Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) brought down the House on Tuesday with a loving tribute to female hip-hop and rap artists.
“Throughout the years, artists such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen have been recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives,” Jeffries said. “Today, I rise to honor the top 10 female MC hip-hop collaborations of all time.”
Jeffries’ top 10 includes Eve’s “My Chick Bad,” Lauryn Hill’s “Ready Or Not” and, of course, Lil’ Kim’s “Quiet Storm” remix. He also shouted out the legendary Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Salt-N-Pepa.
“As we celebrate Women’s History Month here in the United States’ Congress, these dynamic women are worthy to be praised,” Jeffries said.
This isn’t the first time the Brooklyn-native congressman has honored rap artists on the House floor. Last year, Jeffries paid tribute to New York rapper The Notorious B.I.G. on the 20th anniversary of his death.
Phase one, which is set to begin in February 2018, of the museum’s development plan will include, among other things, a multimedia film production studio and a television content production center for students “that will be training for careers in tech and media, while producing real-life content for the museum, and the hip hop television channel network,” the museum’s founder, JT Thompson, said in a release.
Eventually the 20-story building will include 5-star hotel, retail mall, an arcade, restaurant and concert lounge. The organization has also launched a $150 million fundraising campaign to help complete funding for the entertainment complex.
Last year, Thompson ― who’s also an Army veteran ― told the New York Post that the museum’s progress has been a “labor of love.”
“Hip hop is about empowering yourself, moving beyond the music,” he said. “The HHHOF and I have a duty and responsibility to preserve this rich history of music and culture. [You need to] pull yourself up by your bootstraps to pursue your dreams.”
“This has been a labor of love. It’s had its valleys, mountains, peaks and falloffs. In the Army, I had leaders, mentors and brothers like teammates working to achieve something special. In life and in business, be disciplined and finish strong without quitting.”
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.”
“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”→
According to Deadline.com, VH1 has announced production of The Breaks, an original movie about the Hip-Hop business set in New York City during the early 90s, that will serve as a backdoor pilot for a potential series. Christopher Edward Martin, better known as DJ Premier, multiple Grammy-award winning member of the seminal rap group Gang Starr, will serve as executive music producer and compose the score.
The Breaks is based on Dan Charnas’ non-fiction book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, which covers the rap from its infancy in the 1970s house party and park scene through the staggering financial and cultural milestones of the early 2000s. Set in 1990, the series will follow three friends from different backgrounds attempting to break into the business just as the art form became part of the pop music mainstream.
Given the setting, which happens to mark the middle point of the golden age of hip hop, the rise of gangsta rap, and the height of New Jack Swing, Texas native DJ Premier’s involvement is a huge advantage. In addition to his work with Gang Starr, Premier has been involved with some of the most influential and successful rap and R&B albums of all time, including works by KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Snoop Dogg, Compton’s Most Wanted, Nas, D’Angelo, The Notorious B.I.G., and Jay Z.
The Breaks follows VH1’s previous TV films, 2013’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, and 2014’s Drumline: A New Beat, both of which saw great ratings for the network. Single Ladies, an original series which ran for three seasons on VH1and is now enjoying a fourth on Centric, started as a two-hour back door pilot. If successful, The Breaks could similarly spawn a full series aimed at the audience of other shows with soundtracks overseen by music titans, like Fox’s Empire, with music production by Timbaland, and ABC’s Nashville, which saw T-Bone Burnett as music producer during its first season.
The Breaks will be written, directed and executive produced by Seith Mann, whose previous credits include episodes of The Wire, Fringe, The Riches, Entourage, and Homeland. In addition to his production work, DJ Premier is also the host of a weekly show on Sirius XM’s Hip-Hop Nation. Filming for The Breaks will begin in June, and the film is scheduled to air sometime in late fall 2015.
LOS ANGELES — Following the success of his major label debut, “good kid, m.A.A.d. city,” in 2012, Kendrick Lamar did not indulge in earthly luxuries. Instead, he got baptized.
That album was the story of his redemption, not just from street gangs through rapping but from a life of sin by embracing Jesus Christ. His long-awaited follow-up, “To Pimp a Butterfly” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope), which was made available online Sunday night, ahead of a planned March 23 release, is about carrying the weight of that clarity: What happens when you speak out, spiritually and politically, and people actually start to listen? And what of the world you left behind?
Mr. Lamar, who grew up in Compton, Calif., had previously been saved as a teenager in the parking lot of a Food 4 Less, he said, when the grandmother of a friend approached him after a tragedy, asking if he had accepted God. “One of my homeboys got smoked,” Mr. Lamar recalled. “She had seen that we weren’t right in the head. That was her being an angel for us.”
Nearly a decade later, having found that fame and riches did not offer additional salvation, or happiness, he “wanted to take it to the next level — being underwater,” he said. “I felt like it was something I had to do.”
Whereas “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” zoomed in on a day in the old life of Mr. Lamar, a gifted but wayward high schooler in a neighborhood filled with death and temptation, “To Pimp a Butterfly” brings listeners up to his present day, from world tours to the B.E.T. Awards, and the separation he feels from his past. Rather than relief, his escape from Compton has brought only more opportunities for sin and self-doubt, an internal chaos reflected not only in Mr. Lamar’s intricate stories but also in vigorous jazz- and funk-inflected production that builds on the smoother West Coast sounds of his debut.
