Rodney King, found dead in his swimming pool yesterday at age 47, appeared on VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live just last month. In this extended VH1 interview, one of his last, Rodney discusses the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the VH1 Rock Doc Uprising: Hip Hop And The L.A. Riots (in which he appears), his recently released memoir, and Trayvon Martin.
But it is the subject of Barack Obama and race relations that provide the most striking parts of the interview. When asked by VH1’s Janell Snowden about the country in the Obama Era and his role in progressing race relations, Rodney says he thinks America is coming to its senses.
“I always knew we’d have a Black president, but if I didn’t suffer what I suffered and went through, I don’t think we would have had him that soon,” says Rodney. “I’m happy to have been living in this day and time and to have survived that beating, and then to see a black President in office.”
Big Ang and Snooki had never met before VH1 and MTV brought them together to promote Big Ang(premiering July 8 on VH1) and Snooki &JWOWW(June 28 on MTV). But watching footage of their encounter will make you think that Snooki is Big Ang’s long lost daughter — or possibly her Mini-Me.
Their conversation was recorded for what must be the simplest (and maybe greatest?) TV marketing stunt ever: Someone simplypressed the play button on a camera and let the two unfiltered reality stars shoot the breeze in the back of a limo.
We dare you to think of a band that puts on a better show!
Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
In conversation–because of my profession–people usually ask me if I’ve seen any good shows lately. Without hesitation, I tell them that they must see the Foo Fighters, who are currently putting on a rock show for the ages (and that’s not me speaking in hyperbole).
I’ve seen two performances from their current tour, and I can tell you for a fact that no other band is putting on a better show than the Foo Fighters right now.You need more reasons to see them? Good, here goes:
1.) Grohl on Drums
Cage The Elephant are currently opening up for the Foo Fighters, and after their drummer Jared Champion’s appendix burst, Dave Grohl said he’d fill in on drums so the band wouldn’t have to drop off the bill.As you know, Dave Grohl has played drums before, but whenever he steps behind a kit, its met with the same astonishment as if he’s walking on water. It’s not that miraculous, but it is still pretty freakin’ cool (especially since Cage The Elephant’s music is inspired by the decade in which Dave Grohl was a full-time drummer)!
We have a lot of artists stopping by our office at VH1 to chat and perform, and we often ask them questions we think you’ll want to hear. But with the debut of our new Pass the Bowl feature, we’re flipping this dynamic by letting the artists themselves do the asking. For each edition of Pass the Bowl, an artist will answer a question and then replenish the bowl with another.
First up was Tinie Tempah, the UK rapper who landed on our Song of the Summer countdown for his hit single “Written In The Stars.”As his name suggests, Tinie has a sense of humor, and he showed it off when leaving his question: “Have you ever farted whilst having sex?” Nashvilled-based pop act Hot Chelle Rae, which also has a summer hit with its single “Tonight Tonight,” left a zinger as well: “If you could punch one celeb in the face… who would it be?”
We can’t wait to hear how these questions are answered. Stay tuned.
“Rehab” singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment today. The cause has not yet been determined. For those who have followed her longstanding battle with depression, eating disorders and substance abuse (a constant source of fodder for tabloids), this sad news may not come as a huge surprise. In August of 2007, Amy came close to death after overdosing on a cocktail of heroin, ecstasy and cocaine – and later that year was found wondering barefoot outside in nothing but a bra and jeans. These incidents were preceded by Amy’s marriage in May of 2007 to Blake Fielder-Civil, who was quoted by a British tabloid as saying he introduced Amy to heroin and crack cocaine. Earlier that same year, Amy performed for VH1 Unplugged. Blake and Amy divorced in 2009.
The singer dominated the 2008 Grammys with five awards for Back to Black, her sophomore album, winning in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Known for her singular voice and unorthodox retro look (tattoos, extreme cat-eye makeup and beehive hairdo), Amy is said to have paved the way for artists who wouldn’t previously have fit into the mainstream. Lady Gaga, for one, famously told AOL: “Because of Amy, very strange girls like me go to prom with very good-looking guys. She’s a different kind of woman. I don’t believe that what I do is very digestible, and somehow Amy was the flu for pop music.” Regardless of whether this is true, Winehouse certainly seemed to pave the way for fellow British songbirds Adele and Duffy, both of whom share Amy’s ’60s soul vibe.
In June, YouTube videos surfaced of an intoxicated and discombobulated-looking Winehouse forgetting her own lyrics and getting booed off stage in the first stop of a European tour, which subsequently had to be canceled. Amy was reportedly working on a third album. She joins a long list of musicians who have died at 27. A phenomenon known as The 27 Club, Brian Jones, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain are among those who died at the same age. Let her legend begin.
