Megan Thee Stallion Keeps It All The Way One Hundred On ‘Realer’

Megan Thee Stallion season is upon us, and with it, there’s a dangerous fever going around. That sickness, of course, is her new project, Fever, set to come out tomorrow (May 17). But on the eve of the body of work’s release, Megan has decided to graciously gift us, her adoring and obsessed fans, with “Realer.” It’s the kind of wretched, hard-hitting anthem that’s the exact opposite of “Big Ole Freak” and is an indicator that Fever is going to be all over the place. We can’t wait to get sick.

Megan Thee Stallion’s latest is a simple, straightforward, romp through trap Candyland. The beat couldn’t be more venomous. Giant, alien trap drums boom and crash with such ferocity that it’ll throw your equilibrium off. It sounds enormous, but Megan manages to carve her way through the dense shrubbery, forging her own path in this wasteland. Her voice is loud and shrill and she booms out the kind of boss talk that would make Don Corleone bow to her every whim. It’s a tight and precise piece of the pie that is Fever. 

Earlier this week, Megan Thee Stallion shared the tracklist and cover art for Fever. Its blaxploitation-like aesthetic draws to mind the work of actress Pam Grier in the 1970s and the steamy cover hints at an epic project. It will feature the previously released “Sex Talk” as well as features from DaBaby and Juicy J.

Listen to “Realer” up above.

BTS Pay Tribute To Legendary Beatles Performance In Colbert Debut

BTS, fresh off of blazing the SummerStage at Good Morning America yesterday, made their debut on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night. They were the musical guests and their performance of the magnetic “Boy With Luv” came with a unique twist that paid homage to the Beatles. Their debut was a magical moment, with any snapshots absolutely necessary to be framed and hung on walls. The Beatles are looking down, smiling and proud.

BTS wore matching black slim suits for their performance of “Boy With Luv” in homage to the Beatles legendary performances on the “Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964. Host Stephen Colbert slicked his hair back and gave the best Sullivan-like introduction humanly possible, also shooting the entire moment in black and white. The group took the stage with its magician-like choreography and belted the pop number in a timeless manner. This will age like wine as the Beatles performance did. In another forty-five years, a band dressed similar to BTS will pay their own homage.

“Boy With Luv” is BTS’ collaboration with Halsey that appears on their recently released album Map Of The Soul: Persona. They performed the number together with her for the first time at the Billboard Music Awards earlier this month. Last month, they made their debut on SNL

Take a look at this honorable performance of “Boy With Luv” up above.

Ariana Grande Adds One Of Her Most Personal Songs To The Sweetener Tour Setlist: Watch

With over 20 shows done and dusted, you might’ve thought the Sweetener World Tour setlist was set in stone — but Ariana Grande had a surprise up her sleeve.

When the tour rolled through Phoenix on Tuesday night (May 14), fans were awed to see that the “7 rings” chart-topper removed “goodnight n go” from her setlist. In its place, she sang another Sweetener standout, “get well soon,” the brave vocal and emotional showstopper that closes out the album. Like she did with “goodnight n go,” Ari belted the ballad underneath her most breathtaking piece of set design: an enormous, twinkling full moon.

Earlier that afternoon, Grande teased her setlist switch-up by posting an iTunes screenshot of “get well soon” on her Instagram Story. She wrote in tiny letters, “she’s in,” along with a black heart.

As for why Grande made the swap, it could be because “goodnight n go” proved a difficult song for her to sing — fans at multiple tour stops noted that she often teared up while performing it. Even so, “get well soon” is another deeply sentimental track for Grande. The Sweetener finale runs five minutes and 22 seconds, as a way of honoring the victims of the Manchester attack on May 22, 2017. In a Beats 1 interview with Ebro last year, Grande opened up about the song, describing it as a “musical hug” to everyone going through a tough time.

“It’s just about being there for each other and helping each other through scary times and anxiety,” she explained, wiping away tears. “There’s just some dark shit out there, man. We just have to be there for each other as much as we can. … It’s also about personal demons and anxiety and more intimate tragedies as well. Mental health is so important.”

