Mos Def will release his Downtown debut, “The Ecstatic,” on Feb. 9, Billboard.com can reveal. The first single, “Life In Marvelous Times,” will hit iTunes as an exclusive on Nov. 4. The veteran rapper’s last album, “Tru3 Magic,” barely made a ripple upon its late 2006 release via Geffen and has sold just 93,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its predecessor, 2004’s “The New Danger,” has sold 484,000. Mos Def will be on the road starting Oct. 31 in Prague with the European installment of the Rock The Bells tour, alongside Nas, De La Soul, EPMD and the Pharcyde, among others. On the acting front, the artist plays Chuck Berry in the film “Cadillac Records,” due Dec. 5 in U.S. theaters.
Mos Def – Twillight Speedball (Live) (Chad Hugo)
Harvard kids aren’t supposed to be as cool as Max Drummey and David-Andrew Wallach. But recent Harvard grads Drummey and Wallach are marrying socialites, chillin’ with hip-hop moguls and getting press for their rock chops – even though their band, Chester French, has yet to release a record. While classmates were cramming for the MCAT, Drummey, 24, and Wallach, 23, were finishing their debut album – due early next year for Pharrell Williams’ Interscope Records imprint Star Trak Entertainment. Oh, and Drummey was wooing Paris-ite Peaches Geldof, daughter of Sir Bob Geldof. The happy-for-now couple wed at Vegas’ Little White Chapel in August. It’s easy for the music of Chester French – who open for Matisyahu and Flobots at the Orpheum Wednesday – to get lost in all the hype. Especially when there isn’t any music to keep track of.
“The tough part is that there hasn’t been any music for people to talk about,” said Wallach from New York, where the band was playing a showcase at the CMJ Music Festival. “That’s not something that I’m glad about. But it’s been great to get people interested and pique their curiosity. As much as there is a little hype, there’s still that moment of truth when people hear the music.” How good is the music? The best – and just about only – place to find out short of going to a show is Chester French’s MySpace Page. The duo’s four streaming tunes feature glossy synth pop with obvious ’60s references. Or as Pharrell labeled the group: Beatlesque with hints of Motown. It’s an evaluation that Wallach, who met Drummey freshman year in the dinning hall, sheepishly agrees with.
“It’s not a bad assessment, but we’re not as good as that,” he said. “But obviously, we couldn’t ask to be compared to anything better.” Whatever you think of Chester French’s music, it’s adored by tastemaker Pharrell, who’s best known for his production team The Neptunes and his band N¤E¤R¤D. Before signing with Pharrell, the pair was heavily courted by Kanye West and So So Def Records label chief Jermaine Dupri. Now, after touring with N¤E¤R¤D, working on Common’s new album and chatting with Diddy about a future project, the group is on a national tour with Matisyahu and Flobots. Somehow, without having a trace of hip-hop in their sound, Chester French have become super-chummy with the genre’s elite.
But hype can backfire. Chester French’s CMJ show was slammed by the indie crowd on message boards and blogs. Fortunately, Matisyahu’s fan base isn’t one that cares about the hype: a nice audience to face after the hipster vultures tear into you. “The worst is that when something is hyped and you go to see it and it’s like the emperor’s new clothes,” said Wallach. “Our goal with any publicity is to sell ourselves a little short. We want people to hear the record or see us live and actually be surprised that it’s good and that we work hard. We want people to see this is not some side project to some kind of paparazzi mission.”
Nardwuar & N¤E¤R¤D
The 2009 Grammy Submission List was leaked today and Robin has been submitted for eight possible nominations, here are the categories thanks to Newbie.
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance – Magic
Best R&B Performance By Duo Or Group – Things You Make Me Do
Best R&B Song – Magic
Best R&B Album – Something Else
Album Of The Year – Something Else
Record Of The Year – Magic
Song Of The Year – Magic
Best Short Form Video – Magic
As some of you may’ve noticed, we’ve had to cancel some tour dates in October and November. We apologize and thank you for your understanding and we hope to be through a town near you in the very near future. There was some speculation about why we canceled our shows, so we decided to clear the air. Our dates opening for Matisyahu (10/15 – 10/30) and solo shows in the UK (10/31 – 11/8) were canceled because Max was recommended he take a break due to illness. Thanks for understanding, everyone…
It doesn’t look like Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 is coming out this year. There still hasn’t been a video for “Jockin’ Jay-Z (Dope Boy Fresh).” Matter of fact, there hasn’t been a word about the album in weeks, except that Hov is working on it. The only confirmed information is that Jay and Kanye West have done a bunch of tracks together, and the early talk was that Kanye would be the only producer on the album. That is looking more unlikely now. We’ve been hearing a bunch of rumors about other producers Jay is collaborating with (who shall remain nameless — we don’t do rumors, just facts). But one of those guys spoke to us recently: None other than Pharrell Williams, one of Jigga’s main go-to guys. “Of course,” he said when asked whether Jay had called him to work on Blueprint 3. He then took a long pause before refusing to divulge any more info. “He don’t like for you to say so much.” Williams is working with a lot of artists he can talk about right now. We were in the studio with him recently in Atlanta and had a sneak preview of some beats he did for Diddy and the Clipse. One Puff track that really stuck out has the potential to be huge if Diddy does it right. “Puff’s album is crazy,” Williams promised. “Y’all should know that. It’s pretty serious. It’s innovative. “[Lil] Wayne and I had an interesting conversation,” he added about his slate of production work. “We just did Fall Out Boy. We did Cassie, Jadakiss, going in with Fab[olous]. … I can’t think. It’s a bunch of stuff.”
Chester French EP is coming on November 11th with remixes by The Neptunes, Steve Aoki & others.
She-Loves-EverybodyOrder It Now !
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