Sunday, February 28, 2010

Raekwon FUSE TV's 'The Hip Hop Shop' Interview



Shot on Thursday, February 18 aired Wednesday, February 24. Raekwon talks ODB influence on him and Wu-Tang Clan.

Photos:
Getty Images
Rex Features
Star Trak Photos

Curren$y & Stalley - 'Address' (video)

Gorillaz 'Plastic Beach' Album Preview



courtesy of NPR



01. Orchestral Intro
02. Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach ft. Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
03. White Flag ft. Kano & Bashy
04. Rhinestone Eyes
05. Stylo ft. Bobby Womack and Mos Def
06. Superfast Jellyfish ft. Gruff Rhys and De La Soul
07. Empire Ants ft. Little Dragon
08. Glitter Freeze ft. Mark E Smith
09. Some Kind Of Nature ft. Lou Reed
10. On Melancholy Hill
11. Broken
12. Sweepstakes ft. Mos Def & Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
13. Plastic Beach ft. Mick Jones & Paul Simonon
14. To Binge ft. Little Dragon
15. Cloud Of Unknowing ft. Bobby Womack
16. Pirate Jet

Gorillaz - 'Plastic Beach' on Virgin Records in-stores and online March 9.

Guru From Gang Starr Suffers A Heart Attack In Grave Condition



via All Hip Hop

Rapper Guru of Gangstarr fame suffered a heart attack and is in a coma, several sources have told AllHipHop.com.

While details remain sketchy, the rapper apparently suffered the heart attack in New York City and is in serious condition.

Guru, real name Keith Elam, is a founding member of Gangstarr, which also features legendary producer DJ Premier.

While details remain sketchy, the rapper apparently suffered the heart attack in New York city and is in serious condition.

Questlove of The Roots said via twitter, "So Primo confirmed on Sirius radio that Guru had heart attack and is in a coma and will undergo surgery tomorrow."

Wyclef Honored At Harvard University; Does Head Stands & Backflips







via Harvard University Gazette

Haitian-American musician and record producer Wyclef Jean has been named 2010 Artist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation of Harvard University. The Grammy Award-winning musician will receive the group’s most prestigious medal at the annual Cultural Rhythms award ceremony on (Saturday) Feb. 27.

The Harvard Cultural Rhythms festival will begin that day at 3 p.m. in Sanders Theatre. The award will be presented around 4 p.m. There also will be an 8 p.m. performance.

“His contributions to music and distinguished history of creativity have been appreciated by people throughout the world,” said S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation, “and he is admired worldwide for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of the people of Haiti.”

Photos:
Wire Image

Young Jeezy BP3 Concert After Party Causes Grid Lock, Plies & Trey Songz Tag Along



After putin on for his city and bringing out Plies at the show we headed over to Compound for after party (with Trey Songz). The party had the streets grid locked as traffic was backed up all they way to the highway If its one thing for certain Young brings em out. TM-103 is on the way.

Dru Ha: Co-CEO Of Duck Down Records NYC Two Part Interview



via Planet Ill

Part 1

2010 brings Duck Down Records to 15 years of existence. Still standing amidst the broken bodies of Loud, Rawkus, Death Row, No Limit, and so many idies that rose high and flamed out, The little label that could has steadily chugged along retooling and rebuilding and delivering quality music. Planet Ill sat down with co label head Dru Ha to discuss behind-the-scenes stories and the secret to their survival in a market that, at best, is certainly unkind to those who get caught slipping. Read on.

Planet Ill: Black Moon’s original album was not a Duck Down album. What led to the formation of the label?

Dru Ha: Well I actually worked at the label, at Nervous. I was actually Executive Producer of that album with Buckshot as well being a main member of Black Moon. So we did that record on Nervous. We got our learn on. We learned a lot. We cut our teeth there. We brought Smiff-N-Wessun into the fold. Buck introduced me to them and we originally started managing them. We actually brought them into the same situation to that same label. We were trying to get a bigger piece of the pie; thinking that we were doing a lot of the work and heavily involved in the campaign and the marketing. And just doing a lot of the stuff, we felt like we could go out there and get our own situation for the new groups that we were going to bring in. So that really is what motivated us, money and getting a bigger piece of it.

Planet Ill: How have you managed to stay viable over the last 15 years? Generally speaking, entities come out. They get bought out and they become part of the mainstream and that’s that. How did you manage to stay independent, but stay in business?

Dru Ha: Well we had a lot of trials and tribulations, definitely highs and lows. I’ve heard Buck say this in interviews and it’s a good point. We never really made it so big, you know, and I think some of that has worked to our benefit. Sometimes when you get to a certain success level or you have that one humongous record that blows up and there’s lots of money floating around, things can totally break up a camp or break up an organization because people don’t feel like they are getting what they deserve or they don’t feel like they’re getting rewarded correctly.

I think we’ve just kind of, by being steady, we have avoided that situation. Of course we would have loved to have had more success over the years, commercial success in terms of actual sales. But I think in some ways that’s kept us grounded and you know we have been fortunate enough to still be consistent with our numbers and still have significance with our numbers. That has maintained us. You know so it’s like we’ve been steady and when you are steady it allows you to keep going. It allows you to continue playing the game.

Read more of Part 1 with Dru Ha here:
Planet Ill - Dru Ha: 15 Minutes on 15 Years Part 1

Part 2

Planet Ill: You came to a point in your label’s history where you decided, you know what, maybe we should expand outside of Brooklyn emcees and I believe that’s what led to your current new wave. And you’ve done extremely well, probably stronger than your original run. What led to the decision to say let’s bring more people into the fold? Let’s bring more artists from different places into the fold.

Dru Ha: See again, I keep referencing Buck. Like I always say that because that shows you how much we really talk. People will look at Duck Down and see Buckshot as the artist and me as the business person and it’s like man, it is truly a partnership. The questions you are asking, I have to say that first because these are things me and Buck have talked about over all the years. That was a vision of ours well long before we made it a reality. The problem for us was we just never had the right situation. We went through about five or six different types of production label deals for the brand or for the label and each time we learned something new, or we found out the deal wasn’t all we thought it would be, or the deal wasn’t making sense for us or we were losing money or we were getting ripped off or whatever it might be.

