Commentary: VMAs prove to be lackluster

As the MTV Video Music Awards started Thursday night at the Staples Center, the expected parade of beautifully groomed celebrities, the gleam of bright lights and the buzz surrounding the ceremony’s anticipated winners were all present.

Artist collaborations infuse dynamic firepower into rap genre

Many successful rap songs feature memorable guest appearances. What would Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” have sounded like without Alicia Keys? Or how would B.o.B’s smash hit “Airplanes” have fared without the assistance of Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams? The hip-hop genre is notorious for eccentric and unexpected, yet highly successful collaborations. They allow rap to […]

Live shows demand reversion to basics

If people are enjoying live performances nowadays, it might be for all the wrong reasons. Somewhere along the line, live performances have become more about theatrics than about vocal talent. In other words, what gets people talking now is cool dancing and light shows. It is, however, worth noting that lights, pyrotechnics and dancing are […]

Reviewing Chris Brown and Rihanna’s collaborations

Despite the unease that comes with saying this, it seemed like it was only a matter of time until Rihanna and Chris Brown were collaborating on good terms again in the music business. They each released a remix featuring the other on February 20th, Rihanna’s 24th birthday. The songs were Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake” from her album […]

BET Awards shines once again

Hip-hop is more than just rhyming raps, loaded lyrics, booming beats and mic-blowing MCs — it’s also a cultural community, which is celebrated every year at the BET Hip Hop Awards. This year’s pre-taped award show, which aired on BET Oct. 11, brought legends, moguls and newcomers in the game to Atlanta’s Boisfeuillet Jones Civic […]

Record Store Day spurs vinyl comeback

Saturday, April 17, 6:59 a.m.: A line of bleary-eyed yet eager shoppers snaked along the sidewalk adjacent to Fingerprints, an independently run music shop in the Belmont Shore section of Long Beach. The throng, a shoddy assortment of teenagers and adults donning jeans and sneakers, plaid button-downs and band T-shirts, was a somewhat unusual fixture […]