Kanye West, The Life of Pablo

Kanye West – More Good Than Bad?

Musicians are complex people.  Being a musician personally, we beat to our own drum.  For some of us, keeping a steady beat seems to be near impossible.  Kanye West is one of those.  The man, regardless of personal opinions of him, is quite talented.  Most might be shocked to know that since 2000, he’s won a whopping 21 Grammys.  Also, he’s had “pop” success on the Billboard Hot 100 – that only happens every so often with rappers.

As science puts it, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  In the case of “Mr. West,” for every accomplishment, he seems to misstep.  Mainly, West’s mouth gets him into a world of trouble.  Taylor Swift is the biggest faux pas.  But there’s also former President George W. Bush, the infamous “Famous” video, and a near mishap with Beck.  Sigh – Mr. West is one of a kind.

You be the judge. Is Kanye West more good than bad? Is he the devil? Check out a full analysis – in list form – about West.  The link (via The Musical Hype)  is featured below. And if you haven’t checked out what all the Hype is about – do that!

In the latest edition of our column Pros & Cons, one of the music industry’s most polarizing musicians is profiled – Kanye “I Am a God” West. 13 more words

via Pros & Cons: Kanye West — The Musical Hype

Photo CreditG.O.O.D / Def Jam
Justin Bieber, What Do You Mean © Def Jam

Is Justin Bieber the Good Guy or the Bad Guy?

What’s the verdict on the polarizing Justin [Drew] Bieber? Do the pros outweigh the cons? On The Musical Hype, I have began a new series called Pros & Cons where I choose a musician and compile a list of the good and bad about the artist, whether it’s musical or not.  Who better to highlight the inauguration than the Biebz!

Justin Bieber is polarizing. Polarizing is a fitting characterization given the reactions he receives. We’re going to break down Bieber’s pros and cons! The post… 11 more words

via Pros & Cons: Justin Bieber — The Musical Hype

Photo credit: Def Jam
Justin Bieber, What Do You Mean © Def Jam

Justin Bieber – A Tale of ‘Indecent Exposure’

Justin Bieber, What Do You Mean © Def Jam

Justin Bieber can’t seem to win. The Canadian pop star has remained ubiquitous despite a quiet musical presence since dropping his last studio album, Believe in 2012. Unfortunately for Bieber, it seems that it’s no longer about the music but more about his persona and his actions. Sure, Bieber has used 2015 as something of an “apology tour” allowing himself to be roasted on Comedy Central, appearing on Ellen about his many shortcomings, and even releasing two hot songs (“Where Are Ü Now?” and “What Do You Mean?”), but he still can’t escape bad press.

Bieber’s latest impropriety is nudity, specifically his nether member being exposed to the world. Yes, J.B. sho’ nuff did let it all hang out, though to his credit not as an antic. In the past, this would seem like something Bieber might’ve done for attention – he did put his butt on instagram after all, not to mention his countless shirtless incidents. This time, it was the work of the paparazzi, focusing in on the Bieber jewels.

So, should J.B. get a pass on this one, considering the fact that the paparazzi will do anything to get a juicy celebrity photo? NO WAY JOSÉ! Why in the world is Bieber walking around with it all hanging out outside? That’s a bit much. Yeah, if you got it than flaunt it, but knowing you’re a ‘huge’ star and that you’re constantly followed by the paparazzi, aren’t you just asking for ‘indecent exposure?’

To each his own, but doesn’t nudity have a time and a place? Most people don’t just go around outside with their, um, stuff hanging out. “Naked swim?” Please! Kudos to Bieber being confortable in his birthday suit, but still…like Oprah once said, “What was [he] thinking? L.A.F – lame as f…

Miley Cyrus, BANGERZ © RCA

The Case Against Miley…

quick change selfie

A photo posted by Miley Cyrus (@mileycyrus) on

To say I have never been critical or judgmental of Miley Cyrus in the past would be a flat out lie – I’ve stated strong opinions towards Cyrus. Yes, that popular song about climbing a mountain (“The Climb”) irked me like no other, and don’t get me started about “Can’t Be Tamed” – Lordy, Lord!

A fan I won’t attest to be, but being a music critic, my goal is to judge every artist’s work as objectively and fairly as possible. That said, is it really ‘normal’ for anyone to be swinging naked from a wrecking ball or wearing ice cream in favor of a bra? That should be a big resounding “hell no” (to quote Cyrus).

