Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for LARAS
Miguel performs at the 2019 Latin GRAMMYs
"Black Power Live" To Feature Performances From Miguel, Dev Hynes, Ne-Yo, Kamasi Washington, Denzel Curry And More
Hosted by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, the one-day event, happening Saturday, June 27, will also feature performances from Jessie Reyez, Vagabon and Twin Shadow as well as interviews and conversations with Emma González & Dream Hampton
Black Power Live, a music- and conversation-based online livestream benefit, has announced the lineup for its upcoming event. Miguel, Dev Hynes, Ne-Yo, Doja Cat, Jessie Reyez, Aloe Blacc, Vagabon, Twin Shadow and others are among the musical acts confirmed. The event, produced by FORM and Jammcard, will also include the debut of Terrace Martin's new composition, "Racism on Trial," featuring Kamasi Washington, Robert Glasper, Denzel Curry, Alex Isley and other special guests.
The event will also feature interviews and discussions with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who's also hosting the event, alongside Democratic candidate for Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón; activist and Parkland survivor Emma González; "Dear White People" creator Justin Simien; filmmaker and activist Dream Hampton; and others.
Taking place Saturday, June 27, from 5 p.m.—midnight PST and streaming exclusively on Twitch, Black Power Live will raise funds for "organizations across the movement for Black lives," according to a press release announcing the event, including Crenshaw Dairy Mart, Trap Heals, Transgender Law Center, Sankofa and Black Men Build.
View the full music and conversation lineup below.
Los Angeles funk band The Brandon Brown Collective will perform Black Power anthems as well as new songs alongside some of the event's confirmed guests, according to the Black Power Live event page. The event will also feature readings from poets Aja Monet and Yrsa Daley-Ward, accompanied by Dev Hynes on solo piano. Rap/hardcore punk duo Ho99o9 will perform two new songs alongside Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.
Black Power Live will be a "celebration of the incredible work done by organizers and activists around the world and will be a chance to reflect, regroup, and talk about next steps," according to a press release.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer / Getty Images
6 Deep Insights From Jacob Collier & Jessie Reyez' GRAMMY U Masterclass Conversation
The GRAMMY U Masterclass powered by Mastercard and hosted by GRAMMY-winner Jacob Collier and GRAMMY-nominee Jessie Reyez was dedicated to excellence in music and the development of talent through the industry.
Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, like every year, GRAMMY U student representatives studying to pursue careers in music have gathered together in Los Angeles for GRAMMY Week, many to attend or help out at the GRAMMY Awards.
On Feb. 2, at the Novo venue in downtown L.A., GRAMMY U hosted its own Masterclass dedicated to excellence in music and the development of talent through the industry. Passion and creativity shined bright at the event powered by Mastercard hosted by GRAMMY-winner Jacob Collier and moderated by GRAMMY-nominee Jessie Reyez.
Collier and Reyez presented a rich and rollicking conversation, as well as a musical demonstration, that showcased their admiration for each other and for music-making. The Masterclass also highlighted the dedication, skill and vision of the GRAMMY U students themselves, who made the event and all its magic happen.
Read on for insights and advice from the GRAMMY U Masterclass.
Collaboration is key
"The GRAMMY U representatives work together to help build the vision of the program, including the featured panelists, conversation topic, venues, and overall vibe,” explained GRAMMY U Director Jessie Allen. “The most rewarding part of the events we produce is seeing the pride each Rep has as they see their vision realized."
And the vision for this Masterclass was impressive. The pairing of past collaborators Collier and Reyez was fantastic (Collier tapped Reyez for "Count The People" on Collier’s GRAMMY-nominated Djesse Vol. 3) and led to a deep, lively and illuminating conversation filled with live music and music theory 101. The musical components, which included a stunning demonstration of the audience choir Collier has been performing on tour, felt organic, spur-of-the-moment, and deeply captivating.
"For this Masterclass, we all knew that including live music was a top priority in how we created the event. Once we had Jacob on board, the program direction became clear pretty quickly and the Reps wrote all of the questions and script for him and Jessie. One of the first things they asked was for Jacob to do an audience choir segment, which was such a special part of the event. I was so proud to see them all soaking in every second, knowing that they helped to create it," Allen added.
