JUST SMART: CHRIS BROWN & TREY SONGZ ANNOUNCE TOUR

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Ladies, get ready because Chris Brown and Trey Songz have announced a tour. The two urban heartthrobs used Twitter, a common platform utilized when artists tweet each other about hitting the road together. It’s a move that can be seen as spontaneous, but of course Brown and Songz must have discussed headlining a tour prior to their recent tweets.

Usually, by the time something hits the general public, it’s already old news. Regardless, this news is very exciting because both Brown and Songz have a very similar fanbase, so fans getting the chance to see them perform in a single setting, makes it super eventful. This is obviously a very smart business move and hopefully the tour will succeed (no drama, no scandals, just positive memorable performances.)

Back last month, YousicWorld wrote an article questioning if Brown, Songz and R&B newcomer August Alsina would make a dream tour after their collaborative performance at this year’s BET Awards. If they really want this tour to be a smash, snagging Alsina as one of the opening acts would be a clever move. Another honorable mention would be Adrian Marcel. Who would you like to see open up for Brown and Songz? Did you foresee this tour coming? Post your thoughts and check out Brown’s new video “New Flame” (produced by Count Justice) feat. Usher and Rick Ross, and Songz’s “Touchin, Lovin” (produced by The Featherstones) feat. Nicki Minaj below!

BEYONCE AND NICKI MINAJ ARE A “FLAWLESS” PAIR IN NEW REMIX

eTBuKRQIt finally happened: a Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj collaboration. As I type, social media and the blogosphere is in a frenzy over the remixed version of Beyoncé’s “Flawless” track, from her self-titled album. You know, the shock release that dominated the Internet and iTunes just late last year?

In case you’re wondering, this is a legitimate collaboration, not one in which Minaj recorded her bars over the original (Beyoncé’s verse is different and she says Minaj’s name.) It’s clear that Bey wanted another late night surprise release, and speaking of surprises, she references the elevator-gate: No, we escalate up in this bitch like elevators. Of course some times shit goes down when it’s a billion dollars on the elevator.

And Minaj boldly mentions Michael Jackson: Like MJ doctor, they killin’ me. Propofol. I know they hope I fall.

Musically, “Flawless” is not among the best on the Beyoncé album, but its message of self-empowerment easily makes it an anthem; its lyrics “I woke up like this” has even become a catchphrase. Beyoncé teaming up with Minaj is a strategic idea for both women. Their association alone is enough to earn applause and respect. And it’s undeniable that both women delivered on the track.

With all the hype surrounding this remix, there almost HAS to be a visual. The feat would definitely overwhelm the fans. But in general, this would be a major move in music, something the industry needs. Do you like the “Flawless” remix? Would you like to hear Beyoncé and Minaj on an original collaboration? Post any thoughts you have and check out the “Flawless” remix below! You can also have a listen on http://flawless.beyonce.com/

THE WORSHIP BETWEEN FANS AND ENTERTAINERS: IS KATY PERRY RIGHT?

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In the new Rolling Stone issue, Katy Perry expresses her confusion about the worshiping between entertainers and their fans. “Some people are so dramatic about it and you’re like, ‘Honestly, you’re not the Second Coming. You’re just an entertainer!’ I’m very grateful for fans’ support, but I’m not thirsty or desperate,” she told the magazine. Of course Perry discusses other topics as well in the interview, but this particular Perry sentiment gives an interesting take because honestly, how often do we hear that it’s the entertainers who are obsessed with their fans? It’s usually the other way around. Now, whether her statement is an exaggeration YousicWorld has plenty to say on the matter.

Once upon a time, back when MTV actually lived up to its initials, and had shows like TRL, the fandom sphere was on clear display. Everyday, TRL was packed with screaming fans both inside and outside of the studio down in New York City’s Time Square. With the exception of BET‘s 106 and Park and Revolt‘s live show (Diddy’s network), there are no longer any weekly live-countdown programs where fans can “hangout” with the hottest stars. But as we can see, this hasn’t stifled the fandom culture. With Twitter and Facebook providing instant and constant access to your favorite artists, and artists using these platforms as promotional tools (urging fans to trend their new single and/or album, and to purchase via iTunes), social media has revolutionized the fan experience.

