Friday, April 30, 2010

Lloyd Banks Live At The Nokia Theatre In NYC Concert Review

As reported by Jon Caramanica / The New York Times

In 45 minutes of almost nonstop bluster at the Nokia Theater on Thursday night (April 29), Lloyd Banks squeezed in one minute for another mode of persuasion: humility.

In the last three months, he’s returned from being a curio, a relic of the 50 Cent era of the mid-2000s, to a bona fide phenomenon, an unlikely twist attributable to “Beamer, Benz or Bentley,” one of the breakout rap hits of the year. But given that Mr. Banks hasn’t had one of those in a few years, he knows better than to take it for granted.

“I am completely independent at this point,” he said early in his set, painting himself as an underdog. Mr. Banks is the main protégé of 50 Cent, the Queens rap star who’s lately been in decline. But last year he announced that he was no longer signed to Interscope Records, which distributes 50 Cent’s G-Unit Records imprint, though he remains attached to the G-Unit label.

Especially in hip-hop, the role of the major label is decreasingly relevant, but for a rapper like Mr. Banks, accustomed to the old ways of success, reclaiming an up-by-his-bootstraps narrative must be alternately frustrating and invigorating.

On Thursday he stuck with invigorated, muscling his way through old hits — “Warrior,” “Straight Outta Southside,” “On Fire” — and a few listless old nonhits, his voice as molasses-thick as ever. At one point he swapped his Hermès sneakers for a pair of black work boots: “These joints cost about $1,300, but they slippery,” he joked.

“Beamer, Benz or Bentley” is classic Banks, a fusillade of dense, braggadocian internal rhymes: “Beat it, I bet she’d let me/She been fiending since she met me”; and “Press a button and I’m stunting, my roof look like it’s ducking/ Meter go 200-something and my trunk do wonders bumping.”

In other words, Mr. Banks is a brainy and boastful rapper, which leads to some stratification in his audience, some there for the attitude, and some for the intricate punch lines. That might explain, in part, the rest of Thursday’s scattershot bill: Jackie Chain, Cory Gunz and Reflection Eternal, three acts with no overlap point in their collective Venn diagram.

Best was Jackie Chain, a half-white, half-Korean rapper from Huntsville, Ala., but who received the night’s most hostile reception. What he might lack in lyrical acuity, though, he makes up for in personality: songs like “Mack a Bitch” and “Rollin’ ” are anthems waiting for audiences to recognize them.

Cory Gunz, newly signed to Lil Wayne’s Young Money Records, wasn’t booed or greeted with middle fingers by the crowd, but his quick, nimble rhymes were largely charmless.

Most vexing was Reflection Eternal, the reliable social-progressive duo of Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, who five years ago probably would not have guessed that they’d be on a bill opening for Mr. Banks. Their set — longer than Mr. Banks’s — felt like largely thankless work, the verses about Liberia and health care falling on uninterested ears. Older, more chipper songs — “Definition,” “Get By” — fared better, but not by enough to sandpaper down the dissonance.

By the time Mr. Banks finally got around to “Beamer, Benz or Bentley” at the end of his set, several dozen associates had joined him onstage. While they’d been enthusiastic up until that point, when the first peal of that song’s beat (produced by the comer Prime) dropped, they turned ecstatic.

Mr. Banks wasn’t even at his most electric, but it didn’t matter: the room carried him. There was no Juelz Santana, whose manic verse is crucial to the song’s success. No last-minute surprise appearance by the bossman 50 Cent. Just Mr. Banks, his muddled voice, that sinister beat and 10 tensed fingers, gripping tightly to the ladder so as not to fall back down.

Photo links:
Wire Image

more video below.

(video courtesy of hostile163, marcusavila, this is 50 & 1m3folife)

Lupe Fiasco And B.o.B. Live At Denver's Ogden Theatre Concert Reviews, Video & Photos

As reported by Greg Stieber at the Denver Post

As the house and stage lights went dim at the Ogden Theatre last night (Thursday, April 29), the crowd was in a frenzied state of anticipation. Opener B.o.B. had concluded his blazing set a few moments earlier, performing like a headliner as he engaged the crowd, joked around and even invited one woman on stage for a serenade.

The bar was set high — and Chicago-bred emcee Lupe Fiasco did not disappoint. As the crowd chanted “Lupe!” — which was a mainstay of the evening — Fiasco bounded onto stage and opened with the song “Shining Down” from upcoming album “Lasers.” The crowd erupted with cheers as a set of strobe lights silhouetted Fiasco’s movements.

With the release date of “Lasers” continually being pushed back, the crowd was anxious to get a sneak peak at his new material. Fiasco was in good spirits as his set continued to roll like a freight train, though he had to catch his breath momentarily between songs as the altitude was making him sleepy. His confessions of sleepiness came as a surprise as he bounced all over the stage the entire night. Fiasco’s showmanship and general appreciation for the Denver crowd were also evident when he thanked them for getting the venue sold out three weeks in advance.

Fiasco appeared cool and confident on stage as this tour represents what could be a turning point in his career. The upcoming release of “Lasers” has the potential to vault Fiasco into legitimate hip-hop stardom. Judging from the three to four songs he played from that album, it sounds like a winner.

