Ariana Grande Brings Out Justin Bieber As A Massive Coachella Surprise

Ariana Grande‘s 2019 Coachella experience has been legendary, to say the least. After spearheading an NSYNC reunion last weekend, she surprised the audience with another kind of return – a special, spur-of-the-moment performance with Justin Bieber.

Grande’s surprise guest came out deep into her set as she prepared to move into “No Tears Left to Cry.” She slowed things down to make the announcement “I wasn’t going to bring out any guests tonight,” she said. “But my friend Justin Bieber came all the way out.” The crowd erupted into gigantic, earth-shaking roars as he came on stage and the pair sang “Sorry.” Bieber was a little winded and the energy felt lax, but he acknowledged his rustiness afterward. “He acknowledged that the performance was his first in “like two years, so I had to get my groove back, had to get my swag back, you know what I’m saying.” As the crowd continued to erupt in the background, Bieber gave Grande his thanks and hinted at a new album coming soon.

Grande’s epic Bieber moment rivals that of last week when she reunited NSYNC (sans Justin Timberlake) at performed “Tearin’ Up My Heart” from their self-titled 1997 debut album. In addition to dipping into 90s pop nostalgia, she also leaned into its hip-hop with a performance of “Mo Money Mo Problems” featuring Diddy and Mase. She also performed “Bang Bang” with Nicki Minaj while battling technical problems. But she emerged victoriously.

Take a look of footage of the performance up above.

Jonas Brothers’s New Album Is Appropriately Called Happiness Begins

It’s only April 22, but 2019 has already been quite the year for the Jonas Brothers.

The recently reunited Nick, Joe, and Kevin dropped their comeback single “Sucker” in early March, and since then, they’ve seen it hit No. 1 (their first ever) and followed it up with the pastel, breezy, ’80s-inspired “Cool.” But as the trio said when they learned the news about “Sucker”‘s chart success, “This is just the beginning.”

On Monday, the JoBros announced the proverbial pot of gold at the end of this rainbow: a new studio album, their fifth, called Happiness Begins and slated to drop on June 7. It’s their first album since 2009’s Lines, Vines and Trying Times. Time to get even more excited.

“After 7 years of not working together & finding ourselves we’re back to give you our journey in album form,” Kevin tweeted when the news hit. “Out of all the albums we’ve done I’m most proud of this one. Wish you could have it now, but you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.”

While June 7 might seem like an eternity, the bros will be plenty busy until then — you can catch them hitting the stage at the Billboard Music Awards on May 1 and rocking Studio 8H for Saturday Night Live on May 11. Naturally, you can also gaze longingly at the album’s David Hockney-recalling cover art, which they also unveiled on Monday, above until a deeper meaning reveals itself.

And then listen to both “Sucker” and “Cool” — which currently sits at No. 27 — on repeat.

Kanye West Takes Coachella To Church And Drops A New Song

It was a warm Easter morning under the soft blue skies at Coachella yesterday when Kanye West brought “Sunday Service” to the yearly festival.  The rapper’s soulful and holy-themed event featured a plethora of artists – musicians, vocalists – and dancers, singing in great shouts to festival goers from atop a hill. West chose this time to unveil a new song, “Water.”

The performance, captured by Variety, was beautifully simple, with West leading the massive performance cavalcade with smooth vocals and waved hands. “Water” sounds like the kind of post-Yeezus melodic smash that West does best when the emotion runs high and the punchlines are practically non-existent.

West’s Coachella set was massive. He’d initially dropped out of performing because of design issues but still ended up doing it, announcing the “Sunday Service” set three weeks prior. DMX, Kid Cudi, Teyana Taylor, Chance the Rapper, and more joined West and the massive choir. The service included performances of Kanye’s mega-hits, “Father Strech My Hands Pt. 1,” “All Falls Down” “Power,” and “Otis.” It also included covers of R & B classics such as “Outstanding” by the Gap Band, “Do I Do” by Stevie Wonder, and “Summer Madness” by Kool & the Gang. A highlight of the momentous performance was a holy performance of “Ultralight Beam” with Chance the Rapper.

Take a look at Variety’s clip of the performance up above.

