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Day in Pop Report for 07/24/2015



Michael Jackson Was Considered For Role In Star Wars

Ahmed Best, the actor that voiced the character Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, has revealed that late pop star Michael Jackson was considered for the part.

Best tells Vice, "Me, Natalie Portman, and George's kids-we were at Wembley arena at Michael Jackson's concert. We were taken backstage and we met Michael. There was Michael and Lisa Marie [Presley]. George introduced me as 'Jar Jar' and I was like, That's kind of weird. Michael was like, 'Oh. OK.' I thought, What is going on?

"After Michael had driven off, we all go back up to a big afterparty. I'm having a drink with George and I said, 'Why did you introduce me as Jar Jar?' He said, 'Well, Michael wanted to do the part but he wanted to do it in prosthetics and makeup like 'Thriller.''

"George wanted to do it in CGI. My guess is ultimately Michael Jackson would have been bigger than the movie, and I don't think he wanted that."

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Sunset Strip Shut Down Over 'Rowdy' Future Fans

Rapper Future canceled his free concert at a West Hollywood music venue after police were forced to shut down a portion of the famed Sunset Strip due to rowdy fans.

The rapped planned to play a free show at The Roxy Theater on Sunset Boulevard and fans began lining up at 9 a.m. on Thursday in hopes of receiving entry into the show, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was called to the scene of the 500-seat venue around 1 p.m. after fans reportedly became rowdy. The deputies shutdown Sunset Blvd between Doheny Drive and San Vicente Boulevard, around 2 p.m. local time, according to the report.

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Taylor Swift Apologizes For Nicki Minaj Tweet

(Radio.com) Taylor Swift officially issued an apology to Nicki Minaj for inserting herself into the rapper's monologue. Their tension started when Nicki Minaj pointed out the problem of the lack of diversity in body size and otherwise among this year's VMAs nominees. "If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year," Minaj tweeted.

Quick to assume she was being subtweeted, Swift fired back, "I've done nothing but love & support you. It's unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot."

After others involved themselves in the controversy, including Katy Perry, Swift took back her comments. "I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke. I'm sorry, Nicki. @NICKIMINAJ," Swift tweeted. Read Minaj's response here.

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Tom Cruise All For Top Gun 2 But Under One Condition

(Extra) Tom Cruise took the "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation" premiere to a whole new level on Thursday. The stars and thousands of fans taking over the famed Vienna Opera House, which is also featured in the film, for the blockbuster event and "Extra's" AJ Calloway was there with Tom, getting details on whether Tom's next big project will be "Top Gun 2."

Rumors swirling for years there could be a sequel to the hit film, amplified even more when it was revealed that Justin Marks was writing the screenplay. Tom setting the record straight on whether he will reprise his role as Maverick, "If I can figure it out, if all of us can figure it out, it'd be fun to do, I'd like to fly those jets again."

Cruise continued, "But we got to do all the jets practical, no CGI on the jetsI'm saying right now no CGI on the jets, if we can figure all that out and the Department of Defense will allow us to do it, that would be fun."

For now Cruise ready for the world to see "Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation," the premiere being the first time he'll see the finished film, "McQuarrie and I just finished this on Saturdayat 2 o'clockWe're all just really going to enjoy this evening, we're gonna be seeing all the final pieces that we did from Friday night to Saturday." See video here.

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Tyrese Does It Old School And Tops The Album Charts

(Radio.com) R&B singer/actor Tyrese is riding high at the moment, having co-starred in the blockbuster film Furious 7 earlier this year, he's since returned his focus to music. His latest effort, Black Rose, recently topped the Billboard album charts. And he's quick to remind you that Black Rose is, in fact, an album. "[It's] A full album," he stresses. "That you can play from top to bottom and don't skip anything. It still exists."

While the very idea of referring to a group of songs as an "album" seems to be going the way of the 8-track, Tyrese is up front about his affection for older music, and the way music use to be packaged and sold. He's also not trying to jump on any trends, as he recently told us in a Radio.com interview.

"I got just one rapper on my album," he notes, referring to Snoop Dogg, who guests on "Dumb S***." (Other guests include Chrisette Michele, Tank and Brandy.) "I'm sorry! I ain't twerkin', I don't know nobody named 'Nae Nae.' Sorry!"

Additionally, he'll remind you that, when you go to see him perform, he's doing things the old fashioned on stage as well. "When you come see me in concert, it's gonna be me! I ain't got 15 people comin' from behind the curtain! I'm sorry! There's live music, no autotune, it's real singing from the soul and it's raw, [it's] the music that we all know and fell in love with."

