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Music

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.

JAY-Z

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?

Flocabulary

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.

Ariana Grande Lands In Florida Day After Explosion At Manchester, UK, Concert

Leave it to the paparazzi to get the shot even if it’s slightly inappropriate to.

But because of them, we now know Ariana Grande safely landed in her home state of Florida on Tuesday, the day after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at Grande’s concert in Manchester, UK.

The 23-year-old singer met her boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, at the foot of the private plane’s exit steps. She had landed in Boca Raton, about a half an hour away from where she grew up in Coconut Creek.

 

Ariana Grande

Grande meeting her boyfriend, Mac Miller, on Tuesday (photo via People)

Ariana GrandeAriana Grande

Grande has suspended the rest of her tour, reports CNN, as she, understandably, takes time off to recoup.

After the explosion, she sent out a short but heartfelt statement on Twitter.

“Broken,” she tweeted. “From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

The last song she sang at Monday’s concert was “One Last Time,” which now has a whole new — and sad — meaning to Grande fans. The lyrics of the chorus are:

So one last time
I need to be the one who takes you home
One more time
I promise after that, I’ll let you go
Baby, I don’t care if you got her in your heart
All I really care is you wake up in my arms
One last time
I need to be the one who takes you home

Watch her perform the song minutes before the explosion:

Lil Uzi Vert Fan Threatens To “Shoot Up” School If The Rapper Doesn’t Drop Another Album

Gun violence is a scary fact of life in the United States of America, and an ever increasing fear. And that’s for good reasons.

Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert (source: Tulsa World)

One recent example: a fan of Lil Uzi Vert threatened to draw his weapon if the rapper didn’t drop a new album.

A CBS affiliate in Florida reported that an unnamed 16-year-old high school student went on Facebook and demanded the rapper release the sequel to his album Luv Is Rage. 

“Drop luv is rage 2 before I shoot up my school,” the student wrote.

Someone even commented on this student’s post, “I would not be surprised if you were suspended because of this comment.”

Police then showed up at the teen’s home to arrest him. After searching his home, they found two guns in a lockbox, but the key was missing. So the owners had to pry open the box to prove the guns were still there. Fortunately, police didn’t take this Facebook post lightly because the student could have been serious.

The student was suspended from school and arrested on charges of making false reports of hoax/threats to do violence with a firearm to a school.

Lil Uzi Vert — “Do What I Want”

With promises to pay fan’s tuition, is Nicki Minaj going to be the next Fyre Festival?

Regardless of what you think of Nicki Minaj, she’s encouraging good grades and generosity. She recently promised to pay some of her Twitter followers’ college tuition.

Nicki Minaj (photo via Getty)

Over the weekend, a fan sarcastically asked Minaj to pay his school costs in response to her Twitter brag that she could afford to fly almost anybody anywhere.

“Well you wanna pay for my tuition?” @cjbydesign tweeted to Minaj.

Minaj came back with a shocking reply, possibly setting herself up to be the next Fyre Festival.

“Show me straight A’s that I can verify w/ur school and I’ll pay it,” she said, adding that she was “dead serious.”

A few dozens fans took advantage of this offer, posting screenshots of their grades. The hip-hop/pop star with an estimated net worth of $70 million, according to IBT, responded to a few of those fans throughout Saturday night and also promised to pay for books and student loans. She turned it into an impromptu contest — you could call it the Nicki Minaj Twitter Scholarship Award.

“Ok u guys. It’s been fun,” she tweeted at 1:07 a.m., marking the end of the contest. “Let me make those payments tmrw then see if I have any money left.”

The question is: will she come through with these high-stakes promises? We’re talking millions of dollars she’s apparently willing to shell out for the financial equivalent of luxury islands. Will she, like Ja Rule and Billy McFarland, spend all the money set aside for her undertaking and then face ridicule from the public?

Surely, Twitter will tell us pretty soon. To keep tabs on this, follow Nicki Minaj here, and follow Mixtape Cover King while you’re at it.

Submit Your Music Here And Get Heard By Thousands Of Music Fans

Real Exposure For Indie Artist

There are thousands of mixtape websites and music blogs online that swear that help indie artist promote their music and get them more exposure, but the fact is a lot of these sites that  promote artist charge a fee and they don’t receive any traffic so pretty much that’s just money flushed down the drain.

But there is one music blog that gets indie artist hella exposure and is known for taking artist music careers to the next level. Hold on before I tell you  the site there are a couple of things that you need to have covered on your end before you submit your music to them.

You need to have a professional compelling artist bio,1-3 professional pics, Professionally mixed and mastered music, and professional cover art graphics. If you don’t have these 4 things I wouldn’t submit my music to a blog yet because they like to feature artist who take their music and brand seriously and carry themselves professionally.

