The latest in hip hop and entertainment news

Torey Lanez takes us back to the early 2000’s 

by A. Smith

Torey Lanez’s Chixtape has been making waves all week. First of all, he has the princess of hip hop and R&B, Ashanti on his album cover. Ashanti is seen in her bedroom, laying down looking at her beeper. The album cover which has all the early 2000’s aesthetics from the posters on the wall and Ashanti in her hoop earrings. 

The Canadian rapper, singer and producer started the Chixtape series in 2011; which also featured and sample some heavy hitters. The Chixtape 5 has features from Ashanti, Mya, Mario, Chris Brown and many more. 

Just like the 90’s, the 2000’s R&B and hip hop was a euphoric experience. As we enter a new era it’s nice to have this to reminisce on the good ol’ days. Torey talks more in-depth about his new release with Billboard: 

The Chixtape series has played a vital role in your career. What does this fifth installment mean for you? 
I think it's just the evolution of where I'm at as far as R&B [is concerned], and Tory breaking down the barrier of something new, but also something classic. I think it's the evolution of where the Chixtapes went and what they are, but also, it kind of feels like every Chixtape in one, you know? You finally get every piece of production. You get every piece of extra vocals. You get everything. It's damn near overwhelming at a certain point because it's like, "Wow. Y'all did that." I think five is moreso evolution, and a revolution towards what the Chixtape means to fans. 

You can read more of the interview here: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.billboard.com/amp/articles/columns/hip-hop/8543677/tory-lanez-chixtape-5-interview 

Chixtape Tracklist: 

1. Jalissa’s Back! (SKIT) 
2. The Trade f. Jagged Edge & Jermaine Dupri 
3. Jerry Sprunger f. T-Pain 
4. Beauty in the Benz f. Snoop Dogg 
5. Blowin’ Mine’s // Leah’s Introduction (SKIT) 
6. The Take f. Chris Brown 
7. Broken Promises 
8. The Fargo Splash f. Ludacris 
9. Luv Ya Gyal // Love Sounds f. The-Dream 
10. Yessirr 
11. Best of You // Busted [SKIT] f. Mya 
12. The Cry f. Mario 
13. Still Waiting f. Trey Songz 
14. A Fools Tale (Running Back) f. Ashanti 
15. Thoughts f. Lloyd & Lil Wayne 
16. If You Gotta… f. Fabolous 
17. Room 112 f. Slim & NYCE 
18. Last Love Letter (SKIT)

Nivea bares all her feelings on her new album ‘Mirrors’ 

by A. Smith

Nivea’s album Mirrors shares her journey after her long hiatus. Nivea first came onto our screens in Mystikal’s music video ‘Been So Long’ as she sang the chorus. Shortly after we saw her first video ‘Don’t mess with my radio’. The fresh-faced singer with coloured hair was shown having fun with her girls, and letting her man know he can’t mess with her radio, and when he did he was kicked out in the rain. Another thing Nivea doesn’t want anyone to mess with - is her man! ‘Don’t mess with my man’ came out with Jagged Edge. This was a popular song, that was definitely an anthem in my school. Smh! 

One of her most memorable and unique song and video was ‘Laundromat’. The sick n tired detergent always gets me!! Lol! Other songs released from her first album were ‘Runaway’ (I wanna be with u) and 25 reasons (one of my favs from Nivea) I wish a video was released for this song. 

She later on released other albums such as ‘Complicated’ and ‘Animalistic’. Due to bad management and deciding to have a family life she quietly raised her 4 beautiful children, after her divorce for The Dream and broken engagement with Lil Wayne. 

I’m so happy to hear Nivea’s music again, she recently expressed in her recent interviews about the loss of her mum, motherhood, relationships, industry politics and substance abuse on VLAD TV . 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8z7Tlgg280 

The songs on Mirrors date back as far as 2008 till now but I can’t tell. They all sound relevant and not dated at all. ‘Circles’ is my favourite on the album. I pray she continues to make timeless music.

Angie Martinez is getting artists to spill their tea, hot chocolate and coffee on Untold Stories 

by A. Smith

Angie Martinez has a new series called Untold Stories. The Voice of New York on her radio show for many years, has also released a couple albums: Up Close and Personal and Animal House. She became an Author when she released her cook book ‘Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed’ and her autobiography ‘My Voice’ 

The Untold Stories showing on WE tv has Angie Martinez sitting down with some of the most famous and respected music artists in Hip Hop from Queen Latifah to Snoop Dogg. Candid interviews with some exclusive teas spilt, keeps the audience captivated.   

