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Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash Light Up Super Bowl XLV Halftime Show

August 16, 2011

Foursome is joined by special guests and tons of lights for smash-hit medley.
By Mawuse Ziegbe

Black Eyed Peas perform during the Super Bowl XLV halftime show
Photo: Getty Images

The Black Eyed Peas promised a party at the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday (February 6), and the pop supernovas definitely delivered, with a performance teeming with lights, dancers and surprise appearances from celebrity pals.

Following a commercial that showed animated versions of the Peas showing off their social-media skills, the group kicked things off with their 2009 smash “I Gotta Feeling,” descending from the ceiling on illuminated platforms onto a stage surrounded by a cluster of dancers clad in white bodysuits. The foursome led the team of fist-pumping troops in “Tron”-like getups, with Taboo sporting an outfit covered in flashing lights, rocking a shiny hairpiece, wearing huge bright studs and Fergie vamping it up in bling-laden shoulder pads.

When the speaker-busting bass of “Boom Boom Pow” dropped, the dancers dispersed across the field to create arrow-shaped formations as the glow-in-the-dark lights on their suits illuminated the stadium. Then rumored surprise guest Slash of Guns N’ Roses rose from below the stage for a “Sweet Child O’ Mine” duet with Fergie. The GNR great rocked a finger-searing solo in a studded version of his signature black top hat as more angular platforms and dancers moved across the gridiron. The platforms were bearing scores of marching-band musicians who blasted their horns and pounded away on their drums as the Peas went into “Pump It” and blue lights splashed across the production.

Quick streams of fog heralded the arrival of the Peas’ second surprise guest, Usher, who swooped in on a long chain to bust out his joint “OMG.” Rocking a sparkly collar on an otherwise all-white ensemble, the R&B hitmaker cranked out several counts of energetic choreography, enlivening moves from his “OMG” video and at one point jumping over Will and landing in a split.

A spray of pyro ushered in the collective’s breakout 2003 hit “Where Is the Love?” as the oddly shaped platforms spelled out the word “Love” in bright-red letters. The team of dancers, which appeared to have multiplied to over 100, formed hearts across the field as will updated the lyrics of the smash with lines like, “Obama, let’s get these educated.”

Then the group jumped ahead to their most recent single, 2010’s “The Time (Dirty Bit),” as several back up hoofers rocking cubed helmets joined the Peas onstage and dancers lined up along the gridiron to simultaneously bust out the Running Man, a move which drew cheers from the crowd.

The platinum-selling Peas wrapped up the performance with a reprise of “I Gotta Feeling,” as the quartet triumphantly signed off amid of blitz of fog, firepower and flashing lights.

Ripping the halftime show was clearly a touching moment for will, who tweeted beforehand, “Me and apl started the peas when we were 16 yesterday we were dreamin now were livin it. Wow. I’m not crying out of sadness or nervousness its joy and pride and memories and the journey.”

And once the crew left the stage, the frontman was not only proud, but pumped. “That was so freakin sick,” he wrote. “Wow…!!!”

What did you think of the Black Eyed Peas’ Super Bowl performance? Let us know in the comments!

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Justin Bieber Doing NKOTB? Jim Jonsin Reveals Ideas

July 15, 2011

Producer says he would like to help Biebs channel New Kids on the Block, New Edition and Kelly Rowland.
By Rob Markman

Justin Bieber
Photo: Christopher Polk/ Getty Images

Multi-platinum producer Jim Jonsin has some interesting plans for when he gets in the studio with Justin Bieber. No, he won’t be coupling the teen-pop sensation with B.o.B, but rather he will try to capture the vibe of NKOTB.

“For Bieber, I think I want to reach back to New Edition, those days,” Jonsin initially said before referencing another 1980s Boston-bred boy band. “I want to try to do something like that — ‘Please Don’t Go Girl,’ New Kids on the Block — because the girls would go crazy. Maybe not that song, but something that feels like that: little bit of soul, R&B, but pop as well.”

While the track pre-dates the 17-year-old Bieber by about four years, “Please Don’t Go Girl” was the first single from NKOTB’s sophomore album, Hangin’ Tough, and ultimately put the group on the map. The ballad, which featured Joey McIntyre as the lead vocalist, drew comparisons to New Edition’s 1983 single, “Is This the End” — not surprising considering both acts were founded and produced by Maurice Starr.

It isn’t all about the ’80s however: Jonsin also would like to produce something more modern for JB as well, using Kelly Rowland as a reference. “And then I’d love to put him on something like that ‘Motivation’ type of track,” he said of the hit Rowland single he helped create. “Just a hard beat that he could sing something super slick [on].”

Jonsin admits that, at first, he didn’t know what to make of Justin, but thanks to the Biebs’ “Never Say Never” film, the hitmaker has a newfound respect for the young star. “When I watched the movie with my 8-year-old daughter, I was floored and inspired at who he was as a person. He’s a good kid, he’s a philanthropist, he’s a good role model,” Jonsin said. “I have a newfound respect for the young man, and I’m honored to work with him.”

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SL Jones Carves Out His Own Identity, Aside From Killer Mike

July 15, 2011

‘Everything I’ve experienced is someone else’s experience,’ he tells Mixtape Daily of starting from ‘ground zero.’
By Rob Markman

SL Jones
Photo: MTV News

Fire Starter: SL Jones
Little Rock, Arkansas, native SL Jones didn’t start out wanting to rap, but moving to Atlanta and hanging around acts like Outkast and Killer Mike can provide plenty of inspiration.

“I started out as a graphic artist, so I love to draw, and then I went to Atlanta with a passion for drawing, and when I got there, I found my passion for music,” Jones told Mixtape Daily.

After making the move three years ago, SL began recording music that found its way into the hands of Killer Mike, thanks to a studio engineer who worked at Outkast’s Stankonia Studios in ATL. Mike took Jones under his wing and added him to his Grind Time crew, a collective that also includes Maybach Music Group’s Pill. The first order of business for Jones was to drop his 2008 debut mixtape, C.O.L.O.R.S.

C.O.L.O.R.S was just me wanting to exist,” he said. “I remember that year in particular, Weezy had emerged, and he was just killing everything, and I was like, ‘Maaaan.’ I know I’m just as good as anybody out here, but how could people take you seriously if you don’t have one project out?”

Still, for a young spitter, hanging around more established acts can skew one’s perspective. Though he was hardly established, Jones was experiencing things that most rap rookies don’t get a chance to. It was important for him not to get caught in the hype.

“I’m in the studio, I’m around everybody. I’m around Outkast, Killer Mike. He done took me on tour with him, I done been around the country twice,” SL said. “At what point do you just go back to ground zero and say, ‘I gotta work for mines.’ Everything I’ve experienced is someone else’s experience.”

On his latest mixtape, The Number 23 — which serves as a nod to his native 23rd and Wolfe streets in Little Rock — SL hooked up with tape host and producer DJ Don Cannon and continued to carve out his identity.

“That meant a whole lot, because Don watched me grind,” he said. “It wasn’t like I came out of nowhere and just came with a check like, ‘Hey, Don, do this for me.’ ”

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