Kanye West reveals ‘Cruel Summer’ cover art and album packaging

Posted in Images,Music by Scott Meisner on August 4th, 2012

Summer is about to turn cruel. On August 2 Kanye West took to Twitter to share the provocative, bright white, raised cover art for his upcoming G.O.O.D. Music collaboration album Cruel Summer. In addition to the art, he also posted a side shot of the album’s packing, revealing that it is of the tri-fold variety much like his previous release Watch The Throne. What’s inside? The CD, of course; but what else? That’s still a mystery. For now, eye the art above and jump the break for the angled shot.

Cruel Summer drops September 4, featuring the slick single “Mercy.” Swerve. (Click here for more…)

Hit-Boy shares “Old School Caddy” (featuring Kid Cudi) ahead of album release [Update: 'HITstory' out now]

Posted in Audio,Music,News by Scott Meisner on August 4th, 2012

G.O.O.D. Music member Hit-Boy is best known for wearing his producer hat; he’s collaborated with Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and A$AP Rocky to design the beats behind “Christmas in Harlem,” N****s in Paris,” “Drop the World,” and “Goldie.” But now he’s ready to step into the spotlight and become a solo artist, his own rapper. Earlier this summer he dropped his first single “Jay-Z Interview” and left the producing to Bink!; it blew up on Twitter as he quickly made a name for himself as a solo rapper in the hip-hop community. This week he shared a new track “Old School Caddy,” and for this one he jumped behind the boards to produce. He is joined by fellow G.O.O.D. Music signee Kid Cudi in the laid back rap that’s spit in front of a smooth-as-butter beat. Listen above. (This release was teased with a 30-second clip featuring Hit-Boy and Cudi, so a full-fledged music video may be coming soon.)

All of this comes ahead of HITstory, the producer-turned-rapper’s first album that’s expected to release August 7. “This album is for the sophisticated ear,” tweets 25-year-old Hit-Boy. Check back here next week for a link to download the free album.

Update (8/7): HITstory is out today. Hit-Boy’s first release contains 11 tracks and guest appearances from Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Chip tha Ripper, Bun B, John Legend, and Stacy Barthe. Download it for free here. Snag the cover art and back tracklisting after the break. (Click here for more…)

Kanye West & Jay-Z release “Otis” single, announce ‘Watch the Throne’ release and tour dates

Posted in Image cache,Music,News by Scott Meisner on July 28th, 2011

It’s all coming together now.

Last Thursday Kanye West and Jay-Z released the second Watch the Throne single “Otis” onto the ‘Net. Preview it at Kanye’s website and download it at iTunes. The soulful single (featuring a classic Otis Redding sample) follows the previously released regal symphonic piece ”H*A*M.” Check out the cover design by Ricardo Tisci of Givenchy after the break.

And now we know exactly when the collaborative album is set to release. Watch the Throne–both the standard set and the deluxe version containing 4 additional tracks–will release digitally on August 8. You can preorder the digital copy at iTunes today. The album will release in physical form four days later on August 12. But read the fine print: the physical standard set releases everywhere on the 12th, and the physical deluxe version will release exclusively in Best Buy stores on that same day. The deluxe version will will be sold everywhere else starting later in the month on August 22. Got it? Good.

To add more excitement to the mix, the rap king and his mighty apprentice are readying a Watch the Throne tour to promote the upcoming album. Together ‘Ye and Z will be known as “The Throne” and the tour is set to kick off September 22 in Auburn Hills, MI. Though a tour schedule has been released, due to overwhelming demand the duo has decided to add additional shows to the tour; once the updated schedule is released on Monday, August 1 check back here to see if they’ll be visiting your city. The presale date is August 2 at 10AM location time (the password is WWT) and public sales begin the following Monday, August 8. Tickets will be made available through TicketMaster and LiveNation.

