Jay-Z Has Become Rap’s First Billionaire Without A Blueprint

“Ain’t no such thing as an ugly billionaire, I’m cute,” Jay-Z rapped on “Family Feud” from his 2017 album, 4:44He was speaking things into existence of course, Jay-Z, the rap conglomerate and business mastermind, with eight, maybe nine, zeroes to his net worth. He had the millions, but he didn’t quite have that billion. But in 2019, it’s a different game. It’s now official. Jay-Z has become rap’s first billionare. And, more importanlty, Jay-Z has become one of the most handsome men in America. Take that, Idris Elba.

The news comes from a Forbes cover story that the rapper’s fortune “conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire – and the first hip-hop artist to do so.” The article then gives a brief breakdown of some of his massive financial empire, involving “liquor, art, real estate (homes in Los Angeles, the Hamptons, Tribeca) and stakes in companies like Uber.” His net worth is then calculated based on his stakes in companies and his income. There’s $310 million wrapped up in Armand de Brignac, $220 million in what the story calls “cash and investments,”$100 million in his cognac, D’Ussé, $100 million in Tidal, $75 million in Roc Nation, $75 million in his music catalog, $70 million in his art collection, and $50 million in real estate. That’s a lot of damn zeroes.

Jay-Z reopened Webster Hall in New York with a special show featuring Nas and Cam’ron in April. His last release was Everything Is Love with Beyoncé in 2018. With this kind of fortune, it’s safe to say that Jay-Z doesn’t need to release any more music. But he will because he loves the craft.

Bon Iver Return To The Fold With Two New Songs That Deliver A Taste Of Heaven And Extra Piano

Justin Vernon and the gang are back with not one, but two new Bon Iver songs. They premiered last night at the All Points East festival in London during Bon Iver’s set. There’s the dense and majestic “Hey Ma” and there’s the bullying piano-driven “U (Man Like)” that comes with colorful lyric videos. In addition to these two new tastes of Bon, there’s also the extension of some upcoming shows for a full tour over the course of three months from August to October. Bon Iver’s back, y’all.

First up is “Hey Ma,” and it’s not the Cam’ron and Juelz Santana song from 2002. You can hear the gates of Heaven opening up on this number as Vernon immerses the listener in vivid, liquidy memories. His voice is booming and blindingly bright as he sets the scene by “toking on dope” and having a “heavy mind.” In the accompanying lyric video, what looks like home videos from Vernon are played.

Next is “U (Man Like)” which turns the piano and the emotion up to screaming levels. The heartfelt number features Moses Sumney. The accompanying lyric video is peaceful and stuffed with various blues, showcasing the beauty of the Earth and a child swinging on a swing set.  A list of collaborators have been revealed for this track and “Hey Ma” that includes Jenn Wasner, Bruce Hornsby, Elsa Jensen, Phil Cook, Psymun, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

You’ll get to hear these new songs, and presumably more, when Bon Iver heads out on tour in August with various shows featuring Indigo Girls, Sharon Van Etten, Feist, and Yo La Tengo. It kicks off on August 31 in Missoula, MT and ends in Raleigh, NC on October 19.

Bon Iver’s last true album was 2016’s 22, A Million. Vernon collaborated with Aaron Dessner of the National last year as the collective Big Red Machine and released an album of the same name.

Watch the lyric videos for the new tracks up above.

Jack Harlow, Phony Ppl, And NanaBCool Will Perform At MTV Push Live

Over the years, MTV’s Push artist campaign has been a chance to connect fans with rising artists as they ascend in the musical spotlight. In the past few months alone, the series has featured Billie Eilish — whose debut album hit No. 1 in its first week — Lizzo — one of 2019’s biggest success stories (and an upcoming MTV Movie & TV Awards performer) — and reigning Grammy Best R&B Album winner H.E.R., just to name a few.

Now, thanks to a new partnership with Live Nation, MTV Push is expanding into new territories and highlighting even more artists in an intimate live setting for an upcoming event. It’s called MTV Push Live, and it kicks off Tuesday, June 4 at Chelsea Music Hall in New York City.

As a showcase for emerging talent, MTV Push Live will feature three artists: Jack Harlow, Phony Ppl, and NanaBCool. Get to know them below, then grab tickets right here.

  • Jack Harlow

    The deal: This 20-year-old Louisville rapper has been writing rhymes since high school. Last year, CyHi the Prynce hopped on his song “Drip Drop” after leaving an Instagram comment on Harlow’s account, and earlier this year, he linked up with Felly for “Cheap Cheap” and its accompanying video, which is a literal feast.

  • Phony Ppl

    The deal: From twinkly funk to rainbow-tinged R&B and beyond, there’s nothing phony about the sounds this five-man Brooklyn music collective can create. They’ve backed up Fetty Wap on late-night TV and enjoyed their own residency at New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club. Now they’re taking the stage for MTV Push Live.

