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Willie Nelson cuts Salt Lake City concert short over breathing issues, blames high altitude

Country music icon Willie Nelson blamed the altitude after he left the stage early with "breathing problems" during a concert Sunday night near Salt Lake City, Billboard reports.

Nelson, 84, apologized to fans in a statement provided to Variety.

>> Read more trending news

"This is Willie. I am very sorry to have to cut the Salt Lake City performance short tonight," the statement read. "The altitude just got to me. I am feeling a lot better now and headed for lower ground."

Early Monday, the singer tweeted a similar message from his verified account.

>> See the tweet here

The venue, USANA Amphitheatre, is in West Valley City, Utah, which is more than 4,300 feet above sea level, Variety reported.

Read more here or here.

Tupac's 1996 Hummer back on auction block

The 1996 black Hummer bought by Tupac Shakur a month before he was killed is on the auction block again, according to the RR Auction website.

>> Read more trending news

Item No. 4288 is the fully loaded vehicle customized by the late rapper, equipped with a 6.5-liter turbo diesel V-8 engine. The odometer is at 10,101 miles, and the license plate is a vanity that reads “YAKNPAK,” honoring Shakur and another late rapper, Yaki “Prince” Kadafi, according to the auction website.

The auction ends Aug. 17.

Shakur was shot four times in a drive-by shooting on Sept. 7, 1996, in Las Vegas. He died of his wounds six days later.

Boston-based RR Auction sold the Hummer for $337,144 in May 2016, CNN reported. However, the anonymous Ohio bidder who won the vehicle defaulted and never paid for the it, TMZ reported.

Eleven bids have been placed on the vehicle, according to the RR Auction site. It opened at $10,000 and is currently at $44,000. It is expected to fetch more than $100,000 RR Auction said.

Bulldozers threaten Beatles monument in Mongolia

A statue of the Beatles in the capital city of Mongolia may be at risk because of construction at the site of the tribute, but protesters are asking officials to let it be and are looking for some help from city officials.

>> Read more trending news

The statue of the iconic rock ’n’ roll group is located in Ulaanbaatar. It’s a bas-relief structure that was built to commemorate the transition of the former satellite of the Soviet Union to democracy in 1990, Reuters reported. The area is known as Beatles Square; the monument, erected in 2008, marks the site where Mongolians gathered to talk about banned Western pop music, Reuters reported.

“For a long time there were stories about construction on the land, but nobody wanted to believe it," said Tsoggerel Uyanga, a community organizer and senior partner at research group MAD Investment Solutions.

The music of groups like the Beatles, ABBA, and other Western pop groups helped launch the “Rock and Roll Communist Revolution” 30 years ago, Reuters said.

Authorities have defended the development as part of a "car-free street" project to build an underground shopping complex complete with street gardens.

A lawyer for Mongolia's National Construction Association said there were no plans to remove the Beatles statue, however.

7 things you didn't know about hip-hop’s history in America

Forty-four years ago, an 18-year-old New York DJ and his emcee friend kickstarted the hip-hop genre.

» RELATED: Google marks anniversary of hip-hop with new interactive doodle 

To commemorate the 44th anniversary of hip-hop, Google debuted an interactive Google Doodle narrated by Fab 5 Freddy on its homepage for users to can play DJ as they scratch, mix breaks and earn trophies that unlock new facts about hip-hop.

Learn more about the Google Doodle here.

7 things to know about hip-hop’s history 

Who invented hip-hop?

The birth of hip-hop is believed to date back to Aug. 11, 1973, where DJ Kool Herc, whose real name was Clive Campbell, and his friend hosted a back-to-school party in Bronx, New York.

» RELATED: Study: Hip-hop has fewer drug references than any other music genre

Campbell, 18, and his friend Coke La Rock are often referred to as the fathers of hip-hop.

But according to NPR, “hip-hop has a number of fathers based on your understanding and knowledge of it.” There’s DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, the two South Bronx men known for throwing parties around town.

Bambaataa also led Universal Zulu Nation (called “Organization” in the 1970s), a hip-hop organization meant to unite all facets of the hip-hop culture.

» RELATED: SCLC to launch hip-hop record label 

DJ Kool Herc, Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash are also recognized as hip-hop’s founding “holy trinity,” according to The Guardian.

And there’s also Pete DJ Jones, who was popular in the club scene.

In 1979, Sugarhill Gang rappers produced hip-hop's first commercially successful hit, "Rapper's Delight,” according to Rap Genius.

Where and how did hip-hop begin?

