Kevin Abstract Has Unveiled A New Album — And You’ve Definitely Heard Some Of It Before

Who has had a better April than Kevin Abstract? The frontman of Internet rap boy band Brockhampton released a three-track project named ARIZONA baby and then expanded upon it soon after when he dropped the Ghettobaby EP. It’s all been in preparation for the new album that he dropped today, ARIZONA BABY. The title’s in all caps. It’s a statement.

ARIZONA BABY is a full-length album that Abstract previously revealed would be released in pieces. It’s why at certain points during this month, after an Instagram teaser showcased three mysterious dates, he released parts of what would become the whole on the last date (today). ARIZONA baby came on April 11. Ghettoboy dropped on April 18. And today (April 25), the full picture has been revealed. ARIZONA BABY is comprised of 11 total tracks. It’s relatively light on features, with guest vocals coming from Dominic Fike, JOBA, and bearface.

Abstract also took the opportunity to unveil a video for “Peach” that appears on the new LP. Starring Dominic Fike, the relaxing visual focuses on the relaxing days of summer in California and submerges itself in memory. Fike’s sandpapery voice and spider-like movements make him an interesting focal point in the video along with Abstract who meanders with blunt force along the sunny backdrop that sometimes dips into the night. An overall relaxing video for a naptime tune that is for those days lounging on the couch surfing Netflix and watching The Office. 

Abstract’s last studio album was 2016’s American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. Brockhampton itself released iridescence last year

Take a listen to ARIZONA BABY up above and then take a look at the relaxing video for “Peach.”

Rico Nasty Is Back With Lean, Manic New Project Anger Management

Rico Nasty‘s official, mainstream introduction was last year’s Nasty. It was a magnificent fifth mixtape that might as well have been an official studio LP because it effectively summarized her growth over the years of working the underground circuit and introduced her to the larger world (she signed to Atlantic Records around the time that it came out). June feels like a lifetime ago when it comes to the Rico Nasty experience. Months without new releases stretch to what feels like years; it has actually been a decade since she dropped. That changes today with the next chapter of her saga, Anger Management, produced by her beat-making partner-in-crime, Kenny Beats.

Anger Management is nine tracks’ worth of the imposing, unapologetic magic of Rico Nasty. She’s elevated by the eclectic stylings of Kenny Beats who handles the production for the project. Beats, who handled some of the production on Nasty and other of the rapper’s highlights, is the perfect person to be at the helm of the release. He gives her an energetic palette to work with that brings out her biggest, boldest assortment of styles to date. Baauer, EarthGang, and Splurge make up the short list of features.

Anger Management was first announced in March during a live session where Rico Nasty revealed that it would probably come out in April. “I’ve been keeping it secret from you guys because I want you guys to really enjoy it and for you guys to let me enjoy creating it,” she said.

Listen to Rico Nasty’s latest up above.

Lauv Trades All His Friends For ‘Drugs & The Internet’ In Wild New Video

Forget what you think you know about Lauv. The singer-songwriter launched his new era on Thursday (April 25) with the single “Drugs & The Internet,” and it’s a far cry from, say, the lovestruck sweetness of “I Like Me Better.”

“Drugs” is a total sonic adventure; it begins as a melancholy piano ballad, then warps into a bass-heavy banger that’s equal parts sad and self-deprecating. “I don’t want to base my actions or reactions on the things they say / And I don’t want to hit delete on all the parts of me that they might hate,” he sings, before lamenting on the hook, “I traded all my friends for drugs and the internet / Ah, shit.”

The track comes to life in a Black Mirror-esque video that serves as a cautionary tale about getting sucked into social media. Lauv and director Jenna Marsh illustrate that concept of emotional disappearance by literally trapping him inside an online world, where everything isn’t as it seems. Check it out below, and try not to get creeped out by the pair of hairless cats roaming around.

In a statement about the new release, Lauv said, “I wrote ‘Drugs & The Internet’ at a time I was struggling with feelings of extreme emptiness and depression. I wrote it as a sort of self-analysis for my obsession with the way I wanted present myself to the world — a commentary on the world we live today.”

The “i’m so tired” singer added that he wrote the song in just an hour, and that it “felt more therapeutic than any song I’d written before.” He continued, “As the first song off of my album ~how i’m feeling~, it is the perfect entrance into the next phase of my life and music. I am more proud of this song and video than anything I have ever created in my life, and I’m so excited that it’s yours now.”

