The year was 2002. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck were two of the biggest stars in the world, and their engagement in November of that year only catapulted them further into the stratosphere of fame as the couple cloyingly labeled “Bennifer.”
Now, the year is 2021. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are still two of the biggest stars in the world, and their recent rumored get-together — reported Friday (April 30) by Page Six — has Twitter thinking it’s the early 2000s all over again.
Of course, there’s no actual confirmation that this relationship — which ended in January 2004 — is being rekindled. But the mere thought of a Bennifer reunion, in the wake of reported breakups for both stars (a broken engagement with Alex Rodriguez for her, a split from actress Ana De Armas for him) is almost too much for Twitter to handle.
Below, find some of the best online reaction to this potential Hollywood “reboot.”
The Bennifer pics took me back *instantly*. I saw their faces together and thought, "I miss Room Raiders."
First and foremost, let’s recognize that the elimination of the fabled Nominations Review Committees is indeed the “bombshell” news of the day, as Billboard awards editor Paul Grein reported Friday (April 30). To reiterate what this means, the nominees for most of the Grammy categories will no longer be determined by small, secret committees of voting members, but by the entire voting body of the Academy at large.
The new rule includes all the Latin categories, where nominees were determined by a small committee of Academy members who met behind closed doors, listened to the music submitted and decided, as a committee, who got a Grammy nomination.
For more than a decade, the Latin category nominations were decided by committee, and the decisions went from utterly baffling to utterly predictable, with very commercial releases from major stars often competing in the same category with almost complete unknowns.
The notion of a Latin committee was born precisely from the desire to showcase material that was exquisite but perhaps not commercial, and to avoid a default win for big crossover names. But as Latin music has become increasingly mainstream in the United States — and let’s remember that the Grammys honor U.S. releases — the need for a small committee to determine the fate of the music is less urgent.
What remains to be seen is how this empowered voting body will act with Latin releases. Will they take the easy way out, voting primarily for those names they recognize?
Our hope is that those who end up voting in the Latin categories are those who work within the genre and know its players. The reduction in the number of categories that can be voted on — from 15 to 10 — is a step in ensuring that votes are more specialized than they have been in the past.
Also pressing: Will the Latin Grammys follow suit and eliminate the committees?
Not for now. In a statement provided to Billboard, the Latin Academy said it “did not anticipate” doing so. “While the awards process for the Latin Grammys mirrors the essence of the Grammy process, the Latin Recording Academy’s members have the ability to modify procedures respective to the needs and evolution of Latin music,” read the statement. “Since we are mainly an international organization, our systems and procedures have some differences.
“Given the richness of Latin music and its diverse fields, we depend on the expertise of our members in order to best respect and honor excellence in the different genres that compose our culture,” the statement concludes.
Far less ambiguous for the Latin world is the addition of a new Música Urbana Album category to the Grammys. To this, we wholeheartedly say: “Thank you.”
Urban Latin music, or “Música Urbana,” as the Academy calls it, has dominated the Billboard charts and the global streaming charts for at least the past five years. Reggaetón and its offspring have contributed to the globalization of Latin music to a degree that was unimaginable a decade ago.
And yet, Latin music’s most popular genre did not have its own Grammy category. Instead, since 2014, it was bunched together with pop and rock to create the horrendous Best Latin Pop, Rock or Urban Album category.
Then that changed to Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative album. Still problematic. This year, the category was again split, this time as Best Latin Pop or Urban Album, while Alternative and Rock were placed together.
The Academy seemed to be allergic to Latin urban music, Bad Bunny’s success notwithstanding.
But now, light.
The addition of a standalone urban category is, more than a triumph, a recognition of Latin music’s current importance in both the U.S. and global markets. The fact that the Academy added a category versus merely substituting one, highlights that it recognizes the music’s growth.
Angie Stone, Ginuwine, Marvin Sapp and Ramsey Lewis will be honored at the 2021 Black Music Honors. The two-hour show will be taped at the City Winery in Nashville and televised in national syndication from June 5 to July 4. It will air on Bounce TV on Saturday, June 19 at 1 p.m. ET. (That date, not coincidentally, is Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S.)
All four of the artists being honored have been Black music stars for years, but among them, only Lewis has won a Grammy. (The R&B and jazz virtuoso has won three Grammys.) This demonstrates the need for a show like this to shine a light on stars who aren’t always given their due at other award shows.
