Megan Thee Stallion Turns Her ‘Hot Girl Summer’ Lifestyle Into A Banger With Nicki Minaj And Ty Dolla $ign

Hot girls, rejoice: the soundtrack to the rest of your summer is here.

Megan Thee Stallion‘s “Hot Girl Summer” arrived on Friday (August 9) after a week-long delay that she promised would be “worth the wait.” To absolutely no one’s surprise, she was completely right — Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign join her on the soon-to-be smash, the name of which has become an inescapable catchphrase, captioning thirst-inducing selfies the world over and providing a mantra for people’s no-fucks-given summer fun.

The song itself takes those self-empowerment vibes to hype levels, with the Houston rapper firing off instant quotables like, “Should I take your love? Should I take that dick?” Nicki comes through with an equally sizzling verse, and the ever-reliable Ty handles the hook, singing, “Hot girl summer so you know she got it lit.”

Speaking to The Root about the “hot girl summer” lifestyle, Megan explained, “It’s about women and men being unapologetically them, just having a good-ass time, hyping up their friends, doing you, not giving a damn about what nobody gotta say about it.”

“Hot Girl Summer” is Megan’s first solo release since her debut full-length, Fever. She also lent a buzzy feature Chance The Rapper’s album The Big Day, and joined Drake onstage at OVO Festival last weekend. Get into the new track in the video above, and enjoy the animated cover art, which features Megan and Nicki straddling a Hennessy bottle while surrounded by flames. As one does.

Katy Perry’s ‘Small Talk’ Is Here To Soundtrack Those Weird Run-Ins With Your Ex

Katy Perry‘s new single “Small Talk” is here, and from the sound of it, KP5 might be shaping up to be a breakup album for the ages.

The pop star kicked off her fifth album era in May with the heartbreak anthem “Never Really Over,” and “Small Talk” follows in the same vein, as Perry describes that universal awkwardness of interacting with an ex. “Isn’t it weird / That you’ve seen me naked / We had conversations about forever / Now it’s about the weather, okay,” she sings on the slow-building track, which was co-written by pop connoisseur Charlie Puth and features a hilariously brilliant “blah blah blah” bridge. “Had every inch of your skin / There’s nowhere your hands haven’t been / Ain’t it funny, ’cause now there’s nothing left but small talk.”

No sign yet of the track’s official music video, but the single did come with a cute (and Katy-less) lyric vid that chronicles an office romance gone sour. Check it out below.

“Small Talk” arrived on Friday (August 8) on the heels of a shocking verdict in the copyright case against Perry’s “Dark Horse.” It seems like it’s been a rough few weeks for the singer, but at least she’s fixing her focus on new music. And though the album has now been preceded by not one, but two breakup bops, she’s happily engaged to Orlando Bloom IRL, so it’s nice to see that art doesn’t necessarily imitate life.

Ed Sheeran Is Basically A Stranger Things Kid In His ‘Nothing On You’ Video

Ed Sheeran has been particularly generous with music videos in his No. 6 Collaborations Project era, and he returned with another one on Thursday (August 8).

This time, it’s “Nothing On You” — featuring London rapper Dave and Argentinian reggaeton star Paulo Londra — that’s gotten the visual treatment, and it appears Sheeran has been binging Stranger Things lately. How else can you explain these three basically becoming Lucas, Mike, and Will before our very eyes?!

The vid stars the three unlikely collaborators performing inside an abandoned building and taking a late-night bike ride through the streets of London. That nocturnal scenery perfectly fits the song’s futuristic beat and visceral lyrics about a one-night stand: “I got everything I need in this room / Smoke clouds and a scent of perfume,” Sheeran sings from the seat of his two-wheeler.

“Nothing On You” is the sixth video from Sheeran’s star-studded No. 6 album, which topped the charts for two weeks upon its arrival in July. Among the well-connected pop star’s other recent visuals are the Travis-Scott featuring “Antisocial” and the Justin Bieber-assisted “I Don’t Care,” which earned him a VMA nomination for Best Collaboration. Stay tuned to find out if Sheeran’s got more video tricks up his sleeve… he’s certainly been on a roll.