The two Bronx kids decided to try something a little different while entertaining guests at their sister’s back-to-school bash. According to NPR, Campbell threw his party inside the 1520 Sedgwick Avenue building in the South Bronx.

» RELATED: Photos: 'Legends of Southern Hip Hop' in concert 

Instead of playing the songs in full, the Jamaican-American DJ isolated their instrumentals (or “breaks”), during which he noticed the crowd went wild.

Before this time, emcees typically introduced the DJ, the music and was responsible for hyping up the crowds with jokes and stories. 

At the Aug. 11, 1973, bash, emcee Coke La Rock grabbed the microphone to do just that during Herc’s innovative instrumental spins, adding words to the beats and with that, as Google wrote, hip-hop was born.

What are the four original elements of hip-hop culture?

Aside from DJing and emceeing (or rapping), the other iconic original elements of the genre are graffiti and b-boying (or breakdancing). 

RELATED: Photos: Hip-hop stars painted as 17th century figures

All four of these elements already existed in August 1973, but they were recognized as separate entities by the mainstream media, NPR reported.

What were hip-hop music’s original themes?

Much of pre-1980s “hip-hop,” often encompassed party themes, but social and political issues are often recognized as the main propellers of the birth and original direction of hip-hop, according to 

To get an idea of original themes associated with the genre’s birth, it’s important to understand its historical context.

Hip-hop was birthed in black and Latino urban communities in New York, where street cultures were left isolated from white neighborhoods.

During this post-industrial pre-Reagan era, when political discourse was rampant in the U.S., black and Latino residents in New York were written off as marginalized communities.

After President Ronald Reagan’s election in 1981, conditions in those communities worsened, the Grio reported. Intensifying social issues related to police brutality, poverty, incarceration, oppression and unemployment became the prime influencers of hip-hop’s birth.

» RELATED: Harvard senior submits rap album for thesis

One of the first hits in socially-conscious rap was Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message,” released in 1982.

The track described the circumstances and stresses of inner city poverty.

Where did “hip-hop” get its name?

Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins, one of the emcees with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, is credited in the hip-hop community with coining the term “hip-hop” (and it was by accident).

While teasing one of his friends who had just joined the U.S. Army, Wiggins used the phrase “hip-hop” to imitate sounds made by the cadence of marching soldiers. 

» RELATED: 5 things to know about rap group Migos

Somehow, some way, that term made its way to Wiggins’ stage performances.

Later, Afrika Bambaataa said DJ Lovebug Starski used the term hip-hop to describe the culture in its entirety.

The first time the term “hip-hop” made it to print newspapers

In January 1982, the “East Village Eye,” a cultural magazine that focused on the New York neighborhood’s art scene, published writer and filmmaker Michael Holman’s interview with Afrika Bambaataa, a DJ from South Bronx.

Once, Holman went to one of Mambaataa’s Zulu Nation parties at the Bronx River Houses in 1982.

In an interview with the New York Times, Holman described the evening:

“Remember the New Romantic movement with pirates and Indians?” Mr. Holman recalled. “Malcolm was dressed like a pirate, with a puffy blouse and these big pantaloons. I thought, there was no way we could go up there with him dressed like that.”

But they did.

“It was like something out of Joseph Conrad,” Mr. Holman said. “There were like 1,000 kids rocking to Bambaataa, and the beats were thumping off the buildings. These were the kids who were too young to go to Studio 54 or a Luther Vandross concert. They were junior high school kids. And Bambaataa had a captive audience.”

Around this time, Blondie had released “Rapture,” the second single from their 1980 LP, “Autoamerican.” The track featured Debbie Harry name-dropping hip-hop masters Fab 5 Freddy and DJ Grandmaster Flash. 

The first hip-hop themed film

“Wild Style” (1983) is often regarded as the first hip-hop film.

Directed and produced by Charlie Ahearn, the film featured prominent hip-hop pioneers Busy Bee Starski, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Flash and the Cold Crush Brothers, all of whom play themselves in the motion picture.

Ahearn’s film was shot in New York’s South Bronx and Lower East Side neighborhoods, as well as around MTA subway yards.

It follows the life of a New York graffiti artist, but the movie’s popularity is primarily due to its hip-hop-star-studded cast.

Facts used for this story were collected from a variety of hip-hop sources, including Rap Genius, the Grio, Complex and more.

Google marks anniversary of hip-hop with new interactive doodle

Aug. 11 marks the day that the music world was turned on its figurative ear.

According to Google’s Doodle writeup, in 1973, a DJ who went by the name of Kool Herc hosted a back-to-school party in the Bronx. As he spun records, he played the instrumental parts of the songs , also called the breaks. When he did, he said the crowd went crazy. his partner, Coke La Rock grabbed a mic and got the crowd excited. In that moment, hip-hop came into existence.

