Lil Peep, iLoveMakonnen, And Fall Out Boy Are In A Magical Kingdom In ‘I’ve Been Waiting’ Video

Lil Peep‘s dream collaboration, “I’ve Been Waiting,” with Fall Out Boy and iLoveMakonnen was released at the end of January. The magical track should appear on Lil Peep and iLoveMakonnen’s forthcoming collaboration project Diamonds. It’s a mystical tune, one that casts an enchanting, mid-tempo pop spell upon all who listen. So it makes sense that for the accompanying music video that it’s equally as majestic and imaginative. And the visual for “I’ve Been Waiting” hits the marks easily and surpasses them for a CGI romp that rivals the lush scenery of James Cameron’s Avatar. 

“Dedicated to all those people that want to feel magic around them. And also to Peep, who inspired this magic,” reads the ancient words on the screen as birds chitter and chirp in the background. The late rapper, of course, isn’t present in the video, but his soul lingers with a benevolent mark. Wherever he’s at, he’s smiling. He’s then revealed to be made of tree branches in a portrait etched by nature in a beautiful kingdom with a castle on the hill. The greens of the gigantic douglas fir trees are rich and jubilant,  White debris, maybe snow or dandelions, blows peacefully. It’s a serene scene of a world we can’t possibly get to. Nature rules and we just occupy it.

In this world displaced in time sits iLoveMakonnen, a peasant with a piano, humbly singing as he plays. The song’s vibrant pop sounds clash elegantly with the surroundings. iLoveMakonnen lets a gigantic centipede pass him by while he’s playing, then he steps through a mysterious casement and enters into an odd land of air balloons. The sky’s pink and there’s a swimming dolphin moving gracefully through the stratosphere. Just as iLoveMakonnen gets settled into this weird setting, he gets magically transported to Fall Out Boy’s beautiful dinner table where they feat with a gigantic white bumblebee. That’s not even the brunt of the weirdness. The video grows culminates with the troupe hanging out with a gigantic dog and by then we’re immersed. This land is weird and the proportions of its inhabitants are all out of whack, but it’s far enough moved from reality to justify our intrigue.

“I’ve Been Waiting” was quarterbacked by iLoveMakonnen who, in a recent interview with XXL revealed that he sent the track, with his and Peep’s vocals already recorded, to the band following Peep’s death. iLoveMakonnen also connected with Peep for two other posthumous records, “Sunlight on Your Skin” and “Falling Down.”

Check out this fantasy romp of a video above.

The Blackpink Revolution, As Explained By 6 Superfans

By Emlyn Travis

To a casual New Yorker passing by the Ed Sullivan Theater on February 11, the crowd of people huddled across the street from the stage door of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was a not-so-subtle hint that someone popular was visiting the late-night talk show. But the celebrities creating such furor weren’t household names for most Americans — at least not yet. It was Blackpink, Korean company YG Entertainment’s latest girl group who, that night, made their U.S. television debut with their punchy single “DDU-DU DDU-DU.”

To say that Blackpink is popular is to put it lightly; the group have a massive, dedicated fanbase that has grown exponentially since their debut in 2016. On April 4, the group’s music video for their latest single “Kill This Love” became the most-watched music video in a 24 hour period in YouTube history, clocking in with 56.7 million views and seizing the title that was previously held by Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next.” Just three days later, the video smashed another record when it became the fastest music video to hit 100 million views on the platform.

And that’s just one single; in a short amount of time, Blackpink has made a name for themselves in the States as one of K-pop’s brightest stars, and they’ve done it all without even releasing a full-length album. The group’s popularity stateside has been building since debut, but it reached a fever pitch in January when they were announced as part of this year’s Coachella lineup. As the first female K-pop act to play the festival, Blackpink began to pique the interest of listeners both in and outside of the K-pop sphere, and since then the hysteria surrounding them has increased tenfold. After a short stint in America in February, the group was nominated for a Kids Choice Award, posed on the cover of Billboard Magazine, and announced and subsequently sold-out their North American tour.