Fiasco drew heavily from his album “The Cool” for the remainder of the set, including the songs “Go Go Gadget Flow,” “Hip-Hop Saved My Life” and “Paris, Tokyo.” He also squeezed in the skateboarder’s anthem “Kick Push,” and, after a brief break for his band, closed out the evening with the song “Super Star.” After seeing Fiasco perform, there is not a better word to describe him.

Concert review #2 reported by Quibian Salazar-Moreno / Boulder Weekly

The Laser Tour Denver show sold out about three weeks ago. With a tour that features B.o.B. who has the No. 1 hit in the country with “Nothin’ On You,” and headliner Lupe Fiasco who has two superb albums under his belt, the question comes to mind, who really sold out this show? Regardless if you came to see either B.o.B. (aka Bobby Ray) or Lupe, you were in for a surprisingly magnificent and energetic live show from both.

Bobby Ray was backed by a band and was effortlessly singing, rapping, and plucking away on his acoustic guitar. He’s a natural performer weaving in and out of songs from his debut album, The Adventures of Bobby Ray, like “Don’t Let Me Fall,” and “Lovelier Than You” to his mixtape classics like “I’ll Be in the Sky,” and “Generation Lost.” How was Lupe going to be able to follow this? Like any up and coming rap superstar, Bobby Ray ended his set with his hit “Nothin’ On You” and a hype jam session with his band. Those that thought B.o.B. was just his hit song had their eyes opened wide.

Lupe Fiasco took the stage after a short intermission with his own band along with a band member behind a couple of laptops running what looked the electronic portion of the show. He commanded the stage from the outset running through fans favorites like “Hip-Hop Saved My Life,” “Kick, Push,” and “Superstar.” Although Lupe’s new album, Lasers, isn’t due out until later this year, he was happy to share a plethora of new tracks including his new single, “I’m Beamin’,” for which the video just hit the interwebs this week. He kept it light throughout the entire set, performing more of the crowd-friendly tracks as opposed to deep-thinking songs like “Dumb It Down” or “American Terrorist.” But for those who wondered if a lyricist like Lupe could truly rock a show, he definitely proved he could.

Photo link:
Boulder Weekly - Picasa

Lupe Fiasco Steppin Laser Tour dates:
Sat 05/01 - Las Vegas, NV - House Of Blues
Sun 05/02 - West Hollywood, CA - House Of Blues
Tue 05/04 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theatre
Wed 05/05 - San Francisco, CA - Regency Center
Thu 05/06 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater
Fri 05/07 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo
Sat 05/08 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theater

More fan shot video below.

(video courtesy of KrayDoesTheTube, Emoney & a2mNT)

Cam and Jim Jones Dipset Reunion In The Works

via MTV

There's nothing official yet, but Diplomat fans can get ready to rejoice: Cam'ron says that he and Jim Jones are now in constant conversation and that a deal is being put together for a new Dip Set LP.

"Realistically, we working out business," Cam'ron told website today. "Me and Jim are speaking. I don't want people to think me and Jim aren't speaking," Cam'ron said. "We speak a few times a week. Right now, we talking out the business. The deal is on the table. But until the business gets situated, it's [Cam's group], the U.N.; me and [protégé] Vado. We not about to stop. All the bosses meet at the roundtable. To be honest, we missed out on a lot of money on the Diplomat thing the first time. I'm not moving on nothing Diplomat until the business gets done. But it's close to getting done. Right now I don't want to mislead nobody and say it's not U.N. right now."

On Monday, Cam sat down with DJ Green Lantern, but the rapper dodged questions about a Dipset reunion, divulging only, "Me and Vado are putting out four albums this year ... I'm with the U.N. right now, Green. It's me and Vado, we doing the U.N. I'm focused though."

The Dips first told radio personality Miss Info of their reunion, at least, news that the pair were getting back to friendly terms, earlier this month.

"It's 2010, and this is something I gotta get off my chest," Jones told Info. "You've known us from back when we didn't have what we have now, so you remember, that above all, me and Cam, we still brothers. And we're building on getting back on track. But first, I apologize for being a rude brother, for saying things publicly without first trying to handle them privately. I apologize for not leading by example because what I didn't realize at the time, I was venting but it wasn't all about me. There were other people whose dreams were also part of this movement. So, by not leading by example, they were left stranded too. The way I handled our business issues was with emotion, and it got totally f---ed up. That's what selfishness does."

"There's nothing really Diplomats-related to show you yet," Cam told Info. "We all have our own obligations right now, our own projects. I have this Boss of All Bosses Pt. 2.5 mixtape with Vado and DJ Drama dropping soon. But yes, me and Jim have been speaking, we're working out the mechanics of this, and looking at our options right now. If it makes sense, it can happen."

News You Should Know About 4/30

Los Angeles Times - M.I.A. makes her stance utterly clear with 'Born Free' video

New York Daily News - T.I.'s Life Behind Bars

Billboard - Common Recording New Album With Kanye & No ID

PENN State Collegian - Juelz Santana raps to support cancer research

Vibe - DJ Premier Talks New Kanye Album: 'No Electro... Just Boom Bap'

New York Magazine - Gorillaz’s Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett on Plastic Beach, Skyping With Snoop Dogg, and Their Next Opera

All Hip Hop - DJ Premier Speaks on Last Meeting with Guru

NBC New York - Rapper DMX Sues Royalty Company

Vibe - Eve On Rocky Interscope Relationship

Nappy Roots 'The Pursuit Of Nappyness' Album Cover And Tracklist

Nappy Roots The Pursuit Of Nappyness on Nappy Roots Entertainment Group/Fontana arrives June 15.

