“Irv has been privy to hear things that I’ve done that the world hasn’t heard,” she says. “Based on the music I have out now, that sounds like an absurd comment, but when ‘Pink Friday’ comes out, you will completely understand why Irv made that comparison.”
In the latest RESPECT mag cover story, Clifford chops it up with Datwon Thomas and reveals the concept behind the all-star video that never was. Damn shame! Issue’s on newsstands now. Gon’ get you some!
Are you ever inspired by movies?
For videos, we are at times greatly inspired by them. Actually, we had an idea and concept for “Swagga Like Us,” and it was taken from Reservoir Dogs. Schedules conflicted and we weren’t able to make that happen before my sit down, but I think that would have been an iconic moment.
The R&B superstar got his first taste of what it was like to perform at the VMAs in Los Angeles in 1998 when he played the pre-show, taking the stage in a leather, graffiti-print jacket and leather tuxedo pants. Usher's performance back then was incredibly low-fi, having only a few dancers behind him dressed like the ones in his "My Way" clip, which was nominated for a VMA that year.
In 2002, when the show was at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Usher hit the stage with Busta Rhymes and Pharrell to give Diddy some backup during his performance: a medley of "Bad Boy for Life," "I Need a Girl (Part I & II)" and "Pass the Courvoisier." Although his appearance was short and sweet, it featured him dancing quite a bit.
Two years later in 2004, when the show took the party down to Miami, the performance was all about Usher. Rain poured from the rafters as Usher offered fans his "Confessions" and took off his shirt before turning up the volume and the party vibe for "Yeah!" Ludacris and Lil Jon were also on hand, and Usher pulled off a Michael Jackson-inspired dance break and some high-flying antics.
Usher is up for three Moonmen at this year's show, including noms for Best Male Video, Best Dance Music Video and Best Choreography for his "OMG" clip.
"It is an honor to once again be a part of the MTV Video Music Awards," Usher said in a statement. "I can't wait to perform for my fans all around the world who have helped to make this album a success and my being here possible. You never know what's gonna happen on an MTV VMA stage. ... I look forward to making it a night to remember."
The 27th annual MTV Video Music Awards will be broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 12, at 9 p.m. ET. Fans can go to VMA.MTV.com (or text VMA to 97979 if they are Verizon subscribers) to vote for the winners in general categories, including Best New Artist, from now through September 12.
B.o.B has worked his sorcery once again, scoring a third-straight top 10 hit with his latest single, "Magic," which entered Billboard's Hot 100 this week. The song, featuring Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, is from B.o.B's debut, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, and follows "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes" as breakout hits for the upstart artist.
The 2010 Video Music Awards nominee and performer broke out "Magic" during his recent "MTV Unplugged" showcase, which premieres September 1 on MTV.com. His performance of "Magic," during which he sings the chorus in place of Cuomo, will also be in video rotation on MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Hits and MTV Jams after the premiere.
The Atlanta MC is the latest in a series of artists to headline the "Unplugged" series; other alumni include Eric Clapton, Nirvana, Jodeci, Alicia Keys and, in April, Trey Songz.
In addition to "Magic," Bobby Ray also performed "Letters From Vietnam," "Airplanes" (with Melanie Fiona taking over for Hayley Williams), "Nothin' on You" (Robin Thicke filled in for Bruno Mars), "The Kids" (featuring Janelle Monáe) and a cover of MGMT's "Kids."
B.o.B and Justin Bieber were announced as the latest VMA performers last week, joining Kanye West, Drake and Usher on the Los Angeles stage. B.o.B is also nominated for five Moonmen, including Video of the Year and Best Male Video.
"It's very special to me. I think it's a lot more special than the success of the singles, because this reflects the work I've put in over the years and the word of mouth I've helped create," B.o.B told MTV News about his nominations. "It's definitely amazing. I'm trying to find the words to explain it, but I can't. It's inexplicable. I'm a real simple man, so, you know, I accept every gift with generosity and gratitude."
Don't miss B.o.B's "MTV Unplugged," premiering September 1 on MTV.com.