By James Dinh
Collaborations are all the rage these days, and Usher appears to be stirring the pot big-time. On Monday, the R&B crooner teased the Twitterverse about a mystery team-up, offering fans with just one cryptic clue – “YO WHAT UP NY!!...I bet you'd never guess who I'm in the studio wit right now? A Clue. Borough starts wit a B! The record is CRAZY!!”
Now, Usher has a long history of star-studded team-ups, including tunes with Alicia Keys (“My Boo”), Ludacris (“Yeah!”) and Mary J. Blige (“Shake Down”), but the chart-topper has the Newsroom pondering who exactly his secret studio partner is. Assuming that his subliminal clue indicates that the collaborator’s name begins with a B, take a look at some our guesses (and wishes) for Ush’s hush-hush matchup.
With her string of “intimate” New York shows lined up this week, King B serves as our first guess for Usher’s secret collabo. Not only have these two hit the studio together before for a remix to the R&B singer’s slow jam “Love in This Club Part II,” but they’ve also sizzled in front of the cameras for Bey’s “Naughty Girl” clip in 2004. Call us Team Sherlock Holmes, but why does Usher tease NY boroughs that begin with a B? Brooklyn stands as the most populous borough in the city with the simple BK abbreviation, which also remains the initials for the pop queen.
By Zachary Swickey
California rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers are gearing up for the release of their newest rock/funk masterpiece, I’m With You, and have acquired the services of famous street artist Mr. Brainwash to help promote the album with some Pepper-themed guerilla marketing.
TMZ reports that Mr. Brainwash, real name Thierry Guetta, has been in the Los Angeles area hanging art work that bears the album’s release date (8/30/11), the Chili Peppers logo and a bit of Guetta’s signature pop flare. With his bumbling charm (and wicked facial hair), Guetta essentially starred in the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was directed by the notoriously stealth Banksy, who picked up an Oscar nom for Best Documentary for his efforts. RHCP have also recruited Guetta for some other upcoming projects, but the artist was hush when pressed for details.
Collaborating with an artist has become a booming trend. Old timer Roger Waters hired street artists to promote his recent tour behind Pink Floyd’s iconic double album The Wall. Even professional companies and prestigious museums have been known to commission controversial artists. Here are some of our favorite band/artist collabs that all provide some great eye candy.
Interpol and David Lynch
Interpol did something special at this year’s Coachella festival when they worked on a video collaboration with the mysterious David Lynch, director of creepy cult faves like Blue Velvet, Lost Highway and Twin Peaks. The band played along to a short film Lynch directed for the group’s song “Lights,” off their recent self-titled record. The black-and-white animated clip contains a quirky character that repeatedly pushes a red button that makes its color burst all over the screen. In typical Lynch fashion, it will leave you thinking WTF?
By Matt Goodhue
With James Bond star Daniel Craig’s secret marriage to Rachel Weisz late last week, we at MTV News have rekindled our excitement for what's in store for the British secret agent. Although the latest Bond movie, the twenty third in the series, is not due out until October of next year, there are already talks about which artist will be writing the theme song that defines the cunning, swift and fearless actions of agent 007.
Jack White and Alicia Keys performed the theme to 2008’s "Quantum of Solace," and the list of artists in the running for this gig has made us curious as to how they will interpret the James Bond theme. Each of these artists has a unique sound and surely can bring something different to the table. But who will best capture the essence of the world's longest-running secret agent?
Kings of Leon
If I had any say in the matter, I would surely pick the Followill clan to turn out a distinctive track. With a distorted bass leading the way, the guys in Kings of Leon could add some heavy rock and roll to pick up the excitement and danger that follows Bond's latest mission. Singer Caleb Followill commented on the possibility of the song, stating, "I've always wanted to work with strings so that would be a good excuse to do it." A full orchestra backing the Kings' rock while Daniel Craig speeds through a fiery explosion? Sounds pretty epic to me.
It seems like Lady Gaga can do just about anything, so a theme song for a Bond film would just add to the list of the accomplishments she's achieved. Lady Gaga is an incredible songwriter and has a distinct, powerful voice that could truly capture the mayhem that would ensue on screen. Gaga's unpredictability would fit perfectly with the always-on-the-move lifestyle of Bond, but perhaps she would need to perform something harder than her poppy dance music.
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It's been a super-busy year for the Jonas Brothers, who have been making music, working on a Disney Channel show and wrapping up their 3-D movie, set for release next year.
Not content with just working with Pharrell and Strokes singer Julian Casablancas in a Converse ad and opening for Coldplay on their current tour, Santogold has her sights set on some major collaborations in the future. The "Lights Out" singer recently revealed to NME that she's working on "something with Jay-Z; it's kind of secret," adding that "it's just 'cos we want to."
Must be nice, right? Santi said she's also working on a project with former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and recording a track with the Beastie Boys for their next record. But don't think she's turning into some hook queen.
"It's not like 'insert girl on chorus' or anything," she explained. "We'll figure it out as we go along." While a spokesperson for Santogold had no comment on the Jay-Z hookup, he did confirm that the singer is slated to work with Byrne soon and recently went into the studio with the Beastie Boys to work on a song for their next album, tentatively due out in 2009.