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The Curious Case Of Britney Spears: 5 Reasons Why The Princess of Pop Rules

Dissecting the unstoppable force that is Britney Spears is a complex and daunting task. Throughout her nearly 15-year career, there have been superior talents and performers (Christina Aguilera, Pink and Beyonce can easily sing the thin-voiced Spears under the table); cooler trend setters (stylish it-girl Rihanna); and more dynamic artists (The piano-tinkling Lady Gaga and the bubbly Katy Perry frequently write their own material, a skill set that Spears has yet to fully master).

Indeed, despite such modest talent, a litany of scandals, and changing musical tastes, Britney’s fame and influence towers over them all to the tune of over 100 million records sold worldwide.

This makes the eighth best-selling female music artist’s ongoing world-beating success all the more intriguing. If you were a betting individual in 2007, the sure money would have been on Britney becoming a cautionary pop music casualty. During that epic meltdown of a year, America’s Louisiana-born Sweetheart (way before Kanye West transformed future country megastar Taylor Swift into a modern day Joan of Ark) checked into a drug rehabilitation center; shaved her hair completely bald; physically threatened paparazzi with an umbrella; lost physical custody of her children to freeloading ex-husband Kevin Federline due to what was reported as mental instability; and was universally panned following an embarrassing zombie-like performance on the MTV Video Music Awards.

By January of 2008, the wheels had completely fallen off for the former teen-idol who once led the frenzied pop revival a decade earlier with her mammoth 1997 debut …Baby One More Time—an album that went on to amass 25 million copies across the globe. For her troubles, Britney was placed under involuntary psychiatric hold as the courts gave her father James Spears complete conservatorship over his troubled daughter.

Such a devastating freefall would have put a swift end to the careers of most mere music mortals. But just as everyone was scrambling to write her epitaph, the troubled singer was enjoying some of the most jubilant reviews of her roller coaster time in the spotlight with her fifth studio release Blackout. Rolling Stone gave the project a gaudy four-star rating, later calling the set, “Possibly the most influential pop album of the last five years.” The Observer proclaimed, “Britney has delivered the best album of her career.” Other glowing reviews followed as Blackout would go on to push over 3 million units, an astonishing feat for an act who had become a tabloid wet dream.

Following 2008’s acclaimed follow-up Circus and a $131 million grossing tour in 2009, it’s clear that the world’s endearing and somewhat strange love affair with Britney won’t be ending anytime soon. Her latest single, the tongue-wagging techno-pop romp “Hold It Against Me,” has shot to no. 1 on the Billboard charts. And her upcoming release Femme Fatale, due out March 29, is already breaking records, as it recently landed in the all-time top 10 on Twitter’s longest running trending topics. Not to mention blondie will have yet another chance at on-stage redemption when she performs at this year's Grammy Awards come Sunday.

So how does she do it? VIBE rounded up PopEater’s John Mitchell, Newsday’s Risa Dixon, pop and R&B songwriter/artist Keri Hilson and influential celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to find out why the controversial Spears continues to win. It’s Britney, bitches.--Keith Murphy

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Famous Dex Explains Why He Fell Asleep During Instagram Live

Famous Dex had his legion of fans concerned when he abruptly knocked out during a live stream with fans. After concerns of drug use sprouted from social media, the rapper has spoken out about the incident.

Getting back on Instagram Live Tuesday (Dec. 18), the rapper blamed his work ethic–not opioids or lean–as to why he dozed off. "First [off], I'm a human being," he said. "I work my a** off and once you put in overtime overnight and come in at 4am in the morning and go live, then hey. I'm not going to lie, I was tired and high at the same time."

In the wake of the deaths of Mac Miller and Lil' Peep as well as the recent rehab stint of Soundcloud rapper Lil' Xan, drug abuse in hip-hop is becoming a hot-button topic.

"Don't let the world trick you and be fooled," Dex said to the camera.

Dex has not held his tongue when it comes to admitting that he used several drugs in the past including lean which led to him being hospitalized.

Famous Dex falls asleep during his Instagram Live broadcast. ☹️ pic.twitter.com/9hztdIlqEC

— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) December 18, 2018

Check out the video below.

READ MORE: Hip-Hop Has An Opioid Problem Too, And It's Time People Cared

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Eve Says Her Record Label Had Trepidation About 2001 Gwen Stefani Collaboration

In 2001, Philly rapper Eve finally earned her breakthrough hit on the pop charts with "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," a bouncy hip-hop collaboration with No Doubt's lead vocalist Gwen Stefani. However, E-V-E revealed on CBS' The Talk that her record label at the time had doubts regarding Stefani's feature.

On Monday (Dec. 17), Stefani appeared on the show. Sharon Osbourne asked co-host Eve what she remembers from their first musical encounter 17 years ago to which Eve said, "I just loved Gwen. I was a huge fan, and I was like this is gonna work. Although, the label didn't think it would work."

Stefani responded, "Really? I thought it was the opposite. I thought they said, 'You need to have her on the record.' " Eve continued stating that she had to "fight" for Stefani and was "happy it happened."

 

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So fun being on @thetalkcbs @therealeve @sherylunderwood @sharonosbourne @carrieanninaba & @carnie68! #YouMakeItFeelLikeChristmas #thetalk #everybodytalks

A post shared by Gwen Stefani (@gwenstefani) on Dec 17, 2018 at 6:03pm PST

In 2002, just a month after the Dr. Dre-produced song took home the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Eve knew the duet was meant to be, telling VIBE, "Gwen and I had an instant connection both artistically and spiritually. We could have been sisters in another life."

"Let Me Blow Ya Mind" became one of many songs to enter the music industry stratosphere in the 2000s where black R&B/hip-hop stars worked with white pop/rock acts that would eventually expand each other's demographic.

Despite the song's success, it wouldn't be the last time the two artists worked together. Eve was featured on Stefani's top 10 hit "Rich Girl" in 2004 off her debut multi-platinum-selling solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby., and served as her opening act on Stefani's This Is What the Truth Feels Like Tour 12 years later.

Revisit the iconic hit below.

READ MORE: Swizz Beatz Says Busta Rhymes' "Touch It" Was Initially Made For Eve

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XXXTentacion attends the 2017 BET Hip Hop Awards.
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XXXTentacion's Posthumous Album 'Skins' Tops The Billboard 200

XXXTentacion's posthumous album Skins has topped the Billboard 200 albums chart, which marks the second time this year the late-20-year-old has held the number one spot. XXXTentacion was killed in Florida in June.

"The set, which was released on Dec. 7 via Bad Vibes Forever/EMPIRE, is XXXTentacion’s second No. 1, and it earned 132,000 equivalent album units in the week ending Dec. 13, according to Nielsen Music," reports Billboard of the news. "Of that sum, 52,000 were in album sales."

Skins is the first posthumous number one album since Prince's The Very Best of Prince, which catapulted to the top of the charts after his death in April 2016. XXX's album ? went No. 1 back in March 2018, and his first studio album 17 debuted at No. 2 in 2017.

The album featured one guest collaboration by Kanye West, who provided a controversial bar on the track "One Minute." He spits “Now your name is tainted, by the claims they paintin'/The defendant is guilty, no one blames the plaintiff.” A representative for West states that he was not defending XXXTentacion "or anyone in particular" on the song. At the time of his death, the young man. was awaiting trial for several domestic violence allegations against his then-pregnant girlfriend.

READ MORE: Kanye West Appears To Defend XXXTentacion In 'Skins' Album Verse

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