The British are coming. Well, more specifically, the 2024 BRIT Awards. On March 2, the annual showcase of the UK’s biggest names went down. As usual, the televised performances were elaborately over-the-top. But what did shake things up, at least for the viewing audience at home and abroad, was the winner’s list.
“Flip A Switch” singer RAYE absolutely dominated the night, taking home a grand total of 6 awards (British Album Of The Year, British Artist Of The Year, New Artist, Song Of The Year, R&B Act, and Songwriter Of The Year). SZA took home the trophy for International Artist.
In addition to performing her single, “Training Season,” Dua Lipa snagged the award for Pop Act. As a surprise to no one, Miley Cyrus’ hit “Flowers” won for International Song. The Global Icon Award was bestowed on Kylie Minogue. While the Rising Star Award was given to The Last Dinner Party. Continue below for the complete list of winners.
British Album Of The Year
Blur – The Ballad of Darren
J Hus – Beautiful and Brutal Yard
Little Simz – No Thank You Raye – My 21st Century Blues
Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy
British Artist Of The Year
Olivia Dean Raye
Chase & Status
Headie One & K-Trap Jungle
Song Of The Year
Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding – “Miracle”
Cassö, Raye and D-Block Europe – “Prada”
Central Cee – “Let Go”
Central Cee and Dave – “Sprinter”
Dua Lipa – “Dance the Night”
Ed Sheeran – “Eyes Closed”
J Hus – “Who Told You”
Kenya Grace – “Strangers”
Lewis Capaldi – “Wish You the Best”
PinkPantheress – “Boy’s a Liar” Raye – “Escapism”
Rudimental, Charlotte Plank and Vibe Chemistry – “Dancing Is Healing”
Stormzy and Debbie – “Firebabe”
Switch Disco and Ella Henderson – “React”
Venbee and Goddard – “Messy in Heaven”
Lana Del Rey
Olivia Rodrigo SZA
Yesterday (March 1), she took to X (formerly Twitter) to tease her forthcoming appearance on Sesame Street, fulfilling one of her lifetime wishes. The photo featured several residents of the beloved block. “God’s timing,” she wrote. “Follow your dreams and say them out loud. Never give up. Anything is possible. I believe in you. ”
To add to the already adorable moment, SZA snagged a selfie video with everyone’s favorite monster, Elmo, during her giddy trip. In the clip, the two gush about the great day they had with one another.
But as he prepared to reenter the spotlight, Meek faced a few unfortunate circumstances. Yesterday (March 1), Meek was reportedly involved in a bad car accident, which he claims was due to a manufacturing issue.
In a post on his Instagram Stories, Meek uploaded a photo of the frightening crash. “God telling [me] don’t crash out for the busta,” he wrote. “Imma listen, sh*t knocked me out, LOL. GMC. The whole brake pedal slipped off my first time driving SMH.”
While Meek should be celebrating the release of his latest EP, Heathenism, he has to tend to both his physical health and mental well-being. Meek’s reference to crashing out is seemingly in response to his string of posts on X (formerly Twitter) to shut down claims made in a new lawsuit that he was involved in a sexual relationship with Diddy.
Meek Mill has denied the remarks made in the filing.
Stop asking me if I’m straight I’m just gonna play it raw how the world is … I’m blessed I’m okay but I ain’t hearing nothing good looking!
In one video, Cardi B scrolls through “like 100 songs” on her computer dating back to January 2023. “Look how long I’ve had this f*cking record for,” she says off-camera. “January 27, 202-f*ckin’-3. I was working on this sh*t at 5 a.m. You know I’m a night owl.”
Cardi added, “I’m not letting my anxiety, I’m not letting what haters say, I’m not letting what fans say — if I do a song, I’m gonna just f*cking drop it. Well, I got no choice because I’m dropping my album this year, so stay tuned for the announcement. But don’t play with me!”
