A-list celebrities, journalists and top government officials
graced Washington D.C. for this year's White House Correspondent's Dinner. The glamorous
evening took place this past Saturday and brought out everyone from Newt Gingrich
and Conan O'Brien, to John Legend and Steven Spielberg. American President
Barack Obama was on fire with jokes and political commentary that rivaled only
a few of the comedic attendees. What an interesting display of government and
One of Hip-Hop’s most recognizable
names came under fire recently for his lyrics on a song that he was featured
on. Miami rapper Rick Ross was criticized for his reference to date rape on
Rocko’s "U.O.E.N.O." Rick Ross attempted to apologize more than once for the lyric
("I’d die over these reeboks you ain’t even know it/ Put Molly all in her
champagne, she ain't even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that, she
ain't even know it.”) but it was seen as disingenuous because they failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the
issue. Rape is no joke (or art) when nearly 1 in 5 U.S. women surveyed in the National Intimate Partner
and Sexual Violence Survey said they had been sexually assaulted.
Protests and petitions against
Rick Ross included women’s rights group, UltraViolet, who asked Reebok to end
their relationship with the rapper. After several weeks of protest and pressure Reebok finally issued a statement that culminated in saying “At this time, it
is in everyone's best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr.
Hip-Hop artists have long enjoyed the
freedom to express themselves but they can find that freedom restricted when they become paid
endorsers of multinational corporations. After dealing with the embarrassment
of losing his deal Ross issued another apology: “And most recently,
my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart.
And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I
apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the
power of influence.” Hopefully a few lessons were learned from all of this. One, that rape culture will not be tolerated, two, that Hip-Hop artists should really check their moral values before embodying an offensive stage "persona" and three, everyone read fine print before they sign up to be pitchmen--so that they know what they're risking!
Vevo presents an original short about 50 Cent's new venture into boxing (SMS Promotions). The infamous Queens-bred MC is no stranger to adversity and the challenge of the ring is no different for Mr. Jackson. Check out how he breaks down his triumphs and setbacks and how it all forged him to become the life-driven competitor that he is today.
Sneaker conossieurs, Rick Williams and Roland “Ro” Coit, just laced up their shoes for the first episode of their new reality series on Loud. Detroit Rubber has the D-Town natives showcasing their sneaker knowledge to help celebrities like Tiger, Prince Fielder, obtain hard-to-find soles. Check out the broadcast and watch how their search takes them all the way to legendary Detroit MC, Eminem's studio! We don't do the shoe fetishism much, but this we like. There's a story and history! We can dig it.
International music industry megastar, Beyoncé Knowles, lets fans into her world via HBO's new documentary about the songstress. The piece airs on Feburary 16th and promises and intimate look into her otherwise, private and highly-publicized life.
B.L.A.C. (Black Life, Arts and Culture) is Detroit's premiere lifestyle magazine for African American in the metro area. Covering everything from entertainment to education, the mag presents interesting stories and on-goings via high quality editorials and visuals. Check them out for the ins and outs of Detroit's progressive black culture.
MTV2 presents the second season of the newly revamped Dub Magazine Project. This time the keys get handed over to hosts MGK and Tyga for an adrenaline-filled glimpse into the celebrity world of customized rides and lifestyles. The upcoming season is set to feature the likes of Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Mac Miller, Big Boi, Travis Pastrana, Kreayshawn and Gucci Mane, and more!
Tune in on Sunday, October 28th at 1pm ET/PT to catch the premiere episode.
Old Spice takes the cake with their latest campaign ad featuring actor and renowned muscle-man, Terry Crews. The piece straps him into a wild orchestra contraption that plays a different instrument every time he flexes a muscle. And that's not all! After the performance is over you can actually use your keyboard to record your own muscle music!
So at exactly midnight, my preordered deluxe copy of NAS’s new album “Life is good” began downloading 19 tracks plus the videos for “Daughters” & “Don.” When it finished, I got my earphones out, plugged them in and in the dark, lying in bed I listened... and then I listened again.
“Life is Good” feels like a movie and I don’t mean it in “that” corny way that a lot of rappers and DJs like to use the word “movie,” but literally like in the way that you talk about the “Godfather” being a great movie.
This album feels like a score with vocals not to be confused with a soundtrack. What’s the difference you ask? A “soundtrack” is a marketing tool and a “score” is like a character in the movie. Many of the beats just have that grand cinematic sound to them like they are part of an epic period production by Martin Scorsese. From the piano and strings in "No Introduction" to the opening horns of "A Queens Story"
This film-like experience is a celebration of surviving success, learning from your mistakes and acknowledging your flaws. This is an album for grown folks.
Life is Good is Hip Hop 3.0. It’s not a cheap update to patch up some holes and fix some glitches on Hip Hop’s aging operating system of money, guns and hoe’s. This is a new version grounded in lyricism. It's trying to reset the game and get it back on track.
Life is Good is not perfect, it also has it’s kinks like the track “Summer On Smash” with Swizz beats. I just don’t think NAS and Swizzy are a good match or maybe I just find Swizz’s hook/voice annoying. The beat itself is not bad. I would love to hear this track without the hook or maybe a different one, “Accident Murderers” might have been my favorite track if Rick Ross wasn’t on it. I like Ross but hearing him on the same track as the Godson puts things in perspective. I’m glad there aren’t any other rappers featured on the album. “The Black Bond” is a little 2minute 20 second gem that I wish was at least a minute longer. With a beat that sounds like something the RZA would have made for Wu back in the 90s, I contradict my previous statement by saying that Raekwon would have been crazy on this track! “Loco-Motive” Sounds like a rediscovered lost track from Illmatic, was this intentional? is it a coincidence that one of the original Illmatic producers Large Professor created the track? I think not but I’m definitely not complaining. "Reach Out" is a feel good throw back jam featuring Mary J Blige. This is probably the only song that might get you out on the dance floor gripping a bottle and singing the hook along with Mary. "Bye Baby" addresses his relationship and the unfortunate and very public divorce from Kelis in a very honest and revealing manner that is a bit unexpected in this era and "Cherry Wine" is a wonderful soulful prize featuring the late Amy Winehouse that is so smooth that you won't get enough of.
I’m not going to go through every track on the album as I’m still listening and absorbing it all. Like a great you movie, sometimes you have to watch it a few times in order to get a better understanding of the details.
Like any Nas Album, this is for heads that place a premium on lyricism. Very few of these tracks will make you want to bop your head on the dance floor. This album is better suited for a night time drive in your luxury car with the premium sound system bumping and streets lights flashing by at 80 mph. It can also be enjoyed at home in your Eames lounge chair, aged drink in hand, with the lights dimmed. It’s what an album from an (almost) 40 year old MC with 20 years of rapping under his belt should sound like… mature, wise and grand.
Queens, New York City-bred BMX superstar, Nigel Sylvester, visits the Dominican Republic in the latest episode of his show--Get Sylvester. The young phenom explores the good, the bad, the ugly, and the inspiring live and direct from the Caribbean island. Definitely worth the watch as the narrative is told in own words, where he describes how much the disparity and "hustle" inspires his professional dedication.
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