Welcome to dystopia.

We are now living in a world where a racist, badly behaved and possibly criminal former reality TV star is not only president of the United States but is now hosting meetings about prison reform with another reality TV star whose claim to fame is a sex tape with Brandy’s little brother.

Kim Kardashian is trying to get a pardon for Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who has served over 20 years for a first-time drug offense, which is an undeniably good deed. However, the imagery is a jarring signifier of how far down the toilet America has gone. The country is being run by a thirsty-ass clout-chaser and he is having a meeting with another thirsty-ass clout-chaser under the guise of discussing a serious matter.

Prison reform is not and has never been a part of the Republican platform, and Donald Trump cares nothing about this issue. This is nothing but a crass photo-op and I hope all you Jill Stein voters are proud of yourselves.

 

Two morons.

And so is Pusha T.

In a bid to shock the populace, Kanye West convinced Pusha T to use one of the infamous 2006 pictures of Whitney Houston’s bathroom (full of drug paraphernalia) as the cover for his new album, DAYTONA. Kanye supposedly paid $85,000 to license the picture, which (according to Pusha T) “represents an organized chaos” and matches the energy of the album. That’s deep, bro.

At this point, it is clear that Kanye West has exhausted all of his creative juices because he is grasping at straws to create controversy for the hell of it. Gratuitous disrespect is not and will never be a legitimate cultural statement, and both Kanye and Pusha T are extremely wack for doing this.

And then he wonders why Jay-Z and Beyoncé want nothing to do with him.

The Black Eyed Peas seem to have returned to pre-Fergie form. As the title indicates, “RING THE ALARM pt.1, pt.2, pt.3” is three songs in one (the second is my favorite) and is possibly the most conscious single the group has ever put out, touching on issues ranging from police brutality to Big Pharma. Also, Will.I.Am is spitting like its 1998, so no complaints here. Watch the clip below.

Jessie Reyez released the video for her new single, “Body Count,” a week ago. The song is presumably the lead single from her sophomore album, whose title and release date are yet to be announced.

Co-written by Babyface, “Body Count” is a stripped-down mid-tempo that talks about double standards relating to the number of “bodies” (i.e. sexual partners) that men and women are allowed to have. The lyrics are clever and profane like every other Jessie Reyez song, and the video has a Salem witch theme where Jessie gets burnt at the stake (presumably for having too many bodies). Watch the video below.

Today in 2005, the world got introduced to Rihanna. “Pon de Replay” sounded like about 5 other songs released in that period, but as luck would have it, the song went on to be a major hit, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” sat at No. 1 that entire summer).

Modeled after Beyoncé in the early days of her career, Rihanna has gone on to establish her own unique style and is now a legend in her own right. Watch the clip below.


PS: “Pon de Replay” and Will Smith’s “Switch” have the same damn beat and I’m surprised that there was never a law suit over this.

So…Kendrick Lamar headlined the Hangout Music Festival this past Sunday (May 20) in Gulf Shores, Alabama. During his performance, he invited a white girl onstage to rap along to “m.A.A.d City,” which is laden with the n-word (especially the chorus, where almost every line ends with the word).

The white girl rapped the n-word with her chest and in a way that suggested that she knew she was crossing a line — I mean, how couldn’t she? Kendrick stops her mid-chorus (to which she responds, “What? I’m not cool enough for you?” and “I’m used to singing it like you wrote it”) and asks her to censor herself. She plays dumb and acts like she didn’t know she had used that word (“Did I do it?”), and then apologizes (“I gotchu!”).

Oops! She REALLY had no idea, guys! Watch the clip below.


Full disclosure: I am not much of a Kendrick Lamar fan. I like some of his songs, but I think he is gravely overrated and a little bit insincere.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me just say that this entire exercise was kinda stupid. It appeared to be designed to make an example out of one white fan so others could learn, but all Kendrick did was create an opportunity for a white person to use the n-word onstage at his own concert while having just enough wiggle room to claim innocence.

Some white people love the fact that a song gives them an excuse to use the n-word. Asking them to censor themselves will only work while they’re in your presence (and some might even defy you in the name of “it’s just a song”). When there’s no black person in the room, or the next time they’re at a rap concert (where it has now become somewhat acceptable), they’ll be back to screaming that word.

In short, Kendrick Lamar wasted his time.

As far as awards shows go, the Billboard Music Awards is one of the best. Not because it’s ever that entertaining (this year’s show was generally a snoozefest) but because most of the awards are based on statistics. If you sold the most, had the highest streaming numbers, or achieved the highest radio impressions, you win. This eliminates the heartache that comes every year at the Grammys, where a small group of out-of-touch and possibly racist people (i.e. NARAS) hands out awards based on some stupid and narrow-minded prototypes about how good musicians and good music are supposed to look and sound.



The performance of the night — hands down — was the Salt n Pepa medley featuring En Vogue (and Kelly Clarkson, I guess).

Salt N Pepa medley


Janet Jackson’s performance and Icon Award acceptance speech


Khalid & Normani perform “Love Lies”


If you ever wondered who was next in line after Beyoncé, I’m here to let you know that it is Normani. Unless someone else appears out of nowhere, no one seems to be in her way.

No, we’re not done with the nostalgia. It turns out that yesterday (May 18) was also the 15-year anniversary of the release of “Crazy in Love,” the lead single from Beyoncé’s debut album, Dangerously in Love. Nothing has been the same ever since.

The song samples the Chi-Lites’ “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So),” but the sound of those horns now belong to Queen Bey. Peep the clip below.