Jack White worked with perhaps his most curious collaborator to date for the video to his latest Blunderbuss single, “Freedom at 21.”
The eclectic rocker tapped Hype Williams, the man behind some of the most influential hip-hop videos of all time, to helm the clip, which will arrive in full on July 16. White released a teaser clip today (July 12) on his official YouTube channel.
Williams, of course, is the man behind the groundbreaking music videos for TuPac and Dr. Dre’s “California Love,” Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” The Notorious B.I.G. feat. Puff Daddy and Mase’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” Jay-Z’s “Big Pimpin’,” Kanye West’s “Stronger” and West feat. Rihanna’s “All of the Lights” … among countless others.
The video looks like a stylistic homage to grindhouse horror films by way of Jonas Akerlund. In the just-released sneak peek, we see White shredding on his guitar alongside clips of a speeding muscle car.
White is well-known for hooking up with out-of-the-box collaborators. He’s recorded with everyone from Jimmy Page and Alicia Keys to Insane Clown Posse and comedian Stephen Colbert. He had Gary Oldman direct his NYC concert special, worked with Danger Mouse and Norah Jones on the strange collabo LP Rome and has led multiple genre varied music projects at once (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather). Our favorite of his collaborations, however, has to be Van Lear Rose, the brilliant 2004 Loretta Lynn album that White produced, co-wrote and appears on.
Check out the “Freedom at 21″ preview:
The homegoing ceremony for the late singer falls on New Jersey residents.
Drake confirmed Alicia Keys will appear as a guest on his forthcoming debut album during the Los Angeles stop of his Away From Home tour on Thursday night.
The Toronto MC broke the news to the crowd as the opening notes of “Fireworks,” slated to be Thank Me Later’s opening track, began to boom from the speakers.
“This right here is the first song that you will here when you put that disk in,” Drake said of Thank Me Later, due June 15. “It’s a song with myself and Miss Alicia Keys, it’s called “Fireworks.”
“Money just changed everything, I wonder how life without it would go,” he rapped. “From the concrete, who knew that a flower would grow/ Looking down from the top and it’s crowded below/ My 15 minutes started an hour ago.”
Drake premiered the track during the first stop of his tour and has been revealing more of the number with subsequent performances.
In Rolling Stone magazine’s Spring Music Preview, the So Far Gone superstar revealed the track would address his relationships with Lil Wayne, his own family, and a rumored romance with Rihanna.
Last month, Drake told reporters the song represents what his life is like at the moment.
“The song itself is the first song on the album; I think it’s the biggest indicator of what the album is gonna be like,” he said. “That’s why I picked that song to go first, and that’s why I wrote the first verse like that. It’s really where I am in my life right now. I know they’re looking forward to the album, so I want them to get a feel of how the story starts off.”
Most of Wednesday night’s (April 21) “American Idol” was given over to the all-star fundraising effort “Idol Gives Back,” featuring performances from Alicia Keys, Elton John, Mary J. Blige and others uniting to raise funds for children’s charities in the U.S. and abroad. There was, of course, also work to be done, as another contestant faced elimination at the end of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour special.
But the majority of the show was focused on performances at the “Idol” studios in Los Angeles, as well as a second location at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where Queen Latifah hosted in front of a rowdy crowd hyped for Carrie Underwood, the Black Eyed Peas and other special guests.
The evening opened with President Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, delivering a pre-taped message from the White House. ” ‘American Idol’ has always been about changing lives, on the stage and around the world,” the president said. “That’s why Michelle and I want to take a moment to thank everyone watching tonight for your continued generosity as part of ‘Idol Gives Back.’ ”
The top 12, all wearing crisp white outfits, were reunited for one last group number, the 1986 Freiheit song “Keeping the Dream Alive,” followed by the Black Eyed Peas, who beamed in for their tune “Rock That Body” on a stage shrouded in fog and crisscrossing lasers. As a half-dozen futuristic robot-girl warriors flashed their ray guns at the crowd, Fergie worked the stage in a metallic snakeskin body suit and knee-high matching boots for the uptempo dance tune.
This week’s mentor, Alicia Keys, sang her sultry new ballad “Un-Thinkable” while wearing a silky black pantsuit, and then sat down at the piano for a forceful run through the sequel to her hit duet with Jay-Z, “Empire State of Mind (Pt. II) Broken Down.” Former “Idol” winner and country superstar Carrie Underwood dropped by to sing her inspirational ballad about trying to make a difference in the world, “Change.”
Though former Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox was scheduled to perform, she was grounded by the Icelandic volcano, but still made an appearance in a touching segment about how the right drugs helped save the life of a desperately ill 7-year-old girl with pneumonia and AIDS. She later appeared in a satellite segment singing her hopeful tribute to children in need, “Universal Child,” a new song that was available for download on iTunes after the show.
English guitar icon Jeff Beck was joined by Joss Stone and the Jubilation choir for a slinky ramble through “I Put a Spell on You,” which featured plenty of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s legendary whammy-bar pyrotechnics. Mary J. Blige also lent a hand, hooking up with Orianthi, Travis Barker, Steve Vai and “Idol” judge Randy Jackson to perform Led Zeppelin’s rock classic “Stairway to Heaven.” Wearing dark shades, black leather pants and a black leotard with mirrored shoulder pads, Blige brought some soul power to the rock anthem, with Barker bashing out the rumbling rhythm and Vai and Orianthi trading off riffs as the tune built to a titanic peak.
