At just 32, Margaret “Maggie” Eckford or “Ruelle” has made some seriously good music, which most recently includes ‘Rival,’ an album that houses the track by the same name from the trailer. The show itself is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book that traces the threat of Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in the late 1990s and how the rivalry between the FBI and CIA may have set the path for 9/11. It’s certainly no surprise that Ruelle’s music has made it to the screen considering its cinematic style. Some of her credits include, How to Get Away with Murder, The Leftovers, The Originals, Pretty Little Liars, and The Walking Dead. Listen below.
“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”
Watch below. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t feel as if she was trying to show off, but this country needs a laugh, and Fergie delivered.
The movie follows T’Challa, who returns home to Wakanda following the death of his father, who was King. He succeeds the throne of the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but when a powerful old enemy reappears, the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. The young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people. Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett, with Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who also wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole.
According to Ryan Coogler, he originally envisioned Kendrick Lamar contributing a few songs to the soundtrack, but when Lamar viewed the film, he wanted to create the entire album. To stream the record, click HERE.
It’s no surprise that Justin Timberlake was asked to perform at the Super Bowl. There’s few performers who can carry that type of venue, and he recently dropped a new record. Though fans hoped Janet Jackson might also return, Jackson made it clear she had no such intention. That’s not shocking given the world of heat she received for exposing her bare breast on stage, and the fact that she felt betrayed by Timberlake during the fallout. In short, everyone blamed Janet and no one blamed Justin. Sure it was her boob, but Timberlake participated, and instinct tells me it was pre-planned. Those two can deny it ad nauseum and I still will never believe it was a wardrobe malfunction. That’s neither here nor there, though.
Now for the Prince “tribute.” During his lifetime, Prince made it clear he hated holograms, calling it “the most demonic thing imaginable.” He furthered that if “[he] was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, [they] would have lived in the same age.” He was also notoriously protective over his music. Though Timberlake’s performance utilized a projection over a hologram, fans were still not pleased. It’s worth noting that Prince was clear about his distaste for Timberlake, once saying, while accepting an award, “For whoever is claiming that they are bringing sexy back, sexy never left!” Timberlake responded in his song, “Give It To Me,” saying, “We missed you on the charts last week / Damn, that’s right, you wasn’t there / If s-sexy never left, then why’s everybody on my shit / Don’t hate on me just because you didn’t come up with it.” He also took a jab at Prince’s height while presenting the award at the 2007 Golden Globes, bending down to “accept the award on his behalf.” You can see that below, followed by laughter from the audience.
Timberlake moderately addressed the controversy with Jimmel Kimmel, explaining that he got the approval from Questlove. “Questlove is the encyclopedia on music,” said Timberlake. “But I also feel like [he’s] a gatekeeper on Prince, so if I got the thumbs-up from Questlove, I’m good.” He furthered that he wanted to do something for this city and something for him that would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] of musicians.”
All the aforementioned facts are important, but if they’re briefly removed from the equation, let’s ask the larger question of whether this was enjoyable to watch. Personally, I could have done without it. Absent Prince’s clear objections to this type of event, I found it unnecessary and distracting. One can pay tribute to an artist without posthumously harmonizing with them. I’d have just gone purple as a subtle nod and left it at that. Even a Prince cover is in it of itself a joke, given the inevitable comparisons to Prince. It’s certainly relevant that Timberlake and Prince exchanged barbs during Prince’s lifetime, and it’s also relevant that Timberlake never effusively and publicly endorsed Prince while Prince was alive (if my readers can find such an endorsement, please send it my way). Had he felt that way, perhaps he should have take the higher road when Prince first took his swipe. Because I have it on good authority that Justin Timberlake is an exceptionally kind human being that treats everyone with respect, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say the public Prince feud might have simply been in good fun, but one will never really know. That being said, this element of the performance was too big a distraction from what was otherwise both flawless and joyous.
Sean Gadd was brought to my attention via a mutual friend with very good taste, and you’re in luck, because the former Grouplove bassist will be his first show of the year on Thursday, January 25th at The Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles. His forthcoming album, ‘The Dark Way Back,’ gives listeners an intimate look the his journey.
Originally from London, Gadd moved to Los Angeles where he co-founded the band Grouplove, which he left in 2014 amidst turmoil in his personal life. Of his previous struggle with addiction, Gadd says, “It felt that everything I’d worked for my whole life was gone overnight.” However sometimes you have to lose everything to find out who you really are. “In a way, for me it actually became the most enlightening time of my life. I had to find out who I was without all the things that came with being in a successful band. I’d lost friends. I’d lost my band. My record deal was gone. Who was I now?” Listen to a track of his new album below. For tickets to his upcoming show, click HERE.