Cardi B via her Instagram story
“I’m dropping my album this year so stay tuned for the announcement.”
Cardi’s next album will be her first since her sensational, record-breaking 2018 debut, Invasion Of Privacy. Whenever it arrives, Cardi will likely prove why her forthcoming sophomore LP was among Uproxx’s “Most Anticipated Albums Of 2024.”
For now, watch the “Like What (Freestyle)” video above.
Cardi B is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
On Friday, March 1, Cardi B released her “Like What (Freestyle)” alongside a salacious Offset-directed video, putting Cardi’s rap prowess front and center. Uproxx’s Aaron Williams led this week’s “Best New Hip-Hop” with it, and Missy Elliott appears to agree with that assessment. Missy’s opinion would matter regardless, but it especially matters in this case because Cardi freestyled over a sample of Missy’s “She’s A B*tch” from her 1999 Grammy-nominated album, Da Real World.
Missy Elliott spent Friday responding to fans’ “Like What” reactions on X (formerly Twitter). She mostly replied with various Memoji stickers — the heart hands, the dancing salsa lady, a purple heart, the prayer hands — but the recent Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee had something to say to one person.
Someone going by Jus on X wrote, “Do these children really not know that it’s a freestyle to Missy Elliott’s song?? Like wtf is going on in these schools? In these homes??!! Just uncultured! lmao” Missy initially replied with another Memoji, which led to Jus writing, “Missy we gotta educate the children like it’s getting out of hand. Also, I love you and your music! You are a LEGEND! A ICON!” To that, Missy wrote, “Yes….The ones before my era taught us also.” Of course, there were two Memojis accompanying that message.
Missy also promoted”Like What” on her Instagram Story.
Watch Cardi’s “Like What (Freestyle)” video above, and check out Elliott’s X posts below.
Consolation prize? As per The Associated Press, Rihanna was booked to perform at a celebration for the wedding of the son to “billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani,” which boasted a “nearly 1,200-person guest list,” including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. That news alone does not connote a consolation prize because what good is a private Rihanna performance to her millions (or billions?) of fans who cannot attend? However, videos from the performance are circulating on X (formerly Twitter), making it a de facto semi-public Rihanna concert.
Complex posted aggregated videos of Rihanna singing “B*tch Better Have My Money” and dancing confidently during “Work.” while other accounts are circulating videos of Rihanna singing “Umbrella” and “Pour It Up.” Her vocals are flawless, but the choreography alone is enough to cause severe FOMO.
As per Variety, “The concert, held in the family’s hometown of Jamnagar in India, was the first night of a three-day event to celebrate the wedding — which isn’t set to happen until later this summer — of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant.”
In December, Rihanna gave fans hope that new music and a tour will happen at some unspecified point in the future.
“Well, we were always gonna go back on tour,” Rihanna told Entertainment Tonight when asked if another tour could be happening soon. “I feel I want to do a tour when there’s new music, right? We already know what that’s gonna be, with the songs that I’ve performed my last tour. That was a long time ago. I feel like it’s only fair that my fans get what they’ve been waiting on, which is new music. And after that, let’s just, like, blow everything up.”
Music lovers rush to X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram each year to share their Wrapped results with friends (sorry, not sorry, Apple Music). That data-driven badge of honor lets their friends and family know which albums, songs, and genres they were obsessed with on Spotify. But the streaming giant could be looking to do the same for audiobook enthusiasts.
Spotify has announced a new subscription plan solely for audiobooks. Continue below for details about the new plan.
How To Get A Spotify Subscription For Audiobooks Only
In October 2023, the platform rolled out audiobooks at no additional cost to its Spotify premium subscribers. Now, for those unwilling or uninterested in the music side of the app, Spotify offers an “audiobooks only” option starting at $9.99. To sign up, users must visit the mobile application or web version here, then select the “Audiobooks Access” plan. However, it is important to note the limits of the plan. Read the restriction as listed on Spotify’s website:
“With the Audiobooks Access plan, you now get 15 hours of audiobook listening time every month from our audiobooks subscriber catalog. Unused listening hours expire at the end of each month and do not carry over. Your music listening experience will be on our free, ad-supported service. If you’re an existing Premium subscriber or a Premium plan member, you’ll need to cancel your current plan first before joining Audiobooks Access.”
