Tag: Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre to Donate $10 Million for Compton High School’s New Performing Arts Center

(photo via latimes.com)

by Gerrick Kennedy via latimes.com

Dr. Dre has pledged to donate $10 million to help build a performing arts complex at the new Compton High School, the Compton Unified School District. “My goal is to provide kids with the kind of tools and learning they deserve,” Dre said in a statement. “The performing arts center will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future.”

The complex will provide students with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, including digital media production facilities and a 1,200-seat theater. The performing arts center will also be a resource for the Compton community at large, officials say. The hip-hop mogul and Compton native will be directly involved in raising the remaining funds needed to complete the center, which is expected to break ground by 2020.

“The support that Dre has shown to Compton over the years is unwavering and we are so excited that we will now be home to one of the greatest performing arts centers in the country,” said Satra Zurita, president of Compton Unified’s governing board of trustees. Micah Ali, vice chairman of the district’s board of education, said the new high school will be the most modern public school complex ever built.

To read more, go to: Dr. Dre to donate $10 million for Compton High School’s new performing arts center – LA Times

Ice Cube Honored with Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Ice Cube (photo via vibe.com)

by Jessica McKinney via vibe.com

It’s hard to think that after roughly 30 years in the music industry and blessing the culture with hits like “F**k the Police” and both the Barbershop and Friday series’, that Ice Cube hasn’t already gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But in reality, he actually hasn’t. That is, until today (June 12), when the hip hop icon was honored with his very own star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Director of Boyz in the Hood, John Singleton, was one of  people who spoke at Ice Cube’s star ceremony Monday afternoon. “The mark of a true man is how many people he influences in his lifetime,” Singleton said. “That’s how I see Cube.” Dr. Dre was also in attendance to watch his longtime friend and former N.W.A partner be honored. While the multi-faceted artist has definitely influenced many, he suggested the honor was still somewhat surprising.

“When you coming up doing music, movies, just trying to be creative, you never figure you’ll be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame one day,” he said.Ice Cube’s Walk of Fame ceremony comes only three days after the release of the 25th anniversary edition of the rapper’s politically-charged album, Death Certificate. Coincidentally, it is only three days before his 48th birthday.

To read more, go to: Clap For Him: Ice Cube Finally Honored With Hollywood Star

R.I.P. Parliament-Funkadelic Co-Founder and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bernie Worrell

Bernie Worrell: Parliament-Funkadelic Co-Founder Dies
Parliament-Funkadelic Co-Founder Bernie Worrell (GREGORY PACE/BEI/BEI/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Andrew Barker via Variety.com

Bernie Worrell, the keyboardist, songwriter and synthesizer pioneer who served as co-founder of Parliament-Funkadelic with George Clinton, and was also a key Talking Heads collaborator, died on Friday after a battle with cancer, according to his Facebook page. He was 72.

Diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in January, Worrell was the guest of honor at a massive benefit concert last April, with the likes of George Clinton, Questlove, David Byrne and Meryl Streep performing and paying tribute. In mid-June, however, his wife Judie Worrell announced his health had taken a turn, writing, “Bernie is now heading ‘Home.’”

As a member of Parliament-Funkadelic, Worrell’s synth playing provided the funk innovators with some of their most distinctive and immediately recognizable elements, which subsequently became signature sounds of the more futuristic strains of R&B, and the bedrock of hip-hop’s West Coast “g-funk” wave, with Dr. Dre in particular sampling Worrell’s music continuously.

From the gurgling, staccato Minimoog bassline of “Flash Light” to the whiny, minor-key synth lines on “P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up),” Worrell introduced a wealth of completely new elements into pop music’s sonic vocabulary. Former bandmate Bootsy Collins described Worrell as “the Jimi Hendrix of the keyboards,” while Talking Heads frontman Byrne once noted, “Bernie changed the way I think about music, and the way I think about life.”

Born George Bernard Worrell in New Jersey, Worrell began playing piano at age three, and performed with the Washington Symphony Orchestra at age 10. He attended Julliard and the New England Conservatory of Music, and met up with fellow New Jersey native George Clinton while playing in bar bands. He followed Clinton to Detroit, where Funkadelic rewrote the rules of black popular music several times over throughout the 1970s.

Worrell only appeared on a single track of Funkadelic’s 1970 self-titled debut, but he featured heavily on follow-up “Free Your Mind…And Your Ass Will Follow,” and by the time of 1971’s psych-rock freak-out masterpiece “Maggot Brain,” he was firmly ensconced in the lineup, even singing lead on single “Hit It and Quit It.”

