Friends In Paris – An Illustrated Interpretation of Kanye & Jay Z’s ‘Ni**as In Paris’


Kanye and Jay Z have one of the most beautiful relationships in rap history. When they released Watch The Throne four years ago, they solidified that friendship with a big, gold-covered, full-length LP that spawned Ni**as In Paris – a song that went on to be one of the biggest hits of both their careers. Every club you walk into these days, everybody wants to gloat about how they can rap to Ni**as In Paris, forming a circle, stepping inside it and letting their friends see their rap chops. Often they get most of the lyrics right, to the surprise of no one who’s heard the radio spin it 4062 times, but how well do we REALLY know the lyrics? We decided it was about damn time that we broke down the song and illustrate it so we could better understand Jay and Ye’s relationship. Enter Friends in Paris

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12 Looks In Music This Week


Here at the interns we give our ears and proper workout so we thought we would give our eyes a chance to prove their worth. Here are the best threads worn this week by people in the fashion biz from high street to catwalk, all the way down under for some local threads.

Taylor Swift & Calvin Harris


Date night! Wine and pizzas (gluten free though, ptfff) at Soho eatery L’asso in New York.
Looking every bit the demure pop princess she is, Tay Tay teams a crop top/skirt outfit (which retails for less than AUD$100!) with her tad bit more expensive Prada tote. Calvin looks a bit more casual but still cool in his black leather bomber and high tops.

Harry Styles & Mick Jagger


Harry Styles channeling vintage Mick Jagger whilst standing NEXT to Mick Jagger. Apparently the two are friends. Cute. It’s hard to buy the ’70s rocker vibe from the kid from One Direction wearing the women’s YSL shirt though.



Babe! Coinciding with her recent album release (Jackie), Ciara has been named the new face of Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli. However, unlike the underwhelming album, the campaign already seems to be a hit as she effortlessly models the beautiful collection, ever so seductively.

Lady Gaga


Huh? Lady Gaga looks half Geisha, half drag at Vancouver Jazz Festival, performing alongside Tony Bennet. The braless look isn’t really working for her. The remaining outfits in the show got better. But only slightly.



Looks like Tinkerbell on acid.

Ke$ha hosted and performed at Hard Rock’s Rehab Pool Party in Las Vegas. The dancers that joined her on stage were dressed as a rabbit, tiger and chicken (according to the LA Times) so she probably just wanted to fit in.



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Looking the same as ever. Doesn’t matter though, whilst he doesn’t bang on about fashion as some of the other rappers out there, Drake knows what’s up and has got his own cool style.


The first face of our Fall '15 ad campaign ✨ @Cher ✨

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The trend of choosing older models in major fashion campaigns continues. Flawless and fierce. Cher is the first face of Marc Jacobs’ Fall ’15 advertisements.

Bey & Jay


Bonnie and Clyde killing it yet again. Holidaying in Italy, Bey repping Australian label Zimmermann with Jay, looking equally as stylish in his cream coloured linen suit.

John Legend


He’s so beautiful… Just like that chair, just like that suit and just like this setting. I guess like his wife as well, who he did the photoshoot with for DuJour magazine.

Florence Welch & Stevie Nicks 

Was a dream to harmonise 'happy birthday' with this magical woman, All my love to @stevienicksofficial xx

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Two of fashion’s ethereal and bohemian, musical muses.

Azealia Banks


Editorial on stage. Only few artists could rock a Christian Cowan glitter denim ensemble. Azealia pulls it off.



Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon at one of their gigs in Calgary. Much like her music, her unique outfit choices are colourful and eclectic.


Your Free Month Of Tidal Is Up, What Are You Going To Do?


Image: Capital Xtra

One month ago Jay Z, joined by the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Madonna and Daft Punk, launched Tidal, a streaming service that bragged high-quality audio, exclusive content and a raft of high-profile owners who could afford its $20 a month subscription. It all sounded great at the start. Jay Z gushed about the large royalties going to artists, the high-quality sound and content exclusive to Tidal but its fortunes turned pretty quickly.

