As of this post, there are around 800,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, so naturally, some famous people have been impacted. People in the music world have unfortunately contracted the virus, like John Prine, who seems to be doing alright. Earlier this month, Justin Bieber and Post Malone collaborator Andrew Watt also that he had tested positive for the virus. Now another accomplished figure in the music world has a confirmed case: Fountains Of Wayne bassist and songwriter Adam Schlesinger.
The musician is hospitalized in Upstate New York and is on a ventilator, but is reportedly not in a coma. Schlesinger’s longtime attorney, Josh Grier, told Variety, “He’s very sick and is heavily sedated, as are all people on ventilators, but no one has used the word ‘coma’ to me.” Schlesinger’s girlfriend also reportedly told TMZ that Schlesinger “has been sedated to facilitate his recovery. He is in critical condition, but his condition is improving slightly and we are cautiously optimistic.”
Fountains Of Wayne are of course best known for their hit Grammy-nominated single “Stacy’s Mom,” which was released in 2003. Schlesinger is also accomplished outside of the band, as he has come closer to achieving EGOT status than most people have: He has won three Emmys and a Grammy, and has also been nominated for Golden Globe, Oscar, and Tony awards. Most recently, Schlesinger was the executive music producer on the Rachel Bloom-starring TV series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Moving forward in life without the physical presence of Nipsey Hussle was not the marathon many of us imagined we’d have to run, but it was wrongfully forced upon us. On March 31, 2019, Nipsey was fatally shot outside of his Marathon Clothing store in LA. Just like that, one of hip-hop’s most celebrated artists had been ripped from the throne he spent over a decade building. As the news reports began to flood Twitter feeds, unwavering disbelief and a refusal to accept the tragic news reigned as the initial reactions from the hip-hop community. Questions flew into the air with each update, “Who would kill Nipsey?” “Why would they kill Nipsey?” Long after his life was honored at the beautiful memorial at the Staples Center and long after the previous questions were answered, one still remained without a certain answer, “How do we go on without Nipsey?”
In short, the answer to the question is that we shouldn’t have to. While Nipsey’s physical presence is no longer on Earth, his art, mind, and influence are everywhere. To say we’re continuing without him equates to irresponsibly forgetting all that he left us as well. Weeks after his death, DJ Khaled shared Nipsey’s first posthumous musical effort, a feature on “Higher” off his Father Of Ashad album. Released with a video that was completed prior to his untimely death, Nipsey’s verses focused on overcoming the odds and roadblocks presented to him both before his time on Earth and during his rise to fame.
Standing on top of a parking garage that placed him as close to the heavens as physically possible, he stood there in an angelic blue satin suit, one that gleamed effortlessly in the California sun. As it did repeatedly throughout his music, Nipsey’s wisdom came in like a brick through a window, “I was thinkin’ chess moves but it was God’s grace,” he rapped. It’s an acknowledgment of a high power in his life that served as a guiding light for his decisions every day. Unfortunately for us who greatly enjoyed his presence, the guiding light suddenly changed its endpoint, one that brought Nipsey to the heavens far above that parking garage.
The posthumous releases continued, his voice was heard once again on Rick Ross’ “Rich N***a Lifestyle” off Port Of Miami 2 and The Game’s “Welcome Home” off Born 2 Rap. The former reinforced the gatekeeper title to both hip-hop and the streets that he so rightfully earned throughout his career, while the latter was an account of his rise to fame in Crenshaw with a prophetic twist. “Probably die up in these streets but I survive through my name” Nipsey said, a line that would have served as an emphasis towards his legacy, but his untimely death altered its meaning with the satisfaction of a life well-lived, both in and outside of music.
Of all the posthumous releases, Nipsey’s feature on the title track of Mustard’s Perfect Ten reminded listeners about the Crenshaw legend the most. Placed over warm, feel-good production, Mustard interpolates two separate conversations Nipsey engaged in from an early-2018 interview on Big Boy In The Morning. Originally an enlightening discussion, Nipsey’s words now echo as poignant tellings of an authentically ran marathon, one that was far from perfect, but rather ugly as one could imagine. With minimal amounts of actual rapping on “Perfect Ten,” the track’s dynamic allowed listeners to hear Nipsey speak to us with such eloquence once again, reminding us that the continuation of the marathon he preached about would eventually lead to greatness in the areas desired.
