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Illuminati Hotties Previews Their ‘Free I.H.’ Album With A Cleverly-Titled Lead Single

Illuminati Hotties vocalist Sarah Tudzin was already well-versed in the music industry before breaking ground on her self-described “tender punk” sound. Tudzin, a Berklee College graduate who studied audio engineering, further proved her talents through the group’s 2018 noisy debut record Kiss Yr Frenemies.

The group was slated to begin their sophomore record when their label, Tiny Engines, became embroiled in controversy. Rather than break their contract, Illuminati Hotties came up with a solution. Instead of releasing a full album, they would see their contract through with the tongue-in-cheek mixtape Free I.H.: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For.

On Friday, Illuminati Hotties gave fans the first taste of the mixtape, which overtly slights Tiny Engines, with the cleverly-titled track “Will I Get Cancelled If I Write A Song Called, ‘If You Were A Man You’d Be So Cancelled.” Unlike the title, the song itself is rather abbreviated and clocks in at just over a minute. Even still, the single is jam-packed with cunning quips and thrashing guitars that initially drew fans to Illuminati Hotties’ sound.

Tudzin said in an interview with Stereogum that the single’s title was born out of a text conversation with Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis: “She was like, ‘You should make this whole text the title of the song, not just the part in quotes.’ It mostly felt pretty fun to me, but the whole record revolves around feeling trapped by the forces surrounding me and the emotions I was feeling and it metaphorically adds up to the same sort of things that the rest of the songs are about.”

Watch “Will I Get Cancelled If I Write A Song Called, ‘If You Were A Man You’d Be So Cancelled” above.

Free I.H.: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For is out 7/17. Pre-order it here.

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Report: The NBA Could Move The 2020-21 Season To March With A Vaccine Or Treatment

Though the NBA’s Orlando clean site is just now seeing liftoff, preparations for the 2020-21 season are underway as well. Initially, NBA owners had proposed a Dec. 1 start date for next season, but a new report from the political publication Morning Consult indicates that if the end of the pandemic is in sight, the NBA could move the calendar back as far as a March start date as a way to accommodate fans in stadiums.

Per Alex Silverman of Morning Consult:

“An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule.”

Among the considerations around this potential plan are a potential overlap with the Tokyo Olympics, currently slated to begin July 23, 2021.

More from Silverman:

“Under the March-October scenario, the league would execute a rolling schedule release as opposed to releasing the entire schedule before the season starts as it would under normal circumstances. It would also aim to hold an All-Star Game at some point during the season.”

The NBA is also, according to the document, still considering the December to July schedule that had been initially announced. Other arrangements such as another quarantine bubble or neutral sites for teams based in cities with bad outbreaks, with Louisville (long considered a possible expansion city) just one option.

With the league taking a bath in terms of revenue for as long as they cannot safely host fans, expect a long delay until plans for next season are formalized. If the NBA and its players can agree on a cap-smoothing plan for this year’s free agency period and hold off on anything official for 2020-21 until there is more clarity surrounding vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, there may yet be a light at the end of the tunnel that allows the NBA to basically have this Orlando bubble be the only impact on the business during the pandemic. Between now and then, it’s a whole lot of ifs and maybes.

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Weekend Preview: It’s An Andy Samberg, Charlize Theron, And Tom Hanks Kind Of Weekend

If nothing below suits your sensibilities, check out our guide to What You Should Watch On Streaming Right Now.

Palm Springs (Hulu, Friday) — This Sundance hit from Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island partners is stylish and silly and absolutely fantastic. It also busted the Sundance acquisition record in a “nice” way, and it’s got a Groundhog Day-esque, summery twist.

The Old Guard (Netflix, Friday) — Charlize Theron kicking butt. What else must you know before checking out what might be the closest thing to a summer blockbuster that we’ll see this year? Well, she’s also an immortal mercenary, who’s leading a group of immortal mercenaries, and they might see their immortal-ness exposed, which means they might no longer be immortal. Sounds like a winner.

Greyhound (Apple TV+, Friday) — Need a little Hanx in your life? The Saving Private Ryan star is doing World War II again, and it’s an exciting ride that puts the sea-pedal to the metal from beginning to end. Turn down the lights and relish this one.