01. Welcome To The Show
02. Do It Big
03. Be Alright
04. Fishbowl
05. Infield
06. How I Do
07. The People
08. Ride
09. Live & Die
10. Back Home
11. Know Bout Me
12. Right Place, Right Time
13. Winner Takes All
14. Paint A Picture
15. P.O.N.
16. All For You

Fat Joe - 'Ha Ha (Slow Down)' Ft. Jeezy (video)

Fat Joe The Darkside on Terror Squad/E1 arrives June 29.

Fat Joe - 'Ha Ha (Slow Down Son)' Ft. Jeezy & Diddy Behind The Scenes Video

Gorillaz With Mos Def Live In London, UK + Concert Review, Video, Photos and Set List

via NME

Gorillaz made their live return to the UK (Thursday, April 29), joined onstage in London by a host of guests from across their three albums.

Despite the global nature of their collaborations, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett were able to recruit the likes of Bobby Womack, De La Soul, Shaun Ryder and Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys to Camden's Roundhouse.

Taking to the stage to the intro to this year's 'Plastic Beach', accompanied by a series of Jamie Hewlett's visuals, which paced the whole show, the Gorillaz band - including The Clash's Mick Jones & Paul Simonon, both sporting sailors hats, on guitar and bass - were joined by strings (also in nautical attire) and backing singers as they kicked off with 'Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach', with Snoop Dogg's rap delivered via a specially commissioned video.

Albarn, who began the gig on keyboards, then took centre stage, leading vocals on the 'Demon Days' track 'Last Living Souls', before returning to the back of the stage for 'O Green World' and then taking up a guitar for 'On Melancholy Hill'.

The collective then introduced their first guests of the night, as Mos Def and Womack took to the stage to loud applause for 'Stylo'.

Afterwards, Albarn was back throwing himself about for 'Rhinestone Eyes', then after chilling out on 'Broken', he was then joined by Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano for 'Empire Ants'.

Bootie Brown then made an appearance rapping on 'Dirty Harry', before the Syrian National Orchestra were brought out for 'White Flag' with Kano and Bashy supplying vocals after an extended intro.

De La Soul then made their first appearance of the night, sharing the stage with Gruff Rhys for 'Superfast Jellyfish', they were followed by Shaun Ryder and the 'real life' Noodle, singer Rosie Wilson for a crowd pleasing version of 'Dare'.

'Glitter Freeze' was performed next without The Fall's Mark E Smith - though he is expected for the gig at the same venue tomorrow - while after 'El Mañana', soul legend Womack returned for a moving rendition of 'Cloud Of Unknowning', which he ended by thanking the crowd, the first person to speak during the gig.

Briefly leaving the stage, Gorillaz returned with Mos Def kicking of the encore on a pounding version of 'Sweepstakes'.

Little Dragon's Nagano was then back to duet with Albarn on 'To Binge', while De La Soul were out in force for a riotous version of 'Feel Good Inc'.

The group then rounded the show off with a bass heavy version of first album track and former single 'Clint Eastwood', waving to the crowd as they left the stage after the song's climax.

Gorillaz played:

'Orchestra Intro'
'Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach'
'Last Living Souls'
'O Green World'
'On Melancholy Hill'
'Kids With Guns'
'Rhinestone Eyes'
'Empire Ants'
'Dirty Harry'
'White Flag'
'Superfast Jellyfish'
'Glitter Freeze'
'El Mañana'
'Cloud Of Unknowing'
'To Binge'
'Feel Good Inc'
'Clint Eastwood'

Photo links:
Wire Image
Rex Features

(video courtesy of alistairburns)

With Sha Money XL Now At Def Jam Will 50 Cent And G-Unit Head Over?

via MTV

Queens is in the building — again. Sha Money XL has signed on to become the senior VP of A&R at Def Jam Records. The label has had such a rich history of Queens-bred fellas in the boardroom, from its founder Russell Simmons to Irv Gotti to one of Sha's mentors, the late Jam Master Jay. XL is excited to plant his flag in the cherished hip-hop recording house.

"I've been floating around this industry since I've just been executive-producing 50 [Cent]'s albums," XL explained Thursday at the MTV offices. "Freelancing, doing my own thing. I've been able to meet with L.A. Reid. We've been having some great conversations. Finally, the call came. It felt so good. Def Jam is such a strong company and strong roster. The staff is amazing. I felt it instantly. I knew that this is something I can do with my New York vision and New York swag and bring that for all the guys that's based out here. And the things that was needed to excite the industry as well, internally and externally. I connect with everybody by all levels."

Sha said that after being with the G-Unit for so many years, there is no such thing as pressure to him anymore.

"I work good under pressure," he said. "Working with 50, I know what needs to get done. I don't feel pressure. I do the things that need to be done. As long as artists listen and we really become businessmen in this business, as we say we are, I think we should all prosper. I'm looking to make the company more money and take it to the top, the highest level."

So with 50 Cent a free agent, free to bring himself and his label — which includes Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo — anywhere he pleases, will Sha try to secure a spot for his longtime friends at Def Jam?

