Nipsey Hussle Under Posthumous Investigation for Gang Ties: Report

Officials within the Los Angeles Police Department and city attorney’s office are investigating the late Nipsey Hussle to determine whether his strip mall that housed his Marathon Clothing store was a center for gang activity, The New York Times reports.

The investigation began before Nipsey’s death, and according to the Times, the rapper’s murder emboldened investigators who were concerned that exact kind of violent act could take place on the property. The origin of the investigation is unclear. A spokesperson for the LAPD declined to comment on specifics of the investigation, but told the Times that police are actively negotiating with Nipsey’s associates on the property “to mitigate some of those crime issues.”

According to the report, city officials pressured the former owners of the strip mall to evict Nipsey and his associates. Instead, they sold the property to Nipsey and a group of investors. Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a City Council member, said he had been working for years to learn more about the investigation on Nipsey’s behalf.

Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed at his Los Angeles strip mall on March 31. Eric Holder, a 29-year-old Los Angeles man, was arrested and charged with murder.

Read “Nipsey Hussle’s Legacy Is Bigger Than Rap” on Levels.

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Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunite to perform Beatles classics in Los Angeles: Watch

Paul McCartney wrapped up his massive “Freshen Up Tour” on Saturday with a dose of Beatlemania. During his closing gig at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, Macca reunited with Ringo Starr for a pair of classic Beatles songs.

“We’ve got a surprise for us, a surprise for you, a surprise for everyone. Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, Ringo Starr,” McCartney introduced the famed drummer. The two rock icons then fired off 1967’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” and The White Album cut “Helter Skelter” to the delight of the rapturous crowd.

(Read: A Hard Day’s Night: The Strangest Reported Reactions to Beatlemania)

The treats didn’t stop there, however. Sir Paul McCartney brought out a second special guest in Joe Walsh. The Eagles member, who also happens to be Starr’s brother-in-law, popped up on stage to knock out guitar during the Abbey Road number “The End”.

“The best part is we didn’t have a clue what we were doing,” McCartney later jokingly told the audience of the evening’s star-studded collaborations.

Catch fan-caught footage from the epic evening below.

Early on in his “Freshen Up Tour”, Macca and Starr reunited in London. The tour also saw McCartney team up live with The Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, as well as Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. His last solo album, Egypt Station, came out in 2018, but he did release a new song called “Get Enough” this past January.

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Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick and the Bug Announce New Project, Share 2 Songs: Listen

Justin Broadrick (of Godflesh) and Kevin Martin (aka the Bug) have formed a new duo called ZONAL. Their debut LP is set to come out in fall 2019 via Relapse Records. Today, they’ve shared two new tracks—“Cage Version” and “No Version.” Hear them below.

This beat-driven industrial noise project marks the duo’s first music together since 2001’s The Brotherhood of the Bomb, its final release as Techno Animal. That group disbanded in 2004 and performed a single reunion show in March 2017. Relapse plans to reissue Techno Animal’s back catalog “in the near future,” according to a press release.

Check out “The 33 Best Industrial Albums of All Time,” featuring Godflesh.

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Beyoncé shares new song “Spirit” from upcoming album The Lion King: The Gift

Beyoncé has announced a new album straight outta Pride Rock. A companion piece to Disney’s upcoming live-action remake, it’s called The Lion King: The Gift and features a number of international artists picked by Queen Bey herself. In anticipation of its July 19th release, she’s unlocked her own new anthem titled, “Spirit”.

“This is sonic cinema,” she says of the album in a statement. “This is a new experience of storytelling. I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film. It is a mixture of genres and collaboration that isn’t one sound. It is influenced by everything from R&B, pop, hip hop and Afro Beat.”

“Spirit” finds Bey collaborating with Lebo M. and the great Hans Zimmer. In an interview with Fandango, director Jon Favreau explained, “They were all collaborating with her and helping to bring this new piece of music into a film where there’s already a very established musical personality to the piece. So it was nice of them to have them working with her to allow the new song to feel organically a part of the new production.”

Beyoncé further elaborated on the album itself: “I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline. Each song was written to reflect the film’s storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery, while listening to a new contemporary interpretation. It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me.”

Stream the track below. It should be noted that The Gift is separate from the film’s original soundtrack, which will also feature “Spirit”. As previously reported, that album also includes Beyoncé’s duet with Donald Glover on the recently teased “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. The two play Nala and Simba, respectively.

The Lion King roars into theaters on July 19th.

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Thom Yorke throws shade at MUSE and Sam Smith, cosigns Billie Eilish in new interview

This weekend’s edition of The Sunday Times contains a new interview with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke. His conversation with interviewer Jonathan Dean focuses primarily on his newly released third solo album, ANIMA, and the complex emotions which inspired its creation.