Big Sean Is The World’s Worst Speed Dater In New ‘Single Again’ Performance

One of the hardest things about becoming newly single is adjusting to the world and getting back into the swing of things. Time waits for no one. Big Sean‘s “Single Again” is a song that tackles this from the best possible vantage point: one that yes he’s single, but he’s okay. He performed the number on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night (August 7) and got creative with the show. Yes he’s single, and possibly still raw from a relationship, but what’s wrong with a little speed dating?

Big Sean’s donned the afro for his performance and the beard. He looked older and wiser because of his experiences, initially bathed in a shadow of a giant clock that wouldn’t stop spinning furiously. Time continues to move on, no matter what the circumstance. He then explores the stage set with a name tag on, determined to visit tow tables with a beautiful woman at each and find a suitor. He takes a rose from one table and ogles at the other, handing her the flower. The floor is then revealed to have hundreds of roses strewn across it, hinting that he’s been here before. Time stops here now that he comes to the realization that maybe he should just be single and refrain from dating. It’s time to explore himself and figure out just who he is.

Big Sean released “Single Again,” with supporting vocals from both Jhene Aiko and Ty Dolla $ign, in July along with his victorious return track, “Overtime.” Earlier this year, he revealed that he took some time off from music to focus on his mental health and that, upon returning, he is now making the best music of his life.

Watch Big Sean be a terrible speed dater in his performance of “Single Again” up above.

Ty Dolla $ign Performs A Warm, Moving Tribute To Mac Miller

August 8, 2018 was a great day. NPR uploaded Mac Miller‘s mesmerizing Tiny Desk performance where he played “Small Worlds,” “What’s The Use?” with Thundercat, and the particularly emotional “2009.” Exactly a year later, NPR has uploaded an epic tribute performance by Ty Dolla $ign, with Thundercat returning as well, to pay homage to the late rapper’s memory. The new five-minute performance of “Cinderella,” Miller’s 2016 collaboration with Ty Dolla $ign, was emotive and warm, led by the singer’s smooth delivery.

Ty Dolla $ign’s tribute was both thoughtful and touching. For starters, he brought the same supporting cast of performers to play that was also present in Miller’s show a year ago. Before the performance began, he had some words to say. “This for the bro Mac right here, man,” he said. “It’s been a year since that last show so I’m honored to be here and do this with my boys.” The sizzling guitars then began to crackle, leading into “Cinderella” kicking off. Ty Dolla $ign led the number with soft-spoken grace, often ceding control of the set to the raging guitars to his left and right. It was a magical moment in time, one which Ty Dolla $ign ended with a few more words Mac Miller’s family. “Shoutout to Mac’s family, shoutout to his parents, shoutout to his sister, I love yall. Shoutout to his fans,” he said while the guitars echoed into infinity.

Ty Dolla $ign recently appeared in the video for “Lies” with Schoolboy Q and YG. In May, he shared “Purple Emoji” with J. Cole.

Watch Ty Dolla $ign’s tribute to Mac Miller up above.

Bon Iver’s Shared Seven New Heartwarming Songs From Their Forthcoming Album

Bon Iver‘s new album i,i will be out on August 30. It’ll be thirteen tracks long and instead of drip-feeding a single or two ahead of its release, as per regular industry-standard, Bon Iver has released seven different songs today: “iMi,” “We,” “Naeem,” “Salem,” “Holyfields,” “Marion,” and “Sh’Diah.” That’s a lot of new music. And it gives a great look at what the album will sound like when it hits streaming services. Exploring these tracks is like trekking through different childhood memories. There’s warmth, chilling temperatures, rising dread, and unexplainable happiness.

“iMi” features James Blake, Aaron Dessner of the National and Big Red Machine, and others. It’s fuzzy and heartfelt with voices laid on voices, an evocative glimpse into the ethereal. Next comes “We” which sounds like the wind in a mountainous cavern. “Naeem” which features Bryan Dessner, Spank Rock, and others, is an early morning sun on the distant country horizon thanks to Vernon’s windy vocals. The witchy atmosphere of “Salem” is next, with its warm, bubbly techno-influenced setting. “Holyfields,” with Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and more, is blissfully naked and soul-stirring, amiable with floating vocals that stretch towards infinity. “Marion” is extremely simple and clean and begs to be played around campfires, with marshmallows impaled on sticks. Most recently, he released “Sh’Diah” that retains this warmth and innocence, transitioning from the campfire to the early morning sun, when preparing to go hiking by the river. Each release is a vastly different experience that warms the heart on occasions and invites a chilling feeling in other places, combining for a telling deep dive into Bon Iver’s forthcoming album. It’s going to be an LP about experiences of both warm and cold times.