Clearly, Black Rose means a lot to him, and not only because he's nostalgic for the LP (or CD) era. He's gone through a lot in life in the years leading up to the release of his latest album. "I am not trying to live up to no hype, I ain't trying to create no false perceptions. I'm not trying to get nobody caught up in nothing that ain't real. I am simply asking, that, for an album that took me three and a half years [to make] I lost my girl of five years, I was in and out of court for three years fighting for my daughter, I lost my brother Paul Walker, who was one of my closest friends of 14 years everything imaginable tried to take my legs from under me, and stop me from getting in that vocal booth and finishing this album." Read more here.

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Lupe Fiasco Jumps Into Meek Mill Vs. Drake Feud

(Radio.com) Meek Mill nearly broke the internet when he claimed "Drake don't write his own raps" earlier this week. One person, however, who was not very moved by the alleged revelation is Lupe Fiasco.

The Chicago rapper penned a lengthy open letter about the incident on Instagram. Rather than add to the noise though, Fiasco was relatively measured and diplomatic in his response.

He started off by giving a primer on ghostwriting in rap, for anyone not already aware. "Ghostwriting, or borrowing lines, or taking suggestions from the room has always been in rap and will always be in rap," Fiasco wrote. "It is nothing to go crazy over or be offended about unless you are someone who postures him or herself on the importance of authenticity and tries to portray that quality to your fans or the public at large. Then we might have a problem."

Instead of expanding on that potential problem, Lupe stayed off either side of the fence. "I enjoy both these brothers music and find inspiration and appreciation from both of them," he wrote.

Another thing Fiasco finds in all of this? A silver lining. "At the end of the day, for better or worse," he wrote, "Rap is alive even if some of its greatest moments are written by ghosts." See the post here.

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Mumford And Sons Release Emotional 'Ditmas' Video

(Radio.com) Mumford & Sons have released a new music video for their emotional ballad, "Ditmas", which tells the story of an ambiguously-native, mystical man, attempting to tame a wild horse.

In between shots of the band playing in a darkened room, the horse-whisperer earns the horse's trust enough so that he rides it, and soon does some daring tricks while riding at top speed.

The video is helmed by indie director, Alex Southam, whose star-studded filmography includes videos for Lianne La Havas, Chase and Status, and Chromeo.

The release comes in the middle of Mumford's jam-packed summer touring schedule, which will soon find the folk-turned-electric rockers at San Francisco's Outside Lands festival, and Canada's Squamish Valley Music Festival. Watch the video here.

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New The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Trailer Released

(Radio.com) Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen prepares for the final chapter of The Hunger Games series in the new released trailer that is entitled "We March Together."

According to the official synopsis Katniss is teamed with a group of her closest friends including Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson). Katniss goes off on a mission with the unit from District 13 as they risk their lives to liberate the citizens of Panem, and stage an assassination attempt on President Snow (Donald Sutherland).

From the looks of this clip there will be plenty of booby traps. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 hits theaters November 20. Watch the new trailer here.

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Demi Lovato Releases Risque 'Cool for the Summer' Video

(Radio.com) After a glammed-out Instagram teaser, singer Demi Lovato has released the music video for her new single, 'Cool for the Summer." The full video doesn't hold back, finding Demi and her gang of glittered ravers clubbing with bubbles, streamers, and a bouncy house.

All of the neon flash and top-down drive-by's of the Los Angeles skyline recall Nicolas Refn's Drive, if Ryan Gosling wore a bikini and draped himself in streamers.

'Don't be scared cuz I'm your body type//Just something that we wanna try," cries the pop-star in her ode to bi-curious summer flings. If it wasn't clear before, Lovato continues to prove she's come a long way from Camp Rock. Watch it here.

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Nile Rodgers Recruits Keith Urban, Beck and More For Freak Out! Festival

Chic bandleader and acclaimed producer Nile Rodgers has announced his very own music festival. The Freak Out! Festival will be taking place in Long Island next month.

The initial lineup for the festival has also been revealed and will feature Rodgers performing with Chic, as well as country music star Keith Urban, Beck, Pharrell Williams, Chuck D, GTA, Eric B, Paloma Faith and The Martinez Brothers.

Grandmaster Flash icon Grandmaster Melle Mel will be the emcee for the event which will be taking place on August 4th and 5th at the at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead, Long Island. Additional artists are still to be announced.

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Panic! At The Disco's 'Hallelujah' Is A Thank You To Fans

(Radio.com) Panic! At The Disco's new single "Hallelujah" is a celebration--a celebration of unity between the band and their fans. And, as frontman Brendon Urie tells Radio.com, the bond is real. Urie wants his fans to share in his excitement about life because, frankly, it's a good time to be in Panic! At The Disco.

"In the last five years I've felt less resentful about where I came from, my roots in religion, in spirituality," says Urie who was born into a Mormon family. "I wanted to touch on that and make it a point to recognize our fans and just how much of my work, my job, is my religion. Touring is my religion. Music is all-encompassing--my religion. So, I wanted to celebrate that," Urie says of the song's upbeat message.

Lovingly referring to his fans as "Sinners," Urie enjoys their close bond so much that he speaks to them daily on Periscope. "We're all in this together. We're all sinners."

