Fans Pick Beyonce’s ‘Black Is King’ as This Week’s Favorite New Music

Music fans voted in a poll published Friday (July 31) on Billboard, choosing Beyoncé‘s stunning new visual album on Disney+ as their favorite new music release from the past week.

Set to the music of Bey’s stellar The Lion King: The Gift album, released in 2019, Black Is King is a gorgeous, visually inventive piece of storytelling, exploring the themes of Black legacy and generational learning through the thin veil of The Lion King’s story.

Black Is King brought in 76% of the vote this week, beating out new music by Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, A$AP Ferg, Dan + Shay and others.

Coming in second place on this week’s poll with 14% of the vote was Eilish’s new song “My Future,” her first piece of new music in five months.

The personal new single finds the 18-year-old singer assuring the world that she’s doing just fine, both as a recently minted household name adjusting to fame and as an evolving songwriter always prepared to try new things.

Placing third on this week’s poll was A$AP Ferg’s “Move Ya Hips,” featuring Nicki Minaj and MadeInTYO, followed by Smith’s “My Oasis,” featuring Burna Boy.

See the final results of this week’s new music release poll below.

Taylor Swift Achieves Seventh No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart & Biggest Week of 2020 With ‘Folklore’

Taylor Swift’s Folklore flies in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, capturing the biggest week for any album since Swift’s last release, 2019’s Lover.

Folkore was released with little advance notice on July 24 and earns Swift her seventh No. 1 album.

Folklore starts with 846,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending July 30, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. That marks the largest week registered for any album since Swift’s own Lover, which debuted at No. 1 on the Sept. 7, 2019-dated chart with 867,000 units.

Further, in the last four years, the three biggest weeks for any album have been racked up by Swift. Dating back to July of 2016, the three largest frames for any album are: Swift’s Reputation (1.24 million units, Dec. 2, 2017-dated chart), Lover (867,000) and Folklore (846,000).

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Aug. 8-dated chart (where Folklore bows at No. 1) will be posted in full on Billboard’s website on Aug. 4.

Folklore’s debut of 846,000 equivalent album units is led by 615,000 in album sales, 218,000 in SEA units (equating to 289.85 million on-demand streams of the tracks on the album), and 13,000 in TEA units.

Seventh No. 1 Album: Folklore marks Swift’s seventh No.  1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, tying her with Janet Jackson for the third-most leaders among women in the history of the chart. Ahead of them on the leading ladies list are Barbra Streisand, with 11 No. 1s, and Madonna, with nine. Among all acts, The Beatles have the most No. 1 albums, with 19.

Before Folklore, Swift topped the chart with Lover (No. 1 for one week, Sept. 7, 2019-dated chart), Reputation (No. 1 for four weeks, 2017-18), 1989 (No. 1 for 11 weeks, 2014-15), Red (No. 1 for seven weeks, 2012-13), Speak Now (No. 1 for six weeks, 2010-11) and Fearless (No. 1 for 11 weeks, 2008-09).

Most No. 1 Debuts Among Women: All seven of Swift’s No. 1 albums have debuted at No. 1 — a record among female artists. Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Britney Spears are tied with the second-most debuts at No. 1 among women, with six each. (Beyoncé, Gaga and Spears each have a total of six No. 1 albums — and all of them also debuted at No. 1. Meanwhile, six of Madonna’s nine total No. 1s debuted atop the list.)

Among all acts, Jay-Z has the most debuts at No. 1, with 14. All 14 of his No. 1 albums have debuted at No. 1.

2020’s Biggest Week for an Album, and Biggest for Any Album Since Swift’s Last Release, Lover: Folklore’s start of 846,000 equivalent album units marks the largest week for 2020 for any album. It blows past the previous high, which was registered just last month by the opening stanza of Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die (497,000 units in the tracking week ending July 16; as reflected on the chart dated July 25).

In addition, Folklore nabs the biggest week for any album since Swift’s last release, Lover, less than a year ago. It launched atop the list dated Sept. 7, 2019, with 867,000 units earned in the week ending Aug. 29, 2019.

