Riviera Sundays at Lavo, the Ban on Big Sodas, Sylvia Wood’s Passing

There will be no napkins safe this weekend as the serviette-tossing Rocco Ancarola returns to Lavo, July 29, for Riviera Sundays starting at 9:30pm. It is a joyous occasion. The event, called a "Celebration of Life," is a reference to Rocco’s long recovery from a heart attack that almost ended his life. In a Facebook post, he offered, "Thank you to all my friends for all your Love. You all helped me to recover very well and I THANK YOU ALL !!!!” Rocco is one of the great gentlemen in this business and we can’t wait to see him.

While at BINGO at Hotel Chantelle Monday, tablemate Michael Cavadias informed us that he was going to miss a week, something we never do, because he was heading to London. "For the Olympics," someone exclaimed, and I imagined him in a leotard, pole vaulting or weight lifting. Actually, he and our dear friend and inspiration Kembra Pfahler (Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black) are performing at Antony’s (of Antony and the Johnsons) Meltdown Festival. Other performers include Lou Reed, Hercules and Love Affair, Joey Arias, Marc Almond, Laurie Anderson, and Diamonda Galas. The festival runs from August 1st to the12th, basically at the same time Olympians (sans the banned Greek racist track star) are running for the gold.

So I was so-so when Mayor Bloomberg led the charge in banning cigarette smoking in places where I eat and drink and dance and play and walk in. The downside at the time was the encroachment by government into our rights…or freedom of choice. The arguments about second-hand smoke hurting those around those evil smokers won the day and, in retrospect, the trade-off was OK.

Now comes a proposed ban on large containers of sodas that contain dreaded sugar at any place regulated by the Board of Health. It’s easy to spot those: they have a letter grade in their front window. I am a strictly-diet-soda guy, but this ban reeks of Big Brother. If they can ban sugar in soda, then they can ban butter on popcorn or lollipops or cracker jacks or hot dogs or liverwurst. The foods we eat are often only acceptable in moderation. I didn’t trust the cigarette ban because it seemed like a step 1. Now that step 2 is on the brink of enactment, I fear for step 3. Is step 100 a requirement for sensible shoes? A ban on ankle-breaking Louboutins? If a person wants to buy fattening soda, educate them, don’t regulate them.

Will drink maximums be considered by our Mayor? This won’t end until Bloomberg is put out to his billionaire pasture. He is so out of touch with the life of the regular guy that he thinks this might actually stop someone from consuming massive amounts of whatever. If they can’t buy a 32-ounce bottle, they’ll buy two 16-ouncers. Will New Yorkers eventually be fined for not wearing sunglasses on a sunny day?

We have to mention the passing of Sylvia Woods at 86, the legendary proprietor of Sylvia’s, Harlem’s soul food mecca. She was buried this morning. Reverend Al Sharpton performed the eulogy. I never met Sylvia, but was touched by her. When I was designing the Cherry Lounge for Timbaland and DJ Clue in Harlem, me and mine would stroll over to Sylvia’s for lunch and comfort. The walk over and the meal and the company at her restaurant washed away a myriad of stupid misconceptions we had about Harlem. She was a true ambassador for the neighborhood. It was wonderful. She will be missed.

Take a Listen to the Aeroplane Remix of ‘Suit & Tie’

If you’re like me, you’ve been listening to Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience all morning, as the upcoming album is currently streaming for free on iTunes. But you’ll need a break eventually; I suggest you take a listen to the Aeroplane remix of the lead single, "Suit & Tie," before getting back into that eight-minute song that sounds like the Miami Sound Machine invaded the studio and demanded, at gunpoint, that Timberlake and Timbaland let them join in on the fun. Listen to the remix below!

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

By Powers Combined, Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and Jay-Z Become ‘Suit & Tie’

While you were opening your blogging platform to write your epic fashion recap of the Golden Globes, Justin Timberlake made good on the tacky teaser/countdown thing on his website and released a new ode to menswear. "Suit & Tie" is a light, funky little number in which Timberlake volunteers to teach his listeners a thing or two about love over a beat from his old pal Timbaland. 

