<p>Lil Wayne</p>

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne says mom's love better than a car in Mother's Day missive

Rapper pens a love letter to his mom and his baby mamas from prison

Prisoners have mothers too. Lil Wayne has posted a glowing missive to his mother and to the mothers of his children, called “A Mother’s Worth” today on his website weezythanxyou.com. The letter also gives a little insight into his incarceration. Though primarily upbeat, he calls prison “a place where they attempt to break your spirit each day the sun rises.”

In the sweet essay, Weezy reminds us that a mother’s love is more precious than, say, a car. Good to know.
He thanks the mothers of his four children, pledging his respect, love and adoration. But he saves his fondest remarks for his mama, Ms. Cita: “Even writing this, it’s tough to come to grips with the fact I cannot spend this special day with you. Like you always preached, a man must accept his own actions – good and bad – and learn from them. And that’s what I’m doing. Mom, I love you more than you will ever know.”

Lil Wayne thanks his fans for their support and asked that they keep those letters coming, but laid down some guidelines: “I pray the letters keep coming in at the volume they are right now, especially the overseas ones. They let me know life still does move on, even if I forget at times. I just ask that you all keep the letters to one page. And keep sending the pictures, too.” Uh, we can only imagine what kind of pictures Lil Wayne is receiving. Perhaps from some potential future mamas?

By the way, the site also features a clock counting down to when Weezy gets sprung from the pen. As of  May 7, he has 180 more days, in case, you too, are keeping count at home.

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Brad Paisley

Brad Paisley

Credit: AP Photo

Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum and Dierks Bentley set for Nashville flood telethon

Ke$ha also plans Music City benefit

Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley and Rodney Atkins and among the artists who will take part in a two-hour live national telethon to help flood victim in middle Tennessee.

The benefit will air commercial free on Great American Country (GAC) from the historic Ryman Auditorium on May 16 from 8-10 p.m. Money raised will go to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
More acts will be added.

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<p>Die Antwoord</p>

Die Antwoord

South African Zef-Rappers Die Antwoord sign with Interscope

Is American ready for Ninja's takeover?

Is America ready for Zef-Rap?

Die Antwoord, the South African act that’s the genre’s main—if not only—practitioner has signed with Interscope Records.

The name means The Answer in Afrikaans and the band translates the term Zef-Rap into redneck rap, although it’s pretty tough to decipher exactly what they’re talking about in their often rapid-fire lyrics.

Die Antwoord is another internet success story. If one of your Facebook friends hadn’t posted a Die Antwoord video on your page over the last several months, then it’s time to get cooler friends. The multi-cultural band, led by a character called Ninja, set up a website with its provocative songs and videos and social networking took over. The site, which was streaming the group’s first album $0$ (move over, Ke$ha, you’ve got some competition in the $ department) kept crashing so much as word of the band spread in the U.S., that they finally moved it to a U.S.-based server, according to a story in Reuters. The video for “Enter the Ninja,” which we’ve embedded below, has been viewed nearly 4 million times since January.

Here’s the question: is it a smart business move for Interscope- home of Lady GaGa, Eminem and No Doubt--to sign a group that has much more of an indie aesthetic than a mainstream one? It depends upon what the label’s intent is.

Die Antwoord is a press-driven band. All the hipsters are gravitating toward them, especially after their U.S. debut at Coachella in April.  If you’re the publicist for Die Antwoord, your job is easy. You don’t have to sell them, you just get to pick among the requests and say yes or no.

However, if you’re trying to get them on the radio, it’s a bit more of a different story.  For some, Die Antwoort is nothing more than a novelty. On “Enter the Ninja,” the juxtaposition of Ninja’s in-your face rapping with blonde, sexed-up school girl Yo-Landi Vi$$er’s little kid sing-song is either innovative or off-puttingly precious, depending upon what side of the fence you come down on.

On the sales side, we don’t see anything yet that resonates as more than a flash in the pan, but you never know. Still, we don’t see this taking off despite the YouTube play. Hey, people will play a video of  a piano-playing cat 12 million times, but it doesn’t mean they’ll pay for it.

