MUSIC

Notables: The Weeknd, Harry Styles, BTS, RXK Nephew

Welcome to this week’s Notables, Boardroom’s overview of the buzziest bits circulating in the music industry.

The dog days of summer are here, but the music industry didn’t get the memo. Notables isn’t slacking, either.

Lizzo dropped her fourth studio album, Special — also her first LP since 2019’s breakthroughCuz I Love You — and celebrated the release by crashing a live New York Peloton ride.

Omar Apollo flexed on his formative McDonald’s days, Kid Cudi helped unveil new Cleveland Cavaliers uniforms, and Geffen Records reunited with Aaron “Dash” Sherrod by naming him president of urban A&R. The list of power moves never ends.

Below, Boardroom’s Megan Armstrong and Nate Louis dug a little deeper to make sure you don’t miss anything else worth hitting your group chat(s) about.

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The Weeknd Owns the Weekend

The Weeknd finally made it to MetLife Stadium after his After Hours Til Dawn Tour went through two postponements — and an upgrade to an all-stadium schedule. On July 16, the larger-than-life staging and theatrical set at the home of the Giants and Jets made his theatrical Super Bowl LV halftime performance look like child’s play.

And right before the perennial chart-topper took the stage, he premiered the trailer for The Idol:

The music industry drama was co-created by The Weekend, Euphoria mastermind Sam Levinson, and Reza Fahim. The Weeknd also stars. — Megan Armstrong

Harry’s House is Becoming Harry’s World

When Harry Styles first opened the door to Harry’s House, he was still coming off a wildly popular tour to support 2019’s Fine Line, his Billboard 200-topping album. But on his third studio album, led by the dance-focused music video release for “As It Was,” Styles basks in a happier mindset to the appreciation of his fans — a nostalgic tic of 2012’s Tumblr era.

In the second video from the former One Directioner’s third solo album, Styles gives a glimpse into the more provocative side of his life over the breezy funk and ’80s pop track “Late Night Talking,” directed by “Watermelon Sugar” helmers Bradley & Pablo.

Moving from the bedroom to the streets of London and an art gallery, a reference — similar to his album title’s homage to Japanese ’70s pop icon Haruomi Hosono — to Tracey Emin’s 1998 “My Bed” performance piece, Harry occupies many spaces.

From presumably being the next guest on “Hot Ones” to recently dropping off his latest PLEASING “HOT HOLIDAY” micro-collection and this all-new music video, if things keep going at this rate, Harry’s House is primed to become Harry’s World. — Nate Louis

BTS Heads To Disney+

The BTS Army is relentlessly passionate. That’s why a hiatus for the sensational K-Pop group that’s been living and making music together for the last decade doesn’t seem real— even if it’s said to be true by the members of the group themselves.

Since June 14 alone — the date of the announcement — and four days after the group’s anthology album release, Jungkook has released a Charlie Puth collaboration, J-Hope announced a full studio album, V appeared at Celine’s 2023 menswear show, and RM continued his art museum visits while Jimin, SUGA, and Jin stayed back in Korea.

Still, these solo pursuits won’t put an end to the group’s relevance, especially with the latest news of a deal inked with Disney+. The streaming service recently announced a collaboration with Hybe, BTS’s label, to bring “five major content titles” to the platform. At least three of those titles are confirmed to feature BTS in some form or another.

The first is a travel reality show starring BTS member V and other entertainers, including Parasite’s Choi Wooshik, titled “In The Soop: Friendcation.”

And the other two exclusive projects confirmed as of now are BTS: Permission to Dance On Stage — LA, a 4K film capturing the band’s live performance at SoFi Stadium from last November, and BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star, a docu-series about the band that will showcase “unprecedented access to a vast library of music and footage over the past nine years.” — NL

Wait, RXK Nephew in an Adidas Ad?

The internet’s favorite underground, memed out, and surprisingly woke rapper appears in a big-budget brand campaign and absolutely steals the show. Only then, you remember the magic that Twitter can still bring.

RXK Nephew appears in the latest 2022 Adidas Kerwin Frost collection ad — notably cast by Frost himself. The Rochester artist known for his wild interviews and even crazier bars dropped a freestyle over Stomp-inspired percussion. At one point, Nephew raps, “I should name my wrist Kerwin, cause it’s frost.”

The film features other notable artists such as Mac DeMarco, Tim Robinson (I Think You Should Leave and Detroiters), Kilo Kish, Justine Skye, and Teezo Touchdown. — NL

Jxdn & Nessa Barrett Memorialize Cooper Noriega

On June 9, Cooper Noriega died at 19 years of age. The TikTok star and burgeoning model’s impact is being felt far and wide.

Jxdn and Nessa Barrett memorialized their dear friend the best way they know how: through music. Jxdn, whom Cooper had accompanied on tour with Machine Gun Kelly last fall, released 28 (Songs for Cooper) with singles “Beautiful Boy” and “Even In The Dark” on what would have been Noriega’s 20th birthday, June 28.

Barrett’s evocative alt-pop anthem “die first” was always about her fear of losing her mom. Now, it serves as an ode to Noriega. — MA

Jon Bellion

Jon Bellion rarely uses social media. He’s too busy in the lab, writing and producing radio candy for A-list stars — including Justin Bieber’s “Ghost,” which Bellion wrote about his grandmother, Maroon 5’s “Memories,” or “The Monster” by Eminem and Rihanna.

Bellion finally uploaded clips to Instagram from his December 2020 “Beautiful Mind Presents… Jon Bellion The Virtual Concert” live from Cove City. He performed solo smashes, which was refreshing because Glory Sound Prep is already four years old, but the real treat was Bellion’s performance of Bieber’s “Holy” (featuring Chance the Rapper), which he co-produced and co-wrote.

So, what does this mean? Was Bellion just bored? Or is he reemerging to tee off the rollout of his third studio album? Let’s hope for the latter. — MA

Aitch Amps Hype Surrounding Debut Album

In May, Manchester-bred rapper Aitch said during this “Off the Porch” interview that he has unreleased music with Jack Harlow. Last weekend, Aitch and Jack linked up at London’s Wireless Festival:

Will a track featuring Jack will be on Aitch’s debut album, Close To Home, due in August via Capitol? Aitch hyped the anticipation for the album by releasing the music video to his energetic single “In Disguise” featuring Bakar. It’s clear that Aitch will not be in disguise for much longer. — MA

Is Owning Masters Overrated?

Lupe Fiasco sat down with “Ebro in the Morning” a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t until writer Yoh Phillips posted this clip from the interview to Twitter that it sparked a conversation around artists owning their own master recordings:

Lupe gave some intriguing insight into a conversation he had a couple of years back with Lyor Cohen, the current Global Head of Music, Google & YouTube, co-founder of 300 Entertainment, and former exec at Def Jam and Warner. When Lupe inquired about regaining his masters, he recalls Cohen saying, “What you want em’ in a suitcase? You want to walk around with them?”

Lupe explained that oftentimes, artists aren’t really aware of what to do with their masters once they regain them — or how to monetize them. Essentially, Cohen helped Lupe understand that owning masters is only powerful if you know precisely what to do next. — NL

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