News Trending Viral Worldwide

Car Seat Headrest’s ‘Making A Door Less Open’ Is An Enjoyable Letdown

Sometimes the only thing more difficult than making an instant classic is figuring out what to do next. For Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest, whose 2016 album Teens Of Denial was one of the best indie-rock LPs of the previous decade, this process has dragged on for several years. Though unlike a lot of artists who have been in this position, Toledo hasn’t wasted time doing nothing. He’s worked throughout this fraught period, though at times it’s seemed as though he’s rigorously chasing his own tail.

In 2018, Toledo released a re-recorded version of one his greatest early LPs, Twin Fantasy. Originally put out seven years earlier on Bandcamp, Twin Fantasy was already an epic song cycle, though Toledo could now afford to lavish it with the spoils of a bigger production budget and his own improved skills as a record-maker. But as impressive as the Twin Fantasy redux was sonically, the project ultimately felt pointless, like tracing over a beautiful drawing with a more expensive pen. Instead of focusing on his next step, he was obsessing over “improving” an old album that was already great.

It turns out, however, that all the while Toledo was also working on a proper follow-up to Teens Of Denial, which finally arrives today after four years of tinkering in the form of Making A Door Less Open. It is the epitome of an “I don’t know what to do next” record, similar in some ways to the music U2 made in the ’90s after Achtung Baby, specifically in how Toledo has inevitably pursued the “electronic” detour that’s de rigueur for ambitious guitar acts, and also because he’s adopted a MacPhisto-like alter ego to free him from the spotlight’s glare. (More on that in a moment.)

To his credit, Toledo has truly hit upon a new artistic direction, dramatically simplifying his song structures and favoring sprawling, ambient soundscapes over overstuffed classicist rock. While markedly less dazzling than Teens Of Denial, Making A Door Less Open succeeds modestly because Toledo opts to not top his masterwork, instead carving a deliberately bumpier, less consistent path beyond it. This won’t be your favorite CSH record, but it will probably be the one you’re tempted to defend as “underrated.”

Actually, Making A Door Less Open is three slightly different records — the version that lives on streaming platforms is arranged differently than the vinyl and CD versions, which also have altered takes of a few tracks. The most substantial differences occur on a track tellingly called “Deadlines”: The digital album includes two versions of the song — including the best version, “Deadlines (Thoughtful)” — while the CD has one album track and one “bonus” acoustic take, and the vinyl sticks with just one “Deadlines.” (While I implore you to support your local independent record store by purchasing a physical copy, the best version of Making A Door Less Open is the digital one.)

Confused yet? One wonders if Toledo himself is also a bit bewildered. A recent New York Times profile painted the 28-year-old wunderkind as personally diffident and artistically bold, with the former quality sometimes undercutting the latter. This pertains especially to Toledo’s decision to conduct this press cycle under the guise of a new persona, Trait, which includes wearing a “Darth Vaderish” mask, even when doing an interview with a journalist over Zoom. The inherent awkwardness of this gambit — Toledo apparently decided to stop wearing the mask halfway into the conversation — is reiterated by its unfortunate timing. Somehow the gesture of donning headgear in order to comment on the nature of celebrity and the mass-entertainment industrial complex has less power when we all have to wear masks in order to go to the grocery store. The extraordinary became mundane in the space of single indie-rock album campaign.

Toledo front-loaded his distaste for indie celebrity by putting out the snotty, electro-punk “Hollywood” as a single. The track is important to Make A Door Less Open only in the sense that it’s the product of Toledo’s collaboration with CSH drummer Andrew Katz in the jokey side project 1 Trait Danger, which opened a creative portal for Toledo into the worlds of EDM, hip-hop, and improvisational music. Beyond that, however, “Hollywood” is among the very worst songs that Toledo has ever released, a charmless piece of obnoxious dreck that sounds like something Beck might have spent 10 minutes on during his Midnite Vultures period before moving on.

Fortunately, “Hollywood” is hardly indicative of the rest of Making A Door Less Open. Up until now, Toledo has tended to pack a dozen good song ideas into a single massive track, with scores of hooks and time-signature changes complementing that density of his lyrics. Making A Door Less Open, in comparison, embraces space. Rather than long songs made up of tuneful fragments, the new album has either long songs that stick with the same zone-out drone for several minutes or punchy pop songs that hit with more directness than any previous CSH album.

