Watch Carrie Underwood Rap in Wiz Khalifa Mash-Up

It's been more than two years since Carrie Underwood released "See You Again," the faith-fueled power ballad that doubled as her final single from 2012's Blown Away. While headlining the Big Barrel Country Music Festival last Sunday evening, though, she gave the song a 2015 makeover, throwing a snippet of Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's own "See You Again" into the tune's second half. 

The mash-up arrived during the middle of her 21-song set, following a string of deep cuts like "I Know You Won't" and "Flat on the Floor." Then, with her pianist leading the charge, Underwood launched into an intimate version of "See You Again," a song she co-wrote with Hillary Lindsey and Evanescence's David Hodges. Everything sounded normal until the second chorus, which Underwood extended by singing an instantly familiar line: "It's been a long day without you, my friend, and I'll tell you all about it when I see you again." Then, while the crowd was still processing what was happening, she moved from Charlie Puth's vocal hook into Wiz Khalifa's rapped verse, pausing only to laugh at herself before barreling right back into one of the biggest choruses of 2015. 

The mash-up ended with a few final lines from Underwood's own song, with the onstage Jumbotron catching one last laugh from the singer before the lights went dark. The concert continued from there — Underwood still had hits including "Jesus, Take the Wheel" (another Hillary Lindsey collaboration) and "Something in the Water" to perform — but for festivalgoers who'd spent the entire weekend beneath rainy Delaware skies, Underwood's unexpected bridge between the country and hip-hop worlds was one of Big Barrel's easy highlights. 

Underwood's summertime tour schedule includes stops at several additional festivals, including Milwaukee's Summerfest, Michigan's Faster Horses Festival and western Ohio's Country Concert '15.

Watch U2 Debut ‘Innocence’ Bonus Track ‘The Crystal Ballroom’ Live

U2 were about halfway through their fourth consecutive concert at Chicago's United Center when Bono announced they were going to perform a song they'd never done before. "There's a bunch of people that have been on the road since we started this tour," he said. "I have no idea how they're paying for it. I have no idea how they've skipped school and work, husbands and wives. But they've been on the road and they've been asking for one song, so we kinda nearly figured it out. We'll tell you about it before we play it. It's called 'The Crystal Ballroom.'"

The track is on the deluxe edition of Songs of Innocence. Like nearly every other song on the album, it was inspired by the group's early days in Dublin. "The Crystal Ballroom was a punk club we used to play that was called McGonagle's in East Dublin," Bono told the crowd. "But historically it's called the Crystal Ballroom. That's where, historically, my mother and father used to go. I thought it was a bit weird we ended up at a punk club where my mother and father used to make out. Something just a little funky about that, in a good way."

The group has now played every song from Songs of Innocence (including the bonus tracks) besides "Sleep Like A Baby Tonight" and "This Is Where You Can Reach Me." Every show on the Innocence + Experience Tour so far has included "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)," "Iris (Hold Me Close)," "Cedarwood Road," "Song For Someone," "Raised By Wolves" and "Every Breaking Wave." At select shows, they have also broken out "California (There Is No End To Love)," "Volcano," "The Troubles" and the extra track "Lucifer's Hands."

U2 play their fifth and final show at the United Center on Thursday. They have soundchecked the War tune "Two Hearts Beat As One" before the last two shows, so it's possible that will surface at some point. They have yet to play anything from Zooropa, Pop or No Line on the Horizon.

Meet Brian Wilson’s Secret Weapon: Darian Sahanaja

Darian Sahanaja has been Brian Wilson's keyboardist and musical director ever since the Beach Boy returned to the road as a solo artist in 1999, but some nights he still looks around the stage and can barely believe what he's a part of. "It can be mind-blowing," he says. "If we're playing 'God Only Knows' and I look around and see Brian and my buddies Probyn [Gregory] and Nick [Walusko] I can just lose it thinking about how we're all here because of this music."

Sahanaja has been a huge Beach Boys and Brian Wilson fan ever since he first heard "I Get Around" on Los Angeles radio as an adolescent in the mid-1970s. "It blew my mind," he says. "I thought it was a current song, so I was surprised to hear it was 10 years old. The first record I bought with my money was [the 1974 Beach Boys hits compilation] Endless Summer. I was like, 'Oh my God! I can own this music and play it any time I want?'"