Relic (VOD, Friday) — This critically acclaimed haunted-house movie from IFC and director Natalie Erika James did respectable drive-in business last weekend. Starring Robyn Nevin, Emily Mortimerm and Bella Heathcoate, here’s your chance to receive a fresh bone-chilling experience in the privacy of your own home.

Down to Earth with Zac Efron (Netflix series, Friday) — This is the second travel-related reality show starring the former High School Musical heartthrob, and this time, his focus is not on roughing it but seeking out wellness.

In case you managed to miss this last weekend:

Hamilton (Disney+) — After a bumped-up release date, the cinematic version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original Broadway production (which nearly broke the Tony Award record and fetched a Pulitzer Prize, a Grammy, and an Olivier Award as well) is finally streamable in your living room. The movie version promises to bring “live capture” to viewers in an artistic way, which will harness the power of streaming in an intimate manner, for something that Hamilton fans have never experienced. Read our interview of Okieriete Onaodowan, the longest-tenured original cast member, and enjoy the new behind-the-scenes documentary after the show.

Here’s the rest of this weekend’s notable programming:

Friday Night In With The Morgans (Friday, AMC 10:00 p.m.) — Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton are at it again while hosting celebrity friends to hopefully distract us from reality.

Black Monday (Sunday, Showtime 8:00 p.m.) — It’s amends time (perhaps, if it works out) for Mo, Keith, and Dawn.

Perry Mason (Sunday, HBO 9:00 p.m.) — Extra-legal assistance is the name of the game for Morgan and Strickland in regards to Virgil. Meanwhile, Sister Alice is feeling the pressure about baby Charlie.

The Chi (Sunday, Showtime 9:00 p.m.) — Ronnie’s found a new calling, Emmett’s allowing Darnell to have too much influence and Kevin’s feeling the sharp effects of a lie.

Snowpiercer (Sunday, TNT 9:00 p.m.) — Layton’s attempting to calm the revolution’s survivors while Melanie’s demons rise up, and she’s feeling the threat to her own survival.

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark (Sunday, HBO 10:00 p.m.) — This true-crime docuseries is revolutionary, much like the Michelle McNamara book that fueled it. This is a duel-edged story of obsession and a “portrait of an artist” — one who pursued justice for dozens of survivors and victims’ families, decades after law enforcement let the Golden State Killer case go cold. It’s about those survivors, and it’s about the citizen investigators, including Michelle. She was a wife (to Patton Oswalt), a mother, a friend, and, yes, an obsessive, who was instrumental in solving this case, but not before it consumed her as well.

NOS4A2 (Sunday, AMC & BBC America 10:00 p.m.) — Charlie Manx is hunting for Vic and her family, who go into hiding while Wayne suffers from puzzling nightmares.

Outcry (Sunday, Showtime 10:00 p.m.) — This five-part documentary continues examining the case of high school football star Greg Kelley’s controversial conviction and sentencing for child molestation, along with the subsequent quest for truth and justice.

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Tory Lanez Joins DJDS And Rema For The Uplifting ‘Simple Things’

Electronic duo DJDS has built a following over the past couple of years by contributing funky, upbeat production to collaborations with the likes of Khalid, Empress Of, St. Vincent, and Interpol. Their latest work expands that pool of collaborative talent to include Nigerian pop star Rema and Canadian rapper Tory Lanez on the uplifting “Simple Things,” which the three acts collectively shared today.

The light beat accentuates the song’s encouraging messaging as Rema sings over the chorus, “Simple things are your blessing.” Tory contributes some romantic-leaning bars, telling the object of his affection, “You give me reason / Loving and teasing / Touching and squeezing / When love isn’t easy.”

A press release for the song notes how DJDS’ work with Nigerian star Burna Boy led them to Rema and what the inspiration behind the song ultimately was. “To us ‘Simple Things’ sort of feels like the ultimate DJDS song because it sounds like what we’ve done and where we’re going all at once,” they write. “You hear the sample chops and that’s old school DJDS but the collaborations represent the future. The work we put in with Burna Boy directly lead us to linking with Rema, and Tory is somebody we’ve been waiting years to get in the studio with. These guys are upper echelon so we really had to draw upon all our experience to give them something that felt undeniable.”

