Tag: Q-Tip

Kennedy Center Creates Hip-Hop Culture Council with Q-Tip, Questlove, MC Lyte, Common and Others

via newsone.com

One of the nation’s most renowned performing arts institutions has taken a major step in recognizing hip-hop culture’s influence on society. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. recently announced the creation of its hip-hop culture council.

The council was developed in efforts to bring more hip-hop-focused programming to the institution. Through an array of different events, hip-hop culture will be examined through the lens of workshops, film screenings, panels, and virtual programs. Rapper Q-Tip will spearhead the council which is made up of a collective of influential individuals that are connected to hip-hop. Amongst some of the individuals who will sit on the council are Questlove of The Roots, rapper Common, rapstress MC Lyte, producer Mimi Valdes, DJ Bobbito Garcia and Interactive One’s own Kierna Mayo. Rapper LL Cool J—who was honored by Kennedy Center last year—will also be a part of the council.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with such an extraordinary group of icons, innovators, and contributors to the Culture,” said Simone Eccleston, Director of Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music at the Kennedy Center in a statement. “As we continue to build the complex ecosystem that supports this program, the Council becomes an integral piece in sustaining Hip Hop’s presence at the Center.” Events that are lined up include a screening of the film Wild Style and a live performance inspired by Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me.

The creation of the council comes at a time where many institutions are bringing hip-hop’s influence to the forefront. In November 2017, it was announced that the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. planned on creating an anthology to capture the essence of hip-hop history and highlight how its culture has left an indelible mark on the world. Check out Q-Tip’s introduction to the Kennedy Center’s hip-hop culture council below.

 

LL Cool J to Become Kennedy Center’s First Hip-Hop Honoree

LLCoolJ (photo via npr.org)

by Rodney Carmichael via npr.org

Thirty years after becoming rap’s first sex symbol, LL Cool J will be the first hip-hop artist to receive Kennedy Center Honors in its 40-year history.

The rapper-turned-actor born James Todd Smith will be inducted with a prestigious 2017 class — including pop stars Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, television icon Norman Lear and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade – on Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

The honorees will be saluted by performers while seated alongside President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. While Kennedy Center Honors acknowledge the lifetime achievements of contributors to American culture, the list has traditionally been limited in scope. But the inclusion of LL, born James Todd Smith, in this year’s honoree list further expands the center’s growing embrace of hip-hop culture.

Earlier this year the center appointed Simone Eccleston as its first director of Hip-Hop Culture after naming A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip as artistic director of Hip-Hop Culture in 2016. Historic performances by Kendrick Lamar and Common have also underlined the center’s investment, and more programming for the 2017-18 season is expected to be announced in the coming months.

At 49, LL will be the Kennedy Center’s youngest honoree since Stevie Wonder. It’s a long way from home for the St. Albans, Queens native who made his first record, “I Need A Beat,” at 16, after his demo tape made it to the ears of producer and Def Jam founder Rick Rubin. As rap’s first bona fide solo star, LL was larger than life in the 1980s, the first to embody the street-corner swagger and sex appeal that would become a blueprint for future hip-hop icons ranging from Big Daddy Kane to Biggie.

Before an artist like Drake could legitimately mix hip-hop lyricism with R&B vulnerability, LL turned out the first hit rap ballad with 1987’s “I Need Love.” And the ladies loved him for it. Best known today for his starring roles in TV and film, he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year. But after a career spanning 30-plus years and 13 albums, he’s yet to leave rap alone — he’s rumored to be in the studio recording with Dr. Dre.

To read full article, go to: LL Cool J To Become Kennedy Center’s First Hip-Hop Honoree : The Record : NPR

Harlem Stage in New York Director Simone Eccleston Named Kennedy Center’s 1st Director of Hip-Hop Culture 

Simone Eccleston (photo via nbcwashington.com)

article by Jordan Murray via nbcwashington.com

The Kennedy Center announced their first director of hip-hop culture and contemporary music Wednesday. Simone Eccleston, currently the director of programming at Harlem Stage in New York, will assume the role March 13. Eccleston’s new role will include leading a center-wide commitment to hip-hop culture and contemporary music, which includes R&B, soul, folk and roots, indie, world music and Latin music, according to a release.

Eccleston will also work as a partner with other areas of the Kennedy Center to highlight the collaborative nature of hip-hop music. The program will also aim to increase opportunities for community involvement and participation. Hip-hop is based on five core elements — deejaying, emceeing, break-dancing, graffiti writing and knowledge of self — the Kennedy Center said, all of which build and transform communities through art and action.