Lover was released on Aug. 23, 2019. Unlike the surprise-released Folklore, Lover was preceded by months of traditional promotion, which began with the release of the set’s first single, “Me!,” featuring Brendon Urie, on April 26, 2019.

Also, while Lover was available widely to purchase at all retailers in its first week, including Target, which carried four deluxe CD editions of the set, Folklore had a limited availability at retail in its first week. Folklore was only sold via Swift’s official webstore or via digital retailers. Folklore will be released on CD widely to all retailers on Aug. 7.

Swift Has the Three Biggest Weeks for Any Album in the Last Four Years: In the last four years, the three biggest weeks for any album have been racked up by Swift. Dating back to July of 2016, the three largest frames for any album were tallied by the debut weeks of Swift’s Reputation (1.24 million units, Dec. 2, 2017-dated chart), Lover (867,000) and Folklore (846,000).

The last time anyone not named Taylor Swift had a bigger week than Folklore was Drake, who saw his Views album launch with 1.04 million units at No. 1 on the May 21, 2016-dated chart.

Biggest Sales Week for an Album Since Lover: Folklore sold 615,000 copies in its first week, marking the largest sales frame for any album since Swift’s Lover sold 679,000 copies in its debut week (Sept. 7, 2019-dated chart).

As noted above, in Folklore’s first week of release, the album was only available to purchase through Swift’s website and digital retailers.

During the album’s first week, Swift’s webstore sold over a dozen physical/digital album bundles (with a CD, vinyl LP or cassette, plus the digital album). All of the physical/digital bundles delivered the digital version of the album upon purchase to the customer, while the physical version will ship to the customer later. Sales of such bundles — where two formats of the same album are bundled together — are counted as one sale, with the album configuration sold determined by the first version of the album that is fulfilled to the customer.

Swift’s store additionally sold an array of merchandise/digital album bundles.

‘Folklore’ Is Already 2020’s Top Selling Album: With 615,000 copies sold of Folklore in its first week, the album has already become 2020’s top selling album. It surpasses the previous top-seller, BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7, which has sold 574,000 since its release on Feb. 21.

First Act to Have Seven Different Albums Sell at Least 500,000 in a Single Week: As Folklore sold 615,000 copies in its first week, Swift becomes the first act to have seven different albums each sell at least 500,000 copies in a single week, since Nielsen Music/MRC Data began electronically tracking music sales in 1991. Swift previously achieved half-million sales frames with the debut weeks of her last six full-length studio albums: Lover (679,000, in 2019), Reputation (1.216 million, in 2017), 1989 (1.287 million, 2014), Red (1.208 million, 2012), Speak Now (1.047 million, 2010) and Fearless (592,000; 2008).

Swift was previously tied with Eminem, who has seen six of his albums each sell at least 500,000 copies in a week.

Largest Streaming Week of 2020 for an Album by a Woman: Folklore garnered 218,000 SEA units in its first week, which equals 289.85 million on-demand streams of its songs in its first week. That’s the biggest streaming week of 2020 for any album by a woman, and the biggest by a non-rap album this year. The only albums to generate bigger streaming frames in 2020 are two rap titles: Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die, with 422.63 million in its opening week, and Lil Uzi Vert’s Eternal Atake, with 400.42 million and 348.72 million in its first and second weeks, respectively.

Folklore’s 289.85 million streams also mark the second-biggest streaming week ever for an album by a woman, behind only the debut frame of Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next (307.07 million; chart dated Feb. 23, 2019). 

At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Logic’s No Pressure launches with 221,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 172,000 are in album sales (supported by an array of merchandise/album bundles), 48,000 are in SEA units (equaling 65.16 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs) and 1,000 are in TEA units.

No Pressure — which Logic describes as his “farewell” effort as he announced his “retirement” — racks up his biggest week for an album since Everybody opened at No. 1 on the May 27, 2017-dated chart with 248,000 units.

No Pressure is Logic’s seventh top 10 effort, stretching back to his first chart entry, Under Pressure, which debuted and peaked at No. 4 on the Nov. 8, 2014-dated chart.

