Legendary Hip Hop group Outkast — Big Boi and André 3000 — and super producers TheNeptunes — Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo — have been nominated for the 2020 Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Even though both duos have been relatively dormant in Hip Hop music in recent years, their contributions to Hip Hop could place them amongst the inductees for next year’s ceremony.
Outkast was placed in the Performing Songwriters category alongside Mariah Carey and the Isley Brothers. The Neptunes were placed in the Songwriter category along with Motown’s William “Mickey” Stevenson. The induction ceremony has been set for June 11, 2020.
If both duos became inductees, they would join Hip Hop luminaries JAY-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Dallas Austin and Missy Elliott.
Over the past few years, both groups have experienced a resurgence within Hip Hop and mainstream culture. The Neptunes released their latest N.E.R.D. album No One Really Ever Dies in 2017 while producing for the likes of The Carters, Ariana Grande and Nas.
GLENDALE, CA – Hundreds of mourners flooded the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California on Tuesday (November 5) to pay their respects to the late John Witherspoon. In a funeral speech peppered with funny anecdotes, comedian/actor Shawn Wayans revealed fellow comedian Paul Mooney was the only person he ever heard talk smack about the Witherspoon.
“I can’t find anybody that has anything bad to say about John Witherspoon,” Wayans said. “Actually, (there’s) only one person I’ve seen talk sideways about John. And it wasn’t in like a bad way. We’re all comedians. So, comedians just be popping noise off – we’re crazy like that.”
He then proceeds to tell the story.
“So we’re at the Laugh Factory and John Witherspoon is on,” he begins. And he’s killing. Me and Paul Mooney is in the back. John’s on stage doing his Mick Jagger impersonation, just destroying the whole place. And Paul Mooney’s back there – he gotta go on next – and he leans over and says, ‘Pancakes homie, pancakes. Everyone loves pancakes.’
“And what he was trying to say is, ‘Spoon is hilarious but he don’t got no edge. Now I disagree. But the one thing I’ll agree with is that everyone does love pancakes. Look at everybody here to see this man off.”
Wayans also revealed how NBC didn’t want to hire Witherspoon for The Wayans Bros. show – which helped launch the Wayans‘ careers and spawned Witherspoon’s iconic character ‘Pops’ – but that they “hired him anyway.”
He added, “We didn’t care; we was like, ‘That’s our pops. That’s it. Take it or leave it.’ So, uh, the show didn’t get picked up on NBC. But they dangled that carrot in front of us.
“They wanted us to hire a different dad. Actually, they wanted us to hire Danny Glover. But we couldn’t see him on there telling me and Marlon, ‘get in here; I’m getting too old for this mess.”
Although NBC missed out, Wayans describes how Warner Bros., fortunately, needed a headline show to help launch their new network at the time.
Witherspoon died at his Sherman Oaks, California home on October 29. He was 77.
The comedic actor passed away in his home at the age of 77 on Tuesday. His family confirmed the news in a statement on social media.
“It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband and father John Witherspoon has passed away,” the statement read. “He was a Legend in the entertainment industry, and a father figure to all who watched him over the years. We love you ‘POPS’ always and forever.”
Witherspoon is survived by his wife, Angela, and his two sons, Alexander and JD.
“We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy and we will celebrate his life and his work together,” a family statement to Deadline read. ” John used to say ‘I’m no big deal’, but he was huge deal to us.”
The cause of death was not revealed.
Witherspoon was born in Detroit in 1942. During his lifetime, he took on many memorable roles, including Ice Cube‘s dad in Friday and in its spinoffs. He also played Pops on The Wayans Bros. and Spoon on The Tracy Morgan Show. In addition, he appeared on The Boondocks, The First Family and Black Jesus. He also performed standup comedy and appeared on shows like Late Night With David Letterman.
After news of Witherspoon’s death broke, several stars took to social media to express their condolences.
“My dad, my grandpa, my comedic inspiration!” Regina Kingtweeted. “I love you Spoons! Rest In Paradise, King.”
“I’m devastated over the passing of John Witherspoon,” Ice Cube also wrote on the social network. “Life won’t be as funny without him.”
