but there is nothing remotely “punk” about 5SOS. They’re not even as “edgy” as The Wanted. They are pure, fluffy, bouncy pop and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. GRADE: A

*Swoon Appeal: What girl doesn’t want to hear her beau plead “Kiss Me, kiss me, kiss me,” as 5SOS do on the appropriately titled “Kiss me, Kiss me?” Or romantically dream of sleeping under the same sky when they’re apart on “Beside You.” It’s all PG here, as it should be, and every now and then, a little whiff of their Australian accents comes through which sends the Swoon Appeal meter sky rocketing. Plus, they already go by their first names only for the most part. Who needs last names when you’re already crushing so hard?: GRADE: B+

* 1D Successor Likelihood: 5SOS is already on its way to being the rightful heir. Its Spring EP, “She Looks So Perfect,”  debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and hit No. 1 on the iTunes chart in 58 countries. The band’s first US headlining tour sold out and the boys are now opening for 1D on its global stadium tour. One Directioners were apoplectic when 5SOS garnered two MTV VMA noms last week, while 1D got zero. Adding insult to injury, 5SOS has pulled out of its Aug. 24 and Aug. 27 1D dates to perform at the VMAs. 5SOS won’t hit the absurd fever pitch of 1D, but between their sweet, benign talent and ability to ride on 1D’s coattails, they’ll do just fine for three years or so until the next big things comes along.


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