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Post Malone To Cardi B: Forbes' Hip-Hop's Future Moguls

Forbes' class of 2018 of hip-hop royalty is dominated by women like Cardi B, Lizzo and WondaGurl

GRAMMYs/Jan 10, 2018 - 02:37 am

Measuring prospective wealth is a music angle Forbes has been covering for ages, for example with its 2017 Hip-Hop Cash Princes. But the label no longer fits. With emerging artists Lizzo and WondaGurl breaking into the light, and GRAMMY nominee Cardi B dominating the charts, that phrase "Cash Princes" gives way, for the first time ever, to Forbes' Hip-Hop's Future Moguls class of 2018.

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For the rapid rise of Post Malone, Forbes wrote, "The future is now." Also on the list is "Future Mogul" 21 Savage, who helped propel Malone's "Rockstar" everywhere — one of the list's judges heard an older lady at the airport pumping it up in her convertible. That hit, Malone's single "Congratulations," featuring Quavo, and album sales for Stoney have put him in the rarified sales territory of Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

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GRAMMY nominees Tyler, The Creator and Vic Mensa both made the list. Playboi Carti, whose hit "Magnolia" helped us through the summer, is one of the Future Moguls too, along with about-to-be-better-knowns Dave East and Lil Pump.

Kudos to all these hard-working artists whose musical dreams and ambitions have been shared through song — and Facebook, SoundCloud, Twitter — millions and millions of times. Whatever they are rolling in, we are rolling to their beats.

Diddy, Drake, Guns N' Roses: Forbes' Highest-Paid Musicians Of 2017

Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, on Monday, April 1.
Beyoncé accepts the Innovator Award onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, on Monday, April 1.

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

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Beyond Country: All The Genres Beyoncé Explores On 'Cowboy Carter'

On 'COWBOY CARTER,' Beyoncé is free. Her eighth studio album is an unbridled exploration of musical genres — from country to opera and R&B — that celebrates the fluidity of music and her Texas roots.

GRAMMYs/Apr 3, 2024 - 08:50 pm

"Genres are a funny little concept, aren't they? In theory, they have a simple definition that's easy to understand. But in practice, well, some may feel confined."

With those words, spoken on "SPAGHETTII" by Linda Martell — the first commercially successful Black female artist in country music and the first to play the Grand Ole Opry solo — Beyoncé provides a proxy response to her original call on Instagram 10 days before COWBOY CARTER was released: "This ain’t a Country album. This is a “Beyoncé” album." 

She delivered on that promise with intent. Through a mix of homage and innovation, Beyoncé's latest is a 27-track testament to her boundless musicality and draws  from a rich aural palette. In addition to its country leanings, COWBOY CARTER includes everything from the soulful depths of gospel to the intricate layers of opera. 

Beyoncé's stance is clear: she's not here to fit into a box. From the heartfelt tribute in "BLACKBIIRD" to the genre-blurring tracks like "YA YA," Beyoncé uses her platform to elevate the conversation around genre, culture, and history. She doesn't claim country music; she illuminates its roots and wings, celebrating the Black artists who've shaped its essence.

The collective album proves no genre was created or remains in isolation. It's a concept stoked in the words of the opening track, "AMERIICAN REQUIEM" when Beyonce reflects, "Nothing really ends / For things to stay the same they have to change again." For country, and all popular genres of music to exist they have to evolve. No sound ever stays the same.

COWBOY CARTER's narrative arc, from "AMERICAN REQUIEM" to "AMEN," is a journey through American music's heart and soul, paying tribute to its origins while charting a path forward. This album isn't just an exploration of musical heritage; it's an act of freedom and a declaration of the multifaceted influence of Black culture on American pop culture.

Here's a closer look at some of some of the musical genres touched on in act ii, the second release of an anticipated trilogy by Beyoncé, the most GRAMMY-winning artist of all-time: 

Country 

Before COWBOY CARTER was even released, Beyoncé sparked critical discussion over the role of herself and all Black artists in country music. Yet COWBOY CARTER doesn't stake a claim on country music. Rather, it spotlights the genre through collaborations with legends and modern icons, while championing the message that country music, like all popular American music and culture, has always been built on the labor and love of Black lives. 

It's a reckoning acknowledged not only by Beyoncé's personal connection to country music growing up in Texas, but the role Black artists have played in country music rooted in gospel, blues, and folk music. 