Well, the site that every serious indie artist should submit their work to is SheBloggin it’s a hip hop/entertainment/fashion blog owned by Tasha Scott. Tasha is well know in the indie hip hop world and has been responsible for helping several artist jumpstart their music career.

SheBloggin is considered a tastemaker blog which pretty much means they have pull in the music industry and get a ton of exposure I work with thousands of music artist on mixtape designs Itunes artwork ,flyers , etc  and out of all the artist I spoke with everyone said they felt that  SheBloggin was the best platform for an indie artist to have their music on because it gets you real exposure to thousands of fans, they don’t try to charge you to post your music , and Tasha is highly respected in the music world and dedicated to helping indie artist.

What music artist fail to realize is that when you have a professional image and quality music  bloggers that supports indie music such as SheBloggin enjoy featuring you on their site not only to help you get exposure, but because they love quality indie music , but like I stated before you have to make sure you have everything covered on your end before you submit your music to them.

Also keep in mind that having everything I mentioned doesn’t guarantee you will get placement on the site your first or second attempt being that SheBloggin  get hundreds of submissions daily so you just have to keep releasing quality new content and keep submitting to the blog and trust me your time will come and once it does it will be well worth the wait. The site is looked at by industry executives , record labels, and booking agents plus they get hundreds if not thousands of visit daily from real music fans, and all it takes is that one big break so don’t stop grinding.

If you’re a serious artist trying to get exposure and build their brand the right way I would recommend visiting www.SheBloggin.com

How to Become a XXL Magazine Freshman

The XXL magazine freshmen class of 2014 is made up of 12 freshmen, including 2 RnB artists.  If you don’t know, the XXL magazine freshmen edition is  a list of new and upcoming hip-hop artists that are featured on the XXL Magazine cover in early March and the carefully chosen artists are introduced to the world in the April issue.  This has become a big thing among upcoming musicians because being featured in the magazine as a freshman, even when you don’t appear on the cover, is kind of a big thing that many newcomers in the music industry believe can be the shortcut to stardom and success.

If you are looking to make it to be a freshman in the magazine, or make it to the cover, there are quite a number of things you have to know about the magazine and the XXL freshmen class which I will  go over in the first part of this post.  I will also provide you with 3 essential tips that you will find useful to getting into the magazine.  I hope the points covered in this post will help you realize your dream.

What is the XXL Magazine Freshman honor?

The XXL magazine over the years has created a badge of honor that the hip-hop community has come to recognize as valuable.  The magazine’s motto, “Hip Hop on a Higher Level” tells all you need to know about what their focus is on.  Although XXL is a print magazine, it is still very relevant in this age of social media and iTunes and the honor they accord upcoming musicians every year has kept it relevant and very influential.  This is the reason many artists see making it to the magazine cover as the ultimate milestone on the path to global dominance.  Is it?

The truth is that the XXL Magazine, being a physical magazine, is really trying to stay relevant and compete with the online world and social media platforms for the news reel.  A paper magazine that makes news available at the end of the month is no match for online news platforms that break the news by the second, and they are all free.  Even the XXL Magazine, despite its popularity, reaches the stands several months after publication, which is done several weeks after an event is being reported.  In essence, the XXL magazine is no match for the cyberspace.

This brings us to the next point – relevance.  Is the magazine using the Freshmen honors to keep the magazine relevant or does it use the honors to bring relevance to talented musicians?  There’s debate and controversy surrounding this, but I will leave it to you to decide.  Most people today believe that the magazine searches for the hottest, most promising budding artists, with an established fan base, to get their fans to support the magazine.  This could be true, it could be false.

If you are thinking of making it to the XXL Magazine cover, the criteria the magazine uses to select its freshmen goes beyond talent.  The magazine often chooses upcoming musicians who already have a following on social media, YouTube and other areas of life.  These musicians are required to have established themselves and gotten noticed.  This means that if you want to make it to the XXL Magazine freshman class, you have to work hard to win the hearts of the people and get them to like your music.

How to get to the XXL Magazine’s Freshmen Class

Tip 1: Consistency: Just as with any goal you set, if you want to ever appear in the XXL Magazine Freshman class, you must have a plan and stick to it.  Each freshman who has appeared on the magazine cover has demonstrated consistency in their efforts from the time they release their first mixtapes.  This means that if you want to be recognized, you will need to work at producing the best quality mixtapes, having the best mixtape cover, and  demonstrate a positive outlook by working hard even when times are hard and strive to be unique.