So the countdown to Watch the Throne begins. Eye the tracklist here. (Click here for more…)

Single: Lady Gaga – “Born This Way”

Posted in Audio,Image cache,Music by Scott Meisner on February 12th, 2011

After posting online teaser artwork and lyrics to her long-awaited and hyped new single “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga finally catered to her mass following of Little Monsters by releasing the track in full before she performs it live at the Grammys this Sunday. In essence the thumping track is an anthem for the gay community. During the outro she whispers, “Same DNA, but born this way.” It’s certainly a catchy tune that will grow on you over time. Interestingly, the song took ten minutes for Gaga to compose. She told Vogue, “I wrote it in ten f—ing minutes, and it is a completely magical message song. And after I wrote it, the gates just opened, and the songs kept coming. It was like an immaculate conception.” Her second album also titled Born This Way is due out this May. Listen to the song above, download it at iTunes here. Hop after the break to see the tease and final cover art. (Click here for more…)

Kid Cudi selects MOTM2 album cover [Update: deluxe edition]

Posted in Image cache,Music by Scott Meisner on October 18th, 2010

And here it is!  Definitely not as racy and bizarre as Kanye West’s George Condo piece, but it doesn’t have to be.  There’s the signature dark overtone Cudder brings to the table with his music, and in the torn image he’s sitting on a stool in front of a picture of a colorful night sky looking at an empty shot glass.  Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager drops November 9.  Get psyched.

Update: Look after the break for the deluxe edition album cover.  It’s basically the same image except that the picture of the night sky is slightly tweaked.  The deluxe edition packs the CD and a DVD featuring a half-hour documentary by Jason Goldwatch/DECON and three music videos (Erase Me, Soundtrack 2 My Life, Cudderisback).

[Via DatNewCudi, here & here] (Click here for more…)

Kanye West finalizing new album, complaining about “banned” album cover

Posted in Image cache,Music,News by Scott Meisner on October 18th, 2010

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West’s fifth studio album, drops in about one month’s time on November 22.  In anticipation of the album’s release, Kanye is giving fans a peek into his final plans.  He tweeted on Sunday, “Last day to wrap the album… I’m feeling so blessed on this day… finishing my 5th studio album in 6 years! Lining up piano sample replays.”  He then revealed, “Adding the voice samples from the VMA performance to the album version of Runaway also the whole song is 8 minutes long.”  So the single version of “Runaway” (now available on iTunes) is not the final version making it to the album.  Good to hear, since those voice samples rock.  On Twitter he also spilled that the Runaway short film (which is 35 minutes in length) to accompany the new album will premiere simultaneously on MTV, MTV2, BET, MTV.com, BET.com, and VH1.com next Saturday, October 23 at 8PM ET.

So now let’s talk about that “banned” album cover you see sitting above.  It’s a George Condo piece featuring a cartoonish (and nude) Kanye West sprawled out on a bed with a nude, winged, and polka dotted tailed, armless woman-beast on top of him.  On Twitter Kanye screamed, “Yoooo they banned my album cover!!!!!” and continued, “Banned in the USA!!! They don’t want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!”  He went on to share his excitement about the album cover and the reaction it was getting.  “I know that cover just blew yall minds … I wish yall could see how hard I’m smiling right now!!!”  Then he started to complain about the “ban”.  “In the 70s album covers had actual nudity… It’s so funny that people forget that… Everything has been so commercialized now.”  “In all honesty … I really don’t be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers #Kanyeshrug!”  “I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity.”  “So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they cover but I can’t have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings.”  But was the album cover acutally banned after all?  The answer, quite simply, is no.

According to the LA Times, the racy cover was not “banned” in the full sense of the word.  An anonomous source close to the matter says that Kanye’s label UMG Island Def Jam “strongly urged [Kanye] to use alternate art” but added that Kanye ”was told if he wanted to do it, the label would stand behind him.”  The same source also said that the main issue at hand “was whether or not mass-market retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart would carry an album featuring venomous nudes.”  But in a statement to EW, Wal-Mart denies rejecting the album art.  Said a Wal-Mart spokesperson: “We’re excited about Kanye West’s new album and we look forward to carrying it in our stores on November 22nd.  As always, it’s our standard practice to carry the edited parental advisory version.  We did not reject the cover artwork and it was never presented to us to view.”

So there you have it.  The label did not ban the album cover and giant retailers do not have the intention to boycott it.  This appears to be a classic case of Kanye West stirring up some controversy and igniting the hype for what promises to be a hot commodity come this November.

[Via @kanyewest; EW, here & here; LATimes]

Can you guess the title of Weezer’s next album?

