Lil Nas X has proven he can dominate the Billboard charts, but now he’s about to see if he can exhibit the same mastery over the New York Times Best Sellers list: The rapper announced today that he’s releasing a children’s book, C Is For Country. The book, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, is intended for readers aged 3 to 7 years old and is set for release on January 5, 2021.
The pre-order page for the book describes it as an “ABC picture book” in which the rapper and “Panini the pony” embark on “a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown”:
“Parents who play Grammy winner Lil Nas X’s 12-times platinum single Old Town Road on repeat will want to take their kids and ride on over to this ABC picture book from the music mega-star!
A is for adventure. Every day is a brand-new start!
B is for boots — whether they’re big or small, short or tall.
And C is for country.
Join superstar Lil Nas X—who boasts the longest-running #1 song in history—and Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s signature genre-blending style.
Featuring bold, bright art from Theodore Taylor III, with plenty of hidden surprises for Nas’s biggest fans, C Is for Country is a celebration of song and the power inside us all.”
There are a number of celebrities who are huge basketball fans, but there are only a select few that really interact with their fellow diehards. There’s no team with more superstar fans than the Lakers, but only a few (like Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, Flea) really seem to let their fandom fly on their Twitter account.
However, with the NBA in the Disney Bubble, even the most famous fans are having to watch games like the rest of us rather than being seated courtside for the playoff action, and some are itching for that fan camaraderie. During this postseason, Halsey, she of chart-topping pop hit fame, decided to create a Twitter account that is dedicated solely to basketball so she could join NBA and Lakers Twitter without subjecting her millions of fans to her extremely strong basketball takes. The result is @halseyandone, and her entry into the NBA Twitter space this week has been a true joy.
Back in August, Olivia Wilde signed on to direct a female-centered Marvel movie (for Sony) with a hero that’s currently under wraps, but is widely assumed to be Spider-Woman. The move signaled Marvel’s commitment to putting diverse voices both behind and in front of the camera, which began in earnest with Disney’s Black Panther and Captain Marvel. While the details are still scarce on Wilde’s upcoming Marvel project, she recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss adding a female perspective to the superhero genre.
She also made a notable quip about Marvel mega producer Kevin Feige:
“All I can say is that this is by far the most exciting thing that’s happened to me because not only do I get to tell a story that — listen to me, trying to avoid Kevin Feige’s pellet gun. We are seeing this incredible influx of female directors and storytellers getting to take hold of this genre, this superhero space, and infuse it with their own perspective. Not only do I get to tell the story as a director, but I get to develop the story and that was what made it so incredible for me.”
Wilde also namechecked screenwriter Katie Silberman, who she already worked with on the critically acclaimed Booksmart. She’s thrilled to take their partnership from “a story about female friendship in high school to this other stratosphere,”
Here’s where things get nerdy. While Wilde is technically directing a Marvel movie, she’s actually working in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters. That would be the shared universe of films based on Spider-Man characters like Venom and Morbius, which were previously considered separate from the larger, more well-known Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc. However, if Kevin Feige is involved and overseeing Wilde’s project, that would suggest that her film and the upcoming slate of Spider-Man spinoffs could have significant ties to the MCU going forward.
In short, the separate Spider-Man universe might not stay so separate for long.
Justice has been partially served for the family of Breonna Taylor. The city of Louisville, Kentucky has agreed to pay the family $12 million to settle a wrongful death suit.
Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was murdered by plainclothes police serving a “no-knock” narcotics warrant in her home on March 13. The police intrusion took her boyfriend, Kennet Walker, a registered gun owner, by surprise.
Assuming the intruders were attempting to rob them, Walker opened fire and shot one of the officers in the leg.
The police returned fire killing Taylor. No narcotics were found in the apartment.
Taylor’s murder led to months of protests in Louisville and across the country as part of the overarching Black Lives Matter movement. Activists have been unrelenting in their quest for justice for Taylor and her family.
After the city of Louisville reached a $12 million settlement in Breonna Taylor’s wrongful death lawsuit, Mayor Gre… https://t.co/78txV0qMns
“I cannot begin to imagine Ms. Palmer’s pain, and I am deeply, deeply sorry for Breonna’s death,” Louisville mayor, Greg Fischer said in a press conference, referring to Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.
In addition to the settlement, Fischer announced a series of policy reforms aimed at improving police transparency, increased social worker support, and new search warrant procedures.