Dinah Jane Flawlessly Curves An Ex In Her ‘Heard It All Before’ Video

Dinah Jane launched her solo career last year with the bubbly “Bottled Up,” paying tribute to her Fifth Harmony roots with a couple cheeky lyrical references. But on Friday (April 19), the 21-year-old let it be known that her sights are firmly set on the future, with the release of her first solo collection: an EP aptly titled Dinah Jane 1.

The three-track set finds Dinah ruminating on a missed connection on the moody “Pass Me By,” then opening up about family issues on the cathartic, confessional “Fix It.” But she really hits her stride on “Heard It All Before,” a fierce, ’90s-esque tell-off with nods to Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” and Alicia Keys and Usher’s “My Boo.”

“Boy I heard it all before / So save your energy for the next bitch / ‘Cause she just ain’t me,” Dinah commands on the self-assured hook. In the accompanying video, which also arrived on Friday, Dinah throws a choreo-filled slumber party and takes her man to task by shouting at him through her flip phone and hilariously dubbing him “a lil bitch.”

Elaborating about the song on YouTube, she shared, “Ladies, y’all ever get so tired of hearing the same ole lines over and over again? We’ve heard em ONE too many times. We’ve given way too many chances. I’m fed up! It’s time we hit em with that ‘I heard it All Before’!!! – you lil b*tch.”

Check out the “Heard It All Before” video above, and listen to “Pass Me By” and “Fix It” below.

Toro Y Moi Bathes In Midnight’s Lights In Late Night ‘Freelance’ Performance

Toro Y Moi bought funk and grace to the dim lights on the stage of Late Night with Seth Meyers. Basked in a deep red and blue glow, he performed “Freelance.” The metallic performance was mystifying and magical and a great way to end the night.

“Freelance” is groovy and sensual and illegal to perform during the daytime because of how well its suited for 2AM car rides. It makes sense that the lights are low, the colored lights are piercing, and there are only a few backup musicians on stage with Toro Y Moi. But it’s not simple by the slightest. Toro Y Moi’s voice is warped beyond measure and it adds to the disorientating feel like you’re inside of a kaleidoscope without the crazy mix of colors and shapes swirling around. Toro Y Moi waltzes around stage majestically, his feet seldom staying in one second for too long. He casts a spell upon the audience at the show and at home. You won’t want to leave this hazy world explored over the course of four minutes. It feels so close, yet so far away.

“Freelance ” appears on Toro Y Moi’s latest album, Outer Peace which came out in January.

Check out the mesmerizing performance up above.

Christine and the Queens’s Héloïse Letissier Explains the Feminist Twist in Her ‘Comme Si’ Video

By Kat Bein

Does art imitate life, or is it the other way around? Héloïse Letissier, better known to music fans as Christine and the Queens, can no longer be sure. In 2014, she wowed the world with her raw power of her debut album Chaleur humaine. It was lyrically poetic and emotionally vulnerable, challenging of society’s approach to gender and sexuality. Onstage, she captivated audiences with her movements, so angular and agile but somehow aggressive.

Her all-in approach to performance left her body more lean and muscular, and the power she felt on stage as a successful artist fueled her second album, Chris, the self-produced LP exploring ’80s synth-pop sounds. She cut her hair off, and explored androgyny as she became even more sexually empowered.

Last Saturday night (April 13), she brought raw power to Coachella’s Outdoor Theatre. The bare stage used thoughtful fireworks to amplify the theatrical movements of Letissier and her group of dancers. She climbed the rafters and let her voice boom through the night air.

However, after losing her mother earlier this week, Letissier is no longer playing Coachella’s second weekend. (She is currently scheduled to return to the States in May for a tour with Florence and The Machine). On Weekend 1, we sat backstage with her to talk about the performance and where her art is headed next.

MTV News: Thanks for taking some time to speak with me. How are you feeling? How did you wake up today?

Héloïse Letissier: I woke up like this [laughs]. Actually, I didn’t. I feel excited because, of course it’s Coachella, and it’s madness, blah blah blah, but it’s the second time for me. The first time is really about discovering the whole thing, people freaking out around you, and you slightly freaking out as well. I will freak out at some point, but you get to come back knowing a bit what to expect, and as a performer, it feels a bit more comfortable. I have a fantastic slot this time also, the outdoor theatre just before Billie Eilish. It’s kind of like stamina-infused in a good way. Like, let’s do it.

MTV News: You have this theatrical show planned. Somebody called it “weird Shakespeare” in another interview. Did you have Coachella in mind when you’re putting it together?