With the world’s biggest musicians all owning a streaming service, it begged the question – what could possibly go wrong? Well a lot apparently. Tidal has received a lot of press over the last month but not a lot of it has been good. Musicians not involved in the project have come out in droves to criticise the price and exclusivity of it while the app itself has dropped out of the top 700 on iTunes.

There are a number of benefits to Tidal. Jay Z tweeted that Tidal pays a 75% royalty rate to artists which, if true, is fantastic. It also does have great sound when played in hi-fi mode. And it does, unlike Spotify, have Taylor Swift, apart from her most recent record, 1989.

If you signed up for Tidal right from the get-go you would have received a free month subscription. That month is now up and you’re going to have to fork out your $20 soon. Are you going to stick around? We’ve compiled a few thoughts to help you.

Here’s What Artists Are Saying

Grimes is one of the few artists that has been complimentary about Tidal. A few days ago she posted an instagram of a screenshot of Jay Z’s tweet along with a comment that read:

“Mad respect for tidal!! I literally know musicians who live in cars and storage spaces etc. And I know some pretty popular musicians who still struggle to make ends meet. Unless artists have a popular live show there aren’t a lot of income streams available. People have characterized tidal negatively but I promise it’s 100% artist friendly, and fan friendly since yall have the option to pay the same rate as other streaming respect to everyone involved for doing the right thing for struggling artists – this kind of thing is so important, especially for indie music! PS I AM SIGNED TO 4AD!! The misconception that I am not an independent artist anymore is incorrect, i can speak as an independent artist here. Roc nation manages me, I’m not signed to them nor do I have any investment in tidal, nor did anyone ask me to say this. Ps to everyone who buys music respect! Glad to hear many of u buy music rather than stream which is the best way to support smaller artists! ^_^ and also, for those who can’t afford streaming or buying music, I do not judge anyone for that! This is a suggestion, not a demand, in sorry it has created so much anger amongst yall”

The comment has since been deleted.

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Marcus Mumford
The frontman of Mumford & Sons says he never would’ve been part of the project because he doesn’t want to be “tribal.” In an interview with The Daily Beast he said, “I think smaller bands should get paid more for it. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. When they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists… I don’t want to align myself with Spotify, Beats, Tidal, or whatever. We want people to listen to our music in their most comfortable way, and if they’re not up for paying for it, I don’t really care.”

It seems he’s mirroring many people’s feelings about Tidal which is they “don’t really care.”

Lily Allen
Lily Allen has probably been one of the most vocal about Tidal. In a series of tweets she said, “unless TIDAL start sending everyone good quality headphones, the resolution thing is kinda redundant.” You’ve got to hand it to her, it’s a good point.

She also wrote, “i think i may have spoken too soon, and that there is a lot to celebrate where TIDAL is concerned.”

Ben Gibbard
Death Cab for Cutie frontman, Ben Gibbard has criticised the streaming service for only appealing to mainstream artists. In an interview with The Daily Beast Gibbard said, “If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out 10 artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on Tidal, will pay that artist this much.’ I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid.”

Madge is obviously going to praise the streaming service as she is one of the 16 artist-owners. She took to Instagram to defend the service against the backlash writing, “Tidal is not about consumption and greed! Its about protecting an art-form that is beloved to all of us MUSIC”. She continued, “If you refer to Tidal as Illuminati, you are paying us the highest of compliments. As I’ve stated before it is another name for “The Enlightened Ones” a group of scientists, philosophers and artists that emerged after the dark ages. They changed and shaped the world for the better! Do the research and find out for yourself!”

Kanye West
Reports surfaced last week that Kanye West had deleted the Tidal blue as his Twitter picture and deleted tweets about the streaming service. True as it may be the same week a piece also appeared in Paper Magazine where the rapper defended Tidal fervently. Like Madonna, he touched on the illuminati comments saying, “I heard a comment — a joke — about the Tidal press conference being an Illuminati moment. If there was actually an Illuminati, it would be more like the energy companies. Not celebrities that gave their life to music and who are pinpointed as decoys for people who really run the world.”