Bon Iver previously released two tracks, “Hey Ma” and “U (Man Like),” in June that will appear on the forthcoming album. On August 31, a day after the LP drops, they will be heading out on tour in support of it.

Listen to Bon Iver’s seven new songs up above.

DAY6 Open Up About Insecurities, Inspiration, And Learning To Live Life In The Moment

“Five points if you know where that’s from,” vocalist and guitarist Jae tells me over the phone from a conference room in Seoul. It’s the kind of playful remark you’d expect from a 26-year-old raised on the Internet. And spoiler alert: I didn’t get the reference. (To be fair, our connection was a little spotty.) But I don’t need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of memes to understand DAY6, the Korean pop-rock quintet whose guitar riffs and dynamic melodies offer a piercing snapshot into young adulthood and all of its raw, earnest emotion.

Their most recent release, The Book of Us: Gravity, is a mix of genres, sounds, and sentimental lyrics from vocalist and bassist Young K (who’s a credited lyricist on all six tracks). It’s their brightest release today, tonally and melodically. Their energetic lead single “Time of Our Life” captures the exhilarating, heart-pounding feeling of a new romance — or, the start of a “beautiful page of youth,” sings honey-voiced keyboardist Wonpil. From the opening cymbals to the sweeping vocals to the wholesome melodies, the single is a prismatic manifestation of the clarity that comes with a bit of adult perspective. The message itself is uplifting and welcoming.

And while Sungjin, Jae, Young K, Wonpil, and Dowoon are starting a fresh page of their story, The Book of Us proves that you can’t forge ahead without reflecting on where you’ve been.

MTV News caught up with Jae and Young K following the release of the EP to talk about its bright, anthemic sound, their creative process, their insecurities, the book of their lives, and how their fans influenced the direction of the album.

MTV News: If there were a story of your life, what would the title of this chapter be? 

Jae: It would be called “Adjustment.” I’ve been in Korea for seven years, and at first, I did have a lot of difficulty. I still don’t know a lot of things, whether it’s about the language or the culture, even the humor here. Those things confuse me a lot, but I think I’m starting to understand. I’m starting to be able to genuinely and honestly laugh with people when they crack a joke. So, “Adjustment.”

Young K: My title is “Young K.” I’ve been Young K for about four years now. And I think it’s the great chapter of my life, but I honestly don’t know how long it’s going to go on for, and I’m still writing it down. So I guess this point of my life, the chapter would be called “Young K.”

MTV News: When do you feel most creative? 

Young K: At a place where it’s not too quiet. Like for example, [in] cafés with a lot of people. Or when there’s something going on in front of me.

MTV News: Do you often work out of coffee shops?

Young K: Yeah, I use coffee shops quite often. I try to get something from everyday life, so I tend to look around a lot — just when I’m living [my] daily life.

Jae: When I’m in my creative zone, I’m usually — this is really weird — but I always have a sad song on and that just kind of gets the gears going. I don’t know why, it just does.

MTV News: Is there like one sad song in particular you like or one that’s recently inspired you?

Jae: Lately, when I’ve had melody ideas or when I’m thinking of concepts or lines or lyrics or whatever, I’ve had on Post Malone’s “Stay.” I don’t know why, it just works.

MTV News: From an outsider’s perspective, the Every DAY6 part of your career seemed equal parts creatively fulfilling and somewhat exhausting, releasing two songs every month for a year. Did you feel burnt out by it? And how did you power through any creative blocks? 

Jae: Oh, man. Young K’s got stories for you.

Young K: I have? [Laughs] When the company confirmed that we were gonna do the Every DAY6 project, they said they were going to use a lot of the songs that we already wrote. None of the title songs got confirmed, though. So we had to write it again and again and, and by the third month I felt like I was out of it because we already wrote, like, 20 songs before the project started. So I already felt burned out.