Grande had previously said that “get well soon” didn’t make the tour’s initial setlist because it “just didn’t work in the show” and because she felt it was better suited to the Sweetener Sessions she did following the release of the album. (She did, indeed, perform “get well soon” during those shows.) But it sounds like Ari’s now changed her tune, and most fans are thrilled about it. See some of their reactions below.

Schoolboy Q’s ‘Floating’ Video Does The Impossible — And Gets A Camera Drunk

Schoolboy Q is one of rap’s most imaginative minds when it comes to music video concepts, but you knew that already. Just look at the sheer wittiness of the visual for “Numb Numb Juice” and you’ll be, well, numb. “Floating” is his latest creative masterpiece and it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s manic, that’s the word. Manic. Fast and furious like the franchise, and, unapologetically Q. If you get dizzy, however, this might be something to consider before watching it.

The star is “Floating” isn’t Schoolboy Q or 21 Savage (who actually isn’t in the video). It’s the camera. The constantly changing, vibrating, and withering camera. The video looks like parts of it are shot in real-life stop-motion as if characters are being cut out of scenes and placed into manipulated backdrops around Los Angeles. Save for a bouncing car that gets its own scene, endlessly going up and down, up, down, up. Then the camera wooshes to the next and never stops throughout the video. Whether it’s showing Schoolboy Q with a blank face inside of a night club, or a person getting shaken upside down on a tall building’s background, the camera constantly moves as if it’s afraid of what it’s seeing. There’s nothing like it out to compare it to. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.

“Floating” appears on Schoolboy Q’s recently released album Crash Talk that dropped on April 26. The LP features the previously released singles “Numb Numb Juice,” “Crash,” and “Chopstix” which features Travis Scott.

Watch the one-of-a-kind video up above.

Selena Gomez Cautions Against Spending Too Much Time On Social Media

Selena Gomez is one of the most-followed celebrities on the internet, but she just put social media on blast.

Speaking out during the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, Gomez took a moment during a press conference to air her grievances with what the descent of social media has done to the youth of today – herself included.

“I think our world is going through a lot,” said Gomez. “I would say for my generation, specifically, social media has really been terrible. It does scare me when you see how exposed these young boys and young girls are. They are not aware of the news. I think it’s dangerous for sure. I don’t think people are getting the right information sometimes.”

The thoughts Gomez shared on social media are obviously referring to the “fake news” phenomenon that’s swept up users across Facebook, Twitter, and just about every other online community you can think of. It’s something that even the platforms themselves are quickly working to combat – people being misinformed and consuming incorrect informational an alarming rate.

The singer has over 150 million followers on Instagram and around 57 million on Twitter. Still, despite her enormous platforms, she’s very quiet when it comes to sharing posts on any of her accounts. As it turns out, that’s on purpose. She believes it’s “pretty impossible” to make social media “safe,” and as such she’s careful with the content she uploads.

“I’m grateful I have the platform,” she clarified. “I don’t do a lot of pointless pictures. For me, I like to be intentional with it. It just scares me. I’ll see these young girls at meet and greets. They are devastated, dealing with bullying and not being able to have their own voice. It can be great in moments. I would be careful and allow yourself some time limits of when you should use it.”

She’s absolutely purposeful – in fact, if you look at her Twitter account, her most recent tweet is actually a link to Taylor Swift’s new single “ME!,” along with words of encouragement: “So proud @taylorswift13,” Gomez wrote.

It’s interesting to see inside Selena’s head like this, and it’s great she’s using her influence to spread words of caution like this to her young fanbase as well as those who might need to hear that social media can be dangerous. We stan a responsible queen, TBH. Now let’s hear more of those opinions, Selena!

BTS Brought Songs Of Ice And ‘Fire’ To Good Morning America

BTS fans have been camping out for days near Central Park in New York City to watch the Korean boyband perform on Good Morning America. It’s a special kind of commitment, a microcosm of the larger fanbase that supports “the boys” — as ARMY affectionately call them.