So what is it about Blackpink that’s captivating men and women around the world? With only 14 tracks to their name, it’s obvious that fans (called “Blinks”) are connecting with the group on much more than just their title tracks. To discover what about Blackpink draws in prospective fans, MTV News caught up with six Blinks to discuss what the group means to them.

Their Debut:

On August 8, 2016, Blackpink made their official debut with two title tracks — the fist-bumping, EDM-heavy “Boombayah” and sweet, hip hop-infused “Whistle.” Both songs shot straight to the top of the Korean music charts and caught the attention of global K-pop fans with their addictive choruses, charismatic rapping, and “girl crush” concepts. Put all together, it was a recipe for success and Blackpink became the fastest rookie K-pop girl group to secure their first win on weekly music program Inkigayo just 13 days after debuting with “Whistle.”

Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

From left to right: Jisoo, Jennie, Lisa, and Rosé

“Blackpink breaking records and setting standards despite lack of promotions can only be explained by what differs them from other girl groups,” says Ilke Esmeroğlu, 19, who became interested in Blackpink after she saw their pre-debut teasers. “People are looking for something new, and Blackpink always keeps it fresh with the diversity of their music and concept.”

The group’s “girl crush” concept seen in their music videos was another interesting aspect. Where other girl groups might opt for a cute concept for their first release, Blackpink projected what would later be defined as “pretty and savage” energy into the world as they spat fiery raps, did donuts in an empty parking lot, and daintily sat on the Earth like they owned it. That confidence and effortless style was well received by fans, who quickly became obsessed with K-pop’s new girl gang.

“Before Blackpink, I wasn’t really into K-pop that much, but something about their music and concept was different from the other girl groups I’ve seen,” says Alyanna Cabalbal, 18. “They showed a fiercer side to the normal bubblegum pop that most girl groups showed. Not that cute concepts aren’t good, it’s just that Blackpink’s vibe just pulls you in.”

“Even though they sing in a language I may not understand they are interesting enough to make one look past that. They are a refreshing talent,” adds Klaudia Stefańska, 18, who’s been in love with Blackpink since she heard their summer single, “As If It’s Your Last.” “Their image and how they carry themselves is what drew me in.”

Their Sound:

With new mini-album Kill This Love released nearly 10 months after their last comeback (or, new release), Blackpink has solidified themselves as something separate from the typical K-pop paradigm that drives groups to push out releases every few months. Though the group’s sound generally stays within the realms of hip-hop, R&B, or EDM bangers (and sometimes a mixture of the three all at once), Blackpink takes their time to release music that is wholly their own.

“Back then, and even now I think, K-pop’s defining characteristics are usually its loud, psychedelic beats à la 2NE1’s ‘I Am The Best’ or Big Bang’s ‘Fantastic Baby,’ catchy bubblegum pop melodies like SNSD’s ‘Gee,’ Wonder Girls’ ‘Nobody,’ and Twice’s ‘TT,’ and explosive choreography like BTS and EXO — all very in your face,” says Toni Kho, 24. For the last three years, Kho spent her weekends tirelessly translating Blackpink content from Korean into English to help further the group’s global popularity.

She continues: “K-pop isn’t usually associated with groovy, suave, soulful beats. But Jennie’s rap in ‘Whistle,’ and Blackpink’s rendition of ‘Sure Thing’ showed me that this was a soulful K-pop group, and I was just floored.”

It’s also the stylistic elements that Blackpink’s members bring to the table that intrigue fans too. Each member has a unique vocal tone; Rosé is known for her raspy vocal quality, while Jennie bounces back and forth between rapping and singing. As a rapper, Lisa’s deep voice complements Jisoo’s sweet tone perfectly, especially on the group’s more bombastic tracks like “See U Later.”

“I loved [‘Boombayah’]. I also loved the diversity of the song. With Blackpink, it’s always like five genres in one song, but it’s not messy,” answers Esmeroğlu. “The members each have very individual, distinctive voices and styles that don’t sound weird when you combine them all. It’s harmonious in a way I can’t explain.”

The Members:

Aside from their music, Blackpink’s biggest charm and incentive to stan is the personalities of its members. Jennie, Rosé, Lisa, and Jisoo have appeared on multiple Korean variety programs, including their own reality show Blackpink House, and hold frequent livestreams on V Live and their personal Instagrams. By sharing their world and connecting with fans online, the members have become a huge source of inspiration for Blinks.

For some, Blackpink have inspired them to be courageous. “I relate most to Rosé and Lisa, since I also left home to study and work. I find their courage and perseverance in pursuing their dreams in the face of hardships and loneliness very admirable and inspiring,” says Kho. “Last, apparently [Jennie’s] mom wanted her to be a lawyer at first, but she told her mom that she wanted to pursue her dreams to be a singer. That is courage that I don’t think I have, and courage that I would like to have when facing uncertainty in the future.”

For others, the members’ lifestyles and activities have inspired them to make a change in their own lives. “Lisa does kickboxing which inspired me to sign up for classes, and I love the activity now,” Sova Adams, 21, reveals. Rosé has also become her style inspiration, because she has a similar body type and can influence outfits for Adams to rock next.

The biggest reason fans connect with Blackpink is because of their authenticity; their candidness about everyday life makes them feel more like longtime friends than untouchable pop stars.

“A lot of the people in this fandom can relate to these girls because of their backgrounds and the kind of personalities they have,” says Jawwad Kiani, 24, who was recommended Blackpink’s pre-debut dance practice videos on YouTube and has been a fan ever since. “For instance, Rosé is super talented and has leadership qualities. She is super shy, but when she’s needed she steps up and delivers. Jisoo is like a big sister everyone wants who takes care of her loved ones more than anything. Jennie is the girl every girl wants to be like in Korea and Lisa, she’s the ‘it’ girl, and so many people relate to her story of leaving home and family to follow [her] dreams.”

Inclusivity: 

With members raised in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, and Korea respectively, Blackpink is the definition of a multicultural girl group. Three of its members — Jennie, Lisa, and Rosé — speak English fluently, which has helped fans who would normally have to deal with a language barrier feel closer to the group than they would with other K-pop acts.

“Being able to understand and communicate properly with your celebrities plays a major role, too, because all of them can pretty much understand English. Three of them can communicate, too, so it makes it easier to understand and build a connection with them,” adds Kiani. “For instance, I’ve seen every video there is of Blackpink and most of it is in Korean with hardly any translation, but because the girls speak English [to each other] I was able to grasp as to what was happening in videos.”

Blackpink use English not only to chat with their foreign fans, but also to introduce them to bits of Korean culture, too. “At the same time, [Blackpink are] very respectful and aware of all the different cultures they straddle, and they encourage fans to understand the salient differences between each culture,” adds Kho. “For example, during one holiday in Korea they took the time to explain in English what the holiday was about even for just a short while.”

That level of inclusivity stretches into their concerts too; the group have shown their support for their LGBTQ+ fanbase by holding rainbow flags whilst on tour in the Philippines. Aside from openly gay idol Holland, K-pop and LGBTQ+ representation aren’t exactly synonymous (same-sex marriage is currently prohibited in South Korea), so these small moments make fans feel accepted, proud, and loved.

“Their music is based around female representation and confidence boost, ‘girls wanna have some fun,’ you know, and there’s a certain stereotype around female singers that are impactful in the pop culture to be known as ‘gay icons.’ I am bisexual myself and I think their feminine and sassy energy draws us in,” says Esmeroğlu. “They also held up the pride flag in one of their concerts which made me so proud. We definitely love calling them feminist queens!”

What Does “Blackpink” Mean to You?

When Blackpink debuted, YG Entertainment explained their name came from the idea of contradicting the perception that the color pink represented “prettiness.” Thus, Blackpink became the group that defined itself on the principle that prettiness wasn’t everything, but hard work, talent, and perseverance was. As the group’s popularity continues to grow, what it means to be Blackpink has evolved as fans attach their own personal perception of what the group means to them to it.

“To me, they mean the entire world. These girls have helped me through a lot, I’ve spent countless of hours keeping up with everything that’s been going on with them. I don’t only love them as artists but as people too. I feel like I know them on a personal level even if we actually haven’t talked face to face you know?” says Cabalbal. “Their presence and their cute little gestures of going on V Live just to talk to Blinks. It’s those actions that make me feel that I’m a part of something and feel less alone.”