Jae: Lyrically, he’s pretty much the main contributor of that whole Every DAY6 era. Melodically, I think the group in general — because we all top-line — we kind of came to a burn-out point around “Shoot Me” because we’d been writing on and off for about two-and-a-half, three years. We just ran out of juice. We started to see a repetition of very similar melodies. That’s where we came to a point where we were like, OK, we got to buckle down, we’ve got to study. We did that for a little bit, and it worked itself out.

MTV News: What do you do when you’re staring at a blank page? 

Young K: Lyrically, I tried reading books, but it didn’t work for me because I’m not a book lover so much. I read a lot of lyrics, and I tend to observe a lot when I’m living — for example, when it rains or when I look at the rain. How would this make someone feel? Or when I’m watching a couple talking in a loving way. I always try to look at a different point of view.

MTV News: On your latest album, The Book of Us: Gravity, each song is like a snapshot at a different stage of life or life experience. At what point after Remember Us did you start working on this next chapter? 

Jae: We’re always writing, so I don’t think the process ever stops for us.

Young K: And, to be honest, two of the tracks on this album were written a long time ago. “Wanna Go Back” was one of the songs that Jae and I were involved in a while ago. That was written for every taste. And “Cover” was written last year.

Jae: When we start writing, we don’t necessarily start from a point where we’re just like, OK, we need to make a song that sounds like this and it needs to talk about this. We’re curious guys, so wherever our curiosity leads just that day or that week, that’s the song that comes out.

MTV News: So for this album, it’s bright. It’s optimistic. How did you decide on that tone? 

Jae: One of the main contributing factors was the fact that during our world tour we were doing concerts and everyone was having fun and everyone was having a really good time, but we felt like maybe we were in need of more concert music. So, like, break points where everyone could just clap, where everyone could start jumping at the same time and scream out certain words. That’s one of the main points in how our album became what it is today. If you listen to “Best Part” or even our title song [“Time of Our Life”], it’s made to be enjoyed at a concert.

JYP Entertainment

From left to right: Dowoon, Jae, Young K, Wonpil, and Sungjin

MTV News: Speaking of “Best Part,” that’s a song that’s all about living in the moment and the real kind of joy and happiness you could feel if you do so. But it’s not always the easiest thing to do, to forget your troubles. Are you, personally, someone who lives in the moment? Or are you more of a worrier?  

Young K: I am the person who lives the moment, who always wants to give my best. Even when I’m on the stage, [or] when I’m preparing for the stage or anything that doesn’t have to do with the stage, like, spending time with my friends, I want to have the best time. All my life, my motto is carpe diem. So I guess I’m that type of guy.

Jae: I said that this point in my life was “Adjustment,” right? And that’s also one of the things that I’m adjusting to. My team is very positive. I think it also has to do with the cultural differences. In America, when you’re 18 and you go to college, you’re kind of just thrown out there, and you start figuring everything on your own. And then you start worrying about life. I’m not saying that people don’t worry in Korea, but I think there’s this understanding that things are going to work out. That’s something that I see in my team, and it’s something that I’m also adjusting to, because to be completely honest, I’m pretty negative. I’m always thinking about the worst things that can happen in situations. But just living with my teammates, I’ve been learning to live life in the moment. If I think positively then positive things are gonna happen.

MTV News: I like that the album starts with “For Me” because in a lot of ways it’s the most personal song. It’s a song to yourself, a song that acknowledges your shortcomings in an effort to get to this place of self-love. Is there something that you used to be really insecure about that now, with a little time and understanding, you really admire or love about yourself? 

Young K: Actually, my appearance. The way I look, like, my face.

Jae: What’s wrong with your face?

Young K: Even when I was young, I got a lot of opinions that I intimidate people. Some people might say I don’t look nice when I talk [or] when I don’t smile — that I always look angry. That’s why I practice smiling in front of the mirror. But then I realized that it’s actually a good thing because people tend to not take me easily. Also, at the same time, when we’re doing a photoshoot, I can give out a very strong image. All I have to do is just not smile and look at the camera.