  • NanaBcool

    The deal: Ice Tea, the nocturnal new album from this Brooklyn hip-hop maestro, is the perfect intro to his signature sound: laid-back, languid, and the right staple for nights that go on longer than they probably should.

MTV Push Live hits Chelsea Music Hall on Tuesday, June 4. Find tickets here.

Jai Paul Returns After Six Years With Two Wild New Songs

London’s glorious R&B experimentalist Jai Paul went on a self-imposed hiatus in 2013 following the leak of six years worth of music. Now, he’s ready for a return and it starts with turning over the past, the right way. He’s launched a new website and shared two new singles, “Do You Love Her Now” and “He.” These are his first official releases since 2012 and they bring the world back to his land of stormy funk and icy grooves.

Paul shared two songs on June 1 after posting an extremely complex return to Twitter after vacating the social media space six years ago.

He then went on to share the link to his new website with the new music.

If you want to get into some bubbly funk, “Do You Love Her Now” is what to sink your teeth into. It starts slow before unfolding itself as a ball of electricity and molten lava spread over a field of flowers. Tight rumbling and bumbling guitars are gripped with vines by snare drums that snap like turtles. Paul’s falsetto drizzles like chocolate syrup over Maraschino cherries on ice cream, for a sweet treat with an explosive center.

“He” is more tightly woven than its groovy tether, shiny and nostalgic, a modern-day replica of a Woodstock relic. It’s deeper and more open and it shakes and hisses with the soft and sharp voice of Paul filling its cracks. It’s nearly six minutes long and it works thanks to its immersive nature.

Paul’s website also contains the songs from the leak in Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones). It’s available to download and you can pay what you want for it. In an accompanying letter with the download, Paul elaborated on the journey to the new music and reflected on the leak. He also revealed that 10% of profits on merch will go to mental illness organization SANE

Listen to the funky worlds of “Do You Love Her Now” and “He” up above.

Bop Shop: Songs From Sleater-Kinney, Casey Veggies, DEAN, And More

I think it’s normal to feel a little melancholy when the seasons start to change. As the last weeks of spring give way to the growing pains of early summer, I’ve become more contemplative and unable to turn off my thoughts. So when I heard DEAN’s latest release, “Howlin’ 404,” for the first time, I instantly vibed with it — the moodiness, the distortion, the unevenness. Put simply: It sounded like how I felt. It’s not the first time the South Korean R&B crooner has projected his deep inner musings over a self-produced beat (see: 2018’s brilliant “Instagram“), but there’s something particularly raw about the guilt he expresses on this neo-soul track, how it consumes him like a void. “I’d be howlin’ for ya / Before the shadows drag me under / ‘Cause when the darkness took me over / I wouldn’t know what I have lost,” he sings.

The song — sung entirely in English — is part of the pensive artist’s forthcoming release, an album set in a dystopian future that he calls an “explosion of experimental, creative, and artistic elements that I’ve been holding back for a long time.” Inspired by DEAN, I’m going to try and channel my seasonal restlessness into creative fuel. After all, summer is just around the corner, and with it comes some much-needed clarity and perspective. —Crystal Bell

King Princess Can Make Grown Men Cry On Downbeat Anthem ‘Cheap Queen’

King Princess‘s penchant for downbeat, hungover pop had a great moment earlier this year when she paired up with legendary songwriter/creative force Fiona Apple for “I Know.” That swaying, sleepy number belied the powerful gales of emotionality King Princess (real name: Mikaela Straus) can conjure with a turn of phrase and a detached tone of voice.

Her latest single, “Cheap Queen,” dropped on Friday (May 31) and continues the trajectory she established on last year’s great Make My Bed EP by magnifying her perspective. Alternating between calling herself a “cheap queen” and a “real queen,” Straus delivers a whispery, yet unbeatably catchy chorus that sounds like she wrote it out with minimal effort — but deep down, you know she worked hard.

“I’m getting too cocky since everyone wants me / It’s harder to be myself,” she delivers on the bridge amid distant samples of a voice saying “queen.” It’s likely true: Since debuting in 2018 with the Harry Styles-approved “1950,” Straus has grown steadily, working with Mark Ronson and making good on her early momentum.

“Cheap Queen” isn’t as playful as “Pussy Is God” or as shout-ready as “Talia,” but it revels in its own fogginess. Here, Straus subtly pushes forward the King Princess sound while examining her inner self. It’s not hard to imagine fans singing along to the “I can make grown men cry!” part on the Pussy Is God Tour, which makes a stop at Governors Ball in New York this weekend.

Listen to “Cheap Queen” above, then get to know King Princess via the 2018 MTV News interview below.