It’s hard to look good while camping for four days in heat that exceeds 100 degrees. It’s also hard to look good when the only real opportunity to bath is to wait for brown water to spurt out of a giant mushroom sprouting in plain sight of Bonnaroo‘s stages. Yet we were able to spot some girls who we are guessing would look good even after a nuclear holocaust. As you may know, bikinis are the outfit of choice at the festival. But since this is about style, we selected only beautiful Bonnaroo bitties who were wearing somewhat more than that. Notice this year’s trends: Head wraps, belly dancing skirts with bling, and body painting.
At Bonnaroo‘s tenth anniversary, three things stood out: triple digit heat, a permeating dust, and an eclectic mix of music topped by hip-hop. If you wondered the 700-acre campground, you were bound to run into all kinds of music — even Mongolian folk. We saw, for instance, a pretty-as-expected set by Americana star Justin Townes Earles, hip-hop by Big Boi that unfortunately came off like it had Attention Deficit Disorder (why not play some full songs instead of 30-second samples of Outkast and Sir Luscious?), a promising set by indie/country newcomers Futureheads, the metal of The Sword, and the reggae of Black Uhuru. See Bonnaroo photos and video, then continue reading after the jump.
Bonnaroo 2011 kicked off its tenth anniversary Thursday afternoon, and reached its first climax with three massive headliners Friday night, including My Morning Jacket (8pm) followed by Arcade Fire (11pm) on the stadium-sized main stage (known as the “What Stage”) and then Lil Wayne at 2am on a large side stage (the “Which Stage”). Sure, there were dozens of solid shows (and some comedians) leading up to this amazing musical trifecta. But with more than 80,000 people — mostly kids braving extreme heat and humidity without being able to shower — camping out on festival grounds that stretch out over a 700-acre expanse under a vast sky, Bonnaroo was made for big moments. Plus, the smaller tents, if you can squeeze in, don’t always provide enough room for the hippie–ish contingent to properly dance and twirl glow sticks.
My Morning Jacket opened its two-hour set with with an extended, trumpet and voice only intro of “Victory Dance,” the first song off their new album Circuital. Much has been made about MMJ’s so-called return to their roots by recording the new album direct to analog tape in a gym in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky as opposed to the NYC studio that served as headquarters for their last album (Evil Urges). By opening with the first track from Circuital, MMJ may have been announcing a homecoming of sorts to the mostly Southern audience. Regardless, “Victory Dance” was an apt choice to celebrate with the friendly Bonnaroo crowd how far the band has come. Having played the fest four times in the past, but never on the main stage, frontman Jim James noted, “it’s such an honor.”
Previously in our “Bonnaroo By the Numbers” series, we discovered that hip-hop acts dominate Bonnaroo’s lineup in terms of sheer volume of social media fans. Now, we’ve compiled data from Next Big Sound to create a list of the bands that are growing their fan base (Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, MySpace, YouTube, etc.) the fastest. It’s based on month-over-month percentage change leading up to Bonnaroo. The list is topped with the always-animated, experimental band Man Man, presumably because their fourth album, Life Fantastic, was released last month. The Brooklyn-based, get-the-party-started band Matt & Kim are next on the list with a 209% increase in fans, including an enormous one-time spike of 35,000 fans on May 19 — the day after the duo announced their “Sidewalks” tour and the day they released their official video for “CAMERA” on their Facebook page.
Also on the list are some up-and-comers like Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, a Portland rock quartet that’s as comfortable playing jazz and blues as it is rock. The foursome, ranked #3 on the list, increased their social media fan base by 151%. They’ve been around since 2008, but released their debut album last month. After the jump, see all 10 bands on our list.
It may seem surprising that hip-hop would dominate anything at Bonnaroo, the giant music festival (and party) that began in Tennessee a decade ago with hippie-ish jam bands and roots rock. But this is what we discovered when using Next Big Sound to gather social media stats on all 150 or so acts on the lineup. For our inaugural “Bonnaroo By the Numbers” feature, we’ve compared the top 20 acts on the lineup versus their total number of social media fans (Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, MySpace, YouTube, etc.).
While the top acts on the lineup are a solid mix of roots rock, hip-hop and indie rock, the hip-hop artists tear it up in the social space. Eminem, Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa would be the top three acts if Bonnaroo were to order its lineup based on which artists have the most social media fans. While Eminem tops both the bill and social media (nearly 50 million followers!), Lil Wayne is #7 on the lineup and Wiz is down at #44. Atmosphere would also be #10 on the lineup, not #39.
After the top three hip-hop acts, the next three would be a trio of indie luminaries: The Strokes, Arcade Fire and The Decemberists. It’s not too surprising that the roots rock or jam band contingents don’t register very high. To be fair, we didn’t break out the individual musicians of the reunited Buffalo Springfield — and Neil Young has more than a million Facebook followers alone. Then again, we can’t really imagine him sharing his knack for poetry on Twitter.