~how i’m feeling~ is the follow-up to the 24-year-old’s debut album, When I Met You I Was 18 (The Playlist), which arrived last year. There’s no release date yet, but “Drugs & The Internet” is a solid start to what sounds like an adventurous new chapter for Lauv.

Why Madonna’s Legacy of Reinvention Is More Relevant Than Ever

By Erica Russell

She’s been a dance-floor cowgirl. A disco diva in leg warmers. A punky bubblegum pop star. An erotic mistress. A spiritual guru. An American dream girl. A rebel heart. We’re four decades into the chameleonic Queen of Pop’s career, but there’s one thing that Madonna has never been: uninspiring.

On the cusp of her 14th studio album, Madonna has reinvented herself yet again, this time as Madame X: a professor, a cabaret singer, a cha-cha instructor, and a spy in the house of love, as she divulged in cryptic promotional posts to her millions of Twitter followers. “Madame X is a secret agent traveling around the world, changing identities, fighting for freedom, bringing light to dark places,” the musician mused in a video teaser for the forthcoming concept album, out June 14. Perhaps serendipitously, the statement itself nods to Madonna’s career-long trajectory: She has, quite literally, changed her identity time and time over, fought for freedom of expression, and brought illumination to the depths of our often murky pop-culture waters.

Born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16, 1958, the artist moved to New York City in the late 1970s to pursue a career as a dancer. It was there, after dropping out of college and taking gigs as a backup dancer, she found her true calling as a solo singer and performer. Her eponymous 1983 debut album set the standard for the sound and energy of post-disco dance-pop, while her sophomore release, Like a Virgin, solidified her as a determined provocateur, delivering with its titular single one of the most controversial, memorable, and, particularly for its time, scandalous pop hits in history. To this day, her 1984 MTV VMAs performance, during which she revealed her underwear and humped the stage while wearing a wedding gown, remains one of pop culture’s most infamous and legendary moments.

Through the countless albums that followed, Madonna has maintained her status as one of the prototypical inventors of pop reinvention, refusing to, as one might say, stay in her lane. On 1992’s sexually-charged Erotica, she introduced Mistress Dita, her dominating alter ego, while embracing the club-friendly new jack swing and house music of the time. Six years later, she emerged as an enlightened earth mother amid the effervescent trip-hop of Ray of Light. In 2005, she ventured back into the glare of the discotheque lights on her critically acclaimed electronic opus, Confessions on a Dance Floor. Every album released between and since has seen Madonna wholly transform herself.

Over the span of her game-changing career, Madonna has both defined and redefined what it means to be a pop star, a performer, and an icon. She topped charts, broke records, and, most importantly, railed against the rules previously set for female mainstream musicians in the industry, voraciously fighting for control over her production and image while simultaneously ushering in new norms for women’s self-empowered sexual exhibition in music, injecting the pop machine with a much-necessary punk spirit. She set a revolutionary precedent that nearly every pop artist who has emerged since has acknowledged, whether overtly or subtly within their own art. Even in 2019, nearly 40 years after her debut, contemporary pop’s biggest players are still taking notes.

Madonna’s continued acts of public reinvention, for example, both within her art and her persona, have left a lasting mark on the culture of pop music, normalizing it for artists to reinvent their image, sound, and creative themes upon each new “era,” or album release. In the 2010s, Miley Cyrus twerked her way from the post-Disney dance-pop of Can’t Be Tamed to the controversial hip-hop of Bangerz, before switching things up again with the sunny country-tinged pop-rock of Younger Now. Similarly, across her albums, Katy Perry transformed from rebellious pin-up girl next door to electro-pop teenage dream to prismatic princess of love and light, among other personas. Stars like Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, and Gwen Stefani have all reinvented themselves. And Britney Spears, Madonna protégé and pop heir, is similarly no stranger to reinvention — or dutiful homage, for that matter. (Just compare Spears’ performance of “Breathe On Me” during her 2004 Onyx Hotel Tour to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” performance from the 1990 Blond Ambition Tour.)

