TAX ON TAX ON TAX
If there’s one thing all Americans likely understand in some cursory manner about Mitt Romney, beyond the matter of his religion, it’s that something is curious about the way he pays his taxes. Most Americans, for example, don’t have dealings with shell corporations in the Cayman Islands. Also, in the circumstance that they’re asked for their tax returns, most Americans usually don’t have a choice as to whether or not they’re going to produce them. But as of yet, the Republican candidate for the highest office in the land hasn’t exactly seen his tax returns become a matter of interest within pop culture. Until now.
It was bound to happen: Jay-Z’s comments about Occupy Wall Street in the recent T Magazine profile of the rapper/entrepreneur (written by novelist Zadie Smith), found their way to the Occupy movement itself. And as they were no doubt going to do, they’ve stirred up a bit of a media tempest.
Even as Madonna brings her world tour to Yankee Stadium for shows on September 6 and 8, longtime fans will have a sneaking suspicion that she’s already sung her swan song.
Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt—one of most popular crew members along with Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean (according to The New Yorker)—is getting ready to start laying down tracks on his next album. And the list of artists he plans on working with is very odd indeed.
In what will be the second biggest Bob Dylan-related news item this week, the 71-year-old premiered a new track from his upcoming album Tempest during a preview for Cinemax’s post-24 counter-terrorism show, Strike Back.
And again, we cue the HAS BUZZFEED HIRED ANYONE NEW TODAY Tumblr. Jonah Peretti’s Iowa Writers Workshop for People Who Love Videos of Domesticated Animals Stuck in Boxes has hired its first music editor.
Things There Should Be Draconian Punishments For
Jay-Z might be from Brooklyn—and may season his songs with references to the borough liberally, not including his memorable Reasonable Doubt duet with The Notorious B.I.G., “Brooklyn’s Finest”—but does anybody remember the last time he played a proper concert there? Odds are, unless you’re an obsessive who tracks his every movement—or a Phish fan—you may not.
Fear not, though. The modest opening of the Barclays Center (the new home of the NBA’s Nets, of which, Jay-Z is an investor) will now shove this seemingly arbitrary but actually earth-shatteringly important query into irrelevance, as Jay-Z will not be playing one, or two, but three shows to open the new stadium, this September.
REMARKS WERE MADE
Unless you’re seeing a concert in a stadium, getting a good sight-line is hard enough as it stands: Unless you are tall-folk, you’re trying to see over the head of front-row tall folk. And if it’s not tall (or taller) folk—now that nearly everyone’s cell phone has a halfway decent camera affixed to it as a standard feature—it’s their phones. And if it’s not tall people’s phones, it’s everyone else’s phones. Because cell phones are now as standard a live music fixture as overpriced drinks and that high-pitched “eeeeeeeeee” sound of your hearing dying. And the desire to Instagram or Facebook or Tumblr a moment at a concert from one’s phone is—as going to pretty much any concert in 2012 will demonstrate—apparently insatiable. And we, as a people—or at least, the people of some respectably metropolitan cities—are better than that.
Or so one club would like to think.
On Sunday, New York City’s world-famous hip hop radio station, Hot 97, held their yearly Summer Jam concert. Earlier that day, one of the station’s DJs, Peter Rosenberg, decried the oeuvre of Summer Jam headliner Nicki Minaj while introducing another act, Kendrick Lamar. His charge was about Minaj’s recent single, which has a decidedly pop-oriented slant to it: ”We’re all about that real hip-hop, not ‘Starships.’”
Adam Yauch, a founding member of the Beastie Boys—otherwise known as “MCA”—died today in his native New York City after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was a crucial component in the rise of hip hop as a culture and rap as an art form, and instrumental in the group’s transition: from their early days as a punk outfit and then a brash and belligerent party-rap act, to one of the most sonically deft acts in the history of contemporary music. Never content to rest on their laurels, the Beastie Boys always surprised their listeners, contemporaries, and critics with each subsequent musical course they charted. Yauch’s influence on the lasting relevance of the Beastie Boys, their evolution, and their cultural purview can’t be overstated.