“We won’t let Breonna Taylor’s life be swept under the rug,” said Ben Crump, an attorney for Taylor’s family, on Tuesday.
Crump believes the settlement is potentially the largest payout ever in America for a Black person murdered by the police.
“As significant as today is, it’s only the beginning of getting full justice for Breonna,” Palmer said at the press conference. “We must not lose focus on what the real drive is, and with that being said, it’s being time to move forward with the criminal charges, because she deserves that and much more.”
“Her beautiful spirit and personality is working through all of us on the ground, so please continue to say her name: Breonna Taylor,” Palmer added.
“It’s time to move forward with the criminal charges because she deserves that and much more,” Tamika Palmer, Breon… https://t.co/VpLjZ8N1p6
None of the three officers involved in the shooting have been charged with a crime, although one of them, Brett Hankinson, was fired in June for “wantonly and blindly” firing ten rounds into Taylor’s apartment.
The killing is still being investigated by the state of Kentucky, as well as the FBI.
“My office is continually asked about a timeline regarding the investigation into the death of Ms. Breonna Taylor. An investigation, if done properly, cannot follow a specific timeline,” Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron tweeted last week.
Until Freedom, a social justice organization that has protested in Louisville released a statement regarding the settlement.
“No amount of money will bring back Breonna Taylor,” the group said. “We see this settlement as the bare minimum you can do for a grieving mother. The city isn’t doing her any favors. True justice is not served with cash settlements. We need those involved in her murder to be arrested and charged. We need accountability. We need justice.”
Madonna has had as noteworthy career as just about anybody in music, and now that story will be told in an upcoming biopic. Furthermore, it was confirmed today (by Variety) that Madonna herself will be sitting in the director’s chair.
The film is still in its early stages: The title, cast, and production timeline have all yet to be announced. What we do know is that Universal Pictures secured the rights to the movie and Diablo Cody is co-writing the script alongside Madonna. A few weeks ago, Madonna shared a video of herself and Cody together.
Madonna says of the project, “I want to convey the incredible journey that life has taken me on as an artist, a musician, a dancer — a human being, trying to make her way in this world. The focus of this film will always be music. Music has kept me going and art has kept me alive. There are so many untold and inspiring stories and who better to tell it than me. It’s essential to share the roller coaster ride of my life with my voice and vision.”
Producer Amy Pascal also says of the movie, “This movie is an absolute labor of love for me. I have known Madonna since we made A League of Their Own together, and I can’t imagine anything more thrilling than collaborating with her and Diablo on bringing her true-life story to the big screen with Donna and our partners at Universal.”
The movie won’t be Madonna’s directorial debut, but it will be the first film she’s directed in a while: She previously directed (and co-wrote) 2011’s W.E. and 2008’s Filth And Wisdom.
“We always have money for war. We never have money for the war fighter.”
Jon Stewart’s on Capitol Hill again, the week after the public learned about a 9/11 program (that he championed) being siphoned by the Trump Administration. In that regard, he spent part of 2019 emotionally ripping into members of Congress when they failed to show up for hearings about 9/11 first-responder health care. He later stood alongside first-responder advocates when the U.S. Senate voted to renew permanent authorization of September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Now, he’s leading a renewed fight for federal benefits to help war fighters exposed to toxic burn pit fumes.
Stewart hopes to secure this aid by supporting a bill (sponsored by Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand) aimed toward U.S. troops who were exposed to toxic pits (portions of a military base that include open-air waste burning that’s accelerated by jet fuel) during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These vets are now suffering with conditions that include cancer, pulmonary disease, and asthma, and Stewart is angry that help hasn’t happened yet because time is of the essence. “Welcome to another exciting episode of ‘When is America going to start acting like the great country we keep telling ourselves we are?’” he declared. “Our veterans lived 24/7 next to toxic smoke… It’s bullsh*t.”
Jon Stewart introduces bill for sick veterans: ’Welcome to another exciting episode of ‘When is America going to start acting like the great country we keep telling ourselves we are?’ … Our veterans lived 24/7 next to toxic smoke … It’s bullsh*t.’ pic.twitter.com/uwI0vbC8VX
During the above news conference, Stewart made reference to his previous battle for the 9/11 compensation fund for first responders. He believes that history is now repeating itself, and he believes that Congress has the duty to remain accountable for veterans’ health, including when they responded to the 9/11 attack on behalf of the U.S.
