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Celebs That Love to Gamble Online

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With so much to dispose of, it does not come as a surprise that most Hollywood superstars and athletes are among the high rollers in luxurious land-based casinos and online alike. Though some of the celebs have landed massive payouts from wagers, many have gone public about their gambling addictions. Most high roller stars stake on sports matches as well as skill-based games like Poker and Blackjack. This article features some of the big names that have been seen frequenting at high-end casinos. We have also included some of their favorite games where they spent hours gambling their money.

Celebs That Love to Gamble Online

Wikimedia

John Daly

Daly is one of the most decorated golfers in the world. The superstar claims to have lost more than $90 on gambling in the past 15 years. This is no surprise as he is known to be devoted to his vices. He only shone once in his gambling career when he won around $35 million. John Daly loved to create scenes by staking huge amounts on his favorite table games. Though he was a great golfer, his love for Blackjack almost ended his life fortune.

Ben Affleck

American born Batman Star, Ben Affleck, is also known to be a big fan of online and land-based poker games. In fact, it is rumored that his separation with wife Jennifer Garner was caused by his gambling behavior. Affleck is banned from joining any blackjack table games at the Hard Rock Hotel for his using card counting strategy. This superstar was also prohibited at Caesar Windsor Hotel and Casino for the same offense of counting cards.

Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson is one of the female movie superstars. Though she is a diehard fan of poker, she is yet to land her lucky hand. A while ago, she admitted in an interview on Ellen DeGeneres Show that she had a poker debt worth $250000. The debt was later settled by one of her boyfriends with unclear compensation plans. Pamela’s state of gambling is one that should not be encouraged.

Victoria Coren Mitchell

UK TV host Victoria Coren is famous for witty style when hosting different shows like the Only Connect. Her authentic voice has featured in several documentaries and comedies in the industry. Besides being the wife of David Mitchell, a well-known British comedian, she has a great passion for the Poker game. Victoria Coren was the first woman to win the European Poker Tour twice, earning her a whopping $1.5 million. Cash games are her favorite, and she is reported to have scooped $400,000 in an event in Italy.

Celebs That Love to Gamble Online

Wikimedia Commons

Mario Balotelli

One of Italy’s best footballers, Mario Balotelli, is known for high notoriety. There have been many cases where he has been captured in weird situations – like fireworks setting off in his bathroom, fighting a training top, and many others. He is also said to have driven around the city to hive-five everyone after they beat their rivals, Manchester United 6-1. Balotelli is a kind-hearted man. He gave a beggar $1000 when he was walking outside the casino after winning $25000 from a roulette game.

Tobey Maguire

Former Spider-man star, Tobey Maguire, has been a poker tournament fan for quite a while. His skills are acquired from Daniel Negreanu, one of Poker’ Professional players. According to his close friend, Phil Hellmuth, Maguire had made around $10 million from his poker career. He has participated in the World Series of Poker many times and walked away with $39,445 cash.

Celebs That Love to Gamble Online

Wikimedia Commons

Drake

It is now clear that Drake loves to gamble, besides being a great musician. While in the US, the rapper spends time in Vegas or Atlantic City casinos. Not long ago, he lost $200000 dollars in a single night at Hard Rock Café in Atlantic City. In his native country of Canada, he frequents casinos in Vancouver, though it is said that he was banned from accessing some casinos.

Shannon Elizabeth

Shannon is yet another familiar face in movies and TV shows. What may be new to many is that she considers poker as her career also. She competed in the 2005 World Series of Poker and later on participated in a promotional tournament at Caesar’s Palace and won $55,000. After rising to the semi-finals in the National Heads-up Poker Championship, she outsmarted several celebrated poker stars.

 

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Images provided by Flickr, Unsplash, Pexels & Pixabay

How Spotify Changed Everything

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At first, Spotify didn’t change anything. By the late 00s, we were all already illegally downloading music to our iPods and phones; the music industry was flailing to stop us (to no avail), and we didn’t want to pay. Then in 2006, Spotify was founded in Stockholm. In the beginning, the streaming site offered an infinite library of music with a few ads sprinkled in here and there. Now: Spotify has more than 180 million users, 83 million of which pay for the subscription. Beyond bringing life back into the failing music industry, Spotify has altered a lot of the ways music is made, and how we relate to it.

