Rizzi Myers – B*tch I’m Famous

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A Kansas City native, Rizzi recently signed to Nashville-based Average Joes Entertainment/Phivestarr Productions. Over the past few weeks, the 26-year old’s YouTube channel virtually exploded when her viral video, “1 Woman, 15 Voices,” rocketed from 1,300 views to 3.5 million in four weeks (now over 6 million views).

The video highlights Rizzi’s extraordinary gift to impersonate 15 different female vocalists ranging from Adele to Marilyn Monroe to Amy Winehouse. Myers’ YouTube channel is racking up over 1,000 subscribers a day (currently at 95,000). Rizzi is currently in the studio recording her debut project for Average Joes and is featured on DJ KO’s debut EP, “High Gravity,” out now.

Introducing The Chainsmokers

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A production duo featuring Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, the Chainsmokers mix indie, dance, and pop into a chart-topping sound that spawned hits like “Roses” and “Don’t Let Me Down.” Pall and Taggart first made a name for themselves by creating remixes of their favorite indie bands that garnered tens of millions of streams. The duo released its official debut single “#Selfie,” which celebrated and skewered 2010s narcissism, in January 2014. The track’s bouncy beats and self-obsessed words hit number one on the Billboard dance chart and sold over ten million copies. Meanwhile, “#Selfie”‘s video featured cameos by Snoop Dogg and David Hasselhoff, fueling the song’s viral popularity to hundreds of millions of views. More singles, including “Kanye” and “Let You Go,” followed.

In 2015, they issued the Bouquet EP on Disruptor Records, a softer and more indie-flavored effort that featured the single “Roses,” which was certified double-platinum and hit number one on the Top Dance Songs chart. The song also earned the Chainsmokers nominations for the Billboard Music Awards in the Top Dance/Electronic Artist and Top Dance/Electronic Song categories. After playing over 300 shows in 2015, including dates at festivals like Lollapalooza, Firefly, Tomorrowland, and Ultra, the duo returned in 2016 with the platinum-certified “Don’t Let Me Down,” a collaboration with Pittsburgh pop singer Daya that topped the Billboard dance chart. That year, the Chainsmokers also performed as part of the Tilt Tour, the first ever fan-sourced tour. In addition, Pall and Taggart host two SiriusXM shows: Nice Hair, a monthly mix; and the weekly YouTube EDM 15.

The follow-up single to “Don’t Let Me Down” would carry the duo to new heights. Featuring Halsey on vocals, “Closer” began its slow climb to the top of the singles chart in the summer of 2016. Once it hit number one, it remained in the top spot for over ten weeks, breaking the record previously held by Drake’s “One Dance.” As their chart dominance continued, they released the Collage EP, which joined their two Top Three singles with new collaborations featuring Phoebe Ryan, XYLØ, and Charlee.

Kehlani – Do U Dirty

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Contemporary R&B singer and songwriter Kehlani Parrish studied ballet and modern dance at the Oakland School for the Arts. An injury prompted a move to OSA’s music department, where she blossomed as a vocalist. During eighth grade, she joined Poplyfe, a band that competed on America’s Got Talent during the program’s sixth season. Following an affable performance of Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire,” judge Piers Morgan noted that he thought Kehlani, the frontperson, could be successful without the band.

While Kehlani brushed the notion aside, she eventually went solo and presented herself as a slightly younger, more down-to-earth alternative to contemporary R&B artists like Jhené Aiko. Her first release, the eight-track Cloud19, was released in 2014, and a pair of its songs registered on Billboard’s Twitter Emerging Artists chart. A lengthier set, You Should Be Here, followed in 2015 with guest appearances from BJ the Chicago Kid and Chance the Rapper. Shortly after its release, major label Atlantic announced that it had signed Kehlani to a recording contract. You Should Be Here was later nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Urban Contemporary Album. Atlantic released several Kehlani tracks during 2015 and 2016, including “Gangsta,” her first crossover hit, taken from Suicide Squad: The Album.