I found out that everybody has strengths and weaknesses. And if you have a weakness you can work your way to kind of cover it or have make that weakness be smaller.

JYP Entertainment

A smoldering look from Young K

MTV News: Jae, were you intimidated by Young K when you first met him? Did you think he looked mean?

Jae: Straight up. If you don’t know him, then you don’t know that on the inside he’s smiling. You gotta understand he’s always smiling on the inside. It’s just on the outside it’s a plain expression. His features are so sharp that they look like they’re glaring at you, but they’re not. It’s a misunderstanding. He’s completely innocent.

MTV News: Jae, what’s something that you were used to being insecure about but now you’re like, “You know what? I love that part of me.” 

Jae: See that’s where I go back to “Adjustment.” Because I’m still trying to adjust to that positivity part. I don’t think I’ve matured enough to understand that my flaws are actually my strengths. There is the fact that I’m not good at Korean, and that sometimes when I get asked hard questions I can just act like I don’t know what they’re talking about.

MTV News: I saw you tweeted a few months ago that you wanted to be better at live vocals. Has your voice ever been an insecurity of yours? 

Jae: I don’t think an artist’s ever satisfied, leaving a stage thinking, oh, that was a top performance. They’re not thinking about how good it was. They’re thinking, I messed this part up, I messed this part up, that part wasn’t good. So I’m just not there yet. I think I need some work. I’ll get there.

MTV News: I love that you gave Dowoon a fan-favorite vocal part in “Wanna Go Back.” Was that always part of the song?

Young K: It was just that part was supposed to be an octave lower. It’s very low. So who has a low voice on our team? Dowoon. So Dowoon was called.

Jae: Young K always has a master plan. So when he’s writing lyrics, he’ll try to write the lyrics to adjust to how we sing.That’s also something he’s really good at — our vocabulary, the way we pronounce things, what we’re good at. I think we’re always trying to include Dowoon.

Young K: Low voice equals Dowoon.

MTV News: That song had originally been written for Every DAY6. What was it like to revive it for this album?

Young K: It fit the vibe of the entire album, which is very bright. It’s got an upbeat tempo. And the message it’s giving out about how you want to go back to the simple days [of youth] but since I can’t, I will just miss it. We wanted to write about human relationships, and in order to start a very healthy relationship, we felt like we need to know ourselves better. And “Wanna Go Back” would be the song that looks back on your life.

MTV News: What was something you wanted to be when you were a kid? Did you always want to be rock stars or did you have other dreams?

Young K: Singer wasn’t one of it.

Jae: Definitely not.

Young K: Not for us. Wonpil definitely wanted to be a singer.

Jae: Yeah, Wonpil knew. He knew from his youth.

Young K: I think that at one point, for a very short period period of time, I wanted to be a KBL [Korean Basketball League] player, but realized that cannot happen. And then I wanted to be working in stock management. I thought that was a really cool job. But here I am.

Jae: I went back and forth. Singing was never really a thing that I thought was a serious profession. I don’t think it ever is for anybody. All the artists that we’ve spoken to or that I know kind of just one day closed their eyes and opened them and they’re just here. That’s kind of what happens. I feel like we’re really fortunate. But for me, I was going to college, and before I came to Korea, I really wanted to be in the UN. So I’m kind of a dreamer, right? I either wanted to be in the UN or I wanted to lobby for somebody because I like arguing. So that was my thing. I started interning at an MPO, trying to network, [and] then I opened my eyes, and I was in Korea.

MTV News: September will mark your four-year anniversary as DAY6. What is the biggest change that you’ve seen in the group since you’ve made your debut?

Jae: I think our teamwork.

Young K: The team has to be thought as a whole. The team includes five individuals, but at the same time it’s considered as one. Dowoon came in only a few months before our debut. Having that one [new] person in the group completely changes a lot. Even musically. So our teamwork on the stage and off stage, we know each other better now.

Jae: When writing songs in the beginning — because everyone’s fresh, we’re young, we’re ambitious — parts play a big role. But then after writing songs together for this long, you come to the realization at some point that your part doesn’t matter and that whoever sounds best on that part is the best result. The competition within the team doesn’t really matter at all. After our second album everyone stopped caring about parts and we just saw the song as something that needs to be good.