As she’s often done and will continue to do, Beyoncé sparked an integral social conversation in response to her world-stopping work. In early February during the Super Bowl, the announcement of her rumored forthcoming country album “Act II” — lead by the plucky single “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and the stripped-down ballad “16 CARRIAGES” — raised several points surrounding the genre’s diversity issue. Both songs feature production, writing, and instrumental assists from Black artists. (“TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” features Black folk musician Rihannon Giddens on banjo and viola, while roots music steel guitarist Robert Randolph can be heard on “16 CARRIAGES.”)
Despite the songs’ rapid popularity following their surprise release, a post on X alluded to an Oklahoma country radio station refusing to play “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM,” stirring allegations of racism. It was later clarified that the station was unaware that Beyoncé had released music within this genre. (Early metadata also suggests that the songs were initially placed under her typical labels — Pop, Hot AC, Rhythmic, Urban, R&B — rather than country, which it was eventually serviced to.) Regardless of whether these songs will get airtime on country radio or not, the notion that the genre is attempting to shut out Beyoncé because of her perceived lack of country street cred has loomed largely.
But we’re missing the forest for the trees. Bey’s place in country music ultimately turns the genre’s proverbial mirror inward, in order to highlight a larger issue regarding the longtime exclusion of the genre’s Black female artists by both institutions and fans. These artists are integral to the foundation of country music, but seldom get the respect or visibility to compensate for the contributions they’ve made. Whether this was Beyoncé’s intention or not, “Act II” is both an album release and a social experiment. She’s helping to apply pressure on a machine designed to exclude certain acts from certain genres in order to force a change.
“I want to recognize that I do not know of any Black female country artists and I do think that this is a problem,” says Jane*, a country music fan from Massachusetts, when asked if she actively listens to country music by Black artists. “There is no representation for Black female artists in country music, and very little representation for Black male country artists. I think that Beyoncé’s two songs are highlighting this major fault.”
Despite “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM”s supremacy on both the country charts and the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, country’s fiercest advocates have taken umbrage with the idea that the Houston-bred icon is threatening “traditional” country music, identified by simple production and thematic-yet-unifying lyricism. This is due to the sonic je nais se quoi that makes a Beyoncé song, a Beyoncé song. (Unparalleled vocal runs, harmonies, and layered production.) As we saw with Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” in 2019, 2017’s “Meant To Be” by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line, and even Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” in 1997, this isn’t the first time a discussion about “what country sounds like” has occurred.
“I think it is inevitable that [genre cross-pollination] happens,” says country fan Xavier, who not only names Zach Bryan and Charles Wesley Godwin as some of his favorite acts, but performs country music in NYC. In the last 15 years especially, pop, hip-hop, and trap beats have infiltrated the genre by acts such as Morgan Wallen (“Wasted On You”), rapper-turned-country star Jelly Roll (“Unlive”), and Florida Georgia Line (“Lil Bit”). Purists may also condemn these artists, but it seems that casual fans — and the charts — don’t seem to mind.
But the “sound” of some songs doesn’t negate the fact that there are Black women country acts, producers, and songwriters who are fighting to have their work heard, regardless of whether they’re releasing genre-bending takes or “pure” country tracks. What ultimately stifles these voices in the mainstream is the genre’s deeply rooted racism, inherent misogynoir, and the demonstrated unwillingness of fans and higher powers to dive deeper into the diversity country offers outside of what is already being pushed.
