Video

The Weeknd’s 'Starboy' Video Gets MTV EMA ‘Best Video’ Nomination Before It’s Actually Been Released

The Weeknd just picked up an MTV EMA ‘Best Video’ nomination for his unreleased “Starboy” video.

Tomorrow, The Weeknd will release a video for his and Daft Punk’s new song, the title track off Abel Tesfaye’s forthcoming Amharic-influenced Starboy album. The video, we now know, is directed by frequent Weeknd collaborator Grant Singer.


To be clear, it’s not out yet. But that didn’t stop MTV from nominating it for “Best Video” at the upcoming MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs), coming up Sunday, November 6th, in Rotterdam.

“Starboy” is nominated right alongside Beyoncé (“Formation”), Coldplay (“Up&Up”), Kanye West (“Famous”) and Tame Impala (“The Less I Know the Better”).

Interestingly, the MTV EMAs rely on popular vote.

“As always, MTV is relying on the fans to pick the winners of each category so make sure you let us know who deserves to win by voting!” the broadcaster points out on their website.

So yes, that means MTV is encouraging fans to vote, or not vote, for a video they’ve not yet seen. Are they using some sort of trust system?

Starboy the album is out November 25. Stay tuned for more news on “Starboy” the video.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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