The latest in hip hop and entertainment news

Dreamville Presents: REVENGE (Documentary) + Revenge of the Dreamers III Album 

by A. Smith

J. Cole and the Dreamville crew released their album and documentary simultaneously recently. The documentary showcased the process of the album being made. Rappers and producers all gathered in the same studio to create the Revenge of the Dreamers III, even other celebrities like Ludacris, T.I., Wale, Rick Ross, Big K.R.I.T, Swizz Beatz, the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team, former NBA player Chris Bosh (who surprisingly makes beats, who knew?) and many others came by to the studio. 

I hope some of the music that was made, that did not make the cut will be released sometime in the future. I can’t imagine being in the position of selecting which songs to pick as they all sounded like classics. There was come competitiveness but there were no bad vibes from watching this. It was authentic and  awesome to see artists who are hungry to deliver their talent. It was heart warming to see so much love, laughs and lyrics, where it could have turned hostile, but this was artistry at its finest. 

You can watch the full documentary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-9mZLh5XU8 

The collective released their first compilation on Revenge of the dreamers in 2014 (featuring Rappers J.Cole, Bas, Omen, K- Quick and singer Treasure Davis) and the second Revenge of the dreamers II, in 2015 (featuring Dreamville artists, J. Cole, Ari Lennox, Cozz, Bas, Omen and Lute.) 

This is a solid album, for them to record this in 10 days, is incredible. Just pure lyrical talent all over, how they were able to feature so may artists on one song?!! I am shook! Loved hearing Ari Lennox on here, I’ve listened to her album Shea Butter Baby, non-stop since it has dropped. 

I have rated the songs out of 5, check my ratings below. What are your favourite songs on this album? 

Track list: 

Under The Sun feat. J. Cole, Lute & Da Baby  (5/5) 

Down Bad feat. J.I.D, Bas, J.Cole, EARTHGANG & Young Nudy (4/5) 

LamboTruck with Cozz feat. REASON & Childish Major (4/5) 

Swivel feat. EARTHGANG (4/5) 

Oh Wow…Swerve feat. J. Cole, Zoink Gang, KEY! & Maxo Kream (4/5) 

Don’t Hit Me Right Now feat. Bas, Cozz, Yung Baby Tate, Guapdad 4000 (4/5) 

Wells Fargo feat. J.I.D, EARTHGANG, Buddy & Guapdad 4000 (3.5/5) 

Sleep Deprived feat. Lute, Omen, Mez & DaVionne (4/5) 

Self Love feat. Ari Lennox, Bas & Baby Rose (5/5) 

Ladies, Ladies, Ladies feat. J.I.D & T.I. (4/5) 

Costa Rica with Bas & J.I.D. feat. Guapdad 400, Reese LAFLARE, Jace, Mez (5/5) 

1993 feat. J. Cole, J.I.D, Cozz, EARTHGANG, Smino & Buddy (5/5) 

Rembrandt..Run It Back feat. J.I.D, J.Cole and Vince Staples (4/5) 

Sunset feat. J. Cole & Young Nudy (3/5) 

Got Me with Ari Lennox & Omen feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Dreezy (5/5) 

MIDDLE CHILD (5/5) 

PTSD feat. Omen, Mereba, Deanté Hitchcock & St. Beauty (4/5) 

Sacrifices feat. EARTHGANG, J. Cole, Smino & Saba (4/5)

Mary J Blige: The Queen of Hip Hop and Soul 

by A. Smith

Mary was amazing at the BET Awards, where she received the Lifetime Achievement Award, everyone and their Aunties were having the time of their lives listening to the classic joints. Rihanna presented Mary with the Lifetime Achievement Award. A video montage of Diddy, Queen Latifah, Nas and others spoke about her achievements and impact to the Hip Hop and R&B world, as being one of kind. 

“To my fans, words cannot express how grateful I am and thankful to have you in my life. Thank you for weathering these storms with me and rejoicing when I have victory.” -MJB 

Her performance was epic, it started with a video introduction of Diddy announcing the Queen to the stage; “prepare the stage for the Queen, of Hip Hop Soul…all hail the Queen”, of course with a little Diddy shoulder bop. 

Mary came to the stage in all white and sang some of her classic hits: “My Life”, “No More Drama”, “I’m Going Down”, “Real Love” Remix feat Biggie”, “You Remind Me”, “Love No Limit”, “Happy” (where she did her infamous Mary dance) which got the crowd hyped, chanting “go Mary, go Mary!”. 