It wasn’t until we left Koch in 2005 and we went to a label called Navarre, a distributor called Navarre, that we finally got the situation under control. Where we were truly, I know that all of this is really technical, but we truly became that independent label where we could understand the business model, understand what we were going to make on each record, and control it. So many times you do these deals, artists and labels, it’s so hard to tell what you are going to earn or what you put into it because it can be so shady man.

The deals can be so backwards. You never really understand them until you actually execute them. I don’t care how good your lawyer is. By the time you get slapped with a statement it’s like you’ve already spent so much money or went through so much. You get your learn on through putting the project out. So long short, we finally got that situation straight with Navarre in 2005 and we knew that we understood our business plan and the business model of how the company was going to operate. That’s when we knew we could open the doors up and start investing more money in groups outside of the original core family that was already with us.

Read more of Part 2 with Dru Ha here:
Planet Ill - Dru Ha: 15 Minutes on 15 Years Part 2

Jay-Z Performs With Young Jeezy & Trey Songz Live In Atlanta, GA 2010 BP3 Tour







Plies shows up for a rap duet of sorts during Young Jeezy's set performing "Lose My Mind" around the 5:45 mark in the above fan shot video taken at Philips Arena Saturday, February 27.

Photos & mini show report here:
Atlanta Journal Constitution - Jay-Z 2010 BP3 Tour

More Photos:
Getty Images

(video courtesy of MarionFrank & exclusiveaccess)

Jay-Z's BP3 2010 Tour dates:

Feb 28 Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum Complex
Mar 02 New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
Mar 03 Washington, DC - Verizon Center
Mar 05 Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun
Mar 06 East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
Mar 07 Norfolk, VA - Scope Arena
Mar 11 Boston, MA - TD Garden
Mar 12 Uniondale, NY - Nassau Coliseum
Mar 14 Detroit, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
Mar 16 Pittsburgh, PA - Mellon Arena
Mar 18 Chicago, IL - United Center
Mar 19 St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
Mar 20 Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse
Mar 22 Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
Mar 24 San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
Mar 26 Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center

Usher 'Raymond V. Raymond' Final Tracklisting Posted Online



01. Monstar
02. Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home) ft. Plies
03. There Goes My Baby
04. Love ‘Em All
05. She Don’t Know ft. Ludacris
06. Lil Freak Usher ft. Nicki Minaj
07. Mars vs. Venus
08. Prolover
09. Foolin’ Around
10. Papers
11. So Many Girls
12. Guilty ft. T.I.
13. OMG ft. will.i.am
14. Making Love (Into The Night)

Usher - 'Raymond V. Raymond' on Jive/Zomba/La Face arrives March 30.

Artist Mister Cartoon: Photo Shoots & Metro PCS NYC Stores Graffiti Art Promotion



Estevan Oriol aka Mister Cartoon on a recent photo shoot for clothing line Upper Playground as part of the company's latest catalog.



via Hop Hop Wired

Renowned graffiti and tattoo artist Mister Cartoon and two East Coast graffiti artists, Cope2 and Sen2, recently bombed three MetroPCS stores in Harlem and the Bronx in New York, to promote the partnership between Sanctioned by Mister Cartoon and MetroPCS.

Check out the photo here:
Estevan Oriol - Metro PCS NYC Stores

Ted Lucas: CEO Of Slip N Slide Music Label Miami Business News Feature Story



via Miami Herald

That's the hip-hop gospel of Ted Lucas, the Miami-Gardens-boy-turned-music-entrepreneur, leader of the independent label that helped put Miami rappers on the map (Rick Ross, Plies, Trick Daddy, Trina, etc.).

The evidence of Slip N Slide Records' success is scattered across its South Beach offices. A framed magazine cover here, a platinum record there. There are so many platinum awards that Lucas crams the extras into the space between a couch and wall.

But what he really wants you to know is that a hit record can change your life.

The saying hangs from several walls scattered across the building, along with other pieces of advice, like ``a hook makes a hit record.''

``We're not sleeping at all,'' he says on a short break one Friday afternoon, after rattling off a list of releases he has scheduled for this year.

``We've got to make great music and work harder.''

Lucas has told the story of his success before. Sitting inside his recording studio, he tells the narrative with ease.

He grew up near what is now Sun Life Stadium and dreamed of playing professional football.

Read the full story here:
Miami Herald - Miami hip-hop producer reveals secrets of his success

Common Interview; Talks Acting, Music & His Inner City Youth Foundation



via Hip Hop Wired

Hip-Hop Wired: I hear you rapping about having this SAG card, are we in danger of you retiring to act fulltime?

Common: I don't see myself retiring, God willing I just keep growing as an artist. I look at different ways to put out music. Right now I'm working on a song with Cassandra Wilson and Terrence Blanchard. Now that's jazz but I'm doing it different, like I'm not just rapping on it, it's actually more of a spoken word/jazz type of think.

I love Jazz music so it made me think about doing a jazz album at some point. Of course acting is a priority for me and I'm focusing on that, but I want to be able to interview with you and we talk about Oscars. We'll put it out there and make it come to fruition.

Hip-Hop Wired: You've also been engaging in voiceover work and you just had the Superbowl Gatorade commercial. Do you think you have a leg up on that considering all your raps?



Common: Yes I can come into the studio and be confident and be like oh boy my voice sounds weird. You still have to channel different things in a voiceover but I have two advantages. I rap so I've been in the studio a lot and I'm an actor so I know how to get into character for what's needed. I've been seeing a lot of spots and being like man I like that whole “What's G” and “That's G,” (Gatorade) it feels authentic and pure to me.

I like when I see spots that really get my attention. I don't watch TV and do stuff like that too much, I don't be all into popular culture all the time. Overall I walk in my own path. I embrace the world but I don't know all the reality shows and stuff like that so when a commercial can get my attention that's saying something.

Hip-Hop Wired: Your former producer NO I.D. is finally getting his shine. He pulled in a few Grammy's with his work with Jay-Z and Kanye West

Common: That's my man and I'm very happy for him. I congratulated him. It's so well deserved; he's a talented dude, he just being true to what he's been doing for a long time. More Grammys for him to come. I know he's really excited.

Hip-Hop Wired: What's up with you and the new project?

Common: The new album is called The Believer. I actually don't have a date but I'm planning for this year. I'm working with No I.D. and Twilight Tone and Kanye. It's the raw Hip-Hop. It's gonna uplift the spirit. It's the people's music, that's what I'm doing.