 

 One of the largest qualms with Spotify since it began has been the death of the album. Articles from the beginning to last week all question if we are moving into a playlist-driven world over the classic record. The answer is: obviously not. While musicians like Drake and Stormzy have played with the form and released ‘playlists’ instead of albums, or dropped EPs one song at a time, the art of the album is undying. It’s power to capture the sentiment of an artist has rendered it an unbeatable form. Playlists instead fill the role of traditional radio. George Ergatoudis, the former head of music at Radio 1 and 1Xtra who now works on content at Spotify, said to the Guardian, “Mainstream audiences generally need more guidance to help them discover new music.” Like a radio station, playlists offer new, different music that fits into a certain sound or genre. However, the playlist culture has brought different changes.

Spotify pays its artists about .0038$ per stream and this affects albums in two ways: albums have become longer, and songs are produced in multiple forms. Compared to the ten-track records of the past, artists these days are more likely to release 20-track albums to double their streaming revenue. Labels now also release one song, likely some remixes, an acoustic version, as well as a Latin version to increase the number of playlists a song is on. The largest change that playlist-culture has brought is the slow death of harsher genres like Alternative Rock as they don’t fit so easily into the many different mood-playlists Spotify offers.

Spotify has also contributed to the death of the subculture. Just a few decades ago, the music you listened to defined everything from what you wore to who you hung out with. Music used to be the meeting place of people. Now, everyone listens to everything, and they do it from the privacy of their headphones. A movement like Grunge is unlikely to occur in our post-CD lives because people no longer define themselves by one genre.

 

Music is also more democratic than ever before. While some artists can pay for more advertisements—we all remember the Drake takeover in the summer—Spotify pays all artists the same based on their streams. Smaller artists with cult followings can flourish across the world whereas before they were reliant on where their small labels could push them. Now anyone with a band in any town has the chance to be heard by anyone through Spotify with or without being signed.

 

Not one person listens to music the same way they did fifteen years ago, and even if Spotify pays artists a pittance, it is much more than they were making during the years of illegal downloading. The ramifications of Spotify’s birth have yet to be fully realized, and there is no doubt that our culture will alter in ways we haven’t even expected in the next few decades simply because of Spotify.

 

 

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East Atlanta Love Letter Album Review; Image Credits: @spotify on Instagram and screenshots from their website

10 Songs to Add to Your Gym Playlist ASAP

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The weather is getting warmer and the pressure is on to tighten up for beach season. Now, I am a firm believer in every body being a bikini body, but plenty of us still want to get into tip-top shape for just ourselves. That being said, it isn’t always easy. From your gym buddy cancelling to simply being weak to the call of the latest binge-worthy Netflix series, working out can be a huge challenge. That’s where the music comes in. Having the right music to exercise to can make you forget your legs are screaming on the stair climber because you’ll be too busy jamming out. I chose these beats for you to do just that: zone out and get sweating!

 

Some old, some new, all gym-approved. Here are my top ten picks for your gym playlist. I’ve carefully curated a mix of upbeat hip-hop, grime, Afro-beats, & dancehall for maximum muscle gains. This is a playlist to keep you going even when your abs want to quit. Zone out for that half hour daily workout with these tunes!

 

  1. 7/11 -Beyonce 
  2. Real Bad Gal – Vybz Kartel
  3. Nice for What – Drake 
  4. Rambo Kanambo – Vybz Kartel 
  5. Shake Body – Skales  
  6. Thiago Silva – Dave, AJ Tracey
  7. Breeze – Aidonia, Govana 
  8. Split in De Middle – Freezy 
  9. Powerglide (Feat. Juicy J) – Rae Sremmurd
  10. Iskaba – Wande Coal, DT Tunez

 

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10 Songs to Add to Your Gym Playlist ASAP: Featured image credit: Young Money/Cash Money Records

Artists We Hope Drop Albums in 2018

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There’s a few things that I have to look forward to in the new year. The very same could be said for some of our favorite artists, who pour their joys and melancholies into albums that make up the soundtrack to our daily lives. For some, this requires no hesitation, and for others it requires careful planning and balance with plenty of expectations. With great hope and anticipation, here are a few artists whose albums we hope drop in 2018.