“I Can Love You” brought out the Queen Bee, Lil Kim who was looking hot and meant serious business as soon as she said: 

 “If I told you once, told twice, QB, throw the bootie, like a groupie for more ice, Armor truck Heist, get a bonus like N'Bushe. In love with you since the days of "Juicy". Now I watch you play Columbo, Picasso. Tricks inside colassals, turn you castles to brothels, uh?! 

In her Trench coat, wavy hair and sunglasses bahbayyy she was serving some serious looks! Lil Kim’s stage presence is like no other. 

Method Man came outallto perform “Your All I Need”.. the audience were hyped rapping and singing along to the hood love joint! 

“Shorty, I'm there for you anytime you need me, for real girl, it's me in your world, believe me, nothing make a man feel better than a woman, Queen with a crown that be down for whatever” 

The performance ended with “Just Fine” and that she is - with everything she has endured, from her divorce and other things she may be going through, Mary is pushing through as she always does. Her strength and tenacity is undefeated.  

Enjoy her performance here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI7GqHxr7EE 

Mary is currently touring with Nas on The Royalty Tour, they are both celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their classic debut albums - My Life and ILLMATIC. These two albums are definitely one of the best albums to come out from Hip Hop and R&B it created a bar so high, that it’s untouchable.

 

You can purchase your ticket/s here:  

https://www.ticketmaster.com/mary-j-blige-tickets/artist/767544 

 Tour dates: 

* = Mary J. Blige performing only 

07/31 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater 
08/02 – Houston, TX @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion 
08/03 – Austin, TX @ Austin360 Amphitheater 
08/06 – Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre 
08/09 – Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion 
08/14 – San Francisco, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre 
08/16 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint * 
08/17 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint * 
08/20 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater 
08/22 – Dallas, TX @ Dos Equis Pavilion 
08/25 – Tuscaloosa, AL @ Tuscaloosa Amphitheater 
08/28 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center 
08/29 – Baltimore, MD @ Royal Farms Arena 
08/31 – Syracuse, NY @ St Joseph’s Health Amphitheater 
09/01 – Boston, MA @ Xfinity Center 
09/08 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center 
09/10 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage 
09/12 – Indianapolis, IN @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse 
09/17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl

 

Common: HER Love | Let Love Have The Last Word: A Memoir | Red Table Talk  

by A. Smith

Let Love Have The Last Word book coverCommon’s new single and video for HER Love, produced by the late, great J Dilla, features Daniel Caesar and Dwele. The video displays a ray of black love, black beauty, dancers, and just all around black excellence. This seems like a part two to his classic song I Used To Love H.E.R which was released in 1994. Clip from Common's music video HER Love

Her Love is an ode to Hip Hop as he rhymes about his love for Hip Hop and the current rappers in Hip Hop now: 

“Who knew? Who knew that we would take it this far? I, I love you so just be who you are. You gave me a voice in the world, It's been hard to choose another girl.  

They trip when you mumble, they trip when you sing. But you gave us, a chance to dream. 

In young thugs, you see a future, you recognize little Uzi ain't here to shoot ya. At 21, you knew I was savage. But you said "Common you will never be average" 

“I'm forever yours, to the tic-toc, I'm still talking 'bout you, Hip-Hop!” 

Common was on Red Table Talk where he talked about his book Let Love Have The Last Word: A Memoir, a follow up to his bestselling book – One Day It Will All Make Sense. Common on the Red Talk Table

“Common believes that the phrase “let love have the last word” is not just a declaration; it is a statement of purpose, a daily promise. Love is the most powerful force on the planet and ultimately, the way you love determines who you are and how you experience life. 

Touching on God, self-love, partners, children, family, and community, Common explores the core tenets of love to help others understand what it means to receive and, most important, to give love. He moves from the personal—writing about his daughter, to whom he wants to be a better father—to the universal, where he observes that our society has become fractured under issues of race and politics. He knows there's no quick remedy for all of the hurt in the world, but love—for yourself and for others—is where the healing begins. 

Courageous, insightful, brave, and characteristically authentic, Let Love Have the Last Word shares Common’s own unique and personal stories of the people and experiences that have led to a greater understanding of love and all it has to offer. It is a powerful call to action for a new generation of open hearts and minds, one that is sure to resonate for years to come.” -simonandschuster.com 

He talks about his romantic relationships and dealing with trust, amending his relationship with his daughter and therapy; "I remember because it was strange, I was in the car with Omoye and we were about to fly somewhere and I had to get in the backseat to talk in private to the therapist," he explained. "But I needed it right then and there, I was going through a pain that was just like, I gotta get this off me so I can be better for myself, for Omoye, for everything that I'm doing.”  

