Presenting The Elite Eight: John Coltrane, Alicia Keys, Blondie, Neil Diamond, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground, Wu-Tang Clan, And Rakim

After three weeks of feverish clicking and arguing, the final eight contenders in our search for the quintessential New York musician have been finalized. Representing the Uptown division are No. 1 seed John Coltrane and No. 14 seed Alicia Keys; No. 12 seed Blondie will have it out with No. 3 seed Neil Diamond in Queens; No. 5 seed Sonic Youth will match Downtown bona fides with Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground (No. 3); and No. 6 seed Rakim will take on No. 4 seed Wu-Tang Clan in Brooklyn. The polls will roll out at noon and close at midnight.

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SOTC's March Madness: Welcome To The Lightning Round Of 16

John Coltrane is the only No. 1 seed remaining in the tournament.
This week, our search for New York's quintessential post-1955 musician is about to get hectic, with the winner crowned as the calendar flips to April on Saturday night. (A rundown of all the matches so far is here.) So for the Round of 16 matchups—four of which will happen today, four tomorrow—we're going to dispense with the punditry and get to the voting. The combatants, which hail from the Uptown and Brooklyn quadrants: John Coltrane and Bette Midler; Alicia Keys and Laura Nyro; A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan; and Rakim and Norah Jones. Ballot below. Please note that you have to vote in all four races in order for your vote to count.

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The Wu-Tang Clan (4) Tries To Overcome Pete Seeger (5) In SOTC's March Madness

Disheveled musicians unite! After zipping by The Rapture in the opening round with his unkempt folksy style, Pete Seeger now faces Staten Island's original grimy, dirt-sodden rap troupe, who themselves dispatched Rammellzee to get to this stage of the showdown. With both artists embracing a stubborn anti-establishment stance, things could get heated.

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The Wu-Tang Clan (4) Battle Rammellzee (13) As The Brooklyn Division Of SOTC March Madness Begins

The Round of 64 for Sound of the City's own version of March Madness—in which you, the Sound of the City voting public, help determine the quintessential New York musician—continues, and you get to vote on who makes it to Round Two. Today, our Brooklyn division kicks into action when its No. 4 seed, the Wu-Tang Clan, takes on No. 13, Rammellzee. Check out the arguments in favor of each, then cast your ballot at the Sound of the City Facebook page.

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Here Is A Supercut Of Every Time Wu-Tang Clan Shouts Itself Out On Its Albums

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Presented for your enjoyment and compiled by one Conor Lastowka: An audio supercut of every time the Wu-Tang Clan shouts itself out—by its collective name or individually—across the group's five studio albums. Lastowka spent "a few hours" putting together the clip, and he came to this conclusion, which might not surprise you: "They say Wu-Tang a lot. It peaks with 36 Chambers, still gets brought up a lot on Forever, and sort of trickles out by the last two. I guess they really wanted to establish who they were. Note that I tried not to include repeated hooks like on 'Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing to F With' or 'High as Wu-Tang Get' just because they sounded repetitive, and there were still plenty without them." Noted. Clip below!

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Everybody In Wu-Tang: The Gap Enters The 36 Chambers With Its Latest T-Shirt Offering

Categories: Fashion, Wu-Tang

The jeans-and-tees emporium The Gap has paired up with musicians before; the likes of Luscious Jackson and Common have warbled holiday-appropriate tunes for them during the store's late-autumn shopping season ads, Daft Punk has danced for its denim, and even Willie Nelson has endorsed the brand. But now the chain's starting to return the favor for certain musicians and iconic people of note by placing them on t-shirts—and among those luminaries immortalized in 100% cotton form is none other than Staten Island's own Wu-Tang Clan. For $29.95, the "canyon shadow"-colored top can be yours! A bigger image of the shirt after the jump.

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Ms. Lauryn Hill And Nas To Headline Rock The Bells Festival, Which Hits NYC In September

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The Rock The Bells festival returns to the New York area with a Sept. 3 date at Governor's Island. This year's installment is headed up by a slew of full-album sets that includes run-throughs of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Illmatic (which Nas will perform with AZ, Pete Rock and DJ Premier), Only Built For Cuban Linx, and quite a few other storied hip-hop records. There'll also be a battle stage and a "36 Chambers stage," which "will primarily feature members of the Wu-Tang Clan as well as artists selected by stage curator and Wu-Tang Clan mainstay RZA." Tickets go on presale next Friday, June 3, with the general on-sale set for June 4. Full roster of performers after the jump.

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The 10 Best Hip-Hop Album Skits

This next joint is getting lit for a tradition in hip-hop long since passed--not Iceberg sweaters, but album skits. There've been so many awful ones that the handful of good ones weren't enough to keep them from going to hell in a backpack. But a few were incredibly vivid--and funny. Of course, it helped if the rapper performing them sounded cool saying pretty much anything, a la Ghostface Killah ("It feel hot at night..."). Or they were performed by Dave Chappelle, who Talib Kweli brought on board to imitate Nelson Mandela.

As you read on, you'll realize that three out of the 10 skits collected here are Wu-Tang related. To anyone tempted to complain about that, I say: Fuck off. I'm from the Wally era.

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Barack Obama's White House Correspondents' Dinner Speech Runs Wild, Namechecks ODB

On Friday, we talked about how Beyoncé's participation in Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" program showed how the Obamas were interested in including a wider (and younger-skewing) swath of culture in official political life. On Saturday, President Obama's speech to the White House Correspondents' Association offered even more evidence. It was a shrewd move on Obama's part; though the event is ostensibly closed, Internet-disseminated videos of its speeches have been a postmortem fixture since Stephen Colbert's elaborate Bush satire in 2006. These speeches have become a way for presidents to temporarily drop the gravitas they're required to carry as symbolic heads of state and give the public an idea of their private character. Obama knew that the routine would be seen; moreover, he knew that he'd ordered the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, and in retrospect, you can see the swagger. He used the opportunity not only to utterly destroy Donald Trump, but to signal his cultural allegiances in subtle but powerful ways.

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Photos: The Village Voice/Frank 151 SXSW Party, Starring Wild Flag, Wu-Tang, Erykah Badu, Donald Glover, Yelawolf, and More

Wu-Tang, who else? All photos by Nate "Igor" Smith
The Wu-Tang/Wild Flag encore of champions never quite went off the way we hoped it would, but Donald Glover's rapping alter-ego Childish Gambino did make a cameo appearance, Yelawolf took off his shirt, and fireworks shot off down the block, where the Strokes were entertaining those who couldn't quite make it into the Austin Music Hall. Put another successful SXSW party--this one starring not just the aforementioned Wu-Tang Clan, Yelawolf, and Wild Flag, but also Fishbone, Trae Tha Truth, Marz Lovejoy, Rocky Business, Trouble Andrew, Ume, and Erykah Badu, who DJed and then performed with the Wu at the end of their 1 a.m. set--in the books. You can read a full report courtesy of our pals in Houston; our intrepid photographer Nate "Igor" Smith was also on the scene. His photos are below.

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