At one point, Yorke discusses the activities he relies on to alleviate his own anxiety. “Generally, really simple things,” he explains. “Running helps, and yoga is essential to me. Swimming. Physical stuff is really important. And reading a book!” He also “devours” music, noting, “It’s an essential part of me. I have to find new things to listen to all the time.”

The fast-rising anti-pop star Billie Eilish is among those “new things” that’s he’s discovered. While sharing an anecdote about attending an Eilish concert with his daughter, he somewhat hilariously becomes sidetracked when mentioning the person he was sitting next to.

“‘We sat down and what’s-his-name — the guy who did the Bond film we didn’t do?’ That would be Sam Smith, who sang the theme for Spectre when a Radiohead song was rejected. ‘That’s it. He stands behind us, and I’m sitting with my daughter, her friends and my girlfriend, when suddenly everyone goes, ‘Saaam!’’ Yorke squeals his name. ‘I’m, like, ‘Aaaargh!’’ Still, he liked the gig? ‘Yes. I like Billie Eilish. She’s doing her own thing. Nobody’s telling her what to do.’”

A paragraph later, Yorke takes another pot shot, this time in the direction of MUSE. When asked if he ever uses algorithms to discover new music, Yorke laughs and replies, “No. If you like this, you’ll like this, and then it gives me… MUSE.”

The nine-track ANIMA and its Paul Thomas Anderson-directed companion film are both streaming now. He has corresponding tour dates lined up in both Europe and North America, and you can get tickets to all of Yorke’s upcoming shows here.

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Beck Joins the Bird and the Bee for “Hot for Teacher” Cover: Listen

On August 2, the Bird and the Bee—the duo of singer Inara George and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin—will release the covers album Interpreting the Masters Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen. They have now shared their take on “Hot for Teacher,” featuring vocals from Beck. “My name is Dr. Goodbody,” he says in the intro. “We’ll be reviewing the text from Moby Dick, so please turn now to… page 69.” Give it a listen below.

The Bird and the Bee’s new album is the second volume of their covers series; the previous installment took on the work of Hall and Oates. A new Beck album, titled Hyperspace, was announced earlier this year.

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Album Review: BTS Expand Their Horizons on BTS World: Original Soundtrack

The Lowdown: What’s a boy band to do once they’ve basically conquered the world? Invent and uncover even more world, of course. That’s exactly what K-pop powerhouse BTS has done with their new mobile game, literally titled BTS World, which treats players to an inside look at the band’s rise to fame via a fictionalized narrative set in 2012. Its release was accompanied by a full-length soundtrack album, featuring new songs, high-profile collaborations, and themes designed for each of the seven members. Being a game soundtrack credited to various artists (on both the production and performance ends), you can’t quite approach it the same way you would any standard BTS album, which places it in a somewhat unique position relative to their body of work. Its built-in structure makes it a bit of an unsteady venture for active listening, but for its purposes of advancing a greater and more general BTS story, it does what it sets out to do and even offers some surprises as it’s doing it.

(Buy: Tickets to Upcoming BTS Shows)

The Good: The very structure of the soundtrack album leads to some built-in division, but the band leans into it. The first track and the only one to feature BTS exclusively and in their totality, “Heartbeat”, jets to the core of what the whole BTS World project is about: A.R.M.Y. It’s a song about destiny, love, and mutual support, with a heartfelt music video that hearkens back to the days before BTS’ members reached worldwide fame. This and the three collaborative singles released throughout June — with Charli XCX, Zara Larsson, and Juice WRLD, respectively — together comprise the chunk of the album that feels most like what we’re used to from BTS, complete with attention-catching melodies and thought-out lyrics about following your dreams. “Dream Glow” is snappy and well-paced, with Charli XCX’s vocals coalescing artfully with the voices of Jungkook, Jimin, and Jin. Another notable highlight comes when Suga brings his signature twitchy flair to “All Night,” switching up his rhythm every line or so in a rap verse that sounds like the audible equivalent of a slick dance sequence.

Then we get into the themes, and things shift a bit. The format here speaks to BTS’ larger, extraordinary commitment to the distinct personas of each of its seven members. They’ve distilled a theme for each of them, from the cheerful, sunny “Shine (Yunki Theme)” and the dreamy, wistful “Not Alone (Jeongguk Theme)” to the “Captain (Namjun Theme)”, which sounds like the dramatic lead-in for a crime caper. The advancement of the group’s story is the clear object here — both in reverse, as the game prompts players to engage themselves with BTS’ historic rise to fame, and moving into the future — which is to say that this album works in a way specific to itself. The artists achieve this by reaching briefly into a wide variety of different genres and styles, a practice with which they’re already well familiar, but which comes across particularly sharply through the distinctions between each theme and the next.

