Off Beat

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Frank Ocean effect: R&B's new golden boy emerges unscathed

Posted By on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 5:44 PM

This very well could be Frank Ocean's best week (and a half) ever: First he reveals his bisexuality, via an open and tender Tumblr letter, to the warmest reception a post-soul hip-hop hybrid could hope for — even OFWGKTA homie and habitual f-word spitter Tyler, the Creator gave him some serious cyber-dap. Then Ocean's debut LP Channel Orange drops a week early on iTunes, further confirming his enigmatic genius, complete with an assist ("Pink Matter") from another mysterious soul, Andre 3000, among others. And finally, along with the support he's received from contemporaries ranging from Beyonce to documented homophobe Busta Rhymes, another R&B singer, Rahsaan Patterson — who, if not for his own openly gay lifestyle a decade earlier, might have enjoyed the same level of mainstream success Ocean is on the cusp of reaping — dedicates a fast-boiled shoutout song to him, titled "Frank (You're Amazing)." Sung to the tune of Jay-Z's "Thank You," it's the sort of bouquet artists usually only get after they're dead.

On the latest episode of WNYC's Soundcheck, music and culture writer Dream Hampton (author of Jay-Z's "Decoded," who penned Ocean a heartfelt thank you letter herself last week) talks about what could become known as the Frank Ocean effect — that against-all-odds embrace an artist gets upon daring to go against the grain in a way that seemingly uplifts the culture.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Iggy Azalea's new Glory cover art is missing something

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 6:40 PM


Part of me is proud to see some Iggy Azalea cover art that isn't dripping with gratuitous sexuality. But the other half of me is like, f*ck, where's the gratuitous sexuality? This is Iggy Azalea we're talking about. What am I supposed to distract myself with while being subjected to her raps? Not this Illuminati®-inspired photoshop, I hope. Don't you hate it when artists come out one way, all tease and sleaze, then try to switch the marketing up and get deep and subliminal? Stick to the script, please ma'am. You're confusing us. (Bet money, Wilhelmina had something to do with this.)

In related news: Her boss T.I. and Grand Hustle homie B.o.B lace the track.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Because we love you thiiiiiiiiiiiis much!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM

If things have seemed a little quieter than normal around here, it's only because we've been working hard to bring you our annual music issue.

Because you're probably going to hate it, here's a special parting gift from the Internet's vault of crazy: YouTube. It's filled with lots of love - the perfect antidote to this week's high jinks.

s/o: Resident crazy lady, Gwynedd

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

'Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta' is going to test my moral compass

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 5:53 PM

The only people I recognize in this supertrailer are Scrappy (and his mama), Rasheedah, and producer Stevie J (former boyfriend of Eve). Guess that didn't stop successful reality-show executive producer Mona Scott Young from cobbling together a supporting cast of no-name brand wannabes for the premier of the spinoff, "Love & Hip: Atlanta," which begins airing Mon., June 18 on VH1.

According to early gossip, the reason why the cast is so overloaded with unknowns is because most of the real Atlanta hip-hop celebrities producers contacted declined - which means they've probably seen the original "Love & Hip Hop." Set in New York, it starred Jim Jones and his mama vs. Jim Jones and his fiancee, Jim Jones and his fiancee vs. Jim Jones and his female manager, Fabolous' baby mama vs. herself, and Juelz Santana's jump-off vs. everybody.

In two seasons, the show devolved into such a hot, morally-bankrupt mess that most of the main players refused to do a third season, leaving the producer to create a behind-the-scenes episode for the season two finale because no one wanted to participate in the scheduled reunion episode.

So Young loaded up her premise and she moved it to ATL - home of hip-hop groupies and washed-up rap stars.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Justin Bieber probably draws an excellent dick on a grease board

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 5:55 PM

A great GQ profile on Justin Bieber just hit the web today. In it, the writer Drew Magary uses the word "pederast," which sounds like "pedophile" but means something slightly different. I had to look it up.

It means "a person who engages in pederasty."

Don't you hate when the dictionary does that? Of course I had to look up "pederasty," and when I did on an ad for MySpace popped up, offering the perfect metaphor for the harsh reality Bieber is facing. Which is exactly what Magary's profile of Bieber is all about - you know, whether he'll survive teen pop idol stardom or die there, forever doomed to "Where Are They Now" episodes on VH1 or, worse yet, the life of Macaulay Culkin.