Halsey Is Enjoying Her Vacation With Yungblud, Even With A Broken Toe

Halsey and Yungblud are living it up “somewhere quiet,” and it looks like the “Nightmare” singer is having the time of her life.

The pair are currently enjoying themselves as part of a relaxing vacation, and Halsey took to Instagram to share a few brief glances at their idyllic, unknown location.

The two are enjoying a peaceful beer by what appears to be a deck overlooking the ocean, Halsey is playing a game of chess with Yungblud, Halsey’s manicured toes on Yungblud’s face while the two lounge in bed, lush greenery, and even a surprise appearance by local wildlife.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone completely perfectly, as Halsey also shared a photo right before posting the vacation snaps of her now-broken toe. It appears the nature-loving pop princess was trying her best to save an injured butterfly that was unfortunately already dead – which she found out after the fact. Ouch! Yeah, that definitely looks broken.

“I was trying to save a hurt butterfly in the jungle,” Halsey tweeted. “I broke my toe. turns out the butterfly was already dead. I have alien feet I know. I sacrificed having nice feet when I committed to a life of dancing on stages and saving dead butterflies. this hurts.”

Fans, under the impression her toe wasn’t actually broken since it was seemingly fine in the vacation photos, instantly freaked out, which is what prompted Halsey’s edited caption: “holy fuck relax this is from before I hurt my toe DETECTIVES.”

Hopefully Halsey’s poor toe heals up nicely soon so she can get back to enjoying her quiet time with Yungblud, but in the meantime we’re hoping we get a few more dreamy vacation snaps. Wherever it is they’ve decided to roost for their breather in paradise, we definitely want to see more of it.

Get well soon though, Halsey!

Watch Bebe Rexha Murder The Chainsmokers In ‘Call You Mine’ Video

Even before they landed one of the longest-running No. 1 hits at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 via a dazzling team-up with Halsey, The Chainsmokers knew that the key to running the pop game was collaboration. In the lead-up to “Closer,” they tested the waters with Rozes and Daya, and after, they’ve kept that flame burning with Coldplay and this year’s “Who Do You Love” with 5 Seconds of Summer.

As of Friday (May 31), they can officially add Bebe Rexha to that roster of superstar co-conspirators. Their joint song “Call You Mine,” though, is more a showcase for Rexha than anything else — and that’s good news. It yields a big-hearted, EDM-tinged power ballad complete with raging guitar lines and crisp production. It’s undeniable.

Last week, the ‘Smokers tweeted a sentiment perviously unconsidered that may, in fact, encapsulate their entire ethos. “Ed Sheeran writes the best songs for a wedding,” the message said. “We write great songs for divorces.” “Call You Mine,” with its dramatic structure, doesn’t quite fit with that statement — “And you said, ‘I never regretted the day that I called you mine’ / So I call you mine,” Rexha sings, suggesting a happy ending — but who knows what lies behind the inspiration.

Musically, it’s a prototypical ‘Smokers cut where big drops and airy piano abound. Drew Taggart has found great success singing lead despite not being the strongest vocalist, but here, he and partner Alex Pall (plus Andrew Watt, Steve Mac, and more big behind-the-scenes songwriting names) wisely cede the space to Rexha, who owns it. She likewise owns the accompanying video, which also dropped Friday (May 31), and which features her enacting vengeance and taking Taggart and Pall out, likely permanently, with some poison.

It’s all love, though, as they both showed on Twitter when the song dropped.

Rexha released her own solo song “Last Hurrah” in February, and the ‘Smokers are gearing up for their new project, World War Joy, sometime later this year. They hit the road with 5SOS in August.

Watch the video above, and catch it playing on mtvU and MTV Live on Friday.

‘She’s Fearless’: Halsey’s ‘Nightmare’ Video, Explained By Director Hannah Lux Davis

Halsey‘s “Nightmare” arrived just in time.

A feminist anthem that’s rooted in her emo past, the single debuted on May 17 alongside a video that capitalizes on the singer’s penchant for chameleonic style. Originally intended as a black and white video with slivers of red throughout, “Nightmare” ultimately became a full-color visual feast in which Halsey keeps redefining her womanhood: one minute, she’s a punk singer and a riot leader, then a glamorous model and a primped-up, fed-up housewife. Her looks change, but her attitude doesn’t — through flame-throated cries, she embodies a universal fury that’s timelier than ever as women continue to battle the patriarchy, one “You Smile, Asshole” sign at a time.

“She really wanted to show how multifaceted women are,” said director Hannah Lux Davis, who worked with Halsey last year on “Alone” and recently helmed Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” and “7 rings.” “We could be fighting in the street for sport and we could be in lingerie, really sexy and feminine and clean. That was the biggest thing that she wanted to say — just showcasing all different sides of what a woman is, and how every side is just fucking awesome.”