Enter The World Of Beyoncé

Country legends, Dolly Parton ("DOLLY P", "JOLENE," and "TYRANT"), Willie Nelson ("SMOKE HOUR" and "SMOKE HOUR II"), and Martell ("SPAGHETTII and "THE LINDA MARTELL SHOW") serve mainly as spoken-word collaborators, becoming MCs for Queen Bey. Some of the most prolific country music legends receiving her in a space where she has been made to feel unwelcome in music (most notably with the racism surrounding her 2016 CMA performance of "Daddy Lessons" with the Dixie Chicks) provides a prolific release of industry levies. Martell, a woman who trod the dark country road before Bey, finally getting her much-deserved dues appears as an almost pre-ordained and poetic act of justice. 

"BLACKBIIRD," a version of the Beatles' civil rights era song of encouragement and hope for the struggle of Black women is led softly by Beyoncé, backed by a quartet of Black female contemporary country songbirds: Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, and Reyna Roberts. 

Beyoncé holds space for others, using the power of her star to shine a light on those around her. These inclusions rebuke nay-sayers who quipped pre-release that she was stealing attention from other Black country artists. It also flies in the faces that shunned and discriminated against her, serving as an example of how to do better. The reality that Beyoncé wasn't stealing a spotlight, but building a stage for fellow artists, is a case study in how success for one begets success for others. 

Read more: 8 Country Crossover Artists You Should Know: Ray Charles, The Beastie Boys, Cyndi Lauper & More

Gospel, Blues, & Folk (American Roots)

As is Beyoncé's way, she mounts a case for country music with evidence to back up her testimony. She meanders a course through a sequence of styles that serve as the genre's foundation: gospel, blues, and folk music.

"AMERIICAN REQUIEM" and "AMEN" bookend the album with gospel-inspired lyrics and choir vocals. The opener sets up a reflective sermon buoyed by  the sounds of a reverberating church organ, while the closer, with its introspective lyrics, pleads for mercy and redemption. The main verse on "AMEN", "This house was built with blood and bone/ The statues they made were beautiful/ But they were lies of stone," is complemented by a blend of piano, and choral harmonies. 

Hymnal references are interlaced throughout the album, particularly in songs like "II HANDS II HEAVEN" and in the lyrical nuances on "JUST FOR FUN." In the later track, Beyoncé's voice soars with gratitude in a powerful delivery of the lines, "Time heals everything / I don't need anything / Hallelujah, I pray to her." 

The gospel-inspired, blues-based "16 CARRIAGES" reflects the rich history of country songs borrowing from the blues while simultaneously calling back to songs sung by field laborers in the colonial American South. "Sixteen dollars, workin' all day/ Ain't got time to waste, I got art to make" serves as the exhausted plea of an artist working tirelessly long hours in dedication to a better life. 

Rhiannon Giddens, a celebrated musician-scholar, two-time GRAMMY winner, and Pulitzer Prize recipient, infuses "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" with her profound understanding of American folk, country, and blues. She plays the viola and banjo, the latter tracing its origins to Sub-Saharan West Africa and the lutes of ancient Egypt. Through her skilled plucking and bending of the strings, Giddens bridges the rich musical heritage of Africa and the South with the soul of country, blues, and folk music.

Pop, Funk, Soul & Rock 'n' Roll 

All in, Beyoncé is a pop star who is wrestling with labels placed on her 27-year career in COWBOY CARTER. Fittingly, she brings in two other pop artists known for swimming in the brackish water between country and pop, Miley Cyrus and Post Malone. Her intentional inclusion of two artists who have blurred genres without much cross-examination begs the question, Why should Beyoncé's sound be segregated to a different realm? 

On "YA YA" Linda Martell returns as the listener's sonic sentinel, introducing the track like a lesson plan: "This particular tune stretches across a range of genres. And that’s what makes it a unique listening experience." The tune sinks into the strummed chords of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" before leaping into a fiery dance track that features reimagined lyrics from the Beach Boys, with soulful vocal flourishes and breaks that show the throughline connection between '60s era rock, funk, and pop music.

