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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.
Megan Thee Stallion is lending a helping hand to the elderly of "Space City."
On Tuesday (April 7), the "Hot Girl" coach announced that she has joined forces with Amazon Music to donate money, devices, and other supplies to the Park Manor Skilled Nursing Facility located in Houston, TX.
"What's up Hotties, it's Megan Thee Stallion, aka the hot girl coach," Megan said in an Instagram post. "I have teamed up with Amazon Music just to donate some supplies, and some money and some Fire tablets to the residents and the staff at the Park Manor Skilled Nursing Home in Houston, TX, my hometown, my city. Just because it’s important to lend out a helping hand at this time and just show everybody that’s still working that we support them. And, to support our grandparents at this time."
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Hey hotties I partnered w/ @amazonmusic 2 support Park Manor Skilled Nursing Facility in Houston Texas🤘🏽 Its so important to #stayhome ! #realhotgirlshit
Megan joins a long list of celebrities who have donated finances and supplies to several organizations. The likes of Jay Z, Meek Mill, Elton John, Rihanna, Laday Gaga, Quavo, G-Eazy, Ciara, Russel Wilson, Miley Cyrus, Cody Simpson, and many others have chipped to help battle the deadly COVID-19.
The world needs us ALL. Unprecedented times. @DangeRussWilson & I are supporting our community in Seattle by donating 1 million meals with Seattle @FoodLifeLine https://t.co/3FlJi9GU2G Rally & support your local food bank @FeedingAmerica Let’s all keep the Faith during this time pic.twitter.com/kqwkuh50pi
— Ciara (@ciara) March 18, 2020
Proud to have donated to support #AmericasFoodFund, a new initiative directly supporting @FeedingAmerica & @WCKitchen to feed those in need & impacted by #COVID19. Thankful for my friends @leodicaprio @laurenepowell and @apple for putting this together. ❤️ https://t.co/jTxd4WjrgA
— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) April 2, 2020
Today, I’m proud to announce that my Foundation @EJAF is launching a $1million COVID-19 Emergency Fund to make sure that our frontline partners can respond to the effects of COVID-19 on HIV care for the most marginalised communities around the world. pic.twitter.com/g4wh9dnd3d
— Elton John (@eltonofficial) April 4, 2020
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Tacos for the incredible healthcare workers at our local hospital! So grateful for these true legends of our time dedicating their lives to battling this pandemic. Show some love to yours in your community!
In other Stallion news, the Houston native recently graced the cover of Marie Claire magazine, and released a lyric video for her single "Savage," a song from her latest effort, Suga.