Posted in Image cache,Music,News by Scott Meisner on August 11th, 2010

That’s right–it’s Hurley!  In an interview with Spinner Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo explained where the idea of having Lost‘s Jorge Garcia cover their next LP:

“We struggled super hard trying to come up with an album title, trying to find some kind of phrase that summed up the whole aesthetic behind the album: ‘Heavy Mental,’ ‘Smaller Than Life.’  I was coming up with all kinds of stuff, but ultimately, we just went with some random word that doesn’t really have anything to do with anything.  I just loved this photo of Jorge Garcia — it just had this amazing vibe.  We didn’t want to do a fourth self-titled record and we knew people would refer to it as ‘the Hurley record’ even if we left it without that title, so we just called it ‘Hurley.’  No words are on the cover because all we wanted was his amazing face.”

Although he “really like[s] the show” Cuomo confesses there’s no connection between Lost and the next collection of music from Weezer.  Oh well…the cover rocks!  Hurley releases September 14.

[Via Spinner; Pitchfork]

Dollhouse “Epitaphs” comic book bundled with season 2 DVD/BD release

Posted in Comics,Image cache,News,Television by Scott Meisner on July 22nd, 2010

FOX might have cancelled the sci-fi adventure Dollhouse due to dismal ratings, but that won’t keep the show from living on–in comic book form that is.  When Dollhouse season 2 releases on DVD and Blu-ray on October 12, a single comic book issue titled “Epitaphs” will come bundled inside.  It’s exclusive to the DVD/BD release meaning you won’t find it in comic book stores.  “Epitaphs” was written by Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen (newly husband and wife, Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon’s brother and sister-in-law, respectively).  If you happen to be at Comic Con right now, (Jed) Whedon and Tancharoen will be on hand to sign a litho created by Dark Horse Comics on Friday (7/23) from 11am-noon.  I will leave you with the official synopsis:

“Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, joined by longtime Buffy the Vampire Slayer artist Cliff Richards, take us on an intricate trip through the precise moment when the Active technology went global, and how the protagonists from Epitaph One and Two narrowly avoided death, and worse.Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen wrote the Epitaph episodes of Dollhouse Seasons One and Two, and currently write for the Starz series Spartacus. This is their first work in comics. Artist Cliff Richards has drawn more Joss Whedon-related comics than any other artist, including issues of Buffy Season Eight.”

[Via UGO]

Mr Hudson’s debut album finally releases stateside

Posted in Music,News,Video by Scott Meisner on July 4th, 2010

It’s been a long time coming for British musician Mr Hudson.  Though you’ve probably heard of him from Jay-Z’s recent single “Young Forever”, Hudson has been in the music biz since 2007 when he dropped his first album A Tale of Two Cities.  Back then he was in a band called Mr Hudson & the Library.  Having listened to his debut album and working alongside him at his Glow in the Dark tour, rapper Kanye West fell in love with Hudson’s sound, and so he decided to sign him to his G.O.O.D. music label.  Hudson graciously accepted and started to work on his debut solo album Straight No Chaser, which would be executive produced by Kanye.  The 12-track album includes singles “There Will Be Tears“, ”Supernova” (Featuring Kanye West), “White Lies“, “Everything Is Broken” (Featuring Kid Cudi), and “Anyone But Him” (Featuring Kanye West).  It released in the UK way back on October 19, 2009.  After numerous delays, it was finally made available to purchase and download in the U.S. on June 29, 2010.  The UK version contains two additional tracks (“Lift Your Head” & a Calvin Harris remix of “Supernova”).

The best way to describe Mr Hudson’s music is alternative hip hop/electro-pop, if that makes any sense.  Straight No Chaser is a breakup album, so naturally it features heavy bass thumping tracks with softer ones to balance it all out.  Hudson is a fan of auto-tune, and so a number of the tracks include him using it.  Interestingly, he eliminates the use of auto-tune when he’s touring; he finds it to be a fun and useful tool when working in the studio.  Having listened to the album only once all the way through, I am not ready to formally review it yet.  However I can say that Mr Hudson is going to be huge.  He is a gifted artist with a knack for writing and beatmaking.  I’d really like to see him perform live someday.  Just read these choice words from collaberator Kanye West: “I believe Mr Hudson has the potential to be bigger than me, to be one of the most important artists of his generation.”  Again, that comes from Kanye West!

Be sure to look after the break for some more Hudson content.  You’ll find music videos for “Instant Messenger” and “Central Park”, plus there’s a short trailer that celebrates the U.S. release of the record. (Click here for more…)