While the NBA and NBPA both nearly unanimously approved the league’s 22-team return to play plan for an Orlando bubble from July through October, there are still plenty of questions that needed to be answered and negotiated by both sides.
Complicating matters beyond just figuring out how to play out the remainder of an 8-game season and then full postseason during a global pandemic are the nationwide protests of police brutality and systemic racism that have been taking place for two-plus weeks following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police in Minneapolis and Louisville. Players spent the weekend having calls and discussing the best ways to ensure that basketball doesn’t become a distraction or escape for people from confronting the problems in this country, with some like Kyrie Irving voicing their concern that playing would take away from the movement.
“It’s not a question of play or not play,” Roberts told ESPN. “It’s a question of, does playing again harm a movement that we absolutely, unequivocally embrace? And then whether our play can, in fact, highlight, encourage and enhance this movement.
“That’s what they’re talking about. They’re not fighting about it; they’re talking about it.”
The positioning of reports has, at times, made it seem as though there’s a growing number of players with large enough concerns to be willing to sit out, but the ESPN report indicates that isn’t really the case. What is important is that the players use this moment to ensure that they are able to take whatever position they want and can make statements to try and, as Roberts says, “highlight, encourage, and enhance this movement” while in Orlando. Given the immense financial pressure on the NBA to return and the PR disaster it would be for them to let things fall apart because they wanted to put limitations on players ability to speak out on such a big issue, the players seem to have ample leverage to push the league to ensure they are able to make whatever statements they deem fit.
These are discussions that needed to happen and maybe should’ve happened prior to the swift vote to approve the return plan format — if for no other reason than the optics, even if false, that there’s sudden dissension internally over a plan that was unanimously approved. Talking as a whole about how to proceed and raising questions and concerns is literally the point of having a union, but it seems there’s optimism from the executive director that they will figure this out and have a plan of their own in place to ensure basketball elevates, rather than pushes down, the Black Lives Matter movement.
With all sports (and sports-entertainment) leagues currently hurting for new content to keep audiences engaged, networks are pulling out the big guns: Multi-part documentaries of some of their most iconic athletes. And what The Last Danceis to the NBA, Undertaker: The Last Ride is is to the WWE Universe. This five-part docuseries, airing exclusively on the WWE Network every Sunday through mid-June, follows the journey of the Undertaker from the days before his WrestleMania 33 match in 2017 until, presumably, present day.
We at With Spandex will be watching along with the rest of you every Sunday and distilling each episode down in our new recap, Ride Or Die. Here’s what we learned from episode four of The Last Ride.
Previously on The Last Ride: We learned that the Undertaker was just as embarrassed at his Crown Jewel 2018 main event as the rest of us. Surely, his trip to Saudi Arabia will go better this time around!
The Undertaker And Vince McMahon’s Relationship Is Still A (Power) Struggle
If you made it through the previous three episodes of The Last Ride with some shred of kayfabe intact, it will all go out the window this time around, as Mark Calaway himself says at the start of this episode:
“My days in the ring are numbered, it’s time for me to cash in on the things I never would allow myself to do for the sake of the character and the sake of the business.”
We get a blooper reel of Taker and Paul Bearer goofing around in cemeteries 30 years ago, complete with a talking head inserts from Bearer filmed in 2012, as well as a bunch of examples of other WWE Superstars trying to get Taker to break character in the ring (and if you’ve never spent a half-hour watching everyone trying to get him to a spinaroonie, there’s no better time than the present).
Then, kind of surprisingly, the docuseries actually takes a look at that weird moment in 2019 where Mark Calaway was alllllmost All Elite: As Taker tells the story, he hired a team to get him active on social media and seeking endorsements, and somehow, it “accidentally” ended in him being booked for Starrcast II in Las Vegas, the convention loosely affiliated with All Elite Wrestling, taking place the same weekend as AEW Double Or Nothing. Taker admits he and Vince McMahon had a pretty serious falling out over it, remarking, “We didn’t talk for a little while, then we both let our guard down enough to talk. It’s all been sunshine and rainbows since,” before delivering the face to end all faces:
This episode is full of examples of both the respect Vince and Taker have for each other, as well as the challenges of a billionaire and a multi-millionaire trying to get along with each other after decades of a friendship that’s largely predicated on money. This leads us into WrestleMania 35 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the home of the last actually good Undertaker WrestleMania match, where, somewhat surprisingly, Mark Calaway, like Dennis Stamp before him, isn’t booked.
