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SZA And Justin Timberlake Bring Love To The Dance Floor With New Single "The Other Side"

SZA brings effortless vocals and Donna Summer vibes to the track for the latest 'Trolls' film. 

Justin Timberlake and SZA have joined forces "The Other Side," a celebratory track aligned with the upcoming Trolls World Tour film.

Released Tuesday (Feb. 26) the track is a marriage of 70s funk and 90s music video imagery as the two take cues from greats like Donna Summer and Hype Williams. Produced by Grammy-winning producer Ludwig Göransson and Timberlake, the track is the perfect feel-good jam for a brooding winter.

“I was so thrilled to be invited to participate in this project with Justin,” said SZA in a press release. “The creative process of working with him and the team was filled with such excitement. It’s an energy you can feel in both the song and music video. I can’t wait for people to check it out.”

SZA breaks out plenty of alluring dance moves, top-notch vocals and classic disco looks that would make her a viable candidate for the Parliament. "The Other Side" is the first single to be released from the upcoming Trolls World Tour (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), which will be available on March 13th via RCA Records and is available for pre-order here now. Timberlake previously worked with the franchise to deliver the Grammy-winning single, "Can't Stop The Feeling!" in 2017.

The full video also premiered on MTV Live, MTV U and BET Soul as well as on ViacomCBS’s Time Square billboards in New York City.

“It has been such a fun process writing and executive producing for this project,” said Timberlake about the soundtrack which also includes Kelly Clarkson, Anderson .Paak, Mary J. Blige, Anna Kendrick, George Clinton, Dierks Bentley and Anthony Ramos.

“Being able to bring together different creatives from various disciplines and genres has been the most rewarding part. Creating something that serves the movie while still being able to exist apart from it has been a fun challenge that was made even more exciting by working with the other amazing artists that helped us put this together.”

Trolls World Tour will hit theaters April 17. Check out the video and tracklist below.

Trolls World Tour (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Track List

1. The Other Side – SZA & Justin Timberlake

2. Trolls Wanna Have Good Times – Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Ester Dean, Icona Pop, Kenan Thompson & the Pop Trolls

3. Don’t Slack – Anderson .Paak & Justin Timberlake

4. It’s All Love – Anderson .Paak, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige & George Clinton

5. Just Sing – Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige, Anderson .Paak & Kenan Thompson

6. One More Time – Anthony Ramos

7. Atomic Dog World Tour Remix – George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Anderson .Paak & Mary J. Blige

8. Rainbows, Unicorns, Everything Nice – Walt Dohrn & Joseph Shirley

9. Rock N Roll Rules – HAIM & Ludwig Göransson

10. Leaving Lonesome Flats – Dierks Bentley

11. Born to Die – Kelly Clarkson

12. Trolls 2 Many Hits Mashup – Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden, Icona Pop & the Pop Trolls

13. Barracuda – Rachel Bloom

14. Yodel Beat – Ludwig Göransson

15. Crazy Train – Rachel Bloom

16. I Fall to Pieces – Sam Rockwell

17. Perfect for Me – Justin Timberlake

18. Rock You Like a Hurricane – Rachel Bloom

19. It’s All Love (History of Funk) – Anderson .Paak, Mary J. Blige & George Clinton

20. Just Sing (Trolls World Tour) – Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Kelly Clarkson, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Anderson .Paak, Rachel Bloom, Kenan Thompson, Anthony Ramos, Red Velvet, Icona Pop & Sam Rockwell

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T-Pain And Scott Storch To Compete In Beat Battle

While March was a long, arduous month with the coronavirus quarantine having so many of us cooped inside, there's been one bright side: all of the Instagram Live battles between our favorite artists, producers and songwriters. Tonight (April 1) at 8 p.m., we get two more greats facing off: T-Pain and Scott Storch.

Both artists made videos where they profess that they were contacted by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, who have taken it upon themselves to coordinate matchups after their own battle attracted so many fans.

T-Pain vs. Scott Storch tonight at 8 pm 😳🤯 pic.twitter.com/TRbWs0WJny

— HipHop-N-More (@HipHopNMore) April 1, 2020

"I just got the call from Tim and Swizz. The paperwork is in," Storch said. "Beat battle: T-Pain vs. Scott Storch. Yo Pain, I know you got some sh*t. I know you got some fire. But I've got some fire, too. See you tomorrow night."

"Sometimes, a challenge comes into your house, and you have to accept. Swizz hit me, Timbo hit me, and this is happening. T-Pain vs. Scott Storch. It's gonna be a lot of hits! Mm, I can't wait. Scott, you don't want the smoke. You better get ready, buddy."

Previous battles so far have been Swizz Beatz vs. Timbaland, Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin, Sean Garrett vs. The-Dream, and Hit-Boy vs. Boi-1da.

