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Duke Deuce Is The Latest ‘Crunkstar’ Coming Out of Memphis



Duke Deuce is the modern-day king of crunk music. The Memphis-bred MC is best known for his ability to make people dance with his booming voice and high-energy records. The Quality Control/Motown Records signee wasn’t afraid to experiment with different sounds on his newest LP, Crunkstar.

His latest singles, “JUST SAY THAT” featuring “F.N.F.” rapper Glorilla and the Rico Nasty-assisted “Falling Off,” are both doing well on all streaming platforms. Duke looks to separate himself from the pack and continue to build upon the momentum he has created with his assertive yet fun-loving attitude ahead of his forthcoming “Crunkstar Tour” starting Aug. 10th.

“I didn’t want people to box me in continuously,” Deuce tells Billboard. “I got so much talent and wanted to express it. While expressing it, I am being true to myself because the sounds on this project come from the same musical influences I grew up on.”

Since his breakthrough hit “Crunk Ain’t Dead,” Duke Deuce has successfully reintroduced crunk music to the mainstream. After receiving co-signs from southern hip-hop legends like Lil Jon, Juicy J, and Project Pat, Duke hasn’t let his foot off the gas pedal. His newest album Crunkstar boasts features from Babyface Ray, Juicy J, Lil Yachty, and many more.

Below, we spoke with Duke Deuce to discuss what he has learned from his time with Quality Control, his quest to expand the reach of crunk music on Crunkstar, and his headlining Crunkstar Tour.

You have proclaimed yourself to be the “King of Crunk.” Who would you consider some of the pioneers of the sound that inspired you coming up?

Tommy Wright III, Lil Jon — of course Project Pat & Three 6 Mafia. Man, my pops, and many different artists out of the city. Then as I got older, artists like Lil Jon and Bankroll Fresh had to get their flowers. 

Your relationship with Quality Control & Motown is a strong match. Can you explain how the partnership started and how it has helped your career over the years?

It’s been a long time coming, man. One thing I can say about QC is that they do not hold hands. You have to be a hustler. P is big on that. Once they see you grinding, then they come to support you tenfold. 

Motown works so hard for me. We are always on the phone working on a plan, and as you can see, there has been a lot of progress. 

You are Memphis through and through. How important was it to incorporate artists from your hometown on your album?

It was very important. It is my way of giving back so we can keep the momentum as a city. As long as we show love to each other, we will always get bigger. Memphis deserves the spotlight, because we do not have the industry in our city, but we always had the talent. Now that we have the shine, we have to keep it going.

Your newest record, “JUST SAY THAT,” with Glorilla. How did that track come about?

Man! I reached out to her in February before “F.N.F.” blew up. I just want to show love to my city and help out however I can if I see someone going hard. The song got cleared at the very last minute! It wouldn’t have been on my album if it had gotten cleared any day after. You know some things we trip about, but the universe always has something else better for you.

You just recently announced your first headlining tour coming right before your set at Rolling Loud Miami 22’. What city are you most excited to hit on “The Crunkstar Tour” and why?

I would say all of them, but if I had to choose, I would say California and New York. Fans from those cities always comment on my posts asking when I am coming, so now that I am coming, I am curious to see what happens!

You have some amazing co-signs, including Juicy J, Offset, and even Drake. What does it mean to receive support from some of the industry’s biggest stars?

It means the world to me, because that is something they do not have to do. It feels good knowing someone believes in you the way you believe in yourself.

Crunkstar has a lot of rock elements to it. How did you and your team come up with such a unique sound?

It was kind of a natural thing, but Hitkidd kicked it off for me. Once he sent me the beat for “Falling Out Of Love” and had Dante Smith throw some guitars on it, I knew that is how I wanted my project to sound.

You have a feature from Juicy J on “Flip Da Switch.” What did he and Three 6 Mafia mean to you growing up?

I cannot explain it with words, to be honest. I used to see Juicy J on TV, so to be able to get features from them and hang out with them is surreal. 

Lastly, you are known for various viral moments on social media. Do you feel pressure to create more of those moments on top of making music?

It’s pretty much a natural thing. It’s never really any pressure to go viral. It seems like I don’t even try sometimes, and it happens. It is what it is to me!

Speaking of that, I want all my fans to get these “Crunkstar Tour” tickets and turn up with me. As I work on my next album, I plan to be consistent in the next couple of months.

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‘High School’: Get Your First Look at the TV Adaptation of Tegan & Sara’s Memoir (Exclusive)



Tegan and Sara’s teenage years serve as the inspiration for Freevee’s all-new, original series, High School, which is adapted from the band’s 2019 memoir by executive producers and co-showrunners Clea DuVall and Laura Kittrell. Ahead of its fall debut, ET has an exclusive first look at the series’ cast, including TikTok personalities Railey and Seazynn Gilliland as Tegan and Sara, respectively. 