Much of what was special about Car Seat Headrest is inevitably lost in the process. Nothing on Making A Door Less Open rises to the anthemic swell of “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” from Teens Of Denial. At the same time, the mechanical menace of “There Must Be More Than Blood,” MADLO‘s best track, displays a newfound patience for creating a slow-boil simmer, in which Toledo’s deadpan vocal about feeling spiritually displaced by a profound personal change (“You were playing your music but you got drowned out / You go back to the old house but you’ve been locked out”) cuts against an unending post-rock groove spiked with screaming guitar squeals. This song, like “Deadlines (Thoughtful),” recalls David Bowie’s prog-funk hybrids on Station To Station, as well as CSH’s own “The Ending Of Dramamine,” one of the very best songs of their Bandcamp era.

Elsewhere, Toledo proves adept at writing straightforward and highly accessible indie-pop songs, whether it’s the hopped-up pop of “Weightlifters,” the spiky punk-folk of “Martin,” or the moody, National-like balladry “Life Worth Missing.” The most surprising aspect of Making A Door Less Open ultimately is how not alienating it is. Put another way: This is Will Toledo’s mask record?

Yes, it addresses matters of personal identity and how the internet can undermine your sense of self-worth. But it rarely delves as deep into those subjects as previous CSH releases. Next to Teens Of Denial, it feels glib, like using a mask as a metaphor … for hiding yourself. On its own terms, however, Making A Door Less Open is an enjoyable enough indie-pop record that for now, sadly, won’t be heard in the large theaters and festival spaces it was designed to dominate.

Making A Door Less Open is out now on Matador. Get it here.

News Trending Viral Worldwide

‘Harley Quinn’ Takes Aim At The ‘Release The Snyder Cut’ Crowd And ‘The Last Jedi’ Haters

Harley Quinn (which recently returned for season two) is the best reason to subscribe to DC Universe, although beginning this weekend, SYFY is airing between three and four episodes every Sunday night throughout May. The quicker you catch up, the quicker you can watch “Batman’s Back Man,” which focuses entirely on Batman. It’s the first episode of the animated series to do so, and in the extremely meta clip below, two fanboys, one in a Release the Snyder Cut shirt and the other sporting a “The Last Jedi is not canon” tee, complain about Harley Quinn having, uh, too much Harley Quinn.

“I can’t believe you want to watch this show,” the Snyder Cut bro (voiced by James Adomian) complains to his Last Jedi-hating buddy (Phil LaMarr), referring to Harley Quinn. “You know they just did a three-episode arc where Harley beats Penguin, Riddler, and Mr. Freeze, using nothing but her Mary Sue powers?” Sounds like every conversation on Reddit about Rey in The Force Awakens. And The Last Jedi. And…

After Snyder Cut grumbles that he doesn’t watch Harley Quinn “because I’m not a 12 year old girl,” even though he seems to know everything about it, he explains to Last Jedi why he watched all five seasons of Gotham, another, show without Batman. “It wasn’t a f*cking tsunami of virtue signaling,” he says. The clip ends with the Harley and Poison Ivy-less synopsis of the episode being read out loud, with one last whine from Snyder Cut: “If it sucks, we’re watching Family Guy.” A lot of people feel seen right now.

Watch the clip below (but dear lord, don’t read the replies).

New episodes of Harley Quinn hit DC Universe on Fridays.

News Trending Viral Worldwide

Drake Sings In French For The First Time In A Preview Of Even More New Music

Last night, Drake came out of nowhere and decided to take early ownership of May by dropping Dark Lane Demo Tapes, which compiles “[a lot] of the songs people have been asking for (some leaks and some joints from SoundCloud and some new vibes),” as Drake put it. That was great, but it turned out he wasn’t even done sharing new music that night. After the project dropped, he took to Instagram Live and teased even more fresh material.

On one of the tracks, Drake speaks French for the first time on one of his songs. Drake has surely spent some time surrounded by the language during his upbringing in Canada: about 20 percent of Canadians (about 7.2 million people) speak French as their mother tongue, and that number doesn’t even include those who speak French as a second language.

Additionally, Drake also played a new song of his with Roddy Ricch, which Boi-1da teased during an Instagram Live battle with Hit-Boy back in March.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see these tracks appear on Drake’s upcoming sixth album. He teased that release when announcing Dark Lane Demo Tapes, saying that he plans on dropping it this summer.