He also talked about his experience with molestation; “I talked about being molested because, as a Black man, many men have hidden that”, alcoholism and his desires to be married. It has been rumoured that Common and Angela Rye broke up. However after getting a question about his dating life, he mentioned he is happy and dating and hinted him and Angela may be back together. “ ... I would like to be a husband. Now I think that I just want that partnership. To be able to experience life where I’m growing as a human being and it’s fun too.” 

You can find out more about his book and concert tour dates on his website: www.thinkcommon.com

Cover Art for HER LoveCommon with Daughter Omoye

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Kanye West   

by A. Smith

Kanye opened up about various aspects of his life. The Netflix special was an open forum for Kanye and David to talk about: 

Mental Health & Music 

Kanye talked about his experience with Bipolar, his experience when he was in hospital, where he was handcuffed, injected and put to bed and was isolated from his loved one; which he found cruel, his decision to stop medication 8 months ago and he relies on alternative treatments. He also talked about how others can make someone’s mental health worse. 

“This is a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not gonna push on him more. With us, once our brain gets to a point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse. They do everything possible. They got us to that point, and then they do everything to make it worse.” 

  

His last album, ‘Ye’ was released in 2018, he talked about the art cover which has a green font saying ‘I hate being Bi-polar it’s awesome’, placed in front of the Teton mountains in Wyoming. He was inspired by an image he saw on a side of a garage on an Instagram post, which he found was a light hearted take on Bipolar.  

Losing his mum 

“This would have been the funniest time of her life, to have those kids running around in that house and being able to like, go buy them toys. I remember my mum bought me a bear, that was multi coloured and I was very much into Takashi Murakami at the time on the third album, The Graduation. So she bought it, she said it kinda feels like Takashi Murakami and I was sorta kind like “I don’t want that, that ain’t no Takashi Murakami bear” stuff like that, and then she passed…I did everything to find that bear and place that bear on top of all the Takashi Murakami stuff I had in the house. You know, she’s here with us and she’s guiding us.” 

“It was a piece of my story. I wonder sometimes, when I heard about Michael Jordan’s father dying and at the point that happened in his career and the way it parallels to the point it happened in my career. You say the universe has no accidents, and you want to ask God why this happened, and you get into this place of acceptance with it.” 

Fashion & his California Home: 

I first saw Kanye and Kim’s house when Charlamagne from The Breakfast Club interviewed Kanye in 2016, it definitely did not look like a traditional family home. But this is Ye’ we are talking about here, everything has to be extraordinary. When David and Kanye went into one particular room filled with ceramics and David asked if Kanye knew about the cultural pursuit of Wabi -Sabi in Japan, Kanye replied and said; 

“This is what this house is, Wabi Sabi vibes.” 

Kanye is the creative director of Yeezy, he styled David in various outfits from his collection from his walk in closet. I’m not going to lie but Mr Letterman looked kinda fly in the Yeezy Collection. I loved when David said “let me know when the sale starts, Spring?!” LOL. Those prices definitely hurt our feelings, chest and bank accounts. 

Politics 

When it comes to Kanye and trump, people get a little nervous with his views. 

He spoke about trump and how wearing the ‘Make America  Great Again’ hat was about not being afraid to show their support for him and it was not about Politics.  “Liberals bully people who are Trump supporters!” *Strong side eye* 

He also spoke about the Me Too movement where David had to explain the other side of his argument; “Well you mention a general fear of the male side of this situation. I would submit that it’s not equal by any equation to the fear women feel being the other side of that.” 

The Sunday Service 

“The idea to open up our hearts and make music that we felt was as pure and was positive as possible, and just do it for an hour every Sunday and have something where people can come together and just feel good with their families.” 

When he asked how would he know he has accomplished his vision for his church, he said, there will be world peace. I recall Kim saying in an interview that they do not pray at the Sunday Service and it is just a vibe. Well that to me sounds like gig to me, especially if they are selling merchandise. They should rename it Sundays with the West’s. 

Kanye also spoke about the messages in music and the standard culture especially in Hip Hop, he mentioned they do their service in a circle and he removed the programme drums and 808. He mentioned the 808  hits the lower chakra (our sex charka), so when we hear those heavy beats and lyrics like “I’mma f**k your bi**h, I’mma kill you.” These are the frequency we allow in space and mind. I definitely agree that the messages in Hip Hop can be vulgar and in some of today’s music has been dumbed down. But when that beat drops with the catchy chorus, you forget what you’re talking about or don’t even realise what you’re saying. 