Robert Randolph lends his hands on "16 CARRIAGES" with a funk-infused grapple on his pedal-steel guitar. It's a style he honed through his early years touring and recording with his family band and later in his career as an in-demand collaborator working with names including the Allman Brothers, and Norah Jones

The lesson is solidified as the album transitions into an interlude on "OH LOUISIANA," featuring a sped-up sample of a classic track by Chuck Berry. This moment emphasizes the pop superstar's nod to civil rights era music history, spotlighting a controversial artist celebrated for his pioneering contributions to rock 'n' roll. (It's a part of music history Beyoncé knows well, after starring as Etta James in the 2008 film Cadillac Records, a veiled biopic of the legendary Chicago label Chess Records.)

Classical & Opera

Opera was missing from many listeners' Beyoncé Bingo card, but didn't surprise those that know her background. Beyoncé was trained for over a decade starting at an early age by her voice teacher David Lee Brewer, a retired opera singer who once lived with the Knowles family. 

COWBOY CARTER gives sing-along fans a 101 opera class with "DAUGHTER." In Italian, Beyoncé sings passages from the 1783 Italian opera "Caro Mio Ben," composed by Giuseppe Tommaso Giovanni Giordani. The aria is a classic piece of vocal training that fittingly shows off her full range — taking us back to the earliest days of her vocal teachings.

Hip-Hop & R&B

Midway through the album on "SPAGHETTII" Beyoncé announces, "I ain't no regular singer, now come get everythin' you came for," landing right where expectations have confined her: in the throes of a romping beat, experimenting with sounds that blend hip-hop with R&B and soul. The track notably highlights the talent of Nigerian American singer/rapper Shaboozey, who also shows up to the rodeo on "SWEET HONEY BUCKIN'" brandishing his unique mix of hip-hop, folk-pop, and country music. 

Beyoncé worked with longtime collaborator Raphael Saadiq on this album, a career legend in the R&B industry, who lends his mark to several tracks on which he wrote, produced, and played multiple instruments. Beyoncé also utilizes the Louisiana songwriter Willie Jones on "JUST FOR FUN," an artist who draws on a contemporary blend of country, Southern rap, and R&B in the hymnal ballad. 

The violin-heavy "TYRANT" and "SPAGHETTII" both underscore hip-hop's long love affair with the classical string instrument (See: Common's "Be," and Wu Tang Clan's "Reunited" as the tip of that particular iceberg) with a blend of soulful R&B lyrics paired with beat-based instrumentalization. 

In a world quick to draw lines and label sounds, Beyoncé's COWBOY CARTER stands as a vibrant mosaic of musical influence and innovation. Ultimately, Beyoncé's COWBOY CARTER isn't seeking anyone's acceptance. As a Texan once told she didn't belong, her critical response claps back at this exclusion.  It's also a reminder that in the hands of a true artist, music is limitless.

Run The World: Why Beyoncé Is One Of The Most Influential Women In Music History

Post Malone Performs at Super Bowl LVIII
Post Malone Performs at Super Bowl LVIII.

Photo:  Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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Post Malone Goes Country for “America The Beautiful” at Super Bowl LVIII

Post Malone kicked off Super Bowl LVIII with the annual performance of "America The Beautiful." Watch below.

GRAMMYs/Feb 12, 2024 - 12:21 am

Post Malone opened Super Bowl Sunday LVIII in Las Vegas with a tender performance of “America The Beautiful.”

Clad in a bolo tie and brown suede, the 10-time GRAMMY nominee self-accompanied on acoustic guitar for the patriotic number, crooning, “O beautiful for spacious skies / For amber waves of grain / For purple mountain majesty / Above the fruited plain / America, America / God shed his grace on thee / And crown thy good with brotherhood / From sea to shinin’ sea.” 

Days before his big moment at Allegiant Stadium, the rapper admitted he found the opportunity more than a little “nerve-wracking.” 

“I’m very nervous, but excited. I’m excited,” he said during Apple Music’s official pre-game press conference. “It’s just fun and super epic to be able to go out there and sing a song so many beautiful artists [sang] before on this stage, and I’m just gonna do my best. Just do my best and give it what I’ve got.”

“America The Beautiful” has been included in the Super Bowl pre-show dating back to 1974, when it was first performed by country singer Charley Pride. Other artists who’ve belted out the American standard by Katharine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward in years past include Babyface, Jhené Aiko, Chloe x Halle, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, and Ray Charles among others.

Posty’s patriotic number comes less than a week after Taylor Swift revealed the rapper would be featured on opening track “Fortnight” off her upcoming eleventh studio album The Tortured Poets Department, which she announced during her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2024 GRAMMYs. Swift, of course, was also in the stands to cheer on her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, after flying back to the U.S. from four sold-out shows in Tokyo, Japan.

Prior to Malone’s performance, Andra Day belted out “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as "The Black National Anthem," penned by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson, before the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs rushed the field at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.

Travis Scott 2024 GRAMMYs performance
Travis Scott performs on stage during the 66th Annual Grammy Awards

Photos: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

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2024 GRAMMYs: Travis Scott Turns Music's Biggest Night Into A Heated Utopia

Travis Scott performed three songs from his hit album 'Utopia' at the 2024 GRAMMYs. In a speaker-ladden apocalyptic landscape, the Houston rapper performed "MY EYES," "I KNOW ?" and "FE!N" with Playboi Carti.

GRAMMYs/Feb 5, 2024 - 04:12 am

Travis Scott turned Crypto.com Arena into his personal road to Utopia, bringing the 2024 GRAMMYs, where he performed three songs from his latest No. 1 album.

Scott set the tone with a backdrop reminiscent of something out of a musical apocalypse. From sitting atop a stack of speakers in a smoky, strobing haze, the Houston-repping rapper kicked off with "MY EYES" before climbing down and transitioning into the brooding "I KNOW ?" The performance heated up — figuratively and literally, with bursts of flames — when he moved onto "FE!N," bringing out Playboi Carti while throwing chair shots WWE-style. 

"MY EYES" and "I KNOW ?" are two of Scott’s three solo tracks on Utopia, which is packed with collaborators across its 19 tracks. In addition to "FE!N" guest Playboi Carti, the album boasts appearances from some of music’s biggest names (as well as several current GRAMMY nominees), including Beyoncé, Drake, the Weeknd, Bad Bunny, and Future. Its production credits include input from Kanye West, Producer Of The Year nominee Metro Boomin, Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, and others. 

The heavy name recognition was well worth Utopia’s wait time, five years after Scott’s 2018 LP Astroworld. Upon its release — which arrived with a 76-minute-long visual companion, CIRCUS MAXIMUS — the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and peaked atop Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Utopia also earned Scott his first No. 1 UK Album and his eleventh overall GRAMMY nomination, grabbing a 2024 nod for Best Rap Album.

2024 GRAMMYs: See The Full Nominees And Winners List

Lizzo GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Lizzo at the 2023 GRAMMYs

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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GRAMMY Rewind: Lizzo Thanks Prince For His Influence After "About Damn Time" Wins Record Of The Year In 2023

Watch Lizzo describe how Prince’s empowering sound led her to “dedicate my life to positive music” during her Record Of The Year acceptance speech for “About Damn Time” at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2024 - 06:00 pm

Since the start of her career, four-time GRAMMY winner Lizzo has been making music that radiates positive energy. Her Record Of The Year win for "About Damn Time" at the 2023 GRAMMYs proved that being true to yourself and kind to one another always wins.

Travel back to revisit the moment Lizzo won her award in the coveted category in this episode of GRAMMY Rewind. 

"Um, huh?" Lizzo exclaimed at the start of her acceptance speech. "Let me tell you something. Me and Adele are having a good time, just enjoying ourselves and rooting for our friends. So, this is an amazing night. This is so unexpected."

Lizzo kicked off her GRAMMY acceptance speech by acknowledging Prince's influence on her sound. "When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music," she said. "This was at a time when positive music and feel-good music wasn't mainstream at that point and I felt very misunderstood. I felt on the outside looking in. But I stayed true to myself because I wanted to make the world a better place so I had to be that change."

As tracks like "Good as Hell" and "Truth Hurts" scaled the charts, she noticed more body positivity and self-love anthems from other artists. "I'm just so proud to be a part of it," she cheered.

Most importantly, Lizzo credited staying true to herself despite the pushback for her win. "I promise that you will attract people in your life who believe in you and support you," she said in front of a tearful audience that included Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in standing ovation, before giving a shout-out to her team, family, partner and producers on the record, Blake Slatkin and Ricky Reed

Watch the video above for Lizzo's complete acceptance speech for Record Of The Year at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind, and be sure to tune into the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4, airing live on the CBS Television Network (8-11:30 p.m. LIVE ET/5-8:30 p.m. LIVE PT) and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on-demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).

10 Must-See Moments From The 2023 GRAMMYs