In addition to shaping the event itself, other GRAMMY U students prepared great additional questions for the audience Q&A portion of the talk. A vibey selection of R&B, Afrobeats and house grooves, ala Beyoncé, Steve Lacy, Doja Cat and Black Coffee was provided by GRAMMY U student DJ, Anastazja before and after the main event as guests mingled and ate sweet treats of fresh churros, fluffy mini donuts, and paletas. The culmination of these collaborative efforts elevated the energy of the entire event.
Rules (and tools) were meant to be stretched
"I've always been interested in stretching all the rules. I've always felt they're quite arbitrary," Collier said toward the beginning of the chat, rocking a chevron-striped sweater and bright yellow Crocs that serendipitously coordinated the oversized chairs both artists perched in. "That gave me a lot of clarity."
The GRAMMY-winning singer, songwriter and composer took the captive audience back to the beginning of his musical journey, where the creative seeds for his GRAMMY-winning debut album In My Room were planted, with a mic and his first Casio keyboard in his childhood London bedroom. He explained that he loved to take apart classic songs he loved, like those of Stevie Wonder and play with them. He also explored all his keyboard had to offer, relishing in its presets which sounded out waltz and polka and horn instruments he'd never played before. This began when he was 10 and through his teenage years, and was a very inspiring and fun period of musical play, learning and experimentation for him. This was his happy place.
That bedroom musical experimentation was "a crucial part of my learning… What you like is one of the most important questions you can ask [yourself]," he said, emphasizing the importance of following your joy and the things and sounds that excite you.
Intuition is a superpower
Learning to trust and listen to your intuition was a recurring theme that both Reyez and Collier brought up when discussing the creative process and navigating the music industry.
"You have to make sure the little voice in your head is on your side," Reyez stated.
She continued, telling the audience not to accept “no” or let others convince them something won't work when they know there's a way. She stressed the importance of nurturing connections with themselves and their intuition, which is always the best guide.
When Reyez gets a no, she checks in with her intuition. When she gets stuck in indecision, instead of letting time continue to pass her by, she flips a coin. For her, this classic trick is a great gut-check and gives her initial insight into her emotional reaction to any decision. Either way, making a choice and moving forward is always more rewarding than doing nothing.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Stringer / Getty Images
Effective leadership creates harmony
Collier led the "presence and effortless flow" of the audience choir, which he demonstrated to powerful effect, a beautiful chorus of angelic voices that he conducted with simple hand motions and vocal demonstrations.
The demonstration sounded flawless and appeared nearly effortless. He expressed that leading the audience choirs has been a great learning experience for him, understanding how to boil it down to the simplest sounds and give instructions with clear and precise hand signals to result in unified sound.
Drawing parallels between conducting a choice and building out his creative and professional team, Collier mused, "How do I lead in a way where everyone's voice feels important when creating a team?"
Collier indulged the audience with one of many “music nerd moments” of the afternoon as he discussed and demonstrated triadic harmony, concluding with "Harmony's my ultimate crush from day one."
"Think about every problem as an unresolved chord"
Collier offered a great piece of advice someone on his team had once shared with him: "Think about every problem as an unresolved chord." For him, finishing a chord is second nature, so if he can "transpose that [knowledge] to other situations," he understands that all challenges have solutions, eventually.
"When you believe that it can happen, the universe does transpire to help you," Collier asserted, adding that the solution doesn’t always have to come through your mind. Striking the balance between head versus heart and learning to listen to both was a point the dynamic pair emphasized.
He related it back to the power of having a good team and openness for collaboration, which can support in making magic happen. "[It's about] reaching into your peripheral vision knowing something will be there," "The Sun Is In Your Eyes" artist said.
Reflect a perspective through song
"I'm longing for all that is already here," Collier said poetically, in one of his many musical demonstrations. "Longing and abundance…how do you express all that with a chord?" he mused from the piano, playing around with expressing that nuanced feeling, which was truly powerful to experience and let wash over you. "I love the feeling of transposing my experience to [song]," he said.