Worrell’s role as a keyboardist, songwriter and arranger grew throughout the decade as Funkadelic and Parliament – during the ‘70s, the two groups consisted of the same core members – evolved into a more radio-friendly, dance-oriented outfit, alongside former James Brown bassist Collins, who arrived in 1972. Thanks to his grasp of classical music composition, as well as his ceaseless curiosity in exploring state-of-the-art synthesizer technology, Worrell was essential in imposing structure and melodic order onto the group’s more freewheeling experimentations.

Parliament’s “Mothership Connection” elevated the collective’s profile substantially in 1975, reaching No. 4 on the R&B album chart and becoming the first P-Funk album to go platinum. The group’s popularity peaked with Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove,” which topped the R&B chart for six straight weeks in 1978, while Parliament’s “Motor Booty Affair” and Funkadelic’s “Uncle Jam Wants You” both reached No. 2 in the months that followed. The P-Funk staples co-written by Worrell in this period include “Mothership Connection (Star Child),” “Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadaloop)” and “Flash Light,” which still stands as perhaps the group’s most widely played and influential single track.

Worrell recorded a solo album in 1978 – “All the Woo in the World,” produced by Clinton – and recorded with Collins for his splinter group Bootsy’s Rubber Band, whose 1977 album “Ahh…the Name is Bootsy, Baby!” is a particularly essential funk collection. But as loose and sprawling as the P-Funk universe could be, the spine of the group began to splinter at the end of the ‘70s, and Worrell officially left in 1981.

Shortly after his departure, Worrell was recruited by Jerry Harrison, guitarist for the art-rock/New Wave group Talking Heads, whom Worrell had never heard. Though he found their earlier music “stiff,” Worrell joined the group as a session musician, contributing synthesizers to 1983 album “Speaking in Tongues,” which would go on to become the Heads’ highest-charting release. He toured with the group for years, and his importance to their live sound is made abundantly clear in the Jonathan Demme-directed 1984 concert film, “Stop Making Sense.”

During the ‘80s, Worrell also recorded with Keith Richards, Fela Kuti, and Jack Bruce, and after the breakup of Talking Heads, he released a spate of solo albums in the early-‘90s. (1991’s “Funk of Ages” is the clear standout.) He continued to record and tour throughout the following decades, with groups the Bernie Worrell Orchestra and Bernie Worrell’s Woo Warriors, and as part of the supergroup Black Jack Johnson alongside rapper Mos Def. Worrell was the subject of Philip Di Fiore’s 2005 documentary, “Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth,” and he had a role as a member of Meryl Streep’s bar band in Demme’s 2015 feature “Ricki and the Flash.”

Worrell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Parliament-Funkadelic in 1997, and performed with the reunited Talking Heads during the group’s induction in 2002. Earlier this year, he was given an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, the New England Conservatory of Music.

Kendrick Lamar Leads Grammy Nominations With 11

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The Recording Academy announced the Grammy Award nominations this morning. Kendrick Lamar leads the field with 11 nods. The Weeknd and Taylor Swift both received seven Grammy nominations. Other top nominees include DrakeJohn Legend, and Kanye West.

The Academy is committed to celebrating a diverse blend of talented entertainers, musicians, and producers, and this commitment is evident in the nominees for the Album of the Year category.  According to Grammy.com. Lamar has been nominated for his “jazz-infused rap,” Alabama Shakes for their “alternative and soulful rock,” Swift for her pop, Chris Stapleton for his “classic country sounds,” and The Weeknd for his “genre-bending R&B style.”

D’Angelo and The Vanguard are nominated for Record of the Year, along with Mark Ronson featuring Bruno MarsEd Sheeran, The Weeknd, and Swift.

The Grammy ceremony will be held Feburary 15, 2016 in Los Angeles. A list of nominees follows below: Continue reading “Kendrick Lamar Leads Grammy Nominations With 11”

“Straight Outta Compton” Debuts to Scorching $56.1 Million to Top Weekend’s Box Office

Straight Outta Compton
PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL

Straight Outta Compton” may take place more than two decades ago, but its themes of racial tension, poverty and police brutality still speak to moviegoers living in a post-Ferguson world.

The biopic about rap group N.W.A. debuted to a blistering $56.1 million this weekend in 2,757 theaters, surpassing “American Pie 2” to become the biggest-ever August debut for an R-rated movie. It’s the kind of opening usually reserved for so-called tentpole movies that trade in costumed heroes and special effects, not urban violence.

“The movie tapped into something in our culture and that made it more of a must-see,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.

