Music: Hip-Hop/Rap

March 15, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Exclusive Pearl Jam, American Idol, Rise Against, Britney Spears, Travis Barker, Steve Martin

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays, and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster’s New Releases/Featured Music section.

Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) (Alternative, Rock): As seen in this week's Best Buy circular, Napster has four exclusive bonus tracks available for streaming as a preview of the combined reissue of Vs. and Vitalogy coming March 29, including new live versions of "Even Flow" and "Daughter."


Various Artists, American Idol 10th Anniversary Various Artists, American Idol: 10th AnniversaryThe Hits, Volume 1 (Pop, Rock, R&B): This compilation of favorites from the most popular Idol competitors includes music from Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Fantasia as well as David Cook, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Lee DeWyze.


Rise Against, Endgame Rise Against, Endgame (Rock, Alternative): For their latest set, the Chicago punk rockers continue to develop the approach they took with their last album, Appeal to Reason. Topics like world politics and current events take shape over accessible melodies and riffs, resulting in rockers like first single "Help Is on the Way."


Britney Spears, Till the World Ends Britney Spears, "Till the World Ends" (Pop, Electronica): The second single from Spears' upcoming album, Femme Fatale, was co-written by Ke$ha along with hitmakers Dr. Luke and Max Martin and comes hot on the heels of first single "Hold It Against Me." And like that track, it's another energetic dancefloor filler.


Travis Barker, Give the Drummer Some Travis Barker, Give the Drummer Some (Rock, Hip-Hop): The blink-182 drummer recruited some of the biggest names in hip-hop, rock, and dance music for his "solo" debut — everyone from the RZA to Slash to Steve Aoki. The first single alone ("Can a Drummer Get Some") features Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz & Game.


Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rare Bird Alert Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rare Bird Alert (Americana):  For his second banjo album, Martin chose to record with the excellent band he took on the road with him to support The CrowAs a bonus, Sir Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks each provide lead vocals on a tune apiece.


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March 10, 2011

Raekwon, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang

Raekwon, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang Raekwon is back again with a new album, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang. Presented in a continuous mix (mixtape style), the raucous title track sets things off, appropriately starting with kung fu movie dialogue. Featured on the album are Wu-Tang regulars like Method Man on the excellent "Every Soldier in the Hood" and Inspectah Deck, who teams up with UK diva Estelle on "Chop Chop Ninja." To no one's surprise, Ghostface Killah appears on a number of tracks, effectively re-creating the chemistry witnessed on the classic Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, as well as their other memorable collaborations. Other featured guests include an overdue collaboration with Nas on "Rich and Black" and a surprisingly tame Busta Rhymes on "Crane Style." Jim Jones ("Rock N Roll"), Lloyd Banks ("Last Trip to Scotland") and The Bawse Rick Ross ("Molasses") all also contribute hot verses over RZA-less production. Enlisting a cadre of capable producers including Scram Jones, Mathematics, The Alchemist, and Evidence, Raekwon once again displays his poetic skills without missing a step.

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Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Missy Elliott, More: Napster Playlists Featuring Women

As we continue our celebration of Women's History Month, we thought it would be nice to highlight some of the many Napster playlists focused on music made by women. These are from all different genres and styles, so have a look, click on whatever sounds good to you, and let's hear it from the ladies!

American Women American Women Popular roots music and country hits from some of the top female artists in America. Includes songs from June Carter Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Sheryl Crow.

Hot R&B Female Vocalists Hot R&B: Female Vocalists: Some of the hottest tracks and biggest hits from major stars, including songs from Keyshia Cole, Fantasia, Alicia Keys, and Beyoncé.

Essential Lite Female Vocalists Essential Lite: Female Vocalists: Great soft pop and ballads from many eras, featuring artists such as Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, and Roberta Flack.

Women of Comedy Women of Comedy: Hilarious bits from the funniest females in stand-up comedy, including Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Silverman, Sandra Bernhard, and Lisa Lampanelli.

Legendary Ladies of Country Legendary Ladies of Country: Unforgettable female stars of the '60s and '70s who paved the way for today's generations. Includes Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.

Grrrl Power Grrrl Power: Celebrate the women of alternative rock with a slew of classic tracks from such mainstays as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hole, PJ Harvey, and more.

Pioneering Women of the Blues Pioneering Women of the Blues: Though blues artists tend to be men, a surprising number of women have made a crucial impact, including Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Ida Cox.

Pop Divas The '80s Pop Divas: The '80s: A platinum setting of hits from some of the decade's most glittering solo female superstars, including Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Gibson, and more.

Female Jazz Vocalists of Today Female Jazz Vocalists of Today: Music from stellar comtemporary vocalists informed by both traditional and modern jazz. Features Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, and Diana Krall.

Composing Women Composing Women: Works from female composers working in what was once a male-dominated field. Includes Barbara Strozzi, Fanny Mendelssohn, and Meredith Monk.

Women of Contemporary Christian Music Women of Contemporary Christian Music: The most uplifting tracks from female artists leading the way in CCM, featuring Francesca Battistelli, Bethany Dillon, and Heather Hedley.

Ladies First Female MCs Ladies First: Female MCs: Get in touch with the first ladies of hip-hop. But don't expect them to go easy on you—these MCs, including Missy Elliott, Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, are fierce.

Femmes Fatales Femmes Fatales: Devastatingly seductive sounds from the dark side of alternative music, including music by Björk, PJ Harvey, Portishead, Morcheeba, and more.

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March 08, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Exclusive Pearl Jam, Glee Cast, Lupe Fiasco, Sara Evans, R.E.M, Avril Lavigne

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays, and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster’s New Releases/Featured Music section.

Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) Pearl Jam, Vs./Vitalogy (Deluxe Edition) (Alternative, Rock): Napster has four exclusive bonus tracks available for streaming as a preview of the upcoming combined reissue of Vs. and Vitalogy on March 29. The exclusive tracks include previously unreleased live versions of "Even Flow," "Once," and "Daughter."


Glee Cast, Glee, The Music, Volume 5 Glee Cast, Glee: The Music, Volume 5 (Pop, Soundtracks): The latest volume from the series about everyone's favorite glee club includes the "Thriller/Heads Will Roll" mash-up, The Human League's "Don't You Want Me," "Kiss" and "Landslide" featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, and two original songs, a first for the series.


Lupe Fiasco, LASERS Lupe Fiasco, LASERS (Hip-Hop/Rap): Originally titled LupE.N.D., since it was to be the Chicago rapper's last album, this set was tied up in label limbo until fans demanded its release. LASERS expands to Love Always Shines Everytime, Remember 2 Smile, and features "Words I Never Said" and "The Show Must Go On."


Sara Evans, Stronger Sara Evans, Stronger (Country): After a six-year hiatus, the country superstar releases a new album of material. With personal issues behind her, she's now ready for a major comeback, starting with the album's lead single "A Little Bit Stronger," which was also featured in the movie Country Strong.


R.E.M, Collapse Into Now R.E.M, Collapse into Now (Rock): Not many groups can boast 15 studio albums under their belts, but R.E.M. isn't just any group. For their latest, they go for a more expansive sound, enlisting guests including Patti Smith, Eddie Vedder, and Peaches. Their first single is "Mine Smell Like Honey."


Avril Lavigne, Goodbye Lullaby Avril Lavigne, Goodbye Lullaby (Pop, Rock): After several setbacks and delays, the Canadian pop star's latest album finally sees the light of day after two-and-a-half years in the making. Lavigne's writing can be found on all of the album's tracks, including the current single "What the Hell."
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March 04, 2011

Introducing Wiz Khalifa (Napster Playlist)

Introducing Wiz Khalifa (Napster Playlist) Currently featured on Napster is a new playlist, "Introducing Wiz Khalifa," spotlighting hip-hop's latest sensation. Wiz Khalifa seriously increased his profile recently with the catchy track "Black and Yellow," which became the unofficial anthem for Superbowl contenders the Pittsburgh Steelers. And despite the Steelers loss in the big game, "Black and Yellow" has proved to have shelf life—it's still one of the most popular songs on Napster. For those of you unfamiliar with pre-"Black and Yellow" Khalifa, this playlist compiles some of his earlier releases, including "Say Yeah" and various tracks from his independent albums Show and Prove and Deal or No Deal. Also featured is his current single, "Roll Up," from his upcoming album Rolling Papers, currently scheduled for release on March 29.

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February 25, 2011

Slaughter House, Slaughterhouse EP

Slaughter House, Slaughterhouse EP Some of hip-hop's fiercest rhymers form the latest super-group, Slaughter House, consisting of Royce da 5'9", Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I. For their follow-up to their self-titled 2009 album, the group (recently signed to Eminem's Shady Records) release another self titled excursion but in the shorter form of an EP featuring six gritty new songs. The opening track "Back on the Scene" features Dres of Black Sheep contributing to the hook with his iconic line from "The Choice is Yours (Revisited)." The ruckus doesn't stop there as "Sun Doobie," produced by Mr. Porter, continues the frantic tempo. Also featured on production is Black Milk and his heavy drums on "Everybody Down." The LOX make an appearance on the "Put Some Money On It (Remix)," originally a Joell Ortiz number. If these first two offerings are any indication of what we can expect from their upcoming Shady Records release, then the competition better beware.

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February 22, 2011

Katy Perry Featuring Kanye West, “E.T.”

Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, "E.T." After hitting it big with guest rapper Snoop Dogg on her megahit "California Gurls," you can't blame Katy Perry for sticking with a winning formula. The fourth single from her wildly successful Teenage Dream album, "E.T.," is an updated version of the track actually on the album in that it now includes a guest rap, this time from none other than Kanye West. While there isn't a whole lot of difference from the original track otherwise, West does manage to spice things up with some saucy and suggestive lyrics. Will it be enough to give Katy her fourth #1 in a row? We wouldn't bet against her.

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February 18, 2011

Blu, Amnesia EP

Blu, Amnesia EP The Los Angeles-based MC and producer known as Blu has a new EP, Amnesia, giving official release to some of the tracks from the leaked Her Favorite Colo(u)r album currently floating around in the "cloud." The EP's title track has Blu spitting over a Billie Holiday sample and is a great example of that laid-back, feel-good hip-hop that so cleanses the soul.  The "Amnesia (Remind)" version again samples Billie, but this time with an uptempo feel. Both versions of "Amnesia" are accompanied by instrumental versions. Also included on the EP are "Since," which features a syrupy doo-wop sample; and "Good Morning," a bass-heavy instrumental that is almost required listening to start your soundtrack for a perfect day.

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Lenny Kravitz and Rihanna Headline NBA All-Star Entertainment

Lenny Kravitz and Rihanna What would the NBA All-Star game be without major entertainment to liven things up during the game? Rock star Lenny Kravitz and pop diva Rihanna will definitely be livening things up at this year's game, which takes place this Sunday. Kravitz will kick off the game with his new single, "Come on and Get It," while Rihanna will be holding down the halftime show and singing songs from her hit album Loud. Rumor has it that friend and frequent collaborator Kanye West will make a special appearance during Rihanna’s set, and there are murmurs that the two will be performing his new single, "All of the Lights." It'd be an even better surprise if West were to bring out all 12 other artists featured on the song: John Legend, The-Dream, Ryan Leslie, Tony Williams, Charlie Wilson, Elly Jackson (of La Roux), Alicia Keys, Fergie, Kid Cudi, Alvin Fields, Ken Lewis, and Elton John. Now that would be a halftime show! Although further details are still under wraps, I’m sure the show will be entertaining either way. We’ll just have to wait until this Sunday to see exactly how entertaining it will be.

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February 16, 2011

Ne-Yo and Monica Live on Valentine’s Day

Ne-Yo and Monica Ne-Yo and Monica gave every hopeless romantic and R&B fan the perfect place to be on Valentine’s Day evening. Together they gave a special concert at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, to a jam-packed house of couples, as well as single men and women perhaps looking for a last minute Valentine. Monica kicked off the show with soulful renditions of all her classics, going all the way back to her 1995 debut album, Miss Thang.  As the show went on, she sang more hits from The Boy Is Mine, After the Storm, and her latest release, Still Standing. To the crowd’s surprise, she did a rousing tribute to Whitney Houston by singing her hit single, "I Have Nothing." Next, it was Ne-Yo’s turn to move the crowd, and that he did. Wasting no time making an entrance, the curtains opened to Ne-Yo singing "Champagne Life" from his new album, Libra Scale. He kept the crowd grooving as he went through his catalogue of hits from In My Own Words and Year of the Gentleman. He also took a moment to pay homage to hip-hop by doing a medley of songs he has been featured on from Fabolous ("Make Me Better"), Rick Ross ("Super High"), and Kanye West (Keri Hilson, "Knock You Down"). All in all, it was a great show and a perfect way for an R&B fan to spend Valentine’s Day.

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