Interscope likes bands with an edge among its roster and it likes bands that, quite frankly, like TV on the Radio, might fare better on an indie label. But the label also has an eye for capturing a moment in time and running with it. We don’t know who signed Die Antwoord, but we imagine it’s Martin Kierszenbaum, who’s a great A&R guy, whose also willing to take chances. LadyGaGa is on his imprint and he also signed Russian girl singers Tatu, whom, like or hate them, had their short-lived moment in the sun.

To be sure, Die Antwoord is ready for its close up.  Just don’t be surprised if it only lasts 15 minutes. “$0$” has been pulled from its website in preparation for an amended version’s release on Interscope. Below is the short video that Die Antwoord released to announce its signing with the label.









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<p>Kelly Clarkson</p>

Kelly Clarkson

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Kelly Clarkson rips the industry a new one in 'Wash, Rinse, Repeat'

Or is she coming after OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder? You decide.

Sometimes personal beefs make great songs, especially when it’s in the love-gone-wrong/spurned lover department. But more often than not, they come across as an artist taking public something that really involves (and is of interest to)  a small group of people involved. That’s because living under the spotlight’s constant glare creates a belief that the world is fascinated by your every move, thought, and deed because, it, indeed, goes revolve around you.

Kelly Clarkson’s tune, “Wash, Rinse & Repeat,” falls into the latter category. On the surface, the song is an indictment of the cookie-cutter mentality pervasive in pop music that praises music that sounds just like another hit that listeners loved, but is just different enough to avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit. Or as Clarkson sings, “Does it sound familiar/does it linger in your ear like something you remember from just last year.” 

Or is it something much more?  Many outlets, like Idolator, are  speculating that this is Clarkson further venting her spleen at songwriter/OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder. She’s been pissed at Tedder ever since she felt that  her hit, “Already Gone” was basically a rewrite—or a “Wash, Rinse & Repeat” of Beyonce’s hit, “Halo.” Both were co-penned by Tedder.

The song is mildly amusing, especially the robotic speaking voice that Clarkson adopts. The guitars are crunchy and she sounds great when she’s mad, even when she’s filtered through auto-tune. Her point, even if it is meant in the more generic way, is well taken. Record labels go back to the same producers over and over again once those producers show they can have hits. The result is that individuality is marginalized and squeezed through the eye-of-the-needle-sized pop parameters. She may be singing about Tedder, but Clarkson could be describing any number of pop producers with these lines:  “Don’t get crazy/ keep between those lines/we love you/here’s what we have in mind /we’ve worked with everyone/trust us and see.”

So is this needless carping that Clarkson should have kept to herself (given her response to Taylor Swift’s label head after the Grammy debacle, she’s clearly not one for holding back) or is she providing a biting commentary on how pop music is manufactured these days?  Listen for yourself below and try to figure out the bleeped words.

In perhaps a bit of irony in other Clarkson news, a new track, called “Naked Eye,” leaked today and sites like beatcrave instantly accused Clarkson of ripping off Arcade Fire’s “Rebellion (Lies).”  “Naked Eye” has been taken off the web before we could hear it, but how interesting that both tracks leaked around the same time.

Coincidence? We think not.

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<p>Miley Cyrus</p>

Miley Cyrus

Watch: Is Miley Cyrus' new video for 'Can't Be Tamed' for the birds?

She's proud as a peacock in new clip

When Miley Cyrus sings “I want to fly” in her new single, “Can’t Be Tamed,” it turns out she meant it literally.

 In the clip, Cyrus is a rare bird on display, as the host explains, “in captivity for the first time.”  But the gilded cage is not for our girl.

Make no mistake about it: Miley Cyrus wants you to realize she’s an adult. She wants you to see her more in the league of a Christina or Britney. She has nothing in common with those other Disney girls like Demi Lovato or Selena Gomez. She saw how Hilary Duff was completely unable to transition from teen pop star to adult pop star and she’s having none of it. Just watch her thrash around in her nest if you don’t believe her.