Watch the lyrics video for DJDS’ “Simple Things” with Tory Lanez and Rema above.

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The Passion Of The Bitter Buddha: Eddie Pepitone On His Latest Special ‘For The Masses’

Eddie Pepitone is one of those comics who is constantly referred to as “a comic’s comic.” I don’t know the exact formula that creates a comic who is more liked by other comics than by the general public, but it probably has something to do with a slightly confrontational style. People who watch live comedy one or two times a year seem to most enjoy comics who are a bit aw shucks, a bit self-effacing, who invite you into the jokes gradually, like a father holding a toddler’s hand on the steps of a pool. Comics love other comics who get a rise out of people, who risk being hated, who toss the audience off a pier and cackle while they bob in the surf.

Why does this happen? I think it’s a little bit like politics: you want to see a comic lead an audience, not follow. To give an audience something they didn’t know they wanted rather than give them exactly what they wanted. Not to mention, comedy audiences by and large are scum and piggies, and anyone who doesn’t respect them too much is to be admired.

Eddie Pepitone, beloved by comedians in New York and LA lucky enough to see him perform regularly (he’s notorious for not touring much, and as he told me “I find the proletariat off-putting,”), is a slightly different quantity than other beloved screamers like Gilbert Gottfried or Sam Kinison. Pepitone, who says his trademark operatic bellow was inspired by Jackie Gleason and his Sicilian father (reminiscent of the way Johnny Rotten claimed to be inspired by Olivier in Richard III), seems if anything overly sensitive to the world’s problems. He seems to shout because he wants you to care more. One of his signature bits, which he rehashes in his latest special, For The Masses, sees him improvising lines in an audition for Downey fabric softener, in which he’s only supposed to say, “How did the shirt get so fresh?” but instead catalogues a litany of society’s problems, finishing, “And somehow you still got the shirt so fresh!”

In a Comedy Bang-Bang appearance in 2012 or 2013, comedian Patton Oswalt joked that an agent commented that Pepitone was “past his booking age.” And that was eight or nine years ago. Pepitone is 61 now, but it kind of fits. His is not really the kind of comedy audiences would accept from a less wizened man. And yet, there’s an obvious youthfulness to Pepitone, a sort of cherubic twinkle. Which somehow comes through inescapably, even as some accurately compare him to a homeless person. Is it the slovenliness or the raving? Probably both.

Which is to say that Pepitone’s volume is transparently just bluster. He’s pretty plainly a sweet guy. Not that I still wasn’t slightly intimidated to talk to him. We did our interview over Zoom, which is a bit new for me, meaning that I had his piercing blue eyes scrutinizing my every rambling question. It was a bit like being in the front row at one of Pepitone’s shows with only you in the audience. I wouldn’t recommend it.

I usually don’t do the video. I hope this makes it better somehow.

It’ll make it worse, but it’s okay. I mean, we’re dealing with a killer virus. I can’t take it anymore.

Has it changed your life a lot?

Well, what do you think? That’s funny. It’d be funny if I said, “No, hasn’t affected me one bit.” I don’t travel anymore. I mean, I don’t mind it, because me and my wife just hang out. We go to the park. We read. And the special came out, so I’ve been getting enough validation through that. So I don’t know. I can’t imagine starting to travel again.

Day-to-day it seems fine, but how much does it affect being able to make money from stand-up and whatnot?

Well, yeah, that’s true. I actually have offers. There’s an outdoor show in Alameda, up in Oakland area, that they asked me to do. And then Fargo, North Dakota threw me an offer as well. And I don’t know about that, I don’t know about flying. I’m in a high-risk category. I’m fucking 61. I’m not in the greatest physical shape, so I don’t know. I don’t know if I would fare well with this thing.

I was rewatching a little bit of The Bitter Buddha from a while back, and Scott Aukerman said he wished that you would become an officially recognized national treasure. How much closer do you think you’ve gotten since then?

Well, in Britain, they give you an OBE I think it is, right? So I’m waiting for the equivalent here, which is the Mark Twain Prize. Did you see the special?