When listening, you can pretty much imagine the entire music video playing out, and it will probably involve Timberlake in a fancy club with other fancy people and/or channeling his inner Michael Jackson. Jay-Z makes an appearance, which is all well and good, but we’re all still waiting on that Beyoncé collaboration, or at least another banger with Nelly Furtado. 

Great things have come from the Justin Timberlake-Timbaland Super Best Friendship in the past, so even if "Suit & Tie" isn’t an earth-shattering, "SexyBack"-grade return, it’s an indicator of good things ahead in 2013. Download over at iTunes or listen below and find yourself happily transported to a happier time, like 2006 or something. 

Is Justin Timberlake About to Release a New Album?

It’s been, oh, almost seven years since Justin Timberlake released FutureSex/LoveSounds. In the meantime, he’s tried pretty hard to be an actor instead of a singer, although he did sing a fake Bon Iver song on SNL earlier last year. But it appears that those dormant vocal cords will be busting out soon enough, as there are rumblings around the internet that Timberlake is planning to release a new album this year.

According to The Hollywood Reporter:

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that a cryptic tweet posted by the singer-actor late on Wednesday night — which simply read: “Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 9:01 am PST…” — signifies the announcement and possibly instant arrival of new music.

And not just a song, but a full album produced by longtime collaborator Timbaland. Timberlake, who some might call the original Justin, is believed to have around 20 new tracks recorded.

Another source has confirmed with Billboard that the rumored album will be released “more sooner than later.”

Well, it’s almost 9 AM on the West Coast, so keep your fingers crossed that this is good news and not, like, Timberlake’s promise to drop a vlog with his Oscar nominations recap.  


Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter

Missy Elliott and Timbaland Release New Studio Tracks For Real This Time

Over Labor Day weekend, Missy Elliott made a surprise appearance at a Timbaland show in Miami, and in the midst of energetic performance of some of her biggest hits ("Get Ur Freak On," "Lose Control," etc.), she gave us a brief preview of two new tracks with Timbo, "Triple Threat" and "9th Inning." Well, now we have studio versions of those tracks, and there’s hopefully more to look forward to.

"Triple Threat," with its stammering beat and trance-inducing chorus, is catchy, and it’s nice to hear Timbaland and Missy Elliott back together again, but the song weighs a bit too heavily on Tim. Missy’s verses have a bit more power, but we definitely did a spittake when she referred to her and Tim as "the new Ike and Tina" — that goes in the Crazytown Memorial Vault of Troubling Musical/Romantic Partnership Metaphors. On the muscular "9th Inning," the stronger track of the two, the interplay feels more balanced. Either way, hopefully there’s more new music to come from the pair, and a release date of Missy’s long-awaited Block Party (or whatever it may be called now) can’t be far behind. Have a listen to both new tracks below. 

While You Were at Your Labor Day Festivities, Missy Elliott Premiered New Songs

Earlier this year, it was announced that Missy Elliott and her longtime collaborator/producer Timbaland would be releasing albums around the same time in June of 2012. That didn’t happen, much to our dismay, but Tim’s Shock Value III and a new album from Elliott are both expected to drop before year’s end, and hopefully, soon. After a Twitter announcement from Timbaland that Missy Elliott would drop two new tracks over Labor Day weekend, she took the stage with him at Fontainebleau’s BleauLive over the weekend for part of the set.

The Source posted the clip of Elliott performing two new songs, "Triple Threat" and "9th Inning," as well as a predictably ecstatic "Get Ur Freak On" and bouncing "Lose Control.’ The video isn’t top quality so the new material is tough to hear at times, but the beat is catchy and the crowd seems like they’re really into it. If she brings this kind of energy to all her new stuff, we are in for many good times ahead. Studio versions of the tracks are expected to hit the airwaves soon.

In addition to songs old and new, Elliott also took the opportunity to offer a prayer for Chris Lighty, a hip-hop industry icon who passed last week, and his family. 

Five Reasons Why Timbaland & Missy Elliott Would Make Aaliyah’s Album a Classic

In case you haven’t heard by now, it sounds like Drake is going to serve as the executive producer of Aaliyah’s forthcoming posthumous album. Using previously unreleased Baby Girl vocals, Drizzy has quite the task ahead of him. He needs to do everything he can to honor the legacy of Aaliyah and create an album that’s worthy of being placed next to the stuff she put out before her untimely death in 2001.

But, that’s not all. He also needs to do it while many of Aaliyah’s biggest fans criticize the fact that Timbaland and Missy Elliott aren’t the executive producers on the project. After all, they were largely responsible for much of her success, so why weren’t they picked to produce her posthumous album? That’s what they’re both wondering—and what we’re sure many of you are wondering, too.

Continue reading on VIBE.com! 

A Brief History of Sampling Lawsuits, Now With More Beastie Boys

MCA’s family and friends have hardly had time to grieve for the recently deceased rapper, and already the Beastie Boys, the group that brought him, along with Ad-Rock and Mike D., to fame, are back in hot water.

Hip-hop label Tuf America filed suit against the Beasties, claiming that the group improperly sampled the 1982 Trouble Funk song “Drop The Bomb” among others on cuts from albums including Paul’s Boutique and Licensed to Ill.

According to All Hip-Hop, “Tuf America said they did a thorough sound analysis of the tracks in question and concluded that the Beastie Boys illegally incorporated elements of the songs without permission. To complicate the matter, Tuf America claims The Beasties and Capitol Records continue to profit off the album, by way of anniversary and commemorative releases of Licensed To Ill and Paul’s Boutique, which was released in 1989.”  

Sound analysis? Yikes! But the surviving Beasties might not want to worry too much about this, after all lawsuits over sampling are a dime a dozen these days.

Last year superstar producer Timbaland was sued not once but twice for sampling—once involving Nelly Furtado’s “Do It,” below—with both cases going in his favor (albeit because the works weren’t properly copyrighted in the U.S.). Of one of the lawsuits, Tim said, ““It makes me laugh. The part I don’t understand, the dude is trying to act like I went to his house and took it from his computer. I don’t know him from a can of paint. I’m 15 years deep. That’s how you attack a king? You attack moi?”

Also last year, litigious soul singer Syl Johnson, who once took Cypress Hill to court, sued Jay-Z and Kanye West for what he considered use of part of a song of his, “Different Strokes,” for the song “The Joy.” He claimed that after he denied West permission to use his music, West just went ahead and did so anyway. Kanye and Jay released a statement saying it wasn’t the case, but the duo ended up settling with Johnson after all.

Throughout the ages, Lil Wayne has had plenty of trouble with the law. But in 2008, it wasn’t guns or cars or drugs that got him in trouble, but sampling. South African-born musician Karma-Ann Swanepoel took Wayne to court, saying he had illegally sampled her track “Once”—and only approached her with a contract for the right to do so after the song was released. In turn, Weezy turned around and sued the track’s producers.

Afternoon Links: George Clooney Arrested, Neve Campbell Pregnant

● George Clooney and his equally dashing father were both handcuffed and arrested this afternoon outside of the Sudanese embassy in Washington, where they were protesting the brutal and genocidal conditions in south Sudan. [MSNBC]

● ’90s sweetheart Neve Campbell is pregnant with her first child. [People]

First Missy, and now Timbaland has begun staging his own comeback with the bass heavy "Break Ya Back," featuring Dev. 1996, we hear you! [RapRadar]

● Plastic-y British boy band, One Direction, are set to make history next week when they could become the first UK act ever to score a Billboard Number One — something not even the Beatles managed — with their debut album Up All Night. [NME]

● A wise momma-to-be, Snooki figures that pregnancy-induced morning sickness is not so unlike a hangover. Meanwhile, her baby-daddy Jionni promises that, ""We are not going to screw this up.” [NYDN]

● Keith Richards has apologized to Mick Jagger for all the unflattering anecdotes relayed in his memoir, Life. "As far as the book goes, it was my story," he says. "It was very raw, as I meant it to be, but I know that some parts of it and some of the publicity really offended Mick and I regret that." The two can now go on to celebrate The Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary in peace. [Reuters]