Day in Pop Report for 06/09/2015

N.W.A. Announce First Performance Together Since 1989
(Radio.com) Los Angeles will see one of its O.G. rap groups reunited on June 27 when Ice Cube rejoins MC Ren and DJ Yella at the Staples Center for a performance as N.W.A.

It'll be the first time since 1989 that the group has performed together. "I'm gonna bring out some of the old favorites," Cube told Rolling Stone. "We're gonna bring back some memories up in there for sure."

In a Q&A with the mag, Cube said it's easy to get back into the headspace of the "extremely hungry" younger version of himself and relate to the politically charged lyrics documenting a time of police brutality against the black community in Los Angeles.

"Same s-'s going on," the rapper said. "It doesn't change with the calendar. So it's easy. The rage is still there because the problems are still there. I've always said what I need to say and that ain't never gonna change. My personal success is irrelevant to the rhymes I write and what I talk about, how I feel about society." Read more here.

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Katy Perry Continuing Taylor Swift Beef With New Song?
(Radio.com) While pretty much everyone wants to be a part of Taylor Swift's squad, it is no secret that one pop star is not so on board the Swift party train: Katy Perry.

And though Swift's latest hit, "Bad Blood," is rumored to be about Perry, another recent story that had Ellie Goulding carefully covering up Instagrams so as not to offend Swift were, uh, swiftly dispelled.

But, the latest development is much more difficult to separate from the pop star beef. It appears that Perry has registered a new song that has a good chance at being about Swift. Why? Well, it is called "1984," according to Racked.

Sure, there is a chance that Perry is delving into the subject of dystopia, using her pop craft for commentary on government spying and censorship a la George Orwell's novel of the same name. Read more here.

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Ariana Grande Releases Essay Following Big Sean Breakup
(Radio.com) In an essay posted to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Ariana Grande addresses her recent breakup with rapper Big Sean, calling out the double standard she's been met with. Specifically, how she's now become his ex and not her own person.

"What I meant when I said what I said about not being Sean's ex is that I am tired of living in a world where women are mostly referred to as a man's past, present, or future PROPERTY/POSSESSION," she writes. ""I… do not. belong. to anyone. but myself. and neither do you."

Grande goes on to say that during her current tour, she's not answering the "boy questions" because she has come to the realization that she has "SO. MUCH. MORE. to talk about." The boy question she has been getting lately is one about One Direction's Niall Horan, who some have reported she is dating since her breakup.

"I'm saying this after literally 8 years of feeling like I constantly had to have a boy by my side," she wrote. "After being on my own now for a few months I am realizing that that's just not the case… I have never felt more present, grounded, and satisfied. I've never laughed harder or had more fun or enjoyed my life more."

Grande goes on to say she can't wait for misogyny to be dead and gone, and for men and women to be treated equally. But until then, she wants her fans to know having a girlfriend or a boyfriend does not define them.

"I can't wait to live in a world where people are not valued by who they're dating/married to/attached to, having sex with (or not)/seen with…. but by their value as an individual. I want the people reading this to know that they are MORE THAN enough on their own."

Read the whole essay here.

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Apple Announces New Streaming Service
(Radio.com) Apple Music is here. At Monday's Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple officially announced its new music streaming service, on the market to compete with TIDAL, Spotify and more.

After introducing the new iOS and other new Apple features, the tech giant brought out music producer Jimmy Iovine to explain the new service. Iovine took to the stage to explain Apple Music and its launch at about a quarter til 3 p.m. ET. Iovine started by recounting a story about how he first came to understand iTunes and its store, and how he knew they were doing something revolutionary.

What followed was a quick introductory video showing off Apple Music's various features, with a deeper explanation from Iovine and Eddie Cue following.

The biggest takeaways: users of the platform can search and stream any song (and music video) listed on iTunes. Along with it comes For You, a recommendation service that is curated by humans in addition to the usual algorithms based off your listening habits.