As he got older, Sahanaja read the David Leaf book The Beach Boys and the California Myth and immersed himself in Pet Sounds and other post-surf-song compositions by the band. "I knew about Smile as this mythical, unfinished album," he says. "Then in the early 1980s little snippets of the album started to leak. When I met Nick Walusko, who I formed the Wondermints with, one of the first things we bonded over was Smile bootlegs. We got to know [music historian] Domenic Priore and a small group of us became the Smile intelligentsia of that period."

It was another 10 years until Sahanaja finally crossed paths with Wilson. His band the Wondermints were playing a Brian Wilson charity tribute show in Los Angeles on a bill with Alex Chilton and Apples in Stereo when the man himself showed up unexpectedly backstage. "We were playing his song 'This Whole World,'" says Sahanaja. "Apparently he perked up and was like, 'Who is that? What is that? It sounds amazing.' Somebody had to remind him it was a song he actually wrote since he had forgotten about it."

They met briefly backstage, and upon the urging of legendary L.A. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, Brian agreed to let Sahanaja and the Wondermints back him on a couple of radio shows, and a few years later when Wilson agreed to tour in support of his solo disc Imagination Sahanaja and the Wondermints got the gig. "It was surreal and a bit nerve-racking at first," he says. "He's very fragile. I was concerned he wasn't going to make it through a whole song, let alone a show. During those first few shows I remember thinking, 'This is gonna be the one where he bolts after a song.' But he made it through the next one and the next one. Before I knew it, we had a mini-tour in our pockets. We were so thrilled."

"As a teenager I refused to see the Beach Boys because Brian wasn't playing with them. I was a little snob."

The tour was a huge success, and before Sahanaja knew it, he was touring the world with Brian playing the entirety of Pet Sounds night after night. Things got even more surreal in early 2004 when Wilson decided to resurrect Smile, with Sahanaja serving as his right-hand man on the ambitious project. The former Smile junkie now had access to the every second of archival tape from the aborted album in pristine audio quality, and eventually the albums original lyricist Van Dyke Parks joined them. "The whole thing was mind-blowing," he says. "But it's like that old superhero thing: with great power comes great responsibility."

In the years after the long Smile tour, rumors of a Beach Boys reunion tour swirled. Oddly enough, Sahanaja had never actually seen a Beach Boys concert. "As a teenager I refused to see them because Brian wasn't playing with them," he says. "I was a little snob. I was such a fan of their production and recordings that the live performances always seemed dumbed down to me. I just couldn't appreciate them as live performers when I was younger." 

He made up for lost time in 2012 when he played about 85 concerts with the reunited Beach Boys. "We had Al Jardine as a guest singer [on Brian's 2006 tour]," says Sahanaja. "And I just remember thinking, 'Oh my God, his voice!' It added so much authenticity. And then later to have Mike Love and Bruce [Johnson] and all those voices together. Those guys have something very, very special and magical."

Not long after the Beach Boys reunion tour fizzled out, Sahanaja got a call from the producers of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. "They had just cast Paul Dano to portray 1960s Brian," he says. "They knew they had a great actor on their hands. but they wanted to know what kind of musical potential he had in terns of pulling off scenes that involved performances." He flew out to New York and met the actor at the piano room in a Brooklyn music shop. "I didn't know what to expect," he says. "I loved him as an actor, but was worried I might be dealing with some prima donna with an attitude."

His fears were quickly put to rest when he discovered that Dano was very polite, humble and extremely willing to learn. "He seemed like some of the fans I meet at shows that are extremely reverent about the music," he says. "Much to my surprise, he had a great feel for the music and had done a little bit of singing in stage productions. He had never played piano and didn't read music, but he was a fantastic study."

Sahanaja's work with Dano was so successful that the producers asked him to take on an expanded role, but he was hesitant. "I didn't want to get involved with one of those Hallmark takes of this story," he says. "There have been so many of those. I asked to meet with the director, Bill Pohlad. The first he he said to me was, 'I'm not interested in making the typical biopic.' He said he wanted to capture Brian's creative process in the studio during the making of Pet Sounds and Smile."

Most biopics have the actors lip-syncing to archival recordings, but they were determined to avoid that route. "I just thought we could do better," Sahanaja says. "And if we're trying to portray some of the greatest players of all time in the Wrecking Crew, they should be real musicians. It's a major pet peeve of mine when the actors playing musicians in movie are unconvincing, so I ended up gathering my some of my super talented musician friends to play the parts."