And those fans were as much a part of BTS’ performances of “Boy With Luv” and “Fire” this morning (May 15) on GMA‘s SummerStage, bringing hot chaos to the synchronized moment. The band and the fans themselves can finally rest. Well, at least until they take the stage this weekend at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.

Watching a BTS performance is like watching ice skaters match each other’s movements tit for tat, each leg, arm, and body swing contrasting with its equal and opposite. Their performance of “Boy With Luv” found a rhythm in its funk that the band members followed, silkily bouncing their shoulders as they sang the number — sans Halsey, who is featured on the track. They later performed their older hit “Fire” with an explosive dance routine to compliment “Boy With Luv”‘s svelte one. Throughout the two-song experience, the crowd’s deafening roars and passionate screams grew louder and louder.

At the Billboard Music Awards earlier this month, BTS performed “Boy With Luv” with Halsey, marking their first time playing the Top 10 record together. The band’s latest album Map of the Soul: Persona came out in April and topped the Billboard 200 chart.

Take a look at the enchanting performances that had the crowd going nuts up above.

How Logic’s New Album And Debut Novel Are Connected In Their Own Universe

Logic took a classic split-personality story trope, told it from a first-person point of view, and added welcome snippets of millennial blue-collar existence into it — then he slapped a name on the front: Supermarket. In March, the rapper became the first to have a debut novel top the New York Times Best Sellers list and released a soundtrack to accompany the reader’s journey. But while the soundtrack is a collection of pop songs expounding on the oohs and aahs of young love, Logic used another recent release to go even deeper into Supermarket‘s story.

His fifth studio album, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, arrived this past weekend after a Supermarket-like trailer featuring buckets of blood. As Confessions ventures into the mind of Logic, and therefore, his novel’s protagonist, Flynn, it’s more of a companion to the book than the official soundtrack ever was.

Supermarket follows three characters: protagonist Flynn; his mysterious anarchist coworker, Frank; and his love interest, Mia. Ultimately, the novel is the story of Flynn. But the accompanying soundtrack is a maelstrom of love and lust, seemingly dedicated to Mia — which leaves Logic’s new album and its dark title (possibly a reference to the 2002 film of the same name that chronicles game-show host and fabled CIA “agent” Chuck Barris’s life) to be the word of Frank. Because of that, certain connections between the novel and the album are hard to ignore.

  • Main characters with drastically different personalities

    Supermarket has one narrator: Flynn. But Frank often seems to be center of the attention. About halfway through, we find out why: Frank is Flynn. The two are opposites housed into one — Flynn is easygoing, happy, and determined, while Frank is an anarchist, the kind of guy who just wants to watch the world burn.

    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind treats Logic’s personality as clearly split between Flynn’s two selves. There’s the thoughtful, charismatic, straightforward goof on the title track and “Mama/Show Love,” where he briefly opens up about struggles with emotional health, and then there’s the argumentative instigator who says the controversial statement that doesn’t need to be said on “Clickbait.” These two selves, like Flynn and Frank, exist outside of each other and never come in contact. As Logic’s past work has shown, it’s almost like we’re listening to two different artists on one LP.

  • “Confessions” that echo the protagonist’s own wants

    Flynn works at the supermarket because he’s trying to finish writing a book that he got an advance for. But, of course, we learn this isn’t true: He’s actually in a psychiatric hospital reliving the experiences that got him there, and his book, in fact, has already been published. When hit with the news, he’s astounded, but not necessarily excited to reap the fruits of his labor: fame.

    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind‘s “Wannabe” is about this feeling of fleeting fame, that attaining it is all that matters. “I wanna be famous, I wanna be famous / Why can’t I be famous?” is the song’s literal chorus. It takes what we know about fame and grafts it onto Flynn, but not knowingly. It’s as though the song was made with him in mind, sung from the perspective of someone inside his head, removed from the situation, to speak his truth. Does that sound like anyone in particular?

  • Plot twists and more

    Supermarket holds its twist close to the chest. Logic starts the story with a mysterious death from Flynn’s point of view, taking us into the mindset of a man relaxed after a murder. But when the twist is finally revealed, it comes from left field: Flynn struggles with an emotional condition and has an imaginary personality, Frank, who says and carries out his darkest desires.