Stone will receive the soul music icon award; Ginuwine, the urban music icon award; Sapp, the gospel music icon award; and Lewis, the legends award. The National Museum of African American Music in Nashville will be honored with the Legacy Award. The museum, established in 2019, showcases the musical genres inspired, created or influenced by African Americans.
Chicago-based television production company Central City Productions will present the show. This year marks the first time that the program, now in its sixth year, will air in June.
Don Jackson, the show’s founder and executive producer, said in a statement: “In addition to the amazing honorees and exciting performances this year, we are also announcing that the Black Music Honors will now be held in the month of June. This is an important time for our community as it is officially Black Music Month and our national holiday, Juneteenth. What better way to honor our legacy.”
Talk show host, comedienne and author Loni Love will host the special. Love won a 2018 daytime Emmy for outstanding entertainment talk show host as one of the co-hosts of The Real. “Now, more than ever, I think it is important to recognize the contributions that Black music has made to the country and the world,” Love said in a statement.
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Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology made a splash when it launched in 2019, with artists like Mark Ronson and Pharrell all “re-releasing” songs in the new immersive audio format. Sony also worked with music labels like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and with Live Nation, to provide the companies with technology to build out musical content around 360 Reality Audio. Now, two years later, consumers at home can finally get their hands — and ears — on the same industry-leading tech, in a powerful new speaker system.
Designed using what Sony calls “object-based spatial audio technology,” Sony’s new 360 Reality Audio speakers ($298, Amazon) create a concert-like environment in your own home by “floating” the music around you, rather than pointing it directly at you. As the name suggests, the speakers mimic the feeling of 360-degree sound.
Sony says 360 Reality Audio sound “creates a feeling of immersion that makes it feel like you are at a concert or in the recording studio with the artist,” and sound is “diffused both horizontally and vertically to create the perfect atmosphere anywhere in your home.”
Two 360 Reality Audio speakers are being introduced: the more portable SRS-RA3000 speakers, and the bold and powerful SRS-RA50000 speakers, seen above ($698, Amazon).
Both speakers feature seven total drivers for loud, room-filling sound, and dual passive radiators for deep, booming bass. Sony’s unique algorithm automatically re-calibrates the track you’re listening to, to be as wide and immersive as possible. You’re able to hear more details and nuances in your songs too.
Pair your playlist to the speakers using Bluetooth or WiFi; connect to Google Assistant or Alexa to control songs and settings using just your voice.
The new Sony 360 Reality Audio speakers let you hear songs the way the artists hear it in the studios. As proof: Sony says Live Nation installed 360 production hubs in its studios after the technology was released.
SEVENTEEN’s “Hitorijanai” soars to No. 1 on the latest Billboard Japan Hot 100, dated Apr. 19 to 25, selling 372,913 CDs in its first week. The K-pop boy band’s third Japanese single had charted at No. 44 on the Hot 100 last week before the CD dropped on the 21st, powered by Twitter mentions, downloads, and streaming. The track comes in at No. 1 for physical sales and Twitter, while also jumping 53-24 for streaming this week. The single is off to a great start for the group about to celebrate its fourth anniversary since its Japan debut in May.
NiziU’s “Take a Picture” continues to hold at No. 2. Three weeks have passed since the single’s release, and it still remains in the top 10 for sales, downloads, streaming, look-ups, and video views. The track has led video for four straight weeks, while look-ups — the number of times a CD is ripped to a computer — increased 70% from last week to lift the song 4-1 for the metric. The data suggests that the group is expanding its fan base to include listeners outside of its CD-buying supporters.
Meanwhile, ONE OK ROCK’s “Renegades” rises 8-4 this week, boosted by the effect of the movie it serves as the theme — the popular manga-based live-action series Rurouni Kenshin Saishūshō: The Final — opening in Japanese theaters on April 23. Weekly streaming tripled and video views increased approximately 7.7 times, propelling the Ed Sheeran collab to no. 1 for downloads, no. 2 for radio airplay, No. 7 for streaming, and No. 8 for video.
The Billboard Japan Hot 100 combines physical and digital sales, audio streams, radio airplay, Twitter mentions, YouTube and GYAO! video views, Gracenote look-ups and karaoke data.