“I’m sad. Broken. Hurt. Yet extremely grateful to God that I got to spend five years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man @johnnywitherspoon,” Wayans wrote on Instagram. “You were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already. Something don’t feel right. This is heavy on my heart. Anyone that knows me knows how much I love pops. You have a strong wife and great kids. What an amazing family. Your boys damn near grew up on the #WayansBros set they’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. I will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us. Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got “all the keys ” and I know you got one to Heaven’s gate. Anytime I want to laugh or to see you I’m gonna put on a episode of Wayans Bros and laugh until I cry. I miss already….Hope [you’re] dancing in Heaven with ugly white shoes on. ‘Pops pops sugar pops’. #ripjohnwitherspoon #mysecondpops.”
IF THIS SONG IS ANY INDICATION, SIMPSON IS DEFINITELY SMITTEN
If you’re confused at all about Miley Cyrus and Cody Simpson‘s relationship, you’re not alone. Over the past few weeks, fans of both singers have been desperately trying to figure out the status of their romance. That is, until Simpson confirmed the rumors himself in an interview with People. But if you’re still not totally convinced the two are dating, Simpson’s new song, “Golden Thing,” might convince you otherwise.
The track, which Simpson released yesterday (October 17), is a slow burning, romantic ballad that could only be written by someone with true feelings. After describing Cyrus as a “crystal dream” and “Cali queen” in the first verse, Simpson harkens back to the song’s title. “I’m shot, it’s a golden thing she’s got,” he croons over a soft acoustic guitar, proving that what they share is more than just a fleeting romance.
The song’s remaining lyrics continue to reveal just how smitten Simpson is. He opens up about singing softly to Cyrus, hearing birds chirping when they’re together, and feeling heard. He closes out the song by switching up the “golden thing” lyric to reflect not just Cyrus as a person, but their whole relationship. “It’s a golden thing we’ve got,” he sings. And while some might argue that the lyrics could be about anyone, the single artwork is literally a photo of Cyrus, so the track is definitely about her.
We can’t say we’re surprised by this release, though. The new couple teased that it would probably come out this week after Simpson performed it for Cyrus at the hospital when she was receiving treatment for tonsillitis on October 8. “this sweeeeeetest guy came to visit at the hospital and sang the sweeeeeetest song he wrote just for me,” the “Slide Away” singer wrote on her Instagram Stories alongside a clip of Simpson singing the tune. Cyrus then added that she was “pressuring” him to drop it “next week.” And well, here we are.
But as an actress and former member of K-pop idol group f(x), Sulli — whose real name was Choi Jin-ri — belonged to a culture where celebrities are generally expected to be respectful and reserved. Among many things, that means showing deference to elders, not talking about politics and being extra discreet about sex and sexuality — especially if you’re a woman.AD
On Monday, 25-year-old Sulli was found dead in her home in Seongnam, a city close to Seoul. The exact causes aren’t known, but police say suicide is likely. According to media reports, Sulli’s manager told police she had been suffering from depression. Her tragic death sends a sobering signal to millions of young women hoping to break away from conservative norms — and reveals a great deal about Korean society in the process.
Sulli was known for not holding herself back. Even after her “no-bra scandal” incited public anger, inviting unimaginably crude insults and online trolling about her and her family, she seemed invincible. The then-22-year-old seemed cool and proud, laughing at the haters in a now-deleted Instagram post. She continued to post braless pictures.
A major Korean outlet once called her the “Kim Kardashian of South Korea,” somewhat misleadingly. Kardashian enjoys considerably more freedom to show her body off in a variety of ways. Her world isn’t governed as strictly by the expectations of purity and chastity restraining a Korean female celebrity — and the public vitriol that comes with shattering these norms.AD
Sulli, who debuted at age 11 in 2005, has spoken of how the rumors and public expectations constrained her life. “When I met people in the past, even before saying hello, I felt like I should explain myself: This isn’t who I am! The rumors aren’t true!” she said recently on a TV show, “The Night of Hate Comments,” on which she was one of the hosts. Hair dyed pink, Sulli read hate comments about herself on the show, in a format reminiscent of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.” She often giggled and acted nonchalant as she read the obnoxious posts.
After news of her death emerged, many have focused on the potential role of online harassment. But whatever the complex reasons that led to Sulli’s death, it’s superficial to focus just on cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is only a symptom of a society that is intolerant of people who dare to be different from the mold.
Sulli’s death matters because it’s a brutal wake-up call. Her death reminds Koreans of the still-pervasive misogyny directed at “unconventional” women, who are brave enough to be irreverent, show the outline of their nipples through their shirts and value their own minds above being liked. “There’s no woman who wouldn’t be saddened by this,” a commenter tweeted a few hours after news broke of Sulli’s death. “Even if you weren’t speaking publicly, you were thankful for Sulli. You were supporting her.”AD
The conservative expectations in South Korean celebrity culture are slowly changing — as evidenced by “bad girls” like Lee Hyori, Ha:tfelt and, until recently, Sulli — but the consequences of acting “abnormal” are still brutal for most female stars.