    Confessions pulls a similar turn. While the album’s title suggests an exploration of a complex, misunderstood mind, Confessions is really an LP about the destructive presence of social media. “Clickbait” is the center here, a hyper-focused portrait of faux-perfection online. “I always post that I’m having a good time / So my life looks perfect online,” he raps.

Supermarket and Confessions are such similar creations that they feel as if they’re in conversation with each other. Logic’s recently announced North American tour in support of Confessions will also likely feature material from Supermarket’s soundtrack. If he acknowledges their similarities and shared thematic concepts, it’ll be interesting to see the conversations he continues to generate between the bodies of work.

Charli XCX And Lizzo Join Forces For Your New Fave Pop Song, ‘Blame It On Your Love’

Forget “New Music Friday” — we’ve got a mid-week pop emergency right now.

After a few days of hyped-up teases, Charli XCX has delivered “Blame It On Your Love,” a collaboration with her Atlantic Records labelmate/UglyDolls co-star/fellow bad bitch, Lizzo. The U.K. pop star visited Radio One with Annie Mac on Wednesday (May 15) to premiere the track and to reveal that she’s had it on the back burner for “three or four years.”

“Until Lizzo was on it, it wasn’t perfect,” Charli explained. “She just pulled it together. I mean, her energy is just so amazing.”

The song itself is a complete overhaul of “Track 10,” the beloved closing cut off Charli’s 2017 project Pop 2. Here, the warped vocals from that track get smoothed out over a handclap-driven beat, as Charli sings about a dizzying love. The always-reliable Lizzo, meanwhile, comes through for a brief but charismatic verse, claiming, “I’m trying to catch millions, not trying to catch feelings.”

In her interview with Mac, Charli confirmed that “Blame It On Your Love” is the lead single off her upcoming third album. “I think this will probably sit on the more pop spectrum of what I’m doing with the record,” she teased, further revealing that she’s trying to nail down more collaborations with artists she admires, including Christine and the Queens.

Charli also revealed that she and Lizzo shot a video for the bop last week, which fans surmised from the photos Charli’s been posting of them. In one, she wrote in her typical all-caps, slang-heavy style, “IMAGINE IF I MADE A SONG WITH @LIZZO AKA THE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING – WOULD U DIE??? I WOULD DIEEEEEEEE!!! PREP MY GRAVE ASAP WE GOT A BOP COMING THIS WEEK.”

R.I.P. Charli, I guess!

Stray Kids On Growing Up, Taking More Creative Risks, And Dealing With Self-Doubt

Stray Kids are following their own path. And that reluctance to play by anyone else’s rules is precisely what makes this group of teens and young adults stand out. They’ve been releasing some of the boldest tracks in K-pop since making their debut with the blistering “District 9” a year ago, a song that harnessed their teen angst into a dizzying mix of hip-hop, rock, and EDM and quickly established them as rookie group to watch.

It’s their ability to channel that raw emotion into their music that has resonated with fans all over the world, many of whom are on the cusp of adulthood themselves. As such, the group’s signature sound can’t be contained in a single genre; it’s more of a state of being — a deeply earnest one.

“Stray Kids music is music that’s relatable and can help you out when you’re having a hard time,” leader Bang Chan tells MTV News over the phone from Seoul, where the group is preparing to embark on their first solo U.S. tour. Though, he quick to add, “It’s got a lot of energy, doesn’t it?”

And nowhere is that empathy and energy more apparent than on their latest single, “Miroh.” Inspired by the word miro, or “maze” in Korean, the boisterous track — produced by members Bang Chan, Han, and Changbin, otherwise known as 3racha — is a cacophony of sounds, rhythms, chants, and animal noises. The hook is massive, a perfect stadium-sized banger that shows off the group’s grit and potential. “It’s not hard / in this rough jungle,” Bang Chan sings. “It was me who ran into it / I’m okay.”

“‘Miroh’ was a really big attempt,” the 21-year-old singer and producer said. “It shows that as we’re getting older we tend to take more risks and try out new experiences, challenge ourselves.”