Watch Drake preview some more new music above.

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

News Trending Viral Worldwide

John C. McGinley Has Explained The Heartwarming Secret To His Performance As Dr. Cox On ‘Scrubs’

There has been a lot of talk about the brilliant sitcom Scrubs of late. A classic scene from the series went viral again in March because of how deftly it illustrates the necessity of social distancing. Soon thereafter, Zach Braff and Donald Faison started their Scrubs rewatch podcast, and it could not have come at a more perfect time. For longtime Scrubs fans, it’s like spending an hour with J.D. and Turk, who are best friends in real life as they were on the show, and it shows in the podcast. The twice-a-week episodes have been one of the few highlights of the pandemic.

I was also really looking forward to the the first appearance of John C. McGinley on the podcast. McGinley, of course, played Dr. Cox, the gruff doctor and mentor to J.D. Despite his penchant for ranting monologues and brutal insults, Dr. Cox not-so-secretly had a huge heart beneath his defensive posturing. How did McGinley manage to get that across in each episode, even as he was delivering irate monologues at the expense of Hugh Jackman?

As it turns out, McGinley — who often had to deliver lengthy, two-page, single-space monologues — kept composition notebooks, which he used to memorize his lines by writing down those monologues. In each of the composition notebooks, McGinley also wrote a clear mission statement: “Find a place below the text in every episode where you can say ‘I love you’ to Max.”

Max is McGinley’s son, who was born with Down’s Syndrome a couple of years before Scrubs premiered. “I decided underneath it all, so it’s not too drippy, that in every episode there had to be one spot where I, John (not Dr. Cox) got to say ‘I love you’ to Max.”

By way of example, Dr. Cox offers up an exchange he was with Carla on the seventh episode of the series, “My Super Ego.” “In this episode,” he says, “it’s right where I’m talking to Judy [Reyes], and I say, ‘Just because a guy has problems doesn’t mean he doesn’t need,’ and then there’s this long pause and it’s because I kept getting an apple in my throat, and then I said, ‘you.’ [The scene] reminded me that I took everything so goddamn seriously, this mission statement I wrote to Max. And it informs everything that Cox does [over the course of Scrubs].”

“I always consider the camera an x-ray machine,” McGinley continued. “It can see through an actor’s bullsh*t… so when an actor actually brings a mission statement that demands he find a place somewhere just underneath the text to say I love you to a kid who was just born with challenges, that pops. The camera goes, ‘It’s his truth!’”

And that is why John C. McGinley was so very good at playing the hard-ass with the heart of gold: Because he took a moment in every single episode to express his affection to his son.

Source: Fake Doctors, Real Friends with. Zach and Donald

News Trending Viral Worldwide

Beyonce And Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage’ Remix Boosts Charity Donations

Beyonce’s remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s viral hit “Savage” continues to impact pop culture. TMZ reports that the track — which dropped on Wednesday — has led to an increase in charity donations. Proceeds from the remix were already dedicated to Bread Of Life, a nonprofit in the two artists’ hometown, Houston, but TMZ reports that the nonprofit received 500 new direct donors within 24 hours of the song’s release.

Bread Of Life has been supplying food for families impacted by COVID-19 in the Houston area, setting up a drive-thru pick-up for families to get boxes of groceries. With donors’ donations ranging from $5 to $50, that money is being used to stock up supplies for the nonprofit’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Beyonce and her mother, Tina Knowles, have worked with Bread Of Life in the past, helping to build an apartment complex for people the organization supports.

The “Savage” remix also caused a bump in interest for OnlyFans thanks to the Jay-Z-penned line, “On that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans.” The subscription content site actually reached out to invite Beyonce to join, while The Daily Beast reports that OnlyFans experienced a 15 percent spike in traffic after the shout out.

Listen to Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” remix above.

News Trending Viral Worldwide

Hafthór Björnsson Tells Us What It’s Like Training For A World Record Deadlift Attempt

Hafthór Björnsson is the most famous Strongman competitor in the world, thanks in part to his role as The Mountain in Game of Thrones. But beyond his fame, he’s also one of the elite competitors on the Strongman circuit, most recently winning his third-straight Arnold Strongman Classic earlier this year.

On Saturday, May 2, he will look to set a new world record with a 501 kilogram deadlift, as he seeks to break the record of 500 kg set by Eddie Hall at the 2016 Europe’s Strongest Man competition. Last week, Björnsson spoke with Uproxx on behalf of Reign Total Body Fuel about his upcoming world record attempt (12 p.m. ET, livestreamed on ESPN and CoreSports), what training has been like in his garage at home, what his schedule has been like getting ready for a world record deadlift attempt, and why he’s very confident after pulling 470 kilograms (with ease) last week.

I know you’re used to traveling around the world for competitions and things, so how are you handling being at home for the lockdown and training at home?

Honestly, I’m handling it quite well. The funny thing is, when I prepare myself for a competition I usually do isolate myself a lot. I spend a lot of time at home. I meal prep, I eat my meals, I train. The only real difference right now is that I’ve been training more in my garage, and that’s the only difference. The reason why I’m training in my garage is I want to show people support and show people that you don’t have to have all the fancy equipment. If you have a bar and a small garage, you can do a whole lot with just that by itself. I’ve been using bands more in my sessions, and I’m still gonna hammer. I always have my own gym and my own facility, so I could train there, but because of COVID-19, obviously trying to stay home as much as possible.

With regards to that, I mean, most of us can’t do what you do, but what are some things that you think people can be doing at home to stay fit and continue staying in physical shape which can be tough at home?

So actually a great tip I can give them is to shoot them over to our YouTube channel called Reign Total Body Fuel. My wife and a lot of other team members from Reign have been shooting some awesome content for people at home. They’ve been using bands and just been figuring out stuff you can use to train at home, so there’s a lot of awesome stuff to see there. I definitely recommend people go there if they’re beginners or they don’t have the bars, and want to use body weight or bands, definitely check that out.

When did you decide that you wanted to go for this deadlift world record?

Funny thing is, I’ve seen some rumors online that people think I’ve been trying to break this for four years now, that’s actually incorrect. I have never had chance to break the 501 kg deadlift with a deadlift bar the last two years, actually. 2019, I trained for the Arnold Strongman Classic and I pulled 501 kilograms to my knees, but I didn’t finish the lift. That was with an elephant bar, it’s a different bar and I’m also not allowed to use a deadlift suit, which makes things much more difficult. It wasn’t until this year when World Ultimate Strongman reached out to me and told me that they want to have a regular deadlift bar with the suit with figure eight straps, the same way Eddie Hall has the world record now. So I accepted that and I said I’m going to accept this challenge. I’m going to train for it, and you know I’m going to compete.

And that’s what I did, but then COVID-19 came along and everything got postponed or canceled, and I was trying to figure out ways — I was very disappointed obviously, because I already had worked so hard and my strength was at a very good place. So I thought to myself, what if I host a small show here in Iceland, where I only compete and just pull 501 for the fans, for people at home who are in lockdown and have nothing to do. What if I make something exciting happen so people have something to look forward to? So that’s when I called World Strongman and brought that idea up to them, and we decided to do it together. So now I’m going to do it in Iceland in my gym because of COVID-19.

There will be very few people there, under the limit of 20 people, we’ll be under that just to be safe. I’m going to have a doctor on the spot. I’m going to have the best referee in the world in Magnus ver Magnusson. It’s going to be livestreamed on Core Sports, ESPN, Rogue Fitness YouTube channel, and even on my Twitter account. So it’s going to be great, and I’m just super excited to be able to do this with this bad situation going on.

I feel like part of the process for this and a tricky part of this has to be crafting your training regimen and figuring out the right pacing to go for such a high weight. What was that process like in figuring out how to go week by week and build your body up to go for a weight like this.

That’s a good question. I have a great team around me. Even though I’m a professional athlete and I know what I’m doing, I still have a great coach behind me in Sebastian Oreb and with him and my team we have been working close together to figure out the best way possible for me to achieve this. And that’s why I’ve been so successful, because I haven’t been afraid to have good people around me. If you saw my 470 kilogram deadlift from two days ago, you probably have a strong feeling that I’m capable of pulling 501 right now, actually.

I’ve learned a lot about strength recovery. I have 10 days right now to get my body fully rested back and come in absolutely in the best shape of my life and smash that record. And I’m super, super confident. With the help of my sponsors, Reign Total Body Fuel, Rogue, all these great guys — Transparent Labs, Revive — without them this wouldn’t be possible. They’re sticking behind me and I know that I’m going to be able to pull 501.

What does your training schedule look like, or I guess has it looked like in the months leading up to this, and how different is it from the training you would do for a Strongman competition?

So the only difference really is I’ve been practicing less Strongman movements — absolutely none, to be honest. I skipped all the Strongman movements and I’ve been focused more on static strengths, and obviously mostly on the deadlift. That’s why I’ve been improving so fast there because I have more into it when it comes to my deadlift days. I’ve been training squats also as well, but nothing too heavy so I don’t get my body fatigued for when I need to do my deadlifts. Pressing days are still, you know, nothing too heavy but I’m still putting in the work. But nothing that will affect my performance when it comes to deadlift, and that’s what I’ve been able to do. I’ve been adjusting everything towards the deadlift, so the deadlift will improve the fastest.

And, you know, yeah, the days are mostly the same. I wake up. I start the morning by having my breakfast: six eggs, rice, and two hours later I have steak, rice, peppers, carrots. It’s all about being super consistent. I eat that, then right before my sessions, I throw in Reign Total Body Fuel to get my caffeine. At my session, I eat more food and just more, more, more. Steak, consistently. I treat the food like my work. The training is the easy part here, the hard part is the diet.

Finally, you mentioned your attempt got picked up by ESPN over here in the states. What does it mean to have that kind of platform for something like this?

That’s huge. I’m actually just honored and super excited that ESPN was willing to livestream my lift. That makes me very proud and excited for the future for Strongman, because I believe this is only going to grow the sport. I think this is the future, livestreaming Strongman events, and hopefully the audience can grow.

News Trending Viral Worldwide

Madonna Announced Eyebrow-Raising Pandemic Plans In A New ‘Quarantine Diary’

Musicians are finding different ways to occupy their time during the coronavirus pandemic. For Madonna, that has meant releasing her “Quarantine Diary” series, creatively filmed videos in which she shares whatever is on her mind at the time. Her latest one (the 14th installment) came yesterday, and in it, she declares her intentions to go out and “breathe in the COVID-19 air.”

In the video, she says, “Took a test the other day, and I found out that I have the antibodies. So tomorrow, I’m just going to go for a long drive in a car, and I’m going to roll down the window, and I’m going to breathe in. I’m going to breathe in the COVID-19 air. Yup. I hope the sun is shining. […] Here’s the good news: Tomorrow’s another day and I’m going to wake up and I’m going to feel differently. Start all over again.”

View this post on Instagram

#staysafe #staysane

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on

The coronavirus antibodies test Madonna mentioned determines whether a person carries antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). If they do, they’ve previously been infected with the coronavirus, whether or not they were outwardly symptomatic. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently noted, however, that contrary to what Madonna seems to believe, “there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

So, in general, it’s probably not a great idea to leave the house for the sole purpose of trying to lure the coronavirus into your body.

News Trending Viral Worldwide

Guest Appearances On The ‘Parks And Recreation’ Quarantine Special, Ranked

The Parks And Recreation reunion special filled itself with delightful moments that added up one of the most pleasant half hours of quarantine-based programming we’ve seen since our current situation began. There were callbacks aplenty (with one curiously missing signature quote) and an emotional ending that made folks truly sentimental, five years after the beloved comedy bid farewell to primetime. If folks were worried that the political framing of the original show would ruin the reunion vibe, those fears have now evaporated. Overall, the effort was a success that will hopefully raise plenty of money for their cause, Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, for which folks can make donations right here. All contributions will be matched by the reumion’s sponsors until May 21, so folks have time to toss any feasible contributions into the pot.

The special not only contained O.G. cast members — Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta — but more than a handful of guest appearances from the Pawnee universe made entrances. Even though all of them were welcome in our living rooms, we can’t resist ranking them (and maybe bending the roles of what “guest” actually means during these unprecedented times).

8. Perd Hapley:

Someone had to come in last, no offense to Jay Jackson, who portrayed the host that’s now fronting Ya’ Heard? With Perd. Through no real fault of his own (other than exuding less pizazz than his competitors), Perd mostly functioned as a framing device for several of the more entertaining guests who landed on this special.