The Bad: Being the type of project that it is, the soundtrack works less like a full portrait of the band and more like a sketch drawn together by adjacent pieces. The mantra about the whole generally being greater than the sum of it parts has worked out in BTS’ favor in the past, given that the group is blessed with several astronomically impressive parts. They’re comprised of expert dancers, choreographers, singers, rappers, and songwriters, backed along their way by airtight production and meticulous narratives and lyricism. The BTS World soundtrack makes use of these elements, to be sure, but not to the efficient and consistent maximum that the group is able to achieve with more traditional albums. This is likely more due to format than anything else; it never quite sheds the feeling of being supplemental to a separate project.

The Verdict: Whether the soundtrack album lands as an entire, unified piece or not, it is unlike anything else BTS has released thus far and most certainly (both with and divorced from its context) unlike a standard pop album release. Even the moments in the album that arguably feel more expected (namely, the string of opening singles) have a unique flair to them when measured against the rest of BTS’ canon — they’re unmistakably dialed-back, in a way that perhaps does lend itself to more idle listening. But there’s no mistaking that the group has once again gone above and beyond what was expected, raising the bar for their peers in terms of what they are willing to do and produce for their fanbase.

Essential Tracks: “Heartbeat”, “Dream Glow”, and “All Night”

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Jamila Woods channels her inner Harry Potter in new “Baldwin” video: Watch

Chicago R&B artist Jamila Woods is back with a new music video for “Baldwin”. The song comes from her recent album, LEGACY! LEGACY!, which was released last month. The fantastical clip sees her create the wizarding world of Harry Potter for the black youth community in Chicago.

“To outsiders, the school appears to be abandoned — one of the 50 public schools closed under Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s watch in 2013,” explained Woods in a press release. “However, for Black people in the neighborhood this space is a gem, an oasis of Black learning and radical education for young people. We shot part of the film documentary-style, to include young people’s perspectives on what they would want their dream school to be like.”

Hence why the music video for “Baldwin” turns into a Hogwarts haven. In the video, directed by Vincent Martell, kids run their shopping carts into the side of a Chicago school and find themselves on the other side. There, they’re surrounded by magnificent feasts, hair care classes, magic education courses, and more. Part way through, kids give testimonies about the type of education they wish they could receive in real public schools. It’s the visual embodiment of one of James Baldwin’s most famous quotes: “Your crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on your head.”

Watch the music video below.

Earlier this year, Jamila Woods shared a music video for another LEGACY! LEGACY! cut, “Eartha”. In it, she teamed up with poet Fatimah Asghar to pay tribute to the singer/dancer/activist/actress Eartha Kitt.

More recently, Woods visited CBS This Morning for a three-song performance of more album cuts. The session including live versions of “Holy”, “Zora”, and “Baldwin”. You can hear her perform these songs and more of LEGACY! LEGACY! on her current tour, tickets for which can be found here.

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Man Arrested for Streaking, Knocking Over DJ Equipment at Firefly 2019

A man was arrested on Saturday at Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware on charges of misdemeanor criminal mischief, the Associated Press reports. Here’s what that means in this particular instance: An unnamed 21-year-old man reportedly stripped naked, streaked around the festival, and knocked over sound and DJ equipment. He was reportedly taken to a medical tent because he was very intoxicated.

It unclear exactly whose equipment was affected in the incident, but the festival’s lineup on Saturday included Travis Scott, Kygo, Passion Pit, Death Cab for Cutie, Snail Mail, BROCKHAMPTON, and more.

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The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” one-room shack is available to rent for $4,000 a month

Notorious B.I.G. in the Juicy video

Hip-hop fans searching for a place to live, look no further. Notorious B.I.G.’s childhood home is currently available to rent in Brooklyn. As Brooklyn Vegan points out, the late legend’s 972-square-foot Clinton Hill apartment is up for grabs at a steal of $4,000 a month.

Although Biggie called it a “shack” in his hit single “Juicy”, the space has since been refurbished with new floors, appliances, and countertops.

“It’s so calm and residential now,” real estate agent Fabienne Lecole told the New York Post, “It’s hard to imagine it’s the same street that he sang about with all the drugs and gunfire. It couldn’t be more different.”

Here’s the full listing via Compass:

Amazing three-bedroom home with additional den/office and separate dining room with best light is now available for rent in the desired neighborhood of Clinton Hill historic district. The limestone eight-unit condominium prewar building was recently renovated and maintains gorgeous pre-war details, like hardwood floors and high ceilings.

The kitchen has been has granite countertops, stainless appliances and lots of storage. This home also features a windowed dining room and a spacious southeast facing living room with an additional office. The building offers laundry, bike storage, and a common garden with plantings and barbecue area. One block from the subway and convenient to shops, restaurants and all Clinton Hill has to offer.

Sorry, no pet.

The apartment is located at 226 St. James Place between Gates Avenue and Fulton Street. Earlier this month, this particular section was renamed Christopher ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ Wallace Way, so imagine dropping that name to your friends and family.

Make it happen. Otherwise, it was all a dream.

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