The Rise of Megan Thee Stallion, In Five Songs

With folded arms, Tina Snow and Megan Thee Stallion walked into the light for an exciting, sensually striking jam, “Big Ole Freak.” The song found its legs via its video; watching it feels like viewing the final battle of Avengers: Endgame and appreciating the culmination of a years-long story. It also plants the seeds for the next chapter.

It’s striking to hear the ferocity of the artist’s softer side (something not previously shown) on the same track. Like a darker, lustier version of Mariah Carey’s “Hypnotize,” it’s immediately evident that things are different for Megan this go around. The fist-clenching boss talk of “Stalli (Freestyle),” and “Freak Nasty” has been refined into a smirking statement of all-encompassing sexuality. This time, she raps not about how she’s better than the rest in bed, but instead chuckles at how she has a man wrapped around her fingers.

Then, thanks to the #BigOleFreakChallenge, her reign really began. Megan, in a cropped white tee and small shorts, kicked off a twerking competition at a gas station (inspired by influencer DJ Duffey) and invited the world to try and outdo her. The challenge, the song, and Megan all grew larger. The song infiltrated streaming-service playlists like Apple Music’s The A List: Hip-Hop and Spotify’s RapCaviar. And months later, the song still sticks around, even through the release of her debut LP, Fever.

Ty Dolla $ign’s New Collab With J. Cole Asks A Partner For Extreme Forgiveness

Ty Dolla $ign has enlisted the delicate rap talents of J. Cole for his new single, “Purple Emoji.” This soulful, sample-driven number is the first single from $ign’s forthcoming untitled studio album. It’s for everyone looking to get a significant other back after doing something wrong and isn’t quite an apology, but it drives home the fact that you need another chance. And the collaboration works thanks to its simultaneously smooth and groovy atmosphere.

“Purple Emoji”‘s sampled voices in the background clash with the drums nicely and it’s a surefire head knocker. It’s outside of $ign’s typical sound and it works because of that, giving a taste of unpredictability that keeps you interested throughout. J. Cole gives a quick and meaningful verse as the two practically beg for forgiveness. $ign said some things he didn’t mean (as we all do) during an argument and J. Cole recognizes everything that his significant other has done for him. There’s no resolution in the song but we can imagine that this somber, saccharine ode makes even the angriest of partners feel a bit better.

Ty Dolla $ign’s last studio album was MihTy, his collaboration with Jeremih. His last solo effort was 2017’s Beach House 3Last month, $ign appeared on “When I Lie (Remix)” from For The Throne: Music Inspired By The HBO Series Game Of Thrones.

Listen to the win-you-back song of the summer “Purple Emoji” up above.

Rihanna Doesn’t Know The Name Of Her Album Yet — But She Feels Like It Might Be R9

Rihanna is busy preparing her new fashion house with Louis Vuitton, Fenty, to launch. New music might be a little later down the pipeline, but there’s good news: something is in the tank. Possibly a new studio album. In a new interview with T: The New York Times Style Magazine, the singer begrudgingly revealed a few details about new music by responding to a couple of questions. It’s not much to go on, but it allows fans to sort through rumors and begin morphing expectations for it thanks to words from her own lips.

In the midst of a lengthy discussion about everything related to Fenty fashion, Rihanna took some time to clarify a couple of details about her new music. First, it is true that she’s working on a reggae album. She’s not collaborating with Lady Gaga at the moment, even if the latter following her on Instagram caused fans to believe that something in the works (although she isn’t against it). She isn’t working with Drake for her next album. The biggest bombshell? She doesn’t know the name of the album yet or when it’s coming out. Heavy blows to the Rihanna Navy that have been anticipating the forthcoming LP. But any news is better than none, so now fans can begin to prepare accordingly.

Soon after providing some details about the new LP in the interview, Rihanna does reveal that she’s contemplating the name R9“I’m about to call it that probably, ’cause they have haunted me with this ‘R9, R9, when is R9 coming out?’ she said. How will I accept another name after that’s been burned into my skull?”

Rihanna‘s Fenty fashion house was announced earlier this month. it’s the first from-scratch brand that LVMH has launched since Christian Lacroix in 1987. Last month, her film with Donald Glover, Guava Island, live-streamed during Coachella before being released on Amazon Prime.

DJ Khaled Gives The Spotlight Over To Cardi B And Salt Bae In Explosive New Videos

DJ Khaled had a busy weekend. In addition to dropping Father of Asahd, his eleventh studio album, Khaled spent all day Friday releasing brand-new, expensive, star-crammed videos for the album’s tracks “Higher,” “Just Us,” “Celebrate,” “Jealous,” and “Holy Mountain.” And because Khaled wouldn’t be Khaled without his trademark penchant for dogged self-promotion, there’s even more: “You Stay,” featuring Meek Mill, J Balvin, Lil Baby, and Jeremih, dropped on Saturday morning (May 18).