Juice WRLD’s Legends Never Die falls from No. 1 to No. 3 in its third week, after two frames on top, with 107,000 equivalent album units (down 34 percent), while Pop Smoke’s former No. 1 Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon dips 2-4 with nearly 107,000 units (down 23 percent).

The original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical slips 4-5 with 71,000 equivalent album units (down 9 percent). The album peaked at No. 2 on the July 18 chart after Disney+ premiered the filmed version of the Broadway show on July 3. Hamilton has now spent 27 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 — the most of any cast recording since Hair hung on for 28 weeks in 1969.

Gunna’s Wunna runs 21-6 on the new Billboard 200 with a 205 percent gain in equivalent album units earned (rising to 67,000) after the former No. 1 album was reissued on July 24 with eight additional tracks. Lil Baby’s previous chart-topper, My Turn, falls 5-7 with 53,000 equivalent album units earned (down 6 percent).

The Kid LAROI makes his Billboard 200 debut with F*ck Love at No. 8, which launches with 40,000 equivalent album units earned. Of that sum, 33,000 are in SEA units (equaling 49.39 million on-demand streams of the albums songs), 7,000 are in album sales (aided by dozens of merchandise/album bundles) and a negligible sum from TEA units.

F*ck Love is the 16-year-old rapper’s (real name: Charlton Howard) first full-length mixtape. The set includes a guest turn from LAROI’s mentor, the late Juice WRLD.

Rounding out the new top 10 on the Billboard 200 are a pair of former No. 1s, as Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding shifts 7-9 with 33,000 equivalent album units (down 1 percent) and Harry StylesFine Line dips 9-10 with 31,000 units (up 7 percent).

6ix9ine Celebrates House Arrest Release With Wild ‘Punani’ Video: Watch

6ix9ine celebrated his freedom from house arrest on Sunday (Aug. 2) by dropping a wild, doughnut-spinning music video for his new song “Punani.”

“IM FREE !!” the 24-year-old rainbow-haired rapper wrote on Instagram. “WHO SAID WE AINT OUTSIDEEEEEE … BROOKLYN THIS MY TOWN NEW YORK THIS MY CITYYYY YOU HEAR ME!?!?! KING OF F–ING NEW YORK YA COULD NEVA DO WHAT I DID AND BE OUTSIDE DUMMY!”

Clocking in under two minute long, the “Punani” video — filmed, edited and uploaded to YouTube just hours after his house arrest was lifted — finds 6ix9ine and his large entourage stomping through the streets of Brooklyn, celebrating the rapper’s new freedom.

Standout moments from the clip include 6ix9ine lounging on the windshield of a Lamborghini zooming down a bridge, a mysterious bandage on the rapper’s neck, doughnut spins galore, and 6ix9ine sipping on his first cup of coffee outside of house arrest — a McCafé.

6ix9ine, born Daniel Hernandez, caught a break earlier this year when a New York judge granted him a compassionate release in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

But 6ix9ine’s four months of house arrest didn’t stop him from staying musically active. During that time, the rapper recorded and released numerous new songs and videos, including “Trollz” with Nicki Minaj, which earned 6ix9ine his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Watch 6ix9ine’s “Punani” video below.

Katy Perry Reveals Her and Orlando Bloom’s Favorite Songs on Her New Album

Katy Perry opened up about her upcoming album, Smile, with fans on Sunday (Aug. 2), during her first #SmileSunday livestream Q&A. Not surprisingly, there were numerous questions about her new album, which Perry delayed the release of by two weeks.

Perry, who is expecting her first child with fiance Orlando Bloom, dished on the music, telling fans that the new songs “all mean different things.” However, there are a few standouts for her.

“‘What Makes a Woman’ is one of my favorite songs on the album,” she revealed to fans. “It’s a great song about how women are so versatile and adaptable and incredible, and I’m realizing a new layer of that right now as I create life.”

“I like the sonic landscape of the song because it’s a little more acoustic, and I’d love to go more in that direction in the future,” she added of the tune, which the artist said will be the last track on the album. “Maybe that ending is just a beginning, you know what I’m saying?”

Another one she loves? The second track, “Cry About It Later.” “It’s a great song because it’s kind of … there’s a lot of thoughtful empowering songs on the record, but this one is, you know, sometimes you need to have a couple of drinks to not think about who you’re trying to get over — and think about who you’re trying to get under!” joked Perry, who recently headlined Tomorrowland’s virtual festival.

As for Bloom, who popped in briefly to say hello to the singer’s fans and give her a kiss, his favorite is “Daisies.” But, added Perry, the actor also has a soft spot for another tune. “I think he really likes ‘Never Worn White,'” she shared. (Perry revealed her baby bump for the first time in the song’s video.) “That song I think was perfect for revealing the good news, but I think it was a standalone, so it’s not on the whole record, but that was one of his favorite songs.”

Fans also asked Perry to reveal the tracklist, but she declined. She did, however, note that there are 12 songs — “nine you haven’t heard of.” Perry did share that “Never Really Over” is the first tune, “Cry About It Later” is No. 2, and “What Makes a Woman” is the last. She also mentioned songs “Resilient,” “Only Love” and “It’s Not the End of the World.” And there is, of course, the title track as well.

For those wanting to know more about the tracklist, Perry teased that there’s a hint on one of the merch items. “A piece of merchandise has the tracklisting on it,” she noted before clarifying that not the entire tracklist is on the item. “You just haven’t found it yet, have ya? A little Easter egg for you!”

Smile was originally slated for release Aug. 14, but has been pushed back to Aug. 28 due to production delays. Perry kicked off #SmileSunday — which will happen each week — to help fans pass the time until the album’s arrival.

Azealia Banks Shaves Her Head: ‘I’m About to Be Bald Like Seal’

Azealia Banks has decided to shave it all off.

The 29-year-old “212” rapper took to her Instagram Stories on Saturday (Aug. 1) to share a series of before-and-after videos of herself shaving her head completely bald.

“I’m about to have my Britney Spears moment,” she joked. “I feel like Britney b—h on some 2007 s–t. I’m going to shave my head, b—h, just to feel fresh again.”

It’s unclear when the clips were filmed, but Banks says she was inspired to go hair-free as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and because of health concerns related to using hair relaxers.

“The way these coronavirus cases are going around, I’m very scared to have someone take care of my natural hair,” the rapper said, noting that her long nails make it difficult to braid her own hair. “I’m going to keep a baldie and I’m going to rock my wigs.”

Banks later returned with a Wahl Chrome Pro haircutting kit purchased from CVS and proceeded to “get real drunk” before doing the deed on camera.

“I’m about to be bald like Seal in this b—h,” she joked again, comparing herself to the singer. “I’m really about give a kiss to a rose, b—h.”

Afterward, she gushed over her first shower as a newly minted “baldie.”

“I just took my first baldie shower and I’m sitting here thinking that was the most rejuvenating thing I’ve ever felt in my life,” Banks said. “I’m about to be bald for f–king ever. That was the best shower I’ve ever taken in my f–king life.”

Check out a clip of Banks shaving her head below.

Electric Daisy Carnival Officially Canceled for 2020, Founder Announces

Electric Daisy Carnival, one of the world’s largest annual dance festivals, has abandoned plans to try and reschedule the 150,000-person-per-day festival held at the Las Vegas Speedway to October.

Originally scheduled for May 15-17, the festival created by Insomniac Founder Pasquale Rotella with a 2020 lineup featuring more than 200 artists, including Chainsmokers, DJ Snake, David Guetta and Major Lazer was first postponed in April and given a new October 2-4 date.

On Sunday (Aug. 2), Rotella announced on Instagram that the festival was being moved again, this time to May 21-23, effectively ending any prospects that the 2020 festival would return.

“The team & I have spent the last several months working to create a plan that would allow us to produce a safe event for you,” Rotella wrote. “We wanted to implement a free two-step testing program, one test at home before traveling to Las Vegas & another test at the venue when you arrived, in addition to many other enhanced safety protocols. Unfortunately, we just learned that the medical advances necessary to pull this off will not be ready in time, which is why I’m making this announcement today.”