And as members Bang Chan, Woojin, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N grow and mature, so does their music. Their previous I Am… series focused heavily on the theme of identity through the teenage perspective. Who am I? Who am I trying to be? And does everyone feel scared and aimless like I do sometimes? With their most recent release, Clé 1: Miroh, it’s clear that these questions are still at the forefront of their minds — and they’re facing them head-on, charging into adolescent uncertainty with newfound confidence and perspective that comes when you enter your twenties. And of course, a bit of bravado. Their song “Boxer” opens with a cheeky declaration: “Hello, I’m a young man who can fly anywhere.”

Within that “long but short kind of period” since their debut, Stray Kids have released four EPs and one pre-debut mixtape, all of which have been primarily written and produced by the members themselves. While 3racha have shaped the majority of the group’s discography, all nine members are credited writers and encouraged to contribute to the production.

“The fact that we make our own music is one of [our] biggest weapons because that way it’s a bit more genuine,” Bang Chan said. “It’s the message that we form and want to send everyone.”

“It’s much easier to express ourselves and express how we feel to the fans,” rapper, and fellow Aussie, Felix added. “It’s way more honest as well,” Bang Chan concluded. “It’s really important to Stray Kids.”

Getty Images

Members from left to right: Bang Chan, Hyunjin, I.N, Han, Changbin, Seungmin, Felix, Lee Know, and Woojin

That creative ethos starts with Bang Chan, who put the group together when they were trainees under Korea’s JYP Entertainment. (The Stray Kids logo is even written in his handwriting.) Fans were first introduced to the Australia-raised leader on the group’s survival program, aptly titled Stray Kids. Over the course of 10 episodes, Stray Kids — then teenagers with big dreams  — underwent teamwork challenges and regular evaluations for the chance to debut together as a group. The series documented the nine individuals as they prepared their blustery pre-debut song “Hellevator,” producing and practicing around the clock for a dream that was never very certain. In fact, members Felix and Lee Know were originally eliminated from the project but were ultimately brought back in the final episode, giving even more meaning to the phrase “nine or none.”

The group’s nonstop pace didn’t slow down after their debut, either. If anything, the desire to create and funnel their questions into their music got even stronger because of their fans (called STAY).

As such, they’re always creating. And when they feel stuck, they resort to the kinds of distractions you might expect from a group of young men: fresh air, movies (Creed), and anime (One Piece) for Bang Chan; video games and EDM music for Felix, who added, “I’ve been listening to ‘My Pace’ a lot.”

“I’m always on my laptop trying to make new stuff, whenever we have free time,” Bang Chan said. “On the plane as well. I make a lot of music on the plane. I remember I worked on ‘I Am You’ on the plane to New York last year. And we did use a bit of it, so it was pretty good.”

Of course, with that comes its own unique kind of pressure. “There’s that feeling of, ‘Will people like this music? Will our fans like this music? Will STAYs like this music?’ Sometimes, that can get into our heads,” he said. “Trying to satisfy everyone is going to be an eternal challenge.” Trying to do so while keeping up with the furious pace Stray Kids’ set in their first year is also challenging.

JYP Entertainment

Bang Chan (left) and Felix (right)

So it makes sense that time (examining it, questioning it, running away from it) is a running theme throughout Miroh. Album closer “19” is a moody and personal song, written and produced by member Han, that finds him navigating that age between adolescence and adulthood. “Maze Of Memories” is a hip-hop track in which the cadence matches the various twists and turns one might encounter while chasing your dreams. It starts off slow and foreboding, then evolves into something darker and more sinister — a nightmarish soundscape — before ending with a confident refrain of “never give up.” And then there’s “Chronosaurus,” an atmospheric song that associates time with something to be afraid of.

“While I was writing ‘Chronosaurus’ I did think a lot that time is something that has a lot of pressure attached to it. Even when you’re taking a test there’s always a time limit, or when you’re working there’s always a deadline,” Bang Chan said.