Was this a power move by McMahon to remind Taker just who actually signs his paychecks? It’s hard to say. Footage taken that weekend of Taker show the man trying to justify his lack of involvement, making remarks such as, “At this point I’m not sure if I’ll work Mania again. Mania’s probably come and gone for me. And I’m okay with that, I think,” and “I don’t want to be on the card just to be on the card. if it’s not something important or that means something, there’s really not a reason for me to do it,” as footage of his forgettable WrestleMania 19 match plays in the background.
Of course, after Taker has already arrived for WrestleMania weekend, he’s informed by Vince McMahon that he’s actually scheduled to appear on Raw the following Monday — only he forgot his gear, the ultimate rookie move. We then get the hilarious reveal that Taker flew back to Texas that same day just to get his gear bag and make it back in time for WrestleMania, which results in this delightful exchange:
VINCE McMAHON: “A pro would bring their gear. Always.”
THE UNDERTAKER: “A pro would’ve booked me to start with.”
While this is amusing on its face, it’s also all sorts of fucked up that McMahon pulled this sort of power play and made one of the top stars of all time spend another eight or so hours of his life cramped on a plane just to chokeslam Elias at Raw (something I literally forgot even happened until they showed it here). This scene is indicative of WWE as whole: Nothing ever feels planned out more than a few hours in advance, and talent is expected to jump through whatever hoop creative puts in front of them, no matter how stressful. (But also, Mark, buddy: You mean to tell me there isn’t a single person in Austin you could’ve had swing by your house and FedEx your shit? You gotta start leaving a spare key under a rock or something!)
Super ShowDown? More Like Super ShitDown
Finally, the moment many of us have been waiting for: A look at the Undertaker/Goldberg trainwreck that main-evented Super ShowDown in 2019. Whereas everyone involved in the main event of Crown Jewel 2018 felt comfortable making fun of it and themselves, this one was looked at far more seriously, for a reason we didn’t know until now.
First, though, we learn that it was Triple H who pitched the clash of these two titans, and that Taker was excited for it:
“I know we’re building for the big show in Saudi. That’s important to me, due to the fact the last time in Saudi didn’t go great in my eyes or anyone else’s eyes for that matter. A little redemption for my last trip to Saudi and get me out of my own head… Hopefully we can deliver on the hype.”
NARRATOR: They did not.
We all know how much of a disaster that match was, but the doc spends little time talking about the whys (mainly because to do so would just to be saying “Goldberg sucks, you guys”). Frankly, I kind of got the vibe that Taker and Goldberg haven’t even spoken since the match: At one point, Taker says he assumes Goldberg got concussed from that ringpost spot. He assumes? Like, couldn’t he have actually found the answer out himself by now?
Of course, the reason why Taker probably doesn’t care that much about Goldberg’s health and well being after the match is because Goldberg didn’t care that much about Taker’s health and well being during the match. It turns out that botched Jackhammer spot did a tremendous amount of damage to the Deadman, as explained by Michelle McCool:
“I knew when he came inches, centimeters away from breaking his neck, I instantly texted our doctors and was like, ‘Is he okay?’ Normally if he’s away and I know something’s happened and I text him, ‘Are you okay?’ it’s ‘Yeah, I’m good, don’t worry.’ [This time] I texted him and was like, ‘How bad is it?’ and he says, ‘Man, my back is jacked up.’ For him to admit he was truly in some serious pain, I don’t think I could even fathom how bad it really was… I’ve seen a lot of scary moments, but that one got me. It was hard.”
The resulting back injury put Taker into yet another funk, and caused him to ask some serious questions of himself:
“‘Am I risking permanent injury?’ I need to take a real honest look at this and assess where I’m at. ‘Is it me?’ You start second guessing yourself. ‘Have I lost that big of step? [Am I] the reason why this stuff is happening?’ I was overwhelmed with all these negative thoughts coming out of Saudi.”
This leads us to this episode’s biggest reveal:
The Undertaker Actually, Really Retired After Extreme Rules 2019
Yeah yeah, I know: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me and all that. But after he finished his tag match with Roman Reigns at Extreme Rules, just a few weeks after that disastrous Goldberg experience, the Undertaker headed straight back to gorillaand told Vince McMahon, and I quote, “I’m done.”
There it is, folks. The Undertaker will finally rest in peace.
A New Challenger Has Appeared!