 Tip 2: Create a Buzz: As I mentioned in the post above, the XXL magazine works just like any other component of the music industry – they find you, but only if you make yourself found.  You must learn to promote your music and yourself as an artist first, and invest in getting as many followers on Twitter, the largest fan base on Facebook, the highest number of subscribers on YouTube and get people to share your music than everyone else.  It is going to be hard, but the magazine may just be the FIRST to notice your talent.  In most cases, you will be happy with your success such that when you get noticed it will just be a boost and not a lifeline.

 Tip 3: Timing: Finally, timing is very important.  The list of the year’s annual freshman class is often revealed around March.  Yelawolf made it to the freshman class in 2011 with little effort, but it is clear that it was because he had just been signed by Eminem’s Shady Records back in January.  This is a good example of how making the headlines at the right time could land you in a place on the magazine.

Do you believe you have what it takes to be the XXL Magazine’s next featured freshman?  Do you have the heart to chase this dream?I think you can do start branding yourself and promoting your music.

 

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Tips for Musicians: How to Copyright Your Music

Learn How to Copyright Your Music.

I should start with a disclaimer that this article talks about the general knowledge information on copywriting music and is not  legal advice.  Whether you are going through or are considering copyrighting your content, it is advisable you talk to a lawyer , or just Google  the specific copyright laws in your state first.

We live in a highly commercialized world today, where sharks and vultures are at every corner waiting.  When you put your efforts into creating something beautiful, you have to protect it by copyrighting it, a process which simply proves when you submitted your original work.  The process of copyrighting your music may seem complicated and unnecessary at first but trust me,  you need to know how it works.

How copyright works

There are people at the copyright office who receive your submission but they don’t listen to it.  In fact, their work is basically to receive your work and file it somewhere, in storage, for when you need to prove it’s your work.  When you copyright your songs, art or music, whatever you call it, you are protecting your creations by putting an immortal stamp and the date of creation is acknowledged by the system.

But you need to know that there are some aspects of your submissions that you cannot be protected, even if copyright is registered to you like a.  These are:

  1. The overall concept or the idea of the song

  2. Chord progressions

  3. Title and short phrases

  4. Mixtape cover, itunes, Or album artwork concept.

Simply put, when you copyright your music you copyright your lyrics and melodies.  When you look at it, these are essentially the only things you can create, right?

Steps in Copyrighting your Music

Step 1: Start by making a good quality copy of your music and store it in a CD, computer hard disk, online (cloud storage), mini-disk, LP, MP3 or whatever form you want.  Just make sure you have an actual copy that you need to create a hard copy of your music.  When your music is recorded, it is ready to be copyrighted.  Let’s get it registered.

Step 2: Before we proceed, I should point out that there are two ways that you can choose to register your music, and both start online at the Government’s Copyright website  www.copyright.gov.  On your browser, go to the website and click on the ‘Register a Copyright’ link.  Registering your content online is simple, but note that it takes time to be processed.

Step 3: There are essentially three forms you will have to complete when copyrighting your music but the ones that matter in this case are the Performing Arts (PA) and the Sound Recording (SR) forms.  Which form you complete just depends on what you are copyrighting.  Here is a brief guide to help you know which form to fill:

Musical composition as well as dramatic works recorded on tapes and disks are essentially the works of performing art and are registered on the Performing Arts form or the short version of the PA form.  You will also fill this form when copyrighting only the underlying works such as soundtracks, dramatic work or musical composition even when you do not provide a disk or tape.

When copyrighting unpublished or published sound recordings for particular recorded performances or for particular sounds, you will need to fill the Sound Recordings (SR) form.  You will also be required to use this form when copyrighting sound recording as well as underlying works such as literary works, dramatic and musical composition in one registration.  However, you will only register them separately  only if you created both works.  You cannot copyright someone else’s work and yours in one registration.  The form SR is also filled when copyrighting a multimedia kit such as one that combines different forms of creative works and content with different authorships including sound recordings, books and audio cassettes.

Step 4: Copyrighting your creative work is not an easy task for you, and neither is it for the folks at the copyright office.  This is the reason copyright registration has a small fee attached to it, whether you are filling the Sound Recording (SR) or the Performance Arts (PA) forms.  The current fee for copyrighting your music, book, periodical, art or any other creative work stands at $35 per single work by a single author.  Instead of paying $35 for each song you are copyrighting, it is wiser to compile an album or a mixtape and register it once to save time, money and effort.

When you create a masterpiece work of art or exert your talent into something real, it is very important to protect it.  The US copyright law states that a creative work becomes copyrighted at the moment of creation, and all the rights for that work immediately belong to the creator or creators.  However, this is not enough to protect your work and registration is still necessary to provide an undeniable level of proof as to the ownership of the content and to benefit from statutory damages in case another entity infringes on the registered copyright.

 

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