"I'd really wanted to talk about something I'd gone through in the past but also bring it full circle and make it that it's OK to feel guilty about certain things. Just take responsibility for your past and your actions and just own up to it because it makes life even sweeter." Read more here.

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Drake Shrugs Off Meek Mills' Ghost Writing Claims

(Radio.com) Earlier this week, Meek Mill went pretty hard at Drake in a twitter rant where he accused the Canadian MC of not writing his own rhymes, saying "Stop comparing drake to me too... He don't write his own raps! That's why he ain't tweet my album because we found out!"

Drake responded to Meek, albeit privately, in a private message on Instagram with one of his collaborators, Hitman Holla. Holla messaged him saying, ""I see da foolishnessYou our guy. Keep killing. You motivate n-as like us."

He then quoted Drake's "5 AM in Toronto," saying, "I show love, never get the same out of n-as / I guess it's funny how money can make change out of n-as, for real."

Drake's response? The praying hands emoji, three times. And then: "I signed up for greatness. This comes with it." See the post and Meek Mills response here.

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Carlos Santana To Receive American Book Award

(Gibson) Carlos Santana can add yet another memento to his crowded trophy room-this time for his prose writing. The guitarist's recent memoir, The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light, has been selected to receive a 2015 American Book Award.

Now in its 36th year, the American Book Award recognizes literary excellence without being bound by category. Winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works.

Published last year, Santana's memoir charts his journey from playing bars as a teen in Tijuana to his emergence as a pioneering recording artist. It also examines his spiritual and musical indebtedness to such figures as John Coltrane, John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis and Harry Belafonte. Read more here.

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James Franco Writing Book About Lana Del Rey

(Radio.com) Over the past several years, Lana Del Rey has cultivated an ever-elusive personality that's rendered her as one of the more misunderstood celebrities. You could say the same about James Franco. Their connection now, however, is now even greater as the actor has made the pop star the focus of his next project.

Franco is penning a book on Lana Del Rey, along with award-winning author David Shields, dubbed Flip-Side: Real And Imaginary Conversations With Lana Del Rey.

As you might be able to glean from the title, the book consists of real interviews with Lana Del Rey and some made-up ones, as well as portraits of her taken by her photographer sister Caroline "Chuck" Grant, who's one of the people responsible for helming Lana's throwback image. Read more here.

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Jay Z Invests In 'Uber' Like Service for Private Jets

(Radio.com) Even the wealthiest individuals on earth can have trouble booking their own private jet. But now, there's one app that has made that easier; and may become more popular now that mogul, Jay-Z, has decided to pump some of his own money into the app.

Jetsmart, an app built by entrepreneur Sergey Petrossev, was created to help make the process of booking your own private jet easier. Historically, those who look to book private jets can run into trouble with endless paperwork and back and forth communication with brokers. Petrossev wanted to eliminate most of that.

"I started the company out of a frustration with the process," Petrossov told Business Insider. "I kept thinking to myself, 'Why hasn't this service been brought into the digital world?'" Read more here.

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Singled Out: Madchild (Swollen Members)

Madchild of Swollen Members fame released his new solo album "Silver Tongue Devil" today and to celebrate we asked him to tell us about the songs "Jackel" and "Everytime" featuring Ceekay Jones. Here are the stories:

Jackel The song 'Jackel' was a beat produced by C-Lance, a producer I often work with from Boston and as soon as I heard it I started writing immediately! I am at a point where I can easily write and record a full song in a day now but I really was in the mood to take my time with this one. I was very meticulous with my writing approach and carefully crafted each word and how they would fit together. I spent a good four days glued to my desk writing and recording this song. In a time where the Rap World has become very over populated, I felt that it was important to try to stand out among the rest by being as sharp as possible. I take pride in lyricism and I feel that this song is a great example of passion for this part of our culture. I am very happy with the outcome and was honoured by the response. I greatly appreciate that People care and can appreciate the difference when someone puts everything they have into a song.

"Everytime" featuring Ceekay Jones: 'Everytime' was a real blessing to be a part of, my manager Kevin and I had been discussing breaking barriers and making music that can reach a broader audience. Not for any other reason than I really enjoy a lot of genres and creatively I am very interested in trying new approaches with the ultimate goal of making timeless music. Kevin reached out to the Makers and CeeKay Jones to write a song for me. I was blown away when I received it! They are an extremely talented team and really did their research on my life story and the trials and tribulations I have been through. They really nailed it and came up with an incredible and infectious hook that CeeKay Jones brilliantly sings, that really described what I went through. The overall concept is I had to kill the old Me to let the new Me move forward and get a real chance at a 2nd life. I was very excited and wrote and recorded a few versions of my verses before we found the perfect match. Matt Alonzo will be directing the video for Everytime and I'm really excited for People to hear this track on my up and coming album, Silver Tongue Devil.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the songs, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!

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