He activated the audience choir once again as he bounced around the stage which had become his musical playground, moving from the big yellow chair to the front of the stage to conduct, and back to the piano. It's clear that Collier thinks (and moves) in musical form. Speaking to the audience, his choir, he reflects: "The feeling of being a note in a chord, it's an interesting state, it's like being a person."
A question from a GRAMMY U student who is a voice major offered more illumination into Collier's music making mastery. Collier explained that when he was younger, he thought that writing lyrics was meant to be a personal monologue, but as he's developed in his songwriting, he sees it as a chance to share a perspective, and not just your own. It could be a dance between two characters, or a chance to explore a viewpoint completely different than your own.
"Embrace the weirdness of your perspective and others' perspectives," he encouraged. "And don't be right…being good is boring… push into the crumbly, strange, dark corners of your imagination." For him, that's the most exciting creative space to be in.
There were so many mic drop moments during the lengthy conversation, and if that wasn't enough, there were two more cherries to top it off. Collier closed out with a big, heavens-gracing performance of the classic "Can’t Take My Eyes Off You" just for the IRL audience (sorry livestream guests!). His interpretation of the song ended with one more audience choir.
Find out if Collier and your other favorite artists will take home a golden gramophone this Sunday, Feb. 5, at the 65th GRAMMY Awards.
Music’s Biggest Night will be broadcast live from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 5 (8:00 - 11:30 PM, live ET/5:00 - 8:30 PM, live PT). It will air on the CBS Television Network, stream live and on demand on Paramount+.
Photo: Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
10 Songs That Show Doja Cat’s Rap Skills: From "Vegas" To "Tia Tamara" & "Rules"
Doja Cat’s rap skills are often overshadowed by her many other talents. Yet her bars are too solid to be negated, and her inventive vocal stylings worthy of adulation.
Doja Cat is one of the most exciting talents of our time, and it’s partly thanks to her refusal to stick to one sound. A triple threat, the artist sings, raps and dances with a vigor that’s resulted in seven Top 10 hits and 16 GRAMMY nominations.
But due to the overwhelming popularity of her mainstream pop-forward smashes — including the twice-GRAMMY nominated "Say So," the SZA-assisted "Kiss Me More" (which scored the ladies their first win for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance last year) and her feature on Post Malone’s "I Like You (A Happier Song)" — Doja's rap skills often get overshadowed by her other talents.
Yet Doja Cat is no mere pop star. Her bars are too solid to be negated, and she currently has five 2023 GRAMMY nominations to prove it. Doja's Elvis original motion picture soundtrack cut "Vegas" earned a Best Rap Performance nod, while Planet Her single "Woman" (which fuses sensual Afrobeats with sharp hip-hop rhymes) has three nominations including Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Music Video and Record Of The Year.
In celebration of Doja Cat’s rap prowess, we’ve gathered her best rap songs, from solo album cuts to unforgettable guest features.
What makes Doja Cat’s artistry so mesmerizing is the ease in which she floats from singing to spitting. On "Vegas," the surefire highlight from last year’s Elvis soundtrack, her delicate vocals play a supporting role in amplifying her fiery bars. Her rapping is the star of the show as she unleashes fury at an ex-lover who did her wrong: "Had your ass sittin' first class with your burnt ass out in Abu Dhabi / Coulda been what we shoulda been but you lost a bet."
"Vegas" is a perfect marriage of historical homage (it chops up Shonka Dukureh’s cover of Big Mama Thornton’s original rendition of "Hound Dog") and millennial s— talking that led to a Best Rap Performance nomination at the 2023 GRAMMYs.
"Do It" Remix - Chloe x Halle (2020)
Chloe x Halle gathered an all-star lineup of women rappers for the remix to their sultry hit single "Do It." While the City Girls and Latto brought their own heat, Doja Cat stole the show. Appointed the opening verse, the artist rides the twinkling beat effortlessly but also brings her signature cheeky energy (she literally coughs in the middle of the verse). It leaves you wondering why Doja wasn’t secured for the original version in the first place.
