Beyonce Bounds to No. 1 on Dance/Mix Show Airplay Chart With ‘Break My Soul’

Beyoncé‘s “Break My Soul” surges to No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart (dated Aug. 6). She scores her fifth leader on the list (which began in August 2003), and first since 2009, joining “Crazy in Love,” featuring Jay-Z (seven weeks at No. 1, 2003); “Baby Boy,” featuring Sean Paul (2003); “Naughty Girl” (three, 2004); and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” (three, 2009).

“Soul” is drawing core-dance airplay on Music Choice’s Dance/EDM channel, KMVQ-HD2 San Francisco and Channel Q, among others, according to Luminate. (The Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart measures radio airplay on a select group of full-time dance stations, along with plays during mix shows on around 70 top 40-formatted reporters.)

The lead single from Renaissanceon track for a No. 1 premiere on the Billboard 200 albums chart – continues at No. 1 on the multi-metric Hot Dance/Electronic Songs survey (for a fifth week on top), as well as on Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs (also five weeks) and Dance/Electronic Digital Song Sales (six). It earned 56.5 million radio airplay audience impressions (up 11%), 8.8 million U.S. streams (up 6%) and sold 6,000 downloads (up 18%) in the July 22-28 tracking week.

The song concurrently hits a new high on the Billboard Hot 100 (7-6), holds at No. 4 on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Radio Songs charts and improves on Digital Song Sales (7-4) and Streaming Songs (28-25).

“Soul” crowns its first two Billboard airplay charts, as, in addition to Dance/Mix Show Airplay, it ascends to No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay. It also pushes to No. 3 on both Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Adult R&B Airplay, No. 5 on Rhythmic Airplay, No. 12 on Pop Airplay and No. 18 on Adult Pop Airplay.

Hello ‘Goodbye’: On the Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart, ODESZA launches at No. 2 with The Last Goodbye, which earned 25,00 equivalent album units in its first week. It’s the duo’s third top 10, following two leaders: In Return (five weeks at No. 1, 2014) and A Moment Apart (one, 2017).

On Hot Dance/Electronic Songs, ODESZA debuts seven Goodbye cuts, led by “Forgive Me,” featuring Izzy Bizu (in her first appearance, No. 17), which drew 1.5 million domestic streams. All 13 of the album’s tracks have hit the chart, including the title song and first single (featuring soul legend Bettye LaVette), which became ODESZA’s first top 10 (No. 10 peak, February). ODESZA has logged 26 entries on the chart, dating to its first, “Say My Name,” featuring Zyra (No. 16, 2015).

Kygo Rewrites Top 10 Record: Kygo and Dean Lewis hit the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs top 10 with “Lost Without You” (13-10). The collab, which earned 1.8 million U.S. streams, becomes Kygo’s 23rd top 10 (and Lewis’ second), vaulting him ahead of The Chainsmokers (22) for the most top 10s among all acts since the chart began in January 2013.

‘Down’ Is Up: Returning to the Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart, Alok collects his second top 10 and Ella Eyre and Kenny Dope each earn their first with a 16-9 leap for “Deep Down,” featuring Never Dull, which also notches its first top 10.

Additionally, Gryffin grabs his fourth top 10 on the tally and co-lead OneRepublic reaps its fifth with “You Were Loved” (18-10).

This Is Why Disability Advocates Say It’s Not Okay to Use ‘Spazz’ in Lyrics

Editor’s note: the following story includes multiple uses of the term “spazz,” which may be offensive to some readers.

Both Beyoncé and Lizzo have been called out recently for using the ableist term “spazz” on album tracks. And, to their credit, both women reacted quickly to the backlash, with Lizzo swiftly removing the offensive term in early June from the Special song “Grrrls” after being called out by disability advocate and writer Hannah Diviney, who also took Bey to task in late July for repeatedly using the same word on her Renaissance track “Heated.”

In both cases, the apparent intention was to refer to someone who appears to be out of control/not able to control their actions, employing it as colloquial slang that has long been used as a playground taunt. That is not, however, how persons with disabilities see it, so Billboard reached out to a writer who has taken on the hurtful deployment of the word in her writing and a college professor who specializes in issues around disability culture and identity to get a sense of why Bey and Lizzo’s lyrics struck such a harsh note.

“‘Spazz’ is a direct derivative of the word ‘spastic,’ used to describe a medical condition… and when people use that term it’s always in relation to these medical conditions even if intention is not there to be offensive,” says Jessica Ping-Wild, a disabled creator and advocate who recently penned the explainer story “Ableist Language To Avoid And Acceptable Alternatives – Spaz Edition.”