Then there's Beats 1, improving on streaming services' usual radio apps by making it a live, 24/7 worldwide station headed up by Zane Lowe, Julie Adenuga and Ebro. According to Iovine, the station is all about playing "only music that is great and feels great," adding that it's a "station that only has one master: music itself." The service will be streamed from Los Angeles, New York and London.

Finally, there's Connect, where musicians can share demos, songs and more directly with fans. Connect uses somewhat of an Instagram-esque interface, with users scrolling to find videos, pictures and more shared from artists they follow to find content such as behind-the-scenes videos and even exclusives like previously unreleased Chris Cornell lyrics.

To explain further, Cue brought out Drake, who shared "my story about how technology changed what I do for a living." Read more here.

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Jennifer Lopez Reportedly Sued For 'Breach Of Public Decency'
(Radio.com) Jennifer Lopez may think she's just Jenny from the block, but that's enough to get Morocco's panties in a twist. On May 29, J.Lo performed in the North African country at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco, which was broadcast with a short delay on public TV. But according to the BBC, now Moroccan politicians are deeming the performance too sexy and looking to sue Lopez for "a breach of public decency."

The performance also has the country criticizing its Minister of Communication Mustapha Khalfi for allowing the gig to air on public television, even calling for his resignation, something he has already rejected, according to local papers.

Khalfi has tweeted about the performance, writing, "What was broadcast is unacceptable and goes against broadcasting law" and he will look into the ethics code of the channel it was broadcast on.

It's been reported that an education group has filed a lawsuit that states Lopez "disturbed public order and tarnished women's honor and respect" with her fly girl dance moves and tight costumes. The Moroccan press has already had some things to say about Lopez's "suggestive poses" and talked about how she was "scantily" dressed. Read more here.

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Chris Brown Launching Summer Tour with Fetty Wap and Kid Ink
(Radio.com) Chris Brown's touring schedule just got a little heftier: the singer has announced a string of dates in the U.S. through the end of summer. Brown's One Hell of a Nite tour will kick off this August and run through mid-September, with dates in Chicago, Boston, Miami, San Diego and more.

It'll kick off Aug. 12 in Kansas City, Mo., and conclude over a month later on Sept. 19 with a set in Concord, Calif. He's got a solid lineup of backing stars for the jaunt: Kid Ink, Teyana Taylor and Fetty Wap will join as special guests.

Brown continues to tour behind X, debuted last September, as well as his Tyga collab Fan of a Fan: The Album. Check out the dates for the One Hell of a Nite Tour here.

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Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker Added To CMT Awards Lineup
(Radio.com) The CMT Awards are rapidly approaching, with June 10 just a day away. And, as expected with the giant party, the performance docket continues to get more stacked.

Newly added to the event, which will be held at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena and hosted by Erin Andrews and Brittany Snow, are country music legend Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker, who will be performing outdoors.

Already slated to appear on the show are Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Zac Brown Band, and a special country-EDM mashup between Lady Antebellum and Zedd. Read more here.

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Alabama Shakes Release 'Don't Wanna Fight' Video
(Radio.com) Alabama Shakes don't need fancy sets or crazy plots to make their music videos dynamic--all they need is a studio, their instruments and a video camera.

The group's latest video for the song "Don't Wanna Fight," off of their recent album Sound & Color, finds them in Capitol Studios, rocking their hearts out live.

Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard lets loose, bawling out the raucous chorus--"I don't wanna fight no more"--over the band's squalls of guitar.

For all intents and purposes the performance sounds identical to the way the song sounds on record, a testament to the shakes un-impeachable musicianship. The video was filmed by Danny Cinch, an expert videographer of live music performances known for capturing shows by artists like Foo Fighters, Phish and Pearl Jam, among many more.

This isn't the only intriguing news from the Shakes over the last few weeks--last week the band found time to jam out with none other than Prince at his Paisley Park studios. Watch the new video here.

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Thomas Rhett Goes 'Say Anything' For 'Crash and Burn' Video
(Radio.com) Thomas Rhett tries everything to win back his girl in his retro new music video for "Crash and Burn." After a heated argument in his classic red convertible, his girl quickly exits his smooth ride.

