Day in Pop Report for 04/25/2016

Today's Top Stories

Ice Cube Reunites N.W.A. At Coachella

(Radio.com) If Ice Cube blew everyone away with his surprise guests at the first weekend of Coachella then he just topped himself by a mile during his weekend performance. Cube successfully reunited N.W.A. in a way that had weekend 1 attendees wishing they'd waited seven days.

After welcoming MC Ren and DJ Yella back for an encore last weekend, Ice Cube stunned the crowd last night with the addition of Dr. Dre. Cube boasted that not even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction could get them performing together again.

Cube, Dre Ren and Yella performed "California Love" and "Still D.R.E." to an overwhelmingly adoring and massive crowd, which appeared to be several football fields deep. Read more and see photos here.

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'Me and Mrs. Jones' Singer Billy Paul Has Died

Grammy Award winning soul singer Billy Paul, who topped the charts with "Me and Mrs. Jones" in 1972, passed away at his home on Sunday, April 24th, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Philadelphia International Records co-founders Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff had the following to say, "We are very saddened to learn of the sudden death of our good friend and Philadelphia International Records recording artist Billy Paul.

"From the time we saw Billy performing live, and then signing him to our PIR/TSOP label, we immediately realized that we had discovered and launched one the most unique voices in the music industry. Billy's voice combined both Jazz, R&B and Soul vocals, making him one the great artists to come out of Philly and to be celebrated worldwide.

"Our proudest moment with Billy was the recording of the salacious smash 'Me and Mrs. Jones.' In our view, it is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded. Billy was one of the first artists to help launch the PIR/TSOP brand, and he will forever have a special place in music history."

"We send our very sincere and personal condolences to his wife Blanche and the rest of his family. Billy Paul will truly be missed."

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Prince's 2008 Coachella Set Streaming Online

(Radio.com) In 2008, Prince took the stage at Coachella for a rare festival performance, and it's long been regarded as a killer set. Although he was not a fan of YouTube or other sites where people could post content they captured at his live shows, Live for Live Music posted audio of the entire set as a tribute to one of the best doing his very best.

"Coachella, I am here. Coachella, where are you?" Prince says in his opening moments onstage. If his time at the festival was meant to take listeners through his own catalogue, Prince started off by doing something different. The first seven songs he played were all covers. Prince launched immediately into "The Bird" and "Jungle Love" by The Time, providing listeners with a funky feel from the get-go.

He would eventually get to his own music, playing "Little Red Corvette" and "1999," before ending his set with an encore that included "Purple Rain" and "Let's Go Crazy."

As his fans and listeners the world over find ways to remember a true legend, and trade their favorite songs back and forth, here's a rare glimpse of Prince live. Listen here.

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Meghan Trainor Releases 'Better' Featuring Yo Gotti

(Radio.com) After teasing fans with a clip of her new song "Better" this past Tuesday (April 19), Meghan Trainor has officially released her Yo Gotti-featured track in full.

The song may be slower than 'NO" , but it packs the same girl anthem punch with the lyrics 'I deserve better, better than you/ I deserve better, better than you/ I deserve better/ Tell 'em what they already know, I deserve better."

As if releasing yet another song didn't spoil Megatronz enough, the singer also hit fans with a behind-the-scenes video featuring another song on the horizon, 'Champagne Problems." Meg kicks off the weekend by captioning the video with a toast to her fans: 'Pour a glass and let's drink of up all my Champagne Problems."

Check out "Better" here.

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Blake Shelton Opens Up About Writing Music With Gwen Stefani

(Radio.com) He's a little bit country and she's a little bit rock 'n roll, but that didn't stop Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani from writing a song together. On April 19th, Stefani revealed the tracklist to Shelton's upcoming album If I'm Honest, which boasts the collaboration "Go Ahead and Break My Heart" from the couple.

Shelton opened up to People about co-writing with his girlfriend, admitting that he was nervous at first because it's such an intimate experience. "We were at a point where it's like, 'Do we want to go there?" he said. "What will people think?' And then we finally just got to the point where it's like, 'You know what? I don't give a s-."

He can't stop gushing about the song that resulted. "I love this song! This song's important to us and the fact that we wrote it together is so important to both of us," he shared.

Shelton also discussed how picky he can be about writing music with other artists because of his own insecurities, but he found that writing with Stefani came quite naturally. "I think Gwen has a smaller circle too when it comes to writing, and the fact that we went there that early as we were getting to know each other, it's just remarkable," he said. "As different as we are musically, we're a fan of the same type of songs." Read more here.

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Sia Seriously Considering Going On Tour

(Radio.com) Sia has famously shied away from the pop star limelight, hiding her face with wigs and costumes, but even she couldn't avoid making front-page headlines after her critically-acclaimed Coachella performance last Sunday.

It was her first full concert set since 2011 and it may not be her last. The prolific singer-songwriter told 97.1 AMP Radio's Carson Daly she's seriously thinking about going on tour.

