Music News: Janelle Monae talks Prince's inspiration

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Janelle Monae at the 'Black Panther' premiere.
Janelle Monae at the 'Black Panther' premiere. (VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

As Janelle Monáe prepares to release her long-awaited album Dirty Computer on April 27, she's opened up about just how profoundly her life and work has been affected by Prince — with whom she says she became close prior to his death in 2016.

In fact, Monáe says that Prince's death was part of the reason for the five-year gap between her previous album and this one. "He was the person that I would literally call and talk to about sounds or: 'How should I say this? Is this saying too much?' I just never could imagine a time where I couldn't pick up the phone or e-mail him, and he'd contact me right back and we'd talk about all these things that I was unsure of."

In the New York Times interview, Monáe explains how her Atlanta studio complex was inspired by Paisley Park, and how she wants to be as free as Prince was. "That's where I want to be. That's where I want to ultimately be."

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Kanye announces two albums

If Kanye West’s philosophy-book-slash-Twitter-feed is to be believed, he'll release not one but two albums this coming June: a solo LP and a collaboration with Kid Cudi. He revealed the releases as part of a re-emergence into the public eye after remaining largely out of sight since late 2016, when he canceled the end of his tour after being hospitalized for a "psychiatric emergency." (New York Times)

Yo! MTV Raps to relaunch

MTV is re-launching the beloved hip-hop show Yo! MTV Raps as a "reinvented" brand "across both their television channels and social media," reports Rolling Stone. What that will ultimately mean remains unclear, but the relaunch is kicking off on June 1 with an epic reunion of stars from the show's original 1988-95 run.

The Barclays Center concert lineup, in Brooklyn, will include "Big Daddy Kane and the Juice Crew, Eric B. and Rakim, Doug E. Fresh, KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions, EPMD, Flavor Flav of Public Enemy, Melle Mel & the Furious Five, the Pharcyde, Brand Nubian, Nice and Smooth, Onyx, Black Sheep, Das EFX, Special Ed, Yo-Yo, Kid Capri, and the first performance of 'Tap the Bottle' hitmakers Young Black Teenagers since they disbanded in 1994." The show's original hosts will emcee.

German uproar over hip-hop award

Many Germans are in a furor after a controversial album by rappers Farid Bang and Kollegah won the Echo award — Germany's equivalent of a Grammy — for hip-hop album of the year. As the New York Times reports:

The album has racked up sales, but has also attracted a different sort of attention. In one song, the pair boast about how their bodies are "more defined than Auschwitz prisoners." In another, they vow to "make another Holocaust, show up with a Molotov."

For future years, Germany's recording industry association has pledged to change the nominating equation that weights popularity over artistic quality. Still, notes the Times, many Germans are troubled by what the album's success "says about the rise in anti-Semitism among young people, and the millions of impressionable rap fans who are generations removed from the horrors of Nazi rule."

The future (of Beyoncé at Coachella) will not be televised

If you've been wondering what all the fuss regarding Beyoncé’s Coachella set was about...sorry, you'll just have to trust one of the many people who tuned in to the livestream last weekend. While Bey will perform again this weekend, this set won't be streamed. Last weekend's performance became the most-viewed livestream in YouTube history. (Billboard)

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