Leontyne Price (left, with Helen Vanni) makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in "Il Trovatore," New York, January 1961.
(Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Leontyne Price (left, with Helen Vanni) makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in "Il Trovatore," New York, January 1961.
(Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
MUSICREDEF PICKS
Silencing 21 Savage, Heavy Metal v. Nazis, Fooling Spotify, Kiss, Taylor Swift, William Shatner...
Matty Karas, curator February 18, 2019
QUOTABLES!
quote of the day
We performers are monsters. We are a totally different, far-out race of people. I totally and completely admit, with no qualms at all, my egomania, my selfishness, coupled with a really magnificent voice.
music
rant n' rave
rantnrave://

Happy Black Presidents Day... Like good artists in any medium, all good musicians and composers put their lives into their music. Sometimes it's literal and explicit, sometimes it's metaphoric and oblique, sometimes it's buried under seemingly impenetrable layers, but it's always there. Their experiences, their perspectives, their dreams, their fears, their anger, their love. When 21 SAVAGE rapped "been through some things but I can't imagine my kids stuck at the border" three weeks ago on THE TONIGHT SHOW, he wasn't just looking for something to rhyme with water (as in Flint), and he wasn't just filling bars with words. He was expressing himself, subtly revealing something about his identify, and, it turns out, putting his life on the line. When he was arrested by ICE officers a few days later for overstaying his US visa, they didn't tell him he was under arrest but they did say, "We got Savage," according to his accounting of the arrest. We. Got. Savage. We got the guy who was rapping about us on TV earlier this week. Anyway you try to connect those dots, it's chilling. (And yes I know it's suddenly become a wee bit harder to believe everything celebrities tell us. But he *was* arrested, he *is* facing the possibility of deportation, and you don't get to stop believing everything everyone says just because one guy may or may not have been lying to us. You just don't. But that's a whole different rant.) And now comes this final question from JON CARAMANICA's Q&A with 21 Savage in the NEW YORK TIMES: Will he put this experience into his music? "Not right now, 'cause I feel like me putting it into music got me in this situation, kind of." How much more literally chilling can you get? This isn't just a war on immigration. It's also a war on expression, a war on art. Shoutout to other rappers, or any other musicians, who have 21 Savage's back, and who are willing to put a part of themselves on the line to do so. Like J. COLE rapping a verse of "A LOT"—the song 21 SAVAGE performed on "The Tonight Show" (fantastic song, btw)—during his halftime performance at Sunday's NBA All-Star Game... According to BILLBOARD, ARIANA GRANDE's THANK U, NEXT just had "the biggest streaming week ever for a pop album," which means that according to Billboard DRAKE doesn't make pop albums, which is a bizarre take on the 21st century musical landscape, and I would like to suggest that everybody at Billboard read this... The RYAN ADAMS news, or maybe Adams' old label BLOODSHOT RECORDS' response to the news, prompted country-rock singer-songwriter LYDIA LOVELESS to air out her own uncomfortable experiences with the label. "Essentially, and sadly, true," label co-owned ROB MILLER acknowledges in a lengthy response... RIP U TIN, KEN NORDINE, JOE HARDY and X. RAY BURNS.

Matty Karas, curator

February 18, 2019