Tag: J. Cole

J. Cole’s Dreamville Foundation Raising Funds to Aid Hurricane Victims in Hometown of Fayetteville, NC

J. Cole (photo via billboard.com)

by Melanie Eversley via thegrio.com

Rapper/singer J. Cole is raising funds through his Dreamville Foundation to help people from his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C., who have been affected by Hurricane Florence.

“The Dreamville Foundation is looking to lend a helping hand to the community, children, and families affected by Hurricane Florence,” the nonprofit which is based in Fayetteville, N.C., said on its webpage. “There will be hot food stations placed throughout the city, temporary housing options for families and stocking of food pantries/shelters (as) well as supporting other local nonprofits who help provide services for the people in Fayetteville.”

According to CBS News at least, 42 people have died as a result of Florence, which barreled through the Carolinas last week.

The goal of the 4-year-old organization is to inspire urban youth, according to the website. Cole is quoted on the homepage as saying, “I want to start the process of showing them there are other options besides what’s on the screen. They don’t have to be a rapper or an athlete, there are people who manage the rappers, who book the shows. There are so many jobs you can do, this is about expanding their minds to those possibilities.”

The hurricane forced the cancellation of J. Cole’s inaugural Dreamville Festival, which was slated to take place in Raleigh and include not only J. Cole but also Big SeanSZANelly and Young Thug. The festival has been rescheduled for April 2019, according to the Dreamville Festival Twitter account.

Cole, born Jermaine Lamarr Cole, was born on a U.S. military base in Germany but raised in Fayetteville. Along with the foundation, he is the founder of Dreamville Records, with his manager, Ibrahim Hamad.

Read more: https://thegrio.com/2018/09/22/j-cole-launches-fundraiser-florence-victims/

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”

Rapper Nelly Sends Two Kids to College Every Year for the Last 10 Years: ‘Only Way to Elevate Black Community is Education’

Photo: Joe Raedle/GettyIn the wake of the Mike Brown shooting and Ferguson protests last year, many in the Black community called for Black celebrities to speak out against the injustices shown to their own people. Some Black celebrities rose to the occasion, using social media and TV news outlets like CNN to say their piece.

Others, like Nelly, preferred to move in relative silence and let their actions do the talking. Following the events in Ferguson, the St. Louis rapper came under fire for not visiting the city right away. He eventually visited Ferguson to speak with protesters and created a scholarship fund in Michael Brown’s name.

The scholarship was not merely a sentimental act to honor the slain college student but a part of a strategic plan to help bring change to the Ferguson community in the only effective way he believes he can.

“I try to do it through education because that’s the only way we’re going to get it. The only way we’re going to get this is to elevate,” Nelly explained in an interview with Hello Beautiful just after the Ferguson anniversary on August 9, 2015. “We have to get the kids to go out of these communities. Graduate. Get the knowledge. Come back to the community, and then they can run it because they understand the people and understand the severity of the situation.”

The Mike Brown scholarship isn’t the only act of altruism Nelly has taken in the area of education. He has sent two students to college on scholarships every year for the past 10 years. To critics who have rebuked him for his lack of vocal support for the events at Ferguson, the “Hot in Herre” rapper asserts that sometimes it’s better to do things quietly.

Continue reading “Rapper Nelly Sends Two Kids to College Every Year for the Last 10 Years: ‘Only Way to Elevate Black Community is Education’”

“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)

J. Cole Keeps Promise to Attend Fan’s High School Graduation, Offers To Help with College Tuition

J. Cole and fan Cierra Bosarge at her graduation (Photo via Instagram)
J. Cole and fan Cierra Bosarge at her graduation (Photo via Instagram)

Rapper J. Cole took a break from his national tour in order to attend a fan’s high school graduation and follow up on a promise he made a full two years ago. Teen fan Cierra Bosarge says she reached out to J. Cole in 2013, writing him a letter (which she later summed up in a tweet) about how he had inspired her to persevere in school, despite having a hard time academically.

Cierra’s note prompted the hip hop artist to send her a direct message on Twitter and then follow up by phone. J. Cole agreed to attend the high schooler’s graduation to watch her accept her diploma, but only if she got admitted to a four-year school.

Two years later, they both followed through on the commitments they made — Cierra kept her grades up (sending updates via Twitter), and J. Cole’s manager sent Cierra a message confirming that the star would be there to watch her graduate. According to her Twitter account, when J. Cole showed up to the ceremony this week, he not only gave Cierra some of his “favorite books” as a grad gift, but also offered to help pay for her tuition.

article by Carly Steyer via huffingtonpost.com

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”

Dr. Dre is Forbes’ Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Act at $620 Million for 2014

Dr. DreDr. Dre tops Forbes list of highest-paid hip-hop acts with a total of $620 million earned this year. This is the most money ANY entertainer that has been evaluated by the magazine has earned in one calendar year.