Letissier: It’s actually slightly adapted from the tour. I did work on the stage design, and we’ve got huge paintings, but it was too fragile for open air. I mean, I love theater and I always have theatrical ideas, and open air is a nightmare for theatrical ideas. So I have to give up my paintings, and I was like, how can I work on something kind of pictorial and really raw and bare? Pyrotechnics! Still pretty simple but hopefully a bit moving. I want people to be a bit moved. I don’t know if it means anything. I don’t really want to impress them. I mean, Coachella is all about that anyway, but I’ll be the tiny thing that tries to move your heart.

MTV News: I was just watching the “Comme si” video that you recently put out, and that is Shakespearean-inspired, taking the story of Ophelia and retelling it. Did you choreograph that dance yourself?

Letissier: Sometimes I do, but on this, I collaborated with a fantastic crump dancer called Cyborg. He’s one of the best crump dancers, and he’s French. In France, we have a fantastic dance scene. I wanted to crump as a woman, because not a lot of women are crumping. It’s not “pretty.”

MTV News: There were so many moments I loved. Sometimes, you’re almost like a gorilla showing your power.

Letissier: I do want to work that energy as a woman. Also, the idea to twist the end of Ophelia was a feminist statement: “Let’s bring Ophelia back from the dead.” Because in the play, she’s dead because she’s unwanted, which is such a violent statement. I want to be dumped but enjoying that.

MTV News: I’ve read the physicality you experienced and the strengthening in your body partly drove the character of Chris, but I’ve also spoken to artists about how the act of performing sometimes changes the music they make. Chris is a little more angular in its sound. Did you want that in your performance?

Letissier: I think I did. I wrote the second album really shortly after I finished the first one, and I think I was still oozing what happened to me on the first tour. I wanted to write songs that I could inhabit physically with lots of new stamina, and it was deliberate. I did want to work on minimalism, but in a way that could be more gripping physically and immediately. At the same time, I didn’t overproduce it. I was always removing layers instead of adding them, so it feels like a spinal cord moving sometimes. Even on “Comme si,” it’s like a heart pulsing.

I wanted that sound, that physicality for the second chapter — almost like you’re a novelist. If you fantasize about the dream career, you have like 10 chapters, right? Every time you write a chapter, you’re scaring yourself a bit. You’re giving yourself a dare, and my dare for the second album is like, I’m going to own that sensuality I’ve been afraid to own when I was younger. I’m going to own my female body lusting after someone.

MTV News: You’re working on some more music now. Where’s it going?

Letissier: It’s already kind of shifting. I’m working on songs that are like a weird addendum to Chris. It’s like an epilogue. Chris is really an intense record. I always joked about how the record is like working on something that is too much. Then, releasing that recording and touring it, my life became too much also. It almost became a mirror of the record. Owning so much of my desire and my carnal personality, I got faced with sometimes blunt rejection and I really became like this meta — I should pitch it to Netflix because it became that on stage. Life becomes crazy.

MTV News: There are so many facets that you are in control of, from the production to the writing, the dancing, the stage design. It’s consuming. How do you find escape?

Letissier: I have to say, I’m kind of obsessive. It shapes my life, which becomes interesting and dangerous at the same time. You fall in love with the work and everything infuses the work. My favorite movie of all time is All That Jazz by Bob Fosse. It’s about a stage director who lets everything become a part of the work. People are like, “Just get out of your stage.” At one point, I was like, I can’t believe I’m reenacting that. I can maybe control that now. Maybe the next album I’ll be a bit calm before the storm. I felt everything for my art. The new songs are a bit different in terms of production, but they kind of resonate with Chris. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think it’s going to shift again.

MTV News: Is there anything on your mind that you just want to share? Any musings that have been swirling around in there or anything that you just woke up today wanting to say?

Letissier: I woke up today [and I] just wanted to perform. I am becoming a performer. It shapes everything around you which is a bit comforting, because you have that obsession again. When you stop touring, that’s the bad part. You don’t have that catharsis every night. This is why you write new songs. My label is like, “Maybe not so soon?” And I’m like, please let me tour again.

