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M.I.A. Producer: 'Born Free' Video Started As Joke; New Album Will 'Scare People'

When M.I.A.'s music video for "Born Free' premiered on Monday, just about every Internet outlet stamped it with a "viewer discretion advised" tag. The graphic, 10-minute video, directed by controversial visionary, Romain Gavras, left many viewers stunned and was pulled from YouTube for its violent imagery. Soliciting such a heated reaction, some might find it ironic that the concept started off as a joke.

"We [had] been talking about [the idea] since the start of the year, [but] I didn’t think she'd actually do it," says Christopher "Rusko" Mercer, M.I.A's lead producer for her as-yet-untitled third album. "It was one of those joking ideas where people would beat the shit out of me because I was ginger [a natural redhead]. It has a whole double meaning. The gingers are kind of anyone who’s been oppressed. She’s so deep and crazy political."

The English producer also explained to VIBE that the video's shock-value mirrors that of M.I.A.'s forthcoming album. "Her record is going to scare people I think. We went a bit crazy - really, really, really left. But then again if you’re an M.I.A. fan, you want to be surprised and be like 'Whoa, what the hell is that?'"

Rusko, who says he and M.I.A. wrapped up the album in Hawaii, shared details on what fans can expect sonically.

"We stood in waterfalls recording with microphones. We recorded her kid's heartbeat and cracking ice - really experimental," he says. "We recorded 20-minute jams of me on the computer with my synthesizer and M.I.A. trying different lyrics and singing styles. Then we just pieced it together afterwards. We wanted it to have a live feel. Almost like [there was] an electronic band behind her."

Though Rusko says M.I.A. is still delivering her usual "everything's fucked up" spiel, the new wife and mother will also be showcasing a surprisingly softer side. "There’s two or three different mentions about her baby and her new fellow as well. It’s not all ‘Fuck the world.’ There’s a track made out of power drills and electrical tools, which sounds like craziness and then there’s a song with a piano and organs in it," he says. "I figure a beat made out of chainsaws is just as surprising as a love song with M.I.A. singing beautifully. Both are not what you would expect."

Rusko is currently prepping for his debut album, O.M.G, set for release May 4. M.I.A.'s third album is scheduled to drop on June 29. —Tracy Garraud

 

SEE ALSO: Cultural Critic Toure Defends M.I.A.'s 'Born Free' Video

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Tory Lanez Sued For Alleged Attack In Miami Nightclub

Tory Lanez is facing legal trouble over an alleged altercation that went down inside Miami’s LIV nightclub last year. Christopher “Prince” Harty, an up-and-coming artist and Miami promoter who appeared on Love & Hip-Hop: Miami claims that Lanez attacked him last November.

The onetime reality star alleges that Lanez, along with his entourage and security team, punched and attacked him in the nightclub. According to reports, Prince claims to have suffered blunt force trauma to his head, neck, and chest, in addition to contusions, bruises and anxiety, as a result of the incident. He is suing for unspecified damages.

“They backed me into a corner, and once I was there, they started stomping on me, jumping me,” he recalled to NBC Miami.

He believes that the friction stemmed from an Instagram post about music. “They felt that I was insinuating that they stole the record from me, and I was just like, no, I would never do that, that was never my intention. I had no issue with him at all.”

A portion of the incident was captured on cellphone video. Prince stated that he knew Lanez prior to the run-in, and helped get him into clubs before.

His attorney, Marwan Porter of Porter Law Firm, called the violent incident “a chronic problem” with Lanez who is accused of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in July. The 28-year-old recording artist has yet to publicly address either incident.

Hear more from Prince in the video below.

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Cardi B Opens Up About Filing For Divorce From Offset

Cardi B took to Instagram Live on Friday (Sept. 18) to air out a few things about filing for divorce from Offset.

The Bronx rapper made it clear that she didn’t file for divorce as a publicity stunt to promote her upcoming album. “I’m not doing it for clout and on top of that I don’t need stunts to sell music,” she said. “I’m not [trying to] brag but don’t ever say I’m doing anything for clout. My first album is three-times platinum and I didn’t need no stunts to do that. My [“Wap”] single is no. 1 worldwide why would I need stunts to sell music? I don’t need stunts — [especially] when it comes to family — to sell anything, so don’t play yourself.”

As for the reason for the divorce filing, the estranged couple simply grew apart. “Nothing crazy out of this world happened, sometimes people really do grow apart. I been with this man for four years. I have a kid with this man, I have a household with this man…sometimes you’re just tired of the arguments and the build up. You get tired sometimes and before something happens, you leave.”

“I just wanna' be a free bird,” Cardi said after questioning whether people secretly want infidelity to be the reason for the split.

“I am the f**king clout,” she added. “I never needed anything. I never needed no stunts to sell sh*t.Why would I need anything to sell my next album?”

Speaking of the new album, Cardi has been indecisive about choosing her next single because “WAP” did so well. “That means that my second single has to be even better.”

Towards the end of her venting session, Cardi reiterated that she’s focusing on her work, and revealed that she's starting new business for her daughter Kulture.

 

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A post shared by HIPHOLLYWOOD (@hiphollywood) on Sep 18, 2020 at 10:23pm PDT

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Barack Obama Announces Release Date For ‘A Promised Land’ Memoir

Following the mega-success of his wife’s Becoming release, Barack Obama is poised to debut his own memoir, A Promised Land, this fall. The former president made the literary announcement on Twitter on Thursday (Sept. 17).

“There’s no feeling like finishing a book and I’m proud of this one,” Obama tweeted while explaining that he tries to give an “honest account” of his presidency in the book. The release will also touch on “the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our division and make democracy work for everybody.”

There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. In 'A Promised Land,' I try to provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody. pic.twitter.com/T1QSZVDvOm

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 17, 2020

The highly anticipated and introspective release takes readers on a “compelling journey” and details Obama’s “improbable odyssey from a young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world.” Included in the memoir are striking personal details about his political education, as well as landmark moments from his first term presidency.

The Obamas secured the reported $60 million book deals around a year after ending their tenure in the White House. Michelle Obama’s book became the best-selling memoir in history.

A Promised Land is currently available for pre-order at Obamabook.com. The memoir will be released on Nov. 17.

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