Fanbases even have names now: Monsters, Barbs, Beliebers, the Navy, the Beyhive and the KatyCats, are among many of these groups, who proudly identify themselves. Perry’s point about her and her peers not being the Second Coming is definitely a valid point, but here’s the thing: A lot of these fans act as if their idols are the Second Coming. They will resort to severe name-calling and even violence to anyone who is indifferent or against their idol. If they hear that another celebrity has spoken negatively or hated on and about their idol, they resort to Twitter in droves to essentially ether the culprit; and in many cases, a lot of these groups like to attack each other and their respective fave. Then there are the non-vicious acts, in which they will buy 10 copies of the artist’s new album or any merchandise, camp out and stand in line overnight for a purchase or a mere sighting, and/or tattoo his/her name or face on their body. It would be best to categorize these individuals as Stans (Eminem’s famous self-titled song about an obsessed and delusional fan.)

When these entertainers realize the devotion that their supporters have for them, especially on a regular basis, they have no choice but to express gratitude. Maybe that’s where the whole “I would die for my fans” comes from. The appreciation could also stem from the fact that many of these artists view their fans as motivation. Nicki Minaj, for instance, is one of the many performers who has said on several occasions that it’s her Barbs who push her to continue in the music industry. In addition to a means for income, one can also see how this would be true given all the things that come with fame and the industry.

In any case, at least Perry is being honest about the magnitude in which she appreciates her fans; she’s grateful for their support, but that is as far as it goes. Why does she feel this way? Probably because she doesn’t actually know these people personally. It’s vice versa for the fans. This is probably how a majority of these entertainers feel, albeit, they might not be vocal about it. There’s nothing wrong with glorifying and respecting an artist and his/her work. There’s not even anything wrong with defending them when you see fit. But, do you really want your purpose in life to be a (insert fan group name here)? Check out Perry’s new single “This Is How We Do” below!

JUSTIN BIEBER MAKES THE HEADLINES FOR MUSIC (FINALLY)

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It’s no surprise that Justin Bieber dominated Twitter’s trending topics last night, although this occasion saw it for a worthwhile cause. The superstar delivered 11 teasers of new music via his Instagram account. Despite his sensationalized troubles, Bieber and his camp have made it known that he’s been steadily recording and working with various producers and other artists.

From the sounds of things, fans and listeners can expect the “Confident” singer to continue with contemporary R&B, as well as maintaining and experimenting with pop on this forthcoming album. His last release Journals was critically acclaimed and has even been deemed his best work to date. Do you think Bieber will be able to top Journals or any of his previous albums? Post any thoughts and check out the snippets below!

CAN’T GET QUITE GET “…ENOUGH” OF RISING STAR KHALIL’S NEW SINGLE

A4OLewoCAAAZI7j Former Def Jam artist Khalil released a new track from his EP, A Long Story Short. “Had Enough” is one of those interludes that you wish was a full track. Its production and bluesy vocals provide the contemporary R&B sound that has seemingly regressed in commercialization.

Notice I didn’t say in popularity. There are many who miss this genre, although said genre has become marginalized. But that’s another article. You probably recognize Khalil as one of Justin Bieber’s close friends, and/or perhaps from his singles “Girlfriend Ringtone” (2010) and the popular “Hey Lil Mama” (2011). He also appeared on BET‘s 106 & Park many times.

The singer and rapper is signed with World Wide Entertainment, a record label founded by Kevin Wales, with a roster of veteran R&B stars like 112, Jagged Edge, Monica and Faith Evans to name a few. Khalil has the talent, good material, as well as commercial material. However, as we all know, these factors aren’t always enough to advance big-time. But Khalil is clearly persistent. He has no trouble gaining musical exposure on social media, and if he continues to release quality tracks like “Had Enough,” he can’t really lose. When one tirelessly puts out quality material, the future is bound to be promising. Check out “Had Enough” below!