"I spoke to Fif, to [his manager Chris] Lighty. I would love to see that there," Sha admitted. "Banks has an amazing record right now, independently. If things work out, then yeah, I would love to see that happen."

If the Unit came to Def Jam, things would get interesting, to say the least. Shyne, Rick Ross, Nas and DJ Khaled, people who Fif and the Unit have had problems with through the years, are all on the roster.

"I'm a businessman," Sha Money said when asked how he would feel having the Unit in the same building with some of their adversaries. "The beef stuff, I'm over. We at a certain point in life where we don't even need that. We eat that. So I will let them speak for their own, but honestly, I would like to see a company continue to grow. And I think G-Unit is in a position — coming from an independent space — that can continue to do their thing. I would like to provide an opportunity for them to continue to grow."

While the Unit deal is just in the talking stages now, Sha says his top priority is making sure Juelz Santana gets his LP out. XL already has his sights set on DJ Toomp to get in the lab with Juelz.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

GZA To Release 'Liquid Swords II'

via London UK's The Guardian

One of the most legendary albums in hip-hop is about to get a sequel. Wu-Tang Clan's GZA has announced that he is working on Liquid Swords II, a follow-up to his seminal 1995 solo LP.

Hip-hop fans have reason to get excited. While Wu-Tang members have issued a lot of half-baked releases over the last decade, they have been careful not to besmirch their own legacy. Unlike Jay-Z and his inconsistent Blueprint albums, Ghostface Killah never risked calling a second LP Supreme Clientele, nor did we see an Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) part deux. Arguably the only Wu classic to be revisited was Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … Pt II, which was released last year. But here's the thing: Raekwon's sequel was outstanding.

Little is known about Liquid Swords II. It's due in the autumn, according to the Wu-Tang member's Twitter. It's a GZA affair (not a group album). It might be called Liquid Sword: the Second Edition, but it's not a reissue. And, most excitingly, it will be produced by the RZA, who recorded the original album.

The last we heard of GZA was that he was working on music with psych-folk singer Devendra Banhart. It's not clear whether those sessions – including collaborations with King Khan, Fucked Up and the Black Lips – will have any bearing on Liquid Swords II. To be perfectly frank: WE BLOODY WELL HOPE NOT.

De La Soul Headlines The 6th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

via the press release

Brooklyn, NY, April 29th, 2010 - Brooklyn Bodega, producers of the 6th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival (BHF), is excited to announce this year's headliner - De La Soul.

Since 1989, De La Soul (Pos, Dave and Mase) have been a cornerstone of Hip-Hop music and culture. From the groundbreaking album "3 Feet High and Rising" to "Grind Date" De La is simply one of the best to ever do it.

"To be honest, we have been trying to get De La Soul to headline the Festival since we first came up with the idea in 2005. On many levels they are the perfect flag bearers for our mission to use Hip-Hop as an agent of change. For over 20 years they have traveled the world inspiring MC's, producers, DJ's and fans alike. I can think of no better artist to usher the Festival into its new home in Brooklyn Bridge Park." - Wes Jackson, Executive Director, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

In past years, the Festival has featured headliners such as Brand Nubian (2005), Big Daddy Kane (2006), Ghostface Killah (2007), KRS-ONE (2008) and Pharoahe Monch (2009). This year, De La Soul will be the anchor of the six-day-long Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, performing on Saturday, July 10th alongside a variety of Old School, New School, Funk, Soul, local and International artists on the DUMBO waterfront.

LMNO & Kev Brown Return With 'Selective Hearing Part 2' Release, Schedule Tour

LMNO & Kev Brown Selective Hearing Part 2 on Up Above arrives May 11th.

via the press release

The critically acclaimed LMNO & Kev Brown project Selective Hearing (Up Above) was a near perfect pairing of LMNO’s conscious lyrics and vintage Kev Brown production, earning the duo early Grammy nods in 2008. On May 11th, the duo will release Selective Hearing Part 2, their highly anticipated follow-up to their 2008 classic.

In contrast to their first album, which was recorded by sending one another beats and vocals via e-mail, Selective Hearing Part 2 was recorded together at the Technicali Lab in Southern California during Kev Brown’s various trips to the West Coast. Entirely produced by Kev Brown, the two also decided that it was only right to have both LMNO and Kev rapping on each track, as opposed to their first album where Kev was only featured on a handful, vocally. Upon completion of the album, the duo enlisted a barrage of guest emcees from both sides of the coast including Chali 2Na (Jurassic 5), Declaime, Kenn Starr, Hassaan Mackay, Kaimbr, Mr. Brady (Deep Rooted), and Trek Life.

Hailing from Long Beach, California, LMNO has been a part of over 10 full-length albums as a solo artist and a member of the Los Angeles crew Visionaries. This year promises to be LMNO’s most accomplished year in his career as he is releasing a groundbreaking 10 brand new albums, collaborating with some of the most respected and well known producers and artists in hip-hop today including DJ Babu (Dilated Peoples/Beat Junkies), Georgia Anne Muldrow, Key-Kool (Visionaries) and more. On October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10), LMNO will release a box set of all 10 releases in collaboration with LRG Clothing.