The prototypically glamorous clip finds the crew luxuriating at a mansion in expensive suits, smoking cigars, surrounded by women, and having their meals personally prepared for them by none other than Turkish butcher Nusret Gökçe – better known as Salt Bae. At one point, he slices a prime cut of beef, sprinkles it with salt, and flips it directly into Khaled’s mouth. Luxury, man.

In addition to the grandeur, the colors of the “You Stay” vid are rich and vibrant, especially in the tailored attire of Khaled’s guests. As directed by Eif Rivera (with assists from Khaled himself and Ivan Berrios), “You Stay” is an ode to feeling good and looking even better.

Khaled, naturally, is not done. Monday (May 20), he also unveiled the fiery clip for “Wish Wish,” the explosive Cardi B and 21 Savage collab that finds the pair reunited for the first time since “Bartier Cardi.”

“Wish Wish” is likewise the vision of Rivera and Khaled, but for this clip, Khaled wisely cedes the spotlight to Cardi herself, who is rendered in a haze of flames and twirling motorcycles. 21 is here, too, and it’s nice to see him — especially in one of his first videos since his immigration trouble earlier this year.

Father of Asahd has 15 tracks, and so far, we’ve got videos for more than half of them. (Check out Khaled’s recent Saturday Night Live appearances for even more.) It’s still early, but it’s entirely possible there’s — you guessed it — another one on the way.

Watch the new videos for “You Stay” and “Wish Wish” above.

Vampire Weekend Paint Palm Springs Black And White In Relaxing ‘This Life’ Video

Take a journey with Vampire Weekend through California in their latest video for “This Life” from their new album Father of the Bride. The funky song gets a peaceful, almost retro visual that is smile-inducing, innocent fun that sits well with you after it goes off. This is how you want summer to be: filled with smiles, hair blowing in the wind, but maybe not with a black-and-white filter.

“This Life” makes for a beautiful video. It takes place in Palm Springs, California and follows Ezra Koenig, Danielle Haim (featured on the track as well), and producer Ariel Rechtshaid as they go on a road trip through grassy plains and windmill plants. The wide open skies and sunlight bathed in black and white is a thrilling sight. For those who can’t understand what the song is saying, the lyrics are placed at the bottom of the screen, adding to the retro feel of the video. You can practically feel a breeze streaming through your screen as you watch. At the end, there’s a Passover dinner with a large number of collaborators such as Jonah Hill and Mark Ronson.

Father of the Bride came out earlier this month. In addition to “This Life,” it features “Sunflower,” “Harmony Hall,” and “Unbearably White.” In March, the band released a Jonah Hill-directed visual for “Sunflower” that followed Ezra Koenig and the Internet’s Steve Lacy through New York’s Upper West Side.

Take a look at the relaxing video for “This Life” up above.

Tyler, The Creator Burns Down A Talk Show Stage In ‘Earfquake’ Video

Tyler, the Creator has released an initially adorable, then later haunting video for “Earfquake” from his new album Igor that came out earlier today (May 17). Playboi Carti doesn’t appear in the video; it’s only Tyler and a surprising actress: Tracee Ellis Ross. The two play off each other’s awkwardness for a hilarious visual that might make you hesitant to step near a piano in the near future.

The best thing about Tyler is that his smallest movements and words are hilarious, even when he’s not trying to be. In “Earfquake,” Ross is a talk show host who introduces Tyler (his name is bleeped out when he speaks) to the quiet audience of a (presumably) late-night show. After an awkward and equally hilarious back-and-forth where Tyler simply responds “yes” when asked what exactly he does, he breaks into an intentionally awkward, microphone-swinging performance of the song from his new album on a silver stage.

What initially starts as an adorable, straight-forward performance eventually morphs into something crazier. When Tyler adds a piano to his performance halfway through, it erupts into a fire and Tyler gets some of his face burned off. Stepping in to clean up the rapidly growing fire is a nameless fireman that is, surprise, Tyler. Instead of tending to the flames, however, he decides to serenade the camera before walking off. The fire still roars behind him.

Igor is Tyler’s first album in two years. With its release came a specific set of instructions that the rapper tweeted out yesterday. One of them was to not listen to it with expectations. “This is not Bastard. This is not Goblin. This is not Wolf. This is not Cherry Bomb. This is not Flower Boy. This is Igor,” he wrote. The LP features the previously teased songs, “Igor’s Theme,” “Whatsgood,” “A Boy Is a Gun,” and “New Magic Wand.”

Take a look at the hilarious video up above.