RESPONSE TO THAT GRAPE JUICE: WOULD YOU PAY TO SEE MARIAH CAREY ON TOUR?

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In a recent statement, Mariah Carey thanks her fans for their support and says she is excited to soon hit the road. Over a week ago, there was mention of a new single to be released from Me. I am Mariah…The Elusive Chanteuse, in which Carey protested the controversial cover art for “You Don’t Know What To Do.” And then that quickly dashed under the radar, but given this statement issued on the songstress’s website, the Elusive Chanteuse era is not to be forgotten.

Although the album might have tanked, and despite the irony, Carey has a huge fanbase. Anytime she makes a public appearance of any kind, she has no trouble garnering attention. Her name still holds recognition, and lambs will attend her concert in a heartbeat. What’s special about tours is that the set list is not limited to one album of an established artist.

During an Elusive Chanteuse concert series, Carey would sing past hits as well—and that alone is enough to sell many tickets. I do think, however, that this tour should have strategic marketing, to create hype. That way it could attract other audiences, and even reiterate the momentum for the lambs. What could Carey do to implement buzz for a forthcoming tour? Intimate venues for an artist of the blond diva’s caliber would be far from typical. It would be an excellent way for Carey to exhibit her already personable connection with her audience. As more ideas come to me, I will definitely be blogging about it. Check out a YousicWorld selection below of a song we’d love to see MC sing live!

RESPONSE TO “CHRISTINA AGUILERA IS A BETTER PERFORMER THAN BEYONCE”

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I was introduced to a new article that compares Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera as performers, and I have plenty to say, but not for the reasons some may assume. The feature, Christina Aguilera Is a Better Performer Than Beyoncé by Kat George offers an unpopular perspective of Beyoncé, one that is certainly not mainstream. George contends that while Beyoncé is an exciting entertainer, it is Aguilera who connects with the audience, and is therefore the stronger performer.

The connection between the entertainer and crowd is highly imperative, especially at a concert. How many times have you heard an artist acknowledge a “great” or “live” crowd? The two feed off of each other, which is why the audience are performers in their own right. They react to what’s happening on stage. It’s similar to the concept of a teacher and his/her class (albeit, maybe not as thrilling), but think about it.

Based on her article, George sees Beyoncé solely as a production. This expressed belief is not foreign to me, as the “Crazy in Love” singer is often deemed flawless. She’s viewed as the “perfect” pop star, and in today’s pop culture, where the reality TV syndrome is, well, real, this is an issue for some–mainly for those who don’t get the Beyoncé hype. She’s too rehearsed, She’s too predictable, is what they say. Why is an artist being criticized for having a polished image?

No you probably won’t find Beyoncé smoking a cigarette in public, and as we all saw in the infamous ‘elevator’ video, she won’t involve herself in her husband getting attacked by her sister–not where the cameras are anyway. The key word is cameras. You’re just not going to catch Beyoncé slipping. Even when her father managed her for years, he would be the one to address rumors and/or any controversies. She and her team are very image conscious of her brand and Beyoncé is a very private celebrity, who chooses to express herself through her music. The expression part is exactly why I am confused about this notion that Beyoncé fails to connect when she performs.

Regardless of how many times her onstage routines are accused of repetition, her shows sell out and she’s even one of the top selling touring artists, which means she is connecting to more than a few! I haven’t gotten the chance to yet attend the On the Run tour like George, but I have attended Beyoncé concerts in the past, and was thoroughly satisfied each time. That said, I haven’t yet, but hope to see Aguilera live one day–I wished I could have attended the Stripped And Justified tour, like George in this instance. There’s no denying Aguilera’s talent. I’m sure she’s an even better performer in person than on screen. But to compare her to Beyoncé in the performer’s category is tricky because there is more that the latter can do. Beyoncé is as strong as a singer as she is a dancer while Aguilera is only praised for her singing.

