We hung out with Kidz in the Hall today at the famous J & R Music World downtown and talked about their new album. The In Crowd drops today, and the guys used the sales skills they learned playing used car salesmen in their video for "Driving Down the Block" to help move units.
Naledge and Double-O talked about how their academic background played a part in the conception of their album (the two met at UPenn). And, of course, they talked about their new tracks, whose lyrics range from politics to the art of hip-hop and the power of addiction. We'll be bringing you news on their collabos with Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes and Estelle in the days to come.
I've seen these guys go from being an mtvU Freshmen Five artist to doing "My Block: Chicago." Now they're on "TRL"! But these guys never forget their roots, whether they're talking early 90's hip-hop or reminiscing about meeting Barack Obama in their friend's living room back when he was running for State Senate in Illinois...
I just spent the last half-hour or so talking to Fergie because someone had to do it. And the woman's life without the Peas (as you know) has been way busy.
She's releasing a deluxe version of The Dutchess on May 27th, and she talked to us about the five new tracks that will be on the album. I can't spill my guts about everything I heard, but I can tease you a little bit...
Tracks include a cover of Heart's "Barracuda" (if you saw Idol Gives Back, you know how excited Fergie is about this one). There's also a slower track called "Pick It Up," a Soulja Boy remix of "Clumsy," and, finally, "Labels or Love," which is going to be the Sex and the City movie theme song. Fergie, a huge fan of that show, told me that she relates to a mix of Samantha, Carrie, and Miranda…leaving out headband-sporting Charlotte. Guess that makes sense.
So now that she's become a flamin' hitmaker, what does Fergie do in her downtime? She watches reruns of "I Love New York," "Rock of Love," and "Flavor of Love" -- and she said she wasn’t just saying that because she was on MTV turf. (What's with the fascination with Brett Michaels...??)
We also talked about what's on her iPod, future movie plans, being a child star, and -- on another level -- the throes of addiction. For more on all that, keep checking back with MTVNews.com...
Well, the rumor mill has been running again for Ashlee Simpson and fiance Pete Wentz. And once again, the couple's being assaulted with the question "Is she pregnant??" I sat down with Ashlee just a few minutes ago -- mainly to talk about her album, but also, of course, to try and get a clear answer. (Hey, some of you want to know!)
"I just think it's an inappropriate question to ask any woman," Ashlee said -- after (ahem) already answering the question several times today. She did tell us a little bit about her engagement and even seemed receptive to the idea of a green wedding, in honor of the environment. And if she and Pete do have a green wedding, I’m taking full credit. No? Okay.
Ashlee and I talked about everything from dirty song lyrics to bad boyfriends and working with Timbaland. Oh, and Salvador Dali. No, seriously: she just bought a painting of his that depicts two girls chained to each other. Hmmm.
Others she worked with on Bittersweet World (due April 22nd) include Santogold's Santi White, Kenna, Chad Hugo from the Neptunes/N.E.R.D., and Tom Higgenson of Plain White T's.
More on Ashlee and her album coming soon at MTVNews.com.
So last night I went to last night’s celebration of @Murakami, the retrospective of internationally acclaimed Japanese artist - and Kanye West cover-art guy --Takashi Murakami. It was at the Brooklyn Museum and the party was capped with a performance by the Louis Vuitton Don himself (mostly for investment bankers and big money folks), which was great.
Many Kanye fans have heard Murakami’s name a lot, but few have actually heard from the man himself. I got to chat with him for a little bit (we were seated next to each other at the Nobu-catered dinner at the Museum, so it was an easy score) and talked about his collaborative efforts with Kanye. While Murakami is ecstatic about the results of their combined creative energy, the process of working together was not without a few bumps in the road.
I did have a couple of interactions with Kanye, but they didn’t really go as planned. See for yourself after the jump.
Posted 4/3/08 6:09 pm EST by Kim Stolz in Uncategorized
I could tell by the cheers and screams that I was missing quite the inspirational speech from Reverend Jesse Jackson. It was Tuesday night and Jackson was speaking to the participants of Our America, an evening in which Think MTV and YouthBuild brought together young people who offered perspective, insight and their own personal stories of dealing with poverty in America.
I was missing Jackson's speech to interview Senator John Kerry backstage. Talking to Senator Kerry is something I've wanted to do since the beginning of this campaign. First of all, Kerry is a superdelegate, a role which is becoming more complicated as the race between Obama and Clinton drags on. And I'm sure he had some advice about the role of the superdelegate in this process. He did.
Secondly, Senator Kerry has endorsed Obama, so I was dying to ask him about Hillary and whether he thought she should pack her bags (or perhaps unpack them in Chappaqua) and drop out of the race.