Drake

After Nothing Was the Same in 2013, giving us a new Drake to appreciate, in 2015 it seemed like he returned to ‘everywhere’ status with mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late with rapper Future, and his fourth album Views. Now it’s 2018 and aside from the standard “who is he with?” rumors, there’s also hope he may plan to return to music with his fifth album. Following the pattern, we’ve already gotten a mixtape, More Life in March 2017, and recently we’ve received Scary Hoursa two-song EP in early 2018. If we’re to guess, an album may very well be on the horizon later this year. Hopefully it provides a new look into the artist Drake is currently, but also shows where he sees himself with a progressive sound.

MGMT

This dynamic & psychedelic group has had their share of back and forths on their music, their label, and sometimes themselves. For much of my younger years, this group was one of my ultimates for their prismatic sound, until it seemed like they lost interest. They brought back life with their release of Congratulations in 2010 and a few questions with their self-titled in 2013. In October 2017, MGMT released “Little Dark Age” among various concerts along the way, and confirmed that they’ll be releasing their fourth album. Upon this new release, hopefully they continue to show confidence and enjoyment in the sound they’ve crafted for themselves, and continue to explore its depth.

Tycho

A chillwave project headed by musician Scott Hansen and a listen highly recommended if you enjoy synth, lo-fi and nostalgia. Tycho is solace for those seeking retrospect in their music experience with few words. Since 2004, 4 albums, 1 concept and notability for his musical direction, there is new excitement for this release. Hopefully it brings us to forward within ourselves as the listener, and forward into the strange time we’re in now.

Sophie

Placed on my radar after delving into Charli XCX’s EP Vroom Vroom, with no regrets & high praises assisting with her new direction on Number 1 Angel  (“Lipgloss” & “Roll With Me”), the electro-pop producer returned to the scene with comeback single “It’s Okay to Cry” in October 2017. The single was particular important because overall, there wasn’t much known about who Sophie is, other than their very creative and appealing take on modern pop music. The song itself, with breathy vocals & calm opening, it fades into a dramatic show of synth (getting borderline 80s retro near the end) as the lyrics speak of someone who appreciates a person for who they are and to show themselves. Its music video also reveals who Sophie is, with few distractions.  Here’s hoping this year, Sophie’s promised new releases continue to let us in to the artist behind the mystery.

Tinashe

Enjoyable, relatable & never-ending. Tinashe made a splash with her most known release “2 On,” and since then, her first album Aquarius has left the majority of newer fans, craving for more. With the well-received mixtape Nightride to quell the wait for her second album, a release I personally enjoyed. Her music is relevant for any mood, situation or context. Tinashe has been outspoken with her frustrations regarding her experiences with her current label, and the direction of her awaited release. In January 2018, she released “No Drama” with rapper Offset of Migos, and has plans to release another single until the the release of her sophomore album, Joyride. Aside from actually seeing the full release, hopefully it provides the dual-side to Nightride, and shows the capability of Tinashe as the mainstream artist she hopes to be.

Frank Ocean

This artist is purely about the music, and takes the word ‘art’ with great care. Ocean had everyone raving much of 2010 into late 2013 with his debut mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra and his first album Channel Orange. His collaborations with artists such as Beyonce, Odd Future members, Brandy, Pharrell & Jay Z, marked him a mainstream artist with no breaks from his musicality. In 2016, Ocean released Blonde and everyone went mad; pure excitement to see his development, and satiated cravings for more music. “Pink + White” is the very best example to showcase it for its ethereal & addictive vibes. Now it’s 2018, and Ocean has grown into his own, musically & personally, and sometimes lets us know what he’s thinking. Hinting there’s enough material for another album (see his Tumblr post), there are some fans wondering if this means it’ll be released by the end of 2018. There does seem to be a pattern (about two to three years) but here’s hoping the next one pushes boundaries on R&B with few outcries & lasting impressions.

Nicki Minaj

Minaj returned to her hip-hop roots with The Pink Print, previously released back in 2014. Since then, she’s had tours, makeup & clothing collaborations, but most especially feuds, family & features made much of 2016 & 2017 for Minaj. Aside from making it clear she’ll continue with acting (Her latest being Barbershop: The Next Cut alongside Ice Cube & Cedric The Entertainer), she made most with appearing on “Rake It Up reuniting with Yo Gotti, & “Motorsport” with Migos & upcoming artist Cardi B. Both songs made their way into the Top 10 on Billboard, but for some this isn’t enough. With fans lying in wait for new music, and those waiting with bated breath for a lengthy response to Remy Ma’s “Shether,” 2018 seems to be a do or don’t regarding the next step in Minaj’s position in hip-hop music.

 

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Photo Credit: Drake Facebook.

The Most Influential Album Releases of 2017

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No matter how much hype an album gets in the moment, it’s easy to forget about it once the next one comes out. But here at Cliché, we are firm believers in giving credit where it is due. As 2017 comes to an end, it’s important to remember that in the midst of all the madness, we were truly blessed with some amazing releases in every genre from hip-hop to rock to pop. To make choosing your favorite album of 2017 just a bit easier, we rounded up a list of all the most influential album releases of 2017.

 

January

I See You by the xx
Genre: Indie Rock/Dream Pop

The third studio album from the dream-pop power-duo, I See You marked the return of the band after a four-year hiatus. After years of uncertainty, I See You ushered in an era of creative stability for the xx, exploring countless new sounds to much critical acclaim.

MTV Video Music Awards Recap

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This year, the MTV Video Music Awards found its way back to New York City, but instead of using Radio City Music Hall as its classic venue, the show took place at Madison Square Garden for the first time. In recent years, the VMAs has not had a traditional host and this year was no different. Comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele were in character as social media mavens (because if you know anything at all, you know the best place to watch an award show is on Twitter) but none of their antics, most of which were impossible to follow, seemed to connect with the audience. Other stand-in hosts included MTV’s own Nicole Byer from Girl Code, comedian Jay Pharoah with his great impressions throughout the show, and lastly DJ Khaled, who kept the energy going with his signature catchphrases.

Rihanna was this year’s recipient of the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award and she did something different then all the recipients before her and treated us to four different themed performances throughout the show, each showcasing a different style of music she has perfected. She opened the show with a medley of her hits from her pop era. Dressed in light pink from head to toe, she sang “Only Girl In The World,” “We Found Love,” and “Where Have You Been.” Her second performance of the night was a tribute to her culture and homeland in which she brought a traditional Caribbean bashment party to the stage performing all her reggae influenced hits such as, “Rude Boy,” “What’s My Name,” and her recent hit “Work.” Later in the show, she performed her more mellow party records “Pour It Up,” “B*tch Better Have My Money,” and her latest single from ANTI, “Needed Me.” She ended things off with her crowd favorite ballads, “Stay,” a slowed down version of “Diamonds,” and her next single “Love on The Brain,” fully taking in the opportunity to show how much her vocals have grown since she was first introduced to us in 2005. To end things off with a bang, Drake presented Rihanna with her award, giving a speech that sounded more like a love letter. He expressed, “I’ve loved Rihanna since I was 22 years old.” He also so spoke on what makes Rihanna a great artist: “She succeeds by doing something that no one in this industry does by just being herself.” After a sweet embrace between the two, Rihanna expressed her excitement by showing love to her country of Barbados, her friends, family, and fans and her disbelief that at only 28 years old she is lucky enough to accept such an award.

Now as we all know, MTV always keeps us on our toes with surprise antics and this year it came in the form of Kanye West taking to the stage to talk about whatever it is he wanted. He walked out to his song “Famous” which contains the infamous line that has reignited the Kanye vs. Taylor Swift beef and stood as the crowd chanted “Yeezy.” Highlights from his six and a half minute “speech” include saying “I see you Amber,” to his famous ex girlfriend Amber Rose, expressing his hope to win video of the year but it being okay if he lost to Beyoncé, shouting out his wife Kim Kardashian West, and finally debuting his new video for his song “Fade.” The video is a performance piece starring singer Teyana Taylor in what could almost be a tribute to Jennifer Beals in Flashdance. In true Kanye fashion, he has to leave us somewhat bewildered as the video ends with Taylor becoming a cat woman, with her fiancé Iman Shumpert of the championship winning NBA team the Cleveland Cavaliers and their 8-month old daughter “Junie” surrounded by sheep.

