1. The Game, Azealia Banks, Lecrae & More React to NYPD Officer Killings in Brooklyn

    December 21, 2014 2:22 PM EST Members of the hip-hop community are sharing their thoughts on social media following the shooting of two NYPD officers who were killed on Saturday (Dec. 20) in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner. Hip-Hop Moves As Strong Force for Michael Brown Rappers like The Game ,…

  2. Op-Ed: Steve Wariner on Why Dottie West Should Be a Country Music Hall of Fame Member

    December 21, 2014 12:30 PM EST Over the past year, The 615 has offered opinions concerning who the next members of the Country Music Hall of Fame should be. In July, we made our case for Don Rich, the longtime sideman for Buck Owens , in the Instrumentalist category. Just a few weeks ago, we told of the great…

  3. Top 10 Lyrics From D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah'

    December 19, 2014 3:40 PM EST It's been close to a week since the surprise release of D'Angelo & The Vanguard's Black Messiah , enough time for the formerly distorted lyrics of D'Angelo to become more clear and significant. The easiest tone to take with Black Messiah , in its entire majestic roar…

  4. Best Song Bracket Battle 2014: See Who Wins our Year-End Pop Showdown!

    December 19, 2014 2:00 PM EST Which 2014 smash is the critics' pick for pop song of the year? We made 64 hits battle it out, March Madness-style, to determine a winner! Welcome to BEST SONG BRACKET BATTLE 2014, Billboard.com's weeklong bracket-style tournament in which 64 of the year's biggest songs…

  5. Nicki Minaj Scores Record-Breaking No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs

    December 19, 2014 11:10 AM EST Nicki Minaj ' s "Only" flies 10-1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs  chart, giving the artist her fourth No. 1 -- the most among female rappers in the 56 years since the chart launched as a sales/airplay hybrid tally. Minaj surpasses Missy Elliott (with three leaders), and pulls…

  6. This Ain't No Buena Vista: Meet Five Cuban Artists to Watch

    December 19, 2014 9:02 AM EST All of these artists, like many other musicians from Cuba, have already performed in the United States, and their albums are available through all of the U.S. digital music services. President Obama’s announced changes in current Cuba policy may increase Cuban artists’ presence on U.S.…

  7. Azealia Banks Opens Up, Breaks Down in 45-Minute-Plus Radio Interview

    December 18, 2014 8:24 PM EST If you thought Azealia Banks only speaks her mind on Twitter, you need to watch this interview. Banks sat down for a 45-minute-plus chat with Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning , and the roundtable discussion covered everything from her ongoing beef with similarly named rapper Iggy Azalea to…

  8. Koa, 'All of My Love': Exclusive Song Premiere

    December 18, 2014 3:50 PM EST Though Iggy Azalea (a.k.a. Igloo Australia ) was probably the most-talked about Aussie in music this year, 2014 was also good for the more under-the-radar electro-pop and dance of Future Classic, the Sydney-based record label, management and booking agency, and publisher. Many of this year&…

  9. The Country Music Industry in 2014: Garth's Return, Taylor's Exit

    December 18, 2014 2:49 PM EST With country music at a peak in popularity, the comings and goings in the format seemed more crucial than ever. And there were plenty -- Garth Brooks came back, George Strait decided it was time to go, two guys from a different era came out, and a few stars chose to go out. On the road. In…

  10. Drake on 'Drake Night': 'My Goal Is to Stay With the Raptors as Long as They'll Have Me'

    December 18, 2014 1:45 PM EST The Raptors “Drake Night” couldn’t have gone any better last night at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre when the NBA team took on the Brooklyn Nets for the first time since the U.S. team knocked them out of the first-round playoffs this spring in Game 7 by just one point. Rap superstar Drake ,…

  11. Exclusive: Essence To Honor Jill Scott at Black Women in Music Event

    December 18, 2014 10:30 AM EST The magazine's sixth annual Black Women in Music event will also kick off its 45th anniversary celebration Jill Scott will be the special honoree at Essence magazine’s annual Black Women in Music . The Feb. 5 invitation-only event, held during Grammy Week, will also be the official…

  12. Watch Questlove's Animated Story on Chasing Patti LaBelle's Famed Fried Chicken

    December 17, 2014 7:54 PM EST You don't spend as much time in the music business, wearing so many different hats, as Questlove has without getting a few good stories out of it.    Chris Rock and Questlove Talk the Greatest MCs of All Time and Collaborating on New Movie 'Top Five' The Roots drummer has…

  13. R&B and Hip-Hop in 2014: A Lackluster Year for Some, But Not All

    December 17, 2014 5:01 PM EST Throughout the week, Billboard will be publishing pieces from our staff writers, each an outstanding authority on their specific area of coverage. From Nashville to Miami, the industry at large, publishing and retail, and the year in touring, we'll be taking comprehensive looks at the…

  14. 'The Voice' Finale: How Were the Ratings?

    December 17, 2014 2:58 PM EST NBC's singing competition is steady with the recent May ender. NBC closed out another season of The Voice on Tuesday night. The two-hour wrap-up for the seventh cycle was enough to easily win the night for the network in the key demo. With an average 3.2 rating among adults 18-49 and…

  15. The True Story of How Vinyl Spun Its Way Back From Near-Extinction

    December 17, 2014 12:59 PM EST Ever see a movie where the protagonist wasn’t born, or the USSR won the Cold War, and the alternate future is different from the present day? Think back to Doc Brown using a chalkboard to draw tangential, alternate futures for Marty McFly in Back to the Future . Well, imagine if vinyl…

  16. Eaux Claires Music Festival, Curated by Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner, Announced for Summer 2015

    December 17, 2014 10:00 AM EST Just before Halloween this year, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver (a.k.a.  Bonnie Bear ), received approval to host the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisc. from July 17-18. Pre-sale tickets for the event, which falls the same weekend as Chicago's…

  17. Anthony Hamilton Hits 'Home' With First Holiday Album

    December 17, 2014 9:43 AM EST The Grammy Award winner and current nominee will also appear as a special guest on Fox's new drama "Empire." To co-opt a popular phrase during this time of year, 'tis the season for Anthony Hamilton . Home for the Holidays , the R&B singer/songwriter/producer’s first…

  18. Zac Brown, Alabama Shakes Announced for New Season of 'The Artists Den,' Samsung's Milk Gets Streams

    December 17, 2014 8:00 AM EST Zac Brown Band will kick off the ninth season of Live From the Artists Den on PBS next year with a performance at New York's historic Forest Hills Stadium, scheduled to air Jan. 30. Jason Mraz 'You Can Rely on Me': 'Live From the Artists Den' Acoustic Session The…

  19. Chris Brown's Bodyguard Sentenced for Assault

    December 16, 2014 5:47 PM EST A judge who convicted singer Chris Brown 's bodyguard of punching a man in Washington last year has given him a sentence that will keep him out of jail. Chris Brown Pleads Guilty to Assault in Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge Patricia Wynn sentenced Christopher Hollosy to 90…

  20. D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah,' and Why Waiting 14 Years For Music Isn't a Bad Thing

    December 16, 2014 4:55 PM EST Imagine going to a steakhouse, ordering the best steak in the restaurant after being told the best steak will take an hour to properly cook, waiting impatiently as everyone around you gets their food before you, angrily wondering why YOUR steak has to take so damn long... and then…

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