And he loves Diet Dr. Pepper as much as Mark Calaway! Seriously, there is so much AJ Styles sprinkled throughout this episode that it seems like next week is being set up to make him the savior of Taker’s career by convincing him to get back in the ring – er, boneyard — for one more go ’round.
Next week on The Last Ride: All the foreshadowing comes to a head, as The Last Ride finishes up with a look at the Undertaker’s Boneyard match with AJ Styles. Is this really his last match, or the start of the next leg of his career? Tune in next week to find out.
The Kardashians have a long history in the beauty industry. Nearly all of the sisters have launched some form of beauty product line and Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic brand nearly earned her billionaire status after her net worth was recently disputed by Forbes. Now, Kanye West is reportedly taking notes on the lucrative nature of his in-laws’ beauty business practices and staking his own claim in the industry. The rapper is allegedly expanding his Yeezy clothing line into makeup and cosmetics.
According to a report from TMZ, Kanye recently sought trademark status for his Yeezy brand in the world of cosmetics. The rapper filed to get “Yeezy” trademarked to cover a number of beauty products. According to the report, Kanye pursued trademark status for makeup, false eyelashes, face masks, nail polish, lotions, bath products, body oils, shaving cream, hair care products, perfumes, and hygiene products like toothpaste and deodorant. The rapper even covered peculiar items like scented pine cones and aromatherapy pillows.
This wouldn’t be the first time Kanye attempted to expand his brand to the world of cosmetics, according to the same report. Just three years ago, the rapper sought the legal rights to launch a brand of cosmetics under DONDA, the creative content company named after his mother, though the plan never came to fruition. Similarly, Kanye released the fragrance Whatever It Takes in 2013, but the scent never gained traction.
Balancing doing what you love in the face of something dangerous requires courage. Even more courage, one can argue, is required to stand up to your employers and peers when it comes to voicing your concerns in an attempt to make that aforementioned dangerous scenario a little more safe.
Brooklyn Nets standout and NBPA vice president Kyrie Irving reportedly hosted approximately 200 of his peers on a Zoom call Friday night to express his opinions about the league taking over some property at Disney for a bubble league to wrap out its season. While he was among the most prominent voices against this arrangement, Irving was ruled out for the rest of the season in March following shoulder surgery, and he will not take the floor in Orlando.
Among a number of lines Irving apparently said on the call, the quote that flew around NBA Twitter was Irving’s declaration that he “wasn’t with the systemic racism and the bullsh*t.” Irving is of the belief that playing NBA games would drown out the voices in American streets crying for social reforms.
While he’s been the person making headlines given his superstar stature, Irving’s quotes aren’t the only ones we should pay attention to.
It helps to establish that Friday’s Zoom call was a union meeting where members could do the thing they pay into the union to do: weigh in on matters that affect them. If there was any appropriate forum for Kyrie to voice his issues, it was then. If one of the VPs of the union either didn’t voice his concerns nor those who voted him there, he’d be failing the rest of the players.
What also matters is that Kyrie doesn’t appear to be alone when it comes to the idea that the NBA shouldn’t come back and that games are a distraction to the Black Lives Matter movement is a real one amongst players, and it should not only be listened to, but also be addressed. Lakers guard Avery Bradley reportedly called on his fellow players to “play chess, not checkers” in approaching all of this. Lou Williams tweeted that he believes basketball is a distraction right now, even if he would play if there was a game scheduled for tomorrow. Dwight Howard, who knows first-hand about the horrors of COVID-19, reportedly said on the call that he thinks players should use this moment to, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, “take a stand and to use their collective power to implement change in the justice system and how police treat people of color instead of playing.”
Beyond the very valid questions of how restarting the league would impact the effectiveness of player activism are the legitimate concerns over how safe the bubble would be. A high-ranking NBA executive admitted to NBC Sports’ Tom Habestroh that Orlando “isn’t a bubble, it’s a mesh hat.” J.J. Redick, along with a few other players in his replies, voiced concerns over this. If the NBA and Disney haven’t functionally figured out a way to keep staff safe, why would any player put their career in the hands of rushed plans to save what little basketball revenue they can?
Even with rosters expanding to 17 to work around a positive COVID test, that margin of error might not be enough to avoid potentially sidelining an entire team. If that happens, what’s the contingency? Would teams be forced to forfeit depending on how many tested positive? Would players hide COVID signs in order to potentially win a championship?