Pieces of his philosophies and wisdom can be found all throughout hip-hop. The patience to climb to hip-hop’s peak without conforming or overzealous clout-chasing can be found in Roddy Ricch. The attentiveness to life outside of music and the confidence to speak out in favor of the culture and against its vultures can be found in Meek Mill. An unrelenting passion for one’s environment and a lifelong commitment to protecting it from harm as best as possible can be found in YG. While his entrance into the music world arrived years prior to Nipsey’s, the creation of an empire and tending to its constant growth can be found in Rick Ross. The ability to be unapologetically one’s self without a care for the competition and other outside forces can be found in Buddy.
During the 2020 Grammys, Meek Mill and Roddy Ricch debuted a new song in memory of Nipsey Hussle, “Letter To Nipsey.” The song highlighted the pain both artists felt following his death, the pain they chose to put to good use in pushing forth his marathon ideologies. At those very Grammy awards, Meek and Roddy’s tribute to Nipsey would be followed by another from DJ Khaled, John Legend, Kirk Franklin, and YG, who all took the stage for a moving performance of the Grammy award-winning song, “Higher.” Draped in that same gleaming angelic blue satin suit, Nipsey’s voice echoed once again from a screen above the Staples Center crowd. Together with the heavenly choir that passionately sung and danced on stage, the reminder that Nipsey’s presence will forever inhabit our planet could not have been any clearer.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the year since Nip’s death, it’s that he’s very much with us. He’s in the Roddys, he’s in the Meeks, he’s in the YGs, the Rosses, and the Buddys who have made it their lifelong goal to plaster Nipsey’s message from the smallest walls to the biggest billboards and to keep going until the checkered flag waves in the air or until the finish line ribbon falls beneath your feet. So, how do we go on with Nip looking down at us? We continue the marathon he preached about and continue to put into practice the philosophies and wisdom he taught us during his time here.
Today’s anniversary of Nipsey’s passing marks the first of many miles without his physical presence. But, unlike most marathons, the finish line differs for us all. The true distance of this marathon is left to be determined by us as individuals following a true understanding of the marathon itself. Nipsey was a living embodiment of trusting the process long before Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers coined the term. A process that granted him a platinum-certified album in Victory Lap and two Grammy award wins. His slogan, “The Marathon Continues,” wasn’t just an inspirational phrase for his fans to follow him by forever and always. Instead, it was one to grant them the necessary tools to be able to venture off on their own marathon. Continuing without Nipsey Hussle begins with the understanding that he is in fact still with us, cheering us on from the skies in an All Money In tee or in that angelic blue satin suit.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Today, it’s been exactly one year since the death of Nipsey Hussle, the late LA hip-hop icon and businessman who literally changed the game with groundbreaking releases like Crenshaw, Mailbox Money, and Victory Lap. To honor his life and legacy, Tidal is hosting a free livestream today for 18 hours featuring exclusive performances and interviews from Nipsey from shows like Tidal X: Nipsey Hussle, Car Test, Rap Radar, and Side Hustle; Tidal’s 10 Rings documentary; and tributes from Big Sean, J Cole, and Roddy Ricch.
Subscribers to Tidal will also have access to exclusive playlists and an essay highlighting Nipsey’s posthumous musical releases and the ways his death affected hip-hop music and culture. The playlists include essential Nipsey Hussle songs, his greatest guest verses, a trio of lists highlighting his musical evolution over a decade of independent releases, and a list of his music videos. If you’re celebrating Neighborhood Nip’s legacy today, Tidal has plenty of options to reminisce and share his impact.
Late-night TV hosts continue to make their return to telecasts this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and Conan O’Brien and his iPhone could not have been more welcome on TBS (with Full Frontal With Samantha Bee planning a Wednesday comeback). O’Brien and sidekick Andy Richter did their damndest to banter through the circumstances with somewhat disheveled appearances, but neither of them was a match for guest Adam Sandler’s fully grown-in mustache as viewed in this online clip that’s not embeddable, but we’ll take it.