Super producer Kev Brown has worked with some of the music industry’s finest including De La Soul, Biz Markie, Busta Rhymes, Jewel, and Marley Marl, just to name a few. Kev Brown’s production style is a distinctive, hypnotic blend of strong bass lines, sharp drum programming and subtle samples that enhance the track all while retaining a true school steadiness. As a rapper, Kev Brown's syrupy, confident baritone melts into the track with measurable ease. This straight-ahead, undiluted style of Hip-Hop has garnered Kev Brown flattering comparisons to the great golden era producers such as Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and Large Professor.

LMNO & Kev Brown Selective Hearing 2 tracklist:

01. The Ultimate
02. James Brown
03. Kragenoff ft. Kaimbr
04. Ya Know
05. We Stay Rockin ft. Declaime & Mr. Brady
06. Do It Again ft. Trek Life
07. Good Gawd ft. Hassaan Mackey
08. Gotta Get It ft. Kenn Starr
09. Guaranteed ft. Chali 2na
10. Feel Good
11. James Brown Pt. 2

LMNO & Kev Brown tour dates:

US Tour:

04.30 - Corvallis, OR – Cloud9
05.01 - Portland, OR – The Report Lounge
05.03 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey (w/ JFK of Grayskul)
05.04 - Boise, ID - Reef
05.05 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
05.07 - Denver, CO - The Walnut Room
05.08 - Colorado Springs, CO - Thunder & Buttons
05.09 – Pueblo, CO - Senate
05.10 - Albuquerque, NM – The Launch Pad
05.13 - Palm Springs, CA - Space 120
05.14 – Los Angeles, CA – Self Help Graphics (w/ Diamond District)

Europe Tour:

05.21 – Munster, Germany - ABB
05.22 – Gennevilliers, France – TBD
05.23 – Winterthur, Switzerland – Albani
05.24 – Paris, France – La Bellevoise (w/ Bahamadia & Crown Royale)
05.27 – Mainz, Germany – Red Cat
05.28 – Berlin, Germany – Bohannon
05.30 – Bucarest, Romania – The Elephant
06.03 – Koln, Germany - Subway
06.04 – Birmingham - TBD
06.05 – Rennes, France – La Cite

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Who, What, Where Weekly Photo Links 4/28

The Roots at the Earth Day Climate Rally in Washington, DC Sunday April 25. Photo courtesy of Bill O'Leary / The Washington Post

This and more events from the past week below.

Tuesday, April 27

Wyclef Jean at the 2010 Official Bilboard Latin Music Celebrity Gift Suite in Puerto Rico:
Wire Image

Janelle Monae portrait session in Munich, Germany:
Corbis Images

Toni Braxton and others on Fox 11's Good Day LA:
Rex Features
Star Traks Photo

Chris Rock, Fab 5 Freddy, Clive Davis, Beastie Boys' Mike Diamond & Ad Rock and others at the premiere and party of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child in NYC:
Getty Images
Rex Features
Patrick McMullan

Monday, April 26

T.I. and Tameka "Tiny" Cottle shopping at Louis Vuitton in Beverly Hills, CA:
WENN Photo
PR Photos

Timbaland shopping at Louis Vuitton in Beverly Hills, CA:
WENN Photo

Waka Flocka Flame does a walk through at The Blac Label/Antik Denim showroom in NYC:
Wire Image

DJ Prostyle's Birthday celebration with DJ Drama, Maino, Waka Flocka, Fat Joe and others in NYC:
Wire Image

John Legend at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere for 'The Other City' in NYC:
Getty Images
Wire Image
Corbis Images

Reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee at the Billboard Latin conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico:
Getty Images
Wire Image

Iyaz at a public school surprise event in NYC:
Getty Images
Wire Image

City of Hope Spirit of Life Award Luncheon with Janice Combs, Kelly Rowland and others in NYC:
Getty Images
Wire Image

The movie premiere of 'Mother & Child' with Swizz Beats, Russell Simmons, Kerry Washington and others in NYC:
Patrick McMullan
Rex Features
Film Magic
Wire Image

Kevin Powell Birthday Party/Congressional Fundraiser with Damon Dash, Marc Ecko and others in NYC:
Wire Image

Sunday, April 25

Earth Day concert climate rally with Sting, The Roots, John Legend, Jimmy Cliff and others in Washington D.C:
See coverage here

Rihanna on the 'Last Girl On Earth' Tour concert in Oberhausen, Germany:
Rex Features

Anita Baker live at the 41st Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana:
Wire Image
Film Magic

Whitney Houston concert at the O2 Arena in London, UK:
Getty Images
Wire image

Common performs at LIV at Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, FL:
Star Traks Photo

Saturday, April 24

Drake performs live at the 41st Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana:
See coverage here

John Legend and girlfriend walk their dog in NYC:
Rex Features

Chris Rock with his daughter in NYC:
Film Magic

Uffie performs live in Brighton, UK:
Getty Images

Friday, April 23

Ice Cube and others at 'Straight Outta LA' film premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC:
Film Magic
Wire Image
Rex Features
Globe Photos
WENN Photo

Ice Cube Tribeca Film Festival portraits:
Getty Images

American Nu Magazine launch party with Damon Dash, rapper Stalley and others in NYC:
Wire Image

Drake performs live at the Rites Of Spring Music Festival 2010 Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN:
Wire Image

Ziggy Marley appearance at the Keiki Kokua Festival 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii:
You Tube 1
You Tube 2
Getty Images