Which episode has been your favorite? 

We are wishing Angie Martinez a speedy recovery after her car accident. 🙏🏾

Teedra Moses | 15 years after her debut album Complex Simplicity 

by A. Smith

Teedra Moses re-released her album ‘Complex Simplicity’, the masterpiece has been a special album to R&B fans/music lovers for years. Part of the proceeds from the sales will be going to single mothers, even though she is only now making money off of the album (old record label was defunct), she still wants to give back. I remember when ‘Be Your Girl’ came out (a song dedicated to her crush Nas), it was a hot day and I watched her video on YouTube. One of my guy friends stretched his neck towards my phone and was like “who’s that and what her name be like?”.  Lol!!  

Teedra’s sultry, smooth and sweet vocals is one you cannot forget.  ‘Be Your Girl’ remix by Kaytranada has captured a new wave of fans and has been another anthem. The album has bonus tracks ‘Caberner Sauvignon’ which was created almost 20 years ago but did not make it on the original album in 2004. Also ‘I Think of You (3 Generations)’ which features her late mother Shirley Moses and her twin sons (Rad and Taj Austin) who are part of the hip hop group Coast Contra, you can scroll down to find out more about the amazing group. 

Over the years Teedra has been consistent with her music and being visible on social media and touring. She has released a second album called Congnac and Conversation and several EP’s; California Vibes EP (2014), The Young Hustla Compilation (2004), Young Hustla Compilation Vol II: Live from the Jungle (2007), Lionhearted – Young Hustla Vol III (2009), Royal Patience ... A Love Journey (2010), Luxurious Undergrind (2011) and ClairVoyant (2015) 

Teedra will be releasing a new album in 2020 called ‘The Bulls***’ and has some upcoming tour/show dates coming up. You can also purchase her Be Your Girl merchandises here; https://www.teedramoses.com/shop/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wale’s Wow... That’s crazy album | ‘On Chill’ goes Gold 

By A. Smith

Wale’s new album ‘Wow…That’s Crazy, released a couple of weeks ago. The DC rapper recruited some heavy weights on the album such as Kelly Price, Megan Thee Stallion, Bryson Tiller, Ari Lennox and much more. Wale sat with Ebro on Rap Life and mentioned his album was like a movie and felt like the artists he picked were like movie credits, he also talked about his relationship with his daughter and how he did not know he will find it difficult to connect with her, due to his upbringing.  

“My mother never kissed me goodnight. Sometimes how you were raised don’t come to fruition until you’re raising somebody. I didn’t know I was going to struggle connecting emotionally to a baby girl..” 

In another interview with Genius, Wale shared his experience with PTSD in relations to his work, the pressures of making it, taking care of him and his family and the thought of failing at what he does. Which also has a direct effect with his dating life at times, trying to balance it all and his own doing too – by shutting down at times for no reason. 

People may question Wale at times about him complaining about something, but as he detailed his frustrations about his job/the industry and not seeing the outcome of something you are passionate about can be devasting. I think we can all relate to this and knowing how Hip Hop is such a competitive art form, where egos and status is flashed around and rapped about. I cannot fathom how overwhelming it can be and now with social media involved it can be too much. I am glad he’s going to therapy and taking the right steps to heal himself. 

His single with Jeremih ‘On Chill’ has gone gold, the rapper announced it on his Instagram page, with the caption “Single Gold. And not slowing down. I appreciate all the love surrounding this album..we just getting started. Let’s run it up. 

Besides ‘On Chill’, other singles released include ‘BGM’ and ‘Love & Loyalty featuring Mannywellz’. Check out the track list below and let us know your favorite songs. 

