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Mayer Hawthorne On His 'Fun' Album, Working With Pharrell And His Advice To Danny Brown

Mayer Hawthorne just wants to have fun. The bespectacled singer is prepping to drop his third major label release, Where Does This Door Go, on July 16th led by the single “Her Favorite Song” featuring Jessie Ware (sort of). Mayer spoke to VIBE about why this album is different, genre labels and his advice to Danny Brown about groupies. --Sowmya Krishnamurthy

You’ve said that Where Does This Go, more so than your previous work, came out of your desire to have more fun. Are you having more fun in your life?
I threw every rule I ever had before out of the window and I decided that the ONLY rule was going to be that I had to have fun. The record had to be fun. I’m having the most fun that I’ve ever had in my life.

Is this because you moved to L.A.?
I think it’s just a general attitude of you know, whenever there’s a decision to be made, I go with the way that is most fun. You feel that way when you’re here. There’s California in the new album.

How did your collaboration with Jessie Ware, “Her Favorite Song,” come about?
Uh. That was a song that I came up with pretty much…I recorded like over 45 songs for this record and I had gotten to a space where I felt like I had done everything. I went into the studio, thinking I had done it all, and decided that uh, all the pressure was of. Then that was what came out. Jessie was cool enough to lend her vocals to the song. I linked up with her in L.A. when she came to do Coachella recently. She’s actually not featured on the song as it has been reported by the Internet. She just came in to do some extra vocals, some additional vocals. She wasn’t actually supposed to be featured.

Why are people saying she’s featured on the song then? Did some intern mislabel the file?
Uh, well. Not to bash all journalists, but lazy journalism is what it is.

Pharrell is on your album. How was that experience?
That was an incredible experience. Pharrell is a creative force. He’s one of those guys like Rick Rubin. When he’s in the room, it makes you more creative. It was really a pleasure to work with him and I can’t wait for people to hear what we came up with.

Pharrell is like Rick Rubin… but with flawless skin.
[Laughs]. Yeah, I guess. Without the beard.

You’re friends with rapper Danny Brown. Did you two speak about that groupie fan that sexually uh, serviced him onstage recently?
We did and my only advice to him was to just be careful. Have fun. I love that. Nothing makes me happier than how much fun he’s having but I did give him a friendly reminder to just be careful.

Everyone categorizes you as “nostalgia R&B” or “old school.” Does that bother you?
I honestly don’t care what people are saying about me as long as they’re saying something about me. Um, I know everyone is going to label you as something. I don’t care if they want to call it “Acid Dubstep Fusion” as long as they’re talking about me. Call me whatever you want. Call me “Shirley.”

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Grammy-Winning Jazz Singer Nancy Wilson Passes Away

The world has gained another talented angel. Grammy-winning jazz singer and legend Nancy Wilson has sadly passed away. Wilson reportedly died peacefully in her home on Thursday (Dec. 13) after suffering from a long illness, her manager, Devra Hall Levy confirms.

While Wilson originally entered the music industry with a focus on R&B music, she later showcased her talent on jazz ballads. She made her debut in 1961 with the single "Guess Who I Saw Today." Her breakout hit came in 1964 on "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am," which hit No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also earned her her first Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. She would later win two more Grammys in 2005 and 2007.

In the 1990s, Wilson was cast as the host of NPR's "Jazz Profiles," a documentary series featuring jazz legends. She later retired in 2011, after nearly six decades in the performing business. She attributed her departure to wanting to spend time with her family. It is unclear what illness Wilson was suffering from at the time of her death.

John Legend was among the many artists who mourned the loss on social media Friday morning (Dec. 14). "So sad to hear about the passing of the great Nancy Wilson. She was a magical performer. I'm so glad I was able to spend time with her and hear her beautiful voice in person," he wrote.

Wilson is survived by her three children and five grandchildren. Per her request, there will be no funeral service. Her family will hold a celebration of life ceremony in Feb. 2019 instead.

So sad to hear about the passing of the great Nancy Wilson. She was a magical performer. I'm so glad I was able to spend time with her and hear her beautiful voice in person.

— John Legend (@johnlegend) December 14, 2018

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Anna Lushchinskaya, who hurled racists insults at an Asian woman on the subway, was arrested. A video of her attack went viral.
Twitter/ @PlatanoMan

Racist White Woman On Subway In Viral Video Arrested And Charged With Assault

A viral video of a white woman named Anna Lushchinskaya hurling racist insults and attempting to kick and slap an Asian passenger on a NYC subway had a happy ending. According to ABC7 in New York, Lushchinskaya, 40, was arrested at the 36th Street station and charged with felony assault.