What makes this even more incredible is that Dr. Dre alone made more than all 24 of the people combined on the 2014 list.  Two second-place entries, both tied at $60 million, made 10% of what Andre “Dr. Dre” Young did. But, with that total, Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs won’t be cashing any unemployment checks any time soon.

Cash Money claims a large stake in the money game as well, with Drake in fourth place at $33 million, Birdman (Co-CEO of Cash Money) at No. 7 with $24 million, Lil Wayne a hair behind him with $23 million and Nicki Minaj, the only female artist on the list, at No. 11, with $14 million.

The complete “World’s Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Acts” list follows:

1. Dr. Dre: $620 million

2. Sean Combs: $60 million

2. Jay Z: $60 million

4. Drake: $33 million

5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: $32 million

6. Kanye West: $30 million

7. Birdman: $24 million

8. Lil Wayne: $23 million

9. Pharrell Williams: $22 million

10. Eminem: $18 million

11. Nicki Minaj: $14 million

12. Wiz Khalifa: $13 million

13. Pitbull: $12 million

14. Snoop Dogg: $10 million

15. Kendrick Lamar: $9 million

16. Ludacris: $8 million

16. Tech N9ne: $8 million

16. Swizz Beatz: $8 million

16. 50 Cent: $8 million

20. Rick Ross: $7 million

20. J. Cole: $7 million

20. DJ Khaled: $7 million

20. Lil Jon: $7 million

20. Mac Miller: $7 million

article by Cedric “Big Ced” Thornton via blackenterprise.com

Jay Z’s ‘Magna Carta’ Easily Keeps its Crown

Jay Z’s ‘Magna Carta’ Easily Keeps its Crown
Lacking any serious new competition, Jay Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” held onto the No. 1 post on the U.S. album chart last week despite a large erosion in sales.

The rapper’s Roc Nation collection shifted 129,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ending July 21. Numbers reflected a 76% drop-off from the set’s debut-week sales of 528,000, which was the year’s second-biggest opening to date.

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles’ “The Blessed Unrest” (Epic) had to settle for No. 2, arriving with first-week sales of 68,000. Her last album, “Kaleidoscope Heart,” reached No. 1 with a 90,000-unit tally in 2010.

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In at No. 3 was the 24th installment of Razor & Tie’s long-running “Kidz Bop” series, which turned 62,000 copies. The current package contains moppet-friendly versions of hits by the Lumineers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake and others.

Florida rapper Ace Hood attained his best chart position to date with “Trials & Tribulations” (Cash Money), which ascended to No. 4 with 34,000 shifted. His previous personal best came in 2011 with “Blood, Sweat & Tears,” which peaked at No. 8 behind a 26,000-unit frame.

Holdovers for the week included Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s to the Good Times” (No. 5, 31,000 sold, off 5%), Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” (No. 6, 28,000, down 15%), J. Cole’s “Born Sinner” (No. 7, 27,000, off 32%) and Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” (No. 9, 24,000, up 33%). Timberlake’s album sold just 24 units more than Simpson’s debuting collection, according to SoundScan.

article by Christopher Morris via Variety.com

Kanye West Takes No. 1 Spot on Billboard 200; J. Cole Takes 2nd in Rap’s “Biggest Week” Since 2011

Official sales numbers are in for the J. Cole-imposed competition with Kanye West and Yeezuslands at No. 1. Cole’s Born Sinner and Mac Miller‘s Watching Movies With the Sound Off enter at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, making it rap’s “biggest week” since November 2011, reportsBillboard.

The Billboard 200 chart tracks top-selling albums nationwide. The coveted first-week sales often determine the trajectory of an album’s overall outcome and strategies for continued marketing.

Kanye, even with the no-marketing marketing strategy, and no single pushed to radio (DJ’s, unconventionally, made their own radio edits from the album), earned his sixth straight chart-topping debut, selling 327,000. This puts him in the third slot for biggest openers this year (behind BET Awards performer Justin Timberlake with 968,000 and electro-pop duo Daft Punk with 339,000); and it puts him in a three-way tie with Eminem and Nas for almost the most No. 1’s. Jay-Z has the most with 12, including his collaborative project with ‘Ye, Watch the Throne.

Continue reading “Kanye West Takes No. 1 Spot on Billboard 200; J. Cole Takes 2nd in Rap’s “Biggest Week” Since 2011″