Queen Latifah performs at the Fight For Children's School Night 2010 Fundraiser in Washington DC:
Getty Images
Wire Image
WENN Photo

Adrienne Bailon, Teyana Taylor & Ne-Yo at the Cavi Juniors Spring 2010 Fashion Show at Macy's Herald Square, NYC:
Film Magic
Wire Image
WENN Photo

Teairra Mari, Island/Def Jam rapper YG, Twista, Hazel-E and others in Miami, FL:
Wire Image 1
Wire Image 2
Wire Image 3

Bad Boy artist Cassie at a Aids Awareness luncheon in NYC:
Wire Image

George Clinton with Parliament-Funkadelic, Lionel Richie and more live at the 41st Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana:
Getty Images
Film Magic
Wire Image

Thursday, April 22

US Weekly Hot Hollywood Style Issue Event with Ciara, J.Lo, Nicole Scherzinger and more in Hollywood, CA:
Getty Images
Wire Image
Corbis Images
Rex Features
Star Traks Photo
Patrick McMullan
Daily Celeb
WENN Photo

Alicia Keys, Brandy and others in New York City, NY:
Film Magic

Kelis on SIRIUS XM Radio in NYC:
Getty Images
Wire Image

Malcolm McLaren's funeral procession in London, UK:
Rex Features
Star Traks Photo
WENN Photo

Brandy and brother Ray J outside 'The Wendy Williams' TV show studios in NYC:
Rex Features

Wednesday, April 21

NFL Draft various events with John Legend, Brandy, Waka Flocka, DJ Clue and more in New York City, NY:
Getty Images 1
Getty Images 2
Wire Image 1
Wire Image 2
Patrick McMullan 1
Patrick McMullan 2
WENN Photo 1
WENN Photo 2

Kelis concert in New York City, NY:
Getty Images
Wire Image

Common and others at 'Idol Gives Back' tapping in Pasadena, CA:
Film Magic
Daily Celeb
PR Photos
Star Traks Photo
WENN Photo

ASCAP Pop Music Awards with Katy Perry, Flo Rida and more in Hollywood, CA:
Flo Rida - You Tube
Wire Image 1
Wire Image 2
WENN Photo

Ludacris Foundation at the Ralph Lauren Atlanta Store with Ludacris & his manager Chaka Zulu, Bobby Valentino, Jazze Pha, Gabrielle Union and others:
Getty Images

Brandy & Ray J on the BET '106 & Park' set in NYC:
Wire Image

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic concert in Austin, TX:
Wire Image

Last week's
Who, What, Where Weekly Photo Links 4/21

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kurupt: Los Angeles Times Interview

L.A. Times: You haven’t released a solo album in nine years. What made you decide that the time was right now, and what made you turn to Terrace Martin to do the lion’s share of production?

Kurupt: Terrace and I have been working together for quite some time, and I felt he deserved the opportunity to produce an entire album. He brought the best out of me musically. I’ve always liked to work with one producer for my albums, from Dre to Daz to Soopafly to Quik. I got this idea for the record one night when I was leaving the club and I saw the streetlights go out one by one as I was driving home. I felt like it was a metaphor for life passing me by, so I went to Terrace and said that we had to make an album together to make sure that that didn’t happen.

L.A. Times: During most of the last decade, it seemed that a lot of veteran '90s rappers had trouble finding their own lane or even consistently releasing music. But over the last two years, it seems like yourself and a lot of your peers have returned to form. What happened and why the sudden resurgence?

Kurupt: I think everybody was going through something, I know I was. In a sense, it’s just life and you get upset, and you respond. Everybody seemed like they were going through a hiatus where they were trying to figure it all out. I was trying to figure out who I was in real life. No one likes to hear a real life story unless they can see it, or digitalize it, or be a part of it musically. Sometimes you go through a hiatus and you shut down and do what you do. I’d experienced a separation from myself, Ricardo Brown and Kurupt, the artist.

L.A. Times: What did you take away from that hiatus?

Kurupt: I learned that I had to raise my kids. I had to make music for grown folks. It’s made for the kids too but it’s made for the adults primarily. I don’t make music for 14-year-olds anymore. I’ve learned a lot from the experiences I’ve had in this ball game. I’m damn near 20 years deep. In the end, I learned that you have to be patient. It’s not always about the music, it’s not always personal, I had to learn how to separate the two.

L.A. Times: Your collaboration with Quik connected with a lot of people. What did you take away from working with him?

Kurupt: I learned that patience is a virtue, that it’s OK to take your time and allow artists to do what they want to do. Artists do their best work when they’re in a comfortable spot. With the Quik project, we knew that we wanted to go some other place, without samples and B.S. We knew that it would turn out big.

L.A. Times: Your name continually pops up on greatest rappers lists. If you were going to compile your own best rapper’s list, who would be on it.

Kurupt: Rakim and Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool, Ice Cube. Those were my favorites when I was coming up. (source)

Ja Rule DubCNN Interview

Interview transcript from the above video below:

Ja Rule: Yo.

Dubcnn: Thanks for being here. Alright so this weekend, apart from being Oscar weekend, It's also your birthday right?

Ja Rule: Yeah. Well my birthday actually passed, it's on the 29th.