Recently, via Starpulse, I laid out my 10 reasons Why Miley Cyrus Is A Hot Mess! Yes, Cyrus super fans will cast stones while others might be quick to call me square (I’m a liberal for heaven sakes), but, personally, I find Cyrus’ antics as ridiculous and unnecessary. Sure, she shocked with her promotion of BANGERZ, but after a while, shock value isn’t shocking, but rather annoying.

But to each his own, meaning anyone can make his or her own judgment about Cyrus. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, I’m quite open-minded, but still, I’m not sure I’m onboard with Cyrus hypersexual behavior – it’s a bit much.

Justin Bieber, Believe © Island

Bieber’s Tasteless Strip Tease Atones For Nada!

Justin Bieber’s recent skit gave everyone very little to BELIEB in… except for intense workouts at the gym.

Justin Bieber continues to give people plenty of reasons to dislike him. One of his more recent faux pas came by way of the Fashion Rocks event on CBS. Personally, I didn’t partake of the special in it’s fullest, but just happened upon arguably the worst moment of the broadcast. One dumb Bieber managed to make his way to the stage. The moment was made better by the boos for the 20-year old Canadian, who isn’t Mr. Popular in many a person’s book. But would some boos hold back Bieber at this point of his completely tarnished career? Of course not – nothing stops an invincible, cocky and privileged 20-year old who think he’s God’s gift.

What Bieber did next was something that made tools all over the world cringe. He put on a strip show for all to see. Yes, as if we hadn’t been privy enough already to Bieber’s abs and tats, we were bestowed upon the gift of Calvin Klein Boxer Briefs, not to mention some thigh action (*rolls eyes). Maybe this sounds appealing to you if you are a fan of Bieber pulchritude, but hotness doesn’t atone for irresponsibility, being a douche, or a general lack of regard for others.

Folks, no strip tease atones for the fact that Justin Bieber sucks. And don’t play the age/rebellious card – there are plenty of 20-years old that act with more maturity and tact than Bieber, who’s frankly a hot mess. Sure, we’d rather here about Bieber stripping than potentially killing someone by driving recklessly or high like an idiot, but still, it’s not a good look… morally of course.

Justin Bieber performs live in concert as part of his 'Believe Tour' at the Jos Miguel Agrelot Coliseum Carolina 10/20/2013 © WENN

Opinion: Why Bieber’s ‘Distasteful’, ‘Racist’ Joke Doesn’t Faze Me

Justin Bieber performs live in concert as part of his 'Believe Tour' at the Jos Miguel Agrelot Coliseum Carolina 10/20/2013 © WENN
Justin Bieber performs live in concert as part of his ‘Believe Tour’ at the Jos Miguel Agrelot Coliseum
Carolina 10/20/2013

At this point, I’m not fazed by anything that Canadian pop star Justin Bieber says or does. The allure of covering Bieber’s every mistake, feeding the monster’s celebrity even more sort of faded. I spent 2013 analyzing the missteps, the inexperience at life, and that horrid Believe Acoustic LP and it was exhausting! It’s sort of like Bieber’s career right now – there’s nothing worthy to note at this point. In other words, I.D.G.A.F. (insert another “F” for extra emphasis). That said, it has been a minute since Bieber got some ‘love’ from me. So maybe a five-year old video of an immature 15-year old making a racist joke caught on camera is worthy of my time … not really, but I’ll go with it.

So basically, Bieber decided to flex his then 15-year old comedic muscles by making a joke that was nowhere near funny using the n-word (“run n-” – yeah I count even have to finish it). I’m personally not a fan of the word in any form, and normally I’d be angry and perhaps a bit offended. This time, however, I’m unfazed. As mentioned previously, I’m no longer shocked by anything Justin Bieber has or will do. Perhaps if I had a more favorable view of Bieber as a person than I do currently, I might be disappointed in him. However, Bieber’s horrendous growing pains have shown everyone that there is no reason to be disappointed; Bieber is/was “No Angel” (Dido). Bieber’s reputation has been tarnished for a while; this definitely wouldn’t be and isn’t the “end all, be all”. I’d even go so far as to say, he’s done worse things than this.