Yeah, I watched it last night.

A lot of people really like it. So I’m inching toward national treasure.

They have the Congressional Medal of Freedom, but I think Trump gave one to a dog so it might be less valuable now.

I find Trump off-putting. I want to go on the record about that.

That’s good. People should know your thoughts on that. Since the last special you’ve gotten married. Was that the same relationship? How did you meet your wife?

Yes, same relationship. It was a mail-order. No. How did we meet? Well, she’s a comedy writer. And I met her at, I think it was one of my shows. She said, “Hi,” and I said, “Hi,” and that led to a 13-year relationship.

So it was 13 years before you guys officially got married?

No, I think it was seven before we got married, something like that. By the way, I can’t keep track of… I am amazed at how people keep track of dates. Like, “Oh yeah, we met this day,” and “Oh, that movie came out in 1979.” I have no clue.

Well, that leads well into my next question: when did you first start doing stand-up?

Oh, well damn. Let’s see, Kennedy got shot in… No, I started doing stand-up I would say when I was 20. So that would be 1978. And I stopped for a while because stand-up is scary. I’m a head case as it is, but I could not do it. I was so freaked out, I would throw up before shows. So I went into improv comedy, it was very difficult to do alone. So I went into improv comedy and I did a lot of straight acting classes and plays. I’ve always been a guy who approaches stand-up theatrically because I love acting too. Matter of fact, me and my wife read plays together. I always wanted to be a playwright when I was in college. I still romanticize about that. You know when I don’t romanticize being a playwright? When I sit down to write a play.

The theatricality comes through. I definitely got the sense that you had done theater just from watching you your stand-up. The way you’re able to project feels trained in some way.

My biggest influence when I was a kid was Jackie Gleason. Now I know that’s an old reference, but I’m an old guy. I just loved that kind of bombastic, larger-than-life type of person. His persona just fit into mine, because my whole stand-up milieu, sorry to drop French words, but my whole stand-up thing is I’m channeling my dad’s operatic rage. He’s Sicilian. On stage, I have that persona. But I’m really very quiet, frightened of everything. I forgot the question. Have I been doing good so far on this interview?

You’re doing great. No rules. My questions are always a ramble so whatever leads you to say something interesting I’ll just pretend I asked a better question. You said you first did stand-up when you were 20. Do you remember your first open mic and what made you want to do it for the first time?

Well, getting back to my playwriting joke, I wanted to be a stand-up, and then I tried it. I was a big Richard Pryor, George Carlin fan, big time. And then SNL just started too, and I got into Steve Martin as well. But those guys, Pryor, particularly, and Carlin, made me want to do stand-up.

So you just sought out an open mic somewhere? Was there anyone in your own life that you saw do comedy, where you’re like, “Oh, that’s a thing that I could do.”

Yeah, this is wild, but I saw Dana Gould at Caroline’s. And I was like, “Who is this guy? I want to do stand-up like that.” And now I’m good buddies with Dana.

Do you have any memorably bad road gig stories?

Oh, memorably bad, hmm. You know, until recently, I’m very cautious with doing the road in front of the masses. I find the proletariat to be off-putting. Of course, I call the special “For the Masses,” but I mean, I will not go to the Chuckle Hut in Florida. I make sure I pick and choose. I think my worst road story was… Do you know this club called Rooster T Feathers?

Oh yeah. In Sunnyvale.

Sunnyvale, yeah. Kind of nice area. They put me up in a hotel in Cupertino. Fucking Apple is there and all these big places. And the hotel was really nice and I went swimming, but the gigs not so much. The gigs were… the people, it was a very mainstream crowd, and my stuff tends to be not that mainstream. But I’ll never forget, just the sparsity of those crowds. And I don’t know how to tone down my act for a smaller crowd, because I just perform one way. And I was doing these really high energy bits to like eight people who were in the middle of eating.

Was it different in the ’80s? They talk about the comedy boom or whatever. Were you performing at that time…

I wasn’t really doing a lot of stand-up in the clubs in the ’80s. I was doing acting, I was doing one-man shows, I was traveling with an improv group called Chicago City Limits. I did some stand-up, but I wasn’t part of that big ’80s boom.