Sahanaja also worked extensively with the prop department to get the exact right vintage instruments. "It was really funny," he says. "The prop master said to me, 'Oh, you want them to be functional? You want the amps to work?' Normally they just fake it and fix everything in post." To make everything even more authentic, they filmed at original location of United Western Recorders (now EastWest Studios) where Pet Sounds was created, restoring it to exactly how it looked in 1966 and 1967. "It was such a thrill to play in that room," Sahanaja says. "And 80% of the music you hear during those sessions is live. The rest were recordings of early takes so they can show a work in-progress."

Dano also sings himself throughout the entire film and even plays the piano. "He worked his butt off and absorbed himself into the part," says Sahanaja. "Something like 'Surf's Up' is tricky for even an experienced keyboard player, let alone for somebody who has never played."

The movie won rave reviews when it hit theaters in early June, just weeks before Sahanaja hit the road with Wilson for a tour in support of his new album No Pier Pressure. "When I did that first tour never in my wildest dreams did I think that 16 year later we'd still be out there doing it," he says. "Over the years many people have thanked us for helping Brian out and that's polite and sweet, but it's really about the music. For so many years people thought the Beach Boys were superficial and insignificant. I used to take physical beatings from neighborhood boys for being a fan. Brian's legacy was lost for a long time, so it's been nice to see it get restored. It's nice to have played a little bit of a part in making that happen."

Wilson recently announced that he'll celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds next year with a European tour that will mark his final time playing on the continent. Does Sahanaja think that Wilson's touring days are winding down?

"I gotta be honest," he says. "Each of the past five years I thought to myself, 'Well, this is probably going to be it,'" he says. "Brian is an interesting guy. He can be pretty lazy and you never know if you're pushing him to do something he doesn't want to do. But you don't want him to veg out and just sit around all day and become a couch potato. He does have an aversion to anything that seems like work, but there's that moment when he's playing 'God Only Knows' or 'Good Vibrations' and we get that big applause and I love seeing that energy and love just take him over. He's like a child in that he doesn't feel it until it's actually happening. It's so sweet and it's what keeps me going. Hopefully as long as he wants to continue doing this, I'll be there."

Dierks Bentley on New York City’s Surprising Reaction to Country Music

Last Friday, Dierks Bentley headlined the opening night of FarmBorough, New York City's first large-scale country music festival. His only regret was that this left him little time to hang out in Manhattan or Brooklyn. "I wish today that I could have cruised around," he told reporters backstage before his set. "I just love walking around. I got little places that I like to go — I've been coming up here enough times."

The Arizona native first visited the city in 2003, when he opened for Cross Canadian Ragweed and Pat Green at B.B. King's in Times Square. He recalled some initial fear — both for his reception and his livelihood — but all he received was an enthusiastic embrace: "It was kind of like, 'New York City, country music, are people gonna like it? How's it gonna go over?' And then you realize pretty quickly that it goes over really well."

Bentley's path to the main stage hasn't quite been linear. Although each of his seven albums has earned the singer more hits and more fans, Bentley himself has often played small shows at unusual venues. He occasionally stops by songwriter events at Joe's Pub (capacity: 190), and when he released his bluegrass-heavy Up on the Ridge, he celebrated with four shows at spots like Southpaw (400) and City Winery (250).

He sends the credit back to his most devoted followers. "I totally trust New York country fans," he continued. "They're hardcore, they're dedicated, they're appreciative that you're here. I've got this one guy who looks a lot like Will Ferrell that comes out to, like, every show I've played near the city, and he parks his pick-up truck on the street and is throwing beers out of the cooler after the end of the night."

For Bentley, FarmBorough was a place where he could see those fans, and those fans could see some of his own favorite up-and-coming acts. "There's something for everyone to kind of check out," he said. "When I was a country fan I'd go to any show no matter what the conditions were or how crappy it was put on. I just wanted to go, because that's where I knew other country fans were gonna be.

"You look at the list of people that are here for this whole weekend: Sturgill Simpson, Wade Bowen — it's not just who's current in Nashville on the country radio charts. . . Mickey [Guyton]'s here. Brandy Clark's here. It's pretty diverse. And country's such a wide genre: there's rock, pop, hip-hop, Disney, kind of all within this umbrella of country music."