Granted, this is not officially a quarantine ‘stache. Sandler sported a similar look for Netflix’s Murder Mystery, but for “Coney,” the thing seemed to come to life. Maybe it was the terrible lighting in the Sandman’s home, who knows? However, it’s not like this relaxed outfit is unusual attire for the guy, who’s now so notorious for his casual looks that he could hit the red carpet in outfits like these. And all respect for this ‘stache.
“I like the mustache, by the way,” Conan offered after the 9:00 minute mark. “It looks like you’re going to be making pornography in quarantine.”
Oh yeah. Things only got stranger from there, with Sandler discussing how he’s “getting very experimental” in the bedroom with his wife, and naturally, Conan was all ears. The Sandman then proceeded to describe his new moves, which include, uh, actually doing something in the sack, and it’s safe to say that we really need this comedy (however juvenile) right now. Even if fresh supplies of laughter only come from watching low-tech webcam videos, these two know exactly what their audiences could use right now: distractions. That means watching these two mercilessly tease each other before Sandman whips out a musical instrument.
A few years ago, Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” was the basis of a remixing trend that involved editing songs so they sounded like they were being heard while “in the bathroom of a house party.” This was achieved by altering the audio so it sounded like it was played from behind a closed door, and the effect was both hilariously accurate and oddly satisfying.
Now Kevin Parker has offered what sounds like his version of that with his new project, “The Slow Rush In An Imaginary Place.” He remixed the entirety of the latest Tame Impala album, and the muddy-sounding new version of The Slow Rush is an interesting take on the album, and something Parker presumably had fun with during the coronavirus pandemic.
Parker wrote while sharing the project, “I made something for all you isolators out there. I call it The Slow Rush In An Imaginary Place. Headphones required for full immersive effect. See you in there.”
TRUTH — They actually did it, in front of God and Huell and everyone
Okay, full disclosure: I did not call this. I did the opposite of call this. I wrote, in the recap of last week’s episode, that I did not think Jimmy and Kim would get married. Ever. I had reasons and logic and I laid them all out in a reasonably sensible way and I was wrong. I was so wrong. They got married in the damn cold open. Huell was their witness and photographer and even offered to steal some rings for them. That’s a good friend right there. We should all be so lucky.
In my defense, this was very much a marriage of convenience, a practical matter that had more — at least as much — to do with protecting each other legally as it did with making a lifelong commitment to a romantic partner. It was a calculated move, mostly by Kim, which I somehow both support and hate with the fiery heat of an exploding chicken restaurant.
On one hand, yes, it is smart for Kim to get herself into a position where she can’t be forced to testify against Jimmy for all of the things Saul is doing and where he can’t be forced to testify about what she knew and when. They’re both playing a little fast and loose lately, him more than her, what with his borderline extortion of Mesa Verde and his representation of Lalo Salamanca. But she’s the one who brought him into Mesa Verde. And it seems like she likes touching the stove sometimes, just to be sure it’s still hot. If you’re going to do that, separately or together, you might as well make sure you have an oven mitt on. Smart, sensible, etc.
On the other hand, Kevin from Mesa Verde was right: she can do better than Jimmy. He’s going to drag her down with him if she doesn’t shake free first, and I’m not even saying that because I’ve seen Breaking Bad. It’s just a fact and a recurring theme in these recaps: Kim must run far away as soon as possible if she wants to come out of the situation whole. This is a terrible way to start that process.
LIE — Jimmy is handling the stress of his job in a normal and healthy manner
Jimmy is now representing Lalo — excuse me, “Jorge de Guzman” — in a murder trial, which is a heck of a next step from doing property shenanigans to hose a bank, but here we are. He does not appear to be having fun. There was a lot of sighing and looking over at the victim’s family and then sighing again. He was not in a great place.