Hip-Hop Wired: Chicago made a lot of news last year with the rise in teen violence and the murder of Derrion Albert. What's your take on what's going on in your city and this epidemic sweeping the country?

Common: First of all, it's very painful for me to see our people killing each other. I know it's definitely difficult times so I understand under stressful times how we can react. Some of the solution can be that we have to really start teaching our youth respect and listening to them and seeing what they need and want and treating them with respect and teaching them how to respect themselves and others. Because honestly when anybody is going to kill somebody that means you gotta be going through your own pain and suffering yourself.

Somehow we gotta find out those that are going through that pain and teach them better ways to deal with it. That's gonna come from home, having family members around, from school programs, from afterschool programs. I'm plugging but I established the Common Ground Foundation to provide the youth with other avenues to express themselves.

Xzibit Films Videos For New Album MMX With Brother On The Set, Also Wins NAACP Award



via Ballerstatus

Xzibit was hard at work, filming two brand new music video for his upcoming, seventh studio LP MMX.

While the west coast vet was focused on filming the visuals for the two songs, "Hurt Locker" and "Phenom", with director Matt Alonzo (Skee.TV), he was also enjoying a first in his career -- showing his brother Jason, who has been incarcerated for nearly 15 years in Michigan, what the set of a music video was like.

During a break from shooting, we sat with both X and Jason in the rapper's tour bus to talk about their reunion, and how it felt to experience Xzibit's return to music ... once again.

"If you listen to my records -- 40 Days, 40 Nights -- our history goes back to ... it's ridiculous," Xzibit told BallerStatus.com, referring to the history he and his brother have. "The things we survived in order to get to surviving (laughs). It's deep. We not gonna get all into that, but like I said, it took a long time for us to get to this point."

"I'm just happy to be here, seeing him put the work in. Watching my family together, I mean ... it took a long time to get here, but we here now," Jason added, before revealing a story about their childhood.

"When X was younger, he won a blue ribbon, man. I think you were in the sixth grade? Something like that," he asked his famous bro.

"O God. Please don't embarrass me," X replied, laughing.

"[It was] sixth grade for some rapping man. From there, I knew exactly what he was gonna do. Anything he puts his mind to, he's always been consistent and persistent with it. The guy knows what he's doing," Jason said. "He's a good businessman. He puts the right people around him and I don't expect nothing less man. I'm just here to pay attention (laughs)."

During our chat, Xzibit was in the middle of filming shots for his Scoop Deville-produced first single, "Hurt Locker".

The song serves as a appetizer for what's to come from MMX, which stands for "2010" in the Roman numerals. And for many fans, some of first new music from the rapper since 2006's Full Circle.

It takes time and energy and input from a lot of people to really make a quality product. That's how I feel now. I'm in a great place, I'm doing it on my pace, and I got a great team around me. That's how [MMX] is gonna win, because everything I put my hands on and put time into, and wrap my head around and see it all the way through from A to Z, it blows up. That's what I'm focused on now, Xzibit music," the rapper continued.

Read the full interview here:
BallerStatus - Xzibit interview

Plus, On Friday February 26, Xzibit won a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Reality Series for his role in ABC's 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition':
Xzibit Central - Xzibit wins NAACP award



Saturday, February 27, 2010

Alicia Keys Puts Final Touches On Freedom Tour Before Opening Night



Last night's concert review from Alicia Keys' first stop of the Element of Freedom tour at ScotiaBank Place in Ottawa, Ontario Canada:
Canoe: Alicia Keys - Scotiabank Place, Ottawa - February 26, 2010

Alicia Keys 2010 Element of Freedom Tour Dates:

2/28 - Montreal, QC - Bell Centre
3/3 - Chicago, IL - Allstate Arena
3/5 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
3/6 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
3/8 - London, ON - John Labatt Centre
3/10 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
3/11 - Verona, NY - Turning Stone
3/13 - Mashantucket, CT - Foxwoods Casino
3/14 - Mashantucket, CT - Foxwoods Casino
3/17 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
3/19 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Centre
3/20 - Atlantic City, NJ - Mark Etess Arena
3/22 - Boston, MA - Agganis Arena
3/24 - Baltimore, MD - 1st Mariner Arena
3/25 - Washington, DC - Verizon Center
3/27 - Miami, FL - American Airlines Arena
3/28 - Tampa, FL - St. Pete Times-Forum
3/30 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
4/2 - Dallas, TX - Nokia Theater (Grand Prairie)
4/3 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
4/6 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
4/7 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
4/9 - Las Vegas, NV - Mandalay Bay
4/10 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Coliseum

Bun B Jumps Off Asylum, Heads For Universal Music's (Independent) Fontana



Before the end of last year, Ron Spaulding was promoted to President at Fontana (Universal Music Group's Independent Distribution company). Mr. Spaulding is no stranger to hip hop. He was one of the main lynchpins at West Coast hip hop label Priority Records back in the 90's and after that Executive Vice President and General Manager at Asylum (Bun B's now former label). Mr. Spaulding just acquired the ICP label Psychopathic Records early this month. Fellow Texan Trae Tha Truth runs his label through Fontana, as well. To confirm Bun B's choice, all fingers are pointing to Fontana for hip hop artists to go as their method for music distribution. Read on.

via XXL

Looks like fans are going to have to wait a couple more months for Bun B’s new album Trill O.G. to hit stores. The Southern rap vet recently told XXLMag.com that he’s switching label homes.

“We’re gonna be moving from the Warner Bros. system to the Universal system,” he told XXL.

The UGK rapper will now be going through Fontana, which is a subsidiary of the Universal Music Group. “[This new situation] works better for me,” Bun continued. “I work better in the small system. When you’re in the big system it’s really about breaking you and exposing you and I think I’ve been able to build a career as far as just associating myself. We’re pretty good with that in-house with Rap-A-Lot. But with Universal we are gonna use their distribution legs and promotional chain, because they do have access that we haven’t been able to have before.”

When asked why he left Asylum, Bun had this to say, “[Asylum] helped me immensely over the last four or five years in my career as far as taking, me, myself and UGK to another level. It’s just that the system in house changed. Todd [Moskowitz] got moved up to a higher position and it doesn’t give me as much of an opportunity to be hand on hand on a lot of stuff.”