If younger players are reaching out to NBPA officials about insurance just in case something bad happens during a pandemic — which, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, is happening — there’s a problem with the plan. These younger guys should be focused far more on getting better in the gym, not having those worst-case scenarios possibly floating in their heads. This does not even consider the fact that there is still no data about the long-term effects of catching COVID-19. Catching COVID could be a death sentence to the career of an NBA player, because even if they survive, it is unclear what this does to a person’s body, which shouldn’t be lost on anyone.
Donovan Mitchell has even reportedly voiced his concerns about soft tissue injuries after such a long layoff from actual basketball activities. Mitchell’s point makes a ton of sense considering that we’ve seen such injuries in the Bundesliga with younger guys like Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, who hurt himself warming up for his first match back. Mitchell can earn a max-extension in the offseason, would it be worth it to him to go down to Orlando and play in a sequestered tournament that he’s likely not able to win?
Disagreeing with Irving is fine, and those arguments and discussions are playing out within the confines of the players union as well. LeBron James believes they can continue having an impact on the world while playing basketball and using that platform to amplify the message as well. There are also significant short and long-term financial implications for players keeping the NBA from returning and impacting revenue from this season and beyond, as revenue tied to the restart is critical for the league moving forward without the salary cap cratering. As Austin Rivers said in response to Irving. he believes playing and receiving those paychecks to financially support the Black Lives Matter movement is an important part of how NBA players create change. There are quite literally millions of reasons for players to play, but also some very legitimate cases to be made for them not to and you can find those directly facing those questions on both sides of the coin.
As such, all of this requires a nuanced discussion many in the sports field aren’t equipped to handle, and as such the discourse around it all has been nauseating at best. Add in that it’s Irving, who leads the NBA in galaxy brain jokes at his expense thanks to previous flat earth commentary, leading the charge, and people are so much quicker to shout him down. However, dismissing Irving and others outright for voicing their concerns would be wrong, as there are legitimate reasons to worry about a restart, both from how it impacts the effectiveness of player activism to the very real health concerns that are yet to be fully sorted.
Jon Stewart stepped down as The Daily Show host in 2015, and in the five years since, he’s made his directorial debut, testified before the House Judiciary Committee to secure funds for 9/11 first responders, and, very importantly, rescued two goats that were wandering on the subway tracks. He’s now getting ready for the release of his second feature, which finds him returning to a genre he knows as well as anyone: political-comedy. To promote Irresistible, which stars Steve Carell, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis, and Rose Byrne, Stewart spoke to the New York Times interviewer extraordinaire David Marchese about, among other topics, the “worst legacy” of The Daily Show.
When asked how feels about Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson replacing frequent sparring partner Bill O’Reilly as the worst that Fox News has to offer, Stewart replied, “I think they’re just the next level. As things progress, to get the same dopamine hit, you have to push it further. Although O’Reilly pushed it pretty far. The question was always, ‘Why would you talk to him? Why do you have him on the show if you can’t destroy him?’ If you want to talk about the worst legacy of The Daily Show, it was probably that”:
“That’s the part of it that I probably most regret. Those moments when you had a tendency, even subconsciously, to feel like, ‘We have to live up to the evisceration expectation.’ We tried not to give something more spice than it deserved, but you were aware of, say, what went viral. Resisting that gravitational force is hard.”
Marchese brought up Stewart’s evisceration (in internet speak) of Jim Cramer, a takedown so epic (and again) that it has its own Wikipedia page. But while Stewart might have regrets about The Daily Show dipping into takedown culture, there’s one evil, irredeemable target that we can all agree deserved to get owned: deep-dish pizza.
“This is an aboveground marinara swimming pool for rats.” Harsh, but fair.
Lil Baby joins an anti-police brutality protest in the video for his defiant new anthem, “Bigger Picture.” The Atlanta rapper’s new video takes a close-up look at the people leading the protests, as he pleads “we gotta start somewhere” if changes are to be made. The lyrics speak to not only the current backlash against police brutality sweeping the nation’s streets, social channels, and news broadcasts but also to the state that caused things to get to such a point:
I gave ’em chance and chance and chance again, I even done told them please
I find it crazy the police’ll shoot you and know that you dead, but still tell you to freeze
F*cked up, I seen what I seen
I guess that mean hold him down if he say he can’t breathe
The video documents Lil Baby as he marches with people wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts, flashing scenes of the peaceful protests which have dominated the on-the-ground experience with news broadcasts which instead focus on fires, looting, and destruction of property.