A few hours later, Bentley would play one of the weekend's best sets, gesturing toward all but Disney. He covered Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York," went on about that first B.B. King's show and didn't play a single bad song. This leaves one NYC goal for the still-rising 39-year-old: headline Madison Square Garden, an arena he's previously played on tours with Kenny Chesney and FarmBorough Night Two headliner Brad Paisley. "That'd be pretty cool," he admitted. "If I get a chance to headline the Garden it'd be 'Top of the world, ma.'"

Apple Music: Everything You Need to Know

Nearly 15 years ago, Apple positioned itself on the digital-music vanguard with iTunes and the iPod, sending the music industry into a tizzy to quickly adapt. Now, with today's launch of the company's new streaming service, Apple Music — amid stiff competition from established streaming leaders Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Rhapsody — it feels late to the game. While the service offers many great features, its true test lies in the months ahead, when music fans get the opportunity to sample it for three months and decide whether or not to ditch the services it's grown accustomed to as Apple slowly dipped its toes in the water.

Apple Music, which arrives as part of iOS 8.4 and will be available either as an ad-supported free service or commercial-free version for $9.99 a month after the trial period, contains many features that streaming-music fans will expect (playlists galore, algorithmically guessed genre spotlights) in addition to an emphasis on music recommendations by real-life humans. The heart of the service is Beats 1, the Trent Reznor–conceived radio station that will be free to everyone and feature programs by Dr. Dre, Elton John, St. Vincent, Zane Lowe and others. It also contains a section curated based on users' individual musical tastes with playlists and other features, another offering new music, a quasi–social network called "Connect" and, of course, a place to play a user's iTunes collection.

On the surface, the service offers Apple-fied takes on its competitors' best features – Spotify-inspired personalized recommendations and playlists, Songza-like situational playlists, easy-to-curate Pandora-esque radio stations. But digging deeper reveals a platform designed, for the most part, to present these elements in as user-friendly a way as possible. It's like a Venn diagram of streaming music's best offerings.

But whether it's intuitive or not, will Apple Music become the standout, one-stop shop for music fans that the company hopes it will be, converting devout Spotify users and proselytizing the MP3 faithful? The company offered Rolling Stone a demo of the service to find out. Here are six of Apple Music's most notable features, reviewed.

1. The service offers Netflix-style hyper-customization.
As soon as you log in to Apple Music and go to the "For You" tab, you will see an array of bubbles offering genres and, on a separate screen, artists, so you can select which artists and genres you prefer (one finger tap for "like"; two for "love"). The service will also scan your music library to see your preferred artists. Much like Netflix, this feature tells the company what music you like and what artists you are indifferent to, so as you listen, you can continue to tap on hearts to tell the company your tastes  – defining your personal algorithm – so that it can make educated guesses on playlists and other content.

For instance, when Rolling Stone selected rap, indie-rock and metal as favorite genres in the demo – and subsequently Pixies and the grindcore/death-metal group Carcass – Apple offered an "Intro to Carcass" playlist amid selections of indie hits, Melvins deep cuts and an Apple Music–curated playlist offering to help get "parents to like noise." (A valiant, decades-old quest.) Although none of the suggestions Rolling Stone received were wildly subversive, none were terribly off-base.

2. Beats 1 radio will bring familiar voices to music fans in interesting ways.
Trent Reznor's baby is the most interesting aspect of Apple Music, since it offers radio shows more akin to Sirius XM or college radio than any of its competitors. In addition to ringmaster Zane Lowe's sure-to-be-bonkers broadcasts, Beats 1 offers unique shows by Dr. Dre, Elton John, Pharrell Williams, Drake, Q-Tip, St. Vincent, Ellie Goulding, Jaden Smith and others.

It will also run non-celeb-curated shows, including Lowe's The World Record, in which the DJ picks the one song he feels everyone must listen to that day, Monday through Thursday. Gratitude will highlight an artist talking about another musician that influenced them (First up: Nas on Eric B. and Rakim's Paid in Full and Miranda Lambert on a to-be-announced Allison Moorer LP.) There's also a Chart show which, when the worldwide release day takes effect for the music business (shifting from Tuesday to Friday), will reflect what music, movies and TV are coming out in the week ahead. It also offers non-Beats channels like Pure Pop (which, when Rolling Stone hit play, began with Taylor Swift's "Style"), Soundsystem (a cross-genre mix of alternative, pop and dance aimed at millennials) and The Mixtape (classic alternative, from rock to hip-hop).