The Port Arthur, Texas rep has already recorded a lot of material for the follow-up to 2008’s II Trill, including tracks with Drake, Jamie Foxx, Young Jeezy, Trey Songz and DJ Premier, among others. Yet, now as he awaits the paperwork to be finalized, he can work on more music for his upcoming disc.

“It gives me time to work with people that I thought I was gonna miss, like Pharrell,” he shared. “Pharrell and I have been trying to get together for this album but we’ve been having scheduling conflicts, which actually just opened up a nice window for us to record. And it also gives me a chance to finish up recording with Premier. We was supposed to do two, but I only got one done. We were worried we weren’t gonna get the second one done but we got time to get that done. It’s also given me another chance to do another one with Drake and fine tune that whole situation.”

There was one collaboration that Bun remained tight lipped about but promised it would turn a lot of heads. “I got a song that’s just kinda crazy,” he said. “All I can tell you is that it’s a legendary song; literally it’s three legends on this song. Two of them is hip-hop and one of them is a cultural icon.”

Jadakiss, Nelly & More From The Magic Show In Las Vegas





SoJones takes us a an apparel journey through the catacombs of the Las Vegas Convention Center where this year's Magic Show 2010 took place in February. Interviews with Jadakiss, Nelly and the reps from clothing companies are also included here.

And more video from SoJones at the Magic Show - Las Vegas, NV:

Lavie Clothing - Magic Feb 2010

The Mixer Friendly (Brand) - Magic Feb 2010

Triple Fat Goose - Magic Feb 2010

Sabit NYC - Magic Feb 2010

Ludacris Picks Up Platinum Plaque For 'How Low' One Million Sold



via The Life Files

If you weren't on UStream where Ludacris was streaming this live as it happened, check out our exlcusive footage of one of the "kings of the south" picking up a plaque from Island Def Jam Chairman L.A. Reid for the incredible success of his new single "How Low". Ludacris thanks his fans for supporting him over the past ten years then reminds us that he will never change no matter how much success he has.

Then the.LIFE Files' Daria Burke caught up with Ludacris to find out the inspiration behind his new "Battle Of The Sexes" album which features collaborations with some of the hottest female rappers.

Little Brother 'LeftBack' Advance Album Preview



via Planet Ill

Revenge

A well flipped usage of James Brown’s “Big Payback” buffered by ambient chants and ill rhymes. Standard fare, but executed well.

So Cold Featuring Chaundon Prod. by King Karnov

Bottom heavy beat with the crooner on the hook doign their best D’Angelo impression (not sure if it’s Phonte singing). Phonte runs the middle leg of this track with malice intended; crisp delivery and lines that make yourburrow your eyebrows and bob your head. Guest emcee Chaundon brings a flare to the cleanup slot with a bit less laser sharpness but much more energy. The bridge is well places and while synths give the beat rhythm, the bottom heavy bass rules here.

Second Chances Feat. Bilal & Darien Brockington (Prod. By Denaun Porter)

Dithering keys and a slithering bassline allow Bilal to bring his trademarked neurosis to full tilt. The music on this song is beautifully arranged and Bilal takes it to the bridge and jumps off. The interplay between the rapped verses and the sang chorus on the last stanza weave in and out like red and blue Tron cycles racing each other. Flawlessly finished.

Go Off Go On

The chorus on this is very weak but the track is notable because Big Pooh really spazzes out on it. It’s a bit too similar to the previous song in tone but pales in quality.

What We Are Feat. Quiana

A relationship song (one of many). It’s not syrupy by any means and is well put together. the song deals with what happens when you hook up but you realize the relationship isn’t going anywhere.

After The Party

Piano key opening and a semi comedic internal monologue from Phonte showcases his range, humor, and personality. The track runs on a well balanced thump, with beat and rhyme fusing nicely.

2 Step Blues

Picks up the pace of the album with lively vocals. It’s really “Just Got Paid” 2.0 in function. Nice horn solo and piano keys close the song out nicely.

Get Enough

Towering aggressive drums push the momentum of this song. Phonte comes out swinging on all sucker emcees but Big Pooh steals the show on this Khrysis-produced banger.

24 Feat Torae

Torae muscles this high-powered song from inception, changing the energy/pace of the entire album. Everyone in the room looks up as soon as this track begins. His aggression immediately stands out and forces Pooh and Phonte to raise their energy level above what they have shown on the rest of the album. This song would have done better in the middle of the album, serving to break up the monotony of a few too any similar in feel songs.

This album has a strange energy to it. There are some extremely high musical highs, in particular ‘24″ and “Second Chances,” which surpass much if not most of their previous material. However there are a few too many songs that remind you of each other, in either spirit or theme, without really placing an overall theme or narrative on the album. Arrangement wise, most of these songs are places together. It’s not their worst overall work, but as a unit it doesn’t surpass The Listening or The Chitlin Circuit 1.5. What it does do is make you wish they could have toughed it out for a really focused album with the best elements showcased on Left Back. These are two talented rappers who are as good as their production and focus allow them to be.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jay Electronica At London's Jazz Cafe Concert Review



via Music Like Dirt

(Thursday, February 18) Looking dapper in an immaculately tailored suit, like Louis Farrakhan guesting on Mad Men, Electronica is witty, engaging and utterly at ease on stage. Early in the gig he jokingly asked if we’d mind if he had a Jack Daniels to ease his nerves. Pouring himself one he asked if anyone else wanted a glass to which an American on the balcony yelled down “Yes, Up here”. Later he admonishes him for asking for more, calling him a “rude American” while pouring him another anyway. After running out of glasses a girl at the side of the stage requests a swig to which Jay goes to enquire if she’s got cooties… before saying what the hell I’ll just catch whatever you’ve got.

All very amusing… until midway through he set Jay abruptly stops and staring straight at my head poking up above the throng declares “this guy here is the only person still making me nervous“. To general chuckles he wanders over and enquires my name, “Leon!!”…oh Neil he says when corrected.
“Neil, Why are you making me nervous?” he gently demanded. At which point Id love to say I came back with a witty retort, but no I just stood and let my cheeks cycle through a variety of purple tinged shades. “Are you here with your girl?” came the next question… “no“… “then why are you making me nervous…if it isn’t because you think Im going to steal your girl!?” Clearly by now he’d taken pity on me and in his best Dick Van Dyke accent declared “Im only joking… what a handsome bloke!“… clarifying as he walked away “but not in a gay way!“. And who says Americans don’t do sarcasm!