1. “Sue Me” 
2. “Love & Loyalty” feat. Mannywellz 
3. “Cliché” feat. Ari Lennox & Boogie 
4. “Expectations” feat. 6LACK 
5. “BGM” 
6. “Love… (Her Fault)” feat. Bryson Tiller 
7. “On Chill” feat. Jeremih 
8. “Routine” 
9. “Love Me Nina / Semiautomatic” 
10. “Break My Heart (My Fault)” feat. Lil Durk 
11. “Debbie” 
12. “50 In Da Safe” 
13. “Set You Free” feat. Kelly Price 
14. “Black Bonnie” feat. Jacquees 
15. “Poledancer” feat. Megan Thee Stallion

Lil Kim | ‘9’ Album 

by A. Smith

 

 

The Queen B has released her album ‘9’ after 14 years since her last album, The Naked Truth was released in 2005. The album is the only album by a female rapper to receive five mics by the hip hop website and magazine; The Source. The album had hits like ‘Lighters Up’ and ‘Whoa’. 

‘9’ (which is symbolic for her as her daughter, Royal Reign was born June 9th, There are 9 members in Junior Mafia and Biggie passed March 9th) consists of nine songs. The first single released was ‘Go Awff’ and the second single ‘Found You’ featuring the City Girls and OT Genesis. The song samples Bubba Sparxxx ‘Ms. New Booty’.  

The album has some good songs, ‘Pray for Me’ featuring Rick Ross and Musiq Soulchild, is my favourite song on the album. It gives me the old school Lil Kim, when she said her signature adlib “uhh’, I was like “okay sis!”. Can we give it up for Lil Kim’s vocals, some fans were debating if it was Marsha Ambrosius or Mary J Blige. LOL! The lyrics will resonate with a lot of women, who are in a relationship or have a male figure in their lives, who are still in the streets. 

The second song on the track list is ‘Bag’ has Lil Kim rap-singing on this track, as she talks her ‘ish and talks about getting to her bag and being the boss babe that she has been and always will be.  

“Kim put that work and never call out/ Dope girls, more than bass in these speakers/ Shoebox money, ain't no space for the sneakers/ I ain't stressing comments on the internet/ I'm just adding commas to a bigger check/ I'm just adding diamonds to a new Patek/ I keep these haters sick, get them Mucinex.” 

‘Catch my wave’ feat Rich the Kid is a nice bop, you can definitely be rapping to this in the car with your homies like: “You b*****s been riding my wave forever/But y'all gon' drown tryna catch this drip”.Bloop! She said, what she said. Rich the Kid fitted in well with his verses. I could definitely hear The Migos on it too. ‘Too Bad’ is cool but I think like ‘Catch my Wave’ and ‘Jet Fuel’, it appeals more to the younger audience or who enjoy this type of music.  

I know Lil Kim is reinventing herself which I respect but I just love it when she sneaks in, her 1996 flow, like she did on ‘You are Not Alone’ (where she also pays homage to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson). When the Queen Bee, starts spitting her rhymes from her diaphragm with her deep voice and slows down her flow a little bit – you know it’s real. 

“I dismantle any competition to the coalition/ What Big’ started, I’m ‘bout to finish/ 
You witness greatness every time I spit this/ Like a judge, an overdue sentence”.. 

Lil Kim mentioned in an interview that she approached ‘Auto Blanco’ a little like ‘l’s All About The Benjamins’. Being frustrated is the catalyst to her going so hard and fuels her no nonsense lyrics, that sizzle in your soul. On the Genius interview they travel back to her old albums and songs and she’s gives some back stories to them. Did she write all her raps? Was Ray J pissed when she’s mentioned he was Brandy’s brother? If lil’ Shanice rapped all the way through the Aunt Dot track? and her opinion on Jermaine Dupri’s comment on women in Hip Hop today. 

Summer Walker has the biggest R&B Album! 

by A. Smith

Summer Walker can’t be too ‘over it’ (saying she wants to quit music) with her album now breaking records.  ‘Over It’ is the biggest debut album from a female artist in over 10 years and the biggest streaming ever by an R&B artist.  

The album cover shows Summer on the phone, which looks like she was caught in an argument, it’s definitely giving me Kionna vibes from the movie ‘Belly’, which was played by rapper (Murder Inc) Lavita ‘Vita’ Raynor. The album was mostly produced by her boyfriend London on the Track, who is also the executive producer.  

The album has features from Bryson Tiller, Usher, Party Next Door, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Jhene Aiko, 6lack and Drake is on the last song, the remix to Girls Need Love.  

