1. Kendrick Lamar to Make Essence Festival Debut

    February 18, 2015 4:36 PM EST Mary J. Blige, Common, Kevin Hart & Erykah Badu are also part of the 2015 lineup. Kendrick Lamar , Mary J. Blige , Common , Erykah Badu and Kevin Hart are among the first round of announced performers for the 2015 Essence Festival. Lamar will be making his debut at the annual festival,…

  2. Listen to Joey Bada$$' "Run Up On Ya" With Action Bronson & Elle Varner

    January 16, 2015 9:10 PM EST In advance of Tuesday's B4.DA.$$ release, Joey Bada$$ dropped his a collaboration with Action Bronson and Elle Varner called "Run Up On Ya" that should get fans just a bit more hyped for his debut album release.  Joey Bada$$ on Malia Obama Photo: 'I Wasted No Time. I…

  3. Is 'Empire' Realistic? Industry Insiders Weigh In

    January 08, 2015 3:20 PM EST Jeff Robinson & Jeff Sledge sound off on Fox's new music drama. So how realistic is the portrayal of the music industry in  Empire , which premiered Wednesday night on Fox? Television critics aside, two music industry veterans weigh in with their opinions: MBK Entertainment CEO…

  4. The 10 Best R&B Songs of 2014

    December 11, 2014 2:22 PM EST Few genres ranged as widely as R&B in 2014. DJ Mustard was a ubiquitous presence on radio -- and he produced two of Billboard's top ten R&B tracks of the year ( Tinashe , Jeremih ) -- but you didn't need a Mustard beat to make a vibrant track. Elle Varner and Usher…

  5. Kool & the Gang on 'Keeping the Brand Alive,' the Origin of 'Celebration' and Being the Most-Sampled Band in History

    November 21, 2014 12:45 PM EST At Billboard's 11th annual touring awards, the "Spirit of the Boogie" panel -- a conversation with Kool & the Gang -- demonstrated that flexibility plays a crucial role in a band's longevity. Groups often solidify as they get older: they settle in and focus. In an…

  6. Chart Highlights: Maroon 5 Moves To No. 1 on Pop Songs With 'Animals'

    November 17, 2014 4:57 PM EST The group extends its record for the most leaders among groups. Plus, Idina Menzel's AC debut signals the start of the holidays. Chart Highlights offers a sneak peek at a select group of Billboard charts every Monday. Find out the top songs, Greatest Gainers and debuts on the surveys…

  7. Common, 'Trouble in the Water': Exclusive Song Premiere

    November 14, 2014 4:05 PM EST Common , Malik Yusef , Kumasi , Aaron Fresh , Choklate , and Laci Kay have teamed up for the collaborative song, "Trouble in the Water." The song appears on HOME , a music project that hopes to raise awareness about climate change and "expand the climate movement."…

  8. Soul Train Awards 2014: Chris Brown Wins Big, Jodeci Brings '90s R&B Nostalgia, Kool & The Gang Honored

    November 08, 2014 12:53 PM EST Chris Brown took home “Best Hip Hop Song” and “Best Collaboration” at the ceremony. When the silhouettes of K-Ci , JoJo , DeVante Swing and Mr. Dalvin appeared on the stage Friday night (Nov. 7), nobody over the age of 25 would remain in their seats. After years of rumors that the bad boys…

  9. Elle Varner on Recording 'Four Letter Word' Album & Being Inspired by Eminem

    October 08, 2014 4:21 PM EDT Earlier this week, Elle Varner released the video for her vengeful ballad, "F--k It All." The song grabs your attention immediately with an explosive title and raw, wounded vocals. The video doubled down on the track's intensity by cutting out right before the singer is…

  10. Watch: Elle Varner & A$AP Ferg Team Up For 'Don't Wanna Dance' Video

    September 08, 2014 10:44 AM EDT A$AP Ferg is developing a promising side career rapping opposite talented female artists. First he appeared in Haim 's "My Song 5." Then he showed up opposite Ariana Grande , rapping on "Hands On Me." Now, in his strongest collaboration yet, he saves the day in Elle…