One of his numerous unreleased tracks “Dear Moleskine” got the evening started. Its typical of Jay’s leftfield nature that the track first leaked as part of a trailer for a supposed feature length film featuring Electronica exploring the globe talking to characters like Monks at the Bodinath Buddhist Temple in Kathmandu. Unreleased or not, the crowd knew every word, mouthing each one along with Jay.

Overall he performed surprisingly little of his own material, he rapped some Nas and early in the evening a heartfelt tribute to J Dilla.
Asking the crowd to imagine Dilla in hospital wired up to machines with doctors telling him by rights he should be already be dead. Such was Dilla’s love of working on his music, Jay said, that instead of feeling self pity he asked for his MPC to be hooked up by his bedside.
With the “Waves” beat playing he asked everyone to take out a lighter/mobile anything that shines and hold it up in respect of Dilla. For a minute or two he just zoned out as it played telling us to feel this beat is being communicated to you from his death bed. It might have been moving but unfortunately an argument was breaking out next to me between some girls up the front and a very young inebriated young black boy cruelly trapped in the body of a white boy from Surrey. They reasonably objected to his constant “brapping” and gesticulating with his hand onto their heads.

Read the full concert review here:
Music Like Dirt - Jay Electronica @ The Jazz Cafe

More fan shot footage below.





(video courtesy of thenowschool

Jay-Z Live At New Orleans Arena Concert Review



As reported by Keith Spera at The Times-Picayune

The James Bond theme music preceded Jay-Z's arrival on stage at a full New Orleans Arena Thursday night (February 25). Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter is arguably the black Bond. He possessed sufficient charm, style, strength and means to marry Beyonce, among the most desired women on the planet, and, with a spy's discretion, refused to blab about it in public.

Carter long ago graduated from New York's mean streets to its penthouses. Like Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, he has built an empire of music and fashion -- but is far better on the microphone.

How much better? Jay-Z conceivably could record the first meaningful rap concert album. Traditionally, "live" rap consists of an MC spitting verses over pre-recorded tracks. But on his current tour for "The Blueprint 3," Jay is backed by a 10-piece band: Drums, percussion, two keyboards, guitar, bass, three horns and a DJ.

The difference between rapping to tracks and rapping to a band is the difference between pro wrestling and boxing. The urgency and unpredictability of the latter generates the electricity.

A black-clad Jay opened with the anthemic "Run This Town," which he accomplished even before saluting the Saints on their Super Bowl victory. His flow cut like a diamond, equally sharp and hard.

An alto sax snaked through "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)." Just when I started to think the hard-working drummer could use a bit more syncopated stutter, he brought the funk to "I Just Wanna Love You." Bridget Kelly, a flesh-and-blood backing singer, even filled in for Alicia Keys on "Empire State of Mind."

For the snazzy stage backdrop, video towers formed an ever-changing skyline. They depicted massive stacks of Marshall amps -- with booming subwoofers -- for "99 Problems."



Memphis Bleek functioned as Jay's hype man. Opening act Trey Songz guested on "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)." Jay and his band took a break while Young Jeezy delivered his own 30-minute set. Jeezy brought a wild-eyed swagger to bear, but the "make some noise" exhortations of his DJ were no substitute for live musicians.

Jay returned to rap the Katrina-themed "Minority Report" a cappella ("helicopter swooped down just to get a scoop through his telescopic lens/but he didn't scoop you " poor kids, just cause they was poor kids/left 'em on they porches, same ol' story in New Orleans").

He saluted President Barack Obama and urged the prison-bound Lil Wayne to hold his head up. (He might have directed a similar shout-out at another New Orleans rapper. Earlier Thursday, St. Bernard Parish sheriff's deputies busted Juvenile for pot possession.)



Toward the evening's conclusion, he took time to point out and thank individual fans for their support: "I don't take any of you for granted."

He invited one young woman to join him. A form-fitting black mini-dress and spiked high heels are not conducive to climbing over four rows of seats. But Lyiena McMillan, a 25-year-old aspiring singer and rapper from New Orleans, would not be denied.

When Jay-Z performed at the New Orleans Arena in 2004, she found her way on stage; now she wanted an encore. So after Jay-Z helped her gingerly navigate a subway-style grating at the edge of the stage, she squared off on "Song Cry," a profession of love normally sung from his perspective.

With his blessing, McMillan took over, wailing successive lines with increasing confidence. In place of the lyric "so now we travel first class " never in bunches, just me and you," she freestyled, "not with Beyonce, just me and you."

That's the sort of showbiz chutzpah and ambition Jay-Z can appreciate.

More fan shot video below.





Jay-Z's BP3 2010 Tour dates:

Feb 27 Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
Feb 28 Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum Complex
Mar 02 New York, NY - Madison Square Garden
Mar 03 Washington, DC - Verizon Center
Mar 05 Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun
Mar 06 East Rutherford, NJ - Izod Center
Mar 07 Norfolk, VA - Scope Arena
Mar 11 Boston, MA - TD Garden
Mar 12 Uniondale, NY - Nassau Coliseum
Mar 14 Detroit, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
Mar 16 Pittsburgh, PA - Mellon Arena
Mar 18 Chicago, IL - United Center
Mar 19 St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center
Mar 20 Indianapolis, IN - Conseco Fieldhouse
Mar 22 Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
Mar 24 San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion
Mar 26 Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center

(video courtesy of shawnleblanc49, primovideo1

Spragga Benz: Nesta Brand Apparel Celebrates 10th Anniversary Show In Japan



Not necessarily new, but news worthy on a Reggae/dancehall/hip hop/Japanese cultural level. Spragga Benz performed back in November in Japan for Nesta Brand 10th Anniversary. Apparently, Nesta does big business in Japan as a apparel company and Spragga personally came to solidify Nesta's status there.