George references the concluding performance of the Stripped portion of the tour, when Aguilera removed her make-up, wore jeans and a plain t-shirt while singing “Beautiful,” as a bond between her and the crowd. When Beyoncé performed the similarly themed track, “Pretty Hurts,” George was unaffected and did not feel the same experience. These songs both touch on society’s perception and fascination with looks and aesthetics, but they are different songs and therefore have different directions in terms of performance.

It makes sense for Aguilera to perform “Beautiful” while stripped of glamour. This is a song that focuses on self-acceptance, whereas “Pretty Hurts” shares the same motive, but mainly addresses the downside of being considered beautiful and/or glamorous. So it probably would not have made great sense for Beyoncé to water down her stage appearance while singing “Pretty Hurts.” Now when she has performed the fan-favorite “Flaws and All,” she’d jiggle the fat in her arm, and as funny as that sentence may be, it disputes the vain claims.

The fact that Beyoncé has so many anthems means she connects with the audience. The anthems are highly anticipated performances as they are moments that unite the crowd and the entertainer. Songs like “Irreplaceable,” “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” and “Run the World” that excite fans, especially at the concert, create interaction because both parties are feeding off each other.

Both Beyoncé and Aguilera are among the few mainstream pop stars in today’s generation who actually have talent, and they both connect with their audiences–maybe differently at times, but the connection is definitely there on each end. George seemingly thinks Beyoncé is presenting the “perfect” pop star, but if you ask me, that is a more of problem with the viewer than the entertainer. When people go to see Beyoncé in concert, they are indeed expecting a fabulous show, all the while knowing she is human like the rest of us. But once she hits the stage, no one is looking for an average performance.

JHENE AIKO’S NEW SINGLE “THE PRESSURE” IS ANOTHER MELLOW ADVENTURE

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Jhene Aiko released her new single, “The Pressure,” and while the song is good, I am further impressed that she knows who she is as an artist. The mellow track doesn’t sound like a carbon copy of any of her previous material but there is an evident pattern, there is a theme. Those who are familiar with her and her music are able to identify her sound, and her debut LP hasn’t even been released yet.

Aiko’s sound has been described by some as PBR&B (Pabst Blue Ribbon, a beer linked to the hipsters culture). The term was first used by writer Eric Harvey on Twitter (click here to read the tweet). He explained the spontaneous wording was based on R&B music made by and possibly for hipsters. Other artists who’ve been categorized in PBR&B include the Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Janelle Monae and Miguel. It is meant to be an indie version of R&B if you will. Of course there has been opposition to the coinage, with claims that it marginalizes the artist.

“The Pressure,” produced by The Fisticuffs, is seemingly discussing the stress of diligently working on an album while trying to balance an important relationship(s). YousicWorld would like to hear your own interpretation. Aiko’s full studio album Souled Out is available for purchase on August 25th. Be sure to check out “The Pressure” below!

2014 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS: THE NODS, THE R&B, & THE RATINGS

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Today MTV announced the nominations for next month’s Video Music Awards. Beyoncé leads with 8 nominations, with Eminem, Iggy Azalea and Pharrell not far behind. It’s nice to see acts like Jason Derulo, Childish Gambino, and Fifth Harmony get recognized. Even Kelly Rowland scored a nod with “Dirty Laundry” for Best Video With a Social Message. Since 2008, MTV has noticeably rid their music award show of the R&B category, which understandably offended many artists of the genre as well as fans.

Although Usher is nominated for “Good Kisser” (Best Choreography), it his mainly his name recognition that benefits him. An artist like Trey Songz for example, whose new album Trigga topped Billboard, is excluded from any exposure on the award show. He might just perform this year, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Some may consider MTV’s history and not find anything unusual about their lack of R&B presence. For those of us who remember when MTV actually lived up to its initials, there was much diversity (as formerly seen on TRL). However, the network wasn’t always integrated and Michael Jackson is credited for breaking the racial barriers with “Thriller.”

As a music award show, it only seems fair that all genres in popular culture are recognized. It’s not quite astute for business because they are losing a market that would definitely and have in the past contributed to ratings. In recent years, the VMA‘s has declined in viewership. Their 2012 show took a hit, when it only averaged 6.1 million total viewers, when the previous show broke a record with more than double at 12.4 million.