The stand out tracks for me are ‘Come Thru’ featuring Usher, it’s so nice to hear Usher again and to hear him redo ‘You Make Me Wanna’, this is my favourite. ‘Body’ (which samples 702’s ‘Get It Together), ‘Potential’, ‘Fun Girl’, ‘Anna Mae’, ‘Nobody Else’ (nice to hear Stevie J on the piano) and ‘Playing Games’ (loving the reference from ‘Say my Name by Destiny’s Child). 

Overall the album is one that can be played from beginning to end without skipping. My only little criticism is the use of auto tune, it does help with the flow of the album as it has that vibe to it – but it makes it sounds like one long song at times. Have you listened to the album? What’s your favourite song?

Brandy celebrates 25 years since her debut album, with new single ‘Freedom Rings’ 

by A. Smith

It’s been 25 years since Brandy released her self tilted debut album, Brandy. To celebrate the anniversary, she released her first single ‘Freedom Rings’ from her upcoming album. The singer has been through it, from label disputes that found her having her own independent label, Bran’ Nu Inc (yassss!), to the unfortunate passing of LaShawn Daniels, her long-time producer/songwriter and friend. R.I.P. 

As she sings; I gave you all I had, my love, my blood, my sweat and my 
(Time) but you wanted more, I invested these years, these tears that I 
(Cried) you're concrete, but I rose like a rose, Lord knows that I almost 
(Died) they tried to chain me, estrange me, run away declaring my freedom rings 

……. me and LaShawn will shine again." 

Brandy’s first single ‘I Wanna Be Down’ was released in 1994. The smooth yet funky R&B track was a major hit. The remix was just as successful with the support of lyrical icons MC Lyte, Yo-Yo and Queen Latifah. The video was directed by Hype Williams, the music video was shot in black and white with some, interjects of colour showed the collective in their full glory. They all performed on the on BET’s Hip Hop Awards a few years back and they sounded and looked amazing. Other hit singles on her debut album includes ‘Baby’, ‘Best Friend’ and ‘Broken-hearted’. 

Brandy’s catalogue is unmatched, all her albums (Never say Never, Full Moon, Afrodisiac, Human and Two Eleven) have been consistently ahead of its time and a classic. 

We the fans or has she likes to call us her stars, are looking forward to her 7th studio album. The hashtag #be7 has been used on her social media posts, so that could be the name of her new album. I guess we will have to wait and see. Fans are hoping ‘Freedom Rings’ will be a soundtrack for the new Harriet Tubman biopic movie ‘Harriet’. This would be epic!

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: The students from the interludes, 21 years later 

by A. Smith

After the second album from the Fugees had wrapped up, Ms. Hill went on to create one of the greatest albums to date. At 22 years old, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was an album that interpreted heartbreak, love, God, motherhood, personal growth and her upbringing in a universal language we could all relate to or learn from.  

Have you ever wondered about the students in the interludes, who were talking about love? Well Ike Sriskandarajah was able to track them down and find out what they have been up to. 

There are four sections of the audio which lasts about 15 minutes. Please listen to the full audio here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/19/arts/music/miseducation-lauryn-hill-kids.html  

The Kids: Ras Baraka was a Teacher at an Elementary school at the time and alongside a coach for basketball was asked by Lauryn Hill for their help for her album.  They were all ask to show up and do a ‘project’ unbeknownst to them they will be included in one the most iconic album to date. 

The Teacher: Ras Baraka an educator, author and now politician, was the one who was calling out all the students name, after the school bell rang. He also led the conversation about love, where the students gave their opinions. Ras Baraka is now the Mayor Newark, New Jersey. He also recorded the intro for The Fugees’ second album, The Score and has an unreleased track called ‘Hot Beverage in the Winter” with Lauryn Hill, which is featured on his spoken word album, Shorty for Mayor. 

New Jerusalem: A nickname for Newark, New Jersey. The song ‘Every Ghetto, Every City’ pay homage to her city. 

L-O-V-E: The ‘students’ reflect on their comments about love on the album and express what love means to them now. They expressed what led to their comments at the time and how it has changed over the years due to some devastating events. 

Lauryn’s House: They went to visit the house where Ms. Hill lived and was invited to her living room: where the interludes were recorded. Some of the students did not live that far away from her. So, I was officially todays year old thinking this was recorded in a classroom and hoping she will come to my school next.   