More photos:
Nesta Japan Blog







(video courtesy of redsq123)

Gorillaz: Telegraph UK Newspaper Gives 'Plastic Beach' 5 Star Album Review



Their official Facebook page may list Essex as Gorillaz’ HQ, but this action- packed concept album finds the cartoon band on an isolated island constructed entirely of consumer detritus and exploring the melancholy beauty of mankind’s interaction with the natural world. It’s a great metaphor for the playful way Damon Albarn has built up the Gorillaz’ danceably eclectic sound from offcuts of hip hop, funk, alternative rock, pop, world and electronica. He doesn’t steal, borrow or lazily recycle from other genres. He lovingly salvages the things they’ve left behind, like a hip, 21st century Womble.

And the shiny, platinum-selling pop songs he assembles from this musical bric-a-brac have attracted a deliciously disparate collective of artists to Plastic Beach.

The album opens with a warm wash of oceanic strings, before hitting a shore of hard, dissonant brass notes – powerfully reminiscent of that sinister old Open University theme music. Then the hip hop beat drops in to the bark of Plastic Beach’s first celebrity inhabitant. Snoop Doggy Dogg greets us like a guard dog pacing back and forth on the island’s perimeter, while Albarn’s distorted voice hovers above like a melodic military drone. From there the seductive rat-a-tat tabla, flute and strings of the Lebanese National Orchestra lures us into the arms of London grime rappers Bashy and Kano, who prepare us to meet some big names along the road.

For the kids, this record will be like hearing a coolly remixed version of their parents’ iPods on shuffle. Albarn’s scavenged up Eighties soul sweater Bobby Womack, the Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, hip hop grandmasters De La Soul and narky post-punker Mark E Smith.

Plastic Beach’s finest moment comes when laconic ol’ Lou Reed slouches in for the transcendent Some Kind of Nature. He’s beachcombing for “some kind of majesty/some chemical low/some kind of metal made from glue/some kind of plastic I can wrap around you” while Albarn’s brine-brimming, manga-eyed falsetto reminds him that “all we are/is stars”.

All that Eastern philosophy Albarn read while writing Monkey – Journey to the West must have rubbed off – Plastic Beach plays out like the Tao of 2010. (source)

Collie Buddz: Dancehall Reggae Artist Live In NYC



via Vibe

Without dropping an official album in almost three years, Collie Buddz has kept his name buzzing in the dancehall scene with a multitude of mixtape buzz singles and riddims. His latest record "Phone call" has been heating up across the country and throughout the islands, giving fans a small indication of what he has in store for 2010. The Bermudian singer has a new project in the works, and is gearing up for the release with a number of shows currently scheduled throughout the East Coast. Collie Buddz was invited to rock the stage at Santos Party House in Downtown Manhattan.

Anita Baker: R&B Songstress Isn't Giving The Best She Got To Ex Husband Over Royalties



via the Detroit News

Singer-songwriter Anita Baker faces the threat of jail in a contempt hearing today in Wayne Circuit Court after refusing to sign documents that could turn some of her music royalties over to her ex-husband.

The emotionally drained eight-time Grammy Award winner never read the documents she objected to because she had been crying for two days, her lawyers explained. She was unable to "digest" the documents even when given a chance to read them in court Wednesday (February 24).

"I've been in the music business more than 20 years. We are talking about a multimillion-dollar business," said the 52-year-old Grosse Pointe mother of two teen sons.

Wayne County Chief Family Court Judge Lita M. Popke had ordered Baker to explain why she hadn't followed orders to sign letters giving a court-appointed expert on music industry contracts authorization to seek information from record companies about payments for the music she has written and performed.

By the end of a long hearing Wednesday that included frequent interruptions from Baker fretting about going to jail and asking for a chance to testify under oath, the judge ordered her to return Friday morning and sign the letters or face jail.

"Frankly, I haven't heard anything that amounts to an appropriate legal objection to signing these letters," the exasperated judge declared Wednesday. "I'm very upset that we have been here all day saying she isn't going to sign something she hasn't read."

Baker complained that "experts" have dominated court proceedings since her divorce from Walter Bridgforth Jr. in 2007, and she wanted to speak directly to the judge. Detroit entertainment attorney Howard Hertz, who represents Eminem, among other clients, was appointed by the judge as a music contract expert in an effort to settle the dispute.

"I'm being muzzled," Baker complained. "My attorneys agree that I know more about music contracts than they do. But I'm not allowed to talk. I invented my music out of thin air, but they have to talk for me, 'This little woman can't talk.' If I'd invented Ford, they would talk to me.

"If the judge tells me at the end of the day that I have to sign, I'll comply. But I want her to hear my side. I'm not saying I'm right. I just want to be heard."

The judge, who accused Baker of causing delays in the case for more than a year, ordered Hertz and Bridgforth's lawyer, Hanely Gurwin, to bill her for the time they spent in court on Wednesday.

Her divorce from Bridgforth called for an even split of royalties from two albums made during the couple's 20 year marriage; 'Giving You the Best I Got" in 1988, and "Rhythm of Love" in 1994.

Black Eyed Peas At Madison Square Garden Video, Photos & After Party Concert Recap



Black Eyed Peas Madison Square Garden All Major Media Outlets Concert Reviews:

Love or hate this band, you've got to respect any act that can make the concrete bounce to the beat of their fans' devotion. Like Aerosmith, the Stones and The Who, the Peas have joined the roster of those who've literally rocked the Garden.

New York Post - Peas soup up the Garden

Like many groups anxious about their performing skills, the Peas amped up their bass lines and beats to murderous levels. The result flattened the melodies and halted any sense of momentum, which for dance music, spells death.

The staging did little to distract from the dirge. Based around a futurist motif - complete with outfits that made the group appear like rejected Transformers - the look matched the sound in its robotic chill.

New York Daily News - Clunky Madison Square Garden show is a black eye for Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas

It was pop’s latest sci-fi spectacle, in a lineage that dates back at least as far as Janet Jackson’s 1990 Rhythm Nation Tour and has lately yielded high-tech tours by Kanye West and Lady Gaga. While one purpose of a tour is to offer fans the physical, human presence of the stars, Black Eyed Peas are unabashed pop cyborgs — and that’s how the fans like them.

New York Times - Wired for Sound, and Everything Else

From the onset, when the four-person crew entered via platforms underneath the stage, to midway through the set when Will.I.Am freestyled rhymes based on text messages, the Peas put on a concert that was every bit as energetic as their pulsing tracks.