On a broader scale, Madonna also helped shape the way pop artists release music. After the decline of the rock-oriented concept album in the 1980s — thanks in part to the rise of MTV and the increased focus on singles-driven music video releases — Madonna helped reignite interest in the art of the concept album within mainstream pop with thematic albums like Erotica and American Life. Her blueprint can be seen all over modern popular albums, from Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom to Marina and the Diamonds’ Electra Heart; Janelle Monáe’s The ArchAndroid to Lorde’s Melodrama.

Of course, it would be heresy to wax on Madonna’s legacy without addressing her penchant for flirting with all manner of controversy, a skill she elevated to an impressive art form. From sharing a steamy kiss with Spears at the 2003 VMAs to dangling from a disco ball crucifix during her 2006 Confessions Tour — not to mention the burning crosses featured in her “Like a Prayer” music video, which was at one point banned from MTV — Madonna has scandalized and titillated in equal measure, pushing the boundaries with her signature embracement of hyper-sexual and religious themes.

Without her early pioneering in unapologetic pop provocation, Christina Aguilera may never have gotten quite so “Dirrty,” Lady Gaga may not have danced with “Judas,” and Rihanna may not have dabbled in “S&M.” Madonna’s assertive omnipresence can be felt in the work of provocative artists like Billie Eilish, Lauren Jauregui, Grimes, and Lana Del Rey, to name a few. Even Beyoncé has cited her as an influence.

And it’s no coincidence that Madonna’s heavenly disembodied voice delivers a sermon in the celestial music video for Ariana Grande’s 2018 single, “God Is a Woman.” Grande, a fellow Italian-American performer who cut her teeth in the New York City entertainment biz, has frequently cited Madonna as one of her most significant influences, but without Madonna’s audacious early forays into so-called blasphemous imagery, Grande (who also faced some controversy for her single) may not have found a space in which to explore her own brand of feminine divinity.

In 2019, Madonna sure as hell doesn’t need to provoke. Her iconoclastic and innovative artistry, though problematic at some points in her career (the star has been heavily criticized for being a repeat offender of cultural appropriation), continues to inform the landscape of pop music, despite declining album sales in recent years. Her music, imagery, and confrontational boldness may not seem so revolutionary today in the age of modern feminism, but that’s because she made it so. And yet with ageism and sexism still rampant in the music industry, her work is far from over: As a 60-year-old woman in a highly visible entertainment field, her mere refusal to quiet down, cover up, and fade away is an act of brilliant rebellion.

“Is Madonna still relevant?” From misogynistic critiques to ageist diatribes as to why she’s supposedly “too old” to express herself in the way she wants to, a quick Google search yields an aggravating insight into why her presence is necessary. So no, Madonna’s relevancy doesn’t hinge on the success of her albums, or whether or not she still quite shocks the public as she did back in 1984, or if her new music is sonically groundbreaking. Rather, she remains relevant because, quite frankly, she’s still here; still uncompromising and still reinventing; still flipping off a culture that seeks to push her out. And still breaking new ground for the artists who came after her.

Diplo Enlists Country Singer Cam To Journey In A New Direction

Diplo is one of electronic music’s sharpest producers and his thunderous contributions have made him one of the genre’s most noteworthy figures. In a surprise announcement, Diplo revealed that he’s going after another genre for his upcoming project, one that will make his music be the soundtrack to square dances and supermarket trips instead of raves and high-speed movie chases. He’s releasing a country album. And to prove it, he’s also shared the first song, “So Long” featuring country singer Cam.

Diplo is releasing the currently unnamed project under the moniker Thomas Wesley. Being that his birth name is Thomas Wesley Pentz, Jr., this adds a personal element to the new release. Something that he’s probably been holding to his heart that he’s now ready to release. You can hear some of this pent up ability in the first single from Dipl-erm-Wesley in the Cam-assisted “So Long.” Wesley’s production is much smoother and softer and, as country music usually sounds, you can hear the sun rising on the horizon. Cam sounds brilliant over the slightly more energetic than traditional country music and it’s clear that Diplo’s abilities are top-notch regardless of genre.

It’s been quite the year for Diplo so far and we’re only a quarter of the way in. He released the Europa EP in February and LSD earlier this month as part of the supergroup of the same name comprised of Labrinth, Sia, and the producer himself. In the cartoonish video for LSD’s “No New Friends,” Diplo plays the man in the moon and the sun, wearing outrageous suits that are almost as crazy as his productions.

Listen to the yeehaw-worthy tune up above.