Remember when MySpace was huge and inescapable. Like Justin Bieber? Even if you hated it you had to acquiesce. Now MySpace is running ads on I think I'll say a prayer for the Biebz tonight. That's when he puts in work - or play - according to Magary, who failed miserably at his mission to turn the well-cloistered, newly-turned 18-year old into a real man (no drinking and no titty bars, say his publicist) but gained some serious insight along the way. Like the fact that Bieber's handlers didn't want him to know that Bieber was probably the culprit behind the dicks drawn on the studio grease board. Or that Biebz admits to having had beer before, but says he's never lost control - because a manchild in his rare position must keep his industry guard up at all times. His struggle to be a real boy has been usurped by his label's mission - and, by extension, ours - to make him a man.

Oh, btw, pederasty, as defined by, is "sexual relations between two males, especially when one of them is a minor." Relax, it's just a metaphor.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Childish Gambino is scared of ninjas

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Apparently even the restaurants in New York are on some ironic hipster shit. MTV's Rya Baker took Atlanta-bred comedian/actor/rapper Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino on a fake-date interview (love those) to some joint called Ninja that plays up just about every Asian stereotype in the book - using real Asians! But because they're in on the joke, you're allowed to laugh. In fact, they encourage it.

Anyway, we learn something new about what life was like for Gambino as a bambino. He grew up in Stone Mountain (knew that), and his mom ran a daycare so they had a bunch of foster kids. That explains so much.

He also talks about the broken foot that led to the cancellation of his scheduled Variety Playhouse show in Atlanta in March. (that's been rescheduled for June 10, btw.) Commitment issues come up when she asks him where he sees himself in five years. Rapping? Eh, not so much. Oh, and he likes to take milk baths in his spare time. Some other homoerotic stuff takes place between him and one of the Ninja waiters. But, of course, it's all in fun.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

President Obama shouts out Young Jeezy

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 3:54 PM

We already knew he loved himself some Janelle Monáe, and had a thang for Luda's soul and Cee Lo's forget-me-nots, but the Prez paid tongue-in-cheek homage to another Atlantan at the Correspondent's Dinner last weekend.

And that Jeezy song he talks about singing to Michelle? Bet money it's this:

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Maurice Garland and Killer Mike dissect the 'real Atlanta'

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM

"Atlanta popular culture is getting presented as Atlanta culture." - Killer Mike

Since we're on this whole Atlanta nostalgia kick - ruminating over gentrification, transplants, pre-Olympics and whatnot - you've got to watch this video that writer and occasional CL contributor Maurice Garland did for Fink, a music and culture magazine that featured the homie on the cover this month.

A camera followed him around for a day while he popped in on a handful of local cultural institutions, including Walters Clothing, Stankonia Studios, and Queen City. Of course, cameras couldn't follow him inside the West End strip club formerly known as Montrey's, but the highlight came around the 6-minute mark at Stankonia, where Garland and Killer Mike chopped it up about the differences between old and new Atlanta, why local pop culture shouldn't be confused with the city's historical culture, and whether or not we wax nostalgic a little too much around these parts.

Despite being known for voicing extremist views from time-to-time, Mike has a really balanced view on gentrification, transplants, and the city's progress. It's good convo.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

How Soulja Boy spent 4/20 Day

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 5:22 PM


Good God, do I have to blog this?

So you probably already know ya boy Soulja was all over last week after tweeting this pic posed up with a closet full of that greeny-green-green.

His publicist later said he was at a marijuana dispensary in Cali owned by a friend of his. Talk about having friends in high places. Sooo, apparently Soulja Boy was so inspired by the weed — and his uncanny ability to manipulate the gossip blogs into keeping him relevant without actually doing anything newsworthy — that he recorded this "Happy 4/20" song to commemorate his minor triumph. It SUCKS:

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Tupac ain't dead? Suge Knight's trippin'

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Wait a minute. Is this 4/20 or 4/1? Apparently Suge Knight thought it would be cute to play an April Fool's trick on everybody. Either that or he's trying to figure out how he can capitalize off this Tupac hologram business. Whatever. Now he's spreading stale rumors that Tupac might be alive after all. Which would be a good thing for him considering everybody believes he had something to do with Pac's death - especially since Pac pretty much told us so before he died. (Y'all remember "Suge shot me.")

The above audio is from Suge's interview Suge with LA radio station 93.5 KDAY. Which reminds me of my one and only encounter with the former Death Row head.

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