As the booming bass of "Let's Get It Started" drummed up, Apl.de.Ap was the first BEP member to pop up onstage. He was soon followed by Taboo and Fergie. A billowing cloud of smoke enshrouded the stage as Will.I.Am joined his mates, complete with a "Phantom of the Opera"-like mask.

MTV - Black Eyed Peas Turn Up The Energy In NYC With Ludacris, LMFAO

As pure spectacle, the show often delivered. Robots! Lasers! Sequins! Masks! Leather! The futuristic theme was reminiscent of Kanye West’s 2008 Glow in the Dark tour, with the Peas’ party-all-the-time aesthetic in place of Kanye’s grandiose introspection. The sound mix made it difficult to discern the Peas’ lyrics at times, but that hardly mattered. We could certainly hear the all-important boom-boom-pow beats clearly enough. Visually, things stayed busy, even frenetic, with constant costume changes and scenery shifts to keep us entertained.

Entertainment Weekly - Black Eyed Peas bring that boom boom pow to NYC's Madison Square Garden







Photos from the show:
Wire Image
Getty Images
Star Traks Photo 1
Star Traks Photo 2
WENN Photo

And the BEP After Party covered by the New York Post

The Bacardi party at M2 after the Black Eyed Peas show at the Garden Wednesday night was a bigger event than the concert itself. The bandmates -- minus will.i.am., who was a no-show -- gave a surprise performance at the Chelsea club, singing two of their songs, "Imma Be" and "Boom Boom Pow," for enthusiastic fans. Apl.de.ap also hopped behind the turntables while Fergie sang along to a mix of hip-hop songs. The Peas partied until 3:30 a.m.

Photos from the after party:
Wire Image
Wire Image

(video courtesy of eladkatz & debsuzco)

Black Eyed Peas At Madison Square Garden With Ludacris MyFox NY TV News Coverage



Last night's Black Eyed Peas, Ludacris & LMFAO Madison Square Garden show & My Fox 5's Anne Craig was on the scene to catch all the fun.

50 Cent Live Over Europe In Paris, France & Berlin, Germany

50 Cent fan shot footage at Le Zenith de Paris Thursday, February 25:


Photos from the Paris concert at Le Zenith de Paris & After Party at the VIP Room Thursday, February 25:
Getty Images - Show
Getty Images - After Party
Wire Image - Show
Wire Image - After Party
Rex Features - Show
Rex Features - After Party

50 Cent fan shot footage at Berlin's Columbiahalle Tuesday, February 23:








Photos from the Berlin concert at Columbiahalle Tuesday, February 23:
Getty Images - Show

50 Cent ‘Before I Self Destruct’ European Tour dates:

February 26, 2010 – Brussels, Belgium – Forest National
February 27, 2010 – Essen, Germany – Grunganhalle
February 28, 2010 – Zurich, Switzerland – Hallenstadion
March 02, 2010 – Kosice, Slovakia – Steel Arena
March 03, 2010 – Ljubljana, Slovenia – Tivoli Hall
March 04, 2010 – Frankfurt, Germany – Hugenottenhalle
March 05, 2010 – Prague, Czech Republic – Tesla Arena
March 08, 2010 – Helsinki, Finland – Old Ice Hall
March 11, 2010 – Bergen, Norway – Aulean
March 12, 2010 – Oslo, Norway – Sentrum Scene
March 13, 2010 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Brondby Hallen
March 14, 2010 – Hamburg, Germany – The Docks
March 15, 2010 – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Ahoy Hall
March 17, 2010 – Cairo, Egypt – Cairo Exhibition Fair Ground
March 19, 2010 – Birmingham, UK – NEC
March 20, 2010 – London, UK – Wembley Arena
March 21, 2010 – Dublin, Ireland – O2 Dublin
March 22, 2010 – Belfast, UK – Odyssey Arena
March 25, 2010 – Manchester, UK – Men Arena
March 27, 2010 – Santa Cruz De Tenerife, Canary Islands – Recinto Ferial de Tenerife
March 29, 2010 – Sicily, Italy – Palatapparello
March 31, 2010 – Skopje, Macedonia – Boris Trajkovski Arena
April 01, 2010 – Belgrade, Serbia – Belgrade Arena
April 03, 2010 – St Petersburg, Russia – New Arena
April 05, 2010 – Moscow, Russia – Olimpiski
April 06, 2010 – Warsaw, Poland – Torwar

(video courtesy of clautschi81, striker1bbb & ludodu91600)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Damian Marley Entertains The Winter Olympic Folk In Vancouver BC



via the Vancouver Sun

More than 8,000 people danced, jumped and sang along as Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley rocked LiveCity Yaletown Wednesday night (Feb. 24).

"I feel elated," said Fayaz Bardai. "This is the first time I've seen Damian Marley live and it's the best concert I've seen all Olympics."

Risha Sidhu waited more than 90 minutes to get into the venue -- which filled to capacity -- but said it was "totally worth it."

"The show was really good," said the Richmond resident. "Everybody is so pumped."

Over the course of an hour, Marley -- the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley -- covered old and new crowd favourites including "Could You Be Loved," "Exodus" and "Beautiful."

He also performed "Strong Will Continue," a song off his forthcoming album, Distant Relatives, with rapper Nas.

For his encore, Marley performed "Road to Zion" and "Welcome to Jamrock," the title track off his 2005 album.

"This is awesome," said Bardai. "Canada beat Russia and now this. I love it."

Wale Live In Vegas



spotted on Hip Hip Site

Video of Wale performing live at XS Nightclub in Las Vegas on Monday, February 22. Performing "Pretty Girls" & "Chillin'".

Raheem DeVaughn - 'The Love & War Masterpeace' Album Preview



Raheem DeVaughn - 'The Love & War Masterpeace' on Jive/Zomba/Jive/Zomba/368 Music Group arrives March 2.

Hear the full album stream here:
Raheem DeVaughn - 'The Love & War Masterpeace' (Stream)

Sublime: A New Start With New Singer Rome



via the Los Angeles Times

Fourteen years after Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell died from a heroin overdose, the Long Beach ska-punk trio's surviving original members have decided it's time to revive the name and celebrate the group's musical legacy while attempting to add some new chapters to its story.