FKA Twigs Is Back — See Her Gorgeously Trippy New Video For ‘Cellophane’

FKA Twigs is back. The English indie singer — and director, dancer, choreographer, Calvin Klein model, etc. — reemerged on Wednesday (April 23) with a new track, “Cellophane,” and a captivating video that must be seen to be believed.

The visual, directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, opens on FKA twigs walking onto a stage (gingerly, I might add, in towering glass platforms that clink with every step). The crowd applauds as she drops her garments, but their cheering cuts away as soon as the song begins and she starts performing. The singer spent nine months taking pole dancing lessons in preparation for the video, and it shows — she twists, twirls, and contorts her body in absolutely mesmerizing fashion.

“Why don’t I do it for you? / Why won’t you do it for me? / When all I do is for you?” she sings, gradually reaching her upper register. As her voice grows more urgent and the instrumentation builds, she falls through an otherworldly universe, eventually landing on a red clay planet. It’s an unsurprisingly epic return from FKA twigs, and definitely worth your attention — check it out below.

In a tweet immediately following the video’s release, the artist thanked Huang, writing, “When I wrote cellophane over a year ago a visual narrative came to me immediately, I knew I had to learn how to pole-dance to bring it to life, and so that’s what I did. thank you @Andrew_T_Huang, for elevating my vision beyond words. you are a visionary.”

FKA twigs seems to be gearing up for her next (and long-awaited) era. She released her first and only full-length album, LP1, back in 2014, and followed it up with the five-track M3LL155X EP in 2015, campaigns with Apple and Nike, a dance doc, and a short film. Now, it seems like her second album may be on the way — especially since she announced an international tour last week. The 10-show summer trek kicks off in L.A. in May, and also includes dates in New York, Berlin, London, Barcelona, and Paris, before wrapping up with two performances in Australia. Check out the full schedule below.

Taylor Swift Performs An Acoustic Set Of Big Hits At Time 100 Gala

Taylor Swift was one of six covers of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019 list, gracing the ICON edition. To celebrate her grand achievement, the singer took things back to the basics and gave a touching live performance of some of her biggest songs at the Time 100 Gala in New York City. It was reminiscent of early Swift and a possible indicator that whatever is coming out on April 26 will be iconic.

Swift took the stage with an elegant circlet and peach dress and looked as peaceful and unassuming as ever. Setting the crowd at ease, she launched into some of her various hits; she performed soft versions of two of her most classic records, “Style” and “Delicate,” and she also led the gentle piano in playing “New Year’s Eve,” “Love Story,” and “Shake It Off.”

Swift also addressed the crowd between songs about the craft of songwriting. One of my favorite things about female writers, about writers in general, about people who take that, happens to them and they process it and put it out into the world if you write, you can turn your lessons into your legacy,” Swift told the crowd, a genuine, soft smile slowly taking over her face. “I’m just really happy to get to do this.”

Swift’s acoustic performance reminds people of her roots and it couldn’t come at a better, more suggestive time. Along with her throwback hair and the performance itself coming just days short of April 26, the end of her mysterious countdown posted to Instagram on April 13, it’s highly believed that not only is Swift preparing new music, but she’s also possibly returning to her roots with it. Even before the countdown earlier this month, Swiftspiracy theorists have noted her return to a pastel color scheme on Instagram since February and her oddball uploads that all hint at April 26 being a date where Swift revisits the past to find her future.

Shawn Mendes wrote the blurb for Swift’s Time 100 entry, saying, “I quickly learned that the magic of Taylor Swift doesn’t come from the lights, dancers, or fireworks (although all of that is incredible) but from the electrifying connection that she has with the people who are there to see her.”

The Time’s 100 list also featured Khalid, BTS, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and Ozuna.

Take a look at clips of the performance up above.

Tomorrow X Together And Some Very Good Boys Star In New ‘Cat & Dog’ Video

Tomorrow X Together burst onto the K-pop scene last month with their upbeat, synth-pop debut single “Crown.” Now, the quintet is back with another colorful music video — this time, for their energetic hip-hop track “Cat & Dog.” And it’s an instant mood enhancer.

The whimsical visual is all bright colors and playful choreography, as members Soobin, Yeonjun, Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Hueningkai serve aegyo (cute expressions) with typical teenage attitude — a contrast that, much like the song, somehow really works. Watch the video below, but be prepared: This is the kind of song that will get stuck in your head, and before you know it you’ll be barking for no reason.