7. Dennis Feinstein:

The first Pawnee-based commercial came from Dennis Feinstein, who’s now shilling a “Miracle Cure” that he’s snake-oil-salesman-ing all over the place. It’s a relevant tactic, of course, given what’s going down in White House press conferences and ultra-right-wing podcasts every day. And Jason Mantzoukas absolutely crushed the skeevy vibe while claiming that this potion-scent would kill any virus upon contact. This is actually a frightening interlude, so that takes away a few points toward the goal of becoming the “winner” within what’s otherwise a feel-good reunion.

6. Joan Callamezzo:

Mo Collins’ talk show queen, now host of At Home With Joan, got in a few decent (and drunken) wisecracks about Jennifer Lopes and her own unique way of receiving an EGOT. The segment was amusing enough, although Callamezzo (also) hits a little too close to home for all of us who are scarfing wine during the new Saturday night quarantine shuffle. Dare I say that Joan probably needed to up her game with a few gimmicks? That’s why she’s missing out on a higher ranking.

5. Dr. Jeremy Jamm:

Now, this guy’s got your gimmicks. Jon Glaser’s dentist character is perfectly willing to help out folks who are in dire need of dental care by selling them the drills to get the job done. Yikes, but this qualifies as morbidly amusing stuff, given that many of us are now wary of even getting a dental cleaning (or any other procedures that aren’t emergencies) anytime in the near future. The robe and the hair are also wildly on point here.

4. Tammy II:

Anyone who didn’t realize that Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are married probably wondered (at least for a few moments) how these two pulled off a wonderful stunt without upsetting the social-distancing balance. And even those of us who are aware of the real-life pairing found this breakaway — with Ron Swanson revealing that Tammy II had been lurking around his cabin and needed to be restrained — to be a wickedly funny surprise. What a well-planned reveal, and kudos to the writers and the cast for pulling this one out of their hats.

3. Jean-Ralphio Saperstein:

Ben Schwartz’s character’s slowly losing his mind, much like the rest of us, although it’s difficult to feel bad for someone who’s quarantined in a mansion. Still, this guest appearance was an inventive one, especially when one considers that he gave the best Pawnee-based commercial off the bunch. The guy wasn’t even advertising anything, other than his “personal phone number” (930-1-Ralphio) that he hopes might reap a little vocal company. He’s “sad,” and for good reason, because anyone who actually dials that phone number will find that it goes nowhere. A recorded message would have been a nice bonus, but we can’t have everything that we want.

2. Bobby Newport:

Although I may get pushback for not ranking a Paul Rudd character in the highest slot of any list, he’s still the first-place loser, so that must count for something. Newport surfaced in the special’s opening moments while brandishing a Knope 2012 sweatshirt and supposedly sequestering himself in Switzerland. He’s not the brightest bulb out there, but Newport still did a fine job of giving the Parks And Recreation audience all the necessary details on how to make Feeding America contributions. Oddly enough, it seems that learning of the COVID pandemic may have made Newport-Rudd look slightly older than a 25-year-old angel for the first time in history. This pandemic is getting to all of us.

1. Tie — Johnny Karate and Burt Macklin, FBI:

Alright, yes, I’m breaking a rule here if one doesn’t consider Andy Dwyer’s alter egos to be “guest appearances,” but all the rules have been broken in 2020, so why not continue that trend? Further, I’m humbled to be reminded that Chris Pratt is still capable of being terrifically funny (after going into action-nerd mode with the MCU and Jurassic World franchise), even when he’s “buff” rather than, well, you know how folks remember Andy’s previous physique. Through his alter egos, especially when it came to Johnny Karate, he made fans (and their kids) quite happy, which was the name of the game here, and that was even before Johnny Karate pulled a muscle “right in my butthole.”

Mr. Karate also did not shy away from showing some emotion while letting kids know that this quarantine might seem like it’s lasting forever, but that things will eventually land in a more tolerable state for them. Elsewhere, Andy briefly assumed the Burt Macklin persona while he was stuck outside in the shed as Aubrey Plaza’s April sat alone in the house with underwear on his head. Burt will eventually find his way out of the shed, but good on Pratt (and the writers) for reviving these alter-egos, which (at least for me) felt like the most emotional moments of the reunion before Pratt commenced with turned out to be a sentimental-ending musical number. What an unexpectedly rewarding special this turned out to be from the Parks And Recreation gang with Pratt as the surprise MVP.

The ‘Parks And Recreation’ reunion special is now available to stream on Hulu as well as NBC’s website and app.