Dubcnn: There's an event going in your honor. So tell us about that. You're in California right now instead of New York Obviously, so did you just come out for that?

Ja Rule: Yeah, just kind of came out to party you know? For the weekend.

Dubcnn: Cool so tell us what you been up to musically man, you got that album coming out soon, you got that new situation with Empire?

Ja Rule: Yeah I got my new label Empire. It's brand new artists, brand new everything. My project will be the first project coming out on Empire later on this year in the summer. The title of the album is Vetti Vecci 2010. It's a real good album.

Dubcnn: So obviously you're still affiliated with Murder Inc. right?

Ja Rule: Of course, of course, you didn't see the carpet?

Dubcnn: Yeah, tell us about this whole thing, this is dope.

Ja Rule: This is my L.A. Spot you know. We out in L.A. we lay back, kick it.

Dubcnn: So what made you decide to go with that name and kinda bring it full circle, after one of your classic albums? The 2010 Version of it.

Ja Rule: You know that's how I started with my first venture, Irv Gotti/Murder Inc. We set it off, and I feel like I've come full circle from then to now, and this is my new venture. My new company, and right now I'm sending a different message with Vinnie Vedidici 2010. The statement means he came, he saw he conquered. I've been through so much, ups and downs all over the place. It's been a good ride, you know what I'm sayin’? It's been a wild ride but it's been fun. But with this album I feel like I've conquered all those little obstacles that I had to get around, and now I'm ready to get this product out to the world again.

Read more of the Ja Rule / DubCNN interview here:
DubCNN - Ja Rule Interview

T-Pain: Freaknik - The Musical Soundtrack + The Official Music Video

Freaknik: The Musical Soundtrack tracklist:

1. T-Pain - "Freaknik is Back"
2. T-Pain ft. One Chance - "Save You"
3. T-Pain ft. Snoop Dogg, Mack Maine - "Ghetto Commandments"
4. T-Pain ft. Young Cash - "We Da Mob"
5. T-Pain ft. Rick Ross, Young Cash - "Beat Build"

Download it here:
iTunes - Freaknik: The Musical Soundtrack

Tanya Morgan Announce Upcoming Live Dates

via the press release

(April 26, 2010 - Brooklyn, NY) Still riding the success of their 2009 sophomore LP, Brooklynati, and now the recent release of Donwill's solo debut, Don Cusack In High Fidelity, Tanya Morgan is excited to announce upcoming Spring performance dates, including their first ever trip to Europe.

Starting their string of dates, Tanya Morgan will be performing at the First Book Charity Concert, an event they will curate alongside Move Forward Music this Friday, April 30th at Crash Mansion in New York City. The charity, First Book, provides new books at low cost or free to thousands of communities that are unable to purchase books for children in need. "The book drive was presented to us a while ago and at the time we had no idea that it would be related to such a wonderful cause," says Donwill. "I personally am very happy to be involved with an organization devoted to giving back. If my celebrity can go towards causing change and helping enrich a child's then it's all worth it." Joining Tanya Morgan, Buckshot and fellow Duck Down Records artists Skyzoo and Torae will also be performing. The show kicks off at 7:30pm and tickets for the event are $12, with all proceeds going to First Book.

Staying busy, the following day Tanya Morgan will be performing at the Bamboozle Music Festival on Saturday, May 1st at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey. Performing alongside pop superstars Paramore, Ke$ha, and Drake, Tanya Morgan is ready to bring their unique brand of hip-hop out in full force for festival goers who will be spending most of the day taking in predominately alternative rock and pop acts. Tanya Morgan's set will kick off at 1:45pm at the B-Boy Stage.

Finally, Tanya Morgan is excited to bring Brooklynati overseas for the first time. "We have toured most of the US and Canada but it's overdue time we showed the world what we can do," says Von Pea. "Our peers are always amazed we haven't been to Europe yet because they know the brand of hip-hop we make is loved abroad." With a string of shows already confirmed, including dates in Ipswich on May 13th, Penzance on May 14th, and a May 15th show in Cardiff - fans can expect a handful of forthcoming shows to be announced in the coming weeks. Von Pea says, "These dates are just the first strike. We are about to build another part of Brooklynati in Europe!"

Tanya Morgan concert dates as follows:

When: Friday, April 30th
What: First Book Charity Concert
Where: Crash Mansion in New York City
With: Buckshot, Skyzoo and Torae
Doors open at 7:30 pm

When: Saturday, May 1st
What: Bamboozle Music Festival
Where: Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey
With: Paramore, Ke$ha, Drake and more on the bill
Set begins 1:45pm at the B-Boy Stage

When: Thursday, May 13th
Where: Venue TBA in Ipswich, England, UK

When: Friday, May 14th
Where: Venue TBA in Penzance, England, UK

When: Saturday, May 15th
Where: Venue TBA in Cardiff, Wales, UK

T.I. - 'I'm Back' (video)

T.I. King Uncaged on Grand Hustle/Atlantic Records arrives August 17th.

The Roots With John Legend, Sting & Others At Earth Day Climate Rally In Washington DC

via The Washington Post

Sting, Mavis Staples, the Roots -- some big stars came to Washington to perform at Sunday's (April 25) Earth Day Climate Rally on the National Mall. But there was one unexpected surprise guest. Ladies and gentlemen, the sun!