The second reason I’m less affected by this ignorance is that this was recorded five years ago. TMZ has had the tape in possession since it happened, but wouldn’t release it given the pop star’s age at the time. While I don’t put much past Bieber these days and while I also believe Bieber has a lot of growing up to do, I would HOPE this would be something Bieber wouldn’t do at 20 years old, particularly given the crew he rolls with. No I’m by no means defending him or the ignorance he stated, but at this point, I’m “Over It” – Katherine McPhee. I’m more interested in that weed video with One Direction – just saying!

Artistic Foolishness on April Fools Day 

Miley Cyrus-20140221-7

Sigh, sometimes even the biggest artists make some of the most foolish decisions during their careers.  2014 hasn’t been shy of stupid choices from today’s musicians.  There have been enough missteps to make one roll their eyes or simply shake there heads.  What better way to ring in April, specifically April ‘Fools’ Day then to examine artist’s moments of shame?  Here are four examples of foolishness that make me SMH.

#1:  Justin Bieber’s Every Move

Justin Bieber2-20131021-53Salvaging a successful career initially characterized by its cleanliness continues to become more and more distant for one Justin Bieber.  If 2014 was thought to be a year of mature growth and redirection for Bieber, it has been more of a repeat of 2013, only much more extreme.  An artist who once thanked “God” and “Jesus” during an acceptance speech seems to have completely given into devilish intentions as of late.  Too much noise continues to tarnish the Biebz’s image and definitely does nothing for delivering new music or truly establishing his artistic niche in his twenties.  Additionally, the crowd the pop star chooses to hang with is questionable at best. Music seems the furthest thing from the artist’s mind at this point.

 #2: Chief Keef’s ‘I.D.G.A.F.’ Attitude

Chief Keef-20121023-77Chief Keef is utter foolishness exemplified…I’m convinced that Chief Keef is going to destroy his own career pretty early on.  He truly doesn’t give a buck.  I’m no fortuneteller, but all indications would predict this given the irresponsible and rebellious tone of his music in addition to his highly publicized personal issues at such a young age.  Songs like “I Don’t Like”, “Hate Being Sober” and the most recent “F*ck Rehab” certainly are neither positive nor redeeming, showcasing an artist who’s incredibly immature and irresponsible.  Keef definitely means what he raps about, but perhaps he should choose both better lyrical choices and be mindful of his actions (“actions speak louder than words”).

#3: Miley Cyrus… Enough Said

Miley Cyrus2-20140221-6Miley Cyrus is one of a kind – that’s an understatement.  Ole girl took artist transformation to a new level in 2013 and never looked back.  Maybe she should have… Personally, reinventing yourself is no sin or crime in the least – its making yourself relevant to gain a bigger and broader fan base.  That said, isn’t there a limit to the reinvention that separates it from utter foolishness?  Doesn’t shock value have a short leash before it grows incredibly annoying and in bad taste? “Wrecking Ball” wasn’t a shocking song in itself last year, but Cyrus opting for being nude on the wrecking ball was.  This year, “Adore You” takes the prize, with Cyrus going so far as to touch herself, to put it kindly.  Of course, there’s been all the stories of blunts, tongue action, viral prom date videos, etc.  Foolishness – definitely!

#4: Reality Singing Competitions

Candice Glover2-20140214-115The biggest reality television enthusiast (myself) has lost interest in reality singing competitions, so much so that I’ve avoided both American Idol and The Voice.  And let me just say, I feel like a tremendous burden has been released! With X Factor already booted, how far behind are the rest? American Idol has proven that a viable music career can be built from success on a television show (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood among others), but it has also shown that it doesn’t consistently happen (Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, and Candice Glover).  For every triumph on Idol, what about the disgruntled Idol contestant that didn’t taste that same slice of success? Then for every success, what about those who only got 15 minutes and no more?

The Voice at this point is arguably the more entertaining show of the two given Adam Levine and Blake Shelton’s inseparable ‘bromance’, but aside from an okay opening week from victor Cassadee Pope, the commercial success is missing big time.   Entertaining these shows can be to an extent, aren’t they just toying with potential artists, who might benefit more with a different approach to achieving their shot? Foolishness – YEP!