Given the title, there’s also plenty of cat and dog imagery throughout the video, including animated ears and meme-worthy scenes of the members cuddling up to their furry counterparts.

Look at these Very Good Boys:

BigHit Entertainment
BigHit Entertainment
BigHit Entertainment
BigHit Entertainment
BigHit Entertainment

If “Crown” was an introduction to the group as a dynamic whole, then “Cat & Dog” is an introduction to the individual members, each radiating their own kind of youthful energy: Yeonjun’s confident mumble-adjacent rap; leader Soobin’s soft and explosive duality; Beomgyu’s powerful expressions; and Taehyun’s vocal charms. And youngest member Hueningkai is a standout — his charisma in front of the camera is infectious.

The K-pop rookies have a busy summer ahead of them. Not only are they kicking off their first U.S. showcase in May with sold-out stops in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and more — not bad for a group that’s only two months old — but the teens will also be taking the stage at iHeartRadio’s Wango Tango festival in June and KCON New York in July. And knowing this ambitious bunch, this is only the beginning of the Summer of TXT.

It’s a good thing they have a song for that, too.

Schoolboy Q Smashes The Best And Worst Parts About Living Lavish Together On ‘Crash’

We’re in the final stages of the rollout for Schoolboy Q‘s new album Crash Talk, and its time to break out the big pre-release guns. Today, the rapper has unveiled “Crash” and it’s a thematic collision of sorts; the intersection between having money and having problems. It adds some new color to Crash Talk that previous singles haven’t explored, giving the world an understanding of what the phrase “Crash Talk” really means – real-life conversations about the good and the bad.

“Crash” is a track about confessions amidst success. It’s a therapeutic release on wax where Schoolboy Q gets the chance to get poetic about his troubles. He has all the showings of success but he’s troubled by family friends asking for money and the constant, startling fear of losing at life because it will affect his daughter in the long run. But just as he hints at the dark thoughts that he thinks about every night, he also explores having epic levels of success. “Stayed down and what happened?/Got my daughter that mansion/Gave my mother that million/Sold my soul to my feelings,” he raps. He sounds stressed but his accomplishments also give him peace.

Crash Talk comes out on April 26. Schoolboy Q released an unsettling album trailer last week that featured him wearing a paper bag on his head. The significance of that, so far, we don’t know. Last month, he dropped his furious return single, “Numb Numb Juice.” He followed it up with the sensual “Chopstix” that features Travis Scott.

Listen to “Crash” up above.

Lil Uzi Vert Is A Band Director For A Nude Violin Troupe In ‘That’s A Rack’ Video

Earlier this month, Lil Uzi Vert hits fans with a one-two release punch in “Sanguine Paradise” and “That’s A Rack.” It was a toss-up as to which one would receive a music video, but it became clear last night (April 23) when he released the imaginative video for “That’s A Rack” that proves, without a doubt, that Uzi is back completely. Just look at the visual’s simultaneously sexy and goofy charm and you’ll see.

DAPS (Oladapo Fagbenle) is the music video director behind some of the cleanest, most imaginative videos in hip-hop in the last few years such as Migos‘ motorcycle club-inspired “What The Price” and Rich The Kid‘s alien-infested “Plug Walk” visuals. DAPS is behind the lens again for Uzi’s latest and he brings the creative flair that makes his work so alluring. This time, Uzi’s the director of a band of women who wear their instruments as clothing. There’s all manner of violins and cellos in this cavalcade that range from the size of an arm sling to the heft of a motorcycle. Lil Uzi doesn’t put his hands up and lead the band but he does, however, lead himself in dance. A weird, goofy, and unsettling one characterized by dropped shoulders and stale faces that makes Uzi, well, Uzi.

When he’s not leading the band, he’s an artist with blue paint. The women of the band get splashes of blue across their bodies as he glides around them like a swan. He later dances in a mirror while the band of women walks around him and a kaleidoscope of eyes, teeth, and blue take over the camera on occasion. Uzi’s latest video doesn’t have a story, but it doesn’t need to. It’s comfortable just serving looks.

Lil Uzi first reintroduced himself to the scene when he released “Free Uzi” in March. Atlantic Record revealed to Pitchfork in a statement that the song was a leak.

Take a look at the “That’s A Rack” video up above.