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Mario On The State Of R&B And Asking Himself "What Do The Ladies Want?"

Music
Photo by Roger Kisby / Stringer / Getty Images.

My 16-year-old self is shook

I hung out with R&B singer Mario this week—I can hear my 16-year-old self screaming as I type those words—and before I even got my recorder started, we were swapping theories about the existence of mermaids, tattoo symbolisms, and how he really feels about theater after doing Rent: Live! last month, with an all-star cast that included Tinashe and Vanessa Hudgens. After Mario serenaded me with some songs (that were way more romantic than anything I'll catch on the Billboard R&B charts, because I wrote them myself), we sat down to talk about his passion: music.

Mario's career peaked before social media revolutionized the music industry and the very concept of fame. I wanted to hear from him about all of this, plus his part in the biggest show of the spring: The Millennium Tour featuring B2K, Lloyd, Pretty Ricky, Ying Yang Twins, Chingy, Bobby V, and Mario. Check our conversation, below.

Let's talk about the evolution of R&B. How you would describe the shift of R&B as a whole, from when you started to now?
In general, as an R&B artist, when there was no pressure of the internet, you could be more introspective and selfish about your music. Your inspiration came from the tradition of R&B and the way that it was approached from a writer's standpoint and the culture of it. I think that when the internet popped off, you started having newer artists that weren't necessarily the greatest singers, merging with hip-hop, and that became a culture and a fad. R&B artists started trying to compete with that. That took over, became a virus, and now we have a world where hip-hop and alternative hip-hop have merged with R&B. Auto-Tune has made it a lot easier for artists to make records back-to-back. People's ears get in-tune with certain sounds, you can end up hating some, but then you end up loving it. It's not just one thing, it's multiple different circumstances that influence where we are today.

I do think that R&B is coming back, it's not the croonage that you're used to, but there's a lot of great R&B out there. H.E.R. just won a Grammy for her R&B; Daniel Cesar just won a Grammy. It's there. An artist on my label, Jade Novah, she's an amazing singer, and her concepts are amazing. She's one of those artists who has taken R&B and put a twist on it, making it more about self-love, being aware, the power of being a woman, all of those beautiful things. That's what the new R&B is, it represents where we are and our growth as individuals.

How are you feeling about the evolution of your music, and where your music is now? Where are you picking up your inspiration from?
My last album, Dancing Shadows, is inspired by my intent to show my fans who I am as a writer, producer, and creative. It was also me growing my wings back. I had been with a label that didn't allow me to have that creative expression. I think a lot of artists go through this. I think that because I started so young and my fans have grown with me, it's a whole new level of reintroduction that, for me, was necessary. I have over 500 to 1,000 songs that my fans have never heard, that are more traditional, crooning R&B songs. Because there's so much substance in my life that I've never shared through my music, that's what Dancing Shadows represented for me.

Moving forward, I'm ready to compete again. I'm ready to move forward, ready to make music again. [I ask myself:] What do the fans want? What do the ladies want?

The idea of fame has also changed. How have you dealt with that as someone who has been a celebrity since before the big boom of social media, and now after? Do you feel like your life is looking different as a result of it?
Yeah! You can create whatever you want, even if it's not real; you can create whatever perception or narrative you want for yourself. I never really fully took advantage of that. I've been paying attention to the game and how things are shifting, like, What do I really want to accomplish as my legacy, and how do I want to go about doing that? Because I know that the "15 minutes of fame" thing, creating drama on the internet or whatever, that only lasts for so long. What things can I do to show my growth as a creative? Doing more movies, doing more… whether it be a Broadway show, a live reproduction of Rent, going back on tour, that's who I am. I'm a versatile, you-can't-put-me-in-a-box kind of artist. I can go on stage and put on an R&B show, and then I can go do a TV show like Empire. Those are the things that I focus on. I don't focus on the internet, topic of the day stuff, because I feel like it doesn't really last long, I don't think it benefits me because my fans want to see talent. They want to see real, real shit. I do like doing stuff like this, and this is the cool part. Merging and doing cool things because that shows personality. I think it gives your fans a look into who you are as a personality. Outside of that, I really stay away from drama.

What was it like preparing for the Millennium tour?
I'm still preparing for it. It's incredible. Every day, I'm changing something or finding a new way to make it exciting. What really makes the tour fun is doing the first five shows and figuring out what works and what doesn't work. What are my fans reacting to and what are they not reacting to? How can I make it better? That's when you really perfect it. You've got your template and what you want to do, but then the ladies might want something different. You really just pay attention. It's like dating a new girl; you can't assume that you know everything, you have to pay attention and keep perfecting it. Keep perfecting how to please them. It's exciting, though.

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Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube www.youtube.com

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

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Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale youtu.be

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com

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Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.

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