20 Years Ago, Missy Elliott’s ‘She’s A Bitch’ Video Redefined What Hip-Hop Could Look Like

By Emily Reily

Though it’s more commonly known as an insult to offend and degrade, in Missy Elliott’s capable hands, “bitch” means something far more positive: a freedom of expression and a symbol of empowerment. Elliott, who’s wielded the term like a jackhammer in her raps and throughout her career, pries the contentious word open with a crowbar on the debut single off her 1999 sophomore record, Da Real World.

She’s a Bitch” (which was originally the album’s title) is a sparse, menacing rap full of synthy violins and clean, percussive beats that fade in and out amid the Timbaland-produced record. The song, released April 20, 1999, further nudged the narrative of what women can do and be in music, giving them a voice at a time before the #MeToo movement blew down the door on equal rights and protections.

But Elliott didn’t just use the word simply because it’s controversial. The lyrics to “She’s a Bitch” match Missy’s embodiment as an untouchable, yet confident woman (“She’s a bitch / See I got more cheese / So back on up while I roll up my sleeves”). The song let us know Elliott’s work to stay on top is never done.

That single and Da Real World proved she was determined to stay on track and avoid the sophomore slump. In a 1999 interview with Michael Musto, Elliott explained what “She’s a Bitch” is about: “Music is a male-dominated field. Women are not always taken as seriously as we should be, so sometimes we have to put our foot down. To other people that may come across as being a bitch, but it’s just knowing what we want and being confident,” she said.

Missy also pointed out how the word is used negatively in society as a way to describe highly successful women. She told Musto, “You don’t hear people call males ‘bitches.’ But I’ve heard that people talk that way about Chaka Khan. And Aretha Franklin.”

And she acknowledged employing the tactic in her own life. “If I’m paying people and they’re not handling my business right, I have to check them. ‘Cause sometimes you’re nice and people don’t jump on what they’re supposed to do, but if you go in there screaming at everybody — ‘Look, why aren’t my posters up?’ or ‘Why wasn’t my single out on this day?’ — then they jump right on it,” she said.

Twenty years later, the Hype Williams-directed “She’s a Bitch” video that reflected Missy’s bold stance still stands as a brash power statement that other R&B and hip-hop artists have long admired. The 1999 video featured stark images of Missy and her crew in military-style outfits, dancing under stormy skies, speeding on the interstate, or surrounded by geometric lighting. Meeting the standards of traditional beauty was not the goal here, and that’s also what set her apart.

Missy is practically covered from head to toe for most of “She’s a Bitch.” And yes, she’s bald, too. Though not explicitly rejecting the male gaze, she nevertheless renders it irrelevant. She walks toward the camera from a gray tunnel, literal guns blazing, a superwoman in a flowing black trench coat, with ammunition strapped to her uniform, fingers and nails like body armor.

It’s undoubtedly a domineering look, and Elliott has reportedly described the black, weaponized suits of armor she and her dancers wore as “ghetto S&M women.” A fitting if unconfirmed factoid preserved online states that the video’s catsuit was designed by Marilyn Manson’s tailor.

The only “makeup” she uses is strips of encrusted jewels that are seemingly brushed over her brow and forehead, offering just a hint of girliness. Flipping over typical images to bring in a more masculine aesthetic led her to uncover new definition with her aggressive, masterful style and sound.

To go along with Missy’s shiny new exterior came plenty of monochromatic color. A steely, dull sheen of black and gray covered much of the video. Rooms with bright white strips of neon light and infinite tunnels cut into Missy’s shadowy surroundings. Those lights amplified the sci-fi vibe, as if the video was lifted straight from Tron. The futuristic style further solidified her statement of what it means to be a bitch: While her team of dancers was there to back her up, she still stood alone.

That minimalist, post-modern style and alternative view of beauty was also found in her well-known 1997 video for “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”, also directed by Williams. In that video, Elliott’s seen in what looks like an inflated garbage bag and an orange hazmat suit. Putting herself out there in a less-than-ideal, non-feminine image is a testament to her originality and refusal to follow the norm.

Like in “The Rain,” Elliott wore distinctive sunglasses in “She’s a A Bitch” — bulbous, Antman-like glasses that stretched around her face and reached toward the top of her head. The look gave her the aura of being a lone wolf – a solitary woman refusing to follow society’s lead.

Then came her most daring move in “She’s a Bitch.” With a T-shaped mohawk of spikes framing her dancers’ helmets, Missy emerged from the water in slow motion like the Loch Ness Monster — a leviathan who will flatly sink anyone who tries to best her. As she parted the waters, an obsidian-like platform in the shape of an “M” rose up to meet her. While they danced robotically underneath stormy skies, dark clouds roiled above them.