We all know Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is amazing, but I need people to revisit Ms. Hill’s MTV Unplugged No. 2.0. Another masterpiece, with the industry politics it did not gain the attention as her first album but it is one of the most honest and lyrically sound albums, especially in that era. Ms. Hill will be a part of the soundtrack for the movie Queen and Slim coming out next month.  We can’t wait to hear it and see the movie!

Wu-Tang: An American Saga 

by A. Smith

The Wu-Tang Clan have a new mini series called Wu-Tang: An American Saga. The mini-series is showing on Hulu and it has been very interesting and fascinating. The Hip Hop group started in the early 1990’s and have become one of the most iconic groups and solo artists in Hip Hop history. Their first album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was a great success, which allowed the group members to have successful solo careers and have deals with other record labels.  

The Actors in the TV series have really embodied the artists and it’s amazing to see their humble beginnings. The casts include Dave East (Method Man), Ashton Sanders (RZA), Siddiq Saunderson (Ghostface Killah), Shameik Moore (Raekwon), TJ Atoms (Ol’ Dirty Bastard- ODB’s son unfortunately did not get the role), Johnell Xavier (GZA), Joey Badass (Inspectah Deck) and Caleb Castille as Darryl "Chino" Hill (Cappadonna), Erika Alexander (Linda Diggs- RZA’s mum), Zolee Griggs as Shurrie Diggs, Julian Elijah Martinez as Divine Diggs and Marcus Callender as Power Grant.  

The groups last album was released in 2015, called ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ and The Saga Continues (a compilation album). However most of the them are still continuing with their solo projects and still involved in everything Wu-Tang with merchandises, tours and even a Wu- Tang Clan MetroCard to promote the TV series.  

RZA has not only produced the Wu-Tang albums and solo projects, he has scored on some films such as Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and Kill Bill. He has also appeared in TV shows and films such as American Gangster and had his directorial debut with The Man with the Iron Fists. He also the executive producer of the TV mini-series. You can also check out an interview he did with Vanity Fair on YouTube about the 10 Kung Fu movies he has sampled. I was today years old when I found out RZA is married to Talani Rabb who was a model. If you grew up in the 90’s you would recognise her from LL Cool J’s video ‘Doin It’ and Diddy’s video ‘Satisfy You’. 

Ghostface Killah released his 13th album ‘Ghostface Killahs’ his son Sun God is featured on a track called ‘Fly Everything’ and ‘The Chase’ and his fellow Wu-Tang members Method Man, Cappadonna, Masta Killah, and Inspectah Deck are on tracks like; ‘Me, Denny & Darryl’. ‘Burner to Burner’, ‘Waffles and Ice Cream and ‘Soursop’. Other artists featured on the album include Shawn Wigs, Solomon Childs, Eamon and Harley. 

Method Man has had a great year with features on tracks like Teyana Taylor and  
performing with Mary at the BET Awards. He recently was on the Jimmy Kimmel show and mentioned how he has a podcast called Marvels. Fun fact he has over 30,000 comic books, he has been collecting since he was 13 years old. 

GZA was recently on Rapsody’s single ‘Ibtihaj’ and he absolutely demolished his part, as he raps: “Well written rap, bound to have a great impact/ On a listener for the fact it's well intact/ An MC should electrify, beautify, strive to/ Empower, inspire, transform a world view.” *Speechless* 

U-God released his autobiography called Raw: My Journey Into The Wu-Tang in 2018 alongside his album called Venom. Chance The Rapper gave a shout out to the emcee, in his song ‘We Go High’; “and throw up the woo (Wu) like U-God”. 
  
U-God will be coming to Walthamstow Jazz Festival 2020, in London, UK. You can purchase your tickets here: https://dice.fm/event/6eyeq-walthamstow-jazz-festival-2020-15th-feb-truman-brewery-walthamstow-london-tickets?_branch_match_id=706205569704163124 

Raekwon released his album ‘The Wild’ in 2017, he has his own wine Licataa. Inspectah Deck has an album called Chamber No.9, nine years after his 2010 release ‘Manifesto’. Cappondonna’s latest solo album ‘Ear Candy; was released in 2018.  

You can also catch Wu- Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men on Showtime; a documentary honouring their 25th anniversary of Wu-Tang Clan's debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). 

What are your thoughts on the mini-series? 

instagram page