How HBO and Beyonce are Changing the Direction of the Music Industry by The Bando Team

Beyonce gave us Lemonade and we went into a frenzy about infidelity.

The R&B goddess has sparked a musical revolution continuing her uncovering of her raw identity through her works. But how Beyonce told the story may be more important than the story itself.

Risky to most artists, still in normal Beyonce fashion, she released a surprise album this past Saturday. Except this time it was different; before the exclusive Tidal stream came an hour long spot on HBO, premiering the visual album “Lemonade”.

Compelling poetry written by the Somali-British poet Warsan Shire, seven talented directors, New Orleans scenery - all in collaboration with Beyonce, bringing the narrative film and multimedia album to life.

Not many artists have truly married music, choreography, and film but no one has ever debuted their album through the visual medium first.

Beyonce has teased her music through the television screen before with the “Life Is But a Dream” documentary (2013) and “On the Run tour-concert special with Jay Z” (2014). But instead of an extension of her brand, this HBO segment prefaced the music and acted as the first touch point for her drooling fans as well as a new demographic.

Media outlets didn't even know how to describe the work of art when the project surfaced. From 9-10pm on HBO it was seen as a narrative musical telling the cohesive story of 12 different tracks journeying from anger and denial to redemption. Soon after it was a digital playlist, streaming on Tidal before being available for purchase on other services.

Over recent years, “video”, as it pertains to music, has often been an afterthought. Music videos have been used to accompany newly released music or to pad deluxe album editions but never has the visual production been used to tell the complete narrative of the LP. It’s almost as if the Harry Potter movie came before the book. Very rarely, if ever, have fans been exposed to the music and film at the same time.

Justin Bieber delivered a video to parallel every song off of his latest project Purpose. Each video portrayed the song’s theme of religion, love, energy, relationships, but they didn’t compliment the larger narrative with one connected storyline. Yet Bieber still amassed an average of about 20,000,000 views per YouTube video.

J. Cole isn’t a stranger to this model either. At the top of 2016 the hip-hop emcee partnered with HBO for a four-part docu-series leading up to the cable TV concert “Forest Hills Drive: Homecoming”. J. Cole’s approach with HBO brought an intimate look at the man behind the music and a transparent look into his life as a performer. Justin Bieber’s rollout merged performance and choreography to help push the exposure of his album. Though, Beyonce’s visual production was the album, not the campaign behind it.

High budget music videos are few and far between. Yet, even quality productions are used to portray a lifestyle rather than tell a story. Beyonce arguably invested as much in her film production as she did on the music side.

She’s proven that there’s more than one way to experience an album in its entirety. It’s hard to say if the Queen felt television was a more important medium but either way it’s a model that will be copied.

A vast majority of artists have to follow the label’s protocol - getting an album approval date and pushing hard for the forthcoming months to promote until their project’s debut. There is a select group who have been successful with the surprise release - an epidemic forming across the hip-hop industry. Although none have invested in such a blueprint that prioritizes video.

Beyonce is obviously of a different caliber, and her stardom (and large budget) allows her to break the status quo and test other methods. Not only is her album adding to the fire of the streaming service war, it was a surprise multimedia release.

It’s no secret that certain idols are able to break the mold and establishing their own set of rules. However, Beyonce has launched a conglomerate of music, choreography, and film that will undoubtedly be replicated.

Is the future of music, a show-then-tell industry?

Future's Mixtape Journey Explained and Our Best Future Underground Playlist by Ka'Ron Alburg

It's been exactly 1 year, 3 months, and 10 days since Future dropped Monster, which arguably started one of the best runs in recent rap memory.

16 tracks filled with heartbreak, drugs, and savagery; it’s safe to say he gave the fans what they wanted. Hits such as “Fuck Up Some Commas”, “Codeine Crazy” and “My Savages” are still played to this day amongst many others. A few months later Future presents us with his next project Beast Mode. Filled with 9 Zaytoven tracks such as “Real Sisters” and “No Basic”, Future once again provided the fans with what they wanted, thus earning his second ring.

He then reveals that Beast Mode was made from scratch due to DJ Esco (the coolest DJ on the planet) being locked up abroad in Dubai for 56 Nights, which lead to Future’s third ring. 56 Nights was arguably the turning point in most fans' eyes with tracks such as "Trap N*ggas" and arguably (2015) song of the year "March Madness" produced by 808 Mafia’s Tarantino himself. From the self-titled track Future earned his third ring for sure.

With more momentum than ever, Future announced DS2 a week before its arrival.  The first words echoed on the album “ I just fucked your bitch in some Gucci flip flops” set high expectations for the preceding 17 tracks. Future earned his fourth ring thanks to tracks like "Blow A Bag" and "Colossal", along with moving 147 thousand units first week and having his first number one album.

Future is then seen with Drake in the studio, and following the initial post with each other, rumors swirled of a joint album, which was then made concrete when WATTBA was dropped from the sky after being recorded in Atlanta in a few days. Featuring tracks such as "Jumpman", "Big Rings" and "Scholarships", Future and Drake were obviously merging their fan bases to deliver one of the best albums of the year. With WATTBA selling over three hundred thousand copies first week, Future earns his fifth ring.

While on such a hot streak we thought the Atlanta rapper would let his work make its course. We were wrong. Future drops another tape on us out of the sky with Purple Reign. With instant hits his such as "Inside The Mattress", "Salute", and "Drippin'". It's hard to argue that Future not only earns his sixth ring, but he also has the rap game on lock and in a chokehold.