For the full Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart, dated Apr. 19 to 25, see here.
This week in the dance world, we saw Porter Robinson announcing the second iteration of his September IRL festival Second Sky, the cancellation of Burning Man 2021, a scorching-hot and wonderfully moody new album from Zhu, and Tomorrowland announcing that they’ll be doing another big summer virtual event this July.
And new music? We got that too, with the best new dance tracks of the week coming in hot below. Let’s dig in.
Rochelle Jordan, “Already”
Rochelle Jordan’s latest single, “Already,” is about the moment when one decides to leave a toxic relationship. It’s a moment, however difficult, that she navigates with grace and finesse. A highlight from her new album Play With the Changes (out now on Tokimonsta’s Young Art label), “Already” features Jordan’s vocals gliding over smooth deep house production — she’s cool and breezy in her delivery, as if finally emotionally detached when she tells her subject that if they were going to change for the better, it would have already happened. When she trades in her airy R&B croons for husky rap, her boss transformation feels complete.
“This song is the moment it becomes so clear to you, and you feel this sense of freedom because you know it’s actually over in your mind and heart,” Jordan says in a statement. “It takes a lot to get to this point because it’s scary to separate from what can seem strangely comfortable even if it’s literally killing your spirit.” — KRYSTAL RODRIGUEZ
Jessie Ware, “Please”
Ten months on from her excellent fourth album What’s Your Pleasure? — which topped Billboard’s best dance albums of 2020 list — club chanteuse Jessie Ware is already back with a new single. “Please,” a bright and bubbling house-pop jam, turns up the energy and the heat with rousing bursts of shakers, cascading synths and a gospel-like chorus; meanwhile, subtle crowd atmospherics teleport you to the back of a club where trysts await in the shadows. “Do you need company? Do you belong to me?” Ware inquires at a near-whisper. “Heaven’s where we’re headed,” she continues, but “if you want yours, I gotta get mine.” Part flirtation, part wishful thinking, entirely catchy. Moral of the story: Manners are sexy. “Please” is one of six new tracks included on the forthcoming What’s Your Pleasure? – The Platinum Pleasure Edition, due June 11 via PMR Records/FriendsKeep Secrets/Interscope. — K.R.
What So Not feat. DMA’s, “The Change”
If you miss the breakbeat frenetics and moody alt-rock vocal mix of turn-of-the-century electronica, Australia’s got something for you. What So Not and three-piece band DMA’s got together on a brooding piece of bass, stuffing it full of deadpan swagger and classic rave attitude. It’s “The Change” a post-Covid dance floor is ready for, cool enough to listen to in your headphones, with a heart-pulsing beat built for closed-eye club sweat session.
“I met [DMA’s guitarist Johnny Took] at their studio, a small room next to a noisy inner-city road, above a pub, with no sound insulation,” What So Not is quoted. “The first thing we made is pretty much the track you hear … I feel like this record is one the two of us have always wanted to make but never had the right pieces of the puzzle, until now.” The song is paired with an appropriately Y2K-graphic music video, and there’s more from What So Not planned in the coming months. If this is any indication of direction, we’ve got our hopes set on it. — KAT BEIN
Prospa, “Want Need Love”
UK duo Prospa — a Billboard DanceDecember 2019 Emerging Artist — has thus far made their name on a ’90s rave throwback sound that evokes the dank warehouses and wide JNCOs of yesteryear. Their latest, “Want Need Love,” is a decidedly different vibe, trading those hard-edged sounds for a huge, ecstatic progressive house anthem. “Want Need Love” is like being enveloped in a warm, shimmering blanket of golden light, with the extended vocals runs, peppy percussion, slow builds and big builds making us feel major anticipation for our that moment when we can all reconvene on the dance floor and sing and dance and very likely cry a lot. We imagine that mishmash of emotions will feel a lot like this song sounds. — KATIE BAIN
Bomba Estéreo, “Se Acabó”
What did you do during quarantine? You didn’t have to do anything but survive, but hopefully, you also found a little space to go inward and remind yourself what and who in your life is really important. Colombia’s Bomba Estéreo rediscovered its spiritual side too, and now, we’re all benefitting with a four-part album release, the second volume of which just dropped in the form of the three-song EP Aire.