“With the Kennedy Center serving as the preeminent home for our nation’s arts and culture, the creation of a programmatic platform for hip-hop culture is deeply significant,” Eccleston said in a statement. She also said hip-hop culture has influenced and contributed to every aspect of American society and helps drive innovation and creative expressions across many different disciplines. “It is also an important catalyst for community building, activism and empowerment.”

Kennedy Center Senior Vice President Robert van Leer said the nature of hip-hop culture can create collaborations with the dance, theater, music and education programs. “We are thrilled to have an arts administrator of Simone’s caliber join us — someone who can lead that exploration of what hip-hop at the Kennedy Center can become in the coming years,” van Leer said in a statement. “And we believe it is the Center’s responsibility to develop and elevate thought-leaders like Simone to champion the bright future of our nation’s cultural institutions.”

Last March, the center appointed MC, rapper and record producer Q-Tip as its first artistic director for hip-hop culture.

To read full article, go to: Kennedy Center Names First Director of Hip-Hop Culture | NBC4 Washington

Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest to Have Section of Linden Blvd. in Queens Named in His Honor

Phife Dawg (photo via billboard.com)
Phife Dawg (photo via billboard.com)

article by Bruce Goodwin II via theurbandaily.com

Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest passed away this past March due to complications from diabetes. And now, after a series of powerful memorials, Phife’s getting a street named after him in his old Queens neighborhood.

OkayPlayer got confirmation from Phife’s manager that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign a bill to co-name a portion of Linden Boulevard at 192nd Street in St. Albans “Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor Way.”

The signing is set to take place on Wednesday, August 3 at 10 a.m. inside City Hall.

The intersection of 192nd Street and Linden Blvd. is a huge nod to the group’s beginnings as Phife mentioned the location in tracks like “Steve Biko” and “Check the Rhime.” Alongside Q-TipAli Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi, the group was formed in that neighborhood in 1985.

To read more, go to: http://theurbandaily.com/2016/08/01/phife-street-own-street-named-after-him/

A Tribe Called Quest Invites Fans to Phife Dawg Memorial in Queens on April 4

article by Shenequa Golding via vibe.com

While hip-hop still comes to terms with the death of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, surviving members from A Tribe Called Quest announced Sunday (April 3) a memorial would be held in honor of their late lyrical brother.

 READ: A Tribe Called Quest Pens Touching Statement In Wake Of Phife Dawg’s Passing

“Please meet us at St. Albans Park in Queens, NY on April 4th at 10:30am,” Organizers wrote. “The first 200 fans to arrive will receive something very special!”

As Q-Tip famously once said “Back in the day on the boulevard of Linden” both Tip and Phife Dawg grew up in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens. Since Phife’s death on March 22nd, fans of the funky diabetic have made efforts to rename a street and park where he along with Q-Tip would often go and freestyle.

If you’re planning to attend, please arrive early because all of Queens and hip-hop will be sure to show love to the Five Footer.

Prince Announces He’ll Be Writing Memoir, “The Beautiful Ones”, for Random House

Prince performs in Los Angeles, in March, 2014. On Friday night, at a club in Manhattan, Prince announced a book that will begin with his first memory and go “all the way to the Super Bowl” of 2007.
Prince performs in Los Angeles, in March, 2014. On Friday night, at a club in Manhattan, Prince announced a book that will begin with his first memory and go “all the way to the Super Bowl” of 2007. (CREDIT: PHOTOGRAPH BY KEVIN MAZUR / WIREIMAGE / NPG RECORDS / GETTY)

article by Sarah Larson via newyorker.com

Dearly beloved, Prince is writing a memoir. Last night, at Avenue, the club on Tenth Avenue, in the Meatpacking District, he announced the news to a group of admirers who’d been alerted that afternoon. Before he arrived, editors, journalists, and friends of Prince danced to Q-Tip and Diana Ross under orange lights and a mirrored disco ball, and waitresses in stretchy, zippered minidresses carried trays of champagne flutes. Gayle King showed up, then Trevor Noah, of “The Daily Show.” Noah told me that his favorite Prince song was “Purple Rain.” In his youth in South Africa, he said, he’d discovered Prince after becoming a fan of Michael Jackson. “Prince is our generation’s classical music,” he said.