In addition to winning eight of the 11 Video Music Awards she was nominated for, and passing Madonna for acquiring the most VMAs ever, Beyoncé completely turned the stage into her own personal concert with a full on recreation of her visual album Lemonade. She eased us in starting with her song “Pray You Catch Me” and followed up with “Hold Up” carrying her signature baseball bat from the video and smacking the camera to the floor. She continued with “Sorry” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself” throwing on a fur coat and aggressively performing as flames and sparks surrounded her. She closed her performance with “Formation” filling the stage with an army of female dancers and ending in the formation of the symbol for woman.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Beyonce performs onstage during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 28: Beyonce performs onstage during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Britney Spears also returned to the VMA stage to perform her new single “Make Me” featuring G- Eazy. This performance was her first performance on MTV in almost 10 years since the cringeworthy performance of “Gimme More” at the VMAs in 2007. Other performers included Nick Jonas who performed his new song “Bacon” with Ty Dolla $ign and Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj who gave a lackluster performance of “Side to Side” off Grande’s album Dangerous Woman.  Newbies to the VMA stage, The Chainsmokers and Halsey performed their number one hit “Closer” and rapper Future gave an excellent performance of his hit song “F*ck Up Some Commas.”

Seemingly missing from the VMA stage this year was any form of Rock or Alternative music. It seemed to be a show for only the “who’s who” in pop culture right now. Also many of the awards were not given out on camera. Those lucky enough to take the stage to give speeches were DNCE for Best New Artist, Fifth Harmony for Best Collaboration, and Beyonce for Video of the Year and Best Female Video.  Drake also won for best hip-hop video but missed his chance at an acceptance speech because he was “stuck in traffic.”

Our U.S. Olympians Michael Phelps and “Final Five” gymnasts Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman (minus Gabby Douglas, who was absent due to an injury) were lucky enough to take the stage and introduce some of the musicians for the night. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte was also there in spirit as Jimmy Fallon impersonated him in a platinum blonde wig while singing Justin Biebers “Sorry.”

All in all, the VMAs did not disappoint. What they lacked in variety and a host they made up for in electrifying performances and a who’s who of celebrity presenters. For a complete list of VMA winners, and video clips head over to MTV.

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MTV Video Music Awards Recap: Featured image courtesy of MTV

The Artists You Should Be Following on Instagram

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This summer, Instagram has been swamped with pictures of celebrities, socialites, and our favorite artists. Instagram allows us, as the audience, to learn more about our favorite artists and connect with them on a human level. Disclosing behind-the-scenes pictures of their concerts, fabulous vacations bikini pics, and snippets of up-and-coming new songs, music artists have been using the top-grossing app to their advantage to accumulate followers, promote the release of albums, and products. From the reigning Instagram Queen Selena Gomez to the eccentric, lovable Tyler, the Creator, here are the artists you should be following on Instagram:

Selena Gomez: The Queen of Instagram – @selenagomez

when your lyrics are on the bottle ?

A photo posted by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

Selena, who had the most-liked photo on Instagram, reigns Queen with 91.9 million followers. Revealing new hairstyles, promoting and providing behind the scenes of her Revival Tour, Selena has a good mix of superstar glam and fun-loving, carefree posts. Balancing friends, families, and fans, Selena Gomez humbly wears her crown as Queen.

Beyonce: Queen Bey – @beyonce

A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on


Ever since the epic release of her visual album Lemonade, Queen Bey has acquired even more loyal and sometimes vicious followers. Though she does not post as frequently as other artists, when Beyonce posts a picture, she breaks hearts. There are currently 79.4 million followers apart of the #beyhive and there is definitely room for more. Beyonce proves that she will always be Queen Bey with her blend of fabulous headshots, snapshots from the Formation World Tour, and adorable family pics with Jay-Z and Blue Ivy.

Katy Perry: The Fun Girl – @katyperry

❣???

A photo posted by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on


Despite Katy Perry’s international stardom, she does not let her popularity affect her Instagram account. More carefree than other celebrities, Katy is able to remain the quirky girl we originally fell in love with. Promoting her new song “Rise”, posting hilarious photos and videos, capturing beautiful scenes while traveling, Katy’s 53.1 million followers are in for a constant thrill.

Ariana Grande: The Dog Lover – @arianagrande

#Time100

A photo posted by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on


Showing off her new bangs, Ariana Grande is the go-to account for posting cute animal pictures for her 80.1 million followers. An avid animal lover, Ariana likes to take adorable pictures of her growing litter, her new, chart-topping album Dangerous Woman, and eye-catching selfies. Also, Ariana has taken to Instagram to spread the word of the release of her Sweet Like Candy perfume and her newfound obsession of Pokemon Go.

