Bio: Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.
Posts by :
During a period of economic success known as the Celtic Tiger, Ireland and her culture became an internationally spread phenomenon. With the Irish culture becoming a globablized entity, it wasn’t long before most cities contained an Irish pub, St. Patrick’s Day was Americanized, and Riverdance became the epitome of Irish heritage. A mere year ago, the Irish culture made its way to the world of hip-hop and electronic music with the creation of TapTronic.
Ciaran Plummer and Zach Klingenberg once toured with Riverdance legend, Michael Flatley, before branching out and creating a unique form of dance themselves. They describe their creation, which they call TapTronic, as “a progressive fusion of Irish dance and electronic music.” Plummer and Klingenberg remix popular dubstep or electronic songs by adding Irish dance steps as beats to the music.
But while the music they make with their feet is catchy and fun to listen to, their footwork is a sight to behold. Their world-class training as step dancers adds that extra ‘step’ to spice up dub-step. Though their fusion is a slow-moving process, the dancing duo is slowly making their way into the public eye. Their new video releases are steadily bringing in new viewers and they are nominated for Hugo Boss’ TV Contest. Plummer and Klingenberg’s work is bringing a new and exciting Celtic spin to the world of dubstep and electronic music, further revolutionizing a relatively new genre of music.
Legendary producer, Rick Rubin, is responsible for at least half of Kanye West’s new album, Yeezus. Rubin helped popularize hip-hop and was one of the most iconic and diverse producers that the music industry has seen. Here are 10 things you may not have known about the talented producer.
1. He co-founded Def Jam Records.
2. He’s a vegan.
3. In high school, he created a punk band.
In an attempt to garner attention for their band, they had two friends heckle them in the audience and create a scene. Rubin’s father arrived in police uniform to break up the fight and shut down the performance. It was the band’s biggest claim to fame.
4. Despite his long time spent in the music industry, Rick Rubin has no musical ability.
5. He changed his second record company’s title, Def American, to American RecordingsH after finding the word ‘def’ in a dictionary.
6. He’s won Producer of the Year twice at the Grammys.
He won in 2007 and 2009. In 2012, he won a Grammy for his role as the producer for Adele’s 21.
7. The Village Voice gave him the nickname “Satan’s Record Producer”.
He earned the title by supporting controversial artists, such as southern rappers, Geto Boys, and the metal band, Slayer.
8. He once owned a wrestling circuit in South Carolina.
9. His first passion was for magic.
Before music took over as his primary passion in life in high school, Rubin would travel monthly to Manhattan to attend International Brotherhood of Magicians meetings. He says it interested him because he was always intrigued by the spiritual and other-worldly.
10. He admits to having always been sort of an oddity.
He attributes this to his very liberal upbringing. His upbringing led to no sense of boundaries that he later had to learn in life. He also reports that in school he would wear sunglasses 24/7 and a motorcycle jacket, which set him apart from his peers.
As standard with most viral hits, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ “Thrift Shop” has spawned a wide collection of parodies. Some of them are excellent and hilarious, while others not so much. Here are the best and worst covers and parodies of “Thrift Shop”
This Jazz Age version of this song is possibly better than the original. Not to mention the fact that the singer has a beautiful voice.
Pentatonix are known for their incredible a capella covers and their cover of “Thrift Shop” is nothing short of astounding.
3. Bart Baker
As great as Macklemore’s song is, Bart Baker points out what we’ve all been thinking – thrift shopping is kind of gross
Lindsey Stirling is an incredibly talented violinist who brings her skill to this cover with the help of YouTuber Tyler Ward
5. Pot Shop
Not only is this parody absolutely hilarious, but Macklemore even makes an appearance.
We shouldn’t give them such a hard time because they’re kids, but this is easily one of the worst parodies out there. “Wrong Direction” should probably stick to looking through microscopes than rapping about them.
This probably only hurts so much because I know how much of a pain FAFSA is, but I guess it could be worse.
What’s better than a really lame “Thrift Shop” parody? A lame “Thrift Shop” parody mashed with the “Harlem Shake”.