This is exacerbated by the lack of support they often receive from management companies and agents. “We cannot believe the situation now and we are just filled with grief,” wrote SM Entertainment, one of South Korea’s largest entertainment companies and the agency that managed Sulli. It’s not yet clear how aware the agency was of Sulli’s depression and what support it offered, if any. But in the cutthroat world of K-pop, less than two years after megastar and fellow SM entertainer Jonghyun committed suicide, these are questions that must be asked.
What made Sulli’s death so shocking was the great gap between her colorful Instagram and reality. On social media, she seemed quirky and fun. She had just released her first single album as a solo artist. Two days before dying, she Instagrammed a box of purses she’d received from a sponsor.AD
But behind the laughter and cool facade, there were plenty of warning signals. “My life is actually empty, so I feel like I’m lying to everyone by pretending to be happy on the outside,” she said in “The Night of Hate Comments,” where she was labeled as “the nuclear bomb of hate comments.”
Recently on the show, a fellow host asked how she wanted to be viewed by others. She answered, “When I first posted pictures of me braless, there were so many different reactions. I could have been frightened and hide, but I didn’t. I wanted people’s prejudices to disappear.”
“I wish people would look at me and think, ‘Well, someone like that exists!’ Accept the difference,” she said. If only more people had done so while she was alive.
Even after the trial against Tekashi 6ix9ine‘s alleged kidnappers has ended, we’re still being provided tons of information pertaining to the complicated case. Both Harv and Mack have been sentenced and we’re currently waiting to find out the fate of 6ix9ine himself but before then, we’re busy dissecting all the leaked phone calls and videos that have surfaced in recent months. Complex has been vigilant in reporting the trial and, on their Snapchat page, they reportedly unearthed a brand new wiretap of Tekashi’s former manager Kifano “Shotti” Jordan threatening to fire shots at the rapper’s family.
Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images
In the audio clips making their way around the internet, Shotti can be heard on the phone, speaking about the Nine Trey situation and how Tekashi 6ix9ine is “maturing.” He tries to convince somebody that the rapper isn’t “changing” but that he’ll need to be careful in the streets because you “can’t be the King of New York if you’re dead.” He then goes on to speak about the star’s family, noting that he’ll do the deed himself if times get tough.
“Sara [Molina]’s been moving around in cars. I will fucking, I will shoot Sara, n***a,” says Shotti about the mother of 69’s daughter in the leaked audio. “I’m the one who raised Harv, n***a. We don’t give a fuck about women, children, kids.”
For what it’s worth, DJ Akademiks has noted that Shotti is NOT actually threatening to shoot anybody and that he’s actually sticking up for 6ix9ine here. How do you interpret the message? Listen below.
Trio also pranked fans, performed their song “Only Human”
The Jonas Brothers appeared on The Ellen DegeneresShow on Tuesday to discuss their reunion as a band and their new tour— all the while receiving some light jabs from the talk show host and comedian for not coming back on the show more often.
“I am responsible for your entire career,” she quipped, showing a photo of her posing with the then-teenage trio as they received their first platinum record.
The three brothers discussed the reasons for their breakup in 2013 and how they decided to come back together following successful solo careers. Nick Jonas noted that he was both the one to suggest a breakup and the first to suggest a reunion, creating a “full circle redemption.”
“I think all families go through their own version of our story,” he said, referencing the Amazon Prime documentary Chasing Happiness, which follows the brothers’ breakup and reunion. “And if not, then you’re the lucky ones. But you’ve got to find your dynamic as siblings within your adult relationships when you compound the fact that we were working together every single day. In theory, it was a business. It was a full operating machine. And we were just trying to remain close as family amidst that.”
Busbee: 10 Great Songs Written or Produced by Pop-Country’s Quiet Innovator
Maren Morris’ “My Church,” Keith Urban’s “The Fighter,” Pink’s “Try” and more
News of Michael Busbee’s death at 43 on Sunday resonated throughout Nashville and the music community at large. A respected songwriter and producer, he was a creative partner to Nashville artists like Maren Morris, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum, deftly bringing a pop sensibility to country music. And for good reason: he got his start writing and producing pop acts like Shakira and Christina Aguilera. Here are 10 songs, either written or produced (or both), by Busbee that highlight his strong yet unshowy approach in the studio and the writing room.