Carly Rae Jepsen Smashes Cakes With Her Clones In ‘Too Much’ Video

Carly Rae Jepsen‘s fourth studio album Dedicated is out today (May 17) and to christen its release, she’s dropped the video for “Too Much.” The track itself came out on May 9 as a promotional single, but the artistic capabilities in its two-word title were too much to leave it visual-less. So here we have a video with too many Jepsens. If, we’re assuming that there is such a thing has having too many of her in the first place.

“Too Much” is about doing things in excess. Partying too much, thinking too much, drinking too much. To explain her knack for overdoing things, she decides to have you, the viewer, looking at more than one version of her. Too many, actually. Too much. The video finds Jepsen performing a synchronized dance routine with an army of clones (really, women dressed similar to her and not expensive, elaborate CGI work) that mimic her every move. The effect is like watching a line of ants marching to the hill. It’s endlessly entertaining and takes up the crux of the video’s runtime. That is until they start smashing a delicious looking cake into each other’s faces, leaving buttercream icing to smear all over the table, their skin, and the floor. We feel sorry for the poor soul who had to clean that up.

Dedicated features the previously released singles, “Party for One,” “Now That I Found You,” “No Drug Like Me,” and “Julien.” On May 23, Jepsen will be heading out on The Dedicated Tour in support of the new LP that kicks off in Stockholm, Sweden and wraps up on August 11 in Los Angeles.

Take a look at the dizzying video for “Too Much” up above.

Lil Nas X And Billy Ray Cyrus Gallop To The Future In ‘Old Town Road’ Video

Lil Nas X‘s video for “Old Town Road” is finally here and its sheer hilarity and large scale have made it worth the wait. The star-studded five-minute visual isn’t just the accompaniment to the viral song, it’s a film within itself, a masterpiece of cowboy western and modern proportions. It’s a magical, tongue-in-cheek look at the world of broncobusters and tumbleweeds and how it differs from the concrete jungle of today.

From the get-go, you already know you’re going to be in for a wild scene. Comedians Chris Rock and HaHa Davis are Lil Nas X’s horse-riding, bank-robbing compadres who ride with him everywhere he goes. After linking up with Billy Ray Cyrus and getting shot at by enemies, Lil Nas X flees into a magical tunnel that transports him from the world of 1889 to the world of 2019. He races Vince Staples‘ car with his horse and meets up with a modern incarnation of Cyrus at a bingo hall where Diplo and Rico Nasty happen to be.

The “Old Town Road” video comes a few weeks after he performed the song for the first time on television on Showtime’s Desus & Mero. In April, he performed the song for the first time live with Billy Ray Cyrus at the Stagecoach festival. Just recently, CupcakKe made her own x-rated version of the tune, aptly named “Old Town Hoe.”

Watch the cinematic video for “Old Town Road” up above.

Madonna And Quavo Sing About An Unpromised Existence On ‘Future’

Madonna continues to drip feed the world new material from her forthcoming LP Madame X. The latest is the reggae-influenced tune, “Future,” with Quavo. It’s a surprising, ecstatic new record that has a smooth, tropical style to soundtrack trips to the beach this summer.

“Future” is for sunny weather and cool beach winds. The collaboration is surprisingly funky and Madonna’s soft voice carries its breeze to the seas and beyond. Quavo brings the heat of the sun with autotuned vocals that set the scene. The song’s lyrics carry a sad message of fleeting existence and the realization that nothing is permanent, especially the future. But the way that the music encases these words is soothing and crafts yet another song for the summer from the legendary pop songstress.

Last week, Madonna released her breezy collaboration with Swae Lee, “Crave.” So far, Madame X has two other powerful singles to help you prepare for its June 15 release date: the Maluma-assisted “Medellín” and the empowerment anthem “I Rise.”

Listen to “Future’ up above.

Bop Shop: Songs From Kaiit, Koda Kumi, Black Midi, And More

This Austin octet is as experimental as they’re essential and as cerebral as they’re eccentric. Their dreamy synth pop begs you to dance along, but in a free-flowing, movement-based, lose-yourself-in-the-beat-type of way — with less choreography and more theatricality. In fact, the group takes their physical communication so seriously that four of the eight members are solely dancers.

Their lucid movements couple with their contemplative lyrics perfectly in the visual for “Into You.” The track begins with a grand musing on the meaning of love and heartbreak in the modern age, quickly followed by mid-tempo synths and a plucking guitar that dares you not to bob your head. The song’s central lyric, “Are you into me / Like I’m into you,” takes on different shapes, sizes, and feelings depending on the listener, and what plays as an anticipatory ode to new love can sound like unrequited unhappiness to another. The group waxes poetic in an earnest outro, relegating their sweeping deductions into unadulterated intimations. This band clearly knows who they are – and now you do, too. —Carson Mlnarik