NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh off his Grammy triumph, Kendrick Lamar has released a new batch of old music. The eight-song collection titled “untitled unmastered.” was made available Friday on iTunes, Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify and GooglePlay. None of the songs has a title, just what seem to be dates, ranging from 2013 to 2016.
Top Dawg Entertainment, the independent hip-hop label Lamar is signed to, said the collection “features studio versions of the untitled songs” that Lamar performed on “The Colbert Report,” ”The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and last month’s Grammy Awards.
Many of the songs have a spacy, groovy feel and sound highly produced, including the standout funky “untitled 08 09.06.2014.” But “untitled 07 2014-2016” is a meandering, eight-minute song that ends with artists collaborating in a studio, complete with jokes and laughing.
The collection, which totals 34 minutes of music, was publicized around midnight from Lamar’s Twitter account.
Lamar won best rap album for “To Pimp a Butterfly” as well as rap performance, rap song, rap/sung performance and music video. Along with his wins, Lamar also had a show-stopping moment when he took the stage to perform “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright.”
It’s four months out from this year’s ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, and ESSENCE has just revealed its first look at the 2016 lineup.
For the 22nd year, ESSENCE Fest is bringing sure-to-be-lit nighttime concerts featuring more than 30 of today’s hottest hip-hop and R&B stars. This year’s lineup is a mix of old and new: soul and R&B, hip hop and pop—from Kendrick Lamar to Mariah Carey to Maxwell to Lion Babe.
“The ESSENCE Festival is back in New Orleans with an extraordinary roster of the biggest names and best performers in entertainment—from global music icons to the industry’s rising stars,” said ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks. “We are welcoming Mariah Carey, Kendrick Lamar and Maxwell to headline the Superdome main stage. In addition, we will be embracing newcomers like Leon Bridges, Jeremih, Lion Babe, Dej Loaf and The Internet, as well as fan favorite Charlie Wilson for the ultimate cultural experience in New Orleans this July 4th weekend.”
Click through to see a full list of performers, and be sure to check back for updates.
The city of Compton honored rapper Kendrick Lamar today by presenting him the key to the city. The ceremony honoring the Grammy Award winner who grew up in the city took place at 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Monument at Civic Center Plaza.
“Kendrick Lamar is a phenomenal artist whose work has served as a catalyst to raise a new level of consciousness for this generation,” said Compton MayorAja Brown in a statement. “His message challenges the status quo and motivates listeners to rethink our society’s institutions.”
Last year, Lamar wrote a love letter to Compton through his music video “King Kunta,” featuring the rapper and his friends dancing through his hometown. The key to the city is Compton’s reply to that letter.
Lamar attended Centennial High School as a teenager, where he was a straight-A student, according to city officials. Last year, he served as the 63rd grand marshal of the Compton Christmas Parade. The “Kunta” video was filled with scenes from the city, including the Compton Swap Meet, also known as the Compton Fashion Center.
“Kendrick Lamar is one of Compton’s greatest ambassadors,” said City Councilwoman Janna Zurita. “We in Compton are proud of him because he is a symbol of what our city really is — a place where dreams can come true.”
Maurice White, co-founder and leader of the groundbreaking ensemble Earth, Wind & Fire, died Thursday at his Los Angeles home. He was 74. His brother and bandmate, Verdine White, confirmed the news with the Associated Press.
The source for a wealth of euphoric hits in the 1970s and early ’80s, including “Shining Star,” “September” “Reasons” and “Boogie Wonderland,” Earth, Wind & Fire borrowed elements from funk, soul, gospel and pop for a distinctive sound that yielded six double-platinum albums and six Grammy Awards.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and although White had ceased touring with the group since a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in the ’90s, he remained behind the scenes as the act continued to tour, including a run of sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl in 2013.
“[Maurice White’s] unerring instincts as a musician and showman helped propel the band to international stardom, influencing countless fellow musicians in the process,” Recording Academy President Neil Portnow wrote in a statement. Earth, Wind & Fire are slated to receive lifetime achievement honors from the Grammys this year.
Born in Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 19, 1941, Maurice White sang in his church’s gospel choir at an early age, but his interest quickly gravitated to the drums. He earned his first gig backing Booker T. Jones before the organist founded the MGs. He moved to Chicago in the early ’60s and studied composition at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and eventually found work as a session drummer for the Chess and OKeh labels, where he played behind Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.
“That’s where I learned about the roots of music,” White told the Chicago Tribune in 1990. “I learned about playing with feeling.”
After also backing jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis in the ’60s, White moved to Los Angeles in 1969 with a band called the Salty Peppers. The group failed to gain much traction, and White changed the group’s name in 1971 to Earth, Wind and Fire, a name rooted in astrology that reflected White’s spiritual approach to music.
“In the beginning,” White told the Tribune in 1988, “My message was basically trying to relate to the community. From that it grew into more of a universal consciousness; the idea was to give the people something that was useful.”
The group’s lineup evolved through the ’70s and eventually included vocalist Phillip Bailey and White’s brother Verdine, both of whom toured with the band into this decade. The band’s reach extended into movies as well in recording the soundtrack album for Melvin Van Peebles’ landmark 1971 film “Sweet Sweetback’s Badasss Song” and appearing in the 1978 film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” which yielded the band’s hit cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life.”
White’s hits with Earth, Wind & Fire spanned a particularly influential space between R&B, rock and disco that remains current. His music with Earth, Wind & Fire was prominently sampled by scores of hip-hop and pop acts in recent years, including Jay-Z and 2Pac. His mix of incandescent soulfulness and suave, funky arrangements informed recent bestselling albums by Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar.
