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Exclusive: 'Portugal. The Man' Talks Danger Mouse, RZA And Weird Al Yankovic

Genre-bending, groove group ‘Portugal. The Man’ dropped their latest album Evil Friends this week (June 6) via Atlantic Records after much anticipation. VIBE sat down with its bassist Zach Carothers before their New York show at Irving Plaza to rap about new music, which the five-piece group had produced by legendary Danger Mouse, some juicy details on being stranded in a Mississippi flood and a collab with Weird Al Yankovic.

VIBE: Who came up with the name Portugal. The Man?
ZACH CAROTHERS: The singer John. It's sort of an alter ego, like David Bowie created Ziggy Star Dust or the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But we’re more than one guy, so we figured a country is one name that represents one group of people with one voice in the world. In the old band that John and I were in, a lot of our songs we're sort of made up stories and Portugal was a character. [Our current band] was intended to be John’s [Gourley] solo side project, but when our old band broke up John was like 'You wanna just do Portugal with me?’ and I was like ‘Yeah.’

Why the "period" in the name?
In hindsight, as far as Google-searching, that probably wasn't the best idea. It was intended to state that it was a man’s name - not the country.

What's the best part about performing in New York?
Oh man, this is just the best place to play shows. Every time we come here it’s like the biggest show we ever played. It's kind of crazy. We grew up in Alaska, and we didn't have our heads in the clouds - we've always been pretty grounded. We never thought we would be able to do any of this stuff. We played Terminal 5 last year during EDC, and we were annoyed and scared thinking it was going to be half full, but it ended up selling out!

What's been your craziest moment on tour?
We were driving from Florida to Tempe, Arizona for tour, and our transmission went out at about 6 o’clock on a Friday night in Jackson, Mississippi, and we were not in a good part of town. We ended up spending four days parked at a gas station during a flood. We had to become friends with the girls who worked there. I think they're the reason we didn't get beat up, or jumped.

What have been some key genres or artists that have influenced your music so far?
Obviously the Beatles, which I’m sure every band says. They just did so much for progressive rock n’ roll. What they did just can't be beaten, but we'll try. The people we grew up with like Led Zeppelin really impacted our music. Hip-hop as well, like the Beastie Boys - I LOVE the Beastie Boys. I think they just never fucked up, and have always just been on cutting edge of cool. That got me into stuff like Wu Tang Klan, and that became the general idea: we wanted to make music that would be like the Beatles mixed with the Wu Tang Klan. People like Kanye and Drake and Kendrick Lamar. They rap about stuff like 'Hey this is just me, I fucked up’ and I really respect that. We definitely have a lot of influence from modern hip-hop for sure.

What would you say has been your most proudest moment in your career?
Actually, last time I was in New York we flew out to play a song for Weird Al Yankovic. I've done a lot of cool shit, but that one in particular where we played background for him, I just couldn't stop smiling. He's someone I grew up listening to.

Do you have a favorite track from Portugal. The Band?
We have a new album called Evil Friends produced by Danger Mouse - another check off the list of something else crazy I did. There's a song on that album called “Holy Roller (Hallelujah)” that is my new favorite song on the record. It won't be a hit, but it's just real raw and had potential. Everyone wanted to scrap it, but we just hammered it out in the studio on the last week of production so it meant a lot to me.

How'd you link with Danger Mouse?
He was on our list of people we wanted to work with, and the CEO of Atlantic Records sort of set us up on a blind date. We were three weeks in production of our new album, and we got a call that John went out to New York to meet up with Brian [Burton, Danger Mouse]. He offered to do a song with us; not something we’re going to say 'no' to. So we scraped everything and started new. It was amazing working with him. He's very unique as a producer and an artist, and has the right ear for everything. He pushed us to do better and understood the band dynamic very well.

Is there any rapper you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Yeah for sure. We would love to work with RZA - he did a remix to one of our songs last year and he kept my bass line, which made me feel awesome. I would love to do a song for a Tarantino film that he was doing a score for. I'm very interested in dabbling in the rap world, working with those big rappers like Kanye and Kendrick. That would be so cool.

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The Viral Covington Catholic High School Teen Is Suing The Washington Post

Nicholas Sandmann, the 16-year-old Kentucky teen who went viral after footage showed him wearing a MAGA hat starring at a Native American man, has launched a lawsuit against The Washington Post to the tune of $250 million.