"I spent all my own money making this movie that I'm projecting whilst I'm performing, and so it would probably be smart for me to go on tour!" The visuals, which she premiered at the music festival, starred Kristen Wiig, Paul Dano, Tig Notaro, and her frequent collaborator, Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler.

'I took two weeks to decide [to perform at Coachella] because I was like, well, if I'm going to do it, I want it to be really special' I don't want to just go and do the same things that I used to do." Read more here.

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Mumford & Sons Announce Special Project 'Johannesburg'

(Radio.com) Amidst their current North American tour, Mumford & Sons are turning their attention toward South Africa and the special project that emerged out of their time there. The band will be releasing Johannesburg, a new set of recordings featuring Baaba Maal, Beatenberg and The Very Best.

Johannesburg is an album that emerged from the band's South African tour in early 2016. It marked their first visit, and an intense musical collaboration with Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, South African band Beatenberg and The Very Best resulted. Mumford & Sons stopped by Studio 2 and the Auditorium of the South African Broadcasting Corporation to record Johannesburg.

Speaking about Baaba Maal, Ben Lovett said, "Baaba really encourages ideas and brings the best out of the four us I think. He's a natural leader, and you know you've struck the right chord (literally) because he'll open his mouth and all of a sudden the most epic vocal line with be riding over the top of the music. It's interesting, he won't simply sing over anything, he'll wait until he hears something in what we're offering him." Read more here.

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Hillary Scott Debuts New Single 'Thy Will'

(Radio.com) Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott has released a new song entitled "Thy Will." The track is the first single from Scott's forthcoming gospel album Love Remains.

"I'm so excited the day is finally here that I get to share with you all what I've been up to," said Scott in a statement on her Instagram account. "The best part about this collection of songs is that it is featuring my mom Linda Davis, my father Lang Scott and my little sister Rylee Scott, all produced by Ricky Skaggs. So ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you Hillary Scott & The Scott Family."

"I wanted to first share 'Thy Will.' I wrote this song about a very recent experience that left me heartbroken, asking why, and facing some of my most difficult days," she continued. "This song is my letter to God. As I ask some really hard questions, I hold onto the truth that there is so much to the story of my life that I can't see, but that I still choose to trust Him." Listen to the song here.

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Kenny Chesney Kicks Off Spread The Love Tour With 50,430 Fans

(EBM) Kenny Chesney kicked off his 2016 Spread The Love Tour Friday night to 50,430 fans with the first ever concert in the 75-year history of Jordan-Hare Stadium. We were sent the following details about two hour set:

With guitars blazing, a bumper crop of hits and guest appearances from tour mates Miranda Lambert ("You and Tequila"), Sam Hunt ("Come Over") and Old Dominion ("Save It For A Rainy Day"), the 8-time Entertainer of the Year ran, laughed, and sang songs from a career that includes 28 No. 1s. The two dozen songs ignited the crowd, who sang along throughout, often taking an a cappella chorus on songs like "Anything But Mine" and "American Kids."

"Sometimes you can feel the energy long before you hit the stage," Chesney explained after the show. "It's gathering, and you can sense it. This was one of those shows, one of those times. It was so intense, it was so there, this is the reason we do this: to play music and feel all that energy coming at us."

The show - billed as the Music & Miracles Festival - was created to honor the last wish of Kevin Brown, who succumbed to cancer. Telling the crowd, "Before I came onstage, I got to meet so many great people... This show is because of Kevin: his dream specifically was to see us play in this stadium. And so, War Eagle...," the audience began what became a two-minute chant of "War! War! War! Eagle!"

With only a piano, Chesney delivered a particularly heartfelt "My Home's in Alabama" to honor the sentiment behind the event. But for much of the night, it was high impact and higher energy. Even a five-song lapse in his voice - remedied by Throat Coat Tea- didn't slow down the man deemed "The King of the Road" by The Wall Street Journal. As the audience pumped their fists to "Noise," his propulsive new single, the notion of being together and celebrating the night seemed to be the only thing on everyone's mind.

Miranda Lambert, in a black leather mini skirt, offered a sultry take on Hank Williams' "Move it on Over." Then the 7-time CMA Female Vocalist scalded the crowd with a potent "Gunpowder and Lead." American Music Awards Favorite New Country Artist Sam Hunt took momentum and rode the energy of his set for a performance that included diving off the stage and working his way through the crowd to the other end zone. ACM Best New Group Old Dominion opened the day with a set that included their two-week No. 1 "Break Up With Him."

"Some years you just know from night one, it's going to be special. When we named it Spread The Love, we got it right. To be able to hear the kind of music and the crowd I did all afternoon, it really gets me fired up to get on that stage and make some music. We started back in February with everything pointed at tonight. From the first second we heard that crowd, all the work was beyond worth it! Miranda, Sam, Old Dominion and every single person totally rocked our world. This is what memories are made of."

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Charli XCX Releases 'Vroom Vroom' Video

(Radio.com) Charli XCX quietly released a four-track EP Vroom Vroom in February, and now she's shared the video for the album's title track. She goes from 0 to 60 in the car-themed video, which shows off the singer in several skintight outfits.