Though the word’s origin is in reference to a medical condition (short for “spastic”), Ping-Wild points out that the way it’s been used in casual conversation (and lyrics) over time is as a derogatory term aimed at describing someone not in control of their body/emotions. “It’s used to refer to how people hold themselves or behave or how they can’t control their motion or movements,” she says. “If you call someone as ‘spazz’ it’s known that that is connected to their ability or functionality or ‘normalcy’ in a setting.” 

Advocates were quick to call out Lizzo and Bey for the inclusion of the offensive term, but it is far from the first time that it has been used in recent hip-hop or pop lyrics. G Perico and Remble released a song in 2021 called “Spazz,” while Lil Baby included a track with the same name on his 2018 release Harder Than Ever, as did Lil Durk (on 2018’s STTS III) and Lecrea, who included the song on his 2012 Church Clothes mixtape.

Key Glock dropped “Spazzin’ Out” in 2019 and Kid Cudi included the song “CuDi Spazzin'” on his 2008 A Kid Named Cudi album on a song produced by the Neptunes; other acts who’ve used the term in songs include Method Man (“Spazzola”), T.I. (“Spazz Out”), Lady Leshurr (“Spazzing”), Fredo Santana (“Spazz Out”), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5 (“Spazz Out 2”), Pavement singer Stephen Malkmus’ band the Jicks (“Spazz”), Waka Flocka Flame (“Spazz Out”), Yo Gotti (“Spazz Out (Intro)”), Riff Raff (with Travis Barker) (“Spazz Out”) as well as a number of artists who’ve used the term as a stage name (Spazzy D, Lil Spazz, Spazz and Spazzkid).

“When I first read about it I attributed it less to cruelty or somehow to cluelessness about the power and stigma of the word,” says University of California San Diego professor of communications David Serlin. While not an excuse to use a potentially offensive word, Serlin wonders how stars with the reach of Bey or Lizzo did not have someone on their team who might look over their lyrics for any potential issues of this kind, chalking their inclusion up more to “ignorance about its power. “As opposed to someone like Eminem, who deliberately uses language to stigmatize and hurt people,” he adds of the rapper who has frequently used homophobic and misogynist lyrics in his music, noting that it’s possible that neither woman was aware of the word’s history and its contemporary significance.

“You would expect that these incredibly strong, Black feminist figures should be aware of the complexity of language — something we want them to have because of their social power in the marketplace and the influence they have — but even women as smart, savvy, sophisticated and empowered as them can still use slang that they are importing into their music with a history they could not be aware of,” he says.

Unlike such words as “queer,” “dyke” or “crip” — which Serlin notes have been reclaimed by the historically marginalized LGBTQ and disability communities and are now in more common parlance in an empowering  way — he’s not seen”spazz” reclaimed in any widespread fashion to date.

Ping-Wild says that when someone with a substantial platform like Lizzo uses it in a casual way, it may make others feel like they don’t have to be as careful with their language. “But the more frustrating thing is Beyoncé using it two months later… the same situation months later is a slap in the face for a lot of people in the community,” she says.

Just days after Renaissance‘s release, a spokesperson for Beyoncé released a statement on Monday (Aug. 1) noting that “the word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced.”

In her piece, Ping-Wild, an American who lives in London, includes the Dictionary.com definition that reads “an awkward or clumsy person,” or, in the verb usage, “to move in an awkward or clumsy way (usually followed by out)… to become more angry than a situation warrants (usually followed by out).. to twitch” as as means of showing how the word has been deployed in a pejorative manner over the years. She also explains that the term “hits more offensively” in the U.K.

“I grew up using the term on the playground and not a lot has changed in the past 30 years, but since I’ve been made aware that it’s an ableist term I’ve tried to remove it from my language,” says the 25-year-old born with a very rare genetic condition called CHILD Syndrome that resulted in the amputation of her left leg and a shortened arm. “The difference between the U.S. and U.K. is that it is considered to be on the same level of inappropriate here as the ‘r-word,'” she says. “Though it’s been more casually used in the U.S. it doesn’t take away from the derogatory meaning, even if the intention is not to offend.”

Domino Records Launches New Electronic Imprint, Smugglers Way

Domino Records is pushing further into electronic music with a new imprint focused on the genre.

This new label, Smugglers Way, soft-launched in March with the announcement of a collaborative EP by French Touch legends Braxe & Falcon. This four-track EP, Step By Step, was released in June, with the title track featuring Panda Bear of Animal Collective.

“It sounded very exciting to us to be part of this new adventure; in a way it reminded us of the early days of the French House scene back in the late ’90s,” Alan Braxe tells Billboard. “Moreover, when they had the idea of releasing our first single in the most simple manner, on an anonymous white label vinyl, we instantly knew that we met the right partner for releasing our music.”