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<p>Queen Latifah</p>

Queen Latifah

Lilith 2010 adds royalty and a legend to its line up

Queen Latifah and Carly Simon are latest ladies to join femme fest

Lilith 2010 has added royalty to its line up: Queen Latifah will now appear on the Detroit and Las Vegas tour stops. Additionally, Carly Simon has been added to the Boston, Hartford and New York shows.

Queen Latifah appeared on the original Lilith run, while this is the first time Simon has joined the femme fest.

To promote the tour (and do some good), Sarah McLachlan, Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow will appear on “Extreme Home Makeover” this Sunday, May 9.

In an effort to move tickets in this still-sluggish economy, Lilith is offering a special Mother’s Day 4-pack for $75 for a quartet of law seat tickets for select cities. Also, fans who pre-order McLachlan’s new album, “Laws of Illusions” will be able to purchase advance tickets to Lilith in the 10 of the 36 cities that have yet to go on sale. The tour starts June 27 in Calgary and ends Aug. 16 in Dallas.

Want to make those tickets fly? Add Lady GaGa to the bill. Other missing females who could add some drama or sizzle?  Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood and Courtney Love.

Below is the current line-up. McLachlan is the only artist appearing at each date.

A Fine Frenzy, Ali Milner, Anjulie, Ann Atomic, Anya Marina, Ash Koley, The Bangles, Beth Orton, Brandi Carlile, Butterfly Boucher, Caitlin Crosby, Cara Salimando, Carly Simon, Cat Power, Ceci Bastida, Chairlift, Chantal Kreviazuk, Colbie Caillat, Corinne Bailey Rae, Court Yard Hounds, Debi Nova, Donna Delory, Elizaveta, Elisapie Isaac, Emmylou Harris, Erin McCarley, Erykah Badu, Frazey Ford, The Go-Go’s, Gossip, Grace Potter and The Nocturnals, Hannah Georgas, Heart, Ima, Indigo Girls, Ingrid Michaelson, Janelle Monae, Jenni Rivera, Jennifer Knapp, Jesca Hoop, Jill Hennessy, Jill Scott, Julia Othmer, Kate Miller-Heidke, Kate Morgan, Kate Nash Katzenjammer, Kelly Clarkson, Ke$ha, Kina, La Roux, Lights, Lissie, Loretta Lynn, Lucy Schwartz, Marina & The Diamonds, Martina McBride, Mary J. Blige, Meaghan Smith, Melissa McClelland, Metric, Miranda Lambert, Miranda Lee Richards, Missy Higgins, Nikki Jean, Nneka, Norah Jones, Priscilla Renea, Queen Latifah, The Rescues, Rihanna, Rosie Thomas, Sara Bareilles, Sarah McLachlan, Selena Gomez, Serena Ryder, Shel, Sheryl Crow, Sia, Sugarland, Susan Justice, Suzanne Vega, Tara MacLean, Tegan and Sara, Toby Lightman, Vedera, Vita Chambers, The Submarines, The Weepies, Ximena Sarinana, Zee Avi

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<p>Beyonce in &quot;Why Don't You Love Me&quot;</p>

Beyonce in "Why Don't You Love Me"

Watch: Beyonce wants to know 'Why Don't You Love Me' in new video

Bey struts around in stilettoes and thigh highs in an effort to win her fella's love

Oh Beyonce,  it doesn’t matter how great you look in pin-up outfits (and you look unbelievable),  being needy is never attractive.

In the video for “Why Don’t You Love Me,” which as my colleague Katie Hasty pointed out yesterday,  is the ninth single from “I Am… Sasha Fierce,” she runs through an amazing array of outfits from the ‘60s, each more fetching than the next. We don’t know a lot of women—okay, any—who try to fix their car or do their housework in stilettos and thigh highs, but most women don’t look like Beyonce. However, as she asks repeatedly  “Why Don’t You Love Me” like a banshee, it becomes a bit of grand theater—just as it’s meant to be. She's rocking a whole Joan Crawford look in several of the outfits, when she's not recalling a saucy Betty Page.

The whole video is adorable in its ‘50s-‘60s sitcom way, especially the opening where Beyonce’s trying to fix her car, a la "i Love Lucy" and holds a wrench as if she’s never had one in her hands before. The  clip is a dream for costume and wig freaks and B carries off every single look and still manages to not look trashy. She’s definitely loosened up from hanging out with Lady GaGa, but has managed to completely keep her dignity.  Stay classy, B!