Rihanna: The Bad Gal – @badgalriri

#PARIS we outchea!!! Tonight I’m all yours baby!!! Anti.World.Tour.

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on


Probably the most captivating account, Rihanna has immersed an impressive 41.9 million followers. Between Rihanna’s modeling pictures and her videos from her ANTI World Tour, it is difficult not to want to follow the superstar who is unafraid to own her sexuality. Also, with her collaboration with Puma, we get to see firsthand the amazing merchandize modeled by her.

Drake: Champagnepapi – @champagnepapi

OVO FEST 7

A photo posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Dominating charts and stealing hearts, Drake is the man to follow on Instagram with his 25.9 million followers. Drake likes to loyally shoutout his fellow OVO-mates, promote his chart-topping album Views, and give heart attacks with his “dope” pictures while on vacation. Also, instead of letting social media and memes affect him, Drake reposts the memes about him and continues to be the Toronto Raptor’s biggest fan.

Raury: The Indigo Child – @raury

24k Amethyst ?

A photo posted by raury (@raury) on

Appearing on the cover of the 2015 Freshmen Class, Raury has gained a lot of popularity since then. Posting pictures while on tour, scenic, earthy photos, Raury is a rising artists who is not afraid to get real with his fans. Down-to-earth with the cool-guy vibes, be apart of Raury’s journey to success and join his 125k followers.

Tyler, the Creator: The Eccentric, Lovable One – @feliciathegoat


Having no filter and 2.4 million followers, Tyler is the best account to follow for a genuine laugh. Never sure if you are going to get an announcements for a tour, hot new tracks, awkward bathroom selfies, or a picture with a nun, Tyler, the Creator is the most hilarious artist to follow on Instagram.

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The Artists You Should Be Following on Instagram: Photos courtesy of newsartnet.com, @selenagomez, @beyonce, @katyperry, @arianagrande, @badgalriri, @champangepapi, @raury, @feliciathegoat

What We Think About Drake’s New Album ‘Views’

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Drake’s highly anticipated 4th studio album, Views, dropped exclusively on Apple Music and iTunes on April 29th. I personally sat and waited until midnight to stream this album, tweeting through all the excitement, waiting to be in awe again of another great album delivered by the “6 God.” Drake has always had a way of speaking for us “twenty-somethings,” from our desire to achieve greatness, to finding the right person to love, to wanting to make our families proud. When the time finally came, I pressed play and was surprised to hear something different then what I expected from the artist I have come to know and love.

While the album contains fan favorites “Hotline Bling” and Drake’s first number one record by himself “One Dance,” the rest of the album leaves little to be desired. The album starts off pretty mellow on the opening track “Keep the Family Close,” where Drake expresses his feelings for friends that have left him high and dry. The album slightly picks up on “Feel No Ways,” where Drake once again sings about another love lost to a beat reminiscent of his song “Find Your Love” from his 2010 album Thank Me Later.  Views  boasts a strong Caribbean influence shown with songs “Controlla” featuring legendary dancehall artist Beenie Man, and “Too Good” featuring Drake’s frequent collaborator Rihanna. “Too Good” aimed to be a continuation of their hit record “Work,” but essentially doesn’t capture the addicting and infectious nature that Rihanna’s song delivered.

With the success of his last two releases, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and his joint effort, What a Time to Be Alive with rapper Future, you would think that this was the same direction he would go in for his own album. Instead we received less hip-hop and more R&B. The only real hip-hop tracks that are delivered on the album are “Hype,” the Future assisted “Grammys” and title track “Views.” Mixed reviews aside, this album has proven to be the artist’s most successful. According to Billboard.comViews is the first album released in 2016 to surpass one million copies sold, making this Drake’s sixth straight number one album. He also set a streaming record with songs from this album being streamed 245.1 million times on Apple Music and Spotify. The best part: Drake still has time in his career to deliver the classic album his fans desire. The downside: something tells me that he thinks Views is it.

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What We Think About Drake’s New Album ‘Views’: Photo courtesy of Universal Music Group

Artists Should Learn From Wilco’s Surprise Album Release

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For years now, media companies such as NPR, Pitchfork, Stereogum, and Consequence Of Sound have been promoting early-access album streams for fans to get a full preview of new music from the bands they love. This is beneficial for artists and the blogs; the artists get more exposure and the blogs get pageviews. Then, in December 2013 Beyonce came in and disrupted the whole system with a surprise album release.