“When it was done, we thought it was done,” Stewart continued. “But it turns out that the warfighters that were sent to prosecute the battle based on the attack on 9/11 now suffer the same injuries and illnesses that the first responders suffer from, and they’re getting the same cold shoulder from Congress that they received. And so the fight starts again.”
Fried chicken is rapidly passing the cheeseburger as the icon of American fast-food culture. The Popeye’s Fried Chicken Sandwich was a full-on phenomenon — leading to the sort of insanity once reserved for celebrity sightings and streetwear drops. Which fast-food chain is growing nationwide the fastest? Love them or hate them, it’s Chick-fil-A, proof that fried chicken, whether in nugget, tender, or sandwich form, is to a new generation of fast-food eaters what the burger and fries were to the Boomers.
For the most part, we know our favorite fast-food chicken. We’ve already crowned a best chicken sandwich, a best chicken tender, and even the best chicken nugget. We felt settled on the matter. Until last week, when McDonald’s launched their Spicy Chicken McNugget along with the Travis Scott Meal. It was a move that practically demanded we put the McD’s entry to a test against our current nugget champ: Wendy’s spicy nugget.
To see which of the two entries into the fast-food chicken game is best, we’ve scored both by taste, texture, and heat on a 5-point scale. Place your bets now and let’s dive into the madness.
Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Nugget
A few years back, Wendy’s tried to eliminate its Spicy Chicken Nugget from the menu, much to the dismay of many a chicken nugget fan. After months of pestering from fans spamming the historically snarky Wendy’s Twitter account — including Chance The Rapper, with a tweet that has since received 33.9 thousand retweets, 1.1 thousand quote tweets, and 220.9 thousand likes — Wendy’s finally caved and brought back the spicy nuggets, aka, the best 99¢ you can spend at the restaurant.
Positive Affirmations for today: I WILL have a good day, I Will succeed today, Wendy’s WILL bring back spicy nuggets at some point please please Lord let it be today.
The spicy batter Wendy’s uses is phenomenal. It’s a mix of cayenne pepper, paprika, and big flaky pieces of black pepper — giving you a very legit opportunity to use the word “zesty.” The flavor of a single nugget can linger through a whole meal, which would be frustrating if Wendy’s nuggets didn’t taste so damn good.
This is Wendy’s weak point. The batter on the spicy nuggets is thick and coarse — like if someone dipped the chicken in a mix of flour and egg, and then proceeded to roll each nugget up and down the driveway. It’s a texture so notable (and such a departure from other brands) that a person might be tempted to peel the batter from the chicken, just to investigate. Don’t do this. Underneath the batter is a piece of spongey processed chicken that looks like a naked, shivering creature of some sort.
Though the taste clearly makes up for this weakness in my rankings, I do think that if you threw a Wendy’s Spicy Nugget at somebody hard enough you could draw blood.
Wendy’s real saving grace is the heat packed in each nugget. Once the flavor of cayenne and the pepper subsides, you’re left with a lingering burn that activates your tastebuds. Spice has layers and levels and certain spices linger while others seem to pass quickly — Wendy’s hits all these notes nicely.
Overall Score: 12
Mcdonald’s Spicy McNugget
Sometimes fast food brands make weird choices. Taco Bell will chop out fan favorites, In-N-Out still refuses to add bacon to their menu, and, for whatever reason, McDonald’s hasn’t brought a new flavor of McNugget to the United States since 1983, even though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a spicy McNugget would slap.
C’est la vie. The Spicy McNugget is here now, so let’s see how it stacks up.
Hmm. Well, it’s not better than the traditional non-spiced McNugget, and from a pure flavor perspective, the mix of cayenne, and chili peppers don’t have anything over Wendy’s cayenne, paprika, and pepper-based seasoning. While McDonald’s subtle flavor makes a great pairing with sauce, the nugg eaten alone doesn’t linger in a pleasing way like the black pepper of Wendy’s nugget does.
This is the Spicy McNugget’s strength. Part of what makes the Chicken McNugget so beloved is its tempura-like batter. The crispy-flaky crunch that each Spicy McNugget offers is so audibly pleasing that we’re finally starting to understand the appeal of Mukbang and ASMR.
McDonald’s could’ve really had something if they’d just trusted their customers a little bit more. The truth about spicy food is that it’s not for everybody. Some people can handle the heat and some can’t. Wendy’s respects that the audience for their Spicy Nugget comes in wanting spice. McDonald’s played it safe and tried to have it both ways with a McNugget that’s only slightly spicy.