Wizkid feat. Drake – Hush Up the Silence (Dirty)

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Nigerian singer/songwriter Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (aka Wizkid) began his career in music when he was just 11 years old. His first record, Lil Prinz, was recorded in 2001 in collaboration with Glorious Five, a group consisting of Balogun and his friends from church. In 2006 he started pursuing music full-time, at first collaborating with various Nigerian pop acts, including OJB Jezreel, Naeto C, and Banky W. By 2011 he was ready to record his debut studio album as a solo artist; Superstar was released via Empire Mates Entertainment (EME for short) to great critical and public acclaim across Africa, propelling him to stardom in his home country of Nigeria.

After multiple delays, and label disagreements, Balogun released his sophomore album, Ayo, in 2014. His second studio album featured a multitude of guest appearances, including a spot from Femi Kuti. It also featured Balogun’s global breakthrough track, “Ojuelegba.” Not only did the single cement his status as one of Nigeria’s biggest pop acts, it was also picked up and remixed by Drake and Skepta, thrusting Wizkid into the spotlight on an international scale. In return, Wizkid appeared on Drake’s 2016 single “One Dance.

Meghan Trainor – Better ft. Yo Gotti

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DMX feat. Swizz Beatz – Bain Iz Back

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Following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., DMX took over as the undisputed reigning king of hardcore rap. He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare. His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap’s most distinctive personalities during his heyday. Everything about DMX was unremittingly intense, from his muscular, tattooed physique to his gruff, barking delivery, which made a perfect match for his trademark lyrical obsession with dogs. Plus, there was substance behind the style; much of his work was tied together by a fascination with the split between the sacred and the profane. He could move from spiritual anguish one minute to a narrative about the sins of the streets the next, yet keep it all part of the same complex character, sort of like a hip-hop Johnny Cash. The results were compelling enough to make DMX the first artist ever to have his first four albums enter the charts at number one. DMX was born Earl Simmons in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 18, 1970. He moved with part of his family to the New York City suburb of Yonkers while still a young child. A troubled and abusive childhood turned him violent, and he spent a great deal of time living in group homes and surviving on the streets via robbery, which led to several run-ins with the law. He found his saving grace in hip-hop, starting out as a DJ and human beatbox, and later moved into rapping for a greater share of the spotlight, taking his name from the DMX digital drum machine (though it’s also been reinterpreted to mean “Dark Man X”). He made a name for himself on the freestyle battle scene and was written up in The Source magazine’s Unsigned Hype column in 1991. Columbia subsidiary Ruffhouse signed him to a deal the following year and released his debut single, “Born Loser.” However, a surplus of talent on the Ruffhouse roster left DMX underpromoted, and the label agreed to release him from his contract. He issued one further single in 1994, “Make a Move,” but was convicted of drug possession that same year, the biggest offense of several on his record.

DMX began to rebuild his career with an appearance on one of DJ Clue?’s underground mixtapes. In 1997, he earned a second major-label shot with Def Jam, and made a galvanizing guest appearance on LL Cool J’s “4, 3, 2, 1.” Further guest spots on Mase’s “24 Hours to Live” and fellow Yonkers MCs the LOX’s “Money, Power & Respect” created an even stronger buzz, and in early 1998, he released his debut Def Jam single, “Get at Me Dog.” The song was a gold-selling smash on the rap and dance charts and paved the way for DMX’s full-length debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, to debut at number one on the pop charts. Produced mostly by Swizz Beatz, who rode the album’s success to a lucrative career of his own, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot earned DMX numerous comparisons to 2Pac for his booming, aggressive presence on the mike, and went on to sell over four million copies. Not long after the album’s release in May 1998, DMX was accused of raping a stripper in the Bronx but was later cleared by DNA evidence. He went on to make his feature film debut co-starring in Hype Williams’ ambitious but unsuccessful Belly.