News Trending Viral Worldwide

The Best Rap Projects Of April 2020

The rap game, like most industries, may be in a precarious position right now, but the music kept coming in April. This month there were projects from DaBaby, Westside Gunn, Smino, Tory Lanez and Guapdad, as well as releases from rap vets Skyzoo, Cormega, and Mike Dean, who released an instrumental album. Newcomers like Rod Wave and Kari Faux also dropped memorable projects that will help them grow their burgeoning fanbases. There was a wide variety of rap released in this first full month of spring, but here are the best 10 projects:

Westside Gunn — Pray For Paris

Griselda’s resident showman is back with another collection of soulful tracks that fuse the opulent and gritty into a compelling package. On Pray For Paris, his third studio album, the Griselda rhymer sets himself apart from his stylistic peers with an effervescent charisma that hammers home factoids like, “keep a loaded firearm in Mercedes armrests” on “327” with Tyler The Creator and Joey Badass. Gunn has indicated that he’s looking to fall back from rapping and embrace a behind the scenes role with Griselda. While Pray For Paris may not be the year’s best lyrical display, his curatory skills and ear for beats like “No Vacancy” “$500 Ounces,” and “LE Djoliba” show that his fingerprints will still be all over the game even when he’s not rapping.

Conway — LULU

Conway’s LULU was technically released at the end of March, but it deserves to be acknowledged as fans of the Buffalo MC’s gritty lyricism were likely bumping it all April. The Machine linked up with The Alchemist on the seven-track display of his stellar lyrical ability. The EP title — and song titles — take reference from 2001’s Paid In Full, Dame Dash’s cult classic retelling of the 1980’s Harlem drug trade. The project’s ubiquitous menace is interlaced with witty boasts like “Gold BBSs’” “why the popo so vexed for? / they raid the wrong house, we had the dope and money next door“ that could have made LULU the perfect soundtrack for the film.

Smino — She Already Decided

Smino has a thing for unconventional rollouts. His NOIR album was released days earlier than expected, and She Already Decided, his second official mixtape, was prepped with a reference to a mixtape “on ice.” The St. Louis rapper is using this quarantine period to develop his upcoming third album, but decided to appease his eager fanbase with a 16-tracker that’s way more than an appetizer. The project shows Smino still in his groove, crafting genre-bending tracks over a versatile suite of beats from the Three Six Mafia-sampling “Popeyes” to the smooth “Already,” where he boasts,” I walk around like a whole legend, ‘cause I am that already.” S.A.D. is a glowing exhibition of Smino’s wide-ranging talents.

Tory Lanez — The New Toronto 3

If there’s any silver lining of this bleak moment in time, it’s been Tory Lanez and Quarantine Radio, the Instagram Live stream that got so raunchy it was temporarily banned. His cheeky “radio guy” persona is a glimpse of the charisma that’s all over The New Toronto 3, his latest project. Tory is either admired or maligned for his versatility, which he’s exploring to the fullest extent on the 16-track project. The anthemic “Stupid Again” is the project’s first highlight, as he’s seemingly 80-feet tall over an urgent production that meets his height. He uses a similar flow to celebrate his nothing-to-something come up on “P.A.I.N.,” before giving the thumbs down to romance on “Who Needs Love.” In all, The New Toronto is another solid collection of tracks that show off Tory Lanez’ on-the-pulse ability to explore different styles and execute with impressive efficiency.

Quelle Chris & Chris Keys — Innnocent Country 2

Some artistic efforts seem to be guided by divine timing. In 2015, rapper-producers Quelle Chris and Chris Keys collaborated on Innocent Country, a beloved project in the bustling underground scene. The two could have released their sequel any time, but the reflective effort just so happened to drop in 2020, during a period where listeners have plenty of time to sit with the knowledge they’re dropping. Innocent Country 2 is chockful of features like Earl Sweatshirt (“Mirage”), Pink Siifu (“Grease From The Elbows”), and Homeboy Sandman (“Sacred Safe”), but the project is still defined by Chris Keys’ warm production and Quelle’s matter-of-fact reflection and sharp social commentary like, “you don’t get no likes, you might decide to switch yo image” on “Bottle Black Power BUY THE BUSINESS.”