In addition to an image of Railey and Seazynn, who are making their TV debuts with the series, ET also got a first look at special guest stars Cobie Smulders and Kyle Bornheimer, who play the twins’ parents Simone and Patrick.

High School, which is also executive produced by Tegan and Sara Quin and Laura Kittrell, as well as Plan B’s Dede Gardner, Carina Sposato and Jeremy Kleiner, is the latest anticipated LGBTQ-centric project about finding your own identity, and how that journey is made even more complicated when you have a twin whose own struggles and path to self-discovery mimics your own. Set against the backdrop of the 1990s’ rave and grunge culture, the dramedy will weave together parallel and discordant memories of two sisters growing up down the hall from each other. 

“This is not, like, a goofy, surface-y show about sisters who fight over clothes. Like, this is our story. It is about identity and it is about depression and it is about drugs and alcohol and it is about sex and it is about homophobia,” Sara told ET, explaining that they wanted the series to “feel sophisticated.” 

High School

When ET last spoke to Sara, she opened up about adapting the memoir for TV and reuniting with DuVall, who they previously collaborated with by contributing original music to her queer Christmas rom-com, Happiest Season.  

“I remember our agent being like, ‘Man, I can see this being a TV show or a movie.’ And we were like, ‘Really, are you sure?’” Sara said, recalling how they never wrote the book with the expressed intention of taking their story to the screen. 

But soon, they realized there was an opportunity to expand queer storytelling on screen. “We don’t see stories like ours told very often,” she said, explaining that “a story about queer teenagers who are not, like, feminized or who are sisters” is very unique. 

As for working with DuVall, who co-writes and directs several episodes of High School, Sara said it made perfect sense to team up with her here. “She’s not just our friend, she’s actually kind of a sibling,” she said, explaining that they’ve spent Christmases together and have been a part of each other’s adult lives for years. 

“After she read the book, she called us and said, ‘Look, I would be honored and humbled if you would let me try to take this material and turn it into a television show,’” Sara recalled.

Now, High School is set to debut on Freevee on Oct. 14. During the network’s presentation at the Television Critics Association’s 2022 Summer Press Tour, the series unveiled its first teaser, giving fans an even closer look at what’s to come.  

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Megan Thee Stallion Gets More Serious, Sad and Stern with ‘Traumazine’: Album Review



Megan Thee Stallion has had eeeenough to last her a rap lifetime, judging from the tone of “Traumazine,” her best, most fully realized recorded work to date.

Megan records usually drop with spirited, humorous displays of sensuality, assuredness and empowerment, with the twists in their sobriety coming exclusively as the Houston rapper takes time-outs to come down on those who’ve made life hard for her or bad for her #Hotties.

“Traumazine,” however, is made of sterner, more serious stuff — a sound of release, of letting go, of dealing with rage – with its callouts coming quicker, often subtly and ringed with tinges of sadness and disgust. On this, her official sophomore album release, Megan lets loose the tension built up from having been in a forever-seeming contract struggle with her longtime label, 1501 Certified Entertainment, to say nothing of the ongoing court case with her alleged assailant, Tory Lanez.

And yet for all of Megan’s piss-and-vinegar raps, she adds a surprisingly reserved measure of humility, isolation and dejection, too, to the ire-filled tales, deliciously contagious melodies and throbbing rhythms on “Traumazine.”

“Y’all know I always have problems with dropping my music under this label, all these games and having to go to court just to put out my art has been so stressful,” MTS wrote on Twitter as part of her new album’s announcement. “Thank you hotties for rocking with me through the bullshit WE ALMOST OUT … LETS STAY FOCUSED AND RUN THIS LAST ONE UP.”

When she’s feeling righteous indignation on songs such as the Hitkidd-produced, piano-heavy “NDA” (with lines such as “I ain’t perfect, but anything I did to any of you [N-word], y’all deserved it / You see me in that mode, don’t disturb me when I’m working”), you get hit with resentment’s every nuance. Megan is not reining in the acrimony.

Nor is Megan afraid to “get into my feelings,” put mental health first and reveal the chinks in her armor. On the pulsating “Anxiety,” after calling herself “a bad bitch” with “bad anxiety,” Megan goes on to describe the rainbow’s wealth of shades (and shadiness) that color her life.

People call me rude because I ain’t letting them try me
Saying I’m a ho ‘cause I’m in love with my body
Issues, but nobody I could talk to about it
They keep saying I should get help but I don’t even know what I need
They keep saying “speak your truth”
And at the same time saying they don’t believe

Not everything on “Traumazine” goes to the extremes of red or black.