"It has been two hours of the same conversation!" she yells. "I'm over it. I'm done. Bye." But it's not over for Rhett. He attempts to win his lady back with a boombox serenade taken straight out of the Cameron Crowe's 1989 film Say Anything.

It's a move that surely will win back his love, right? Well, not exactly. In the midst of the rain falling down above him, his girl is unimpressed by his sweet gesture and instead throws all of his belongings out the window. Rhett isn't done trying to win her back quite yet, though. He follows her to her favorite local hangout only to get ignored once again.

The video for "Crash and Burn" was directed by TK McKamy and shot in downtown Nashville. 'It was cool to shoot this video at some of my old stomping grounds from college," Rhett said in a press release. "I think any guy can relate to the scenes in this video…we've all been in this guy's shoes trying to do whatever it takes to win back a girl!" Check out the video here.

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Wale Releases 'The Matrimony' Video
(Radio.com) "I'll admit it, I'm in my late 20s, still never been to a wedding," raps Wale in "The Matrimony," off his recent The Album About Nothing project, and now he's got a new video in which he rectifies that. Sort of. Instead, Wale throws one with Usher, who sings the hook on the tune.

The video starts with the preparation of a church for the ceremony--chairs are put in place and flowers are arranged, as a conversation between Jerry Seinfeld and Wale plays in the background about how marriage is like a roller coaster.

As for Wale's first wedding, this one doesn't go very well; at the last moment, just as she's saying her vows, she glimpses Wale's pleading face (perhaps he's meant to be an ex, or a current affair) and runs from the altar. Her fiance's face falls, she smiles and Wale's attempt to figure out the cryptic codes of matrimony come to a close.

"The Matrimony" is off The Album About Nothing, out last March. Watch the video here.

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The Weeknd Goes Pop On New Single 'Can't Feel My Face'
(Radio.com) The Weeknd's rise to stardom from his legendary mixtape origins to the chart-topping Fifty Shades of Grey single "Earned It" has been impressive to say the least.

Just when it seemed the Canadian singer and one-time Drake protege couldn't get any bigger, The Weeknd teamed up with noted pop hitmaker Max Martin (Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry) to produce his latest song, "Can't Feel My Face," and it could very well be the best track he's released yet.

Some things haven't changed; The Weeknd's signature swirl of sex, drugs and doomed romance is on full display here, with lyrics describing a passionate affair with a woman (or a narcotic?) that he knows is bad, but feels too good to stop: "I know she'll be the death of me, at least we'll both be numb."

In contrast to the downward spiral lyricism is the song's gorgeous pop hooks, which transform the moody opening verses into one of the catchiest choruses of the year so far.

The Weeknd's high-soaring voice has long been compared to Michael Jackson, whose influence can be felt all over "Can't Feel My Face," particularly when the background vocals kick in. Mixed with a melody that faintly recalls MGMT's "Electric Feel," the track sounds destined to be a staple on charts and playlists not to mention a dark-horse candidate for song of the summer. Check out the new track here.

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Taylor Swift Goes A Cappella With Little Big Town And Kelsea Ballerini
(Radio.com) Backstage on the 1989 World Tour is looking like a good time, at least on Taylor Swift's Instagram account. At the tour's stop in Pittsburgh on June 6, Swift hung out with Little Big Town, who had joined her on stage during the show, and up-and-coming country singer Kelsea Ballerini.

The four ladies (as in, Swift, Ballerini and a half of LBT in Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman) were captured behind the scenes on-camera doing their own version of "Girl Crush" a cappella, with Swift throwing in some moves she referred to as "interpretative dance."

Fans can catch Swift rolling through Charlotte, Raleigh and Philadelphia this week, before the 1989 World Tour takes a little break. It resumes on July 18. Meanwhile, "Girl Crush" continues to climb the charts, peaking so far at No. 18 in the U.S. as a whole and at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Songs chart. Check out the video here.