4. Math Class
If you ignore the fact that this is a math-themed parody, you can look at this video’s true faults. No one in this video has rhythm or musical talent of any kind.
If you couldn’t gather from the clever title, this parody is about prom. Nothing else need be said.
Even though his life was cut tragically short seventeen years ago, Tupac Shakur has remained one of the greatest and influential artists of his time. In honor of what should have been his 42nd birthday, we’d like to take the time to look back and reflect on what made Tupac such an astounding artist and musician.
Like many a young artist, Tupac’s life started out on the rocky side, with his parents and guardians in prison for serious convictions or being wanted by the FBI for various offenses. But through his music, Tupac created a name for himself and changed the world of hip-hop and black societies’ significance in the world. Tupac’s family was heavily involved in the Black Panthers as he was growing up, so he experienced first hand the struggle that Black America was going through from the 70s to early 90s.
But even though Tupac’s musical accomplishments set him apart as a legacy, it was his voice and his words that remain a lingering and important figure in the world. As hip-hop was in transition from an underground culture to a mainstream art form, Tupac’s complexity helped to shape the future of music. He wrote songs about loving his mother despite her flaws. He wrote songs that were sexist and misogynistic, but he also wrote sophisticated songs and remained a charismatic and intellectual individual. He told stories of Black urban life and inspired his listeners with encouraging and motivational songs. But, most importantly, Tupac Shakur brought an honest vulnerability to his music that hadn’t quite yet been seen in the music industry.
Tupac bore his soul as he wrote about the struggle and pain as he tried to be proud of his Black American heritage, but Tupac wasn’t just applicable to the black community. His struggle and his witness cannot be confined to a single community. In a music genre bred out of diversity, every cultural community steeped in chaos or poverty could relate to Tupac. He was more than a symbol for hip-hop or a symbol for the black community. He was a symbol for the world and for humanity. He spoke for a generation during his lifetime, and he continues to speak for us today.
Happy birthday, Tupac.
Twerking - noun. dance move that involves a person shaking their hips and bottom in a bouncy up and down motion, causing it to shake, ‘wobble’ and ‘jiggle.’ To “twerk” means to “dance in a sexually suggestive twisting fashion.”
A dance move known as twerking has quickly replaced the Harlem Shake and taken over the media. Though its history is rather short, twerking has only recently taken off in the public eye.
The act of twerking was introduced to the hip-hop culture in 1993 in the New Orleans bounce scene. DJ Jubilee recorded a dance track “Do the Jubilee All” which contained the lyric “twerk baby, twerk baby, twerk, twerk, twerk”. Two years later, another New Orleans-based rapper, Cheeky Blakk, recorded a track dedicated to the rising dance craze called “Get Ready!” where he encouraged listeners to “twerk it”. Apart from New Orleans, twerking stayed within the strip clubs and dances scenes of Atlanta and Houston. It wasn’t until 2011 that twerking began is ascent into the widespread dance phenomenon that is is today.
Twerking made its reappearance when Waka Waka Flame and Drake paid tribute to the original twerkers, the Twerk Team, in “Round of Applause”. Artists, like Diplo, Lil Wayne, and Rick Ross, have been incorporating the dance craze into their lyrics and performances. Even pop princess, Miley Cyrus, is using twerking to promote her newest video.
During one of Juicy J’s concert at the House of Blues in LA, the 20-year-old former Disney star took to the stage to show off her booty popping during the song “Bandz A Maker Her Dance”. Miley has long been a fan of the dance craze and in March posted a video twerking in a unicorn onesie to her Twitter account. Miley is now collecting videos of fans twerking to add to her latest music video. Fans, or general lovers of the twerk craze, can submit their videos via her Facebook page.
As typical with most new crazes, not everyone seems to be on board the twerking phenomenon. Earlier this year, 33 students at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego were suspended for creating a twerking video and posting it on the internet. The school stated that the video violated their zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy.