Its debut nearly doubles “Straight Outta Compton’s” budget of $29 million in a single weekend, meaning the film could be among the most profitable releases of the summer. N.W.A members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre helped produce the film about the early days of gansta rap and were integral to its marketing campaign.

Universal, the studio behind the music biopic, has been having a year for the ages, as a steady stream of hits such as “Jurassic World,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Pitch Perfect 2,”  “Furious 7” and “Minions” have pushed its grosses to record heights. Legendary Pictures co-financed “Straight Outta Compton.”

“Straight Outta Compton’s” success overshadowed the weekend’s other new release, Warner Bros.’ “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” The stylish action-adventure wilted at the megaplexes, bringing in an etiolated $13.5 million from 3,638 theaters. That’s a particularly rough start considering that “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” cost a sizable $75 million to produce.

Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou labeled “Straight Outta Compton” as a “labor of love” that benefited from being dramatically different from the kind of films flooding cinemas in recent months.

“The public was ready for something with a bit more substance that they could identify with,” he said.

The film’s opening weekend crowd was 52% female, 51% under the age of 30, 46% African-American, 23% Caucasian, 21% Hispanic and 4% Asian. It did not play in Imax or 3D, but did score in premium large format locations, where it grossed $5.1 million, representing 9% of the film’s weekend receipts.

In second place, Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation” continued to get a lift from strong word-of-mouth, picking up $17 million in its third weekend. That brings the fifth film in the spy franchise’s North American haul to $138.1 million.

Fox’s “Fantastic Four” dropped steeply in its second weekend, falling nearly 70% from its debut and mustering a paltry $8 million. The film ranks as one of the biggest comicbook movie flops in history, having earned a meagre $42 million Stateside.

STX Entertainment’s “The Gift” rounded out the top five, earning $6.5 million this weekend and pushing its domestic total to $23.6 million.

Final numbers are still being tallied, but it looks as though “Straight Outta Compton” will bolster ticket sales over the year-ago period when “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” were drawing the biggest crowds.

article by Brett Lang via Variety.com

“Straight Outta Compton” Heading to $40 Million-Plus Opening This Weekend

Photo via slashfilm.com
Photo via slashfilm.com

The reviews so far have been great, Dr. Dre has already dropped his well-received companion album,  and  Variety.com predicts the F. Gary Gray-directed “Straight Outta Compton” is will open to over $40 million on box office receipts this weekend.  Made on a $29 million budget, “Compton” is already looking like the sleeper hit of the summer.

According to thegrio.com, director Gray (“Friday”, “Set It Off”, “The Italian Job”) teamed up with remaining members of the historic west coast rap group, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, Dre and MC Ren, (Eazy-E died in 1995) to tell the ups and downs of their incredible story.  The film, named for the title track on N.W.A.’s 1988 debut album, stars Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), as well as Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), Neil Brown Jr. (DJ Yella) and Aldis Hodge (MC Ren).

A large part of the appeal of the film that is reaching beyond the built-in fanbase of N.W.A. is the timeliness of the subject and subject matter in the wake of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland and continued revelations and exposés of nationwide police brutality and racism.  While “F**k The Police” stirred controversy when initially released, today it can be heard as prescient protest.

When asked how N.W.A. would respond to the social commentary of today, Gray thinks the revolutionary rap group would respond to #BlackLivesMatter similarly to how they reacted to what they were experiencing nearly 30 years ago. “Probably the same way they did back then. They were pretty frustrated. They spoke their mind,” he said.  “They were honest about it, and I think they would respond the same way. ‘Hey listen it’s time to change. It’s time for a change.’”

When it comes to hip-hop artists today, Gary, as well as Ice Cube, DJ Yella and O’Shea Jackson Jr., feel fellow Compton native Kendrick Lamar is truly influential and follows closely in the big footsteps that N.W.A. created.

“It’s hard to duplicate N.W.A., but I like what Kendrick Lamar is doing,” said Gary. “I like what J. Cole is doing. These guys are conscious, and at least I know Kendrick is from the streets of Compton and stuff like that, so they’re authentic. And I think a lot of that comes from the N.W.A. or at least era.”

Straight Outta Compton opens in theaters this Friday, August 14. Check out the trailer below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Dr. Dre to Donate 100 Percent of Royalties from New Album to Build Performing Arts Facility for Compton Youth

Dr. Dre (Getty Images)
Dr. Dre (Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Dr. Dre says he will donate royalties from his new album to the city of Compton for a new performing arts facility.

In an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 Radio, Dre said he spoke to Compton Mayor Aja Brown about ways to give back to the city with the release of his first album in 16 years.