Guapdad 4000 — Platinum Falcon Tape, Vol. 1

In between Falcon Fridays, Rona Raps sessions with his rap peers, and freestyle pleas for, umm, companionship, hip-hop resident scammer Guapdad had time to drop off a six-pack that could serve as another primer for those who still primarily know him for his viral antics. Project standout “Greedy‘ starts with context for his foray into scamming before devolving into remorseless reflections such as “fuckin’ hoes while my brothers going in their purse.” Vol. 1 veers from the bouncy title track and the trap-driven “Greedy” to fraud anthem “Embezzle” and “Peanut Butter Pootie Tang,” which somehow describes how smooth the track is. Guap’s Bay influence is evident on the project full of capers scored by lush, cruise-worthy soundscapes.

Rod Wave — Pray For Love

When it comes to becoming a star, time doesn’t mean as much as relatability. Florida’s Rod Wave is the perfect example. He’s become one of the game’s hottest young rappers with soul-bearing music such as Pray 4 Love, his latest offering. The 14-track mixtape is a stellar offering to a bluesy, piano-driven wing of trap music defined by confessionals such as “I Remember,” a sentimental reflection of bygone days. But the project isn’t all vulnerability and gloom, as he muses about “Girl Of My Dreams” and “pray to God that I can see the mornin” on “Ribbon In The Sky,” a gripping depiction of the very streets that have left him wayward.

Kari Faux — Lowkey Superstar

Kari Faux is one of the game’s most unheralded new artists, but that’s going to change with more efforts like the oxymoronic Lowkey Superstar. The eight-track project shows off the Little Rock, Arkansas artist’s star quality, from the bouncy, rock-tinged “While God Was Sleepin’” to “Actors, Rappers, & Wrestlers,” where she breaks up the album’s self-affirming bars with vocals where she lets would-be suitors know “I’m not that wife type.” The swaggering project is a brash dose of confidence for fans of smooth trap music and like-minded women unencumbered by patriarchal standards.

Skyzoo & Dumbo Station — The Bluest Note

Skyzoo is unabashedly Brooklyn to the death, but it was a chance encounter in Italy inspired that fueled his latest effort, The Bluest Note. He met Italian nu-jazz band Dumbo Station while on tour in 2017, which sparked a collaborative relationship leading to a full of dense lyricism over a live jazz soundscape. He has said he longed to “connect my lyricism with the truest definition of musical lyricism: jazz,” and did so in impressive fashion on tracks like the lush “There It Goes“ and “We (Used To) Live In Brooklyn, Baby,” where he speaks for many by noting, “sometimes I sit back, reflect on the place that I lived at / and how was it was, I can’t get back” over melancholy horns.

Cormega — MEGA

During the very last week of the 2010s, Queens rapper Cormega dropped MEGA. The project may have fallen through the crack of retrospective and 2020 predictions (which were ALL way off the mark). This month MEGA decided to re-release the project with two new tracks. On “Live Your Best Life,” Cormega links with Mobb Deep’s Havoc to affirm their status as OGs with rhymes like “I’ve seen valleys and peaks now I’m mentally prepared.” The project is full of Cormega’s rewind-worthy insights on his maturation, overcoming adversity and the modern rap game, as Sheek Louch gripes about “IG rappers” chasing fleeting fame on “City Of God.” The thoughtful project is backed by soulful, triumphant production, which is a soaring bed for Cormega’s sage insights.

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

News Trending Viral Worldwide

Justin Bieber And Ariana Grande Are Teasing A ‘Special Announcement’

A lot of things in entertainment are subject to delay or cancelation right now, but there are still new things being announced. For example, it looks like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande have something in the works, as both took to social media yesterday to tease a “special announcement” coming today (May 1).

Yesterday, Bieber tweeted, “Special announcement tomorrow at 10 am pst …” Grande then fanned the flames by re-sharing the tweet and adding, “see u there everybody.”

Neither have given any indication of what this announcement could be. It wouldn’t be surprising if the forthcoming announcement was for some sort of charitable endeavor, though, as artists are doing a lot of that during the pandemic. Either way, it wouldn’t be their first link-up. Grande joined Bieber for a few dates of his Believe Tour in 2013, and she also hopped on a remix of “What Do You Mean” in 2015.

Bieber also joined Grande for a surprise performance at Coachella in 2019, and he later said that moment gave him the confidence to return to music: “I was dealing with a lot of fear… just even the process. What am I going to talk about again? Is it going to be received? […] I seen the reaction of how people reacted when I went on the stage. Just kind of reminded me, ‘Oh, this is what I do. This is what I’m good at.’”