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SHOP TALK & SEGUES: BEATS 1'S OPENING WEEKEND

Apple Music's Beats 1 kicked off its “Opening Weekend” with a slate of music programming featuring the biggest music stars on the planet as DJs, and the songs they chose to play did not disappoint.

Friday night was Q-Tip’s Abstract Radio, which came armed with the slogan “not old-school, not new-school, just the good school.” Throughout the two-hour broadcast, Tip proceeded to jam everything from Rae Srummurd and J Dilla to David Bowie and Level 42, while holding court on the microphone with an arsenal of echo effects. It made for an super-cool hang on a Friday holiday night. 

On the morning of Fourth of July, Hollywood's hippest kid Jaden Smith debuted his MSFT Frequency show, which wasn’t as musically adventurous as the others but did feature some juicy banter with big poppa Will Smith, who was calling in from the set of Suicide Squad to discuss, among other things, how in character Jared Leto is staying on set as The Joker. “There is no Jared here,” he told his son, “only The Joker.” The father-son duo also discussed Jaden’s group-chat hook up of his dad with Drake for a collabo, and talked about how star-struck Tyler the Creator was the first time he met his dad in person, before jamming "2SEATER," one of the best songs off Tyler's recently released Cherry Bomb album. Sister Willow also joined in for an hour, bantering with her brother about different songs she loves.

Dr Dre’s The Pharmacy was deep in the cool, but benefited heavily from both DJ Justin Credible’s amazing mixes and the low-key brilliance of DJ Pooh, who was installed as co-host. Not only does Pooh have a deep baritone voice quite worthy of radio, his long history with Dre and own accomplishments (among other things, writing the movie Friday with Ice Cube) made for great conversation. But segues like Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman” into Tupac's “California Love,” the iconic hip-hop song that sampled it, or the opening bars of The Doors “Five to One” and into  the song that sampled it, Jay Z’s “Takeover” from the iconic album The Blueprint, made for truly powerful musical moments.  The Doctor was in the house and, clearly, school was in session.

Listening to Sunday’s OTHERTone show with Pharrell, Justin Timberlake and eternal cool girl Cara Delevigne was like being inserted inside an intimate chat between friends, as their little sister hung about. Timberlake playfully teased Pharrell about his DJ/announcer skills, and both guys seemed to cringe as Cara said she was “about 10 years old” when she first heard their inaugural collaboration “Like I love You.” Musically, the show was as solid as the rest, especially with renowned music supervisor Scott Vener choosing the songs; he was also on hand in studio to add some commentary. 

It was an ambitious opening weekend, but Beats 1 delivered with consistently exciting programming that spanned genres, eras and rules. If this is the framework for what's to come, can't wait to see what's next. 

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