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Disclosure Announce New Album 'Caracal'
(Radio.com) Disclosure is back on the prowl with new album, Caracal. The brotherly duo of Guy and Howard Lawrence announced that their second LP will be out Sept. 25. While playing the Wild Life Festival in the UK, they also let everyone know the name was inspired by an "incredible jungle cat."

"A caracal is an incredible wild cat that I became fascinated with while on tour last year; I just love the way they look, their physical capabilities and their anonymity," Howard said in a statement. "It felt like a perfect fit for our Wild Life brand too, so the Caracal made perfect sense as the lead visual for the new album and over the course of recording, it also felt like a natural title for the new record too."

Though the guys didn't release a tracklist for the release, they did let fans know that special guests include the soul duo from New York Lion Babe, the East London singer Nao, British-Ghanaian singer Kwabs, whose getting compared to another Disclosure singer, Sam Smith, and Gregory Porter, who appears on the already released single "Holding On." During their set, the guys also revealed a new track called "Jaded" featuring Howard on vocals.

More guests will be announced soon, but of course, don't expect to see Madonna on there anywhere. Along with the album announcement, Disclosure shared two new tour dates: Los Angeles Sports Arena on Sept. 29 and Madison Square Garden in New York on Oct. 24.

Get a little tease of the new album and watch the guys show off the real caracal in the trailer here.

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Miranda Lambert Covers No Doubt & the B-52's At Secret Club Show
(Radio.com) Miranda Lambert rarely has a day off while on tour. And when she does? She can be found playing surprise concerts like last week while in Chicago--some of which may just feature some very interesting covers.

Last Thursday, Lambert told fans on Twitter that she had just arrived in Chicago and was hanging out at Joe's Bar. It turns out her band and crew have a band of their own called Permanent Damage and would be playing later that night.

According to CMT, Lambert and Gwen Sebastian took the stage to play some cover songs along with the band. The show itself lasted three hours and the covers included the Violent Femmes' 'Blister in the Sun," Dire Straits' 'Money for Nothing," Brooks & Dunn's 'Boot Scootin' Boogie" and AC/DC's 'Have a Drink on Me."

Lambert also performed No Doubt's "Spiderwebs" while dressed in cut-off jeans, fishnets and a Joe's Bar tank top. At the track's start she was flipping through the lyrics set atop a music stand at the front of the sage.

She and Sebastian closed the evening of covers with the B-52's "Love Shack," before she took a much bigger stage--Soldier Field--that Saturday. Check out video here.

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Brad Pitt Inks With Netflix For Feature Film 'War Machine'
(Radio.com) Netflix is known for its original series and documentaries, but the streaming service signaled a further commitment to original full length features by signing with Plan B Productions and Brad Pitt for a forthcoming film.

Netflix announced they are partnering with Plan B Productions, run by Pitt and his partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, to release War Machine, " a provocative satirical comedy," in 2016. Shooting on the film is set to begin in August of 2015.

The plot follows a four-star general whose "rock star" reputation pushes him up the ranks until he is in command of the American war in Afghanistan and uses a radical approach to get results. Read more here.

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Reward For Footage Of Johnny Cash's Proposal To June Carter
(Radio.com) These days, video footage of concerts is abundant to a fault--it leaves little room for tour surprises and a handful of artists have revolted against it. But sitting on video footage from decades past, could mean a hefty payday.

That's especially true if you happen to be in possession of video footage from Johnny Cash's Feb. 22, 1968, show, when he proposed to his wife June Carter Cash.

The founder of the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville is offering a $75,000 reward to anyone with a recording of the special moment. 'We've heard from fans that were in attendance that there were video cameras in the audience that night; however, no one has ever seen it," said Bill Miller in a press release. Read more here.

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Die Antwoord, Kids in the Hall Lead Festival Supreme Lineup
(Radio.com) For the third year in a row and in its second year at the Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds, Tenacious D's Festival Supreme will bring music and comedy to Los Angeles. The event will take place on October 10 and once again, the lineup is impressive.