BROCKHAMPTON Conquer A World Of Blue People And Giant Tubas In ‘If You Pray Right’

BROCKHAMPTON are back with another intentionally mysterious video for “If You Pray Right” that’ll throw you for a loop. Featuring blue-skinned people like James Cameron’s 2008 film Avatar, towering tubas, and platinum jumpsuits, it’s the kind of hair-raising affair that we’ve come to expect from the eclectic minds of the internet’s hottest boy band. Did they colonize a new planet to make the video for “If You Pray Right?” We’ll never know, and that’s okay.

There’s no rhyme or reason to “If You Pray Right”‘s madness; it simply is. There’s a vast, open, and decidedly alien field where its members frolic as they rap. Inexplicably with them, is a group of five band members, dancing while they simulate the track’s many instruments. Kevin Abstract, Dom McLennon, Joba, and more all adorn silver suits and make movements as creepy as the Avatar-like people who soon join in with them. None of it makes sense but it’s something you can’t tear yourself away from.

“If You Pray Right” is the second single from BROCKHAMPTON’s forthcoming album, Ginger, that is set to release this month. It follows the vertigo-inducing video for “I Been Born Again” that came out earlier this month. Their last studio album, Iridescence, came out in 2018.

Watch BROCKHAMPTON’s slightly creepy video for “If You Pray Right” above.

Hannah Lux Davis Talks VMA Nods, ‘Boyfriend,’ And Why ‘Thank U, Next’ Changed Everything

“It’s kind of surreal,” says Hannah Lux Davis, as she reflects on her eight nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards: the most of any director this year. “MTV and the VMAs have been the beacon of all things cool and all my dreams.”

It’s almost two weeks after the nominations were revealed, but you can forgive Davis for not really soaking it in until now — as per usual, she’s been crazy-busy. Just hours before speaking to MTV News, the video for Ariana Grande and Social House‘s “Boyfriend” premiered on YouTube, marking her fifth collaboration with Grande in the past year alone. Their partnership has proved one of pop’s most prosperous — four of Davis’s VMA nods are for the rom-com-inspired “thank u, next,” which became a viral event upon its release in November. The vid made headlines for its oh-so-fetch cameos, shattered Vevo records left and right, and, according to Davis, gave the more than 400 million people who watched it a new perspective on what Grande’s all about.

“It was a shift for Ariana with what she was doing, and it was like the world finally caught up to her and her humor in that moment,” Davis said of the instant classic, which is vying for Video of the Year, Best Pop, Best Direction, and Best Cinematography. “I feel like people kind of had a hunch that she was cool and funny and witty and incredibly comedic and smart, but they didn’t really know until that moment. Everything came in alignment with that song, with that video.”

Less than two months later, Davis and Grande reconvened for the pink-hued “7 rings,” which found Ari dripping in diamonds and drowning in champagne as she flipped “My Favorite Things” into a bad-bitch flex anthem. It’s nominated for Best Editing — a category Davis is particularly proud of, since she’s the lead editor on all her videos — and Best Art Direction, which honors the flossy, glossy set designs she and her team dreamt up.

“The intention behind the art and the world we created in ‘7 Rings’ was this sort of ‘vapor wave’ — just really high-gloss, feminine vapor wave is what we were calling it,” Davis explained. “We painted a whole house pink, and that was a really balls-to-the-wall moment that helped set a tone. And we were really playing into some of Ariana’s iconic things that she’s known for, like the forever-long ponytail. It was fun to play into her extremities in a way.”

Besides Grande, Davis also got to reunite this year with David Guetta, with whom she’s directed a handful of videos, like “Hey Mama” and “Bang My Head.” This time around, she helmed the strikingly neon visual for the Best Dance-nominated “Say My Name,” Guetta’s Latin-EDM collaboration with J Balvin and Bebe Rexha.

“Blacklight has definitely been done before, but this was sort of ‘jungle club’ and had this sophistication to it,” Davis said of the vid. “Blacklight is tricky and it can oftentimes feel dated, so you have to really approach it with a lot of careful consideration, just with the wardrobe and how everything is placed together.”

