Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pro Ballin' With Jay-Z

It's been a massive week for Jay-Z in the sports arena. Literally. Barclays Center, his long awaited venue in his native Brooklyn, opened this weekend, which will host his Brooklyn Nets team as well as a slew of superstar performers (starting with himself).

But he also added yet another credit to his already impressive resume: executive producer...of a video game. Yep, Hova is the EP of NBA2K13, a basketball game for which he handpicked the soundtrack, players and much more.

And on Wednesday night, he celebrated at his own 40/40 club and I covered the carpet, where I chatted with rappers and pro ballers alike (hopefully simultaneously upping both my street cred and my sports knowledge).

Check out interview highlights below:
For such a mega celeb, Jay is pretty low-key with his security entourage. The carpet was very close quarters and Jay only had two bodyguards with him. Great that he's down the earth but I was a little bummed that Beyonce didn't make an appearance.

Inside the bash, Meek Mill performed and guests ate chicken fingers, sliders and sipped champagne. I thought it was a bit weird that Jay's Ace of Spades champagne magnums were displayed everywhere inside, yet the bar was pouring Wycliff bubbly (which is about the equivalent of Andre). Oh well.

On Thursday, Jay opened a Brooklyn outpost of the 40/40 Club inside the Barclays center, which Rihanna attended. Friday night, Beyonce was there to cheer him on at the first of his 8 shows at Barclays Center. All of them are sold out, natch. It's Jay's world and we're just living in it!

Speaking of Jay-Z, have we all seen the Obama remix of 99 Problems? Whatever your political stance may be, this is hilarious.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Live with Lupe Fiasco!

One thing I like about my job is that every day is different and Tuesday was no exception.
I produced an interview with Lupe Fiasco, who performed live in our studio, and Ashanti. Unlike some rappers, Lupe's lyrics are about much more than bling and bottles and explore deeper ideas, such as politics, poverty and misogyny.
Check out his performance of Around My Way (Freedom Ain't Free) from his new album Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1 below:

The Grammy award winner was amazing live and super nice to his fans and audience members. He also explained to Fuse News why he decided to make his latest album art all black, with no photos or text on the album cover. Here's a preview of his insightful interview:
I'll let you guys know when the full interview airs on Fuse News. In the meantime, go get his new album, in stores now!
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Empire State Of Mind

Having lived in NYC for more than a year, there's actually quite a few "typical" things I haven't done here yet. So when my parents came to visit for the day last Friday, I decided to check one totally touristy thing off the list: visiting the Empire State building.

You can buy tickets online in advance, and we opted for the double pass which gets you access to the open air observatory on the 86th floor, as well as the very top viewing area on the 102nd floor. Make sure you allow yourself enough time for possible lines. When we went on a Friday, the wait was about 45 minutes, and one employee said weekends are even busier.

If you're on a tight schedule but not a budget, you can also purchase an express pass that lets you skip the line for nearly double the cost (but hey, this is NYC and time=money, right?)

On the way up, you can see photographs from when it was originally erected in the 1930's and read all about the building's history. Once you hit the 86th floor, you're rewarded with a 360 degree, open-air views of the entire city and it's pretty damn impressive.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One Night With Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is the (pouty) face of H&M's fall collection and Wednesday night in NYC, she was the voice as well during their party. Everyone knows I love me some Lana so when I snagged an invite for her private performance at the Wooly, I was so there. First, I covered the black carpet for Fuse, where I chatted with model Robyn Lawley (the new face of Ralph Lauren) and star stylist Robert Verdi. Lana did walk the carpet (wearing H&M obvi) but she didn't do interviews. I usually hate when celebs skip interviews but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt...maybe she was saving her voice for her performance later in the night?

Inside the bash was an electric mix of designers including Jason Wu (a favorite of Michelle Obama), Prabal Gurung (Kate Middleton just wore his dress in Singapore) and Christian Siriano. Barbara Bush was also there...clearly, Lana has quite a diverse fan base.

I wasn't sure what to expect since this was my first time seeing Lana perform and she famously bombed her live set on Saturday Night Live earlier this year. The Wooly is a super small, intimate venue so my former E! and Life & Style coworker and BFF Laura and I were able to score prime stageside real estate. I'm happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised by Lana's pipes in person.

She sang 4 songs, opening with Blue Jeans (video below) before crooning a song from her upcoming album called Sing the Body Electric.
Then LDR sang her hit Video Games much better than she did on SNL (listen for yourself below) before capping off her set with a cover of Blue Velvet, the song featured in her H&M campaign.

For someone who has such a bombshell image, (hello, have you seen her naked British GQ cover?) Lana seemed almost shy and sweet on stage. "There's so many faces here I recognize," she told the crowd in between songs. Now I've seen a lot of shows where the artists don't really sing or rely on backing tracks. Instead, she had a full band complete with vionlists. The strings sounded so pretty during the acoustic performance. I think her sound and lyrics are so unique and that definitely translated live as well. The audience seemed really into her performance, as was I. Her voice sounded amazing and being able to see her in such a small venue was really cool. My only complaint is she didn't give us an encore! After her soulful set, guests stayed to sip custom cocktails like the Wooly Mule (their delicious twist on a traditional Moscow Mule) and dance to the deejay's tunes. 
My friends and I loved the cotton candy and fun desserts they served at the end.
The good news is that it was an epic night and she was even better than I hoped live! The bad news is my girl crush on her is bigger than ever. Love you Lana! x

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