Do you think that doing a lot of road gigs has a way of, I don’t know, dumbing down jokes, because you’re having to play to a less savvy audience or whatever?

Yeah, a little bit. I’ve been traveling… Before COVID, what I like to refer to as BC, I was traveling a lot with my buddy JT Habersaat, and he would pick all these cool rock venues. We went through the South. We went to Arkansas, Louisiana. We went to Oklahoma, Texas. And then we did also, we went back East, we did Philly, Connecticut. We did Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine, New York. And they were very off-beat venues, like theaters or bars. We did this great bar in Worcester, Massachusetts. We did New Hampshire. And it was just a great experience, and people were so great. I was particularly afraid to perform in the South, but it was great. And I’ve done Georgia. It’s like when they’re specialized venues… The idea is, and hopefully this special will help with this, is you get a fanbase, they see your stuff, and then they’re coming specifically for you, as opposed to some of these mainstream comedy clubs, where people are like, “Oh, comedy.” And they wander in and they’re like, “Why is he upset?”

Is that a big shift? When you’re first starting out in comedy, you’re always performing for people who have no idea who you are, but then if they do, it seems like that would affect the kind of jokes that you can do.

Well, it’s all comfort level. If you have what I like to call a home crowd. Taping the special, everybody was there to see me. So I felt super comfortable and I could do whatever I want, that does make a difference. But I have reached a point, and I think being a regular at The Comedy Store for I think three years, I feel like I really have learned how to perform for anybody now. Even if I did have to go to the Chuckle Hut in Florida, I think I could navigate it now, though I would rather not.

Are there things that you know that you could say that would make people laugh, but you don’t because you think they’re hack?

Sure. Like staying away from blatant sex jokes, you know what I mean? I tell the audience sometimes, “Look, I’m not going to be talking about my sex life, all right? I know you all want to know about it. It’s not happening tonight. We’re going to talk about the decay of this civilization and how, on the outside, we have maybe 20 years left.”

They touched on it a little bit in The Bitter Buddha, but what were some of the regular day job type things were you doing when you were trying to support your comedy dreams?

I think the funniest one, I was living in Staten Island before I moved. I’m the real King of Staten, you know what I mean? I didn’t like the fact that that movie was called King of Staten Island. But that’s a whole ‘nother issue I’m going to take up with Apatow. But I was sanding floors and installing hardwood floors on Staten Island. And I would go from sanding floors to acting classes, and I would still have the dust on me. Like if you touched me, dust would come up. That was a crazy job. Other jobs… Like any good actor in New York, I was waiting tables then catering, and I burned through a lot of those jobs.

It’s easier for me to imagine you as a guy with floor sand on your shirt in an acting class than you being a waiter for some reason.

I mean, I was a good waiter, but I really was… not a good waiter. I would lose my temper with tables, you know what I mean? They would start asking me for very specific things and I would just shake my head. They’d be like, “Oh, and can I get, instead of radicchio in my salad, is there any way they can do it with spinach leaves?” And I would just go, “Oh, God.” I would let my displeasure be known, to the point of one guy was ready to literally kill me in front of his family. He jumped up, got in my face.

I didn’t see you when you were a younger comic, maybe, but seeing you now, it feels like you do the kind of comedy that might not work for a twenty-something comedian. Do you think that you had to age into becoming the ideal messenger for your jokes?

Oh yeah. I’m always amazed to see the young comics who are so skilled. The guy who comes to mind for some reason, I work with him at The Comedy Store, is Fahim Anwar. He’s so young and he’s so funny. In The Comedy Store we do tag-team intros. And so he would intro me as his dad, and it was just hilarious to me. And I would come up and I would go, “I don’t like the young guys. What do they have to talk about, really? They have no life experience. They haven’t suffered.” Shit like that.

So are we ever going to find out how she got the shirt so fresh?

Well, I do say Downy at the end, I say, “Oh, Downy. Oh, thank you, thank you.” Now with COVID, that taping was done before this catastrophe. And COVID, this pandemic, has accelerated the depravity and the collapse I was talking about. I mean, economically, this country is in ruins and ecologically we’re even in worse shape. So the shirt so fresh bit, I think there’s a lot more material.