“Say My Name” was shot three days after Davis directed Grande’s “Breathin,” and it was achieved in just one day by meticulously working around the three artists’ busy schedules. In a case like that, Davis explained, she’s reliant on strong performances that she can continue cutting to — and Rexha, in particular, fully delivered.

“Bebe just brings it on camera,” Davis said. “She’s fearless and she gets that performance for a music video. While some can be timid, she goes for it.”

Timidness is also a non-consideration for an artist like Halsey, who called upon Davis to helm her ambitious “Nightmare,” which the director previously discussed with MTV News upon its debut in May. It’s nominated for Video for Good, a VMA category that’s gone through several iterations; last year, it was called Video With a Message. The gist is the same, though: The award recognizes culturally relevant and impactful videos. “Nightmare,” with its bold, timely message about the universal fury women feel in the face of the patriarchy, does exactly that.

“There’s definitely a strong message that’s very expressive to what Halsey and most women feel in today’s political climate,” Davis said. “And I feel it was done in a way that was aggressive. She didn’t hold back. There’s something to be said about her bravery and putting it out there.”

All of the videos Davis is nominated for this year share one common thread: They were made with artists whom she’d worked with in the past. Building solid relationships with some of today’s biggest stars is something Davis says helps her as a director, and ultimately makes her job “so much sweeter and richer.”

“I think Ariana is the perfect example of that,” she said. “We have such a great shorthand now, and we’re able to be more efficient in how we approach a project. That being said, we really try to not repeat ourselves. There’s definitely going to be a through line in the work that her and I do together, [but] we’re always trying to do something that’s different.”

Case in point: “Boyfriend.” Davis and Grande had just come off of the “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored” video, and wanted to capture a different kind of house party: one that mixed violence and humor, and that hinged upon a theme of jealousy-fueled revenge fantasies.

“It’s something very universally relatable… like, the guy you’re flirting with every other night is talking to some other girl at a party and you just want to strangle her or knock her out,” Davis said of the vid’s concept. “That’s kind of where it came from: how funny that would be to see those fantasies play out.”

To achieve that on screen, Davis, Grande, and Co. pulled a “thank u, next” and went back to the movie vault for inspiration. They pulled from Dumb and Dumber (for the “ripping a guy’s heart out of his chest” scene), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (for the “destroying a bathroom in a fit of passion” scene), and, yet again, Mean Girls (for the “Ari going apeshit and tackling that girl” scene).

The result is a narrative and visual feast unlike anything Grande’s done recently — there’s comedy, drama, stunts, and plenty of meme-friendly moments, thanks to Ariana and Social House’s Mikey and Scootie. “Boyfriend” marks the sixth Davis-directed visual released this year, but far from the last… there’s already a rumored new Grande project on the way.

But before that, will Davis and Grande take home a Moon Person (or two or three or eight) this year? Find out on August 26, and get voting now!

DRAM And H.E.R. Plunge Into The Waters Of Soul On ‘The Lay Down’

DRAM is back with “The Lay Down,” a new sybaritic, soulful tune that features the celestial caroling of H.E.R. On the back end of the track, there is production from musician Andrew Watt, drums from Chad Smith of Red Hot Chili Peppers, bass from Welsh bassist Pino Palladino, and keyboards from Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk that bolster the track’s misty atmosphere into something both sexy and explosive. To say that it’s addicting is an understatement.

“The Lay Down,” according to a note that DRAM shared yesterday ahead of the song’s release today, is the beginning of a new chapter that’s focused more on soul and R & B music. “No one’s pouring their heart out, but that pattern stops here!” he wrote about the current state of soul music in general as he introduced the song. “The Lay Down” is soft, gentle, and warm to the touch. Smith’s drums and hi-hats are feeble and crisp while Palladino’s bass and Neville’s keyboards are distinct and perfectly sequenced. H.E.R. dives into the soulful tune with a peaceful plunge, embracing DRAM’s vocals and offering support. At the end, the instruments have an extended breakdown and produce a kaleidoscope of colors in the ears.

DRAM’s debut studio album Big Baby Dram came out in 2016. He revealed to MTV News in May that his forthcoming follow-up LP is “going to be more mature, and sound more grown-up.

Listen to DRAM and H.E.R.’s soulful clash on “The Lay Down” up above.