“Although they’re around my age, they’re all still older than me and that allows me to look up to them as role models. Blackpink are a group of interesting, talented girls with good music, who promote individualism,” says Adams. “They’re all very different from each other and have different [strength and weaknesses], and I think that shows fans that it’s OK to be different because you can still be successful.”

“For me, they feel like someone I can trust,” says Kho. “If you strip away the fact that they’re famous artists and watch their videos and follow their posts, especially Rosé’s, they feel like real 20 to 23-year-old girls who love Disney, cry over Korean dramas, love shopping and eating good food, like sleeping in, lazing around and playing games, and who go crazy over cute and fluffy things like their pets.”

As what it means to be Blackpink continues to change, one thing does not: the level of love and dedication that Blinks have for Blackpink. It’s perfectly summarized by Kiani: “I want nothing but the best for all of them, and I will continue to support them through thick and thin. They deserve all the happiness and success in this world.”

Nipsey Hussle’s Childhood Intersection In L.A. Will Be Named In His Honor

Nipsey Hussle‘s spiritual and mental estate, following his shooting death at the end of March, is vast. His physical being’s gone from the world, but as tweets, stories, and interview clips pour in about his generosity, authenticity, and charisma, it’s clear that the essence of what kind of person he was will endure eternally in addition to his gritty brand of Los Angeles hip-hop. To commemorate the late rapper’s legacy, the city of Los Angeles is doing something spectacular – renaming the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Avenue – nearby where he grew up at – to Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square.

Following Nipsey’s tragic shooting death last month, a petition for Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson to rename the intersection was created and it has received almost 500,000 global signatures to date. Harris-Dawson recently announced the change and gave a statement to the LA Sentinel“Ermias Asghedom known as ‘Nipsey Hussle’ was an icon and West Coast hero,” he said. “Nipsey’s genuine nature allowed him to be a light to everyone he interacted with from family, friends, fans, and his larger community.  As a father, brother, and son, Nipsey was a rock helping to build an empire that will continue through generations. Nipsey will always be remembered for delivering a pure, authentic Los Angeles sound, his numerous philanthropic efforts, his innovative, community-focused business mindset, and his humble heart.”

It’s a beautiful tribute for the rapper who had a massive public presence and philanthropic spirit. On Thursday (April 11), Nipsey’s family will be having a memorial service for him at the Staples Center.

Lil Uzi Makes An Official Return With Two Drastically Different Songs

Lil Uzi is coming! Lil Uzi is coming!” screamed the man on horseback, frantically exclaiming to the unsuspecting internet atmosphere. A few weeks ago, the rapper resurfaced, fresh from retirement with the nasally “Free Uzi” (it was a pitch higher than normal). It was a leak, according to Atlantic Records, and came with an accompanying music video. But a leak nonetheless. Lil Uzi has officially returned with not one, but two, vastly different tunes in “Sanguine Paradise,” and “That’s A Rack.” He’s finally back.

“Sanguine Paradise” is a return to the cartoonish trap sound that makes his music prime for bouncing one shoulder at a time and giving out evil grins. It’s a devilishly sweet treat with meaty bass that gives it a sinister edge. In comparison, “That’s A Rack” is darker, heftier, and shinier. It can be best described as melancholic as Uzi slows down his shaky flows and strips them of melody. Admittedly, it’s rare to hear Uzi flowing – like this at that – so it’s refreshing and an indicator that beneath the theatrics there’s a reason why his rap name is what it is.

These two official releases could be indicators that his long-delayed album, tentatively named Eternal Atake, could finally be on the road to release. Now that he’s reportedly inked a management deal with Roc Nation, it looks like the wheels are moving again.

Listen to the two new songs up above.

Watch In Awe As Lizzo Belts Lady Gaga’s High Note During Her ‘Shallow’ Cover

Just when you thought the world couldn’t possibly accommodate more “Shallow” covers, Lizzo has crashed the surface to remind us that, yep, we sure as hell can (and we sure as hell should).