On the house music uplift of “Her,” Megan wastes no time graphically displaying the full range of her feminine wiles with sensitive delicacy (“everything natural, actual, factual”) and raw power (“Prissy in the streets, but I fuck like an animal”).

MTS and guest rapper Key Glock make “Ungrateful” into a dramatic dialog on a concept as oblique as thanklessness with one smartly, spiteful line sticking out (“You would never be you if I wasn’t your muse”) before going for the throats of “fake-ass, snake-ass, cake-ass, hating-ass, no money getting-ass” former associates. When Megan cuts you out of her life, you’re done with no second chances, muse or not.

Name features such as those from punk-rock princess Rico Nasty (“Scare“), Dua Lipa (“Sweetest Pie”) and Future (“Pressurelicious”) are solid and impactful. But having guests don’t help settle the scores that Megan Thee Stallion has to settle, let alone raise the blood pressure on the passions she needs to expel.

These tensions are best and most brutally displayed by MTS alone, on everything from the confident, piano-plinking sensuality of “Gift & a Curse” (“A bitch like me, yeah, I know my worth”) to the ladies-love-yourself anthem of “Plan B” (with smooth-and-salty jazz licks courtesy producers Shawn “Source” Jarrett and Hitmaka) to the take-no-prisoners rant of “Ms. Nasty.”

If Megan Thee Stallion is making “Traumazine,” as she suggests, as the last effort in her long, messy label battle, she’s leaving 1501 with an epic final work, an emotional goodbye that’ll leave them (and her happy #Hotties) dumbstruck for some time to come. Even without that particular drama as text or subtext, she’s made a forward stride with a story of indignation and despondence like little else we’ve heard in hip-hop.

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Megan Thee Stallion Introduces Jimmy Fallon to Hot Cheeto Pickles, Plays Rap Mad Libs During ‘Tonight Show’ Co-Hosting Gig



Megan Thee Stallion proved that her recent cameo on P-Valley was no fluke on Thursday night (Aug. 11) when she helped co-pilot The Tonight Show alongside host Jimmy Fallon. The always-game Houston MC shared one of her favorite hometown snacks recipes, helped with the monologue and “Thank You Notes” and even co-interviewed one of the night’s guests on the eve of the release of her Traumazine album.

And, of course, she did it all with her signature classy, sassy, savage and, yes, sometimes nasty charm. “Thank you birthday candles, for being crayons that like to get lit,” she said during Fallon’s weekly fake note bit. “Thank you postcards for making the government deliver my Instagram,” she added, before bursting into uncontrolled laughter following Fallon’s joke about Kim Kardashian’s new skin-toned Beats Fit Pro ear buds, which Meg initially thought were organic eggs.

She was also game to play “Mad Lib Hip-Hop Karaoke,” swapping out the lyrics to some classic rap tracks with the most ridiculous words possible. With a list that included croquet, head/bed/lead, the question “did you fart?,” a zebra, lima, pinto and refried beans and a run-down of her three favorite made-up words (Traumazine, “Pressurelicious” and “body-ody”), she somehow managed to shoehorn that word salad into her own breakthrough hit, “Savage.”

Things got even weirder in the second round, when Megan had to hit the brakes after discovering that Fallon did not share her love for ranch dressing. “I’m not a ranch person,” Fallon said, with an incredulous Megan guaranteeing him that half the things he eats “require” ranch. “No, I think half the things you eat shouldn’t have ranch on them,” Jimmy responded as Megan tagged him as a mayo guy (for the record, he loves the “basic” condiment mustard.) Check out their bananas mad lib take on Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “Nothin’ But a G Thang” below.

Holding her beloved dog French bulldog 4oe on her lap, Megan relished the chance to turn the tables and ask Jimmy a question, which became more pertinent after his ranch reaction. “Are you a fan of Hot Cheetos?” she wondered before sharing the recipe for a Houston-only delicacy she can’t get enough of. “We eat Hot Cheetos, but inside of pickles,” she explained as Fallon stared blankly at the camera in shock. Doing her co-hosting best, she pulled out a plate with half a pickle stuffed with Cheetos, which made Jimmy burst into a happy dance about his new favorite snack.

With precision comedic timing she dipped into the show-opening monologue as well, offering up one-word responses to the days news in the style of “Savage,” dubbing Pres. Biden’s seven-day summer vacation “classy,” the early arrival of pumpkin spike latte’s as “bougie” and Trump supporters waving flags outside Mar a Lago as “ratchet.”

The visit also included the story of her signing to Roc Nation — which, of course, featured “platters of Hot Cheetos” everywhere, and a surprise visit from boss Jay-Z –as well as the rundown of how Traumazine became her “most personal” album to date, a champagne spray for the studio audience and her hot take on Stranger Things actress Natalie Dyer’s love triangle on the series.

Check out Megan on The Tonight Show below.

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