The rapper, whose real name is Andre Young, said Thursday he “decided to donate all of my artist royalties from the sale of this album to help fund a new performing arts and entertainment facility for the kids in Compton.”

“Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre,” inspired by the N.W.A. biopic “Straight Outta Compton” which opens Aug. 14, will be released Friday. Dre said he hopes “everybody appreciates all the hard work I put into this album.”

“I’m honored that Mr. Young has decided to make a significant investment in his community,” Brown said in a statement. “He clearly has a heart for Compton, especially our youth. I believe this performing arts center will provide a pathway for creative expression, exposure and training to the myriad of industries that support arts, entertainment and technology — while providing a much-needed safe haven for our youth.”

Brown added that the center would be a therapeutic outlet for youth suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Compton” can be streamed exclusively on Apple Music starting Friday. Dre called the album his “grand finale.”

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

It’s Official: Dr. Dre’s First Album in 16 Years Will Be Released Friday

As reported earlier today, Dr. Dre announced the release of his first album since 1999’s 2001 today on his The Pharmacy show on Apple Music. The album is titled Compton: The Soundtrack and will hit stores on August 7. He confirmed the album is completely different than the infamous Detox project and that it was inspired by the forthcoming N.W.A. biopic, “Straight Outta Compton” (8/14).

For any doubters, Dre has released both the album artwork and tracklist. The LP will feature vocals from Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Xzibit, Ice Cube, Jill Scott, Jon Connor, Marsha Amrosius, Snoop Dogg and many more. Check out the artwork and tracklist below.

compton-soundtrack-680x680

1) Intro
2) Talk About It (feat. King Mez & Justus)
3) Genocide (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Marsha Ambrosius & Candice Pillay)
4) It’s All On Me (feat. Justus & BJ the Chicago Kid)
5) All In a Day’s Work (feat. Anderson Paak & Marsha Ambrosius)
6) Darkside/Gone (feat. King Mez, Marsha Ambrosius & Kendrick Lamar)
7) Loose Cannons (feat. Xzibit & COLD 187um)
8) Issues (feat. Ice Cube & Anderson Paak)
9) Deep Water (feat. Kendrick Lamar & Justus)
10) Jon Connor – One Shot One Kill (feat. Snoop Dogg)
11) The Game – Just Another Day (feat. Asia Bryant)
12) For the Love of Money (feat. Jill Scott & Jon Connor)
13) Satisfaction (feat. Snoop Dogg, Marsha Ambrosius & King Mez)
14) Animals (feat. Anderson Paak)
15) Medicine Man (feat. Eminem, Candice Pillay & Anderson Paak)
16) Talking To My Diary

article by Parfit via ambrosiaforheads.com

The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists in 2015

Last May, shortly after word began to spread that Dr. Dre had sold his eponymous headphone line to Apple, the superproducer made a proclamation: rap’s first billionaire was about to be crowned, and he hailed from Los Angeles.

“The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here on the [expletive] West Coast,” exclaimed Dre in a video clip that went viral almost instantly. But the deal, whose value was initially reported at $3.2 billion, ended up at an even $3 billion in cash. After taxes, Dre’s 25% stake left him with a $500 million windfall–$100 million more than FORBES estimated his stake to be worth last April–and a net worth of $700 million.

Amazingly enough, Dre is not the richest man in hip-hop; that honor goes to Diddy, who clocks in at $735 million. The news may come as a surprise to many, but while Dre’s wealth derived from a single jackpot idea, Diddy’s is the product of his interests in a slew of companies, a handful of which could one day give him a Beats-esque exit.

Diddy has a deal with Diageo’s Ciroc vodka that guarantees him a split of the proceeds if the brand is ever sold, an event that would surely land him a nine-figure check. He also owns a controlling stake, or close to it, in clothing lines Sean John and Enyce, alkaline water brand Aquahydrate, new tequila DeLeon and multimedia network Revolt. Diddy founded the latter as a sort of next generation MTV with a renewed focus on music.

“Revolt got built out of the frustration Sean was having with music media being able to get his albums out there,” says Revolt chief executive Keith Clinkscales. “Sean has been aggressive in being sure that we put the power of the platform in the hands of musicians to be able to create with fans in their authentic voice.”

2015 Top 5 Hip-Hop Artists By Wealth:

  1. Diddy        $730 Million
  2. Dr. Dre      $700 Million
  3. Jay Z        $550 Million
  4. 50 Cent    $155 Million
  5. Birdman   $150 Million

Diddy isn’t the only hip-hop mogul with that aim. Jay Z, who ranks third with a fortune of $550 million, purchased and relaunched Scandinavian streaming service Tidal this year with promises of creating an artist-owned Spotify competitor set apart by exclusive content.