The “Juice” singer brought her enormous charisma to the Oscar-winning A Star Is Born duet, busting out an acoustic version of it during a visit to SiriusXM on Tuesday (April 9). Just as Lady Gaga didn’t need Bradley Cooper to murder her Grammy performance of the song, Lizzo handily crushes it on her own, nailing that high note and belting the final chorus with the force of a freight train.

This isn’t the first time Lizzo’s wowed us with an unexpected cover choice — in February, she powered through an emotional version of Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson’s “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge. Between that and her “Shallow” rendition, the anticipation for Lizzo’s debut album is at a fever pitch. Titled Cuz I Love You, the LP arrives on April 19 and features the soulful title track, the retro and rambunctious “Juice,” and the Missy Elliott-featuring “Tempo.”

In the meantime, we’ll add Lizzo to the “Shallow” hall of fame, alongside Nick Jonas, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, Ally Brooke and Tori Kelly, Lea Michele and Darren Criss, and at least a few dozen others…

Tierra Whack Is A Slayer Of Potatoes In ‘Unemployed’ Video

Tierra Whack‘s videos have often had a modicum of sanity tying down their absurd concepts to the Earth, but it looks like “Unemployed” finally pushes the burgeoning rapper into Edgar Allen Poe levels of absurdity. (Idea for later: Whack reenacts Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” for the video for “Only Child”). In her latest visual, Whack terrorizes potatoes, cooks potatoes, and feeds potatoes to… potatoes. I told you.

Here, Whack’s in the kitchen with a sharp knife, slicing and dicing russet potatoes with a mischievous grin on her face. Slice. A diced potato. Slice. Cut into four strips. Slice. Cut into steak fries. While she eviscerates these brown ovals, one of them watches her from a nearby pile with wide, horrified eyes. It knows that pretty soon, it will be cut into perfectly symmetrical pieces. Whack’s eyes hold a glint of murderous red. She’s ready to pounce. Slice.

When she’s done, she carries the potatoes – after they’ve been deep fried a golden brown – to a table where she feeds her patron: yet another potato, only this one’s large and grotesque. As the potato feasts, Whack’s hips widen. It’s an unsettling array of images that make little sense the more that you look at them. But Whack’s power comes in giving shape to the random and unconnected. She succeeds here.

“Unemployed” was the last track of #WhackHistoryMonth that wrapped up in March. The other tracks released from it were “Only Child, “CLONES,” “Gloria,” and “Wasteland.”

Check out this strangely artsy video up above.

Liza Koshy Dances With Drax Project’s Shaan Singh In ‘Woke Up Late’ Video

What would you do if you woke up next to a person and had no idea who they were, aside from a vague memory of last night? That’s the question at the center of “Woke Up Late” by New Zealand quartet Drax Project and vocalist Hailee Steinfeld. It’s also the concept behind the accompanying music video with a slight twist; actress and YouTuber Liza Koshy is the mysterious person who likes to dance instead of explaining who she is. What ensues is an adorable look at two souls searching for answers and how to move on the next day that will bring a smile to your face.

The visual follows frontman Shaan Singh, who wakes up in a slightly panicked state. Who is he? What happened? Where is he? Shortly before he gets up, we’re introduced to Koshy, who’s clearly in a hurry. She grabs her stuff and jets out the door. Singh catches wind of her as she grooves down the street with greatly exaggerated movements betraying a free and whimsical soul who lives in the moment with a wide-faced smile. As he chases after her to learn who she is, his smile grows. He’s enchanted by her presence.

Steinfeld’s verse takes place from Koshy’s perspective and starts back to when she woke up. Koshy opens her eyes and smiles fondly at the sleeping Singh, her eyes caressing his beard stubble. We view her resulting dance and smile from the front this time as she glides down the street and onto a bus. When she gets to where she needs to be, she realizes that she doesn’t have the key to get in. That’s when Singh appears with a warm grin and hands her the key, leading to a lively dance and reflection of last night that both end with the path to a kiss.

“Woke Up Late” is hopefully a taste of what the band has in store. This version of the tune was released in January. Their last EP, Noon, came out last June. Check out the romantic video up above.

Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep: A Complete Breakdown From Finneas O’Connell

This fuzzy, jazzy ballad takes musical cues from Feist and Frank Sinatra, but its lyrical inspiration is all Finneas and Billie’s. “Neither of us do any drugs, and growing up, we just had a lot of friends who really enjoyed being inebriated and smoking a lot,” the producer explained. “We’d end up at these house parties where everyone was just smoking cigarettes. You’d sit there, and you’re sober and not smoking, and it’s a miserable experience.”

In her recent MTV Push interview, Billie said she wanted the distorted, bone-rattling bass to make listeners “feel miserable,” and Finneas achieved that by basically making the sonic equivalent of those smoky house parties.

“I wanted to use the bass to articulate the thickness of cigarette smoke,” he described. “And then I got kind of obsessed with SoundCloud rap for awhile, and a lot of that is sort of purposely distorted and clipped in the audio. I wanted to achieve that sound in a really specific way, so I processed Billie’s vocal through this compression sidechain off of the bass, and had the vocal get fried in the chorus.”

He added, “It was actually a big point of contention between us and our label ’cause they were alarmed by it. But Billie and I both thought that the weirder the chorus could be, the better. It’s kind of ironic, because her voice sounds so beautiful and the chords are really pretty. It’s like when you see a model and they’re wearing ugly clothing, and you’re like, ‘Well, OK. Nice ugly shirt, but your face is still your face.'”

Maren Morris, Ty Dolla $ign, Rosalía, And More Will Protect The Crown On New Game Of Thrones Album

Blessed be the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros going into Game of Thrones’ final season. A vicious battle is on the horizon, pitting the living against the dead. To coincide with this epic conclusion, Columbia Records and HBO have revealed that a new Game of Thrones album is on the way. Christened For the Throne (Music Inspired by the HBO Series Game of Thrones), the LP comes out on April 26,  two episodes into the seven-part season.

For the Throne will include songs from Maren MorrisA$AP Rocky, Lil Peep, Joey Bada$$, Rosalía, Ty Dolla $ign, the Nationals, and more. It’s also set to feature the new song from the Weeknd, Travis Scott, and SZA that was previously teased. The official Game of Thrones Twitter account released a trailer that outlines a list of some of the artists included.

This isn’t the first time that the ancient world of Westeros has collided with contemporary music. In 2014, the first edition of the Catch the Throne mixtape series featuring Big Boi, Common, Wale, and more was released, following with the second edition the following year featuring Ty Dolla $ign, Snoop Dogg, Melanie Fiona, and more.

Take a look at the brief trailer up above.

Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ Is Officially The No. 1 Song In The Gosh-Darn Country

Lil Nas X‘s career thus far has been a Western film of cowboys and steeds. It’s one of those bronco-buster romps where the spurs-wearing hero gets double-crossed, left for dead, then, ultimately, makes a triumphant return in a hail of revolver smoke and fresh cigarettes. Lil Nas X’s is smiling in the town saloon as cheers fill the air around him. Today (April 9), on his birthday, his viral country anthem, “Old Town Road,” has officially become the biggest song in America.

The rising country star announced the news that his song had topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart early Tuesday morning with a simple tweet: “hitting #1 on billboard on my birthday wow,” he wrote. Having the final seal of approval that you’re the creator of the biggest song in the country has to be one of the best birthday gifts that you can receive — especially given the fraught path the song traced on its way to the top.

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” a tumbleweed-blowing, horse-rearing anthem, went viral on Tik-Tok before climbing Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart and peaking at No. 19 last month. But Billboard removed the young artist’s song from the chart because it didn’t “embrace enough elements of today’s country music.”

“Old Town Road” grew immensely thanks to streaming, virality, and a cosign from the legendary Billy Ray Cyrus, who welcomed Lil Nas X into country music’s community. Cyrus even hopped on the official remix to the song last week and gave it a yeehawthentic country presence. Now, Lil Nas X is in an even bigger spot than he was before being removed from the chart. If this was a film script, Quentin Tarantino would have penned it. Relive all the magic below.