“Chris Willman did a really great article in Variety, and he included a quote about how [country] programmers have been searching for this amazing Black woman that is an incredible singer, has charisma, has the right voice, the right song… but they just haven’t found her,” explains country music star Rissi Palmer over Zoom. “There have been more than 50 years of Black women trying to be in the genre…not one?” With her 2007 song “Country Girl,” Palmer became the first Black woman in 20 years to have a song hit Billboard’s country music chart. She is also the host of Apple Music’s radio show “Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer,” where she highlights non-white acts within country.
“Myself and my friends [musicians Denitia, Madeline Edwards, Tiera Kennedy, Miko Marks, and Sacha] went to the Opry to support Camille Parker,” she continues. “In the group you have a variety of colors, shapes, size, perspective, sound. Every one of these women has put music out into the world, several of them are signed to major labels…not one [fits the criteria]?”
Race played a major factor in the distribution of music during the beginning of the recording era, around the 1920s. Black art was relegated to “race records,” while white acts played “hillbilly music.” Both “types” of music featured instruments that Black artists are often credited with bringing to the forefront, such as the banjo, which was long associated with slaves. “Race records” would eventually evolve into rhythm and blues, and “hillbilly music” — presented as more “marketable” to rural whites — would birth country music. With this said, music scholars often acknowledge country’s Black roots and overarching influence. However, its segregated foundation contributes to a present-day aversion to change, and the continuation of Black artists being overlooked or ignored.
These days, country radio remains overwhelmingly white and male. Per PBS: “A recent study from the University of Ottawa found a mere .03 percent of all songs on country radio from 2002 to 2020 were by Black women. Less than 1 percent of the 411 artists signed to the three major country music labels are people of color.” Linda Martell was the first Black woman to hit the country charts with “Color Him Father.” When her singles hit Billboard’s country charts, Beyoncé became just the eighth Black woman to have her work appear there, joining Martell, Ruby Falls, Pointer Sisters, Nisha Jackson, Dona Mason, Palmer, and Mickey Guyton.
“I think that country is an American art form,” Palmer notes of the importance of Black country artists. “It borrows from Celtic tradition, African tradition, Mexican tradition, and Native American tradition. You bring all these things together, and it makes this art form that is truly unique and special to the experiences of this country, and that’s what should make it inclusive.”
“I really hope people realize that country is such a diverse genre and that it shouldn’t be defined by any stereotypes,” country fan Xavier adds regarding the importance of inclusivity in country music. (He was born and raised in China.)
Perhaps more than any other genre, country music thrives on the pertinence of storytelling. Now more than ever, Black women deserve just as much of a chance as anyone to share their stories. As a country composed of the descendants of individuals from all over the world, there is nothing more American than art chronicling these diverse experiences. Julie Williams’ “Southern Curls” highlights Black beauty. “Seeds” by Rissi Palmer exemplifies the power of community. Mickey Guyton’s “Black Like Me” earned a Grammy nomination in 2020, christening her as the first Black woman to be nominated for “Best Country Solo Performance.” (“These are valid stories, these are country stories,” Palmer affirms.)
But such is life — these voices remain muffled rather than amplified, not just because of the genre’s diversity issue, but also perhaps as a means to turn a blind eye to reality. This creates barriers between Black art and consumers. So, how do we continue to bolster these voices in country music?
Support them. Listen to their stories. Shine a light. Give them your time. Because not only have they been here doing the work, they’re not going anywhere.
Songwriter and performer Frankie Staton made waves during the ‘90s by leading the nationally recognized Black Country Music Association, which had an aim to educate the masses and form community within the country music space. Music journalist and artist manager Holly G founded the Black Opry in 2021, an in-person community of Black artists and fans that commune to celebrate the art form. Equal Access, now entering its third year, is an initiative that strives for equity among artists, executives, and management in country music. Per USA Today, its cohorts have been about 60 percent Black women. There’s also CMT’s Next Women of Country, where women of color (including Denitia and Tanner Adell) reportedly make up 12 percent of the artists in the program.