Sure, but are you going to have to change the ad? That feels like it comes from a slightly earlier age of corporate advertising. Now, maybe it’d be about Downy making a Black Lives Matter statement or something.

Yeah, yeah. I think that’s a hilarious take. I want to write some material on that, about how Chase Manhattan is into Black Lives Matter, you know what I mean? “Hi, we’re Chase Manhattan, and we don’t really pay taxes and we redline districts for black people who can’t get loans, but we do care. We do care about… You know what? At Chase, we care about whatever is trending.”

There you go, I like that.

Right? Not bad.

So you said your father was Sicilian. Was your mother also?

Jewish, my mother was Jewish. Yeah, so Sicilian-Jewish, intellectual and then just very viscerally angry.

[A long digression ensues in which Pepitone inquires about me and my family life, and how I’m coping with COVID, etc.]

Right, right, right. Gotcha. All right, well this isn’t me interviewing you, but I just had to know how you’re coping.

Well, it’s nice to know that. Good to know your interview subject cares about you too. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you really wanted to touch on before we?

I don’t think so. I mean, the question I ask myself every day is, how do you keep your looks?

‘For The Masses’ is currently free on Amazon Prime, and available on Tunes, Google Play, Xbox Video, Vudu, Pandora, SIRIUS XM, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, and Tidal. Vince Mancini is on Twitter. You can access his archive of reviews here.

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Adrian Wojnarowski Apologized For Emailing ‘F*ck You’ To A U.S. Senator From Missouri

While the NBA is gearing up for its upcoming return to play in its bubble league in Orlando, an unusual story emerged thanks to an email sent by the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ top hoops insider. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN found himself in hot water on Friday morning when an email he sent to Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, was posted onto Twitter.

Hawley, who has made being a China hawk one of his signature political issues, wrote a letter to Adam Silver in his quest to investigate the ties between the league and the country that made headlines last fall due to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. You can read the letter here if you’d like, but the release made its way to Wojnarowski’s inbox. In response, here is what Woj had to say:

Seeing as how you have been alive at any point in the last several years, this was promptly turned into quite the thing among more right-leaning media outlets. Several hours after Hawley posted his tweet, Wojnarowski issued an apology, and ESPN then reprimanded him for his “completely unacceptable behavior.”

Hawley — who it stands to reason is more well-suited to do something about foreign policy than Adrian Wojnarowski by nature of him being a United States senator — did not accept the apology, as his laser-focus is on ESPN calling out the NBA about its relationship with China.

Missouri does not have an NBA team. More than 120,000 Americans have died due to a pandemic over the last 4-5 months, with expanded unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs in recent months as a result of the economic struggles that exist due to the pandemic set to expire in 15 days.

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Kanye West Tells Donald Trump To ‘Be A Real Man’ In One Of His Three New Freestyles

A lot of headlines have emerged from Kanye West’s recent Forbes interview, in which, among other things, the rapper distanced himself from Donald Trump and was critical of the president. Those quotes came from what Forbes called “four rambling hours of interviews,” and now the publication has shared a few choice snippets of the audio they recorded. More specifically, they have posted three freestyles that Kanye spontaneously broke into during the conversation.

In one of them, he calls out Trump, referencing a late-May incident in which the POTUS was taken, along with Melania and Barron Trump, to the White House’s underground bunker while protests took place outside of the building. Kanye rapped, “How about we get a real plan? / How about we change up the meal plan? / How about we stop hiding in the bunkers and be a real man?”

Kanye mentioned the bunker elsewhere in the interview as well, saying of Trump, “It looks like one big mess to me. I don’t like that I caught wind that he hid in the bunker.”

Elsewhere in the freestyles, Kanye talks about his family’s experience with the OJ Simpson trial, religion, drugs, and other topics, so listen to the audio here.