As my dad says the devil is the master of music and I am glad Kanye is aware of this. Music is used to send out messages whether good or bad and it’s up to us to use our power of discernment on what we should be listening to. Even with reality shows, I remember someone saying to put on a reality show and turn the volume off and observe what I was watching. We tend to get carried away with the shade thrown and funny catch phases, that we miss the aggressive, hateful and violent images we consume on a daily basis. 

This was a good interview, have you watched it? If so, what are your thoughts on these topics?

Timbaland Changing The Face of R&B and Hip-Hop and Overcoming Addiction 

by A. Smith

In the world where majority of the of the beats today sound the same. Timbaland was part of an era, in which they had their own distinctive sound; Missy Elliott, Pharrrell, No I.D, J. Dilla and The Hitmen (Bad Boy) just to name a few. Timothy Mosley aka DJ Tim aka Timbaland has produced for some of my favourite artists from Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Ginuwine and Brandy. I hear a lot of his influence in this generation; Dvsn’s ‘Too Deep’ and Kelahni’s ‘Distraction’. 

Timbaland talked about his life and music journey on the Blueprint show by Complex last year. He made his first beat by beatboxing at a young age, he then emulated his beatboxing onto his keyboard. Going to high school with the likes of Missy Elliott, Pharrell and the Clipse, he never imagined the impact they would all have on the music industry today. 

He praised Missy for being the who encouraged him and introduced him to melodies when he heard her singing to his beats. She also introduced him to the incredible DeVante from the legendary group Jodeci. Once he got his stamp of approval from him he watched and studied him to build his craft. 

“This story sticks with me, i heard this person say it and it’s Quincy Jones; he didn’t make Thriller until he was 50, he had records, but when he made Thriller the whole spectrum changed. Now, i take that same motto because look who he had to work with and look at what i got to work with. Everything that i couldn't do back then, i can do today because everything is available to me. Thriller can come in a different type of way. It’s not the size of it, is not what it sells, those things are once in a lifetime. But it’s about the moment!” 

Working with Ginuwine and Aaliyah created a new sound that got me confused and intrigued by it, R&B was so smooth and quite subtle at the time. But with his hard hip hop beats and drum breaks, it caught my attention. Ginuwine's debut album Ginuwine ….The Bachelor and the hit lead single ‘Pony’ and Aaliyah’s classic single ‘If Your Girl Only Knew’ from her hit album ‘One in a Million’. I was like “wait, uh?…. ok” *insert head bops, pelvic thrusts, and many sliding moves, trying to perfect my foot work, across the floor with socks hanging off my feet trying to imitate their moves - don’t ask.* 

Missy’s Supa Dupa Fly album was a straight banger, ‘Rain’ was just incredible *can we just go back to the 90’s, i am trying to see something real quick*. From the sampling of Anne Peeble’s ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ to the futuristic iconic video. 

Back to the Blueprint, Timbaland also talked about working with Jay Z and how they came up with hit records like, Hey Papi and Big Pimpin and his work with Justin Timberlake. Timbaland  was open about his addiction to painkillers and liked the ‘feel good’ feeling it gave him and helped him deal with stress. He was able to stop his addiction, where he felt he heard God saying, “no more!”. 

“All i saw was who i am becoming today, that’s all i saw at the end of the room. So it was like walking down the road, that i know that there’s going to have to be a moment of truth. You’re going to have to strip down to build back up, to become the person that God wanted me to become and also where i know i could become.” 

What’s your favourite Timbaland record, from his R&B or Hip Hop classics? 

 

Women in Hip Hop by the Grapevine | No Name | Song 32 

by A. Smith

 

The Grapevine TV is a show curated by Ashley Akunna where her guests  discuss various topics from  ‘Should Black People be Vegan?’ to ‘Police Brutality in the UK’. In this episode they talked about Women in Hip Hop, where they talked about Cardi B and Nicki Minaj are the two rappers in the frontline when there are other artists like Rapsody, No Name and Jean Grae (just to name a few) are spitting fire with not that much exposure. 

One of the guests on the panel said that he only knew of Cardi B and Nicki Minaj  as he only listens to the radio and another guest mentioned that, white mainstream media dictate what type of Hip Hop artists we should be listening to and reshaping the Hip Hop for their benefit and not for the culture. 

One of the rappers named in the show is No Name (Fatimah Nyeema Warner), an amazing rapper and poet from Chicago. The 27 year old lyricist came out with her critically acclaim mixtape, Telefone in 2016 and her album Room 25 in 2018. She released a song called ‘Song 32’ a follow up to her other song ‘Song 31’, I am hoping she releases ‘Song 33’ soon. I don’t know about you, but i am excited! 