>> Read more trending news

To help celebrate, Google has debuted one of its popular interactive Google Doodles. You can be the DJ and mix your own breaks, trying to attain various goals as you mix, scratch and put your own mark on the hip hop experience. With each trophy you unlock a new fact about hip-hop.

The Google logo was created by graffiti artist Cey Adams, The Mirror reported. The Doodle is narrated by Fab 5 Freddy.

Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ hits 300th week on Billboard charts

Michael Jackson’s landmark work, “Thriller,” became the 16th record album to spend 300 week’s on the Billboard 200, the magazine reported Friday.

>> Read more trending news

The former No. 1 album, which debuted at No. 11 on Dec. 25, 1982, improved 39 spots to No. 126 in its 300th week on the charts. “Thriller” hit No. 1 on Feb. 26, 1983, and spent 37 weeks in the top spot, Billboard reported. 

It was the most weeks at No. 1 by an artist; the soundtrack to “West Side Story” spent 54 weeks atop the charts.

Hit songs on the album include the title track, “Billie Jean,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” and “Beat It.”

The album with the most weeks in the top 300 is Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon,” with 931. Rounding out the top five are Johnny Mathis’ “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” (490 weeks), “Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers” (481), the original Broadway cast recording of “My Fair Lady” (480) and “Journey’s Greatest Hits” (472).


Kid Rock signs Nashville record deal 

Rap-rocker Kid Rock has signed a record deal with BBR Music Group in Nashville, Tennessee, taking another step toward cementing his relationship with country music, Rolling Stone reported.

>> Read more trending news

Rock teamed up with Hank Williams Jr. in 2002 for an episode of “CMT Crossroads” and has appeared at tribute concerts for Johnny Cash. He also worked country songs into albums like his 2010 effort, “Born Free,” which featured country guests like Martina McBride and Zac Brown Band, 

BBR will release Rock’s next album, the follow-up to his 2015 effort, “First Kiss,” Rolling Stone reported. The singer has teased his new project with two new songs: “Greatest Show on Earth” and “Po-Dunk.”

BBR has released albums for country stars Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser and Lindsay Ell. Rock, who lives in Nashville, scored a top-five country hit in 2008 with “All Summer Long.”

Tanya Tucker releases song, "Forever Loving You," in memory of Glen Campbell

Tanya Tucker and Glen Campbell had a tumultuous relationship that made for tabloid fodder decades ago.

But just two days after his death from Alzheimer's complications at the age of 81, Tucker took to Facebook to express her condolences and release a song in his honor.

Tucker wrote on Facebook that Campbell's death was devastating to her and that while their relationship had its ups and downs, the pair shared "incredible, precious memories together for a long time." 

>> Read more trending news

"Forgiveness is a wonderful thing," Tucker said.

She has released a song, “Forever Loving You,” in memory of Campbell. Portions of the proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer's Foundation of America

The song is available on Apple Music and iTunes.

Aaron Carter comes out as bisexual in emotional note to fans

In a note to fans Saturday night, pop singer Aaron Carter came out as bisexual.

>> Aaron Carter rips brother Nick after family feud goes public

Carter’s note to fans comes after a tumultuous year for the singer. In May, Carter’s father died unexpectedly. The rest of the year has been marred by an arrest, an admission of an eating disorder and a public back-and-forth with his older brother, Nick Carter.

>> See his post here

According to Carter, his feelings don’t bring him shame, though they did represent a weight he had long wanted to lift off himself.

>> Aaron Carter speaks out after DUI arrest, says he doesn't drink alcohol

“When I was around 13 years old, I started to find boys and girls attractive,” Carter wrote.

Although the note was about his sexuality, Carter reminded his fans that he will be defined by his music, not his sexuality.

>> Read more trending news

“Music will ALWAYS be what transcends all of us,” Carter wrote.

The next morning, the singer thanked his fans for all their support.

“Waking up so overwhelmed by your love and support. Looking forward to seeing you all this Thursday in my hometown.”

>> See the post here

50 years ago: Pink Floyd releases debut album

They have kept their fans comfortably numb for a half century.

>> Read more trending news

Fifty years ago, on Aug. 5, 1967, Pink Floyd released its debut album, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” Rock Archive reported. The album hit stores two years after the band formed and is the only full album recorded with Syd Barrett.

The recording and mixing took place at London’s Abbey Road studios.

“The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” became a top-10 album in the United Kingdom, rising as high as No. 6 on the charts.

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