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Ubisoft Reveled ‘Far Cry 6’ Will Feature Giancarlo Esposito Ahead Of Its ‘Ubisoft Forward’ Event

Gus Fring isn’t popping up in the Far Cry universe, but Giancarlo Esposito certainly is, according to a teaser trailer revealed by Ubisoft after a listing for Far Cry 6 was leaked online. Ubisoft’s weekend event got a bit more interesting on Friday when a listing for Far Cry 6 popped up online featuring the unmistakable likeness of Breaking Bad alum Giancarlo Esposito.

Shortly after the screenshots leaked, Ubisoft playfully acknowledged that Esposito will, indeed, be part of a new game by sharing a tweet with his digitized self lighting a cigar and exhaling.

“Anton would not be pleased,” the tweet from Ubisoft UK read. “See you on Sunday at #UbiForward.”

The tweet advertised Ubisoft Forward, its July 12 event that will shed new light on the next Far Cry and, presumably, some other titles coming in the next few months. Esposito is certainly an exciting addition to the game, likely as a villain. As pointed out in the screenshots, he’s apparently a dictator of Yara, “a tropical paradise frozen in time.” The character, Anton Castillo, will have to deal with a player-controlled guerilla fighter named Dani Rojas, according to Engadget.

The leak also suggested a February 18, 2021 release date, but we’ll see on Sunday if that’s what we should expect on this side of the pond as well.

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The Beths Celebrate Their Sophomore Album With A Scenic ‘Jump Rope Gazers’ Video

New Zealand indie rockers The Beths broke out with their 2018 debut record Future Me Hates Me. Follow its release, the band toured extensively with the likes of Death Cab For Cutie and The Pixies. Traveling the world, The Beths learned a lot about themselves, but vocalist Elizabeth Stokes found she still faced the same self-doubt. The Beths tackle those themes in Jump Rope Gazers, their sophomore album that was released Friday.

To commemorate the record’s release, The Beths graced fans with a video accompanying their sophomore effort’s title track. Directed by Annabel Kean, Stokes explores the picturesque New Zealand landscape with guitarist Jonathan Pearce.

“All the different landscapes were fifteen minutes walk from each other,” Stokes said about the visual. “I’d never seen sand dunes that big before, they were a beautiful dream. Walking up one was kind of like a nightmare though, they are so steep.” Kean added, “‘Jump Rope Gazers’ is a total heart-breaker, huge feelings track, and it was clear from the first listen that Sports Team had to go bigger than ever to match the calibre. So, we shot a 5-minute sci-fi alien adventure romance.”

About the track in general, Stokes said described her inspiration behind the expressive lyrics: “I’ve always dabbled in extreme sincerity, but always self consciously. I think there’s nothing scarier than just using the words ‘I love you’ in a song. In a love song. I didn’t manage it on our first album, but I guess I was ready for this one. The bass drum Tristan used for this one was a huge old modified marching bass drum. It’s the slowest tempo we have played, which gives us space to do things we wouldn’t normally be able to.”

Watch “Jump Rope Gazers” above.

Jump Rope Gazers is out now via Carpark. Get it here.

Some of the artists mentioned here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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Yeasayer Have Dropped Their Lawsuit Against The Weeknd And Kendrick Lamar Over ‘Pray For Me’

After a successful run as an esteemed experimental indie group in the 2000s and 2010s, Yeasayer called in quits in 2019. Despite that, the Brooklyn band has been in the news lately thanks to a lawsuit they filed against The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar. They sued the artists over their Black Panther song “Pray For Me,” which they attested sampled and altered a “distinctive choral performance” from their 2007 song “Sunrise,” claiming the sample was “immediately recognizable.”

However, it appears they have decided to not push the issue any further: Pitchfork reports that documents filed in a New York federal court say the band “confirmed to their satisfaction that no copyright infringement occurred.”

The lawsuit was initially filed this past February by the band and their We Are Free, LLC, against The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, producers Doc McKinney and Frank Dukes, and the labels UMG, Interscope, Aftermath, and Top Dawg Entertainment.

The Weeknd previously denied the copyright claims in court documents, saying his song “does not capture any actual sounds” from Yeasayer’s track, adding, “Each and every allegation contained in the complaint not specifically admitted herein is denied. The sound recording of ‘Pray For Me’ does not capture any actual sounds from the sound record, ‘Sunrise.’”