Bassist Bud Gaugh and drummer Eric Wilson have teamed with a 21-year-old singer and guitarist named Rome, with whom they will play a string of small-scale shows starting April 20 at the Hollywood Palladium.

"From the get-go my whole mind-set about bands has been that if you change a member, it's a different entity," Gaugh, 42, said from his home in Northern California this week. "Sublime was Eric, Brad and myself. Eric and I are the remaining members, and this is definitely original members playing Sublime music, as well as some new Sublime-style music."

The new trio, billing itself as Sublime with Rome, had a couple of test runs late last year, appearing at the Smokeout Festival in San Bernardino with headliner Cypress Hill, then turning up for an unbilled performance at KROQ-FM's annual Almost Acoustic Christmas show at the Gibson Amphitheatre.

After those shows, Nowell's widow, Troy Tendekker, filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the threesome from performing as Sublime, although Gaugh said their differences have been settled and that "all parties are completely happy and ready to move forward."

On the Southland alternative music scene of the 1990s, Sublime stood out for its heterogeneous blend of ska, reggae, punk, hip-hop and rock, as well as for Nowell's lightly sandpapered voice in the Bob Marley- Jimmy Cliff tradition.

As the lead singer, Nowell was the band's focal point, leading many music fans to consider Sublime to be his band. He wrote the group's breakthrough hit, "Date Rape," the No. 1 most-requested song in KROQ history about a date rape perpetrator who gets his comeuppance in prison.

But many of the group's other songs, including modern-rock radio staples such as "Santeria," "40 Oz. to Freedom," "Wrong Way" and "Caress Me Down," were composed by the whole group.

Gaugh, Wilson and Rome make a convincing case that the new enterprise isn't about money. Sublime's recordings have continued to sell in impressive numbers, and have totaled more than 17 million albums in the U.S. during the SoundScan era, a big chunk if not the majority since Nowell died, leaving Gaugh and Wilson financially well off.

Read the rest of the article here:
L.A. Times - Feeling Sublime With Rome

K-os: Canadian Hip Hop Artist Interview



via the Black Book

Black Book: You’ve rapped about the state of hip-hop many times. Why do rappers more so than any other musicians in their genre rap about the state of their genres?

K-os: Why I think rappers do that is because they slowly feel their genre of hip hop dying, so it’s a way to stay fresh. And that’s what people love about hip hop, it’s always fresh. That’s why rappers talk about the state of hip-hop, because they want to rap themselves into relevance. If it’s an old school guy moving into the future by talking about the state of music, you make yourself relevant outside of the music. Rakim was the first rapper to rap about rapping. Nobody was rapping about the rhyme, but then he came along and he would start talking about the rap, and it made him so much more relevant in hip-hop. You become hip-hop at that point.

Black Book: So what’s the current state of hip-hop?

K-os: We’re moving to more people taking chances. I think Kanye was a big part of it, I think Jay-Z’s last record and where he went musically with it showed that. I think Obama being President, and Black people being like, Okay, we’re in the White House now. It’s like, one foot is here so I can put my other foot here. Now we have a stance. Now that someone is in that high form of office, it frees up artists to just be artists. Jay-Z doesn’t have to be Obama, Biggie Smalls doesn’t have to be Obama. Now artists can just go do weird things and wear pink shirts if they want to. Now the kid on the block isn’t going, Oh, you’re breaking protocol by looking like that, or not being black enough, so I won’t listen to your hip-hop. Hopefully hip-hop is in a renaissance where it’s about to do some really cool stuff. That’s my Canadian, golden, hopeful, utopic idea of what’s about to happen.

Black Book: Do you consider yourself a rapper or a songwriter?

K-os: Songwriting is first, and that’s why I like De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, because they were songwriters.The Roots are my favorite band and changed my life. Those bands made songs. So when I approach hip hop, I approach it from the songwriting basis. Especially the beginning of my career, when I performed just acoustically, a lot of those songs that were hip hop songs started in small studios just playing guitar. When Jimmy Fallon did that Neil Young cover of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, that all made sense to me. I’m not from the streets, so I’m not going to jump off the streets into the studio, that’s not me. I’m probably going to be the guy who is listening to the new Bon Iver.

Black Book: You’re not as well-known in the U.S. as you are in Canada. How does that affect you?

K-os: I call it being in the fridge. The landscape of American music is so different, because it’s so competitive and there’s so many people. In Canada, it could be like Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire, and Metric all existing at once, and that doesn’t happen in America. It’s always one dude. Without so much competition in Canada, I was able to develop my music as I wanted it to be developed. I never felt like I had to conform my music so it would get played on the radio. In America, it’s not a cakewalk like that. I think it’s great when I come to America and no one knows who I am. It’s really inspiring for my music and my creative process to be somewhere and not be seen as something that already has an idea to it. It’s almost like aging backwards. If my music was to come out in America tomorrow, I would be a new artist when I’ve been doing this in the fridge, in Canada for ten years. It’s a beautiful thing, selling out places in Canada, and playing clubs and carrying my own gear in the U.S. How can that not make you really appreciate both sides of it?

Black Book: Who is the best rapper working today?

K-os: I will always say Black Thought of the Roots. I think he’s proven himself to hold all that down. I also like Jay Electronica right now. I’m a huge Mos Def and Andre 3000 fan, so I would say those four. And just off of the strength of the historical David and Goliath thing that he just did, I’d have to throw Drake in there as well.

Black Book: As a fellow Canadian hip-hop artist, were you surprised by how quickly Drake rose to prominence in the U.S.?

K-os: When someone dies, people say they still can’t believe it, because they’re in shock. I think the same thing happens to me when people live like that. Death is one thing, but when someone pulls a feat like that, I still haven’t really taken it in. I think it’s just one of those great stories. He’s a thespian, and a lot of times actors understand music just as well as they understand theatre. There’s some kind of link between him being a rapper and him being an actor. There’s something about that that’s allowing him to have a different perspective than everyone else. I mean, there are a whole bunch of factors, I’m not just going to chalk it up to his acting, but as someone who is a senior to his sophmore in music, I feel like I he did something that no one does, that no one did. That’s why I have to throw him in there.

Black Book: Do you know if Natalie Portman has heard the song you named after her?

K-os: Yeah, actually if you go to my label’s website, you can watch Entertainment Tonight Canada play it for her.