We’re getting used to it now. Artists such as J Cole, D’Angelo, Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, and Wilco have all released albums on a surprise date this year, with more likely to come from Kanye West and Rihanna. This has been a great marketing strategy for most of these artists—it builds a ton of hype and sends fans and new listeners alike flocking to Spotify to hear what all the talk is about. However, it’s also shaking the music industry and forcing us to rethink how we consume music and how it should be promoted.

Friday, July 17 was a perfect example of those two worlds colliding. It was supposed to be Tame Impala’s big day. The band’s highly anticipated album Currents was set to come out after what seemed like an endless media frenzy including three early released singles, a number of long-form features trying to explain the perfectionism behind frontman Kevin Parker, and the group’s album going up for streaming a week ahead of time on NPR. Yet, when Friday came around, the headlines shifted. Seemingly out of nowhere, Wilco dropped their ninth studio album, Star Wars, for free download, stealing the attention for themselves.

Both strategies are totally legitimate, but Wilco’s approach was more convenient for the consumer and gets it out to as many people as possible.

The music industry is just shooting itself in the foot with these media wars. Taylor Swift still makes headlines about how her music isn’t on Spotify. Tidal and Apple Music are trying to gather up exclusive artists when all that really does is exclude people searching for new music. Neil Young is pulling his catalog from nearly all streaming services over some misguided mission about audio quality when he could be reaching a younger audience. We can argue about whether or not all music should be free, but there’s no doubt it should be available.

Music is more available than ever before, but it used to be so simple. A widely talked about  album could be picked up at any store, more obscure CDs could be picked up at your local record store or online. Now that the expectation is instant access to all music, it’s frustrating when the artist you input into the search bar doesn’t show up immediately. We bicker over which store pays the most, has the best sound quality, has the best mobile interface or the best radio service, and we should, but access should not be the issue. All it’s doing is hurting the artists and the fans who just want to hear good music.

From now on, can’t we just release an album everywhere? Why bother putting it up on NPR First Listen a week in advance? It just stands to shut out those who don’t listen to music on their laptops and confuses the whole timing of the release. Plus, NPR’s media player frustrated me because I can’t see what track I’m on.

Drake, I know you signed a deal with Apple, but your “Energy” video would get so many more hits on YouTube and spread your music to more ears. Apple Music touched 11 million subscribers in less than a month, but Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” music video touts 184 million views on YouTube.

“We consider ourselves lucky to be in the position to give you this music free of charge, but we do so knowing not every band, label or studio can do the same. Much of the ‘music business’ relies on physical sales to keep the lights on and the mics up. Without that support, well, it gets tougher and tougher to make it all work.”

The band went on to list some of its recent favorite albums and encourage fans to buy them. That’s a move that understands how to grow an audience rather than corner it off, and I wish artists with that level of influence would do it more.

Let’s do away with early access to streaming albums. Let’s do away with fights over exclusive content. I know everyone is worried about how all of these new streaming services are paying artists (and they should be worried), but the most important question should be how many people are listening. Everything else will fall into place.

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Images courtesy of Consequence of Sound and Vulture. Arranged on befunky.com.

Drake at OVO Fest

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Do we still have any Meek Mill fans out here? Since the feud between rappers Meek Mill and Drake, Drake has released two diss tracks, “Charged” and “Back To Back.” Meanwhile, Meek has released one not-so-good comeback track that has his career on the line and his fans flocking towards Drake.

Despite his success, Drake is still not done having fun with the aftermath of his lyrical slaying. There was a lot of talk this week that Drake would release his third diss track at the OVO Fest in Toronto, Canada. Drake might have not dropped a track last night, but he made it a point to confirm that there is a “3Peat” with the small preview he gave us during his performance.

Even though “3Peat” wasn’t officially dropped at OVO Fest — although #meekmillsfuneral trended on Twitter — Drake had a few tricks up his sleeve. For instance, there was a whole Powerpoint presentation playing in the background of Drake’s performance that was loaded with Meek Mill memes. Can we give Drake a round of applause for the first artist to make a diss Powerpoint presentation? Let’s not forget about the Free Meek Mill T-shirt Drake was wearing during his performance.

We are sure this feud won’t be over any time soon because it seems like Drake is having too much fun.

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Drake at OVO Fest: Photograph courtesy of J. Adam Huggins for The New York Times