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June 2017

Jay Z Just Changed His Name Again

Jay Z has been in the news a lot recently, and now that he’s changed his name, he’s making sure he stays in the news.


From left: JAY-Z, Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen (photo via NY Daily News)

What’s he been up to?

To begin with, former president Barack Obama gave him a loving induction into the Songwriter’s Hall Of Fame, saying he and Jay Z understand each other.

“We know what it’s like to not have a father around,” Obama said. “We know what it’s like not to come from and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks we did, so we try to prop open those doors of opportunity so it’s a little easier for those who come up behind us to succeed as well.”

Which takes us to how Jay Z donated a bunch of money to bail fathers out of prison on Father’s Day, saying we have to do away with the “inhumane practices” of the bail industry.

“As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix…,” he said in his essay for Time. “We can’t fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry.”

And of course, his bae, Beyoncé, gave birth to twins.

And now, he’s changing his name again, according to Time.

In 2013 when he came out with Magna Carta Holy Grail, he dropped the hyphen, going from Jay-Z to Jay Z. But now, as he prepares to release his album 4:44 on June 30, he’s altering his stage name.

He is now calling himself JAY-Z, exhuming the hyphen and capitalizing his whole name.

So now can Jay Z, Jay-Z, and JAY-Z all be inducted into the Hall Of Fame?

Below, check out a preview of JAY-Z’s forthcoming album:

Nas And Jack White Remixed The Rapper’s “One Mic” In Acoustic Rendition

Nas just re-imagined his tune “One Mic” with The White Stripes’ Jack White.

Nas and Jack White

Nas and Jack White performing “One Mic” (screenshot via BBC)

When Nas first recorded “One Mic” from his 2001 album Stillmatic, he sampled Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” but in a recent performance in the BBC studios, he tapped the arrangement and piano skills of White.

The two artists have worked together before, so this new collab is no stretch of the imagination. What stands out is the smooth acoustic rendition they layered behind Nas’ rhymes. With the acclaimed rapper on the (one) mic, White on piano, accompanied by an upright bassist and a drummer, the group performed an intimate version of the catchy rap song.

Apart from working together on this song, both the rapper and the rocker are staying busy with other projects. Nas will be touring with singer Lauryn Hill and has also dropped hints he’s working on a new album. And White is now a children’s book author, soon releasing We’re Going To Be Friends, which is based on The White Stripes’ song with the same name.

Click here to Watch Nas and Jack White perform “One Mic.”


Flocabulary Helps Educate Kids Through Hip-Hop

You know how you can remember all the lyrics to your favorite song, but you hated trying to learn a ton of info in school?


Rappers Ike Ramos and Nitty Scott MC attend the UN meeting for International Day of Peace to share their Flocabulary (photo via Flocabulary)

Some intuitive folks have realized the power music has to help memory and they’re harnessing it for education by using rap.

If you ask grade school students if they like school, probably 99% of them would say “no.” Even adults remember disliking school (or at least most of it). But thanks to a new hip-hop project, school is fun.

Roughly 20,000 schools in the United States are using something called Flocabulary. Basically, the idea is to put school lessons to rap to help kids remember the content. And it’s working, as CBS found with a school in Texas.

We already know that music helps us remember things, according to many studies, including this one. And finally, someone is putting this into practice.

Rapper Ike Ramos, who’s shared the stage with Lil Wayne and The Wu Tang Clan, is the one rapping on these educational videos. And he recognizes the power music can have.

“What’s powerful about music is it helps with the encoding of that information that’s in the brain, but also the retrieval of that information,” he told CBS.

Check out Flocabulary’s video-rap lesson on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement in one of their most moving videos below:

Jack Antonoff of Bleachers Hates Googling Himself

Jack Antonoff, the one-man band that is Bleachers, says that Googling yourself is dangerous.

Jack Antonoff

Jack Antonoff (photo via Muzul)

But why? If you’re as talented of a singer-songwriter and producer as he is, what could possibly be wrong with a simple internet search?

Antonoff recently explained why this is not a good idea. In a new interview with Beats 1 Radio’s Zane Lowe, he takes us through why he doesn’t like to Google or Bing himself.

“So, sometimes if I search myself, which is a very dangerous process — always somehow antisemitic and rude,” he said. “Every time I search myself, it’s just like ‘let’s just throw this Jew into the ocean’ or something. And then I’m like, ‘Oh that’s rough.’ And then they got to be worse and be like, ‘Oh, this is the ugliest Jew I’ve ever seen.’”

He said he gets a lot of hate from the alt-right, but he said those are not his people. His people are the fans who pay for tickets, know all the words to his songs, and will catch him if he does a stage dive. That’s where he feels most at home.

“The people online, they’re actually not my people,” he said. “Especially, the alt-right that comes through. Like, you say one G*****n thing about trying to make the world a livable place, let alone a hundred things like all of us do, and you just get this storm.”

The internet is not a good barometer for what’s accurate. All the Bleachers fans of the world — that’s true to life.

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