The Scoreboard is Uproxx Music’s bi-monthly look at who is putting points on the board and who is taking major Ls in the music world over the past couple weeks.
Records were meant to be broken, especially if they’re streaming records and Drake is still releasing music. Scorpion just came out, and hey, it’s doing super well. People are listening to it, loving it, and streaming the mother-loving heck out of it. It’s good to be king, but it’s not so good to be underground rapper Jase Harley right now, who feels like Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” pretty blatantly ripped him off.
Win: Streaming through The Six
Drake’s album is a Drake album, which means it’s racking up a ton of streams: On Spotify, it got 120 million of them in the first 12 hours, which (does quick maths) is 10 million per hour, 166,666 per minute, and 2777 per second. There’s plenty to get excited about: It’s his first double album (all those tracks definitely helps explain the huge numbers), it’s revealing and personal, and is pretty compelling musically. Drake has dominated streaming since it became a thing, and this album proves is that Drake on Spotify is the modern equivalent of The Beatles needing to stop performing live because their fans’ screams drowned them out: People don’t know how to handle themselves and just can’t get enough.
Read our review of Scorpion here.
Loss: Stealing is wrong, but so is over-accusing
Did Childish Gambino intentionally steal the core elements of “This Is America” from an underground rapper? Even though there are some striking similarities between the two songs, I’d like to think not. Glover has proven himself to be creative enough over the course of his career that he shouldn’t have to resort to thievery. Honestly, Jase Harley might have a right to be upset based on just how alike the songs are, and while I don’t believe these particular accusations came about for monetary gain (even social currency), a lot of times, this type of case comes up for just that reason.
For instance, people connected to Marvin Gaye’s music are suing people all the time, most recently Ed Sheeran, and it needs to stop. It leaves artists afraid to be inspired by their favorites without having a lawsuit on their hands, and a lot of times, the accusations are unfounded, greedy, and annoying. Sometimes music sounds like other music: Deal with it, and do what you know is right, which might just be nothing.
Win: The power of 5 Seconds Of Summer’s fans
Jay-Z and Beyonce are a power couple, and both are adored by critics and fans, but if there’s one thing I learned from their album release, it’s that fans of boy bands (or boy band-like groups) really are fanatic and can accomplish just about anything. The race for No. 1 album between The Carter’s album and the new effort from 5 Seconds Of Summer was close, and after imploring their fans to help them get to the top, the Australian group beat out the first couple of hip-hop to claim the top spot in the US charts.
If you want to get something done, motivate a boy band fan base to rally behind you and you might have the world’s most powerful army. If more boy band fans were of legal voting age, they could probably get Harry Styles to be president of any country, regardless of his British origins.
Loss: Complicated legacies
Uproxx’s Andre Gee wrote an insightful piece about the complicated legacy that controversial rapper XXXTentacion leaves behind in the wake of his death, and XXX’s passing raises some interesting points. For the most part, it seems to me like people acknowledge XXX’s flaws after his passing, but that’s how I’m seeing it in my music writer bubble, which I feel sometimes can leave me out of touch with what more casual music fans are thinking and feeling. Have XXX’s sins been wiped away because it’s great virtue signaling to publicly lament the loss of pop culture figures? Or is it because people really enjoyed the music and didn’t really care where it came from? Or is that not happening at all and people are confused about how to approach this complicated artist? Do his complexities make him more appealing but also somewhat forbidden?
Win: Wet It Be
I’ve tried on multiple occasions to really get into The Beatles, but I just haven’t been able to do it yet. Maybe I shouldn’t start with Revolver every time, I guess. Whatever the case, there’s no denying that their music has had tremendous impact on millions of people, one of those being James Corden. This made for some great TV when Paul McCartney got in the passenger seat for some Carpool Karaoke and told the moving story about how “Let It Be” came to be, a story so moving and one that resonated to closely with Corden’s personal experience that it made him too emotional for his eyes to handle. You know a song is good when it can affect people this profoundly nearly 50 years after it was released.
Loss: Just relax, man
You could barely do five albums in five weeks, Kanye (and you kind of didn’t even do that, since Teyana Taylor didn’t think her record was even finished). Don’t go for 52 in 52. Take a nap or something.
Win: Real people interviewing cartoons
Gorillaz’s new album is out (in a stroke of kind of bad timing thanks to Drake), and it’s a return to a more Damon Albarn-oriented sound for the group after having a ton of guest stars on Humanz. 2-D talked with Uproxx’s Corbin Reiff about the album, and my main takeaway from the interview was that my colleague interviewed a cartoon character. I haven’t yet asked him how that worked: Was it just Albarn talking to him, or perhaps somebody else from the Gorillaz team with a good handle on the character? Was it like the live interview the 3D version of Gorillaz did last year, or did Corbin get sucked down a golf hole into cartoon land like in Space Jam?
A lot of the staff is on break for the holiday at the moment, but I expect some answers the next time I see you on Slack, Corbin.
Loss: Injustice for Meek
The Meek Mill legal situation is one that I admittedly haven’t personally followed all that closely, but it sure does seem like there’s a lot wrong with it. Most importantly now is Judge Genece Brinkley, who is presiding over his case and does not seem fit to do so, as it appears she has some sort of personal fascination with and/or bias against him. Meek’s legal team has tried on multiple occasions to make this clear and get a different judge on this case, most recently just a few days ago, but so far, it’s been to no avail.
This is a scenario that seems like it has an obvious solution, and yet nobody is making the right moves. Have you ever watched an eight-year-old play a video game that you know inside out, and they just can’t get past a part that’s so easy and second nature to you, and it’s infuriating because it’s so clear what needs to be done in order to progress?
Loss: Planted in reality
Would it be cool to see Robert Plant on Game Of Thrones? Certainly… unless you’re Hodor, since he’s pretty over the celebrity cameos. Will we? Certainly not. Plant revealed that he turned down the opportunity to appear on the show, saying, “I don’t want to be typecast. I mean, I started that sh-t. Go back to ‘Immigrant Song,’ Led Zeppelin being part of a cultural exchange in Iceland with the Icelandic government.”
It might be because he’s basically already done it: Remember that sequence from The Song Remains The Same, where he plays a night on horseback, in pursuit of a damsel to rescue? He’s done the whole fantasy acting thing, which brings me to this point: If he doesn’t want to be typecast and therefore associated with only one type of role, does that mean he’s looking to take on different sorts of acting parts? Hmm, iiiiiinteresting (and probably an illogical leap to maaaaake).
Speaking of parts, I betrayed the win-loss-win-loss ordering for these last two items because I just had to end on this:
Win: Man Of The Woods
In addition to being good at singing, dancing, acting, and everything else, it turns out that Justin Timberlake is packing some serious heat in the uh, lower regions, according to Patricia Clarkson. The news and my childish inclinations ruined my ability to write a normal paragraph about this, so I’ll just fire off some stray thoughts:
The box in the SNL “Dick In A Box” sketch was probably held up by his actual member. Either way, he’s going to need a bigger box. It’s bulky, but he considers it carry on. More like White Snake Moan. Something too inappropriate for this space about Inside Llewyn Davis, but you get where I’m going. Are the numbers in The 20/20 Experience measurements? Now we know why he called his 2010 remix album 12″ Masters. Sounds like there’s a lot of timber in his lake.
Congrats on the penis, JT.