Scheduled to appear are noted comedic acts The Kids in the Hall, Amy Poehler, Jenny Slate, Aubrey Plaza, Super Dave Osbourne, and the original cast of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

Joining those performers will be music artists Die Antwoord, Rocket From the Crypt, Dan Deacon, Andrew W.K., The Darkness, Big Freedia, and many others.

Tenacious D will also be making its yearly appearance, but with a set that is labeled as "jazz." Should certainly be an interesting turn for them. Check out the full lineup here.

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Steve Aoki Talks Neon Future II and Linkin Park Collab
(Radio.com) If you could choose one party to be invited to for the rest of your life, you might want to make it a party thrown by EDM superstar Steve Aoki. Here's some people who he might be there, based on his recent activities: Snoop Dogg, who guested on "Youth Dem (Turn Up)" from Aoki's latest, Neon Future II. You might see his other collaborators from the album, including Linkin Park ("Darker Than Blood") or Rivers Cuomo of Weezer ("Light Years").

Another Neon Future II collaborator you might see is J.J. Abrams, who took a bit of time off from working on a little indie film you may have heard of, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to do a vocal for the album. Then there's Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee, whom he recently interviewed for his "Neon Future Sessions" interview series. He also told us a bit about his not-yet-posted "Neon Future" interview with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. So, to review: he's hanging with the guy who created many of Marvel's iconic characters, including most of the Avengers (this summer's hottest movie so far). He's hanging with the guy who, having rebooted the Star Trek franchise, is now doing the same for Star Wars, possibly the most anticipated film of the decade. And he's hanging with the dude from the band with the hottest concert tickets of the summer.

Despite the super mainstream characters he calls his pals, he's still excited when talking about hardcore punk, the genre where he got his start. He's just as enthusiastic about chatting about going to see a Gorilla Biscuits reunion as he is about hanging with the guy bringing Star Wars into the future. The fun thing about interviewing him is, his enthusiasm is infectious, no matter what the subject. Also, you might get to do an #AokiJump with him.

Radio.com: When you work on an album with all these collaborators, are you usually in the studio with them? Does it even matter if you are?

Steve Aoki: When you're in the studio with the people you're working with, it's more efficient and it goes faster. Sometimes, I'm not afforded that luxury. On Neon Future I, I worked in the studio with nearly everyone. It was different on Neon Future II, because it was a more hectic period of time. It takes longer, if you're not in the studio together. Because the fine tweaking… it could take three months to make a change that you could have made in five minutes. If I have Lil' Jon in the studio, I try to get as many vocal takes as I can get out of him, so I can use them for anything else that we can do together [in the future].

Radio.com: You worked with Linkin Park again on this album. Talk about the song "Darker Than Blood."

Steve Aoki: "Darker than Blood" was written at the same time as "A Light That Never Comes" [from Linkin Park's remix album Recharged]. The inception of both of those songs was in 2013. It's been the longest process of finishing a song that I've worked on with another artist. I think it's a testament to sitting on a song, like sitting on an idea for six months and seeing if it is still good. "A Light That Never Comes" sounds more like a Linkin Park production, "Darker Than Blood" sounds more like a Steve Aoki production, even though we were all very involved in both.

Radio.com: Working with J.J. Abrams must have been a huge thrill. Was he working on Star Trek or Wars at the time?

Steve Aoki: I met J.J. a couple of years back, we bonded over synthesizers. Because he's got his own music studio at Bad Robot [Abrams' production company], and it's incredible. It's the most badass studio. I could just live in it, and he loves to geek out. I love that about him. He's got that authentic spirit when it comes to the things that he really loves to do. I went to watch a scene from Star Trek [Into Darkness], where they're running through this jungle [most likely this scene], it was insane. I stayed in touch with him, but I really didn't think he would have time to do something for my album, because I know how heavy duty Star Wars is. I mean, it's the most influential movie of all time! I was like, "Will he? Can he do it?" And he was able to do it. So, that was a huge deal. I haven't seen him in person since he's been working on Star Wars, but I was very honored to get a soundbite. He has a movie trailer quality voice.

Read the full interview here.

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