“I would love to have a superpower that could control time because then I could do whatever I want,” he added, laughing. “But time being something that no one can stop, because it’s something that’s always going to be with me anyway, you might as well get comfortable with it. Try to take some of the pressure off it.”

This candid exploration is something that means a lot to their fans, many of whom are also navigating their own everyday struggles — running into their own mazes and up against deadlines. “We wanted to spread the message that you guys aren’t the only ones,” the leader told the passionate crowd of fans at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night (May 14), the first of two sold-out nights and the first stop of the U.S. leg of their Unveil world tour. The two-hour set traces the group’s young discography, telling the story of Stray Kids from the beginning.

Earlier singles “Hellevator” and “District 9” are full of angst and aggression — teens who balked at societal pressures and followed their own rules — while the energetic “My Pace” is uplifting and anthemic, and b-side “Voices” exposes their deep-seated insecurities. “I Am You,” a song written for their fans, packs an emotional punch (“You shined on me when I didn’t even know myself,” Hyunjin raps) and “Get Cool” is a playful ode to living in the moment (“Doesn’t matter if the world is a cold place ’cause I’m getting cooler,” Bang Chan sings). By the end, it’s clear: Their music is a mirror to their fans, reflecting their innermost thoughts and anxieties — and intertwining their stories in the process.

“At events where we get to meet up with our fans they talk to us about what they’re feeling or what’s on their minds,” Bang Chan said. “Knowing that, we can tell that our fans are changing and getting older with us. It’s really cool to experience that.”

But it’s not just the themes in their music that connect with fans; it’s the members themselves. Despite the number of rappers in their arsenal and their powerful stage presence, Bang Chan jokingly insists: “We’re a mess!” And anyone who’s seen even one episode of their weekly web series or tuned into one of their live streams would probably agree. After all, teenage boys are still teenage boys, regardless of whether or not they’re idols.

Take, for example, their main rapper, who spits bars at a breakneck speed. “Changbin-hyung is different on-stage,” Felix said. “When people see him on stage, they think he’s this dark rapper. But at the end of the day, when it’s just us, he’s a big brother that plays around a lot.”

And then there’s baby-faced Felix, whose deep voice and effervescent personality hardly seem like an obvious pairing at first but are essential to the group’s sonic identity.

“I now know how to use my voice a bit more. As we record for new songs, I’m able to improve and learn from 3racha on how to record,” he said, reflecting on the past year. “And not only that. Since being in the group, I’m learning more about myself as well and who I really am. Being with Stray Kids has made me feel more confident. It made me who I really am. I feel brave these days.”

When asked about the biggest change he sees in himself since being part of Stray Kids, Bang Chan was quick to note that he still doesn’t have any answers. “I have always been on a quest to find who I really am,” he said, pausing. “Honestly, I don’t think I’ve figured it out 100 percent yet.”

“But I have learned a lot about how to be on stage and how to communicate with my members and STAYs,” he added. “Even producing our music, every time I make a new song, I learn something new. And I’m still learning. I’m excited thinking about that now — there’s so much more to learn.”

This perspective — approaching life as a series of shared experiences, not obstacles — is what makes Stray Kids voices for their generation. By opening up, they’re encouraging others to do the same, to forge their own paths and perhaps learn something new about themselves along the way.

Maluma Makes His Spectacular Debut On Fallon

Colombian artist Maluma made a splash when he appeared on Madonna‘s lead single for her forthcoming album, Madame XMedellín.” Last night (May 14), Maluma made his performance debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He performed “HP” from his forthcoming album, 11:11. The neon performance made for a magical introduction to the show.

Maluma made use of brilliant pink and blue lights that put the crowd at ease as he bounced on his feet, belting the bouncy number. What was best about it was the cool, all-knowing smile that never left his face. A constantly zooming and moving background gave it an ethereal atmosphere that he grounded on Earth. There aren’t that many that can bring this energy to Fallon.

Maluma spoke to MTV News about the video for “HP” in March. “We wanted to do a very, very colorful video because that’s what I’m doing with my next album, 11:11, is showing a lot of happiness, a lot of positive energy,” he said.

Take a look at his magical Fallon debut up above.