Heartbreak City: It’s The End For Robin Thicke and Paula Patton

Paula Patton Robin Thicke-AES-123457

Speaking from the perspective of a bachelor, being single isn’t too bad.  Sure, you get lonely sometimes, and you may not have someone to share your innermost secrets with but – yeah being single can suck! For those who have found their soul mate (cue the late-great Gerald LeVert’s song “Soul Mate” please), better yet their wife or husband, marriage, if approached equally from both sides, certainly should be the most wonderful thing, like ever… EVER!  I wouldn’t know mind you, but I imagine if I were to find the right gal, were to “put a ring on it” (sings “Single Ladies”), a brother would have it M.A.D.E. Scareface album from 2007.  Sigh, “all this love talk”…. Oops, one of my own lyrics. LOL.

But enough chitter-chattering from moi about hopeless romanticism and emo-love – “ain’t nobody got time for that!” (any number of sources, be it the viral video, Childish Gambino, or otherwise). I’m not usually one to even give a celebrity split the time of day unless its one of Taylor Swift’s endless breakups that turns into an annoyingly-delicious country/pop song (“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, “I Knew You Were Trouble.”, “Dear John”) or of course Justin Bieber.  However, after having such a big year, I can’t leave my boy Robin Thicke out of the gossip – err news.  The news that broke recently was that Robin Thicke and teenage sweetheart Paula Patton are separating following eight years of marriage and being linked together for what, two decades?

Well, we all know that relationships in “Hollywood” (regardless if that’s where they actually take place) are usually short-lived.  But for a while, it seemed Thicke and Patton seemed to work.  As of yet, there are no concrete details on the reasons for the break-up and honestly, and its really none of our business.  That said, much has been said about Thicke’s ‘behavior’ and no that doesn’t completely lay blame nor completely neglect that god-awful, abysmal, and ill-fitting Beetlejuice suit that was violated by Miley Cyrus’ more horrific twerking at the MTV VMAs.  JUST SAYING – It really didn’t help that Cyrus really “won’t stop” and “can’t stop” when she really, really NEEDS TO [BLEEP] STOP! Sigh! Apparently, Mr. Thicke seems to “get around”.  Again, speculation and gossip are horrid things, but one has to wonder, did a potentially “Unfaithful” Robin Thicke drive Patton crazy, making her feel undervalued? Did you catch the Rihanna song reference?

Here’s a “slow motion” version of Miley’s infamous VMAs performance for your enjoyment… or torture.

Then again, one has to question the incredibly controversial “Blurred Lines” and its effect.  Not only was the song raunchy regardless of what he and Pharrell intended, but the video was X-rated.   Yeah men enjoyed it – why wouldn’t they? But ask most married men if their wives would be okay with them filming a music video with nude women? That would be grounds for break-up or divorce for many right there, I can assure you and I ain’t put a ring on no one’s finger!  If the nude females didn’t do it, perhaps the reference to the size of the “crown jewels” would truly be the last straw… If you don’t catch my drift, well watch “Blurred Lines” again for yourself.

Sure, “Blurred Lines” was the biggest hit of Thicke’s career, trumping his more chivalrous “Lost Without U” from 2006 (The Evolution of Robin Thicke).   “Lost Without U” could be argued to be the better song of the two because of messaging, but it only made it into the top twenty.  “Blurred Lines” was the gift that just kept on giving, through theft charges, misogyny, and general bad taste.  The voters at the Recording Academy knew they couldn’t even reward the juggernaut – it’s lack of substance, despite its addictiveness, was just in “bad taste”.  No song references here, sorry!

Robin Thicke-AES-123459Did “Blurred Lines” destroy the Thicke marriage? Likely not, but for as much success as Thicke had after a lengthy career in the period of one year (2013), there has been an equal amount of controversy.  It was once said that “controversy sells”.  While it does to an extent, when does controversy become too much? Same could be said with marriage.  With whatever problem that arises, where is the breaking point? I mean, Keri Hilson said “Every women has a breaking point y’all…” (I think this was before she threw shade at Beyoncé).  When does a spouse’s bad decisions reach past the point of repair and too damaging to patch up?  Being the positive being I am, I hope that Thicke and Patton can one day work out their differences (Yep cue up “We Can Work It Out” by The Beatles) whatever they may be, but as of now, they are “Done.” – The Band Perry.  Go ahead and give me kudos for my country music reference.  Peace peeps!