That awesomeness takes flight during the video’s opening scene, when Halsey launches her assault by screaming in the middle of a mosh pit. The chaos was shot on 16 millimeter film, which gave it a rough, grainy quality that only gets more raw with a close-up of Halsey’s bloody lips as she spits on the camera.

“It was just really in your face and aggressive,” Davis told MTV News. “[Women] can be really raw and rough and even ugly. She sometimes would say, ‘I want to do this take really ugly.’ And she would squeeze herself, or make a face that was just not necessarily the cliché hot thing to do.”

Take, for instance, the scenes of Halsey dressed in a black dominatrix outfit, sneering at her voyeurs from a blue-lit, mirrored room while licking the wall and thrashing her body around. The singer committed so fully to the physical shoot, that Davis said she had bruises “all over” her body afterwards.

“She’s incredible. She’s fearless. Working with somebody like her is so insane,” the director explained. “She just has zero regard for her body and just throws herself around in a way that’s crazy. In one shot, she was thrashing so hard that she fell to the floor on her butt. I just remember being like, ‘Oh my god, I have to use that, it’s so rock and roll.’ She’s a really smart girl and I feel like she gets how powerful this video can be, and so she really put it all out there.

“That was something that surprised me, I think, because the artist brings so much to it,” Davis continued. “You can plan and plan and plan, but you never really know that final, secret-sauce ingredient that they bring until you’re shooting it.”

After a gritty, punk-indebted opening, the second verse abruptly switches scenes to a skyscraper, where Halsey and a gang of girls are dressed in lingerie, diamonds dripping from their necks as they execute precise choreography. It’s a juxtaposition that Davis admits was intended to “shock people,” and it also necessitates a close look from viewers, who can see that Halsey’s reading a newspaper with the headline “IT’S OUR TURN” printed on it. (The paper is also titled Manic, which fans have theorized is the name of her next album; to that, Davis only said, “I personally can’t comment. But Easter eggs are definitely a real thing.”)

Speaking about the eye-grabbing headline, Davis explained, “It’s sort of subtly — or I guess not so subtly — saying, it’s in our hands now. We need to take over and let the women take the reins at this point, because it’s our bodies and our choice. I think putting them in that setting, especially coming off the punk stuff and the police lineup, just felt like a bit of that visual shift and shock that we were going for to sort of grab your attention.”

Iván Ovalle

That second verse also has some of the most biting and brash lyrics of the song, including, “I’ve been polite but won’t be caught dead / Letting a man tell me what I should do with my bed.” It’s a message that feels especially prescient now — the video was released at the end of a week in which the biggest news story in the U.S. was the restriction of women’s rights, as Alabama effectively outlawed abortion. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for a rallying cry like “Nightmare.”

“It was something that all women were probably like, ‘Ah, this is what I needed right now,'” Davis said. “I heard that from a lot of people. It really struck a lot of chords. That’s really what you hope for when you’re creating something like a music video or a song — for it to hit, and to strike that chord in pop culture.”

She continued, “And I think it was really smart of Halsey to have a woman direct it. If you preach girl power and if you’re going to have songs that are about women, for women, and fighting for women, you better have a woman director. … There are some artists who have these girl power songs and they have men direct them. I just think that’s crazy. There are so many female directors who are amazing. And I’m not just talking about me. I’m just saying, in this day and age, there’s no excuse.”

Davis is especially cognizant of the importance of hiring women behind the scenes — “Nightmare,” for example, employed a female editor, choreographer, production manager, set dresser, and stylists. Not only that, but there’s not a single man in the video itself; it boasts an all-female cast, and Davis said that Halsey “was really adamant about making sure that all types [of women] are represented.” That included models Cara Delevingne and Suki Waterhouse, who joined Halsey for some fierce power suit-wearing, and Blondie’s Debbie Harry, who appeared onscreen as a way for Halsey to honor the iconic women who have paved the way for her.

Iván Ovalle

“She was so fucking cool,” Davis gushed of Harry. “Leading up to the shoot, and all around the shoot, I had done a bunch of research on her, and I was listening to her music and just really trying to get into the whole spirit of the project. I was so blown away. She was so cool, and she’s just a true rock star.”

With “Nightmare,” Halsey is proving herself one of the natural predecessors for women like Harry. It’s the first taste of an era that she’s described as “loud,” and one in which she seems to be harnessing the “weapon in [her] mind” to its fullest potential, aided by collaborators like Davis who take her message and translate it to vital, must-see art that shines in this nightmarish moment.

“She’s definitely coming into this new era really confident and secure and knowing who she is,” Davis teased of what’s ahead. World, you’ve been warned.