But even the artists have taken steps to make their music shows interesting. Most notable, perhaps, is St. Vincent, whose Mixtape Delivery Service finds her listening to notes from fans and dedicating an hour-long selection of songs catered to them. In one show, an 11-year-old girl made a recording noting her St. Vincent fandom and how she holds her own singing parties at night. The singer played Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," New Order's "Blue Monday" and Deee-Lite's "Groove Is in the Heart" and even chatted with the fan.

Meanwhile, Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme's Alligator Hour spins Grinderman and Roky Erickson amid his ruminations on the relationships between those artists' music and human aspirations. Dr. Dre's The Pharmacy will highlight his mixes that reflect his eclectic interests as he explains what the songs mean to him now and throughout his life, along with commentary from DJ Pooh. And Elton John's Rocket Hour will show the singer-songwriter's surprisingly diverse and current taste.

The downside to Beats 1 radio, at least for now, is that it really is radio in that these artist-curated programs will not be accessible after the fact as a podcast or on demand. Moreover, when the app launches, only a handful of shows will be listed on the Beats 1 homepage as part of a schedule, rather than something complete (though an Apple rep said the day would start with Chart, move to Lowe and then on to shows from London, New York and Los Angeles, before moving to artist programming at night). An Apple rep told Rolling Stone that the company wants people to tune in, ostensibly to build buzz as listeners attempt to figure out just what they're listening to. He did say, however, that on-demand programming will be available in the future.

3. Apple Music makes finding new music a little easier.
Discovering new music can be an arduous task for a casual music listener and an ongoing quest for the most dedicated fan, so Apple Music's editorial customization comes in handy for the service's "New" tab. The default screen shows the newest of the new from all genres each week, as picked by Apple's editors. It also offers "Hot Tracks," "Recent Releases" and "Top Songs," across all styles of music, but by selecting a particular genre offers a narrowed-down selection of everything from reggae to children's music.

The "New" tab is also where you can peruse playlists made by Apple Music Editors by genre, ones curated to activities ("BBQing," "Breaking Up," "Studying," "Partying," etc.) and by expert curators (ahem, yours truly, Rolling Stone). The major drawback to these curated lists is the unnecessary step of clicking into each one to see the brief description of what's ahead. Under "Classic Rock," for example, what is "Feelin' Fine"? Apparently it's recent music from rock "icons," ranging from Robert Plant to Spoon. Another negative aspect of this feature is the inability to drill down into subgenres and micro-genres. So if you've got a sudden hankering for exploring late-Nineties Venezuelan IDM, you're stuck with Google.

4. The "For You" tab consistently yields interesting results.
After you've plugged in all of your favorite genres and artists, the most reasonable first stop on a tour of Apple Music would be the "For You" tab on the far left. This is where the service suggests playlists based on your taste – introductions to bands, lists of deep cuts, refreshing takes on familiar artists (e.g., "Inspired by R.E.M.") – as well as full albums you might like. If you don't like what you see, pull down on the screen for a whole new list. In one instance, the metal, indie and blues–centric choices Rolling Stone made early on yielded a collage of records by Thelonious Monk, Ozzy Osbourne, Nick Cave, the Velvet Underground, the Who and Sonny Boy Williamson. Not bad. It's the sort of thing that Spotify approximates, but often comes off a bit stilted and robotic.

The one music discovery downside – outside of the "For You" tab – is that when you do look up an artist, connections to other musicians are not readily apparent. If you look up Trent Reznor, there is no clear link to Nine Inch Nails or How to Destroy Angels. And with David Bowie, there's no easy way to find – if you really, really wanted to – Tin Machine. (Though it's worth noting that the "You May Also Like" option in the Best of David Bowie album, did offer records by the Stones, Mott the Hoople and James Gang, which make sense tangentially.)

5. Apple Music wants to try its hand at an artist-centric social network.
Other than Beats 1, the main feature Apple is touting to fans that will continue to be free after the trial period is a quasi–social network called "Connect." This offers a Twitter-like feed from artists – which number in the hundreds according to an Apple rep – who wish to communicate with fans. (Any musician with songs on Apple Music or in the iTunes store can create an account.)

Ostensibly to make things easier, if you've purchased music from an artist on iTunes, you are signed up to follow them on Connect. But once you're following an artist, you can "like" posts and comment if, say, Snoop Dogg wants to test-drive new lyrics and demos alongside songs and videos. The service had not launched when Rolling Stone demoed Apple Music, but it looked pretty quiet in the demo phase with only a few artists using it.