Beyond striking visuals and statement looks, hip-hop is about domination – who’s on top, who’s the best, and who gets crushed if they try to test the person on top. Hip-hop videos had to reflect that battle, and “She’s a A Bitch” showed that Elliott was a force, even early in her career.

Maury Phillips/Getty Images

Years later, at the 2017 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors: The ‘90s Game Changers, Elliott brought back that look to stunning effect. There, she recreated Williams’s vision by again rising from a murky pool of water and giving a slick, brisk performance in one of the most talked-about highlights of the evening.

Two decades after Da Real World, Elliott continues to champion a positive attitude, women’s rights, and personal freedoms in her music. In “Funky Fresh Dressed” from off her 2002 album, Under Construction, she raps, “My attitude is bitchy, ‘cause my period is heavy.” And who could forget the skit at the end of “Don’t Be Cruel” from 2003’s This Is Not A Test! that has her walking into a porn shop and ordering a whole mess of vibrators? Elliot has often said she “represents for the ladies.” With her, it’s true.

Blackpink Take Corden By Storm With Glitzy ‘Kill This Love’ Performance

Blackpink brought some fresh energy to The Late Late Show With James Corden when they were the guests last night (April 18). Their hazy, sexual energy was on full display when they performed “Kill This Love” from their new EP of the same name. They also played a hilarious game that tested their steely mettle.

Blackpink hit the stage in blinding red lights and distressed looks on their face.  It’s a look of raw sexuality, this seriousness, that gave them a larger-than-life appearance. They broke into a synchronized array of arm movements before performing fiercely to rapidly moving lights, the pink of their name being the most prominent. They were masterful with their stage presence and it ended with their backs to the audience with the crowd roaring.

The group also played “Flinch” with host James Corden. Standing behind a clear wall, their bravery was tested by fruit fired at them. Would they move or flinch? They smiled fiercely and moved subtly. It turns out, they aren’t completely invincible. But then again, we all would have moved.

Blackpink released the Kill This Love EP earlier this month. They’re currently between sets at Coachella. You’ll want to see this mystifying collective live to get the full experience.

Bop Shop: Songs From Kevin Abstract, NCT 127, Smokepurpp, And More

“When I dream of dying, I never feel so loved.”

SHAED‘s unique brand of electronica is like being enveloped in a warm blanket, even though its lyrics are far from comforting, painting a picture of jumping on a trampoline and then suddenly bursting into flames after the trees catch on fire. In another verse, the song illustrates falling into a stream and essentially drowning.

There’s something hypnotic about the tune as it presents its macabre verses with a singsong lilt, like dreaming of dying is something we all do on a day-to-day basis. Its surreal undertones give it a sinister feeling that lifts as soon as the chorus hits. It’s sublime, rapturous, and fills you with hope somehow. The accompanying music video has the same ethereal quality that gives you an unfamiliar, strange feeling – and it’s one I love to envelop me, time and time again. —Brittany Vincent

Jaden Smith Drops His Last Name For New Rap Moniker On Surprise New Project

Jaden Smith is Jaden now, according to the artist name on streaming services for ERYS IS COMING. Oh yes, that’s right – we forgot to mention the surprise. Jaden Smi-erm, Jaden has released a surprise three-song project, ERYS IS COMING as a preview of his forthcoming album, ERYS. Collectively, these tracks paint a picture of what the new album will sound like – angrier, louder, and more profane.

Jaden is entering a new era that’s signified by dropping his last name. ERYS IS COMING is bolder and darker than the more ethereal rap brand he previously pushed. “Pass” is the first of the three tunes that sounds almost dangerous with its foreboding production and chant of “Pass that shit.” “Beautiful Disruption” moves frighteningly quick and sounds like a car crash in slow motion. It gets slower with “New Direction” that’s a touch more melodic, but still similarly rough. This is a previously unexplored Jaden who’s more profane and open, rapping about being “fucked up.” It’s an interesting new channel.

Jaden’s debut studio album Syre came out in 2017. Last year, he released a mixtape, The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story.  Now that his sophomore album has been previewed, it looks like the wait for it shouldn’t be too much longer.

Check out ERYS IS COMING up above.