It punched holes through the overcast early in the day -- a welcome change for an annual concert that's been particularly soggy in recent years. Last year's event was gray and drippy, and 2008's concert was thunderstormed out before the Roots, who were headlining, could even walk onstage.

Mother Nature must have gotten the memo that this year's awareness-raising, free-admission concert, organized by the Earth Day Network, marked the 40th anniversary of the environmentalist event. Tens of thousands gathered on the grounds between the Capitol and the Washington Monument to hear activists, celebrities and Congress-folk speak about the importance of renewable energy, green jobs and shrinking carbon footprints.

Oh, and there was some music, too. The Roots, the great hip-hop group that recently, finally earned household-name status as the house band on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," made a triumphant return to the Mall, scheduled to back performances from Sting, John Legend and a slew of others.

Sting was one of many of Sunday's high-profile performers.

They took the stage late in the afternoon, propelled by Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson's firecracker drumming and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter's dexterous rhymes. But their set ended rather unceremoniously when the sound system blew out.

Once organizers resuscitated the P.A., the Roots returned with Staples, the great soul-gospel singer, in tow. After that came Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump, who crooned Bobby Womack's "If You Think You're Lonely Now." As surprising as this transformation from emo-dude to blue-eyed soulman: Stump has slimmed down into quite the trim Fall Out Man.

Up next, micro-performances from the inimitable Booker T, the intolerable Joss Stone and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead -- the Roots playing it cool throughout.

Read the rest of the article here:
Washington Post - Earth Day's moment in the sun

Photo links from the Earth Day Climate Rally concert with Sting, The Roots, John Legend, Jimmy Cliff and others in Washington D.C.:
Washington Post
Getty Images
Wire Image
Film Magic
Rex Features
WENN Photo

more fan shot video below.

(video courtesy of Run In DC & godieinhell2)

News You Should Know About 4/26

Spinner - Del the Funky Homosapien a fan of 60's Television pop group the Monkees & Frank Zappa

Guardian UK - Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson back on track

EurWeb - West Coast’s DJ Hideo Dies of Cancer at 42

Reuters - Electronica act Flying Lotus cleared for takeoff

Cornell Sun - Alumni Hip-Hoppers Flying High with B.o.B.'s 'Airplanes'

SF Weekly - Richie Rich's Top 5 Collabs: Rick James, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, E-40, Too $hort

Pollstar - 50 Cent Tour No Small Change - Plugged/Unplugged: How Facebook Will Change Digital Music

Canoe - DJ AM to appear in 'Iron Man 2'

Hip Hop Wired - Ron Isley Released From Prison… Working With T.I., Rick Ross & Lauryn Hill On New Project

DMC - Rakim Bigs Up Jay-Z

Ozone Magazine - Play N Skillz at the 'Go DJ' conference in Dallas, Texas

MOG - Trap Or Die: Tracing Young Jeezy's Road From BMF To Billboard

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Damon Dash Recent Jamaican Visit With Sizzla

Damon Dash recent visit with Sizzla in Kingston, Jamaica took place back in early February 2010, here's some footage from their meeting.

Dame Dash Revives His Jamaican Connection To Visit Sizzla With Music, Film & Inspiration In Mind

Hip Hop and R&B New Releases 4/27

The following physical and digital new releases are available from Amazon, iTunes and your local retailer.

April 27, 2010

B.o.B. - The Adventures of Bobby Ray
(Atlantic/Grand Hustle/Rebel Rock)

Also available:

Scarface - Dopeman Music
(Facemob Music)

Daddy Yankee - Daddy Yankee Mundial
(Sony Discos)

Why Did I Get Married Too - Soundtrack

Kon & Amir Present - Off Track Vol. III: Brooklyn - V/A
(Studio !K7)

Ty - Special Kind of Fool

Bob Marley - Legend (Rarities Edition)

Marvin Gaye - I Want You (Rarities Edition)

For the full Urban New Release Schedule:
Urban New Release Schedule 4/15

Drake Live At The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Concert Recap

As reported by Susan Langenhennig / The Times-Picayune

Drake is a ladies man, no doubt about it.

About 20 minutes into his 6 p.m. close-out set at the 41st annual New Orleans Jazz Fest (Saturday, April 24) presented by Shell, the Canadian-born rapper decided to pluck one lucky woman from the audience to join him on stage for a dance. The heavily female, mostly under-20 crowd responded with what could only be described as Beatles-era shrieking.

"Now ladies, you have to know, if you come up here, anything is liable to happen," he teased as he scanned the faces for volunteers.

Despite all that bluster, the 23-year-old rapper was a perfect gentleman when Jade, the young lady - or should I say girl - who caught his eye was handed up to the platform.

"How old are you?" he asked.

"Seventeen," she responded.

At that, he kissed her on both cheeks and forehead and sent her on her way.

When he wasn't romancing the ladies, Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, was rocking an R&B-infused rap set. Dressed all in black with spotless white tennis shoes, he perched at the edge of the stage. Launching into "I'm Going In," he gave a shout out to New Orleans (incarcerated) rapper Lil Wayne, calling him "My Big Brother."

For his final song, Drake segued into "Say Something," prompting the crowd to break out in a collective bounce that sent plumes of muddy brown water splashing up in waves, just as the sun began to set.

Photo links:
Film Magic
Wire Image

(video courtesy of stopandhearthemusic)