With no other streaming-music analog on other services, this feature appears to be the service's biggest uphill battle. Twitter and Facebook already have strong locks on artist-fan relationships and it seems unlikely that many musicians would want to share potentially embarrassing works in progress with fans and risk alienating them.

Moreover, the only place where fans can interact is the comments section of each post, cutting out a major part of what Apple hopes will be a new music ecosystem: fandom. While it's possible fans would share music individually – with Apple Music's many options to post to text, email, Twitter and Facebook – the absence of fans' voices on "Connect" makes it more like a supplement to a social network than an exciting music-discovery platform. But only time will tell if it catches on. This is one place where Spotify, with its ability to follow and make playlists your friends, has a leg up.

6. It's Apple, so its music library is fairly complete.
Many artists, of course, still won't share their music with streaming services for myriad reasons (though Taylor Swift came around to Apple Music after a well-publicized power play). But it is worth noting that, because Apple does have preexisting relationships with major labels that smaller competitors like Amazon Prime Music do not, it comes to users mostly fully stocked. Moreover, like many of its competitors (including Tidal and even Amazon), you're able to make music available offline, which is especially handy to people who ride subways or live in places with spotty cell service. Even better: when you are online, you can just ask Siri to play music for you.

The Verdict: With its vast selection of music and smartly curated playlists and radio, Apple Music is robust enough to compete with, and possibly supplant, Spotify and Pandora as the go-to service for music fans. At the same time, users will need to play around with it a bit and dig to move past some of the less immediately intuitive facets (i.e., just how deep the "New" tab goes) for it to hook them.

The app's sure thing will most likely be its Beats 1 radio with its unique input from artists. But Apple will need to work the most on "Connect," which ought to premiere some exclusive content from big artists early for it to avoid the fate of Google Plus.

Ultimately, Apple Music offers well-designed interpretations of the best of its competitors, availability on millions of people's phones and premium features that will be offered at the same price as its competitors. The service makes for a welcome addition to the streaming-music landscape.

Hear Puff Daddy, Pharrell’s Hypnotic ‘Finna Get Loose’

After premiering "Finna Get Loose" onstage during Sunday's BET Awards, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs has released an official version of the hypnotic single. "Loose" finds the Bad Boy Entertainment mogul trading rhymes with Pharrell over throbbing synth-bass, skittering programmed drums and chanted backing vocals layered into a choir.  

Combs also tweeted an in-studio clip of the duo working on "Loose," promising that the track will "debut" Tuesday via Apple Music. "I wanna snatch them out they fuckin' sleep with some shit, with some tones they ain't never hear!" an impassioned Combs says in the clip. 

The BET performance was special for the performer, who reunited with a dozen of his label's most popular artists – including Mase, Lil Kim and Jadakiss – for a 10-minute medley of iconic tracks like "Mo Money, Mo Problems," "All About the Benjamins" and "Hypnotize." The night of celebration, which featured a tribute to the late, great Notorious B.I.G., took a momentarily awkward turn when Combs fell into a hole on a platform leading to the stage. 

Combs' most recent album, 2010's Last Train to Paris, was issued under the name Diddy. But the rapper-entrepreneur switched back to his original moniker, Puff Daddy, last year for "Big Homie" (featuring Rick Ross and French Montana) and "I Want the Love" (featuring Meek Mill), both singles from his upcoming LP, reportedly titled MMM. Last month on his Instagram, Combs posted a picture of Michael Jordan and announced the album's release date as June 29th, though he has yet issue a statement about the album or its track list. 

Thomas Rhett Readies New Album ‘Tangled Up’

Earlier this year, Thomas Rhett talked to Rolling Stone Country about how his affection for soul music was shaping his new album. On September 25th, fans will hear just how funky Rhett has become when he releases Tangled Up. The follow-up to 2013's It Goes Like This, his second LP features the current hit single "Crash and Burn."

During an impromptu March listening session with reporters, Rhett played a number of tracks in contention for Tangled Up, including the song he's been using to open his shows, "South Side."

"I've definitely been delving into that kind of music," he said then of R&B and, especially, Bruno Mars. "Bruno has always been one of my idols, if you will. I've caught myself watching a bunch of YouTube videos late at night, just watching his stage presence and how he handles a crowd and moves around and works it. . . Yeah, you can call it Country Bruno, or whatever you want to call it."