"Tia Tamera" feat. Rico Nasty (2019)
What makes Doja Cat so endearing is that she isn’t afraid to get weird. So when she called upon fellow rapper Rico Nasty for "Tia Tamera" — a track on the deluxe edition Amala, her debut album — we knew we were going to be in for a wild ride. The pair balances their kitschy flows and sheer silliness (Doja is comparing her breasts to the iconic ‘90s twins) with impressive wordplay ("Dug in the guts and I skeet her") to remind you how much they take their rapping seriously.
The Roxana Baldovin-directed video revs up the raucous factor with a neon-colored, ‘90s-inspired explosion featuring homages to "Sister, Sister," Lisa Frank and Nickelodeon’s "Double Dare" game show.
Doja Cat’s rapping often gets compared to Kendrick Lamar for her ability to twist her vocal stylings to invent new effects. On "Rules," Doja Cat’s timbre creates an earworm rollercoaster, leaping from a helium-like tone to velvety seduction.
The Hot Pink song is also one of her most serious, which forces you to pay attention to her lyrical adaptability. "Said play with my p—y/ But don’t play with my emotions," she commands over a Western-inspired production. And better believe listeners obliged.
"Need To Know" (2021)
The GRAMMY-nominated Planet Her was an adventure into Doja’s kooky world, and "Need To Know" was the spaceship to launch us into the stratosphere. Doja Cat transforms into a full alien as she rides on icy synths and crashing snares. It’s maddening how she confidently jumps from cocky ("I don’t play with my pen / I mean what I write") to erotic "Oh, wait, you a fan of the magic? / Poof, p—y like an Alakazam" while never losing her sense of humor. It comes as no surprise that "Need To Know" earned a Best Melodic Rap Performance nomination at the 2022 GRAMMYs.
"Up And Down" (2021)
Doja Cat loves teasing her fans on social media, often sharing songs that she’s working on but likely won't release. Luckily, she gifted listeners with "Up And Down," which she first previewed during an Instagram Live in 2018. She recorded the song in real time, but fans had to hold their breath for three years to hear the official version on the deluxe edition of Planet Her. The wait was worth it, of course, as Doja’s staccato flow and signature cheekiness ("Y'all ain't s— but I flush") still sounded fresh.
"Pu**y Talk - City Girls (2020)
City Girls and Doja Cat are all known for unapologetic praising the power of the woman, so it was only a matter of time when they linked up for this raunchy banger. There is nothing subtle about the song, as Miami-based City Girls explicitly stating how wealthy they need their sexual partners to be. Doja Cat holds her own, dishing a platter of R-rated afterhours innuendos that would make Lil Kim' proud.
"Best Friend" - Saweetie (2021)
You know the musical chemistry is undeniable when it scores you a GRAMMY nomination for Best Rap Song. That’s the case for Saweetie and Doja Cat, whose "Best Friend" was filled to the brim with feel-good energy. The single is all about celebrating friendship and sisterhood, and the song poses the two in an unofficial competition on who can give the other the most compliments. Doja Cat serves double-duty on the twerk-friendly chorus and a verse that shows she’s a ride-or-die friend: "That's my best friend, if you need a freak / I ain't dumb, but motherf—er, she my Tweedledee."
"Make That Cake" Remix - LunchMoney Lewis (2019)
LunchMoney Lewis’ "Make That Cake" single didn’t gather much attention when it first dropped in the summer of 2019, but that all changed when he called upon Doja Cat for the remix not too longer after. Often credited as the artist’s most underrated guest features, it’s the best showcase of her clever and technical wordplay. "Mark my words, hit a billion like I'm Mark Zucker / Big news, Takanawa, Tom Tucker," she spits, making a handful of pop culture references (the Facebook CEO’s wealth, Family Guy news reporters and "zucker" translating to "sugar" in German) in a single bar.
"Get Into It (Yuh)" (2021)
Minaj is known for her frenetic and unpredictable style, and on the Planet Her highlight Doja Cat channels her inner Barb. Her quickfire flow is downright dizzying, taking brief pauses to catch her breath before hopping right back into her quirky wordplay. "Thank you, Nicki, I love you," she sweetly exclaims in the song’s outro. There’s no doubt she made the millennial Queen of Rap proud.