Though the star-studded rollout struck some as tonedeaf—prompting a flurry of rich-getting-richer criticism, and perhaps a change in strategy for Jay Z—Tidal is still early in its life as a company, and may yet prove to be an increasingly valuable asset to Jay Z and to the whole industry.

“It’s alerting people that streaming is a viable option for them to listen to music,” says Jay Frank, chief of digital marketing outfit DigMark, of Tidal. “The more that we have positive conversations on that, the more opposition we have to grow the business.”

50 Cent and Birdman round out the list of five, with fortunes of $155 million and $150 million, respectively. The latter’s total dipped slightly due to uncertainty surrounding Cash Money Records, by far his biggest asset, which has been dogged by rumors of the departure of big acts including superstar Lil Wayne. Continue reading “The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists in 2015”

Ice-T Breaks Down Why “Art of Rap” Festival in July is Important to Hip-Hop, Art and Music

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“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is by far one of the most important records known to man.  A “total knock out of the park” as Public Enemy’s Chuck D once told Rolling Stone, the 1982 record marked a pivotal moment for hip-hop.  The first of its kind, at seven-minutes rapper Melle Mel and co-writer Duke Bootee traded clear-cut lines about the everyday struggle and decay in America’s ghettos. From the ubiquitous “broken glass” to the “junkies in the alley” and how the kids that are “born with no state of mind” end up succumbing to the live fast, die young statistic. It’s an monumental piece of recording that perfectly demonstrates the foundation on which hip-hop was founded.

Beyond that though, it’s also the very record that Mickey Bentson, co-founder of The Universal Zulu Nation, and Ice-T brought up during a phone conversation with REVOLT. “Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel made one of the hardest records ever: “The Message” with no cursing. Wow. That’s unbelievable,” Bentson exclaimed.  “Where you gonna get all this stuff at? Nowhere but at the Art of Rap Festival baby.”

In 2012, Ice-T chronicled the rich foundation and importance of the hip-hop into a one hour-and-a-half epic, better known as the critically-acclaimed documentary, “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap.” An intimate journey that uncovers the layers, elements, and science of hip-hop, the film took it back to the essence, while bringing along famous faces like Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chuck D and many more for a discussion on the art form. Three years since he opened the conversation, Ice-T,  joined by Bentson, has added another layer (and new meaning) to the “The Art of Rap,” with an inaugural event he is calling “the most prolific and essential hip-hop festival ever.”

The Art of Rap Festival, which will take place over the course of two days in California, features a dream team line-up of emcees that range from Big Daddy Kane to Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa, EPMD, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Melle Mel, King T, Kurtis Blow, Biz Markie, and more. Just like the film, the festival, which will feature co-headliners including Game and Ice-T at its July 18th Irvine date and Ice-T at the July 19th Mountain View show, takes it back to the essence.

Speaking about the summer must-attend festival, Ice-T and Mickey Bentson hopped on the phone with REVOLT and discussed just how and why this event came together.

In 2012, Ice-T, you released this film and now it has transformed into a full blown festival. How did you two come together for this?

Ice-T: Well, [The Art of Rap] happened for me, I was sitting around and for a while when you would say you an emcee, people actually had this heavy respect for you. Well the point that when you would say ‘rapper,’ people would kind of look at you like a clown. Rappers were kind of acting up and I didn’t like that, so I said you know what I want to make a film that makes people really respect the art of rap. It’s not a game, it’s real stuff. I worked really hard on my music, I grew up with [Big Daddy] Kane and Rakim and people like that, and I said this is serious business. So we shot the film, it did what it was supposed to do, make people understand that it is an art form and the next obvious move was to take it on the road. The Art of Rap Tour is meant to be about the craft and the culture of hip-hop, so we go all the way from The Soulsonic Force to somebody like The Game.

As you mentioned, this festival is about the craft and culture. Why is this such an important element for this event? 

T: We want people to take pride in what they do. If you take pride in your music, you’re going to do good music. If you look at music as just a way to get paid, then you might throw up any ol’ shit, and you also ain’t gonna represent it right, [because] when you get interviewed you gonna say any ol’ s*** — and that bothers the artists. That’s like me coming into jazz and not knowing who Miles Davis was, and there’s going to be people who’s going to have feelings about that.  Continue reading “Ice-T Breaks Down Why “Art of Rap” Festival in July is Important to Hip-Hop, Art and Music”