M.I.A. has teamed with Skrillex and Blaqstarr for a sinister new club cut, “Go Off,” which will appear on her upcoming album, AIM, out September 9th.
The lithe cut premiered on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show and finds M.I.A. in classic form, delivering dextrous boasts — “So I stay way up on a level/ Like my name is Neymar and you know I’m not normal” — in a disaffected tone. The “Go Off” production meanwhile is instantly infectious, cut through with clattering drums and a melange of quintessentially strange Skrillex synth sounds.
In an interview with Mac, M.I.A. said that AIM would likely be her last album, though she said she would still continue to make music after its release. She described the record as her “cleanest” album, adding, “I just wanted it to be happy, there’s no complaints on it. There’s another side to me completely, I don’t know if people know that.”
While AIM marks M.I.A.’s first album since 2013′s Matangi, the musician has been busy in recent months. In March, she released two new songs, “MIA OLA” and “Foreign Friend,” and in 2015 she dropped “Swords” and ”Borders,” the video for which tackled the refugee crisis.
In spring 1956, former Sun Records artist Elvis Presley released his debut for the RCA label. “Heartbreak Hotel” was a monster hit, having reached the top of the Billboard pop, R&B and country charts, and starting a run of more than two-and-a-half years where at least one Presley record was on the Top 100 each week. As Elvis-mania gripped the country, the only ones who remained rather oblivious to all the hit records were Presley and his band mates, who were busy making stage and TV appearances across the country.
For executives at RCA, the pressure to maintain momentum with a strong follow-up to what would become one of the most iconic rock & roll songs of all time was intense. But that was nothing compared to the scary situation in which the young singer and his fellow musicians found themselves on the way to Nashville to lay down tracks for his next release. Instead of a rousing rock number, the kind of songs for which he was gaining notoriety, the tune chosen for Presley was a dramatic ballad called “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.”
Having played a show in Amarillo, Texas, on Friday, April 13th, the group chartered a twin-engine plane to make the recording date the following day. Scotty Moore, Presley’s longtime guitarist who died last month at age 84, recalled in his 1997 memoir, That’s Alright, Elvis, that although their plane was scheduled to make a refueling stop in Little Rock, they were instead forced to make an emergency landing in Hot Springs, Arkansas. After refueling, they took off again, but when the aircraft reached an altitude of 2,000 feet, there was trouble.
“The pilot turned to me and said, ‘Here, hold the wheel while I get the maps out from under the seat,’” Moore wrote. “I said, ‘I don’t know how to fly a plane.’ He said, ‘Just hold it a minute.’ Just as I put my hands on the wheel, both engines sputtered and quit. Soon as that happened the pilot reached over and threw a switch, then took over the wheel. Both engines restarted, but it was enough to shake everybody a little bit.”
Although they ultimately landed safely (after some additional turbulence over the Mississippi River), the experience was harrowing enough to keep Presley grounded as often as possible, preferring to travel by bus.
Once Elvis, Moore and fellow band members D.J. Fontana and Bill Black were in the studio to record, the usually quick-learning vocalist had trouble getting the song right. The situation was exacerbated by the exclusion from the session of all but one of the Jordanaires. Having worked so well together, Elvis and the Jordanaires agreed they should continue to record together, yet only Gordon Stoker of the backing quartet was present, with Ben and Brock Speer also providing vocals.
Seventeen takes in a three-hour session may have yielded unsatisfactory results for the musicians, but it couldn’t slow down the Elvis juggernaut. Released on May 12th, “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” became another Number One pop smash. Sixty years ago today, on July 14th, 1956, it also topped the country chart for the first of two weeks, becoming Presley’s fourth of six Number One country songs in 1956, and one of three songs he had in the pop Top Twenty simultaneously.
Kelsea Ballerini was the inaugural performer on CMT’s newly launched digital series Next Women of Country Live, which debuted Tuesday, June 12th. Ballerini gave an acoustic performance of her current single “Peter Pan” in CMT’s Nashville studio that brought focus to her incisive songwriting and the light sandpaper-rough texture of her voice.
Ballerini, who has also been staying busy by hosting the series Greatest Hits alongside Arsenio Hall, is the first of many female performers slated to take part in the new series — updated weekly at nextwomen.cmt.com. Future guests include Maren Morris, Clare Dunn, Cam, Brandy Clark, Cassadee Pope, Kelleigh Bannen, RaeLynn, Mickey Guyton, Jana Kramer, Lauren Alaina, Maggie Rose, Brooke Eden, Lucie Silvas, Lindsay Ell, Carly Pearce, Ruthie Collins, Danielle Bradbery, Tara Thompson and Courtney Cole.
Next Women of Country Live is an extension of the Next Women franchise, which was started in 2013 to address the lack of space afforded to women on country station playlists. It has spawned two tours, including one with Ballerini and Jana Kramer and, most recently, Jennifer Nettles, Brandy Clark, Lindsay Ell and Tara Thompson.
Chance the Rapper paid tribute to Muhammad Ali with the performance of a new song at the ESPY Awards Wednesday.
The Chicago MC delivered the poignant song backed by a full choir and alongside regular collaborators Donnie Trumpet, Jamila Woods, Peter Cottontale, and Teddy Jackson. The song was also interspersed with audio clips of Ali discussing his relationship with God and post-retirement plans to do good throughout the world.
Chance the Rapper meanwhile delivered the track, fittingly, in front of a hanging boxing ring microphone, alternately spitting and singing his ode to the late boxer: “And of course, you’re in the last place I look/ I swear, ain’t nowhere greater/ Ain’t nowhere brighter/ Ain’t nowhere better, better, better!”
Ali died in June after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. The heavyweight boxing champion and lifelong social activist was 74.
Meek Mill and Pusha T deliver tightly coiled verses about climbing out of poverty on DJ Drama’s latest offering, “Boyz in the Hood.”
Meek opens the song rapping breathlessly about a cycle of drug dealing, violence and prison. But by the time the third verse rolls around, Pusha T is looking back on those days from a comfortable distance: “Every year after, now every day’s laughter / No jail visits, no collect calls, we done put an end to that chapter / On holiday, small island riding jet skis with the family / I’m a hood nigga, I can’t swim, but that little fact it ain’t stopping me.”
Continuing in this spirit, Drama ends the song with an uplifting voiceover as Ty Dolla $ign croons gospel in the background: “Circumstance don’t define you, your choices do / You know what your biggest blessing is? Tomorrow.”
DJ Drama is releasing a new album, Quality Street Music 2, on July 22. (In an interview with New York radio station Hot 97, Drama said that ”Boyz in the Hood” will not appear on the full-length “due to some legal stuff.”) The project’s first single, “Wishing,” recently reached No. 23 on the R&B/Hip-Hop National Airplay chart. Starting next week, Drama will accompany Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg on the MERRY JANE Presents The High Road Summer Tour.