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Watch P!nk's Very Relevant "What About Us" Video

P!nk's powerful new video was directed by Georgia Hudson. 

Out of the Y2K class of pop stars, who had their bets on P!nk to have one of the most sustainable careers? And yet, here she is. Seventeen years after her debut, her new single, “What About Us,” holds steady at the top of the U.S. iTunes songs chart, four days after its release Thursday, Aug. 10. In fact, the song soars onto Billboard's Adult Pop Songs radio airplay chart at No. 18, marking the highest debut of P!nk's 22 career entries on the list. It's the highest debut by any song on the chart since Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" blasted in at a record No. 9 on Sept. 6, 2014. "Us" also arrives on Pop Songs at No. 34. (Both latest charts cover airplay in the Aug. 7–13 tracking period, according to Nielsen Music.)

So what is it about the big-voiced vixen that’s allowed her to carve out such an impressive career? With “What About Us,” the answer is obvious: It’s her raw authenticity.

Let’s rewind to P!nk’s debut, 2000’s Can’t Take Me Home. Several of her peers — Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson and Ashanti — saw their debut solo albums and accompanying lead singles top both the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts. Meanwhile, Can’t Take Me Home peaked at No. 26. Two tracks from the album cracked the top 10 (“There You Go” at No. 7, and “Most Girls” at No. 4), but neither made it to the chart’s pinnacle.

It’s well documented that Can’t Take Me Home’s slinky, hip-hop sound was the product of her label, and that P!nk enlisted her childhood hero, 4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry, to help craft a rowdy, pop-rock sound for her sophomore album, Missundaztood. While the album didn’t hit the top spot either (it peaked at No. 6), it manage to clock in at No. 157 on the Billboard 200 Albums Greatest of All Time chart. Not only that, but P!nk found her sound on the LP — one she’s built upon ever since.

P!nk has never chased pop music trends: There isn’t a hit in her catalogue that benefited from the help of a superstar DJ or a rapper du jour. It would be easy to argue that she rode the 2010–2011 wave of self-empowerment jams with “Raise Your Glass,” but was there a more natural fit for the genre’s subject matter? P!nk has been underestimated since her arrival — a song that celebrates underdogs makes sense.

Rather, P!nk’s biggest wins are always the result of moments of honesty. Her first solo trip to No. 1 on the Hot 100, with 2008’s bratty anthem “So What,” was famously about her (temporary) split with husband Carey Hart. Then there’s her career-defining aerial performance of “Glitter in the Air” during the 2010 Grammys. Rather than perform a recent hit, P!nk swerved left and introed the ballad to the masses, explaining to Oprah, “It feels like after ten years, people still don’t know what I do.” Now her name is synonymous with Cirque du Soleil–style stunts.

Even with P!nk’s wild career trajectory, she hardly gets the respect she deserves. It’s possible that her late-bloomer status and ability to dodge sensational tabloid headlines have affected the way she’s measured against fellow singers. But with a collection of 15 top ten Hot 100 hits as a lead artist — more than any of her aforementioned peers (Beyoncé has 16 when featured acts are factored in) — how is it possible that P!nk is still flying under the radar?

With “What About Us,” P!nk once again throws out the rules in favor of authenticity. Rather than kicking off the era with a bombastic single, she opted to lead with something more sobering. At face value, the lyrics read from the perspective of someone in a turbulent relationship, but they can be just as easily interpreted as a plea for guidance in this confusing political climate. Given that P!nk spent the weekend retweeting commentary on the white supremacist violence in Virginia, it’s not far-fetched to think the double meaning was intentional.

The lines “We were willing/We came when you called/But man you fooled us/Enough is enough” could easily be seen through the lens of someone disillusioned with the political process. To be clear, P!nk was incredibly vocal in her support of Hillary Clinton, but it’s possible she looked past party lines to create an anthem that encompasses the hopelessness in the world.

The outspoken singer hasn’t been one to shy away from politics in the past: Take, for instance, her I’m Not Dead ballad “Dear Mr. President,” an open letter addressed to George W. Bush. P!nk has said that she has no intention of releasing a Trump-era follow-up — “there aren’t words for this shameful person” — but given her candor on social issues, it’s impossible that the country’s (and world’s) unrest didn’t affect her writing process. Rather than addressing Trump directly, a song that captures the general state of confusion is a therapeutic alternative.

So will “What About Us” continue P!nk’s impressive streak of wins? Early indicators are pointing to yes. But if you want to underestimate her again, go ahead — she’s used to it.

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Stonebwoy Spits Hot Fire On His "Blaze Dem" Freestyle

Stonebwoy had nothing much to prove when he and his entourage—known as the BHIM Nation—rolled up on a fleet of motorbikes this past weekend to a highly anticipated battle with fellow artist, Shatta Wale, his biggest rival for the title of Africa's Dancehall King. Stonebwoy has come a long way since his humble beginnings in Ashaiman, a seaside town on the outskirts of Accra, the capital city of Ghana.

The internationally renowned West African artist developed his own distinctive musical style, which he describes as Afro-Dancehall, fusing Jamaican dancehall and patois with Afrobeats, hip hop slang, and the local dialect Ewe. He established his own independent company, the Burniton Music Group, as well as a charitable organization, the Livingstone Foundation. He's also earned numerous accolades over the course of his career. He was named Best International Act at the 2015 BET Awards. He has won several Ghana Music Awards, including Artist of the Year. He collaborated with Morgan Heritage on the group's Grammy-nominated 2017 album Avrakedabra and recorded singles with many of Jamaica's top dancehall artists, including Grammy-winners Sean Paul and Beenie Man. His latest album, Anloga Junction, features a hit collab with VIBE cover artist Keri Hilson as well as Nasty C, a South African rapper who signed to Def Jam in March.

Stonebwoy entered the clash arena wearing a full-face gas mask, leaving no doubt that he was taking this competition very seriously. Sponsored by Ghana's Ministry of Health and broadcast by Asaasse Radio in Accra, the virtual clash between him and Shatta Wale was designed to raise proceeds to "crush COVID 19"—but Stonebwoy's mask was more suited for mortal combat than preventing Coronavirus. The first of the 40 songs he unleashed against his nemesis was a hard-hitting new freestyle called "Blaze Dem." Shortly after the clash, Stonebwoy released a music video for the track, featuring visual highlights from the hard-fought battle against Shatta, which has been compared to the epic Verzuz clash between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer.

Best known to international audiences for his appearance on "Already," a Major Lazer–produced from Beyonce's album Black is King, Shatta's provocative style included theatrics, personal insults, and throwing money all over the stage. Stonebwoy, on the other hand, let his melodies, lyrics, and big tunes do the talking. You can watch the full battle here, and stay tuned for Stonebwoy's live chat with Reshma B of Boomshots today at 2 pm ET / 6 pm GT on VIBE's Instagram Live.

Stream his latest album, Anloga Junction, on Apple Music, Spotify, and/or Tidal.

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Skip Marley Premieres “Make Me Feel” Visual Featuring Ari Lennox And Rick Ross

The voice you hear speaking on the haunting first track of Skip Marley’s debut EP Higher Place is that of his legendary grandfather Robert Nesta Marley, who once went by the nickname “Skip” himself. “Is something higher,” Bob once said in a 1979 interview, seeking to explain the magnitude of a profound worldwide reckoning that he knows is coming. “Is something no man can stop.”

On the title track of his EP, which was released last week on Tuff Gong / Island Records, Skip sings of his own burning desire to go higher. So what is this higher place all about? “The betterment of mankind,” Skip explained during a recent telephone call from Miami. “A world community where each one do him part and live right and live upful as we should. And it nah go’ happen unless you make that decision today. Cause it start within you first. For yourself. And you have to take I and I higher, forward.”

During a year that’s brought so many downward vibrations, it’s more than a little bit refreshing to hear such optimistic energy. For the past five years, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has made that sort of thing his specialty. “Music with a message is the music we love,” says Skip. “Good vibrations. Positivity. Conscious influence of the heart and the mind and the soul. Yeah. Blessed are the singers and the players. Can’t take this lightly.”

When your mom is Cedella Marley, Bob’s firstborn child and a founding member of the Melody Makers, and your father’s aunt is Marcia Griffiths, one of Jamaica’s most revered singers and a member of Bob Marley’s harmony trio the I Three, taking music lightly isn’t really an option. Yet somehow Skip has found a way to carry the great expectations effortlessly, even as he holds himself to the highest standards.

Today, VIBE and Boomshots bring you a first look at the visuals for “Make Me Feel,” one of the standout tracks off the new EP. The song featuring vocals by Dreamville’s own Ari Lennox and a verse courtesy of the biggest Bawse that you’ve seen thus far. “‘Make Me Feel' is all about getting through the tough times together,” says Skip. “Everybody has been stuck inside, so for the video we wanted to bring some big outside vibes and show that even though there are challenges, we have love, we have music, we have sport, and we have each other. Give thanks to Rick Ross the boss and Ari Lennox for doing what they do.” The video was directed by Lacey Duke, who also helmed “Slow Down,” Skip’s sultry duet with H.E.R. That song topped Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs chart, making Skip the first Jamaican-born artist to reach such heights. With “Slow Down” in heavy rotation at radio, Skip also became the first Jamaican artist since Sean Paul to reach the Top 15 on Billboard’s airplay charts for Hip Hop and R&B.

Like all of Skip’s creations thus far, “Make Me Feel” is rooted in reggae but flows freely through R&B and hip hop. For him, it’s all about feel. “One good thing about music,” his grandfather once sang, “When it hits you feel no pain.” Skip could not agree more. “That is real,” he says adamantly. “If it no have the feeling, it’s not true.” He cites another Bob Marley interview—clearly the young lion has been doing his research—in which the Tuff Gong observes that “Nuff man wan’ play reggae. But them can’t capture the feeling.” This is the crux for Skip. “It’s a feeling you know, for the music. You can make it sound like, yeah, but if your heart is not in it, why do it?” Why indeed?

Skip Marley's Higher Place EP is on all streaming platforms.

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Watch: Protoje Debuts "A Vibe" Music Video Feat. Wiz Khalifa

You know how when you blaze a spliff in the morning and you hold “a vibe,” but then later on, you forget what you did the whole rest of the day? Protoje's new album is kinda like that. It's titled In Search of Lost Time and rolling out via his Indigg Collective partnership with RCA. That's a big deal. When was the last time a Jamaican artist set up their own international joint venture? Take a minute, think about it, and let us know if you can think of anybody else ever.

Protoje's always been about his business. Back in 2016, he told Boomshots, "If you can't own your masters, lef' the slaveship." So he stuck with that vision and leveraged an agreement for himself and Indigg artists Lila Ike and Sevana. Respect is due for making moves to ensure that reggae music is treated with respect. Fresh off his collaboration with the Unruly Boss "Like Royalty," Protoje is back with another high-profile combination. For the latest joint off In Search of Lost Time, Diggy links with Wiz Khalifa for a smoked-out session that could only be called "A Vibe."

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