Set for release on the Valory Music Co. label, under the Big Machine Label Group umbrella, Tangled Up has been two years in the making, Rhett said in a statement, and draws on all genres, not just R&B.

"The title Tangled Up comes from a lyric in one of the new songs, and I think it's a cool way to point to all the different influences that I have as an artist and a songwriter — from soul and R&B to old school country to rock and everything in between," he said.

Rhett is currently on the road with Florida Georgia Line, and is also opening select stadium dates for Luke Bryan. In the fall, he'll join Brett Eldredge in co-headlining the CMT on Tour trek, dubbed the Suits & Boots Tour.

The singer is also enlisting fans in launching Tangled Up, giving them the opportunity to vote on the album's cover art in a poll on his website.

The Game Charged With Assault, Making Criminal Threats

The Game has been arraigned and charged with a misdemeanor count of assault and battery and one felony count of making criminal threats following a March 29th incident where the rapper allegedly got into an altercation with an off-duty police officer during a basketball game. The Game will make his first court appearance in the case Monday at Los Angeles' Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The rapper faces up to three years in prison, if convicted.

Prosecutors claim that during the game at Hollywood High School, the rapper born Jayceon Taylor committed a hard foul on the unnamed police officer. Soon after, the Game approached the officer, "struck him and later threatened to kill him," the Los Angeles Country District Attorney's Office said in a statement. The Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Division is investigating the case.

Earlier this month, an arrest warrant was issued for the Game stemming from the March 29th incident. During the altercation, the Game reportedly told the officer, "I'm going to kill you" before punching the officer in the face. The Game later claimed that he was under the impression that the police officer had a firearm in his bag and that he only punched the officer after that person first squared up to fight, MTV reports.

According to TMZ, the police officer injured in the fight later sued the rapper, claiming he suffered from brain damage. When a process server and photographer delivered the lawsuit to the Game in April, the rapper then allegedly attacked the photographer, resulting in another police report that claimed battery.

Faith No More Tease Foo Fighters’ ‘All My Life’ at Belgian Festival

Glastonbury wasn't the only music festival Foo Fighters canceled on after Dave Grohl suffered a serious leg injury: The band was also scheduled to perform June 25th at Belgium's Rock Werchter Festival before Grohl's surgery nixed the Foo Fighters' slot. But much like Florence and the Machine made sure Foo Fighters' presence was felt at Glastonbury, Faith No More paid tribute to Rock Werchter's absent Thursday night headliners by providing a quick rendition of "All My Life."

Faith No More's Mike Patton delivered a pummeling version of the One by One track before the Foo Fighters song slowly devolved into a cover of the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird." After finishing off the surf rock classic, Faith No More segued into more familiar territory: Angel Dust's "Midlife Crisis." Faith No More's Rock Werchter gig was the band's third show in a string of six concerts over six days where the Sol Invictus group traveled from Germany to Belgium to Sweden to Finland and finally to Denmark.

The Rock Werchter and Glastonbury performances were also, as of now, Foo Fighters' final canceled concerts following Grohl's leg surgery. The band is scheduled to perform next at Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium on July 4th, kicking off a long stretch of touring that won't conclude until a November 19th concert in Barcelona, Spain. Along the way, Foo Fighters will make a pair of visits to the Austin City Limits festival alongside baseball stadiums like New York's Citi Field, Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field.

N.W.A Reunite (Sort of), Kendrick Lamar Thrills in L.A.

The surviving members of near-mythical reality-rap group N.W.A reunited on Saturday at Los Angeles' Staples Center in front of a nearly sold-out hometown crowd. . .Or at least most of them did. Ice Cube, MC Ren and DJ Yella were present, but Dr. Dre, rap's reclusive first billionaire, was not. Regardless, cell phones illuminated the darkness as people rushed to document a historic moment. (See video from the event here.)

"Us three haven't been onstage together in 26 years," said Cube.

"Not since 1989, really," added Ren.