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J Stone Talks Touring, Nipsey Hussle, New Music And More

It was all good just two weeks ago. On Thursday (March 12), I headed downtown to meet with West Coast rapper J Stone, who was set to make a comeback performance at the legendary SOB’s. Little did we know, COVID-19 was on the cusp of shutting the entire country down, let alone the city that never sleeps. Earlier that day, New York City Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his decision to ban gatherings of 500 people or more.

I enter the doors of the popular music venue a little after 6 pm and see J Stone on stage for soundcheck. Twenty minutes later, he greets me with a hug and we head downstairs to the green room. He asks me if I want anything to drink and I reply, “Vodka with a splash of cranberry, please.” He kindly comes back with drinks in hand and our interview begins.

I curiously ask him if the Coronavirus has affected his #LoyaltyOverRoyalty Tour and he immediately responds, “Not until today. It’s starting to affect me today. They’re telling me only a certain amount of people can come into buildings.

"They already canceled one of my L.A. meet-and-greets," he adds. "Yeah, it’s serious.” We continued our conversation talking about The Marathon Continues (TMC) and Puma collaboration, Nipsey Hussle, new music and much more.

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Afro Nation

Women Of Afro Nation On Evolving Dancehall and Afro-Pop Connections

Last summer, thousands of music lovers of African descent gathered on the sands of Portimao, Portugal, waved their beloved countries’ flags and witnessed performances from the best in afro-pop, reggae, and hip-hop at Afro Nation, the premier traveling beach festival unifying music of the African diaspora. This was a euphoric scene for acts who had never performed for a large Black festival crowd, Afro Nation co-founder and U.K. music industry veteran Obi Asika tells VIBE. Nigerian promoter Adesegun Adeosun Jr., aka SMADE, and business partner Asika saw a need for a space to celebrate African music in Europe and created a globetrotting festival as the answer. Most of the featured acts have been from Nigeria, where the music industry is rapidly growing, the U.K., and Jamaica. As the festival evolves, Afro Nation will feature more artists of African descent from Europe, Central Africa, Latin America, and more.

“I want this event to be reflective of all African people,” Afro Nation co-founder and U.K. music industry veteran Obi Asika tells VIBE. “I also want it to pay homage to the countries that the events are in,” he adds. Afro Nation is expanding to reach fans of the diaspora in more regions. In December 2019, the festival was held in Accra, Ghana. In March, Afro Nation was scheduled for San Juan, Puerto Rico, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The four-day line-up would have featured 30 artists representing afro-pop, dancehall, soca, and hip-hop. Afro Nation still has festivals scheduled in Portimao, Portugal, in July, and Baja California, Mexico, in September. There are plans for at least one more location in the future, Osika says.

Afro Nation’s platform thus far reflects a global moment in which musicians across the African diaspora are blending sounds in new ways that are changing popular music. Connections between Afro-pop and Jamaican dancehall are especially evolving according to artists on Afro Nation’s line-ups, such as Jamaican dancehall artist Shenseesa, South African rapper Sho Madjozi, and Nigerian pop artist Teni the Entertainer. “Afro Nation is major for the continent, the culture, and the commonality that we share no matter how far we have all drifted into different parts of the world,” Teni, who performed at previous Afro Nation events, wrote in an email.

For Women’s History Month, VIBE spoke to the three sensations about their latest music, why Afro Nation is a game-changing platform, the evolving musical connections between Jamaican and African artists, and their women inspirations in music.

SHENSEEA

Shenseea, a versatile singjay, deejay, rapper, and singer, grew up in Jamaica’s capital city Kingston. The 23-year-old broke out as dancehall’s most promising star in 2016 with the flirty “Loodi” featuring Vybez Kartel. Since then, she has released a steady stream of energetic records, showering each riddim with conviction and lyrics of self-reliance that speak to women and girls like “Shen Yeng Anthem,” “Trending Gyal” and “Blessed.” Shenseea is inspired by fellow Jamaican dancehall artist Spice, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna, who she calls “a complete boss.”

Thus far, Shenseea has collaborated with dancehall veterans like Sean Paul, and internationally with Trinidadian soca star Nailah Blackman and American rappers Swae Lee and Tyga. American hip-hop and Jamaican dancehall artists are common cross-cultural link-ups. But now Shenseea says there are more musical connections between popular Jamaican dancehall artists and African-based artists too. “I feel like it has been going on, but more so between the reggae artists,” she says. “Now it's evolving more between dancehall artists and African artists.”

Here is a quick history. Popular music in the Americas, including Jamaica’s biggest musical export reggae, is rooted in West African music. Reggae has several influences including Jamaican folk music mento and American R&B, and its predecessors ska and rocksteady. During the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, enslaved West Africans brought their rhythms to Jamaica and subsequent generations reimagined the sounds that circled back to Africa. Late reggae legend Bob Marley, a Pan-Africanist, and The Wailers toured the continent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this era, artists like Ivorian musician Alpha Blondy created a marriage of their traditional sounds and stories of home with the socially-conscious riddims birthing African reggae.