The video of her antics, shared by Twitter user @PlatanoMan, showed her becoming irate after another passenger bumped into her on a northbound D train (note, it's almost impossible not to bump into someone on the subway).

The enraged woman begins to pull back her hair and tries multiple times to slap and kick the 24-year-old woman. While other Asian passengers restrain her and tell her to stop, she attempts to hit and prod the woman with her umbrella. Later on, she calls the woman and the man who restrained her a racial slur and tries to spit on the woman.

"Everybody was just looking at each other like, 'Are you sure you just heard that? Did you just hear that?'"said Juan Ayala, one of the helpers, to Eyewitness News.

The woman who was targeted in the attack, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she's thankful Lushchinskaya wasn't carrying any weapons.

"I'm lucky that she didn't have anything like weapons on her -- like knife, gun -- because it could have got a lot worse," she said. "I'm lucky that people were on the train who were helping me, especially the first Asian guy who stood in front of me right away because he wasn't recording. He just stood in front of me to help me, because I know other people were recording, but their recording didn't do anything until later on when it escalated."

This isn't Lushchinskaya's first brush with the law on the D train; she allegedly pepper-sprayed a man during the summer.

So this happened yesterday #mta #36st #nyc pic.twitter.com/h3AqY6IP1n

— PL∆T∆NO M∆N™ (@PlatanoMan) December 12, 2018

pic.twitter.com/Hyv35HTUyT

— PL∆T∆NO M∆N™ (@PlatanoMan) December 12, 2018

READ MORE: Racist White Woman Angry Over Latina Adding On To Her Christmas Purchase

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Kodak Black, Vic Mensa And More Friday Releases You Need To Hear

With only a couple more weeks of 2018 left on the calendar, Friday music release are still going strong. The list is getting shorter however. This week, only a small handful of artist dropped new projects or singles, including Kodak Black and Vic Mensa.

Check out our roundup below.

Kodak Black – Dying to Live

Kodak Black's highly-anticipated sophomore album Dying to Live has finally arrived. The 16-track project features special appearances from Offset, Travis Scott, Lil Pump, and Juice Wrld.

Just ahead of the album's release, Kodak dropped the tracklist. It includes the pre-released singles "Zeze," "Testimony," and "Calling My Spirit." The album also pays homage to the late XXXTentacion on "Malcolm XXX."

In a recent interview with radio station 103.5 "The Beat" on Dec. 11, Kodak detailed the significance of the album's title. "It's deep. I be feeling like we dying to live. Everybody going through something and suffering," he explained. "There's a lot of kids who will do anything just because they probably want to get a little flat screen, get some gold, and flex. There's people who would risk their life for $5,000. They're dying to live. We thugging so hard and wondering why the world won't soften up around us."

Dying to Live, which is a follow up to 2017's Painting Pictures, arrives shortly after Kodak appeared on Hot97's radio show with Ebro Darden. Things grew intense on set after Ebro questioned Kodak about his ongoing rape case.

Listen to Kodak Black's Dying to Live below.

Vic Mensa – Hooligans EP

Vic Mensa's Hooligans EP is here with special appearances by Ty Dolla $ign, Charlie Wilson, Mr. Hudson, G-Herbo, and G-Eazy. The album reportedly shares a glimpse into the many experiences and emotions that have made up Mensa's life. While it's similar to his 2017 album The Autobiography, Vic Mensa told us that the project focuses on songwriting in order to tell stories about mental health and love lost.

In particular, his single "Klonopin," discusses drug use in an honest and eye-opening way. "I always make music that deals with intense personal things in my recent life," he told VIBE. "I had stopped doing drugs before I made my last album, and I had moments where I relapsed back into it when I was extremely suicidal. I don't just say these things because they 'sound cool,' I say it because it's the reality of my experience. People are dealing with PTSD and trauma and have few outlets to really address that, especially young black men. People are on these drugs because they're trying to get away from reality because reality is pain."

Listen to Vic Mensa's Hooligans EP below.

Dreezy ft. Kash Doll – "Chanel Slides"

Dreezy and Kash Doll have joined forces to bring fans their latest banger. The slow-burning single flexes crisp bars as they brag about their new drip. It's unclear whether the new collaboration will appear on her forthcoming project Big Dreez, which Dreezy teased at the beginning of Oct. 2018.

Listen to the new track below.

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