“Dance and electronic music has long been an important thread in the musical fabric of Domino,” says Domino and Smugglers Way U.S. Label Manager Peter Berard. “We launched our new imprint Smugglers Way — named after the London offices’ street address — as a means to explore deeper into these genres and to provide a unique outlet for our roster of artists, as well as those newer to our world, to release 12” singles, collaborative projects and more.”

Today (Aug. 4), Smuggler’s Way is announcing the label’s second release: a collaborative project by Colombian electronic artist Ela Minus and New York-DJ/producer DJ Python. This three-track EP, (the project is being called “corazón”) will drop via Smugglers Way on September 16. Hear the first single, Pájaros en Verano” (“birds in summer”) below.

“Smugglers Way simply feels like making cool things with my friends,” Minus tells Billboard. “This EP with DJ Python just happened, we did not plan any of it, the music just flowed out of a budding friendship, the most natural thing. And then it found its home just as naturally at Smugglers Way. It just feels right to make things with like-hearted people.”

“Listening to  reminds me of the brisk sublime moments in day-to-day life – the birds chirping before sunrise, cicadas in late summer, or even a just a familiar hug from an old acquaintance,” adds Domino’s Director of A&R Carlos Lopez Jr. “It became evident that Smugglers Way, our new electronic imprint, was the proper home for this inspired collaboration between two vibrant musical personalities. Big or small, it’s important that labels document and encourage their surrounding artistic communities. Ela Minus & DJ Python’s  EP is a continuation of this ideology.”

Founded in London in 1993, Domino has a long history with electronic output, with artists including Jon Hopkins, Bob Moses, Hot Chip, Joe Goddard and Four Tet all releasing music via the label over its nearly 30 year history.

Lady Gaga Confirms She Will Star in ‘Joker’ Sequel Alongside Joaquin Phoenix

Lady Gaga‘s got a lot going on right now — but being in the midst of her long-awaited world tour isn’t stopping her from sharing some big news in her acting career.

Gaga posted a teaser clip Thursday (Aug. 4) confirming her starring role in the upcoming film Joker: Folie à Deux, a sequel to the 2019 film Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. In the clip, we see silhouettes of Phoenix and Gaga’s yet-to-be-announced character dancing together to the song “Cheek to Cheek,” which Gaga famously covered alongside Tony Bennett.

While little else has been revealed regarding Gaga’s character in the upcoming movie, the online consensus is that the singer will be transforming into Harley Quinn, the merry murderer and romantic counterpart to the Joker. Other rumors surrounding the film suggest that it won’t simply be a follow-up to the acclaimed 2019 flick — sources told The Hollywood Reporter back in June that the sequel would be a musical.

Director Todd Phillips has been tight-lipped about the sequel, first revealing only the title of the sequel back in June, alongside an image of Phoenix reading through the script.

In the meantime, Gaga is currently on her tour with The Chromatica Ball, which kicked off in July in Düsseldorf, Germany. The tour has already proved to be a commerical hit for the singer, raking in over $80 million in gross ticket sales. While 90% of the tour has officially sold out, fans can still get any remaining tickets on Gaga’s website.

Joker: Folie à Deux will arrive on Oct. 4, 2024. Check out the cheeky teaser below:

ASL Interpreters on Joining Bad Bunny’s Puerto Rico Concerts: ‘The Deaf Community Deserved It’

Just days after three back-to-back sold-out shows at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelo, Bad Bunny feels recharged to kick off his 2022 World’s Hottest Tour in Orlando on Friday (Aug. 5).

“The energy of an entire country enjoying and having a great time, without problems, without incidents, all of Puerto Rico united in a single joy!” the artist wrote on Instagram. “Everything was so spontaneous and natural, so many beautiful moments that were not rehearsed, like every word that came from my heart at the moment, and everything was amazing!”

At the concert, Bad Bunny not only performed songs from his Un Verano Sin Ti album but was also joined on stage by his real-life squad, and had a wave of special guests including Jowell y Randy, Chencho Corleone, Bomba Estereo, The Marias, and Villano Antillano, to name a few.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @badbunnypr

But the real stars of the night may have been three ASL interpreters, who quickly went viral on social media.

While the Puerto Rican artist had an entire crowd on their feet, Celimar Rivera Cosme, Alexssa Hernández de Jesús, and Evelyn Fuentes Rodríguez were performing the concert in sign language for a designated VIP section of about 30 people from the deaf community.

Though this is increasingly common at concerts and venues around the world, Hernandez assures Billboard that in her 15-year career as a sign language interpreter it’s the “first time this [happened] in an urban concert at El Choli.”

She explains that Celimar, who’s partially deaf and part of the community, took initiative and posted a video on social media asking the Puerto Rican artist to invite them to the concert. A week before the July 28 show, she received an email from Bunny’s label Rimas Entertainment asking how they can better serve the community. Celimar reached out to her friends Alexssa and Evelyn, and the rest is history.