In short: it’s not spicy enough to turn any beginners off, but it leaves nothing for spice-heads to really appreciate.
Overall Score: 11
The Final Verdict
It’s going to take a little bit more than cayenne, chili pepper, and good texture to snatch the title of “Best Chicken Nugget” from Wendy’s. While the overall scores are close, Wendy’s eeks out a win thanks to their emphasis on flavor and, most importantly, heat.
In its defense, McDonald’s seems to know that their nuggets could be spicier. Along with the new McNuggets comes the release of “Mighty Hot Sauce” — a buffalo-style sauce consisting of crushed red peppers, spicy chilies, and garlic. This sauce, which is McDonald’s first new dipping sauce in three years, greatly enhances the experience of eating their Spicy McNuggets (but still not to the point that they taste better than what Wendy’s offers for a lower price).
Until McD’s spices up their actual nugget, Wendy’s keeps the championship belt.
Mxmtoon — “Okay On Your Own” Feat. Carly Rae Jepsen
Mxmtoon is inching closer to releasing this year’s second EP, Dusk. This week, the singer shared an exciting collaboration with Carly Rae Jepsen. “I was beyond excited to work on this track and have it be graced by Carly Rae Jepsen, someone who stands for empowerment and knows the themes of love and loneliness all too well,” Mxmtoon said in a statement. “My hope for the song is that ‘ok on your own’ can let people know that vulnerability is never something to be afraid of, and admitting you need time for yourself and support from a friend is sometimes a necessary step.”
Major Lazer — “Oh My Gawd” Feat. Nicki Minaj, Mr. Eazi, K4mo
Nicki Minaj continued her prolific streak this week by lending a verse on Mr. Eazi and Major Lazer’s track “Oh My Gawd.” Combining Major Lazer’s knack for enormous beat drops with Mr. Eazi’s laidback, afrobeat flow, Minaj adds her distinct style to the hip-shaking single.
Marshmello — “OK Not To Be OK” Feat. Demi Lovato
Last Thursday was World Suicide Prevention Day and Demi Lovato and Marshmello teamed up to get candid about mental health on their collaborative single. “I think a lot of people, about negative feelings and negative thoughts that are affecting them are kind of scared to bring it up, scared to talk about it,” Marshmello told Zane Lowe in an interview about the track. “They’re scared because maybe the person won’t relate or the person won’t understand, when in reality most of time the person that you could bring it up to, will most likely has felt like this or will understand or can relate as well.”
James Blake — “Godspeed”
Since the onset of the pandemic, James Blake has been keeping fans entertained with a number of livestreams. During his sessions Blake infuses his own style into a number of popular tracks, like Billie Eilish’s “When The Party’s Over” and Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed.” Now, Blake has officially released his rendition of “Godspeed” on all streaming platforms. Of the cover, James says: “This song has always been special to me, but I wasn’t expecting the response it’s gotten. Love to everyone who willed the full recording into existence.”
Dua Lipa — “Don’t Start Now (Kaytranada Remix)”
Though she released her shimmering sophomore effort Future Nostalgia just a few months ago, Dua Lipa tapped a myriad of big-name artists to lend a hand on her remix album Club Future Nostalgia. The album dropped in late August, but Lipa wasn’t finished. Kaytranada’s slow-burning remix of her hit track “Don’t Start Now” arrived this week, and it was worth the wait.
Omar Apollo — “Kamikaze”
Hot on the heels of his soaring single “Stayback,” Omar Apollo shared the Frank Ocean-adjacent effort “Kamikaze.” Speaking on the inspiration behind the single, Omar said: “’Kamikaze’ is a song that taps into my old emotions, taking it back to when I was younger. When I made ‘Kamikaze’ I was reminiscing on how I used to feel for someone and realizing those feelings are lost and we’re left with nothing. It feels good to hold on to the memories without the feelings it gave me.”
Annie — “The Streets Where I Belong”
It’s been eleven years since Annie released her last album. But with “The Streets Where I Belong,” the Norwegian singer is ushering in a new era of music touched by moody synths. “Walking through the city where you grew up,” Annie offers as the inspiration to the track. “Coming back to Bergen after spending almost 10 years in Berlin. ‘Streets Where I Belong’ is one of the more personal songs on the album. Inspired by Bruce Springsteen.”