According to reports, Sandmann's lawyers filed a complaint Tuesday (Feb. 19) and argued the newspaper neglected to add context to the video, which resulted in damage to the teen's reputation, as well as him allegedly being bullied and harassed.

"[The Post] intended to harm Nicholas because he was a white, Catholic boy wearing a MAGA hat, and consciously ignored the threats of harm that it knew would inevitably ensue, in favor of its political agenda," the complaint outlines.

Nicholas and veteran Nathan Phillips crossed paths in January at the March For Life protest in Washington, D. C. While at the Lincoln Memorial, Philips was singing and playing a drum after the Indigenous Peoples March. Scenes from the video show teens in the background making tomahawk chopping gestures with their hands as Philips moves through the crowd, as Nicholas is seen smiling directly in his face.

Longer videos, however, provide more background. Black Hebrew Israelites were shouting and a confrontation ensued between Native Americans and tourists. BuzzFeed News spoke with Hunter Hooligan another attendee of the Indigenous People's March and described Nicholas' behavior as "mob mentality."

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bsy9_7WFDQO/?utm_source=ig_embed

"What made me feel scared was the mob mentality of the situation," Hooligan said. "That type of tactic of instilling fear and intimidation and overpowering and outnumbering has been a consistent weapon of white supremacy against indigenous people."

The lawsuit claims Nicholas was singled out by the paper's coverage of the incident and was motivated by their own political agenda.

"The Post must be dealt with the same way every bully is dealt with, and that is hold the bully fully accountable for its wrongdoing in a manner which effectively deters the bully from again bullying other children."

Speaking to Buzzfeed News, The Post is planning to "mount a vigorous defense."

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Justin Sullivan

Barack Obama Talks The Damaging Effects Of Toxic Masculinity

Former President Barack Obama and Golden State Warrior Steph Curry spoke about the importance of creating vulnerable spaces for young boys and men, specifically of color, at the annual My Brother's Keeper summit in Oakland.

“The notion that somehow defining yourself as a man is dependent on, are you able to put somebody else down… able to dominate… that is an old view,” Obama said.

The initiative, which was launched in 2014, is aimed at closing the opportunity gap for boys of color by connecting them with mentors in their desired fields.

Obama, who introduced himself as "Michelle's Husband" and referred to Curry as "Ayesha's Husband," was surrounded on stage by several young men who traveled from Yonkers, New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville.

The former president also spoke on how racism plays a factor in why young men feel the need to use aggression to "prove" themselves.

“Racism historically in this society sends a message that you are ‘less than,’ ” Obama said. “We feel we have to compensate by exaggerating stereotypical ways men are supposed to act. And that’s a trap.”

Along with racism, Obama spoke on how some hip-hop songs perpetuate a negative stereotype of black men as well.

“Ironically, that shows the vulnerability you feel,” Obama said. “If you were very confident about your sexuality, you don’t have to have eight women around you twerking… you seem stressed that you gotta be acting that way.”

“I got one woman who I’m very happy with,” he added."

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Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

50 Cent "Afraid For My Life" Due To Alleged NYPD Report

Earlier this month, a report surfaced that claimed an NYPD deputy inspector called for harm against 50 Cent. According to the New York Daily News, commanding officer Emanuel Gonzalez reportedly told his officers to "shoot" the "Many Men" rapper "on sight" if they spotted him at a boxing match in the Bronx that happened last year.

As an internal investigation is underway, 50 Cent took to Instagram to express his concern over this matter. "I'm afraid for my life, I haven't been able to sleep since I heard of this," he wrote. "The cops never notified me of the threat. I'm closing all my business in New York. I may have to sue the city."

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’m afraid for my life, I haven’t been able to sleep since I heard of this. The cops never notified me of the threat. I’m closing all my business in New York. I may have to sue the city.

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Feb 19, 2019 at 8:42am PST

 

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ROY RICHTER just told TMZ everything they were hearing was false. Read then swipe Left

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Feb 19, 2019 at 8:59am PST

In previous reports, Gonzalez allegedly cited an aggravated harassment complaint against the Power executive. The filing stemmed from an instance when Fifty left a "get the strap" comment under an image of a lawsuit involving Gonzalez's "shakedown" of Love & Lust, a popular club in Brooklyn that's frequented by Fifty.

In a statement from the Queens native's representative, Fifty might take legal action. "He is concerned that he was not previously advised of this threat by the NYPD and even more concerned that Gonzalez continues to carry a badge and a gun."

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