On 22nd April West tweeted this:

Sounds like he’s sticking with Tidal. We may also take this opportunity to note that the reports about him ditching Tidal are ridiculous. Many of the 16 artists involved in Tidal changed their profile picture to blue when Tidal was launched and gradually went back to their original after a few weeks. For some reason Kanye also deleted his tweets about Tidal which is what sparked a media barrage.  He hasn’t spoken out as to why he did that.

Steve Albini
Legendary music producer and engineer Steve Albini commented about the sound quality aspect of Tidal. He told Vulture, “If you want your music to play at the push of a button, convenience is going to trump sound quality 100 percent of the time.”

Jay Z
As the owner of Tidal Jay Z has said a lot. Most of that is here on his Twitter. He took to Twitter over the weekend to defend Tidal with a series of #TidalFacts tweets. Time fact-checked the tweets and found that most of them are true.

Also, for those of you who were wondering, Jay Z did actually send his cousin to Nigeria as noted. Complex did a little investigative digging here.

Here’s What You Might Get If You Stick Around

Nicki Minaj Material
We’re not exactly sure what, but Nicki Minaj is preparing to drop something exclusively on Tidal. She tweeted this:

And then tweeted this:

A Beyoncé and Jay Z Album
This one might not happen, but we’re hoping that it does. DJ Skee (yeah, us either) has said that the couple are nearing completion of a collaboration album and will be a Tidal exclusive when it’s released.

There are no reports regarding this one but Rihanna has already dropped American Oxygen exclusively to Tidal so it would make sense if she also dropped the whole album on Tidal. The risk of doing this would be that less people would hear it immediately and it would make its way onto torrent sites immediately but that’s the risk you take if you’re going to fully dedicate yourself to Tidal.

Plenty More From Tidal’s Owners
So far we’ve already gotten exclusives from Jay Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, Jack White, Daft Punk, Madonna and more. Surely Tidal have a strategy that goes further than just its first month so it would make sense to think that this content is going to keep coming for the next few months at least. One thing to consider though is if you’re going to release something exclusively to Tidal, you’re really not looking for it to chart very high. Rihanna released her single American Oxygen to iTunes the week after it went up exclusively on Tidal. Beyond a video or off-cut from an album you won’t see many of these tracks remain Tidal exclusives for long if the artist is looking at nabbing a hit.

What Are We Going To Do?
All things considered we’re impressed by Tidal. The hi-fi sound is excellent on good quality headphone (which is not helpful to many, mind you) and the exclusive content is definitely appealing. The issue is that that exclusive content does ostracise many that can’t afford Tidal’s excessive subscription fees. The interface of Tidal is arguably nicer than Spotify, making it incredibly easy to use.

Our biggest issue is that Tidal needs time to grow. It needs time to expand its library and iron out some of its problems. The streaming service needs time to stand on its own two feet. Perhaps the worst thing Jay Z did was launch it on stage with a bunch of music stars. What seemed like a great publicity stunt has backfired and taken the attention away from the actually service itself and translated to a bunch on critiques about rich people getting richer.

We couldn’t care less if this adds to Jay Z’s empire or not. If the artists do receive their 75% royalty rate then that’s great. If it forces artists to make a decision about what streaming service to make their content exclusive too then that’s problematic. Users will have to either subscribe to multiple services or resort to torrenting the content that isn’t exclusive to their chosen service.

For the time being we will be sticking with Spotify as it’s a more reliable and established service. If Jay Z or Jack White give us a courtesy call in a few months time and ask us to reconsider then we may think again. They need to do a number of things before that though. They need to remove their high-profile owners from the marketing strategy and they need to concentrate on expanding the music library and increasing some of the creative content on the site. Tidal has a chance to integrate articles, interviews and more written content with its music and video library and that could be what will really set it apart.

It’s too early to write Tidal off but it’s also too early to fork out the money in favour of Spotify or another established streaming service.

Here’s the situation explained in pictorial form: 




Breaking Down The Hashtag: What Is #TIDALforALL?

tidalforallThe basics – What is Tidal?