“The album is about the connection and disconnection of human beings — from the planet, from one’s own self,” singer Li Saumet is quoted in a press release. “It’s about how we’re disconnected, more connected to electronic devices and virtual things than real things. So we decided to use the four elements, because they’re part of the equilibrium of human beings.”
Deja is the name of the full project, and each segment represents a different natural/spiritual component: Aire follows Agua, while Tierra and Fuego are still to come. Aire is traditionally the elemental representation of the mind, and these tunes celebrate freedom from one’s anxieties and fears. It’s about climbing out of your own mental prison, and closing track “Se Acabó” is the club-ready high point.” – K. Bein
Myd feat. Juan Wauters, “Whether the Weather”
Ed Banger Records is no stranger to sexy weirdo jams, and straight-faced goof Myd’s debut album Born a Loser slides right into that left-field sweet spot. Every tune on this 14-track collection — which Myd says is “ending a chapter more than opening a new one” — is delightfully danceable, even as the edges of every sample sound warped and a little day drunk. Previously-released singles set fans up for the good time, and fan-favorite “The Sun” makes an appearance, but the yet-unheard tracks are just as wobbly and wonderful.
Do yourself a favor and listen to the Heavy D samplin’ “Now That We Found Love,” and a special shout out to “It’s About You” for finding a funky way to address America’s racist underbelly. If you’re looking for a good sample track, “Whether the Weather” — a high point of Born a Loser’s indie dance-pop style — features Uruguayan singer Juan Wauters, who typifies the sonic experimentation, with the song’s pulsing house beat giving way to Wuaters’ hazy folk guitar and vocals. — K. Bein
There’s a space where deep house meets tech house meets we-don’t-actually-care-what-it-is-we-just-like-it. “Acrobatic,” the latest from Sidepiece, hits that genre-colliding sweet spot. The duo — composed of producers Nitti Gritti and Party Favor — just let the fun rip wide open on this one, mashing together beats and whistles and other doodads and flourishes with frantic builds and those thick AF walls of synth that make tech house make us feel like we’re being knocked over the head in the best possible way. One of tracks the duo made together and a frequent track ID request during sets, the song is finally out via Insomniac Records. Sidepiece is also playing at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater with on May 12-13 with Diplo, with whom they also scored a 2021 Grammy nomination with for the collaborative single “On My Mind.” — K. Bain
Pedro Capó is ready for the next step in his career, but not without wrapping up the cycle of his 2020 album Munay, which includes his single “Tu Fanatico.”
“I always saw it as one of the most avant-garde songs on the album, more progressive with a different sound,” Capo told Billboard during an Instagram Live interview. “It talks about love on the obsessive, erotic side with a little bit of darkness. This is also the sound that I am exploring at this moment in my career.”
To bid farewell to his set, which debuted at No. 6 on Billboard’s Latin Pop Albums chart, Capó reeled in Nicki Nicole and De La Ghetto for a sultry R&B remix.
“It occurred to me to have a girl that can add that feminine energy in the song and a colleague who would add fire,” he says. “It was always clear to me that Nicki and De La Ghetto were it. I sent them the song immediately and I’m grateful that they connected with the song.”
It was at the video shoot, helmed by director Daniel Eguren, that both Puerto Rican artists met Nicki for the first time.
“I didn’t have much time to talk or hang out with them, everything happened so fast,” the Argentine trap star admits. “But something that I learned from them was their energy and how they see music. They are constantly talking about their culture and I was constantly paying attention because I like to learn about their movement. Being there with Pedro and De La Ghetto was incredible for me.”
The sensuality of all three artists shines in the music video, showing a shirtless Capó engaging in a fiery lyrical dance, Nicki in a tight-fitted dress on top of a car, and De La all roped up by his lady interest.
“The vibe of the song is incredible because you are guided through each of our voices and our colors,” De La Ghetto adds. “And the video is a whole movie out of Netflix! I remember that Nicki filmed her part and jumped on a plane right after. That means a lot to us,” he notes.
“They are two of the most versatile artists in the industry right now. They sing, they rap, they have attitude, and a strong presence,” Capó assures. “They both have that ‘it’ factor that you can’t deny, and that’s what the song was missing.”
Watch this week’s Latin Remix of the Week and our Billboard Live Latin chat with all three artists below.