Song 32 has a soft bass and melodic theme, No Name casually and smoothly raps along. This is one of the songs, i’ll be listening to on the balcony, in summer with a glass of lemonade taking in all this goodness. She had an interesting and insightful interview with Lakeith Stanfield in the Document Journal. 

There are a lot of incredible women in Hip Hop who are spitting their truth with style and grace, no shade to the mainstream rappers. But i feel like some of the artist lose their authentic self and play up to what the label and radio want. I am so amazed sometimes on how some of these new “rappers” that can’t rap, write their own lyrics or even had the desire to be a rapper in the first place. It’s more of just a fun thing to do now, whereas you have people who have been grinding for years to get a break and when they do get into the industry they are not promoted or accepted by the masses as they should. 

But like one of the guests says as consumers we need to do our research! I mean for me most of the restaurants around my area may not be for me, but i go online and search for the right place. Not what is pushed on to me (drools thinking about Pizza Hut andKrispy Kreme). Okay I am back, but to sum it all up in this digital era, we can change the narrative and see our faves get the recognition and opportunities they deserve. However that’s if you are a Hip Hop head, if not then some are content with what they listen to on the radio. 

Have you listened to the artists mentioned on the show, if so who are you listening to at the moment?

 

 

 

Nipsey Hussle 

The world is still in shock and saddened by the passing of Nipsey Hussle, the Rapper, Entrepreneur and Father was and is an artist a lot of people admire and love. The Mallory Brothers done a great job of reviewing his Grammy nominated album Victory Lap. 

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

Saweetie 

Saweetie has released her EP, ICY, a follow up to her successful EP High Maintenance. ICY comes with seven tracks, which include Trick, Tip Toes feat (Quavo), My Type, Emotional (featuring Quavo), Dipped n Ice, Hot Boy and 1 of 1. 

What is your favourite track on the EP? 

Lauren Engel, from Sidewalk Talk interviewed the rapper, where she talks about her family, faith, music, education and love. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DnLtNsOFPg

Coast Contra by Antonia 

 

Coast Contra is a group of 4 incredible emcees which include, Eric Jamal, Rio Los and twin brothers Ras Austin, Taj Austin. I had heard of the Ras Austin and Taj Austin while going through my timeline on Instagram, while I watched a video clip from their mom’s Instagram page. I was very impressed with their flow, tenacity and wit, but it’s not surprising when you are the sons of R&B/Soul artist Teedra Moses and the Hip Hop legend Rass Kass.  

The group's first project was released in 2015 called, ’The Coast Contra Volume Tape, Vol 1’, which included their high school friend Rio Los. Eric Jamal became the fourth member in 2016 and they released an EP called ‘Party Lites’ and their debut album ‘APT 505’ will hopefully be out this year. To keep the buzz going they came out with Friday Contraband, where you can hear some incredible tracks via Soundcloud. 

One of my favourites is 'It’s Different’. This is the kind of track you mean mug and nod your head to, just listen to the metaphor and wordplay. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq08gskRnWY 

Eric Jamal “..the water we drink, let that tap in your mind, we just gonna let that sink. I’m here to lift (lyft) your ambition, come and ride in this Uber, I‘m not tryna seduce ya, rather massage your medulla. Let a real ni**a spoon ya. Stick a fork in that loser, he wanna Netflix and chill, I wanna converse and Kombucha.” 

Rio Los “…maintaining in the system set for you to lose, I pray you find a way. ‘Cus I’ve been running wild with 500 styles, not a dollar to my name still I smile, ‘cus I resonate deep with every crowd from here to Beijing to Agua Azul. All the way to little Italy, literally, me, myself and I, the holy trinity, don't you ever belittle me..” 

 

Ras Austin “..blacker the berry, the blacker the sweetness, black is the reasons  all the planes Africa reaches, black is my nieces, my nephews, black is my cousin, black is mom, pop, my grandma, grandpa – I love ‘em. Black is beautiful, say yes indeed. This black owned, black home cooked black eyed peas….” 

Taj Austin “…my journey taking time, but I commute with God we grind towards success, two stepping through the shadow of valley of death, never been overshadowed, shady ni**as upset, me vs the world that’s an upset, I freestyle the universe, to go find the world with sub text, paraphrase the rest and claim God  was the pre text 

Make sure you check them out on Cypher Sunday on April 14th at my 2 Cents LA, you can get your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cypher-sunday-tickets-56970557471 

Find out more about the group on their website and follow them on Instagram.

instagram page