Which brings us to Howard and his poor timing. Give Howard this: he’s a patient, forgiving man. He sniffed out Jimmy’s role in his recent, oh, let’s say “troubles,” and he still left the job offer open anyway. He’s like a very chill dad who was letting his toddler scream and shout and just tucker himself out with a little tantrum. It was never going to happen, though. Jimmy does not “tucker out.” I think everyone but Howard knew that, probably. We probably didn’t see the “LIGHTNING BOLTS SHOOT FROM MY FINGERTIPS” rant in the middle of the courthouse coming, though. That was a pleasant surprise. Bob Odenkirk is a Hall of Fame yeller, going all the way back to Mr. Show. Sometimes you need to cut the leash and let the big dogs run free. That’s what this was. Not a simple complaint coming from me.
Also, let’s not forget that he once pooped in the open sunroof of an adversary’s luxury car. Howard got off light with the hookers and bowling balls and shouting, all things considered.
TRUTH — We must protect Nacho and Kim
I know neither of them are angels here, and I know they’re trending in opposite directions. Kim is teetering toward the dark side and yelling at clients for not listening to the advice she gave them while she was secretly plotting against them. (Awful nice call center you’re planning here. Be a shame if anything… happened to it.) Nacho is trying to get out, with his dad, and leave the violence and danger of the drug trade in his rearview. He hates it and wants a new clean life that is safe and far away from anyone named Salamanca or Fring. He’s trying to be a better man. Trying.
And the thing is, these are the only characters on the show worth rooting for. They’re also the only main ones whose fates are unknown. Jimmy ends up in that sad Cinnabon. Mike dies. Gus dies. Hector dies. Huell ends up in that godforsaken motel room and probably in prison. There is a bleak future coming for almost all of these people. Kim and Nacho represent hope and the idea that a decent person can escape this freaking scorpion den. They’re all we have. It will probably end poorly for at least one of them. I’m going to be miserable when it happens.
And yes, I did just look it up and see that scorpions live in “a burrow,” technically, no a den. But “scorpion den” sounds much better. I’m going to stick with it. This one is on the scientists for choosing the wrong name, not me for improving it.
LIE — Gus Fring is terrible at bad guy stuff
Nope. Big lie. Gus is awesome at bad guy stuff. He always is, from the creepy theatrics of it to the meticulous planning to literally walking away from an explosion like he’s Rambo or something. I respect it so much. He terrifies me.
That scene in the restaurant told a story, too, about the difference between Gus and the Salamancas. Nacho was doing the chaotic stuff, the messy stuff, slashing cushions and smashing windows and spray painting stuff on the walls. He was all heat and emotion. Meanwhile, Gus was ice and steady calm. Picking out chickens, turning on the gas, setting up a Rube Goldberg arson device that features hot oil and a frozen sliding bird. It was everything in a nutshell, basically. And he did it in a suit. In a suit! Who does an arson in formal attire? I’ll tell you who: Gus Fring, because this was a business arson, and one dresses for business when doing business.
TRUTH — Lalo got what he wanted and it is probably going to cost him
You have to assume this doesn’t work out for Lalo, in part because we know the future a little bit and that future involves Gus Fring, and in part because if you and Gus Fring want the same thing — in this case, bail and torching the restaurant — it’s probably going to work out better for him. He’s just smarter than you are, probably, whoever you are, unless you’re Walter White a number of years from now. Which you are not, probably
What a weird situation, man. Gus is trying to avoid an all-out war while also kneecapping Lalo, and in doing so he had to destroy a restaurant and send Mike out with the evidence to more or less undo the things they did to get Lalo arrested in the first place. Mike didn’t look too happy about it. To be fair, Mike rarely looks happy about anything. But still. He’s a man who takes pride in his work. And it looked like he was having fun pretending to be Dave Clark, Private Investigator. (How perfectly Mike is it that he could come up with any fake name he wanted — Brock Seismic, Percy Billions, Tex Montreal, etc. — and he went with “Dave Clark”?) Had to hurt to undo so much of that. Poor Mike.
LIE — Lydia is very smooth at crime chat
Lydia! Welcome back! I had a feeling we might see her when that big Madrigal sign appeared on the wall, but I did not expect that adjoining rooms business and I really did not expect that very brief “Wait, are they going to kiss?” moment before they got down to their real business. Maybe that was just me. Maybe I’m the world’s first Gus-Lydia shipper. Feels good.
Two other notes:
“Shanked And Shivved And Whatnot” would be a great title for a prison memoir
The thing where Gus urged the Madrigal exec would bankrolled him with embezzled Euros to stay the course was very frustrating because Gus mentioned his previous life in Chile again and if I don’t find out what Gus was doing back then before the end of this show I am going to heave my laptop off my balcony
Just tell me! Come on!
TRUTH — I want to try those spice curls so bad
Jesus Christ. First the fried chicken, then the cinnamon buns, now curly fries “with a Southwestern kick.” Very few shows make me as hungry as consistently as Better Call Saul. I’m including actual food shows in this discussion. It’s not right.
In a rare insistence of online solidarity, Twitter came together last week to drag Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” video, which was meant to… defeat the coronavirus through the power of an overplayed John Lennon song? It’s unclear what the intent was, but the Wonder Woman star, along with many of her famous friends including Kristin Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, and Will Ferrell, probably didn’t expect the reaction they received. (John Mayer is thankful he sang the wrong “Imagine,” the one by Ariana Grande.)
During a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, host Joe Rogan (and guest Tom Segura) had some fun at the video’s expense. “Did you see that ‘Imagine’ song that all those knuckleheads got together and sang? ‘Imagine there’s no heaven’? This is not the time, when everyone’s grammy is dying, you f*cking idiot, to sing, ‘Imagine there’s no heaven.’ … Stay offline, you f*ck. Get off your phone,” Rogan said.
“If I’m friends with her … I would have to say, ‘Listen, you’re awesome. I think you’re great. But that is a ridiculous idea.’ It is so lacking in self-awareness and so ridiculous… There are some people who get real self-indulgent and real self-righteous with that social media. It’s exposed a lot of celebrities for being real dorks.”
If Rogan had been asked to join the video (replacing, I dunno, Natalie Portman?), here’s what he would have told Gadot: “Listen, you’re awesome. I think you’re great. But that is a ridiculous idea.” The podcast host did, however, unexpectedly enjoy Rita Wilson rapping Naughty by Nature while in quarantine. “That was awesome. It was good though. It was fun. No makeup. She’s having fun. She did a good job,” he explained. “It’s also so obvious she wasn’t trying to be anything other than having fun.”
You heard it here, folks: Naughty by Nature > John Lennon. And here’s the clip…
There are few things in the world that Rihanna fans want more right now than a new album. Heck, even Drake has joined the chorus of stans begging Rihanna to drop new music. We still don’t have anything close to a confirmed release date, but Rihanna has offered a promising update.
Rihanna is the subject of a new profile from British Vogue, and in the piece, she says of her upcoming album, “I can’t say when I’m going to drop. But I am very aggressively working on music.”
She also hinted at an eclectic nature for the album, saying, “I don’t want my albums to feel like themes. There are no rules. There’s no format. There’s just good music, and if I feel it, I’m putting it out.” Rihanna indicated that while the album still has a strong reggae influence, it may not be just about the one genre, as she previously suggested: “I feel like I have no boundaries. I’ve done everything — I’ve done all the hits, I’ve tried every genre — now I’m just, I’m wide open. I can make anything that I want.”
Last week, James Corden announced that The Late Late Show would be airing a special episode that was hosted from his garage. The Homefest edition of the show was envisioned as a way to lift people’s spirits during this coronavirus pandemic, and the episode was certainly a morale booster for pop music fans, as Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, and BTS all appeared.
Eilish and her brother Finneas (and a sleepy puppy in Eilish’s lap) sat at the piano in their Los Angeles home for a lovely and intimate rendition of “Everything I Wanted.” Elsewhere during the show, Dua Lipa video chatted in from London, and she, along with a number of her friends who videoed in from their homes, performed “Don’t Start Now.” BTS also made an appearance from a dance studio in South Korea, where they danced to and sang “Boy With Luv.” Also performing on the show were John Legend, Andrea Bocelli, and Ben Platt.
It wasn’t just music on the show, though. David Blaine virtually stopped by the show for some quarantine magic, while Will Ferrell offered suggestions for songs to sing while washing your hands.
Watch clips from the show above and below.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
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