Before the end of 1998, DMX completed his second album, and a pending buyout of Def Jam pushed the record into stores that December. Featuring a controversial cover photo of the rapper covered in blood, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood entered the charts at number one and eventually went triple platinum. The following year, DMX hit the road with Jay-Z and the Method Man/Redman team on the blockbuster Hard Knock Life tour. During a tour stop in Denver, a warrant for his arrest was issued in connection with a stabbing, of which he was later cleared; another incident occurred in May, when he was accused of assaulting a Yonkers man who’d allegedly harassed his wife (the charges were once again dropped). More serious charges were brought that summer, when DMX’s uncle/manager was accidentally shot in the foot at a New Jersey hotel. Police later raided DMX’s home and filed animal cruelty, weapons, and drug possession charges against the rapper and his wife; he eventually plea-bargained down to fines, probation, and community service. In the midst of those difficulties, the Ruff Ryders posse — of which DMX was a core, founding member — released a showcase compilation, Ryde or Die, Vol. 1. With contributions from DMX, as well as Eve, the LOX, and multiple guests, Ryde or Die, Vol. 1 debuted at number one in the spring of 1999, further cementing DMX’s Midas touch. Toward the end of 1999, DMX released his third album, …And Then There Was X, which became his third straight album to debut at number one. It also produced his biggest hit single since “Get at Me Dog,” “Party Up (Up in Here),” which became his first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts. The follow-ups “What You Want” and “What’s My Name?” were also quite popular, and their success helped make …And Then There Was X the rapper’s best-selling album to date, moving over five million copies. During its run, DMX returned to the big screen with a major supporting role in the Jet Li action flick Romeo Must Die. In the meantime, he was indicted by a Westchester County, New York, grand jury on weapons and drug charges in June of 2000. He also entangled himself in a lengthy legal battle with police in Cheektowaga, New York (near Buffalo), when he was arrested in March for driving without a license and possession of marijuana. He missed one court date, and when he turned himself in that May, police discovered more marijuana in a pack of cigarettes the rapper had brought with him. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 days in jail, and his appeal to have the sentence reduced was finally denied in early 2001. After stalling for several weeks, he turned himself in and was charged with contempt of court. He was further charged with assault when, upon learning he would not be let out early for good behavior, he allegedly threw a food tray at a group of prison officers. He later bargained the charges down to reckless assault and paid a fine, and accused guards of roughing him up and causing a minor leg injury.

Not long after DMX’s release from jail, his latest movie, the Steven Seagal action film Exit Wounds, opened at number one in the box office. DMX also contributed the hit single “No Sunshine” to the soundtrack and signed a multi-picture deal with Warner Bros. in the wake of Exit Wounds’ success. With his legal problems finally resolved, he returned to the studio and completed his fourth album, the more introspective The Great Depression. It was released in the fall of 2001 and became his fourth straight album to debut at number one. Although it went platinum quickly, it didn’t have the same shelf life as his previous releases. In late 2002, DMX published his memoirs as E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX and also recorded several tracks with Audioslave (i.e., the former Rage Against the Machine). One of their collaborations, “Here I Come,” was featured on the soundtrack of DMX’s next film, a reunion with Jet Li called Cradle 2 the Grave. The film opened at number one upon its release in March 2003, and its DMX-heavy soundtrack debuted in the Top Ten. Grand Champ was released six months later, followed by 2006’s Year of the Dog… Again. Just prior to that album’s release, his revealing BET reality program made its debut. A compilation titled Definition of X: The Pick of the Litter was issued in June 2007. The artist was burdened by legal issues in the following years, serving 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to charges of animal cruelty, drug possession, and theft in late 2008, and 2010 saw a 90-day sentence for reckless driving turn into a full year after alcohol consumption triggered a parole violation. DMX returned to recording with 2012’s Undisputed, an effort released by the Seven Arts label with production from Swizz Beatz and J.R. Rotem.

Video: LeToya Luckett – Back 2 Life

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