“The Fighter,” Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood Two of country music’s biggest names — Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood — came together for this crossover smash, which appealed to the adult contemporary audience as much as it did to country fans. But star power alone can’t make a hit. Credit Busbee’s nimble production for putting it over the top. With a hypnotic rhythm and a melody that bobs and weaves, “The Fighter” (co-written by Busbee, to boot) was a knockout both on country radio and in the dance clubs, and proved that country can benefit from mad beats when done right.
“Every Little Thing,” Carly Pearce The first song that Carly Pearce ever wrote with Busbee, her longtime collaborator and producer, ended up becoming the singer’s biggest solo hit of her career. Busbee, who co-wrote “Every Little Thing” with Pearce and Emily Shackelton, shaped much of the musical structure and sparse arrangement of Pearce’s stately torch ballad, which became a Number One at country radio. “It’s almost uncomfortable stripped-down and I think in those moments, you’re left with the silence,” said Pearce.
Busbee, Producer for Maren Morris and Lady Antebellum, Dead at 43
How Busbee Went From Jazz Scholar to Country Innovator
“Try,” Pink Perseverance was a recurrent theme in Busbee’s songs (see Keith Urban’s “The Fighter”), and nowhere was that more evident than in “Try,” the 2013 song he co-wrote with Ben West for Pink’s The Truth About Love album. A cathartic primal scream about holding tight during a shattered relationship, the thumping anthem posed difficult yet relatable questions like “Why do we fall in love so easy, even when it’s not right?” Even if it was a query he couldn’t answer, Busbee reminded us that we have to soldier on.
“You Look Good,” Lady Antebellum Lady Antebellum returned from hiatus with a freshened sound on 2017’s Heart Break, thanks in no small part to the album’s lead single “You Look Good.” Busbee produced the recording and co-wrote the song with Hillary Lindsey and Ryan Hurd, adding a funky, bass-heavy rhythm and some humid brass lines that accentuated the vocal interplay between Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott. It’s one of the odd entries in the Lady A catalog that wasn’t written by at least one member of the group, as well as a risk that ultimately worked: it was the country trio’s highest-charting single in three years.
“My Church,” Maren Morris As a songwriter, Busbee had a knack for fleshing out his co-writer’s ideas, a skill that he put to great use on Maren Morris’ breakthrough 2016 hit. “She came to my studio and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this title ‘My Church’…When I’m in the car driving and listen to music…I feel like that’s kind of my version of church,’” Busbee, the song’s co-producer and co-writer, said in 2016. “It literally just hit me, and I go, ‘Can I get a hallelujah?’ We just started writing the chorus. An hour and half later, it was done.”
“Dark Side,” Kelly Clarkson Following in the wake of the monster title track from Kelly Clarkson’s 2012 album Stronger, the single “Dark Side” didn’t experience quite the same amount of commercial attention. Even so, “Dark Side,” which was penned by Busbee with Alexander Geringas, is a lovely showcase for the dynamic vocals of Clarkson, who brings a touch of vulnerability to the song about loving someone flaws and all. Melodically, it angles for pretty over pure power, even recalling the elongated and otherworldly minor-chord melodies of Bends-era Radiohead at times.
“Summer Nights,” Rascal Flatts Busbee’s earliest entry on the country charts came nearly a decade ago, with Rascal Flatts’ buoyant hit “Summer Nights.” The second single from the vocal trio’s album Unstoppable and a Number Two airplay hit, the tune was penned by Busbee with Flatts singer Gary LeVox and trusted Music Row hitmaker Brett James. With a syncopated guitar riff that veered close to the band’s cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway,” “Summer Nights” comes off as a breezy slice of country-pop party fare: “Let that Igloo cooler mark your piece of paradise,” sings LeVox in the chorus, praising the season’s usual proliferation of beers and bikinis.
“H.O.L.Y.,” Florida Georgia Line Florida Georgia Line can chalk up much of the success of their 2016 blockbuster hit to Busbee, who came up with the song’s gospel-pop melodic hook the instant co-writer Nate Cyphert brought him the idea for the “high on loving you” acronym song title. “As soon as he said that,” Busbee, one of the song’s three co-writers, told Billboard in 2016, “I was super-in, and I literally just sat down on the piano and started playing.” Initially pitched to Justin Bieber, “H.O.L.Y” ended up becoming the biggest-selling country hit of 2016.