With all of this material how do we determine the top 11 songs?

We based this track list off of solo material so apologies, WATTBA was eliminated as a whole. Trust us when we say it was difficult to exclude. We tried to narrow the list to 10 tracks, but it just didn’t feel right to cut one of these.  Take a look and give the list a listen. Did any of these tracks make your list? Were some cut? Let us know!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Blow a Bag

  • Colossal

  • My Savages

  • Perkeys Calling

  • Lay Up

This did not consider EVOL

Kanye Wrong on Twitter Again; Trolls Rolling Stone by Dennis Williams

Kanye has been pretty active on Twitter lately in anticipation of his upcoming album 'WAVES'. Though Ye isn't past letting his emotions get the best of him. Just last week he ignited on a Twitter rant and misinterpreting an unrelated tweet from Wiz Khalifa. 

Today Kanye took to his Twitter account to announce his new Rolling Stone Cover, except... it wasn't Rolling Stone's cover. 

Soon after, Rolling Stone responded to kindly say that Mr. West was mistaken and this wasn't in-fact a real cover. 

As expect, when Kanye is wrong, it's you're fault. Kanye responded, claiming that he will still be right when (if) the cover is revealed. He also wants to know if he's right, VOTE below!

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17 Reasons Kanye West Doesn't Fuck With Wiz Khalifa; Wiz Finally Responds by Dennis Williams

Just yesterday Kanye announced the change of title from 'SWISH' to 'WAVES' for his upcoming album. After announcing that to Twitter, Wiz defended Max B's artistry and claims Ye stole from the legend. Obviously Kanye didn't take too kindly to that remark and SPAZZED.

In Wiz Khalifa's defense, Kanye seems to have neglected the fact that Waves is anything but original. Kanye's rant seems to have started when Wiz tweeted about "KK" in reference to his own strand of medical marijuana. Kanye took it as a shot at Kim and thought the artist was quoting her initials. Here's how it all went down: 

Wiz responded to only a couple of fans after the rant. He's clearly against social media trolling but he wasn't shy with words on stage at his Argentina show last night. See what Khalifa has to say below:


Despite Oscars Boycott, Here Are 2016's Upcoming Films with Black Leads by Dennis Williams

In the past year, Hollywood has grown a more diverse presence on the screen in both in film and television as witnessed by the growth of more important roles for minorities, and especially black actors.

As we enter 2016, we’ll get to see some of our favorite black actors taking on new roles or joining the cast of the legendary series we all know and love. Here are six upcoming films featuring black leads that we think are worth the ticket in 2016:

 

"Barbershop: The Next Cut"

Barbershop Film.jpg

Can you believe it’s been over eleven years since the last Barbershop film hit theaters? The series centered around a family owned barbershop and its surrounding community of characters is about to get even more entertaining with this star studded cast.

In Barbershop: The Next Cut, leads Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer and Eve will all be making a return for the third film. They’ll be joined with mega stars Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall, Common and other familiar faces in theaters on April 15th.

 

"Captain America: Civil War," Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, and Chadwick Boseman

If the first Captain America didn’t rank in one of your favorite superhero movies in the past decade, then the second of its kind surely will.

James Gunn, an affiliated Marvel movie director, says it’s one of the best Marvel movies ever. To make that happen, Anthony Mackie and Don Cheadle play the pivotal roles of The Falcon and War Machine. Cheadle has been a major player in Iron Man and his reign now continues alongside of Chris Evans.

 

"Ghostbusters," Leslie Jones

The Ghostbusters reboot is long overdue, but no one ever thought it’d come in this fashion. How about an all-female crew? The 1980s film legacy touches theaters again but through comedic superstars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, as well as Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon of SNL. The film will also include (almost necessary) cameos from originals Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Dan Aykroyd.

Set to hit theaters July 15th, there’s no doubt of this female rendition being a box office hit.

"Ride Along 2," Ice Cube and Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart has been consistently in theaters and stage sets year in and year out. In his second film of the series with Ice Cube, Ride Along 2 is another comedy trying to steal the leaderboards in 2016. In Ride Along 2, the dynamic cop duo try to hilariously track down a drug kingpin. In 2014, Ride Along topped the box office for three consecutive weeks. Releasing January 15, the two will attempt to duplicate their first box office run.

"Star Trek Beyond," Idris Elba

As if Star Trek fans needed another reason to see its new film in theaters this summer, Idris Elba joins the cast of Star Trek Beyond.

Though the studio has kept details surrounding the new film very private, Elba speaks highly of his role as the “groundbreaking villain”. He says this movie applies an additional twist to his evil character, making it much more captivating and exciting. Star Trek Beyond hits theaters on July 22nd.

 

"Suicide Squad," Will Smith, Viola Davis, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Will Smith’s last role on the supernatural dark side was a global success in Hancock. This time around Will Smith will be playing the role Deadshot in the Warner Bros film Suicide Squad. Smith isn’t the film’s only black lead, he’ll be joined by stars Viola Davis and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje on their August 5th release date.

Suicide Squad is a favorite from the comic book era and hopefully another successful adaptation of the DC Comics storyline. The film will also feature Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne, and Margot Robbie.

Black actors seem to be quite active on the Hollywood seen this upcoming year. Seeing them in more leading roles is only a testament to their massive impact in many big budget projects arriving in 2016.