Press Play On GRAMMY U Mixtape: New Year, It’s Poppin'! Monthly Member Playlist
The GRAMMY U Mixtape is a monthly, genre-spanning playlist to quench your thirst for new tunes, all from student members. GRAMMY U celebrates new beginnings with fresh pop tunes that will kickstart 2023.
Did you know that among all of the students in GRAMMY U, songwriting and performance is one of the most sought after fields of study? We want to create a space to hear what these students are creating today!
The GRAMMY U Mixtape, now available for your listening pleasure, highlights the creations and fresh ideas that students are bringing to this industry directly on the Recording Academy's Spotify and Apple Music pages. Our goal is to celebrate GRAMMY U members, as well as the time and effort they put into making original music — from the songwriting process to the final production of the track.
Each month, we accept submissions and feature 20 to 25 songs that match that month’s theme. This month we're ringing in 2023 with our New Year, It's Poppin'! playlist, which features fresh pop songs that bring new year, new you vibes. Showcasing talented members from our various chapters, we felt these songs represented the positivity and hopefulness that GRAMMY U members embody as they tackle this upcoming year of exciting possibilities.
So, what’s stopping you? Press play on GRAMMY U’s Mixtape and listen now on Spotify below and Apple Music.
Want to be featured on the next playlist? Submit your songs today! We are currently accepting submissions for songs of all genres for consideration for our February playlist. Whether you write pop, rock, hip hop, jazz, or classical, we want to hear from you. Music must be written and/or produced by the student member (an original song) and you must be able to submit a Spotify and/or Apple Music link to the song. Students must be a GRAMMY U member to submit.
About GRAMMY U:
GRAMMY U is a program that connects college students with the industry's brightest and most talented minds and provides those aspiring professionals with the tools and opportunities necessary to start a career in music.
Throughout each semester, events and special programs touch on all facets of the industry, including the business, technology, and the creative process.
As part of the Recording Academy's mission to ensure the recorded arts remain a thriving part of our shared cultural heritage, GRAMMY U establishes the necessary foundation for music’s next generation to flourish.
Not a member, but want to submit to our playlist? Apply for GRAMMY U Membership here.
Photo: Adrian Villagomez
Herbal Tea & White Sofas: Denzel Curry Keeps It Simple On The Road With Toiletry Essentials And Healthy Snacks
Rapper Denzel Curry shares the list of items he needs to be his best self on stage — all of which can be found on the shelves of any corner pharmacy.
It doesn't take a whole lot for Denzel Curry to be happy when he's on tour. The rapper says his must-haves are all simple items that help him look his best and feel good, even after a night of going all out on stage.
In this episode of Herbal Tea & White Sofas, Curry says that toiletry items are at the top of the list when he considers what he needs on tour — and he also likes to find healthy ways to satisfy his sweet tooth, too.
"My current tour rider has deodorant, lotion, some snacks like fruit or dried mango," he lists. "First of all, I just like mango. But the reason why I like dried mango is 'cause it's sweeter. It kinda feels like candy, but it's not really candy."
Lotion is a key component of Curry's tour rider because it keeps his skin looking and feeling its best when he's on stage, he goes on to explain. "I don't wanna be ashy. You know what ashy is? It means that it looks like your elbows and your knees are just pretty much white or looking kinda dusty. I can't be looking all dusty like a mummy, you feel me?" he adds with a laugh.
A Denzel Curry show is an immersive experience, he says — so much so that he always walks off stage covered in sweat, and immediately needs to change into something dry. Along with delivering a high-energy show, Curry makes sure he gets up close and personal with his fans. The rapper remembers one particular recent show where he brought not one but two fans on stage to sing his song "RICKY" with him.
"I brought a fan on stage, he had a sign that said '[I wanna] sing 'RICKY' with you'... Then there was another fan that had the same sign, and I brought him on stage as well," Curry recalls. "He got to the stage a little bit late, we were literally on the last hook, and he ended up just killing it. I gave the mic to him... and he killed it."
Press play on the video above to learn more about how Curry's tour essentials help him create a live show that's an epic experience for all involved, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of Herbal Tea & White Sofas.