Plus, there’s a plethora of radio shows and podcasts like “Color Me Country” that speak to the non-white experience in the genre, as well as playlists that highlight country music from minority groups. (Don Flemons’ Tennessean playlist is a robust exploration of Black country music, while Spotify’s “Country Frequency” and “Country Latino,” and Apple Music’s “Boots & Mocs” highlight country, roots, and Americana music from Black, Brown, and Indigenous voices.)
“I remember during the election in 2020…somebody said that the motto of Black women is: ‘Forget it, I’ll do it,’” Palmer laughs. “We’re doing that [within country]! We always make a way when we have to. Plus, Google is your friend. You’ve got the same Google that I do.”
What does this moment mean for the future of Black women artists in country music? Palmer (as well as Xavier, Jane* and likely many other country advocates) are hopeful that these conversations allow both new and longtime fans to expand their horizons when it comes to their idea of country music.
“I do think that anyone regardless of race, gender, or background can create a song that includes many country aspects,” Jane* says. “Anyone can make any kind of music they want to, [and] mix country with whatever you want to. I don’t think that my opinion of country music should limit anyone to stay in a box.”
There’s also the wish that Black women country musicians, songwriters, and producers seize the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot, but continue to stay true to who they are.
“I’m not looking at this like ‘Beyoncé has swooped down to save all of us and to take her with us,’ because it’s not her job,” Palmer explains. “It doesn’t start with Beyoncé, it doesn’t start with Charley Pride, it goes way further than that, and that’s the story that needs to be told at this moment.”
“There’s a lot of really great music,” she continues. “If people just take the time to look it up, they will find a treasure trove. Whatever it is that you’re looking for, whatever style [of country music] you like, it’s out there.”
For the most part, when people get tattoos, they tend to keep them at neck-level or below. It seems that increasingly, though, tattoos on the head or face are becoming more and more commonplace. Kid Cudi is part of the head tattoo club now, as he just revealed.
Cudi shared some photos of his latest piece on Instagram today (March 1). The tattoo is of a flower crown in black ink, and it looks to be about a couple inches tall. The ink doesn’t venture onto Cudi’s forehead, but other than that, it goes all the way around his skull. Per Cudi’s tag in the post’s caption, the tattoo was done by Los Angeles tattoo artist Dr. Woo.
Meanwhile, Cudi recently revealed what he plans for his next couple years to look like. On X (formerly Twitter) a few days ago, he shared the outline, writing, “My next album is already about 80% done, and itll be out in 2026. As always, were takin it someplace new. Just wanted to let yall know, expect an album from me every other year. next year is all about filmin. Got a bunch of stuff I need to get done. Film and tv. So I take a year off of music to do it all.”
Sexyy Red is, for lack of a better term, an absolute menace for anyone in a relationship with her — at least judging by her musical output so far. While dating Red promises frequent trips to “Pound Town,” it apparently also comes with jailhouse drama, a “Rich Baby Daddy” she doesn’t seem too fond of, and other assorted mess that comes from dealing with an unabashed “Hood Rat” who truly doesn’t give a… you know.
Her new video for “I Might” with Summer Walker details her latest misadventures in romance, threatening to call up her side piece when her baby daddy starts acting up. She even takes sinister glee in pitting the two men against each other, which in the song means chuckling that her baby daddy “gon’ leavе you leakin’ in a alley” if he finds out about her infidelity. In the video, she takes the mischief a step further, cackling from the sidelines with her third option as her jilted boo thang confronts her number two, only to find himself swiftly outnumbered and surrounded by his rival’s fellow hooligans. Cinema, truly.
Summer Walker turns out to be a perfect pairing, as she’s always been with starting a fight on record, but brings the softness to the track that makes it deceptively catchy. Seriously, it’s a great song, but if I ever run into either in person, I’m running the other way.
Watch Sexyy Red’s “I Might” video with Summer Walker above.