David Guetta — “Let’s Love” Feat. Sia
Nearly nine years after their first collaborative single “Titanium” topped the charts, David Guetta and Sia return with the club-ready “Let’s Love.” Guetta said he hopes the track offers a glimmer of hope during a tough time: “During this time of isolation, I’ve been incredibly inspired to release music that has an uplifting energy. I love producing club tracks but at the same time, especially now, I feel like creating ‘feel-good’ music. ‘Let’s Love’ is a message of love, hope and bringing people together and once again, Sia has out done herself on the vocals.”
KYD The Band — “Corridors”
KYD The Band didn’t have a typical introduction into music. Raised in the Pentecostal Church, the musician wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music. After leaving the church and pivoting towards music full time, KYD The Band has released a handful of singles and EPs. “Corridors” offers a glimpse into the musician’s upcoming alt-pop EP Season 3: The Realization. “I’d love for my music to reach all the kids like me, who are maybe questioning what they were raised to believe or feel like they haven’t found where they belong just yet,” he said about his music.
Some of the artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
Future Islands have a new album, As Long As You Are, on the way in October. Ahead of then, they offer another preview of the upcoming effort: “Moonlight.”
The video for the reflective track, which stars Criminal Minds‘ Matthew Gray Gubler and La La Land‘s Callie Hernandez, depicts a couple having a hard time in their relationship. The video flashes between times they’ve spent together and them in a crumbling motel room in present day. This aligns with what Samuel T. Herring says of the track:
“‘Moonlight’ is a song about love in a depressive state. It’s about recognizing the holes in ourselves and recognizing the circular whole of others. ‘Moonlight’ is about acceptance because that’s what love allows us all. ‘I couldn’t see, I had a cloud in my arms, but if I asked you would you say, ‘It’s only rain, nothing more.””
Herring also recently told Uproxx of As Long As You Are, “This one was really about us capturing our vision and how we heard things and taking the time to do that. The Far Field was just so rushed that we didn’t want to have that happen again, that there was a deadline that decided when the album was done. We wanted to decide when the album was done.”
Watch the “Moonlight” video above, and check out our recent interview with Future Islands here.
As Long As You Are is out 10/9 via 4AD. Get it here.
CNBC anchor and Mad Money host Jim Cramer is under fire for calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “Crazy Nancy” during an interview on his show early Tuesday morning.
Cramer had Pelosi on to dig into the controversy surrounding stalled negotiations for another stimulus bill to help Americans suffering during the current Coronavirus pandemic when he made the unfortunate mistake of using the nickname President Donald Trump often resorts to when referring to the Speaker of the House. The pair were debating over whether Republicans, taking their cues from Trump, could come to the table with Democrats to get this fourth iteration of the bill finally passed when Cramer threw out the insult.
“What deal can we have, Crazy Nancy — I’m sorry, that was the president,” Cramer said before quickly following up with an explanation for the name-calling. “I have such reverence for the office, I would never use that term.” Pelosi didn’t let him off that easy though, quipping back “but you just did” before Cramer exasperatedly tried to defend himself, saying, “Come on, you know what I mean.”
The whole interaction is cringe-inducing, mostly because it appears Cramer was trying to joke around with Pelosi by using the moniker Trump often hurls at her on Twitter in order to make a point, but that point fell awkwardly flat, and people were quick to let him know it.
What is worse is his so-called “apology.“ It is nothing but gaslighting. Telling the Speaker that “I would never say that“ immediately after he said it, trying to get her to agree he meant no offense. Toxic misogyny on display.
Paraphrasing Cramer…Ya know some people call you Crazy Nancy. I, of course, would never degrade your office by calling you Crazy Nancy, others may call you Crazy Nancy, but certainly, I, Jim Cramer, would never call you Crazy…Nancy.
Cramer took to Twitter shortly after the interview aired to explain he was simply trying to make a point that it should be unacceptable for anyone, even the President of the United States, to call a woman in an office as revered as Pelosi, “crazy.”
I challenge anyone to listen to the interview and think i wasn’t imitating what the president says and how repulsive i find it.. I said that three times. I apologized for the implication twice. Who put out the quote without the context? what organization?
One could argue the real travesty here is how thrilled Cramer apparently was to call a woman crazy for a few laughs and how terribly unequipped he was to deal with the consequences of his on-air behavior, but we’re hopeful he’ll learn a lesson from all this after getting mercilessly roasted for it.
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