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There's no denying The Weeknd's influence over today's string of moody/alternative R&B. The singer-songwriter has changed the scope of the genre with his mix of synths and dark lyrics but the artist believes he inspired one of the biggest artists in the genre in the process.
As the cover star of Variety's latest issue, The Weeknd discussed the success of After Hours, transitioning into mainstream music and his presence in R&B. While looking back on his classic 2010 mixtape House of Balloons, he noted how two years later he began hearing his sound in other artists.
“House of Balloons literally changed the sound of pop music before my eyes,” he said. “I heard ‘Climax,’ that  Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f**k, that’s a Weeknd song.’ It was very flattering, and I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing.”
But the resurgence of EDM in the early 2010s might've inspired Usher's hit single. "Climax" which went on to win the Grammy for Best R&B Performance in 2013, was produced by Diplo who looked towards house music and "Atlanta strip clubs" to create the track.
Speaking to The Guardian in 2012, Diplo discussed how he learned about Usher's musical palate which included an appreciation for genre-bending artists like Monsters of Folk and Grizzly Bear.
"The production actually started as a house thing with a chord progression that I wrote, but with some time in the studio alone, I was making a sort of "wildfire" beat out of it," Diplo said." The idea of pushing cut-off on a synth used so much in progressive house music but pulling back. I was making something like a minimal techno record with Atlanta strip clubs in mind."
He also shared how much Usher knew of his work outside of Major Lazer. "Usher knew about my first album on Ninja Tune, Florida," he added. "I was so surprised about how much these guys are into music beyond their normal lane. That is something that makes it very easy to work with him. Usher has the power to take a record into any lane. He's that big. He brought house music to the R&B crowds in America, and with "Yeah!" he brought synths to Atlanta hip-hop. I think he wasn't going to these producers for their sounds ... We all know what they do. Usher is a smart man, he has been doing this for long enough. He's using the producers instead of the other way around."
"Climax" ended up on Usher's Looking For Myself album, which played to all his strengths with dance tracks like "Scream," quiet storm jams like "Dive" and "What Happened To U" and the clubs like "Lemme See" with Rick Ross.
Legendary superproducer Max Martin also worked on "Climax" and would eventually work with The Weeknd on Beauty Behind The Madness standouts like "Can't Feel My Face" and "In The Night."
This isn't the first time the two have been compared to one another. The Weekend issued an apology to Usher in 2016 during the Billboard Music Awards after he mistakenly claimed to win the most awarded male R&B vocalist in the show's history. The Weeknd took home eight trophies including Top R&B Artist and Top R&B Album for Beauty Behind The Madness.
But Usher famously took home 11 trophies in the 2004 telecast for his magnum opus, Confessions including awards for Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, and Hot 100 Song of the Year for "Yeah!".
Elsewhere in the interview, The Weeknd also explained his decision to release After Hours in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Fans had been waiting for the album, and I felt like I had to deliver it," he said."The commercial success is a blessing, especially because the odds were against me: [Music] streaming is down 10%, stores are closed, people can’t go to concerts, but I didn’t care. I knew how important it was to my fans.”
The album amassed 2 billion global streams in its first week and debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., Ireland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and New Zealand.
After dropping a remix EP for her remarkable debut album Shea Butter Baby, Ari Lennox returns with more content in the form of a stylishly-pleasing music video for “BUSSIT.” The “Up Late” singer released the reel on Wednesday (April 8).
Lennox gathered her girls for a self-care day at the spa, all decked out in lavish furs and spring-time colored outfits. “BUSSIT” is featured on the “Director’s Cut” of Revenge of the Dreamers III, a compilation album that features Dreamville’s artists from J. Cole to EarthGang to J.I.D. to Bas and their peers from Reason to Smino to Buddy to Guapdad 4000. The project was released to a wave of fanfare in 2019 that the melodies that didn't make the initial release were later shared with the masses. The album went No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Rap Album category.
As millions are under stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Lennox shared with Apple Music that hopefully new music will be on the horizon to uplift people's spirits. “With everything that’s happening, we want to put music out," Lennox said. "I don’t know, I want to give a little happiness to the world.”
Watch the video up top.
Bernie Sanders had decided to drop out of the 2020 presidential campaign, he announced today (April 8).
The Vermont senator's 2020 election started off strong. He barely missed first place in Iowa before excelling in New Hampshire and Nevada. Also, Sanders campaign continued to bring in millions in donations and filled rallies with supporters.
Running as a progressive against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sanders popularized the plan for Medicare for All. In 2020, however, many candidates ran on similar policies, and he faced another prominent progressive in Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who was the first to propose canceling some student debt in April. Warren surged above Sanders in the fall, before he suffered a heart attack in October.
Sanders 2020 bid, saw him working to gain more support among Latino voters. But despite years of support among the Black community, the senator failed to earn large votes. He also lost some of his white working-class supporters to Biden.
Sanders also hit a roadblock with women voters, after facing accusations of sexism in January after tensions between his and Warren's campaigns spilled out into the open. For the most part, Sanders and Warren were allies while campaigning for the nomination, however leaks to the media of both senators accusing the other camp of dirty tricks concluded with Warren saying in a statement that Sanders once told her he didn't think a woman could win the presidency.
Sanders denied the claim, but he was flogged with further criticism of his supporters who were dubbed the "Bernie Bros" after female union leaders in Nevada who spoke out against his candidacy said they were attacked by his fans.
Biden capitalized on all of this, and easily won in five of the six states that voted, included Michigan, which was a state Sanders was popular in.
Today I am suspending my campaign. But while the campaign ends, the struggle for justice continues on. https://t.co/MYc7kt2b16
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 8, 2020