“Ever since the Bad Bunny concerts, we’re thinking about opening an agency,” Rivera notes. “We’re going to do it because it’s needed at concerts in Puerto Rico.”

Below, read Billboard’s Q&A with Celimar and Alexssa:

When did the opportunity to be a sign language interpreter at Bad Bunny’s concert come to you?

Celimar: On July 8, I posted a video with my friend Roberto who has profound deafness, letting Bad Bunny know that our community wanted to enjoy his concert too. The video went viral on social media and one week before the concert, Rimas reached out to me to be an interpreter at the show. I got really excited, but I couldn’t do this on my own — so I called my good friends Alessa and Evelyn. It was a challenging process, with a lot of stress and sleepless nights, but much needed.

One week’s notice? Wow! How did you prepare for the concert? Were you provided with the set list ahead of time?

Celimar: No, we didn’t receive it — but the good thing is that our generation likes to listen to Bad Bunny and old-school reggaetón. Alexssa and Evelyn also love music. Personally, I can’t memorize the lyrics so fast, because I’m partially deaf — so I need to put on headphones, listen to the song, and read the lyrics. However, I already had knowledge of Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti album because the songs are very popular right now. I do have to credit Alexssa for saving the day with all of the other songs that were performed at the show — the ones from the special guests such as Jowell y Randy, Tony Dize, Arcangel, Rainao.

Alexssa, I see from your videos that have gone viral on social media that you perform more than just the lyrics, you communicate the songs with your body language.

Alexssa: Correct. That’s very important, because that’s what sign language is about. The audience can feel the vibrations and know if I’m moving according to the song’s beat. It’s not easy, because in sign language you have to conceptualize the lyrics. There’s a specific order — you have to consider the timing, then think of the objects, the place… there’s a certain grammar to it. Facial expressions and body language are a huge part of it.

What do you think this initiative signifies for the deaf community?

Celimar: A lot of us love music, and there’s a misconception that deaf or hard-of-hearing people don’t listen to music, and that’s not true. I have friends who blast the volume at full blast, because even if they can’t hear it, they like to feel it. A lot of the people who attended the concert had a blast — and that, for me, is incredible, because we were able to give them a concert experience.

Alexssa: Seeing how my co-workers and I worked together was an amazing team effort and an unforgettable moment. I hope more events take this initiative into consideration, because there’s always going to be a deaf person in the crowd that will appreciate having an interpreter. I saw it with my own eyes at the Bad Bunny concert. They were shining and had an incredible time. The deaf community deserved it, they deserve the accessibility and the respect.

Lizzo Reveals ‘About Damn Time’ Almost Wasn’t a Single, Gets Full Body Shakes Eating Vegan Wings on ‘Hot Ones’: Watch

At the very beginning of Lizzo‘s Thursday (Aug. 4) appearance on Hot Ones — First We Feast’s hit series in which celebrities answer questions while eating painfully spicy chicken wings — the 34-year-old pop star said the food challenge would be “a piece of motherf–kin’ cake.” She was wrong.

On her eighth hot-sauce taste test, Lizzo’s teeth were chattering and her body was shaking with spice overload as her eyes teared up. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” she repeated, before chucking her vegan chicken wing as far away from her as possible.

Before she got to that point, though, the three-time Grammy winner was able to more or less comfortably answer host Sean Evans’ trademark in-depth questions, including one about how she chooses which songs off her albums to make singles.

“I’m so bad at picking singles for myself because I think everything I do is incredible, I really do,” she laughed, revealing that her hit “About Damn Time” — the lead single and last track she wrote for her July-released fourth studio album Special — almost wasn’t promoted as a single at all.

Lizzo shared that she wasn’t a big fan of the song before it was finished, but realized once it was done that its message was something the world needed to hear in that moment. “The ‘I’ve been so down and under pressure, I’m way too fine to be this stressed’ — it’s like, hello!” she explained about the track, which would go on to become her second Billboard Hot 100 No. 1. “We needed that right then when I dropped that motherf—-r.”

The Yitty founder, who’s classically trained on the flute, also told Evans why she thinks her music-theory skills are such an important part of her songwriting process. “I make pop music, but I like to think I make really musical, interesting pop music that I think a lot about the composition,” she said. “Understanding the time signature you’re in — harmony and dissonance and rhythm and cadence — I think it is important.”

But back to the spicy task at hand, after the last couple of hot sauce samples gave Lizzo a run for her money, she was able to power through and complete the challenge — with a little help from some vegan ice cream to combat the spice. “We did it,” she said triumphantly at the end. “Album out, Yitty out, Watch Out For The Big Grrrls Emmy-nominated six times. And still, this was the highest on my list of goals.”

Watch Lizzo’s take on the Hot Ones challenge below: