John Legend talks to our Deputy Director of Hip-Hop and RnB, Carl Lamarre about his new album ‘Legend’, working with Jay-Z and Rick Ross, as well as his complicated relationship with Kanye West, and more!
This week, Nicki Minaj gave us the ‘Queen Mix’ of her new track ‘Super Freaky Girl’, John Legend drops his new album title ‘Legend’, Megan Thee Stallion and Lil Kim join forces for a remix of ‘Plan B’ and more!
Urbano artist Nio Garcia has filed suit against his management company for “derailing” his career, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Miami on Thursday (Sept. 8).
In the 14-page complaint, filed by attorney Edwin Prado-Galarza, Garcia alleges that AH Entertainment’s current president Ilianes Ruiz is attempting to sabotage his career after illegally taking ownership of the company following the death of her son, AH founder and Garcia’s frequent collaborator Flow La Movie. He’s asking for damages of no less than $3 million and for a court order allowing him to release his own music, citing breach of contract by Ruiz.
According to Garcia, Ruiz — now acting as AH Entertainment — has tried to stall his career by “arbitrarily” failing to release his new album and associated music videos, all of which he claims Flow previously approved for a 2022 release; “maliciously” disparaged him via her own and AH Entertainment’s social media accounts; and failed to provide royalty accountings required under his contract. He also alleges she thwarted his performance at the Premios Lo Nuestro awards show, causing him “to lose a golden opportunity to promote new music and further his brand,” and even delayed a “multi-million-dollar sale” of the company’s catalog, leading to a “substantial loss of income” for Garcia, fellow artist Casper Mágico and Garcia’s distributors The Orchard and Get Low Records (d.b.a. Glad Empire).
Flow La Movie (born José Ángel Hernández), who has also worked with top Latin stars including Bad Bunny and Ozuna, produced a number of Garcia’s hits, including “Te Boté,” which peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018. Following his death in a plane crash that also claimed the lives of eight others, including his wife and 4-year-old son, Garcia alleges that Ruiz “unlawfully” took control of the company after filing an annual report with the Florida Division of Corporations that listed her as AH Entertainment’s president and resident agent. He claims she had no authority to do so, as the matter of who controls Flow’s estate — which automatically became AH’s sole shareholder under Florida law, according to the complaint — is currently pending in Florida’s Polk County Circuit Court.
Pertaining to the estate, the complaint cites a “dubious” document filed by Ruiz on June 24, 2022, that she presented as Flow’s last will and testament and which names Ruiz as sole heir. Garcia questions the validity of the document due to the fact that, during the July 2016 date listed on the document, Flow was “penniless and had no assets to bequeath to his heirs” and already had two underage children who are not listed, among other issues. According to the suit, Flow’s only surviving daughter, Keigelyan Hernandez-Pena, intends to challenge the validity of the will furnished by Ruiz.
“If Keigelyan succeeds, an outcome that appears likely based on information and belief, Flow will be deemed to have died intestate and Keigelyan will be named his sole heir and, accordingly, AH’s sole shareholder,” the complaint reads. “Ilianes will, therefore, have no valid claim over Flow’s estate and, accordingly, no legal authority to act on AH’s behalf.”
Elsewhere in the complaint, Garcia characterizes Ruiz as lacking the knowledge to run a music company and is using it merely as a vehicle to damage his career in what amounts to a personal vendetta.
In a pair of tweets Friday that seemingly allude to the lawsuit, Garcia said cryptically, “I’m crazy to release new music but they scammed me with falsehoods and lies. You’ll know what I’m talking about soon.”
Billboard sent a message to an email address listed on AH Entertainment’s Facebook page but did not immediately hear back.
Garcia rose to fame with the 2017 single “Te Boté” alongside Darrell and Casper Mágico. The track, released via Flow La Movie Records, gained even more traction when Nicky Jam, Ozuna and Bad Bunny jumped on a remix in 2018, allowing him to score his first entry on the Hot 100. Since, the 33-year-old Puerto Rican choreographer-turned-rapper has released other major hit songs including “La Jeepeta” and “AM” via Flow’s label, which was launched in 2016 to support up-and-coming talent such as Nio and Mágico.
In the music video for “Heartless,” The Weeknd inadvisably licks a toad inside a dark Vegas hotel room and begins transforming, Wolf Man-like, into an amphibian creature. Now, nearly three years after the clip’s debut, fans can experience the full scope of the pop star’s mutation – only they have to visit Universal Studios Hollywood to see it.
In a highlight of “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare” – a new fright maze at the Los Angeles theme park’s popular Halloween Horror Nights attraction – we watch as the singer’s After Hours character endures an extension of that briefly glimpsed metamorphosis, culminating in the monstrous reveal of a giant, red-jacketed man-toad bursting from an aperture in the wall. (Talk about a jump scare.) That moment is arguably the centerpiece of the new maze, which pulls on the disturbing imagery contained in After Hours’ lyrics and music videos to create an immersive experience that puts attendees smack inside the world of the album. For Horror Nights’ creative team, the maze also marks an important milestone: the first such attraction they’ve created with a music artist at the top of their game.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with…an artist that’s top of the charts and I guess you’d say pop music today,” says John Murdy, the longtime creative director and executive producer of Halloween Horror Nights, who has served in the role since 2006. Though he and his team have worked with other musicians in the past – namely Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne/Black Sabbath – they were artists who had long been associated with the horror genre. For all of his star power, The Weeknd, a frequent Horror Nights attendee who reached out to Murdy with the idea, wasn’t as obvious a fit.
“I knew him, of course, and I knew his songs, but I didn’t really understand how it all connected to horror until I sat down and started talking to Abel and then did a deep dive into his music. His music videos and his cinematic inspirations…was really I think the ‘a-ha’ moment for me,” says Murdy.
During a roughly 90-minute introductory video chat, The Weeknd took Murdy through a list of his After Hours visual inspirations, including such left-of-center films as Jacob’s Ladder, A Clockwork Orange, Eyes Wide Shut, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and 12 Monkeys. But instead of just rehashing the music videos they inspired, the pair instead agreed it was more interesting to “tap into the essence” of the album. That involved extending on flashes of imagery – as with the toad-creature – and leaning into After Hours‘ dark-side-of-Hollywood visual aesthetics and lyrical content.
Throughout the maze, various iterations of The Weeknd wander, attack and buzz (at two separate points, we see the singer being fried in an electric chair) around scenes that incorporate imagery from his videos while also tossing in some original concepts. In the first section, loosely inspired by the slasher-esque “In Your Eyes” music video, we watch him stalk a blond-wigged woman through a club and, in a grotesque bit of creative license, slit her throat as a collection of alien-looking creatures sit silently by. As in the video, the singer/murderer gets his comeuppance; we later witness the same woman (played by a different actress) gleefully hoist the demented pop star’s severed head in the air.
The other two sections of the maze, divided into what Murdy refers to as three “chapters,” take place in a macabre hotel-casino – a la the videos for “Blinding Lights” and “Heartless” – and a “nightmare version of the LA Metro,” where The Weeknd shot the After Hours short film, which was released in advance of the album. For the former, Murdy and his team took inspiration from Vegas hotels’ notoriously-gaudy interiors, exaggerating its hideous carpets and wallpaper prints to Kafkaesque heights. For the latter, they built the front of a “subway train” that jerks threateningly in the direction of visitors as they pass by.
The experience wouldn’t be complete without the pop icon’s actual music. To that end, Murdy brought in frequent The Weeknd collaborator Michael Dean to create maze-specific remixes of songs from After Hours, Dawn FM and even 2016’s Starboy that, in Murdy’s words, would “work for a live walkthrough experience.”
True to his reputation, Murdy says The Weeknd was intimately involved with every aspect of the maze’s creative development, from the costumes to the sets to the plastic-surgery-gone-wrong makeup designs. All, it seems, to ensure that his ultimate vision for the maze came to fruition: “One of the first things he said to me was, ‘I want this to scare the living daylights out of people.'”
“The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare” can be experienced on select nights at Universal Studios Hollywood through October 31.
This week, our First Stream Latin roundup — which is a compilation of the best new Latin songs, albums and videos recommended by the Billboard Latin editors — is powered by a handful of new songs by Snow Tha Product, Las Villa, María Becerra, India and also Nanpa Básico’s new album.
Home to 14 tracks, Nanpa’s Hecho M13RD4 features wide-ranging collaborations with Adriel Favela, Ryan Castro, Santa Fe Klan, Gera MX and more. The set is a collection of experimental and innovative music with personal feelings weaved into each song. The album acknowledges that state of feeling broken inside after a heartbreak. It takes you to the highest and darkest paths of love, powered by strings, keyboards and horns.
There’s also Becerra’s new single, a preview of her upcoming sophomore album La Nena de Argentina, slated to drop before the year ends. In “Automático,” the Argentine singer-songwriter pays homage to old-school reggaetón with her new single. Penned by Becerra and produced by Nico Cotton, the artist told Billboard she was inspired by the pioneers of reggaetón to bring this melody to life. When asked which special guest she thinks would make for the dream remix, Becerra simply said Daddy Yankee. “Hopefully it happens before he retires,” she expressed during this week’s Live With Billboard Latin.
This week’s First Stream Latin also includes Snow Tha Product’s new collaboration with Lauren Jauregue and a dream team-up between India and Goyo.
Which is your favorite new Latin music release of the week? Vote below!
Gigi Hadid opens up about her 2-year-old daughter Khai in a preview of a new interview with Sunday Today.
“I mean, I think she’s a genius,” the model said in her chat with Willie Geist for Today’s Sunday Sitdown, which is set to air in full this weekend. “But I think that’s what everyone says about their kid. It’s so much fun. The more that she talks, and understands, and remembers, it just gets more and more fun. And she’s a blessing.”
She went on to add that her daughter with Zayn is “so mobile, so early in the morning. So mobile — jumping off things. Very brave. Which is great but, you know… We’re practicing doing dangerous things carefully. That’s what I’m gonna go for.”
Gigi and Zayn welcomed their daughter in September 2020. The couple broke off their engagement last year following news that Zayn had a dispute with Gigi’s mom, Yolanda Hadid, that the 57-year-old claims turned physical. But things seem cordial between the co-parents, with Gigi wishing Zayn a happy Father’s Day back in June.
In the new interview, Hadid also dished about how her new clothing label, Guest in Residence, came together. “I built this team off of friends of mine in the industry that I’ve worked with for years,” she said. “So it’s really an honor, and it’s so nice to look back on the 10 years since I officially started modeling and realize that in between all the photos, there’s real experience and life and memories with people that are never seen in the photos. I always say, if you look around, you can learn so many things beyond modeling in that job. And I think that every person — photographer, creative, stylist, businesspeople behind the scenes — all of those people really got me to where I am today because I’ve tried to watch them and learn from them even if they didn’t know.”
Watch snippets of Hadid’s Today interview below.
Billboard was with Yungblud as he made history by performing at The Viper Room, Whiskey A Go Go, and The Roxy Theatre all in one night. He live-streamed all three shows thanks to Amazon Music.