Lil Baby is the latest rapper to create a video about the protests, which have also been centered in the videos for YG’s “FTP” and “Pig Feet” by Denzel Curry, Daylyt, G Perico, Terrace Martin, and Kamasi Washington.
Almost everything music-related has been canceled or postponed in recent months, but the BET Awards are still on the way: The ceremony is set to air on June 28 (for the first time, on CBS). Ahead of then, the full list of award nominees has been released.
Drake leads the pack with his six nominations, for Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, Video Of The Year, and two nominations each for Best Collaboration and Viewer’s Choice, for his collaborations with Future (“Life Is Good”) and Chris Brown (“No Guidance”). Right behind him are Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch, who each earned five nominations. Also earning four nominations each are Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, DaBaby, and Brown.
Check out the full list of nominations below.
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Chloe X Halle
Chris Brown Feat. Drake — “No Guidance”
DJ Khaled Feat. Nipsey Hussle & John Legend — “Higher”
Future Feat. Drake — “Life Is Good”
HER Feat. YG — “Slide”
Megan Thee Stallion Feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla SIgn — “Hot Girl Summer”
Wale Feat. Jeremih — “On Chill”
Best Male Hip Hop Artist
Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Megan Thee Stallion
Video Of The Year
Chris Brown Feat. Drake — “No Guidance”
DaBaby — “Bop”
DJ Khaled Feat. Nipsey Hussle and John Legend — “Higher”
Doja Cat — “Say So”
Megan Thee Stallion Feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $Ign — “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch — “The Box”
Video Director Of The Year
Teyana “Spike Tee” Taylor
Best New Artist
Lil Nas X
Album Of The Year Cuz I Love You — Lizzo Fever — Megan Thee Stallion Homecoming: The Live Album — Beyonce I Used To Know Her — HER Kirk — DaBaby Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial — Roddy Ricch
Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
Fred Hammond — “Alright”
John P. Kee Feat. Zacardi Cortez — “I Made It Out”
Kanye West — “Follow God”
Kirk Franklin — “Just For Me”
Pj Morton Feat. Le’andria Johnson and Mary Mary — “All In His Plan”
The Clark Sisters — “Victory”
Tracee Ellis Ross
Michael B. Jordan
Jahi Di’allo Winston
Best Movie Bad Boys For Life Dolemite Is My Name Harriet Homecoming: A Film By Beyonce Just Mercy Queen & Slim
Sportswoman Of The Year
Sportsman Of The Year
Odell Beckham Jr.
Patrick Mahomes II
BET Her Award
Alicia Keys — “Underdog”
Beyonce Feat. Blue Ivy Carter, Wizkid, and Saint Jhn — “Brown Skin Girl”
Ciara Feat. Lupita Nyong’o, Ester Dean, City Girls & La La — “Melanin”
Layton Greene — “I Choose”
Lizzo Feat. Missy Elliott — “Tempo”
Rapsody Feat. PJ Morton — “Afeni”
Viewer’s Choice Award
Chris Brown Feat. Drake — “No Guidance”
DaBaby — “Bop”
Future Feat. Drake — “Life Is Good”
Megan Thee Stallion Feat. Nicki Minaj — “Hot Girl Summer”
Roddy Ricch — “The Box”
The Weeknd — “Heartless”
Best International Act
Burna Boy (Nigeria)
Sho Madjozi (South Africa)
S.Pri Noir (France)
Viewer’s Choice: Best New International Act
Sha Sha (Zimbabwe)
Young T & Bugsey (UK)
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Bradley Whitford has had an interesting career since his break-out role in The West Wing, which ran from 1999 to 2006. Everyone knows him as Josh Lyman from that series, and while he has worked steadily since the White House drama left the air (including Aaron Sorkin’s failed follow-up, Studio on the Sunset Strip), it took several years for Whitford to land another role as visible as The West Wing. He struck out with Good Guys, Happyish, and Trophy Wife — all cancelled after one season — and bounced around in guest TV roles for years, in addition to a starring role on the small cult hit, Cabin in the Woods.
In recent years, however, two roles have resurrected Whitford’s career in a big way: Appearing in the most recent two seasons of Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale, and his role in Jordan Peele’s brilliant social-commentary disguised as a horror film, Get Out. How, exactly, did Whitford find himself in Peele’s seminal horror film?
“I just thought it would be funny to see Josh Lyman take the top part of someone’s head off,” Jordan Peele joked with Whitford, according to the latter on this week’s Armchair Expert podcast hosted by Dax Shepard. More seriously, however, Whitford’s The West Wing persona did come into play. Peele “was clearly playing on the ‘good’ liberal white dude” trope, Whitford said. “Beware of the good white liberal!” Shepard added.
Told how perfectly Whitford played the role in Get Out, Whitford confessed to Shepard that he was better suited to the role than perhaps he should have been. “Listen. I did not think that ‘I would vote for Obama for a third term’ was a laugh line.” He originally thought the line was serious. In fact, it’s not clear that the line didn’t originate with Whitford himself, as the actor told GQ last year. “Yeah, what’s really funny to me is — I worked on his campaigns. I love Obama. I didn’t even know that was a joke. I don’t know, but I probably said it to Jordan [Peele], without realizing that it’s the whitest thing a person could say.”
Likewise, even as Peele warned him otherwise, Whitford had no idea that Get Out would become the cultural juggernaut that it did. “The script was incredible,” Whitford told Shepard. “But I didn’t know if it was going to work. We were shooting in Alabama, when we were supposed to shoot in L.A. The highest expectation for this thing was that it would be a little smart, arthouse-weirdo horror thing.” Peele, however, kept telling Whitford that it was “really f**king good.” Whitford thought that Peele was saying that because he had to until he saw the first screening of the film at Sundance.
“Man, I had never seen a soufflé rise like that.”
That “soufflé” would go on to earn $255 million on a $4.5 million budget and change the landscape of horror films forever.
Over the weekend, Eminem updated his list of greatest rappers ever for fans on Twitter, including more recent additions such as Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Joyner Lucas. The latter — with whom Eminem previously collaborated on the Kamikaze track “Lucky Me” and the aborted, admittedly ill-advised “What If I Was Gay?” — reacted to his addition on Instagram, sharing a post with Eminem’s original tweets and an analogy that compared Eminem to Michael Jordan.
Joyner compared the feeling to being a basketball player given Jordan’s (rare) blessing, writing, “If you played ball and studied Michael Jordan as the greatest and then Michael Jordan name drops you as one of the greatest ball players of all time, that’s how this feels to me.” Lucas, who recently released his debut studio album ADHD in March, is no stranger to receiving high praise from his rap idols, though. His standout single “Will” received the ultimate compliment when its subject, Will Smith, applauded its creative video then appeared on the song’s remix a few weeks later.
Eminem’s updated greatest of all time list received plenty of attention, which could lead to a lot more exposure for Lucas on his next big release, whenever that comes along. The veteran rapper’s co-sign featured heavily into the careers of titans like 50 Cent and Royce Da 5’9, so there’s no telling what effect it could have on Joyner’s future, but one thing is for sure: He’ll have to perform at a high level pretty consistently to live up to the lofty expectations such a co-sign could bring.
Check out Joyner’s reaction to Eminem’s co-sign above.
Back in February — when the world was only focused on a global pandemic and not a global pandemic and nationwide protests — Alicia Keys swung by the NPR offices for a Tiny Desk performance. Not that an Alicia Keys show needs anything extra to make it special, but she spiced up her set by performing a new song for the first time, “Gramercy Park.”
The song, which is set to appear on Keys’ upcoming album Alicia, is about changing to meet people’s expectations and losing yourself along the way. Keys sings on the hook, “I’ve been trying to fulfill you with your every need / Now you’re falling for a person that’s not even me.” She said while introducing the track:
“I love this song so much. It’s called ‘Gramercy Park.’ It’s on the Alicia album, and I love what this songs means. […] A lot of what I’ve been thinking about on my own personal journey is how much we contort and conform and adjust ourselves all the time… with the best of intentions, by the way! It’s from the most beautiful place. We want people to feel us and we want people to know how much we care about them. Somewhere along the line, we kind of lose ourselves in that and maybe can’t find our way back to ourselves, because we’re so concerned about how everybody else feels and we’re so concerned with making other people happy. It’s been definitely something that I’ve personally experienced, and I have a feeling a lot of you might have felt the same way. So this song, ‘Gramercy Park,’ really talks about how that happens.”
Elsewhere in her set, Keys performed “Show Me Love,” “Underdog,” and “Fallin’,” so watch Keys’ full Tiny Desk performance above.
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