The trope of the struggling musician exists for a reason; it's undoubtedly hard to make a living in music.

But once you hit the big time and can easily sell out arenas, the money starts rolling in. The 2010s were a transformative time for music and a lucrative time for these 10 musicians. Most of these statistics are from Forbes, who "measures the industry's top-earning musicians annually for the Celebrity 100 by looking at touring data from Pollstar, music consumption numbers from Nielsen and interviews with managers, agents and many of the stars themselves."

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B.S.

Jesus Rose from the Dead So Lizzo Could Twerk, STFU Diddy

This is the lord's day. There is no body shaming on the lord's day.

First, God created the heavens and the earth; second, he made the sea and the animals; and then, he created people.

God quickly realized he'd made a mistake with the "people" recipe, so he tried again, a few billion years later, and thus was born the gift that is Lizzo. If there is anything that proves the presence of a loving and sentient god, surely it's Lizzo in all her flute-playing, note-hitting, body-positive glory. But, apparently, some would disagree.

On Sunday, Rapper and businessman Diddy hosted the "world's biggest dance-a-thon" on his Instagram account in an effort to raise money to benefit healthcare workers in underserved areas. Many big names and excellent dancers joined in, including Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, and, of course, Lizzo.

As is her trademark, Lizzo started to twerk while Diddy's sons danced on his Instagram live stream. Diddy quickly shut it down, shouting, "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" jumping into the frame and stopping the music. "It's Easter Sunday, let's play something a little more family friendly." Lizzo appeared to be, understandably, embarrassed and said, "Sorry, sorry, sorry! Let's do something fun. Well, don't play that kind of... play something I can bop to."

If Diddy had found Lizzo's dance moves too suggestive for his sons, that would be one thing. But he soon proved that the twerking wasn't the problem when model Draya Michele danced similarly on the dance-a-thon just a few hours later.

"You killed that!" Diddy told Draya. "I think that was one of the top performances."

Twitter users, rightfully, had issues with Diddy's hypocrisy.



It's obvious that Diddy shutting down Lizzo's dancing had nothing to do with it being "the Lord's day" and everything to do with fat phobia. Online backlash was so severe that he later tried to excuse himself by claiming that he stopped Lizzo because of the song she chose: "When I stopped the music, it was 'cause it had a lot of curses in there," he posted on Instagram. "Not 'cause she was twerking. She's one of the best twerkers in the world, okay? So, let's keep that clear. You are allowed to twerk on Easter. There was a lot of cursing in the record and I don't need child services knocking on my door right now." Cursing on Instagram has never brought child services to anyone's door, but okay, Diddy.

It's sad that some people still can't see the divine miracle that is the female form in all its many variations—especially the holy gift of Lizzo's butt. Of course, so close to Easter, all we can do is pray for Diddy's hypocritical, fat phobic soul and twerk our hearts out, no matter what size we are.

MUSIC

Review | 'Testing' Looks for New Sounds in Hip-hop and Beyond

'Testing' is Eager to Find a New Sound in Hip-Hop, but Not New Ideas.

A$AP Rocky's 'Testing'

The Skepta-assisted "Praise the Lord" is pure hip-hop gold, an eargasm that embodies what Rocky does best: boast about himself.

Like Kanye West, A$AP Rocky is another narcissist, but a pretty one. And he's jiggy—don't forget. Testing is Rocky's I'm-a-90's-boy-with-Harlem-swag-and-model-exes psych-rap album that infuses the same sticky, distorted, feverish psychedelia he explored on At.Long.Last.A$AP.

On Testing, the title confirms the same static friction bellowing under the surface of nearly every song, with Rocky mumbling his most emotional and honest bars; meaning Rocky talks about how hot he is and the occasional adversity he faced on his way to the top, or as he proclaims, "I put New York on the map." Before who specifically, Rocky? His bravado is commendable since no other rapper sounds like him—that much can be said.

But his range is starting to show. Rocky can talk about two things well: his model girlfriends and his clothes. He's not an intellectual; his music isn't the type to win a Pulitzer Prize, though it's emblematic of his style and charisma as a young MC. What he lacks in substance, he makes up for in pure swag. He has the voice of a rapper, a cool and collected braggadocio that excuses moments where he seems incapable of going deeper. He remains on the surface, quite literally summarizing his childhood and rise to fame. The connective tissue between Rocky as a young drug dealer to a Dior-wearing fashion icon is disconnected, leaving the limbs of the album frail and malnourished. The look is there. The vibe is there. Now think of a Rocky who actually tells a story, says something more profound than what hair color and sexual orientation he prefers his ever-growing collection of women.

The Skepta-assisted "Praise the Lord" is pure hip-hop gold, an eargasm that embodies what Rocky does best: boast about himself. The production is clean, sexy, jiggy, and sounds like a 90's banger—everything you'd want in a rap song. Skepta's voice is a delight, his accent adding a rush of energy to the chorus. Rocky samples Moby, an unlikely choice for a Harlem rapper, but it speaks to his eclectic tastes; his vision—he's shown in everything from his music, fashion, and acting—isn't black or white.

"Hun43rd" is a dizzying kaleidoscopic vision of what rap could become if artists were willing to deviate from sounds traditionally heard in mainstream music. It's oddly beautiful as a composition: It grates at the ear, right before it drops into a woozy, luminous bubble where Rocky details the rhythm and spirit of his Harlem neighborhood. Those moments feel and sound so good, you forgive Rocky for his botched attempts at enlightened political discourse ("My newest President a asshole / I guess that's why I'm leaving turd stains.") Our political climate is certainly disappointing, but it shouldn't cause incontinence. Go see someone for that, Rocky.

The feature roster on this project is impressive: Frank Ocean, T.I., Diddy, Tyler the Creator, Kid Cudi, FKA Twigs, and several others lend their voices, creating a performative fabric around the album, a weird collaborative project that lacks heart in the songs that need it most. "Purity," is a strong close and maybe a look into a new Pretty Boy Flacko, one who has something more to say.


Shaun Harris is a poet, freelance writer, and editor published in avant-garde, feminist journals. Lover of warm-toned makeup palettes, psych-rock, and Hilton Als. Her work has allowed her to copyedit and curate content for various poetry organizations in the NYC area.


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