As technology digitized music production, dancehall music evolved out of reggae and dub music and  defined a younger generation in Jamaica. It would also inspire African artists, too. In the 2000s and 2010s, dancehall influenced “Afro-dancehall” artists Shatta Wale and AK Songstress of Ghana, and Patoranking and Wizkid of Nigeria. Ghanaian hiplife’s soft synths and dancehall’s percussion are said to have influenced the popular Nigerian sound “pon pon,” in 2017, according to OkayAfrica. DaVido’s inescapable “If,” is the most commercially successful “pon pon” track. Mr Eazi’s “Banku” style also borrows from Nigerian and Ghanaian pop and dancehall. With this has come more collaborations across the genres. Like Jamaican dancehall hitmaker Popcaan enlisting DaVido for “Dun Rich” in 2018, and Burna Boy collaborating with Serani and Jeremih on “Secret” in 2019.

The marriage between these sounds is impacting how Black fans experience music worldwide, which is especially pushed by second and third generations of people who migrated from Africa and the Caribbean to the Americas and Europe. In major cities, you’ll find Afro-Caribbean parties, where DJs play music across the diaspora. Afro Nation takes it to the next level by bringing these artists together on a bill.

The innovation of this sound is a diaspora-wide project. In the mid-to-late 2010s, UK, British artists J Hus and Afro B popularized the fusion of Afro-pop, dancehall, American and British hip-hop, and R&B music, in new genres known as “afro bashment” or “afroswing.” In 2019, Jamaican-American DJ Walshy Fire’s 2019 Abeng brought together afro-pop, with soca, and dancehall artists. Shenseea has some diaspora link-ups on the horizon. She already worked with Shatta Wale, the African dancehall king, on “The Way I Move” in 2018. Recently, she recorded an unreleased track with Mr Eazi and is in talks to work with Patoranking and Davido, she tells Vibe.

TENI THE ENTERTAINER

Teni is also tuned into these evolving connections between the Caribbean and Africa. “You can hear it in the drums and melodies,” the 27-year-old singer and songwriter says. “We love to have fun and dance and that extends into our music.” In 2019, the New York Times dubbed Teni a member of the new guard of Nigerian musicians. In October, she released her Billionaire EP which showcases her afrobeat fusion. The title was inspired by her time in Los Angeles. "I saw all these great cars and I just imagined a world where we can all afford things we like no matter the price," she says. On the Pheelz-produced afrobeat, she croons her wealthy ambitions. On the earnest “Complain” she singraps over JaySynths' afroswing beat.

Teni’s entertainment career began with her comedic viral videos. Her breakout hit was the 2017 “Fargin,” which spoke out about the harms of rape culture. Teni admires African music legends Brenda Fassi, Angelique Kidjo, and Mariam Makeba. Them "using the power of their music to influence governments and shape economies is beyond incredible,” she says.

In the future, Teni wants to experiment with more Caribbean artists. “I have gotten into the studio with Kranium and I'd like to still do a lot [more] with him,” she said of the Jamaican singjay who fuses dancehall and R&B. “I'd love to do something with Koffee. Her music is amazing,” she added.

SHO MADJOZI

Koffee, a Jamaican reggae artist who won over the world with “Toast” last year, and is the first woman to win a Grammy for best reggae album, is on South African rapper Sho Madjozi’s wishlist too. For generations, South African artists like Lucky Dube and NC Dread have embraced reggae and dancehall. The 27-year-old wants to contribute to this tradition by recording with Koffee and rising reggae singer Lila Ike. "The song would be about the fact that our joy does not come from having no problems,” she wrote via email. “It comes despite going through tough things.” Bringing her pain to the studio has proven to be viable for Madjozi.

On her biggest hit, the viral “John Cena,” named after her favorite WWE wrestler, she raps over a hard-hitting gqom beat, the popular South African electronic dance music, about heartbreak. On her 2018 debut album Limpopo Champions League, which is dedicated to the northern province she hails from in South Africa, you can hear more of her sonic influences which include the high-energy gqom on "Wakanda Forever," trap on “Wa Penga Na?” and R&B samples on “Going Down.”

Although Sho Madjozi and fellow artists are fusing the diaspora sounds in their music, she sees the Afro Nation platform as a necessary space for people of African descent to share these cultures in person. In these moments, “we notice how strong we really are" and "how powerful this gift of culture is,” she says. Hip-hop queen Lauryn Hill is her icon and inspired her to stand firm in her truth. Madjozi’s realness shapes her assertive lyrics and her vibrant style. She performs in “xibelani” skirts to pay homage to her Tsonga heritage, a group of people native to Mozambique and South Africa. She adorns her hair with her signature colorful Fulani braids. “My whole statement is to be free,” she says. “I hope it shows Black girls everywhere to not be shy or small. This world is ours as much as anyone else’s.”

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