"Why Don't You Love Me" - Beyoncé from Beyoncé on Vimeo

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Watch: Sade even makes washing dishes hot in 'Babyfather' video

New clip from 'Soldier of Love' album shows Sade like you've never seen her

It’s Sade like we rarely see her. In the Sophie Mueller-directed video for “Babyfather,” the second single from "Soldier of Love,"  instead of the usual hair-slicked back, cool, reserved Sade, we get a Sade reveling in domestic bliss. And we mean, reveling. She’s doing laundry and making jello for goodness’s sake. We practically expect Bill Cosby to show up.

Furthermore, her hair is down and flowing and she’s showing more cleavage than we’ve ever seen her display before. She’s awash in island colors in the clip that slopes along to a lilting Caribbean beat.

Why is she playing Suzy Homemaker? Because she’s reminiscing about her Baby Daddy and the “flower” that they made together. Said flower plays in a back lot with his friends, while Sade joyfully goes about cooking and cleaning and looking better than the law should allow while doing it.

She does have some sense of propriety though, as she puts on a jacket before heading out to distribute her goodies—we mean the jello here—to the kiddies from a vending truck.





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<p>Jason Mraz</p>

Jason Mraz

Hitfix Interview: Jason Mraz talks blessings, avocados and new music

Who is he working with on his new record?

Even though it came out two years ago, Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” remains affixed to many adult contemporary radio stations like the sticky glue. And Mraz wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s a blessing,” he tells Hitfix of the long-lasting popularity of “I’m Yours,” which was named ASCAP’s song of the year last month.  “Damn straight. When I first wrote it, I thought it was a nursery rhyme or something in that genre. As time went by, I realized we never really forget our nursery rhymes and I realized it had that staying power, there’s something simple about it.”

In fact, when Mraz hears it now himself on the radio, he says he’s “surprised at how simple it is. There’s not a whole lot going on, it’s muted guitar, vocal and drum beat. It’s not until the end when all the voices come in that it’s like, ‘oh wow, people have really joined this parade of whatever was going on’.”
And now, Mraz is ready to draw more marchers in his parade. He is working on the follow-up to “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things,” his third studio album, which featured the Grammy-nominated  “I’m Yours.” But even the creator has yet to know what shape the project will take.

“At the moment, it’s still a great big block of cement and we’re just starting to chip away at it to see what the sculpture’s going to look like,” Mraz tells Hitfix. Right now, he has “a big stack of songs” that he and producer Martin Terefe are beginning to whittle down.  “Now it’s on to the process of recording and listening and seeing what the album is in that,” Mraz says.

But Mraz isn’t just a platinum-plus musician. He’s also a gentleman farmer. He lives on an avocado farm that is about to turn organic thanks to Mraz and his neighbors. “The  grove company has been [harvesting the groves],  but we’re about to take over because we noticed over the past few years the helicopter would come by and spray the area and we’re done with that. So we’re kind of taking control and it’s been a lot of fun.”  He’ll be including guacamole with each  new album.

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<p>Jordin Sparks</p>

Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks heads to the Great White Way for 'In the Heights'

2007 winner is latest 'American Idol' to tread the boards

Following in the footsteps of  many “American Idols” before her, Jordin Sparks is headed for the Great White Way.

Sparks, the 2007 “American Idol” winner, will make her Broadway debut in “In the Heights.” Her 12-week run at the Richard Rogers Theater start Aug. 19. She will play Nina Rosario in the Tony-winning musical about life in upper Manhattan’s  Washington Heights.

She’s just the latest Idol to tread the board.  Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young are  both currently in “Hairspray.”
Off the top of our heads, we can think of several other Idols turned theatrical thespians: Constantine Maroulis starred in “Rock of Ages,” Clay Aiken in “Spamalot,” Fantasia in “The Color Purple” (sort of); Frenchie Davis in “Rent”; Taylor Hicks in “Grease”…

Did we leave anyone out?

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