The film rights for the “Mother of Hip Hop,” the late Sylvia Robinson (pictured), who helped put the musical genre on the map, was acquired by producer Paula Wagner, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Robinson co-founded Sugar Hill Records, the label that produced the Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 classic “Rapper’s Delight,” credited as the first monster hit to get folks to sit up and pay attention to Hip-Hop. Robinson was also the machine behind such early Hip-Hop artists as Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, who recorded the classic song, “The Message.”
Wagner secured the rights to Robinson’s life story from her son, Joey, who will reportedly act as the biopic’s consultant and executive producer. Grandmaster Melle Mel, another Hip-Hop pioneer, will also wear the hat of consultant on the film.
According to Wagner, the film will span Robinson’s four decade career and encompass all of the important aspects of her busy life, including the music business, her mercurial love life and the indelible mark she left on a genre of music that has grown to immense proportions.
“Sylvia Robinson’s life story has all the elements of a great film,” said Wagner in a statement according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It is not only the story of female empowerment at a time when the world of music was male-dominated, but it’s also a story of the origin of Hip-Hop and how this woman’s determination, immense talent and savvy business sense fostered an entire musical movement.”
“This movie is going to show how my parents were able to remain independent, keep control of their publishing and master recordings and how they later dealt with the major record labels and mob associates,” added Joey. “Sugarhill paved the way for a new genre of music that the industry had no knowledge of back in 1979. You will see the struggles of what Sugarhill went through to keep Hip-Hop music alive when the industry wanted to bury it.”
Besides navigating the musical careers of performers, Robinson, herself, was a recording artist with such hits under her belt as “Love Is Strange” in 1957, as part of the duo Mickey and Sylvia and the 1973 R&B hit, “Pillow Talk,” which was a solo project.
In the spring of 2001, Todd Kreidler met his boss, the playwright August Wilson, for breakfast at the Cafe Edison, as was their custom. Mr. Kreidler was assisting Wilson as he brought his play “King Hedley II” to Broadway, but really he was there to learn whatever Wilson wanted to teach him. And that morning, the subject was Tupac Shakur.
After a bit of chitchat, Wilson was exasperated with his charge. “You don’t really know ‘Dear Mama,’ ” he said, referring to Shakur’s signature ode to his mother. He got up, threw money on the table, marched out the door and to the nearby Virgin Megastore. There, he bought a copy of Shakur’s album “Me Against the World” and pressed it into Mr. Kreidler’s hands.
“There’s nothing contained in your life that’s not contained in that music,” Wilson told him, Mr. Kreidler recalled. “There’s love, honor, duty, betrayal, love of a people. There’s a whole universe in that music!” He made it clear, with some vulgarities for emphasis, that Mr. Kreidler wasn’t to return to rehearsal until he’d absorbed it all.
So on the day in 2010, when Mr. Kreidler opened a FedEx box with 23 of Shakur’s CDs and two books of his writings, tasked with building from them a musical rooted in that rapper’s words, he was prepared.
The result is “Holler if Ya Hear Me,” which opens at the Palace Theater on June 19, and weaves 21 songs by Shakur (two of which are musically arranged versions of his poems) into a story about a community struggling to pull hope from the grasp of entrenched social ills. Put differently, it’s not a Broadway-ification of Shakur’s life or vision so much as a repurposing of his words into an emotionally felt, family-friendly context.
“It’s a story about unconditional love that uplifts all of his words,” said Kenny Leon, the musical’s director, a veteran of Wilson’s “Fences” and the current “A Raisin in the Sun.” In that, “Holler” has plenty in common with the rest of Broadway, and the creative team was careful in managing how the play handled what Mr. Leon termed “the things that people think they hate” — bad language, guns, violence.
But it’s an open question whether the familiar Broadway audience, or even the middle-class black theatergoers who have been drawn in by “Raisin,” can make room in their hearts and wallets for Shakur’s words. Hip-hop has made it to Broadway before, but the Tony-winning “In the Heights” tested the waters Off Broadway first, and didn’t have to contend with an implied star whom people find controversial even years after his death.
The $8 million production seems to be splitting the difference; opening directly on Broadway — in a prime Times Square location that last housed “Annie,” no less — but after the Tony awards deadline. (Pop-minded shows like “Bring It On – The Musical” have lately taken a similar route.) Though influential producers were invited to the show’s workshops, they by and large declined to invest. Instead, the lead producers are Eric Gold, a longtime Hollywood manager and producer who is new to Broadway, and Shin Chun-soo, a South Korean theater impresario. “I’m prepared to nobly fail or to nobly succeed,” Mr. Gold said.
Murdered in 1996 in a case that’s still unsolved, Shakur remains, even after all these years, one of hip-hop’s most celebrated figures, a radical thug intellectual with an outsize gift for creating his character in real time. He was prolific and contradictory, a child of activists signed, late in his career, to Death Row, the label that mainstreamed gangster rap.
Two of the bigger albums of 2014, will be released next Tuesday, March 4th, but eager fans can listen to Pharrell and Rick Ross’ new projects now for free. iTunes launched the G I R L radio station last night which will be streaming The Neptunes frontman’s 10-track second solo album. Featuring appearances from Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys, Pharrell’s looks to carry his 2013 success into the new year.
Rick Ross’ Mastermind is the Boss’ sixth album of his career, but he’s never been in a position to prove so much to so many. His public image took a huge hit after rapping about slipping Molly into a woman’s drink. Despite offering a delayed apology, the flap cost him a lucrative Reebok shoe endorsement. Ross is due for a comeback and with a track list featuring, Diddy, Meek Mill, Jay Z, and Houston legend Scarface, he will be carrying the MMG flag in 2014.
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