More after the jump...
Posted 4/3/08 5:07 pm EST by Kim Stolz in Uncategorized
Tuesday night, Sway and I moderated Our America, a collaboration between Think MTV and YouthBuild. The evening in Washington, D.C., brought together young people from across the country to tell their own stories of growing up in poverty and, often, surrounded by violence. They also shared their ideas on how to alleviate the country's poverty epidemic. Like Bill Clinton's CGI-U, Our America is focused on action: The participants stormed Capital Hill yesterday, bringing their ideas to Congress.
Two exciting moments of the night came when Reverend Jesse Jackson and Senator John Kerry took the stage to speak to the participants. Who knew that the Lincoln Theatre was such a hot Dem hangout!? Perhaps it was the lure of Ben's Chili Bowl, the famous restaurant next door where Jackson happened to be eating, when some kids from the event spotted him and asked him to make a cameo. He left the "famous soup" and walked over to give a motivational speech to the participants, stating his support for Senator Barack Obama and telling the kids that they are not only the "future," but the "now." I would have loved to catch more of the reverend's speech, but as soon as he went on, I ran backstage to interview John Kerry. Check out some of what the Rev. Jackson had to say.
More on the participants after the jump.
I didn't know it would ever happen, and I certainly didn't know it would happen like this, but I've achieved closure from my days as a contestant on "America's Next Top Model." We just came back from covering The Tyra Show's "Fiercee Awards" (yes, that's pronounced FIERCEYYYY) at which Tyra Banks gave out awards to former top model contestants. I decided to cover the event for MTV News rather than attend the event as a "top model." And wow, that was a good choice.
This is how it went down when Tyra and I saw each other on the red carpet:
I earnestly asked each girl what she was doing, and what photos from her ANTM portfolio she was using in her modelng career (if she was, in fact, working) -- the answer to which was a resounding ZERO. I even had time to ask them a few political questions… and well, you know how that was gonna go.
We'll get all of that out to you next week (including my bizarre dress-down from Carol Alt!) - secrets from the carpet!!
The word "change" is echoed throughout college campuses today more than any other. At the same time, taking the step from talking about change to actual implementation is often an uphill battle. However, the students participating in President Bill Clinton's CGI U weekend on March 14-16 in New Orleans are not only willing to take that step, but are required to by the program itself. In order to apply for CGI U, students are required to make a commitment aimed at issues of energy and climate change, global health, human rights, peace and poverty alleviation, by the time that they leave. CGI U is about ideas, but more than that, it is about following through. CGI U also provides the students with donors and financial support to bring their commitments to life.
Over 700 college students descended on the Tulane University campus on Saturday for a day of brainstorming ideas, attending panels of activists, academics, and journalists, and making the commitment to enact change. The following are examples of commitments that we found most compelling ...
When you work in television, you spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen: waiting for interviews, waiting for press ops, waiting for people to arrive and waiting for media outlets to finish. We spent a good part of Sunday in the Lower Ninth Ward, waiting and hoping to interview former President Clinton about CGI U.
Things scheduled early in the day ran late, and the major networks were also waiting to talk to the big guy. CNN went first: A 10-minute interview turned into 20, and 20 turned into 30. Then Fox News took its turn, followed by "Good Morning America." By the time our turn came, the former president was being whisked away by the Secret Service.
I've always wanted to interview President Clinton, but yesterday just wasn't my day. We did, however, talk to his press rep, and we're planning to cover the stories of some specific CGI U participants in the future. Hopefully that includes Clinton.
Sunday was the final day of the CGI U weekend, and all 700 students were in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, the area hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. What was once a neighborhood is now little more than a barren field littered with cinder blocks and debris.
It was shocking to see firsthand how little had been rebuilt in the past two and a half years. But yesterday two organizations came together to bring the Lower Ninth Ward one step closer to repair.
CGI U partnered with Brad Pitt's Make It Right organization to aid in post-Katrina reconstruction. The plan was for the students to rake leaves, dirt and debris away from sidewalks and empty lots so rebuilding could begin sometime in the fall.
Saturday was about sharing ideas, brainstorming plans and making commitments. Sunday was about making things happen. Brandon Wolff from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania put it best: "Yesterday, we were learning about what we can do to take action, and today we are actually taking action."
All work ceased as Pitt and former President Bill Clinton made the rounds, thanking everyone for their efforts.
For the students, the pairing of conversations about commitment with real action was both inspiring and motivational as they headed home, ready to bring about change.
Check out more pics after the jump. Read More...