The night’s final performance came from Elton John, who encouraged viewers to get educated about HIV/AIDS and to get tested for the disease before singing his ageless piano ballad “Your Song.”
Among the stars lending a hand through video segments chronicling childhood poverty and hunger were Jennifer Garner, former guest judge Victoria Beckham, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, George Lopez, David Duchovny, Chris Rock, Josh Groban, Morgan Freeman, Slash, Jim Carrey, Wanda Sykes and Ben Affleck.
Garner visited an Appalachian town near hear hometown in Charleston, West Virginia, where 45 percent of children are growing up in poverty. She met a family of six that lives in a cramped two-room trailer with no heat and is getting some educational help from Save the Children, one of the night’s beneficiaries. Freeman and Randy Jackson traveled to Mississippi and watched as Save the Children helped spread literacy to help rural children get out of poverty. DeGeneres was in Monrovia, California, with David Arquette to see the efforts of Feeding America, which provides food to families in need, while former “Idol” winner David Cook went to Ethiopia on behalf of the U.N. Foundation to see their work trying to help save young girls from servitude.
After taking a year off in 2009 due to the financial crisis, Wednesday night’s show was the third edition of “Idol Gives Back,” and near the end of the show, Simon Cowell announced that $15 million has already been raised. If you want to show your support, you can see your favorite artists and American Idol performers live by purchasing concert tickets.
To donate to “Idol Gives Back,” call (877) 436-5243 or visit www.americanIdol.com.
After performing her hit “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart” for 108,000 fans during NBA All-Star Weekend, Alicia Keys is looking north to begin her next tour.
“The tour is starting on February 26. We start in Canada, then we bring it down to America,” said the singer. “I’m really excited about it. I can’t believe that it’s that soon. It’s going to be amazing and the concept of the tour is really amazing, and putting it together, I feel so excited. So I hope you make it.”
Toronto native Melanie Fiona and R&B crooner Robin Thicke will open on Keys’ tour, which she’s calling the Freedom Tour after her album The Element of Freedom. Keys and company will perform for two days in Canada before coming stateside, to Chicago. The international leg of Keys’ run then begins on April 29.
Alicia and Beyoncé recently filmed the video for their duet “Put It in a Love Song” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sporting fashions that draw upon ethnic prints and playful skirts, the two divas played up the colorful energy of the South American city. “Put It in a Love Song” is set to premiere on March 8.
Here are dates for the North American leg of the Freedom Tour:
» 2/26 – Ottawa, ON @ ScotiaBank Place
» 2/28 – Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
» 3/3 – Chicago, IL @ Allstate Arena
» 3/5 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre
» 3/6 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre
» 3/8 – London, ON @ John Labatt Centre
» 3/10 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
» 3/11 – Verona, NY @ Turning Stone
» 3/13 – Mashantucket, CT @ Foxwoods Casino
» 3/14 – Mashantucket, CT @ Foxwoods Casino
» 3/17 – New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
» 3/19 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Centre
» 3/20 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Mark Etess Arena
» 3/22 – Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena
» 3/24 – Baltimore, MD @ 1st Mariner Arena
» 3/25 – Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
» 3/27 – Miami, FL @ American Airlines Arena
» 3/28 – Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times-Forum
» 3/30 – Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena
» 4/2 – Dallas, TX @ Nokia Theater (Grand Prairie)
» 4/3 – Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
» 4/6 – Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
» 4/7 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
» 4/9 – Las Vegas, NV @ Mandalay Bay
» 4/10 – Oakland, CA @ Oracle Coliseum
Thank goodness, Lil Mama was nowhere in sight on Wednesday, when Jay-Z and Alicia Keys shot the video for “Empire State of Mind” in New York. But there were plenty of other onlookers feeling the vibe and blowing up Twitter with talk about the two New York giants filming in Tribeca and around Ground Zero for the clip, directed by Hype Williams.
Before performing the song at the VMAs last month, Keys told us how the collaboration for the Blueprint 3 track came about.
“Working together on ‘Empire State of Mind’ was incredible,” Keys said. “I’ve admired Jay-Z for a long time. Reasonable Doubt is my all-time favorite album, period, and he’s been on the scene for long time. I always figured that we would do some type of collaboration, and finally, it came together with this. He reached out to me said, ‘I have this big New York record. I feel its right for us to do it together. It has this big Frank Sinatra, take-it-there feeling. I feel like you could really do something with it.’
“I went by , took a listen to it,” she continued. “I really felt the energy of New York all through it. It felt classic, it felt so good; the piano obviously was in there. I said, ‘I love it, so let’s do it.’ We communicated a lot during the process. I think we both are really happy with how it came out.”
Keys said that though “Empire State of Mind” was inspired by her hometown, it resonates with all people — which explains why the song is currently #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“New York City belongs to everyone,” she said, adding her own Sinatra nod: “If you can make it here, you can make it everywhere.”
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