BTW, in all seriousness, separation and divorce is no laughing matter.  But I think that many truly perceptive pop culture fanatics could tell something just wasn’t right…

Justin Bieber’s Been Arrested…More Drama For The Pop Star

Justin Bieber-IHA-020658

Last year around Grammys time, it seemed a snubbed Justin Bieber did everything in his power to put the attention on himself.  This year, prior to the Grammys, Bieber has attention on himself, but it makes his staged publicity stunts last year look pretty tame.  After more than a year of horrid, utterly ridiculous and irresponsible behavior, the 19-year old pop star has been arrested for possible drag racing and DUI. At the rate that the singer is going, things are looking just plain awful for Bieber.  First it was egg-throwing, now its driving while being wasted and racing.  SMH!

As I’ve alluded to several times following Bieber’s career, particularly as of late, his focus seems to have completely shifted from music to excess.  The music seems to be taken for granted by the pop star, who with new found cockiness, seems to be more concerned about being a bad boy of sorts. Shirtless instagram photos are one thing, as are tattoos, but a 19-year old who has been viewed as something of a role model and heartthrob for very young fans getting arrested for DUI and even more dumbly for drag racing is troublesome.  It’s more troublesome because at 19, Bieber shouldn’t be so entangled in such adult matters.  There’s adults who have never been entangled in such ‘adult matters’ as Bieber finds himself.

Justin Bieber2-20131021-53I’m no Justin Bieber fan, but I knew he was going to blow up when I first began following his career.  Somewhere along the line, fame and its privileges have truly ruined him.  After the turbulent year of ‘growing pains’ Bieber experienced in 2013, you’d think that the man Bieber claims to be would actually begin to show in his actions and the decisions he makes.  Instead, much like last year, things seem to be crumbling apart for Bieber, and that ‘crumbling’ is more extreme than last year.  Bieber holds the deck of cards, but they way he plays them determines where he goes not only as an artist and pop cultural phenomenon, but also how he ultimately ends up as a person.  At this point, it is safe to say, regardless of what comes of this arrest/charges, Justin Bieber needs help before he goes “a bridge too far.”

Justin Bieber Continues Down A Rocky Path… One Year Later

Justin Bieber-IHA-020658

After a mixed 2013 (arguably sporting very little ‘swaggy’), Justin Bieber begins 2014 with a bang.  Like the majority of headlines in 2013, 2014’s headline could result in the pop star’s biggest faux pas yet.  Sure, as appalling as it was, it was funny to see Bieber grow so intense last year at the paparazzi, threatening to “f**king beat the f**k out of you,” but the present incident really is douche bag move.  Bieber, being the mature and sensible 19-year old that he is, apparently egged his neighbor’s house.  Real mature Justin, real mature.  Unsurprisingly, the rebellious Canadian pop star cursed out his neighbor (of course the f-bomb) and seemed proud of his actions.  Honestly, he’s the only one that seems to be impressed.

Justin b2-20131219-9Much like my critical posts last year about the star who suffering from the tremendous growing pains, it seems that Bieber’s privilege could one day potentially be his undoing.  For most of us who consider Bieber’s behavior to be completely unchecked and out of control, we hope it is sooner than later.   That may sound harsh or hateful, but someone or something is going to have to check this irresponsible Bieber and give him a true reality check. If Bieber previously came over as this humble, innocent kid patterning his musical style and career after Usher, he now comes over as a complete a-hole.  Regardless how he felt about his neighbors or what his intents were, Bieber made a very dumb decision to vandalize someone else’s property and seems to show no interest in taking responsibility.

Musically, I’ll admit I have criticisms of Bieber – many critics do.  But, much like last year, it seems that Bieber is once more going to let his turbulent personal life overtake his music.  Last year, the approach certainly didn’t buy the singer new fans.  Whether this egging incident is part of Bieber’s desire for attention, a stupid childish prank, or a mix of both, this has nothing to with Bieber’s artistry.  For someone who previously stated he should be taken serious as an artist, perhaps Bieber should begin living up to his words and focus on his craft, not doing dumb things that detract and distract.  Biebz – time to cut the crap and be a ‘real man’, not a wannabe.