  11. Chance the Rapper Breaks the Mold with ‘Everyday Wonderful: Arthur’

    August 11, 2014 6:04 AM EDT It is not every day that an artist kicks off a mass discussion on Twitter about a theme song from a '90s children sitcom, but Chance The Rapper managed to do so on July 30 with the release of his track “Everyday Wonderful: Arthur” that has resided on the Billboard Twitter Trending 140…

  12. RCA Promotes Publicity Veterans Borden, Weinstein Dennison, Abzug

    August 07, 2014 9:36 AM EDT It's promotion week at RCA Records. On the heels of longtime publicity head Mika El-Baz 's elevation to executive vp of west coast , the label has announced that three members of her staff have also been bumped up. Theola Borden and Sarah Weinstein Dennison have been promoted from…

  13. Essence Festival 2014 Day 4 Highlights: Lionel Richie, Erykah Badu, Jagged Edge & More

    July 07, 2014 10:00 AM EDT There’s one downside to the fact that Essence’s 20th year was its biggest ever, having added a fourth night of music at the Superdome on Thursday – come Sunday night (July 6), the crowd is finally showing signs of fatigue. How else to explain the hard work Lionel Richie put into getting his…

  14. 10 Things Seen and Heard at the 2014 BET Awards

    June 30, 2014 1:03 AM EDT From Lionel Riche’s tribute to Nicki Minaj’s onstage bunny co-star, Billboard runs down what you didn’t see on TV. The BET Awards red carpet was hot—literally—at about 80 degrees, but that didn’t stop the entertainment industry from sashaying in style and looking mighty fab -- from…

  15. BET, Louder Than Life Partner For 'Music Matters' Compilation Series

    June 09, 2014 5:31 PM EDT Miguel, Big Sean, Melanie Fiona, Mack Wilds, The Internet among featured acts BET Networks and its new artist program Music Matters has partnered with Louder Than Life/Red Associated Labels to launch the new compilation album series, "BET Presents Music Matters Vol. 1." Featuring…

  16. Nas to Headline Essence Festival Kickoff

    May 01, 2014 10:00 AM EDT Trey Songz, K. Michelle, Jazmine Sullivan also on the bill for the Essence "Now Playing" concert Nas has been tapped to kick off the 20th anniversary Essence Festival weekend as headliner of the Essence "Now Playing" concert. Being staged at the Louisiana Superdome in New…

  17. The Roots, Tamar Braxton, K. Michelle Join Essence Festival Lineup

    March 27, 2014 10:49 AM EDT The Roots, Tamar Braxton and K. Michelle are among the latest additions to the 2014 Essence Festival (July 3-6) lineup. As previously announced, Prince and special guest performers will kick off the festival's 20th anniversary musical celebration with a July 4 show at the Superdome in…

  18. 'Notice to Black Artists': Behind R&B's Struggle at Radio & The Letter That Has the Industry Buzzing

    February 21, 2014 2:30 PM EST No song spent more time atop the Billboard Hot 100 last year than Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," which logged 12 weeks at No. 1 and set the all-time record for radio audience when it reached 229 million listeners in a week. It did so by tapping the sound of classic R…

  19. Drake Leads 2013 BET Awards With 12 Nominations

    May 14, 2013 3:22 PM EDT Chris Brown announces an upcoming Aaliyah-assisted single. He started from the bottom, but now he's on top at the BET Awards: Drake has 12 nominations. The BET nominees were announced today (Tuesday, May 14) at a press conference on the rooftop of L.A.'s Icon Ultra Lounge, just up…

  20. Alicia Keys Annnouces 'Set The World On Fire' North American Tour

    January 10, 2013 4:10 PM EST Miguel will join Keys on the 24-city tour. Alicia Keys will bring her fifth studio album, "Girl On Fire," to stadiums across the States. The singer-songwriter will embark on a 24-city North American tour. The "Set The World On Fire Tour"  will kick off on March 7 in…

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