“Storm Warning,” Hunter Hayes Busbee had a knack for coming up with just the right song for an artist’s first single. He did it with Maren Morris, with Carly Pearce, and, in 2011, with Hunter Hayes. Co-written by Busbee with Hayes and Gordie Sampson, “Storm Warning” is chock full of hurricane metaphors, painting a picture of a pretty crush who blows into town and takes the narrator’s breath away. Released a full five years before Luke Combs’ burly “Hurricane,” it was, by comparison, a country-pop breeze and the perfect vehicle to announce Hayes as Nashville’s newest boy next door.
“Don’t Stop,” 5 Seconds of Summer Busbee often demonstrated his fluency with a variety of pop-music styles, as was the case with the Australian pop-punk group 5 Seconds of Summer’s second single “Don’t Stop.” An ebullient collision of spiky guitar riffage in the key of Blink-182 and classic pop melodicism, its lyrics tackle the push and pull of youthful love. “Everybody wants to take you home tonight/But I’m gonna find a way to make you mine,” sings Luke Hemmings, who, along with bandmate Calum Hood, co-wrote the song with Busbee and Steve Robson. It went on to become a hit in their native Australia along with Ireland and New Zealand.
The “Adventures of Super Rhyme” MC had been suffering from brain and lung cancer
Jimmy Spicer, the pioneering MC who released influential early hip-hop songs in the late ’70s and early ’80s, has died, The New York Times reports. At the time of his death, Spicer had been suffering from brain and lung cancer. His family had been crowdsourcing funds to pay for his treatment. He was 61 years old.
Spicer was one of the first artists signed to Russell Simmons’ Rush Management, but stopped making music in the early ’80s. His most lasting legacy is likely “Adventures of Super Rhyme,” a nearly 15-minute rap marathon with no hook that showcased Spicer’s innovative rhyming style. His 1982 single “The Bubble Bunch” is recognized as legendary freestyle producer “Jellybean” Benitez’s first remix, and 1983’s “Money (Dolla Bill Y’all)” pioneered the phrase famously used in the Wu Tang Clan’s ode to capital “C.R.E.A.M.”
If there’s one person who some of Hip-Hop’s most legendary MCs would trust with their secrets stories to the game, it’d 100% be Angie Martinez. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the first episode of her new WE tv series Untold Stories Of Hip Hop would give us more than a few crazy quotables, particularly from Snoop Dogg’s segment where he broke down 2Pac’s close encounter with Nas at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.
Taking us back to a tough era where East Coast/West Coast beef was at its peak, Snoop gives a powerful breakdown of the whole ordeal from an interesting point of view. He speaks on what it felt like being in the uneasy place of showing support for his West Coast fam while still keeping cool with the East Coast homies that were friends before things turned for the worse.
It starts with Angie reminiscing on her classic interview with 2Pac from 1996, where she only was able to air 12 minutes of a two-hour interview. She tries to find Pac backstage during the VMAs to apologize and from there the run-in commences. Snoop fills in with the first-person view, giving a word-by-word description of how the conversation went. It’s definitely worth the full watch, but in short Snoop remembers 2Pac discussing a diss record aimed at Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas and other New York rappers, and Nas just brushing it off as friendly competition and daps him up before parting ways. Due to his non-violent response, Pac sees it as him “punking” Esco. Snoop on the other hand sees it as him giving them a pass since his entourage outnumbered theirs both in people and, well, other things. It’s a tough topic for Angie, too — her interview at the time was the moment that soured Snoop’s relationship with Pac and Suge due to his on-air verbal support for the East Coast.
Here’s one quote that sums things up the best from the interview, via WE tv:
“We all used to hang out. I love Biggie and I love Pac — and both of them love me. So, how I look saying [expletive] Biggie because I’m with Pac? We was on the same s**t! They rapping the same s**t we rapping; we got the same struggle and same hustle. Why the f**k we can’t get along? Why we can’t like these n****s?”
— Snoop Dogg, on East Coast West Coast beef
He goes on to show his praise for New York rappers of the time, referring to them as “the Mecca of Hip-Hop.” He explains further that, because his love for them was deeper than whatever was going on at the time, he shouldn’t have been made to choose between sides. Honestly, we agree.
Watch the entire first episode of Angie Martinez’s Untold Stories of Hip Hop over on WEtv.com