Remembrances of White came from all corners of the music world. On Twitter, Nile Rodgers, the Chic founder and record producer who was White’s peer in the ‘70s disco scene, wrote “RIP my soulful brother — You’re one of the most amazing innovators of all time.” Bootsy Collins, bassist of the funk mainstays Parliament-Funkadelic, wrote that White was a “legend, pioneer life long friend.”
Kendrick Lamar never forgets where he came from and is always giving props to Compton, California. Whether it’s through his community-service endeavors or always recognizing Compton in his songs, Lamar will remind you he’s Compton-proud every chance he gets. And now the city is showing how proud it is of him.
Compton Mayor Aja Brown announced on Twitter that Lamar will be given the key to the city. Brown expressed how the rapper inspires everyone in Compton and shared positive sentiments about him:
Hip-Hop and art have once again merged in an exciting way, thanks to the inventive mind of a graduate student. Regina Flores Mir is the brains behind the Hip-Hop Project, a program being implemented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that allows visitors to navigate the various collections with guiding narration from MCs. Lyrics from songs by artist including Missy Elliott, Notorious B.I.G., Eric B. & Rakim, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Queen Latifah, and more are used as keywords and then cross-referenced with the Met’s massive archive of art, providing listeners with a Hip-Hop-centric blueprint by which to examine and understand the museum’s collections.
According to the Hip-Hop Project’s website, “although the rap lyric may not be directly correlated to the art work in meaning, it allows visitors to see work that they may not have otherwise known existed,” allowing for the kind of accidental discovery that could inspire Heads to establish bridges between music and art in uniquely individualized ways.
As Kari Paul wrote for Vice’s Motherboard channel, the relationship between the lyrics and pieces of art in question aren’t necessarily straightforward, but are nevertheless engaging. “For example, in ‘Juicy’ when the Notorious B.I.G. says ‘fuck all y’all hoes,’ the Hip-Hop Project pulls up an ancient hoe artifact. Users can click on it and explore this work and others,” she explains. The Hip-Hop Project’s site allows users to experience the museum tour without a trip to the Met, simply by picking a rapper and delving into the lyrical matches to items available for viewing. Heads will also appreciate the website’s domain (www.rappersdelight.nyc).
The year 2015 is ending on a high for Hip-Hop. Earlier in the week, Kendrick Lamar was nominated for 11 Grammy Awards, the most ever for a Hip-Hop performer in a single year. And, tonight (12/12), Chance The Rapper became the first independent artist, in any genre, to perform on the 40-year old sketch comedy franchise, “Saturday Night Live.”
Chance performed 2 songs on the SNL stage. The first was “Somewhere In Paradise” with Jeremih. As is often the case, the song was part rap, part singing and all Chance catching the spirit, as he showed his jubilation for being on stage, both vocally and physically. His lyrics were joyous, even stating that there were people in his life who said he’d never reach this point, and yet, here he was. He also covered every inch of the stage with spirited dance moves. Jeremih joined halfway through and was the recipient of a bear hug at the end from the MC who seemed overwhelmed by the moment. Chance also was supported by a full band, which included his longtime collaborator, Donnie Trumpet, with whom he released the Surfalbum earlier this year, under the collective name of The Social Experiment.
Chance’s second song was “Sunday Candy,” his sweet love song from Surf. Unlike the first performance, this one was much more staid, with Chance seated while backed by his band and choir. Even still, his joyousness shone through the rain about which he sang. To take a look at both performances, click here.
The Recording Academy announced the Grammy Award nominations this morning. Kendrick Lamar leads the field with 11 nods. The Weeknd and Taylor Swift both received seven Grammy nominations. Other top nominees include Drake, John Legend, and Kanye West.
The Academy is committed to celebrating a diverse blend of talented entertainers, musicians, and producers, and this commitment is evident in the nominees for the Album of the Year category. According to Grammy.com. Lamar has been nominated for his “jazz-infused rap,” Alabama Shakes for their “alternative and soulful rock,” Swift for her pop, Chris Stapleton for his “classic country sounds,” and The Weeknd for his “genre-bending R&B style.”
D’Angelo and The Vanguard are nominated for Record of the Year, along with Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, and Swift.
A live band rendition of To Pimp A Butterfly is in high demand, and you’d have to look no further than Kendrick Lamar‘s performances on Stephen Colbert‘s shows to know why.
Lamar has been performing cuts live with a backing track, but that changes for one day later in October. The star will perform To Pimp A Butterfly songs with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center on October 20, according to the Washington Post. Nas performed with the orchestra last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Illmatic.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar’s words are reaching more than just the kids of his hometown of Compton, California.
Just a few months ago, High Tech High School, a North Bergen, New Jersey high school, lesson plan went viral when English teacher Brian Mooney decided to use Lamar’s recent studio album as curriculum and share it on his personal blog. Students used lyrics from Lamar’s sophomore album, To Pimp A Butterfly, to draw parallels between their assigned reading material of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.
That same school prompted Philadelphia-based organization Oogee Woogee to launch the “Be Alright” Scholarship, which will award one student at High Tech High with $1500 to go towards tuition and book fees. “We always wanted to create a hip-hop-inspired scholarship,” said Wilikine Brutus, content director of Oogee Woogee told Philly.com. “”Alright” came at the right time and the visit to the high school gave us a concrete idea of what we wanted.”
Students must create a 2-3 minute video using their talents to explain the positive aspects of hip-hop. Applicants submissions will then be posted on Oogee Woogee’s Facebook page, and the submission with the most “likes” or “shares” wins. The contest started Friday (Aug. 21) and ends on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 9 a.m.
Oogee Woogee plans to bring the scholarship to Philadelphia and nationwide. Watch the promo video for High Tech’s scholarship below: