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  • B.B. King Estate Denies Upcoming Film is a Biopic, Eyes Kenan Thompson…
    The late bluesman’s estate throws a wrench into the recent reveal of a film about the icon’s life. It appears Wendell Pierce may have jumped the gun (again) in announcing he was set to star as the late B.B. King in an upcoming biopic treatment. According to TMZ, King’s estate is denying the film is a biopic. And moreover, that Pierce has not been approved, regardless of his they end up classifying it. “I think Mr. Pierce misspoke,” says Vassal Benford, the chairman of King’s estate who challenged Pierce’s claim that he was cast as the late bluesman in a film about King’s life. Benford insisted the estate was still considering actors to play King in the film, naming Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson as a contender for the role. All of this, of course, throws a massive wrench in the recent reveal that a big-screen project centered on the iconic bluesman had been reborn after nearly a decade of delays, a failed Kickstarter campaign, and a lawsuit from King estate that spurred a title change. Originally announced in 2011, The Thrill is On (fka B.B. King & I,) was to tell the story of King’s relationship with drummer Michael Zanetis, who is directing the film. However, King’s estate filed a cease-and-desist order against Zanetis in the following year, insisting King’s name be removed from the title. Zanetis countersued, but clearly was unable to best the estate, despite claiming that both he and Pierce received the King’s blessing on the film before his passing in 2015. In the days after his announcement of the film’s revival, Pierce walked back some of his initial enthusiasm. “The Estate of [B.B. King] has requested I clarify the film THE THRILL IS ON is not a biopic in the traditional sense. It is a dramatized version of a real-life friendship story in the spirit of the film ROUND MIDNIGHT,” Pierce wrote in a follow-up tweet on Thursday (see below.) Clearly, nobody’s on the same page here. Hold tight for updates on the project as things get sorted in the weeks and months ahead. The Estate of BB King has requested I clarify the film THE THRILL IS ON is not a biopic in the traditional sense. It is a dramatized version of a real-life friendship story in the spirit of the film ROUND MIDNIGHT. The friendship of 2 musicians, one being the King of the Blues. — Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) October 22, 2020 The post B.B. King Estate Denies Upcoming Film is a Biopic, Eyes Kenan Thompson… appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • NYPD Suspends Officer for Blaring “Trump 2020” On Loudspeaker While On Duty
    The incident took place in Flatbush late Saturday night. The NYPD moved swiftly to suspend a Brooklyn officer who was caught on video using a police car’s loudspeaker to blare “Trump 2020” while on patrol. According to ABC7, the officer was spotted parked on a corner in the Flatbush section of South Brooklyn on the first day of early voting in the borough. An investigation was launched after a video of the incident was posted early this morning (see below.) The clip has since gone viral, showing, from multiple angles, the officer proudly brandishing his political endorsement over his van’s bullhorn and teasing a passerby to “take a picture, take video,” before suggesting they “have some fun with it.” The officer then called the pedestrian a “tough guy” as they walked off. Police officer in Brooklyn uses a loudspeaker to say “Trump 2020” while on the job — Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) October 25, 2020 As it began making the rounds on Sunday, the NYPD addressed the video in a tweet, announcing a probe into the conduct. And on Sunday afternoon, the police department revealed the officer had been suspended without pay. “When you wear our uniform it is imperative to remain apolitical,” said Chief of Department Terence Monahan on Twitter. “Behavior like this will not be tolerated and will be dealt with, Monahan added. Those sentiments were echoed by NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio. “Let me be clear: ANY NYPD Officer pushing ANY political agenda while on duty will face consequences,” the mayor wrote in a tweet on Sunday morning. The clip is just the latest of the city’s police escalating tensions as early voting commences across the boroughs. Another video that circulated on Saturday shows officers confiscating a table and materials from outside of a voting site in Red Hook where activists were distributing PPE and fliers to voters. The department’s responded to that video by claiming the activists refused to comply with election rules after being repeatedly asked to relocate their table to a suitable area. The post NYPD Suspends Officer for Blaring “Trump 2020” On Loudspeaker While On Duty appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • Watch H.E.R. Debut New Song “Hold On” in Electrifying ‘SNL’ Performance
    The rising R&B star set Studio 8H ablaze with a searing set. Never one to waste a high-profile set, H.E.R.‘s Saturday Night Live debut was politically-edged and potently-purple in all of the right ways. Co-starring as musical guest in an episode hosted by Adele, the rising R&B star hit Studio 8H twice over the course of the show. With her first outing, the singer blaze through her recently-released late-night crawl, “Damage.” For the second round, H.E.R. hit the stage against a royal purple glow. Backed by a full band donning black t-shirts reading #ENDSARS, the singer strapped up her signature iridescent axe to premiere the new single “Hold On” with a searing performance that leaned into very Paisley terrain, capping the ballad with a blistering solo. The closing set served as the latest act of solidarity with activists in Nigeria protesting against the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit, which has been indiscriminately opening fire on peaceful protestors for weeks now. “Hold On” was released on digital streaming platforms immediately following the performance. The rest of the show wasn’t nearly as charged. After two stints as musical guest, Adele’s hosting debut was a pretty light affair. The show’s cold open took a swing at the final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, flipping their slightly more composed bout into a drinking game with Maya Rudolph taking the week off as Kamala Harris to portray the night’s moderator, Kristen Welker. The pop star’s monologue offered an update on her next project and expressed her reluctance to perform without a completed album in the bag. She appeared in a number of skits, including a pair of digital shorts, one of which shared the screen with Rudolph in an ad for a pair of scented jeans. Watch H.E.R. close Saturday Night Live with an electrifying performance above and stream “Hold On” via Spotify below.  The post Watch H.E.R. Debut New Song “Hold On” in Electrifying ‘SNL’ Performance appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • The Alchemist Shares New Album ‘The Food Villain’ ft. Action Bronson and…
    The producer celebrates his 43rd birthday with the release of his second solo project of the month. Keeping at a remarkable clip, The Alchemist has released his new album, The Food Villain, today. Announced a few weeks back with a glimpse at the project’s accompanying coloring book (illustrated by E$,) the 16-track (mostly) instrumental project features a batch of lethal loops with snippets from his culinary escapades on Action Bronson‘s Fuck, That’s Delicious stitched into the mix. Bronson and Fuck, That’s Delicious co-star, Big Body Bes, contribute the project’s lone bars (though, even those are sparse.) The Food Villain arrives in digital, CD, and three separate vinyl packages; a standard black wax pressing, a cherry red edition with an OBI strip on the cover (limited to 600 copies,) and a lime wax issue with the OBI strip and a signed poster (limited to just 400 copies.) All three vinyl packages are available to purchase on Alchemist’s site, along with the project’s coloring book and an extensive line of merch, including tees, longsleeves, hoodies, tapes, ashtrays, and yes, even a onesie. Alc’s new album extends the year’s most impressive streak from a producer, following his experimental beat tape, A Doctor, Painter, & An Alchemist Walk into a Bar, and three, collaborative projects that set the bar for the year, linking with Freddie Gibbs on the surprise joint album, Alfredo, Boldy James on The Price of Tea in China, and Conway The Machine on the brief, but highly-potent, LULU EP. The producer also contributed production to standout projects from Westside Gunn (WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE? and Pray For Paris,) Action Bronson (Only For Dolphins,) and Jay Electronica (A Written Testimony.) Hear Alchemist’s new album, The Food Villain, below. Hold tight for his next transmission. At this rate, it won’t be too long now.      The post The Alchemist Shares New Album ‘The Food Villain’ ft. Action Bronson and… appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • Jeezy and T.I. Will Face-Off in The Season Two Premiere of VerzuzJeezy and T.I. Will Face-Off in The Season Two Premiere of Verzuz
    A pair of Atlanta hitmakers will square up in the first installment of the livestream series’ new season. After nearly two months on hiatus, the second season of Verzuz is officially in the book. And the first contenders have been revealed. Announced via Twitter this evening (see below,) the livestream series will return with T.I. and Jeezy facing off in the season two premiere on November 19th at 8pm EST/5pm PST via Instagram Live and Apple Music. The Atlanta hitmakers’ run follows the season 1 finale, featuring a matchup between r&b legends Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight in September. As has been the case for all Verzuz bouts, their showdown on the live platform led to big gains in plays, each securing the highest streaming numbers of their careers in the week following. T.I. and Jeezy are an equally logical pairing given their common origins. But it was only a few days ago that Busta Rhymes challenged T.I. to a Verzuz round. However, the “Rubberband Man” rapper turned down the invitation, citing the distance between their respective eras in rap. “I salute and respect Busta a whole lot. I just think the generational gap might be just a little too much. Actually, Busta and Fat Joe wouldn’t be bad,” T.I. said in an Instagram Live video. Hold tight for the season two premiere of Verzuz in the weeks ahead and keep your ear to the ground for updates on who will go hit-for-hit in subsequent episodes. #VERZUZ is back with Season 2 T.I. vs Jeezy Let the celebrations begin Thursday, November 19th, 5PM PT/8PM ET. Watch it on our IG or in HD on @AppleMusic. Drinks by @CIROC. — Verzuz (@verzuzonline) October 24, 2020 The post Jeezy and T.I. Will Face-Off in The Season Two Premiere of Verzuz appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • Hear The Wu-Tang Clan Blaze Madlib Beats on a New Mash-Up Tape
    Shaolin and the Beat Konducta meet in the mash-up multiverse. Wu-Tang Clan and Madlib are the latest rap legends to get the twist-up treatment on a new mixtape. Stitched together by producer Darko and posted earlier this week to Youtube, the aptly titled Madlib Invades The 36 Chambers project is just four tracks deep, threading a handful of the producer’s suites with a collection of verses from across the Shaolin continuum. Darko pairs RZA and GZA’s lines from DJ Muggs “Third World” with the Piñata standout, “Thuggin’,” Method Man’s bars from “Uh Huh” with the steel-toed synths of “Shitsville,” Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Biggie’s Fishscale collaboration, “3 Bricks,” with the murky Madvillainy gem, “Money Folder,” and Killah Priest’s “Cross My Heart” with a Beat Konducta rarity. It covers a ton of ground, but will surely inspire a few reruns. Madlib Invades The 36 Chambers is the second Wu-Tang-anchored mash-up to arrive in as many weeks, proving the boundless utility of the group’s material over the years (even if an IRL Madlib collaboration probably isn’t the book for the time being.) Another tape, Metal Chamber, from Korean producer, ALL4HIPHOP, set the group’s words against a collection of MF DOOM classics, spanning the rap villain’s entire career. In actual Madlib collaboration news, the producer is readying the release of a joint project, Pardon My French, with drummer and producer, Karriem Riggins, as the Jahari Massamba Unit. The first track from the project, “Les Jardins Esméraldins,” was shared earlier this week, teasing the highly-anticipated project between the longtime friends and accomplices with a full-breeze jazz instrumental. It’s out on November 27th as an exclusive drop for Record Store Day’s Black Friday installment in a standard and deluxe edition. You can pre-order your copy of the project via Rappcats today. Hear Darko’s Madlib Invades The 36 Chambers mixtape below and hold tight for his next transmission. The post Hear The Wu-Tang Clan Blaze Madlib Beats on a New Mash-Up Tape appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • Hear a Rare and Stunning Live Sun Ra Performance from 1977
    The cosmic jazz pioneer’s live show at New York City’s Storyville jazz club has landed on streamers. A rare and, frankly, stunning live Sun Ra performance from 1977 has entered the streaming ether. Recorded at New York City’s Storyville jazz club exactly 43 years ago today, the show was pressed to vinyl and released on the Italian label Horo the following year as Unity. But if you’re not trying to drop a bundle for an original pressing of the double-LP on Discogs (where a copy will run you anywhere between $115 and $290 depending on the condition,) the remastered audio is a damn-good alternative. For the performance, the cosmic jazz giant is joined by the full Arkestra, who packed into the now-shuttered 200-seat club opened by Newport Jazz Festival founder, George Wein, in 1976 as a successor to his Boston jazz outpost. Their set pivots hard from the winding, improv-heavy arrangements the group and its far-out frontman had grown notorious for by 1977. Instead of the avant-garde, Sun and the band run through some of their original compositions, but lean on a handful of standards, recalibrating the timeless work of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Jack King, and Rodgers-Hammerstein, in a swing-loaded and era-blurring hour-and-a-half performance. Unity arrives on the heels of a year ripe with Sun Ra reissues and unearthed recordings, including both volumes of The Solar Myth Approach, the 1970 live show released in two parts as Nuits De La Fondation Maeght, and the entrancing 1980 solo performance at Haverford College, which previously made the rounds as a sought after bootleg before it was officially released this year. Hear Sun Ra and The Arkestra rework the arrangements of jazz royalty on Unity below. Hold tight for more archival excavations to surface in the weeks and months ahead. At this rate, another drop should be arriving any moment now. The post Hear a Rare and Stunning Live Sun Ra Performance from 1977 appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • Michelle Obama Shares Voting Playlist ft. Blackstar, The Roots, and More
    The former First Lady unveils a soundtrack to take you to and from the booth on Election Day. Michelle Obama is ramping up her voter engagement efforts with a curated score to your Election Day outing. On Friday, the former First Lady shared a playlist of hand-picked hip-hop classics she believes “best embodies the importance of voting,” according to Rock The Bells, who partnered with Obama to present the playlist. The sequence features songs from The Roots, Blackstar, Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, and more, flaunting not just her rap savvy, but an uncanny taste for hip-hop of all eras. The playlist arrives with just 10 days until the presidential election, as voter initiatives take on new urgency to unseat Donald Trump and ensure former VP Joe Biden is his successor to the oval office. In recent weeks, the Obamas have been doubling and tripling down on the campaign trail, advocating for Biden’s campaign and endorsing down-ballot candidates. And while Barack has only recently decided to pull the gloves off, the First Lady has been throwing punches at Trump for months now. “What the president is doing is, once again, patently false, it’s morally wrong, and, yes, it is racist,” Obama flatly said in a recorded message for Biden’s Youtube page. You can see Michelle Obama’s voting playlist below. For those eager to jump in the booth and just get it over with, early in-person voting is already underway in many states. Head over to to find out where you can cast your ballot today.   View this post on Instagram   #RockTheBells partnered with our Forever First Lady, @michelleobama, to highlight classic Hip-Hop songs she believes best embodies the importance of voting. Which is your top track from her voting soundtrack? #whenweallvote A post shared by ROCK THE BELLS (@rockthebells) on Oct 23, 2020 at 10:08am PDT The post Michelle Obama Shares Voting Playlist ft. Blackstar, The Roots, and More appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • Joe Biden Ad Featuring Beastie Boys Removed Amidst Harassment From Trump Supporters
    The Beastie Boys recently licensed their music to a Joe Biden campaign ad. A recent ad for Joe Biden‘s campaign has been removed from the Internet after the owner of a Michigan bar received continued harassment from Trump supporters. The ad was a historic moment for the Beastie Boys. The group, which had never licensed their music for use in an advertisement before, finally lent a song out to the campaign. The ad featured “Sabotage,” and focused on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the live music industry. Joe Malcoun, who owns the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan, blamed the bar’s shutdown on Donald Trump’s response to the public health crisis. Bill Russo, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told the New York Times that Malcoun and his family were “doxxed, harassed, and threatened after the Trump campaign has sought to smear [Malcoun].” “This is the reality of Trump’s COVID response,” Malcoun said. “We don’t know how much longer we can survive without any revenue. A lot of restaurants and bars that have been mainstays for years will not make it through this. This is Donald Trump’s economy: There is no plan and you don’t know how to go forward. It makes me so angry. My only hope for my family and for this business and my community is that Joe Biden wins this election.” “Sabotage” plays towards the last third of the ad, as Biden and Kamala Harris appear on-screen. Previously, the late Adam Yauch put in his will that music he was involved in creating couldn’t be used for product advertising. Over the years, the Beastie Boys have sued Monster Energy and GoldieBox for unauthorized use of their music. However, they did allow the use of “Sabotage” in trailers for Star Trek and the video game Destiny 2. According to a Biden campaign spokesperson, the group agreed to the song’s use “because of the importance of the election.” The post Joe Biden Ad Featuring Beastie Boys Removed Amidst Harassment From Trump Supporters appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
  • Spillage Village Take ‘Tiny Desk’ to Church with a Soulful Live Set
    The Dreamville supergroup hit the altar with a stirring four-song medley of selections from their 2020 album, Spilligion. NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series is broke out of the at-home format this week with an appearance from Spillage Village. Marking their debut with a four-song set, the Dreamville supergroup ran through stirring live renditions of four songs from their new album, Spilligion. With a massive band filling out the altar in a church, the performance commenced with “End of Daze,” which could double as a chopped and screwed edit of D’Angelo’s “Left & Right.” The show pushes forward with a fitting and fiery take on “Baptize,” before slipping into the twangy “Hapi,” and the pop-tinged album closer, “Jupiter.” The performance follows recent installments of Tiny Desk with Ozuna, Jhene Aiko, Oddisee, and Conway The Machine, spanning a range of venues, including a diner and various home, as well as actual, studio settings. Spillage Village broke out of obscurity at the tail-end of 2019 with a handful of contributions to Dreamville’s expansive compilation album, Revenge of The Dreamers III. Its individual members (consisting of EARTHGANG, Mereba, JID, Benji, 6LACK, and Hollywood JB,) have also had their most visible years to date with a slew of highly-praised studio albums and features. Watch Spillage Village take Tiny Desk to church with a soulful set above. Their new album, Spilligion, is out now via Dreamville/Interscope, featuring Ari Lennox, Lucky Daye, Big Rube, Ant Clemmons, and more.   The post Spillage Village Take ‘Tiny Desk’ to Church with a Soulful Live Set appeared first on Okayplayer. Read more »
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