The spread of the coronavirus and the devastating toll COVID-19 has taken on countries around the world has led to a complete shutdown of the live entertainment business, leading to billions in expected losses for companies such as Live Nation, which owns Insomniac. Most promoters now say the touring business won’t resume until the majority of the population has been vaccinated.

Read Rotella’s full announcement below:

View this post on Instagram

@EDC_LasVegas UPDATE: I know you’ve been waiting a long time & I want to THANK YOU for being so patient. Some have questioned why we haven’t postponed yet & I want to let you know what we’ve been up to. The team & I have spent the last several months working to create a plan that would allow us to produce a safe event for you. We wanted to implement a free two-step testing program, one test at home before traveling to Las Vegas & another test at the venue when you arrived, in addition to many other enhanced safety protocols. Unfortunately, we just learned that the medical advances necessary to pull this off will not be ready in time, which is why I’m making this announcement today. Regardless, I’m proud of our team for continuing to believe & work so hard throughout the process. This whole experience has truly been a wild ride. Here I am, a rave promoter, finding myself talking to biopharmaceutical companies about diagnostic tests for a novel virus while working with Nevada’s most prominent government officials. I’ve felt a lot of pressure wanting to come through for all of you & after taking time to exhaust every possible option, I can feel confident knowing this is the right decision. We are officially postponing EDC Las Vegas 2020 & will be returning May 21+22+23 of 2021 to celebrate 25 years of EDC. To everyone who chose to hang onto their ticket & stick with us during this time, THANK YOU! You’re the most amazing community I could ever hope to be a part of. It means the world to me. We would not be able to do any of this without your support. All 2020 passes, including Camp EDC & shuttles, will be honored for the new 2021 dates & will automatically transfer over. For those who would like a refund, go to edclasvegas.com/verify. Because some of you won’t be able to make the rescheduled dates, any tickets for EDC Las Vegas 2021 that become available will go back on sale Thursday, August 6 at 10am PT. Insomniac has been built on never giving up. We’re already working hard on next year’s show & we’ll be back with more energy than ever for our 25 Year Celebration. Until then— Peace, Love, Stay Positive & I’ll See You Under the Electric Sky!✨

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Could J. Cole be Exploring a Career in the NBA? Master P Seems to Think So

Could J. Cole soon be hanging up his hat in the rap game for a career in the NBA? Master P certainly seems to think it’s a possibility.

Last week, Cole and Puma dropped a commercial for the 35-year-old “No Role Modelz” rapper’s new signature sneaker line, Dreamer. In the 30-second spot, Cole is seen training hard on the basketball court while Master P narrates in the background.

“You can’t be serious. I know you ain’t bout to try and do what I think you bout to try to do, ’cause that would be crazy. And you ain’t crazy is you? I mean, what’s the odds?” the No Limit Records hip-hop mogul, who famously signed contracts with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors in the 1990s, says in ad.

It’s well documented that Cole is a force to be reckoned with on the court. In a recent essay for Derek Jeter’s The Player’s Tribune, Cole wrote about giving up a chance to play basketball at St. John’s University to pursue his dream of becoming a hip-hop star.

Raising even more questions about Cole’s possible future in professional sports, Master P told TMZ that he’s had conversations with the Dreamville rapper about what it would take to make it in the NBA.

“When I talked to J. Cole, he was like, ‘You know, big dog, you did it. What do you think I would have to do to make it happen?'” Master P told TMZ. “I said, to get one of these NBA jerseys, it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be a lot of hate, it’s gonna be a lot of people not believing in you, but you know J. Cole — he got the right size, he in the gym!”

Master P continued, “But, what I told him, this a different time we’re in. They’re going to pick you apart! You’re gonna have to be able to hit every shot and if you don’t hit every shot, they — you know in the NBA, they don’t hit every shot but they believe in them. So you’re gonna have to go somewhere where the team really believe in you and the players believe in you.”

Master P added that Cole won’t get free pass in the NBA just because he’s a famous rapper.

“They’ve been putting their whole life into this. So you’re gonna have to prove you’re worthy of being on that court,” he said. “I believe in him and I believe that he’s a youngster that has a lot of desire.”

In addition to promoting his new shoe line with Puma, Cole is also working on his upcoming album, The Fall Off.