Kendrick Lamar, Exposing The Fakes

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Kendrick Lamar dropped his new track, “Humble” yesterday. Fans and pundits alike went gaga over it. The verdicts vary but are overall joyous. They’re cheerful hearing Kung Fu Kenny kick bars over simpler Hip-Hop production (it’s an ominous Mike WiLL Made It doing, less intricate than To Pimp a Butterfly’s jazzy musicianship) and, frankly, delighted that the rapper is still talking his shit—clowning junky stars and also those who aren’t honest in their representations of themselves. The messaging in its Dave Meyers-directed video is noteworthy, too. So much so that I wrote about it for Billboard.

Kendrick Lamar Exposes the Fake to Encourage the Real in ‘Humble’ Video

I’m not going to ruin it for you, but I will tease it with the opening paragraph:

As the opportunity to exaggerate our best features and highlight only portions of our lives grows thanks to the magic of Instagram filters and Twitter posts, Kendrick Lamar has noticed what apparently many have yet to: The world — his generation, at least — is shifting away from practicing humility and authenticity. Blowhard fakes are flourishing faster than a showoff can say “Clarendon” or “Send tweet.”

Give it a read. April 7, the release date for Kendrick’s third LP, can’t come soon enough.

A$AP Rocky x Guess Club and Partying at The Standard’s Mmhmmm Room

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A$AP Rocky at Guess Club pop-up | shot by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for GUESS

 

If A$AP Rocky could smoke weed with anyone—dead or alive, he’d pick the King of Pop. He told of room full of media heads this a couple of Fridays ago at the launch of his Guess Club pop-up shop in Los Angeles:

“I would love to smoke a blunt with Michael Jackson. I wonder what his weed-smoking voice would have been. Would it have been high-pitched? I’m upset that he passed before I became famous because I really wanted to be in his presence. I wanted to be in the presence of greatness.”

A$AP Rocky’s Clubhouse Opens With Frank Ocean, Kendall Jenner & More As Guests

That’s really just a fun aside from what was a super fun night out in L.A. I covered the event for Billboard while nabbing a denim jacket and tee from the ‘90s nostalgia collection (which he’s wearing in the shot above). The venue, designed to be a three-story treehouse, had arcade games, tents, booze and stylish partygoers enjoying the function.

After that, my girl and I went to The Standard Hotel West Hollywood for their monthly THIS NEVER HAPPENS party in the Mmhmmm room. It was easily the most fun and best party we’ve been to during our two years in Los Angeles. Great new and old music from DJ Earry Hall.

Oh, and people actually danced, which is an extremely rare sight out here. When we go out, the two of us are usually the only people doing more than a two-step. But we finally stumbled upon a room of folk who like to boogie. It was our first TNH party, but definitely won’t be our last.

Rainsford and I: Mullets, Music and Hopes

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RAINSFORD | shot by Frankie Marin

 

The special thing about working with a new artist is that you’ve got the chance to introduce them to an audience they didn’t have before. When I was shot an email about Rainsford with a few links to her music, I liked enough to try to do something on her. She’s got an indie pop feel with hints of R&B.

Rainsford on Her Manifesting Pop Stardom and Fitting Fashion In, Too: New Face, Fresh Style

And because she’s big on fashion with a model and acting past, I knew she’d be a perfect fit for Billboard‘s New Face, Fresh Style section. We met up for a chat before her show at Hi Hat for a talk about everything—from growing up in North Carolina to getting a haircut she initially didn’t like two weeks ago. As shows from new acts usually are, her concert was a short 30-minute go with a solid Whitney Houston cover and a taste of her forthcoming EP. Rainsford’s got a ton of potential and I’m looking forward to seeing her progress.

Give it a look here. It’s Rainsford’s first proper music story. If she continues on her path, it probably won’t be the last.

Jeremih and the Stuff that Happens ‘Later That Night’

“I don’t want to do ‘Birthday Sex’ forever.”

And that’s the reason Jeremih keeps cranking out the hits. I spoke with him recently for Billboard about his new single “ I Think of You,” which is the lead cut from his next album Later That Night and features Chris Brown and Big Sean.

Jeremih Talks Chris Brown & Big Sean-Assisted Single ‘I Think Of You,’ New Album and Solo Tour

Night, he says, will be the soundtrack for what happens after hitting the club. Crushing a waffles, bacon and grits combo at the diner. The afterparty. Awkwardly waking up in a stranger’s bed. All that and more is the stuff jams are made of.

Check out my Q&A with Jeremih to find out about his plans to tour, how his Chance the Rapper collab album came together and what his pitch to Chris Brown for dance lessons was.

Thundercat and I in the Windy City Talking Music and Style

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Thundercat’s DRUNK album art | shot by Eddie Alcazar

 

Last week when Thundercat dropped his incredible third album, Drunk, I was out in Chicago for a quickie fun trip with my fiancee. That Saturday, coincidentally, the bass-playing singer-songwriter was in town for his concert at the Concord Music Hall. I locked in a pair of tickets and also pitched Billboard about it. TC is not only a great musician but also an interesting guy when it comes to fashion.

Thundercat’s Style Is As Funky and Out There As His Music

I sent the style editor a few images of him. A shot of him wearing a wolf hat. Another of him dressed like some sort of dystopian Power Ranger headed to a nice dinner. She was into it. So I met up with him ahead of the show backstage and we had about as cohesive of a convo as possible for one with many random topics.
A sampler below:

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Thundercat | shot by B+

 

  • I assumed Thundercat loves Hall & Oates. I was right – “Hall & Oates is everything. Fuck everything else. [Laughs] If it’s not Hall & Oates, it’s nothing.”
  • “I never tell people, ‘I’m part Comanche!’” I guess that’s why I didn’t know, huh?
  • “There have been times where I’ll freak my friends out because we’ll go to the store and I’ll go for the weird thing on display and they’ll be like, ‘You’re not going to do it, are you?’” Ah, so the homies think he’s wild with the style, too.

I also learned about how even some of his buddies didn’t believe Thundercat was any good at singing, suggesting that he use Auto-Tune. There’s also some great cartoon talk. Give it a read.

He’s a super thoughtful, intelligent guy that’s not scared to live his best life and dress like choice superheroes. I enjoyed my time with him, as I expect you will, too.