Tidal is a new music streaming service that will offer high fidelity sound quality, HD music videos and expertly Curated Editorial. In a nutshell, Tidal will be a hybrid of Spotify, Vimeo and perhaps even our high fashion online zines of choice (I mean…surely, if Kanye is involved). Apart from promising the highest quality in sound and video, Tidal are also making sure that their service is available when you’re offline…excellent if you like to blast tunes whilst on road trips to Byron and your service provider is anybody but Telstra.

tidal-share.9d1c0023How is this any different from Spotify or Vimeo?

The major difference is that you’re getting both music and video in the same place, something Spotify does not offer and Vimeo (or Youtube) generally don’t have excellent sound quality either. That’s the technical difference. The big campaign behind Tidal however is not about its features but about the fact that it is owned directly by a group of musicians rather than corporations.

artists_tidalWait…who owns it?

Musicians…namely- Jay Z, Alicia Keys, Win Butler & Régine Chassagne (of Arcade Fire), Beyonce, Calvin Harris, Chris Martin (of Coldplay), Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Kanye West, Deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher.

During the press conference yesterday in which Tidal was officially re-launched, all of the above artists stood united together on the same stage in a very Hunger-games-esque moment of rebellion (Calvin & Chris were there via video screens but hey, they tried). As a very excited Alicia Keys gave a speech about the new service in which she didn’t actually say a whole lot except that what they were doing was “so powerful”. So of course, many are still a bit confused as to why Tidal is such a big deal.

NAVY, turn the tide…#MakeMusicHistory #TurnitBlue #TIDALforALL

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

Do you know why?

Tidal is going to be the first streaming service in which artists are calling the shots and setting the standards, so yeah…it’s a big f**cking deal. Currently a streaming service like Spotify pays artists an appalling amount in royalties. To put it into perspective…if you’re an emerging Sydney artist and you manage to get your song streaming in the playlist, “Triple J’s Hitlist” and by some miracle Spotify users play your song a total of 50 000 times…you’re going to make about $260 (and that’s before your label/agency/management take their cut). That. Is. Horrendous…considering so much money (and heart) go into the writing and recording of new material. Maybe most of you don’t give a shit about how much of your $9.99 a month subscription is going towards the musicians but you should, because sooner or later that music might just stop… Can’t keep releasing new tunes if you got no cash flow, son!

Tidal is the first streaming company that is fighting to take back what rightfully belongs to the artist and that alone should be worth the $19.99 a month.

jay_z_tweet$11.99 a month? That’s daylight robbery!

No, the two $10 burgers you’ll eat at Grill’d this month are daylight robbery. This is a small price to pay to put some of the cash and power back in the hands of the people who are constantly giving to the rest of us with their songs.

If AUD$11.99 (or AUD$23.99 for premium) is too big a stretch for you, Tidal is offering a $9.99 a month package in which the song quality is only at standard definition (which unless you’re a tech/audio geek or a muso, you probably won’t notice the difference anyway). The difference in price to the musicians however is that Tidal are offering their artist double the standard royalty rate if you buy into their premium music package so if you can bear to part with $20 a month (which if you’re honest you probably can) I would suggest going with this package as you are aiding the growth of a company that will hopefully do great things in the long term.

jayzilluminatiGreat things? Like what?

Tidal is essentially Jay Z’s baby and maybe that’s got you making weird illuminati signs at your screen and calling this whole thing bullshit but put your stupid conspiracy theories away for two minutes to consider a future where musicians are calling the shots on what happens to their own music. The promise Jay & the team at Tidal have made is that the service will be constantly evolving…my personal hope is that involves taking on artists who may not see a dollar for their craft otherwise. The owner’s board is currently filled with some of the richest and most influential artists alive today but perhaps there will be a future for Tidal where a small indie band from Ulladulla can move out of their parents’ basement because companies like Tidal have payed them for their hard work and their gift to the rest of us.

As Alicia Keys so cleverly pointed out in her keynote speech, Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake”.

So maybe it’s time to give back some, huh?

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