Charli XCX is a known fan of the female artists who came before her, and she channels Britney Spears and Beyonce for her new video. Proving that, indeed, you can't catch her, Charli XCX dons a sleek black leather jumpsuit, a revealing white bikini top and a netted red bikini number throughout the video. Her costumes have a touch of Britney Spears about them, mostly of that pop star's "Oops, I Did It Again" era.

What she's wearing reflects the song's hypersexualized lyrics: "Left a Lamborghini, roll up in a blue bikini/ B-- on the beaches, lookin' super cute and freaky/ All my friends are princesses, we keep it whipped and creamy/ Ice cubes on our tongues because we like to keep it freezy."

Shot mostly in black and white, Charli XCX also channels Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" during her song's chorus when she breaks into choreography with a group of dancers. The video is equally sleek and provocative. Watch the video here.

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Jennifer Hudson Tributes Prince With 'Purple Rain' Performance

(Radio.com) On Thursday night, Jennifer Hudson and the cast of The Color Purple paid tribute to Prince the best way the Broadway family knew how. After The Color Purple wrapped, the cast, led by Hudson, came back on stage to pay their respects to the late musician.

Hudson led the tribute by thanking the audience for showing up, and prefacing her beautiful statement with 'I'm not a speaker by any means. I did not expect to have to speak on tonight, but God has his way." Hudson continued with, 'As we all know, today we lost a legend. Ooh, Jesus, we lost a legend who was a good friend of mine: Prince, who was dear to all of us. Every single one of us."

'He called me while we were here and asked me to come out, you know, to this event because he was writing his book. And he told me, 'You can bring your cast members along.' All these amazing people. Aren't they awesome? We were honored to be in his presence one last time and we got to have that moment," Hudson recalled. 'So tonight, if you guys don't mind, we'd like you all to join us in honoring Prince. He said his music will live on and he will live through his music so we want to keep him alive today with this song. I might not get through this, but I will try. Help us out. Can we all do this together?" Hudson asked before shouting, 'I know you all know the song!" Watch it here.

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Easton Corbin Surprises Military Families With Free Groceries

(Radio.com) In partnership with Operation Homefront and Eckrich, Easton Corbin presented a gift of $5,000 in free groceries from Arizona-based Bashas' Grocery Store to the Six family before his show opening for Carrie Underwood's The Storyteller Tour on Thursday night in Phoenix.

Corbin has already gifted groceries to families in Oakland, California, Auburn Hills, Michigan and Phoenix before his shows and he plans to continue the practice through the early summer. The families get to stay and enjoy Corbin's performance during The Storyteller Tour headlined by Carrie Underwood.

'It is an honor to be able to surprise and thank our military families with my partners at Eckrich," said Corbin. 'This is a really special campaign I hope it helps ease the burdens of these families for everything they have already sacrificed." Read more here.

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Beyonce Delivers 'Lemonade' - Everything You Need To Know

(Radio.com) Last weekend, Beyonce and HBO released a trailer for the secret video project. The airing put to rest one week of fervent speculation--what was Lemonade? Lemonade is a longform music video.

Last weekend, Beyonce and HBO released a trailer for the secret video project. The airing put to rest one week of fervent speculation--what was Lemonade? Well, it's not a Carol Burnett-style variety hour, whatever hopes and dreams you placed in that notion. Lemonade is a longform music video providing context and narrative imagery to her bold, confessional lyrics. It's political, suggestive, scandalous, and downright beautiful--here's a rundown of everything you need to know.

Lemonade opens with Beyonce leaning on the hood of a Suburban, draped in fur, a familiar image from the trailer. Cut away to dangling chains in black and white, a Civil War-era battlement, and hoodie-clad Beyonce among stalks of tall grass. "Intuition," the title card suggests: "I tried to make a home out of you, but doors lead to trap doors, a stairway leads to nothingwhat a f-ing curse."

"Denial" comes next. "I tried to make myself prettier--less awake." Now Beyonce is underwater, asking a man if he's cheating on her, but emerges to the happiest warpath ever seen, raining fire and water upon retro cars, diners and bystanders. She gets behind the wheel of a monster truck to finish the scene--and this is just the beginning of "Anger." This segment features fashions akin to Kanye's Yeezy Season Three and provocative Civil Rights Era audio: "The most disrespectedneglectedperson in America is the black woman."

"Tonight I'm f-ing up all your s-, boy," Beyonce growls over the electro track. "If you try this s- again, you gonna lose your wife," rather pointedly putting Jay Z on notice. In the next section, "Apathy," Beyonce muses about what the offending husband will say at his wife's funeral--that he's broken her heart, taken her for granted. We'll soon find that this is deeper than a speculative allusion to real life events.

This is where the cameos take off. Serena Williams enters the frame--twerking around Beyonce in a leotard, a perfect double act of black excellence. The Lemonade collaborations don't quit when The Weeknd appears on the next, red-light district themed movement. In a poetic ode to her mother (featuring actress Quvenzhane Wallis), Beyonce identifies with the pain and anguish cheating and neglect caused them both, concluding--"am I talking about your husband, or your father?" Read more here.

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