Last year’s infamous show had improved ratings of 10.1 million and given the controversial Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke episode, it will probably attract many just to see if it’ll be topped. MTV is known for showcasing shock antics, especially at the VMA’s. With Ariana Grande on this year’s performer’s lineup, I wonder if we can expect any surprises that will have everyone talking. I doubt it, but that is for another article.

The action will all take place on August 24th for the first time ever at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Head to MTV.com to vote. Do you agree with the nominations this year? Post your thoughts and check out the full list of nominees and two of YousicWorld‘s favorite VMA performances below!

Video of the Year
» Beyoncé ft Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
» Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
» Sia, “Chandelier”

Best Hip-Hop Video
» Childish Gambino, “3005″
» Drake ft. Majid Jordan, “Hold On (We’re Going Home)”
» Eminem, “Berzerk”
» Kanye West, “Black Skinhead”
» Wiz Khalifa, “We Dem Boyz”

Best Male Video
» Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell Williams, “Sing”
» Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
» John Legend, “All of Me”
» Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
» Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”

Best Female Video
» Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
» Beyoncé, “Partition”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
» Lorde, “Royals”

Best Pop Video
» Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
» Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
» Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

Best Rock Video
» Arctic Monkeys, “Do I Wanna Know?”
» Black Keys, “Fever”
» Imagine Dragons, “Demons”
» Linkin Park, “Until It’s Gone”
» Lorde, “Royals”

Artist to Watch, Presented by Taco Bell
» 5 Seconds of Summer, “She Looks So Perfect”
» Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”
» Fifth Harmony, “Miss Movin’ On”
» Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
» Schoolboy Q, “Man of the Year”

Best Collaboration
» Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
» Beyoncé ft. Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
» Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga, “Loyal”
» Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
» Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
» Pitbull ft. Kesha, “Timber”

MTV Clubland Award
» Calvin Harris, “Summer”
» Disclosure, “Grab Her!”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Martin Garrix, “Animals”
» Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”

Best Video With A Social Message
» Angel Haze ft. Sia, “Battle Cry”
» Avicii ft. Dan Tyminski, “Hey Brother”
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» David Guetta, “One Voice”
» J. Cole, “Crooked Smile”
» Kelly Rowland, “Dirty Laundry”

Best Cinematography
» 30 Seconds to Mars, “City of Angels”
» Arcade Fire, “Afterlife”
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» Gesaffelstein, “Hate Or Glory”
» Lana Del Rey, “West Coast”

Best Editing
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» Eminem, “Rap God”
» Fitz and the Tantrums, “The Walker”
» MGMT, “Your Life is a Lie”
» Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”

Best Choreography
» Beyoncé, “Partition”
» Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
» Kiesza, “Hideaway”
» Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake, “Love Never Felt So Good”
» Sia, “Chandelier”
» Usher, “Good Kisser”

Best Direction
» Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
» Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
» OK Go, “The Writing’s On The Wall”

Best Art Direction
» Arcade Fire, “Reflektor”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Eminem, “Rap God”
» Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
» Tyler, the Creator, “Tamale”

Best Visual Effects
» Disclosure, “Grab Her!”
» DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
» Eminem, “Rap God”
» Jack White, “Lazaretto”
» OK Go, “The Writing’s On The Wall”

DRAKE UNLEASHES NEW ALBUM TITLE: VIEWS FROM THE 6

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The music sphere is buzzing because Drake announced the title for his next album, Views from the 6. There’s been popular speculation that the title references the rapper’s hometown of Toronto, Canada. From the 6 is Drake’s forth full-length album, and if you pay attention, it’s well known that his albums are hits. His last album Nothing Was the Same sold 658,000 copies in its first week. Not bad for an era where music sales are at an all time low.

Whether people like or dislike Drake, they listen to his music. The “Up All Night” performer is one of the few popular artists of today who uses his music as a journal, and that is undoubtedly one of the reasons why people tune in. What kind of direction do you think Drake will take with Views From the 6?