The N.W.A reunion capped a long day at L.A. Live's BET Experience, a sprawling, multi-event, weekend-long festival surrounding the June 28th BET Awards. Earlier in the afternoon, folks waited for an hour outside the Los Angeles Convention Center next door to indulge in a barrage of food trucks, three concert stages, a sneaker convention, the Coca-Cola "Flava Zone," a Galaxy S-Edge recording booth, a Sprite-sponsored celebrity dunk contest hosted by former Rap City personality Big Tigger, a CoverGirl fashion show, and who knows what else. Amidst the corporate theme park, there were highlights: R&B newcomers like Timothy Bloom, Jordan Bratton and Kevin Hall delivered unappreciated sets. Janelle Monaé showcased her Wondaland Records roster (and their forthcoming EP, The Eephus) with brief performances by Roman GianArthur, St. Beauty, Deep Cotton and, best of all, Jidenna, whose "Classic Man" hit generated excited squeals from his audience. 

By nightfall, the Staples Center filled up for a distinctly West Coast-flavored showcase. First up was Top Dawg Entertainment, inheritors of the G-Funk tradition. Isaiah Rashad kicked off with a two-song rendition that featured "RIP Kevin Miller." Jay Rock continued to set the table with regional hits like "Hood Gone Love It" and "Code Red." Disappointingly, Ab-Soul launched into "Terrorist Threats," but then admitted, "I forgot the words. . .I'm gonna keep it real G. I didn't rehearse, I'm real high, all that." Then he tried to do "Bohemian Grove," but decided to "smoke some more weed" and wandered off the stage. However, Schoolboy Q rejuvenated the crowd with aggressive renderings of "Gangsta" and "Hands on the Wheel." "This ain't no jazz concert," he growled. "Wake your old ass up." He was fully engaged as he bounced around the stage, tossing out hits like "Collard Greens," "Studio" and "Man of the Year."

No surprise, but Kendrick Lamar drew the most charged reception of the night. He's never headlined a Staples Center concert, but as L.A.'s most favored son of the moment, he could have clearly filled the building on his own. Everyone rapped along to "Swimming Pools (Drank)," "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe" and "Poetic Justice," and thankfully ignored the five-piece backing band that weighed down his set with ham-fisted funk-rock.

"Through our lifestyle, through our struggle, through our tears and our pain, we allow ourselves to prevail. Because L.A. is some strong motherfuckers," Lamar said just before launching into an enthusiastic version of "i," a highlight from his new, brilliant To Pimp a Butterfly. Then, before he delved into the "King Kunta," he said, "Out here, we love ourselves, but we never forget where we came from." However, Kendrick's final song "Alright" seemed cut short — the platform that held his band was literally rotated out of view.

Such tone-deaf production values would mar Snoop Dogg's set. He set out to perform most of Doggystyle, but didn't bother to introduce collaborators like Dogg Pound and RBX. Meanwhile, their vocals were undercut by ear-piercing feedback noises more typical of a garage band fumbling with equipment than a big-budget arena concert. But Snoop soldiered on, and eventually drew cheers for "What's My Name" and "Ain't No Fun" (where everyone blissfully sang the late Nate Dogg's verse). The crowd bounced to the Lady of Rage's "Afro Puffs," and happily grooved to Warren G's "This DJ." Their energy seemed to peak when Too $hort made a surprise appearance for "Blow the Whistle." Unfortunately, his microphone cut out just as he began to rap.

By 11 p.m.'s headliner, Ice Cube, a few people were already making their way to the exits. It was their loss. Anyone who saw Cube live during his Nineties heyday knows that he was one of the best concert acts of the era, and he proved he hadn't lost his touch. "Yo, this is my first time rocking the Staples Center," said Cube, flanked by fellow West Coast vet WC. "A lot of people don't like this old school shit. . . .But I'm gonna do it anyway." As he ripped through a medley that included "Steady Mobbin'," "How to Survive in South Central," "Jackin' for Beats" and "What Can I Do," he hearkened back to the days when he was the most feared rapper in America. 

After Ice Cube finally brought out MC Ren and DJ Yella in the middle of his set, the trio bumrushed through "Hello," Straight Outta Compton," and "Gangsta, Gangsta." MC Ren rapped "Alwayz Into Somethin," and Yella spun a tribute to the late Eazy-E. "Rest in peace to Eazy-E," said Cube. "Without his vision, a lot of this wouldn't have come to pass."

It was a thrilling, generous hour-long performance. Ice Cube seemed genuinely happy as danced with a visible glee. Although audience members continued to leave, a substantial lot stayed to cheer him on. They recognized Cube's greatness as a king of the West.

"The party's just begun! Let's keep going!" he exhorted. "Westsiiide!"