But even while twerking is facing criticism from parents and authority figures, it’s slowly becoming an enterprise in its own right. The Atlanta-based Twerk Team went from posting highly sucessful YouTube videos to selling out shows for twerking performances and have created their own clothing line. Even amateur twerkers are trying to cash in on the success of the Twerk Team, charging anywhere from $1500-$3500 to create promotional twerking videos for artists while dance clubs across America are hosting Twerk Contests with cash pries.
While twerking has certainly come a long way from its New Orleans beginning, if it remains the same as it basically has over the past twenty years, I believe twerking will eventually die down and take its place as an iconice dance craze,, like the Twist, of this generation.
In case you missed the Billboard Music Awards and the surrounding Miguel drama, the R&B artist made the rather unfortunate decision to leap across the audience. What was apparently a well-practiced maneuver ended badly when Miguel’s leg came crashing down on top of a girl in the audience. Now, Miguel has found himself facing a legal struggle as the girl’s injuries are much worse than initially reported.
Prior to his live performance at the Billboard Music Awards, Miguel practiced the jump on set before filming in an attempt to capture the perfect camera angle. When further inquiring about the stunt, Billboard representatives claim they told the singer that his stunt was not safe. Miguel, ignoring Billboard’s requests and attempted his stunt anyway. Though he successfully completed the leap during practice, the artist struck unsuspecting Khyati Shah, who is now suffering from possible brain damage.
Khyati Shah, a foreign exchange student from New Zealand studying politics and philosophy at UCLA, has not yet received a formal diagnosis. Aside from her health concerns, Khyati is also facing financial difficulties as a result of the incident. Her lawyer reports that because of her injury and lack of diagnosis, Khyati is unable to return home at the end of the semester, leaving Khyati with no place to live and no financial means.
Khyati and her lawyer have not yet sought legal restitution from Miguel or his production company, but neither Team Miguel nor the Billboard representatives are being forthcoming with information about who truly owes the blame for the incident. While Billboard claims that they told Miguel not to proceed with the stunt, Khyati’s lawyer hasn’t received confirmation from either side. Team Miguel is also placing some of the blame on the Billboard representatives for giving Khyati an ice pack rather than immediately taking her to the hospital.
No matter who is at fault for the incident, Khyati’s lawyer has stated she would prefer the incident be resolved quickly and without a lawsuit.
Rockabye Baby! is a group known for taking hit songs and transforming them into beautiful, soothing lullabies and the latest addition (and one of the first rap contributions) is a collection of Jay-Z’s hit songs.
The album, set to release on July 9th, consists of 12 songs, including ”Empire State of Mind”, “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “Can’t Knock the Hustle” will rework each track to create a more peaceful and child-appropriate tune. Baby-friendly instruments like the xylophone, bells, and flutes, will replace Jay-Z’s original work. Lullaby Renditions of Jay-Z can be bought in the US for a mere $16.98 to ease your child into a soothing slumber. The CD will also feature Jay-Z themed games to play with the tots and baby food recipes.
With all the commotion around Beyonce’s latest pregnancy rumors finally slowing, maybe now Blue Ivy can spend her time with her parents listening to these cool and much more appropriate versions of her dad’s music.
It was a shock to most of the music world when it was announced that Cash Money Records, the company responsible for superstars like Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj, would be signing American heiress, Paris Hilton. With Paris Hilton’s recent lack of attention and Cash Money Records’ mildly controversial actions, this summer will determine if the pairing is truly a match made in heaven.
Paris Hilton made her first move into the music world in 2006 with the release of her first album, Paris, to widely mixed critical reception. The album rocketed its way to the top of the charts, but some critics remained unswayed, considering the album to be distracted and boring. While other critics felt the album was fresh and fun, there’s no denying that some of its initial success piggybacked on Hilton’s popularity at the time. When the album was released, Hilton was not only a reality tv star, but had published books, branded apparel, and anything else she could attach her name to. Paris Hilton was a household name and her deal with Cash Money Records is an attempt to make her big comeback.
Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams of Cash Money Records says the opposite of what most people are assuming: the heiress is actually talented. “She played us music, and I was taken aback. I was impressed by her music, and I didn’t know she could sing so well.” He says. With her album set to release this summer, it’s interesting to consider whether or not this is Cash Money Records attempt to gain another big star or to push aside the stars and troubles they already have. Many of Cash Money Records’ stars, including Wendy Day, Manny Fresh, and Turk, have reportedly never been paid while artists like Busta Rhymes and Mystikial have had their album releases put on hold.
But whatever the true reason for signing Paris Hilton will either come to light or soon fade away when her sophomore, EDM album releases later this summer.
It seems like celebrities can’t go a week without starting some form of twitter feud. Former actress, Amanda Bynes, has taken to the twitterspehere with some very strong opinions about the singer, calling her ugly and saying that Chris Brown only beat her because she wasn’t pretty.
While Rihanna chose not to directly engage with Bynes, she tweeted what was undeniably a reaction to the onslaught of tweets.
This spurred another series of hateful interactions from Bynes, calling the singer a dog and claiming Rihanna was the one in need of intervention. Though Bynes’ is now claiming her twitter account was hacked and is now saying she loves the beautiful singer, Rihanna has decided to call it quits on the entire feud. A source close to Rihanna says that the singer is “done with all that stupid a** s***”.
Now all that’s left to do is see which celebrities start a twitter fight next.
Korean pop-star, Psy, came out of nowhere and took over the internet and radio waves with ‘Gangam Style‘ and now his latest hit, ‘Gentleman‘. Since becoming a hit in the US, Psy has been called upon to do his dance and be that quintessential quirky international star. And now, with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s opinion of Psy being discussed, its disappointing to see how much of Psy’s talent and personality that America has missed out on.
Early in May, Billie Joe Armstrong took to his Instagram account to post a picture of the artist and call him “the herpes of music”. While it’s blatantly obvious that not many people in the States truly value Psy as an artist, his classy response to Green Day’s singer showed that there is definitely more to Psy than meets the eye. In an interview with FUSE after first asking his interviewer to explain what herpes was, he said “I kinda like it, it’s cool. He said I’m like the herpes that keeps coming back. I think it’s really cool. Thank you.” While this response said a lot on Psy’s behalf, it also said a lot about America and our media. Rather than commenting on his classy, champ-like answer, most entertainment news sources chose to mock the fact that Psy didn’t know what herpes was. Forgetting that English is not his native language, even though he is well-spoken in it, this reflects where America is messing up what Psy really is.
For most of America, Psy is a funny name, a funny face, and a funny personality. He doesn’t sing in English and most people just don’t get it leaving most of them to not take him seriously. It’s easy to strip the significance behind “Gangam Style” down if you don’t know what it means and solely find entertainment in the Asian guy shaking his hips. But what most people don’t realize is that Psy doesn’t take himself seriously. He’s a satirist and political dissident. ‘Gangam Style’ was a commentary, not just a fun pop tune to do a silly dance with.
Gangam is Seoul’s wealthiest and flashiest neighborhood. For South Koreans, Gangam represents the ideal life of excess and consumerism. Psy’s character in the video is a wannabe Gangamite. He dreams he’s living the flashy, excessive lifestyle while he’s really just like everyone else, swimming in a public pool and riding the subway. But never in the video does it seem that Psy’s character is unhappy. He’s content to play in a children’s playground and meet the girl of his dreams in the subway. ‘Gangam Style’ is much more that we have made it, but that’s not surprising considering Psy’s background and how little we know about it.
In America, it seems like ‘Gangam Style’ was Psy’s big break when in fact the song had been released on his sixth studio album and his music career hadn’t been about making flashy and catchy songs. He believes music is the key to overcoming the intolerance embedded in his country’s political systems. Throughout his career, his songs have been banned for inappropriate content and have been surrounded by controversy, not to mention the fact that he fought his mandatory military draft.
Psy is a voice for his people. He’s fighting the oppression and intolerance he sees in his culture through his music. And by ignoring his worth and his value, we’re reducing the culture of South Korea into a short man with funny pants doing a ridiculous dance.