“Billie Jean” began playing. People screamed. Prince appeared on a glass-lined balcony, descending a staircase and standing a few feet above us like a pastor or a king. He had a roundish cloud of hair and wore a gleaming gold-and-purple striped pajama suit. “The good people of Random House have made me an offer I can’t refuse!” he said. He was writing a book, he told us. “It’s going to be called ‘The Beautiful Ones.’ ” We cheered. “I literally just got off the plane. I’m going to go home and change and put some dancing clothes on. Props to my brother Harry Belafonte.” People looked around. Prince put large, insectile sunglasses on. “Now I can see,” he said.

Spiegel & Grau, the Random House imprint, is scheduled to publish “The Beautiful Ones” in fall 2017. “You all still read books, right?” Prince asked. “My brother Dan”—Dan Piepenbring of the Paris Review—“is helping with it. He’s a good critic. That’s what I need. Not a yes man.” Prince said that the book would begin with his first memory and go “all the way to the Super Bowl.” He played the Super Bowl in 2007, in a torrential storm, singing “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Baby I’m a Star,” and “Purple Rain” on an enormous illuminated Love Symbol, accompanied by dancers, fireworks, a glowing marching band, and a stadium full of backup singers. Like everything Prince does, it felt strangely mythic.

To read more, go to: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/prince-announces-his-memoir-funkily?mbid=rss

Q-Tip Named Kennedy Center’s 1st Artistic Director of Hip-Hop

Q-Tip (photo via eurweb.com)
Q-Tip (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Maeve McDermott via usatoday.com

Before last year, Kennedy Center hosting hip hop shows seemed like an unlikely prospect.

But after hosting Kendrick Lamar’s sold-out performance with the National Symphony Orchestra last year, the center’s 2016 season includes its first hip hop culture series, bringing on rapper and producer Q-Tip as their first artistic director of hip hop.

The social justice-oriented rapper is best known as a founding member of the seminal hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, and has worked with many of music’s biggest names, including Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, the Beastie Boys, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and Pharrell Williams.

The Kennedy Center, which celebrates John F. Kennedy’s 100th birthday this year, announced details of six events celebrating different facets of hip hop culture, including a poetry slam, a teach-in and a dance competition. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and soprano Renee Fleming were also appointed at-large artistic advisers for the 2016-2017 season, according to the AP.

“This new programmatic platform recognizes Hip Hop’s contributions to global culture and its role in promoting values such as courage, freedom, justice, and service,” the center announced in a release.

To read more, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2016/03/08/q-tip-named-kennedy-center-first-hip-hop-director/81485882/

A Tribe Called Quest to Release Special 25th Anniversary Edition of Their Debut Album

atcq25cover

On April 17, 1990, A Tribe Called Quest released their debut album, Peoples’ Instinctive Travels And The Paths of Rhythm and one of Hip-Hop’s most beloved groups began one of the culture’s most revered journeys. The group would go on to release several albums heralded as classics, including The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders, but it would be their debut album that helped cement an impending shift in Hip-Hop, led by the Native Tongues collective of The Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, Queen Latifah and Tribe.

Twenty-five years later, the foursome of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhamad and Jarobi, along with Sony Legacy, have announced a special silver anniversary edition of ATCQ’s debut album, which will be released on November 13. A statement from the group reveals that the album will be remastered from the original tapes by Grammy-Award winning engineer Bob Power. Power is the legendary engineer whose handiwork can be heard on albums by ATCQ, De La Soul, The Roots, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Common and many more.

The 25th anniversary edition of Peoples’ Instinctive Travels And The Paths of Rhythm also will feature exclusive new remixes by some of today’s biggest hip-hop artists who have been influenced by Tribe over the years. According to the statement, details about the remixes will be revealed over the next few weeks, and this album’s re-release will be the first among a series of re-issues of ATCQ’s classic albums.

In speaking about the debut album, Q-Tip said “I had this album in my head for years before I did it. Looking at it overall, to see the thoughts of a 16 year old gain any kind of acknowledgement makes me feel like I have arrived… But to see it in this incarnation … I’m humbled.” Fellow group member Ali Shaheed Muhammad also added, “This album means a lot. It was the beginning of our careers; the beginning of our imprint; the beginning of seeing life the way we saw it, and being able to put it down in words and music.”

Here’s a look at a brief trailer for the forthcoming special edition LP.

article by Parfit via ambrosiaforheads.com

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

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 1.14.35 PM

“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”

FILM REVIEW: Nas’ Essential Contribution to Hip Hop Highlighted in Documentary “Time Is Illmatic”

Nas Time is Illmatic

It’s unlikely that hip-hop documentary “Time Is Illmatic” will have many showings as thrilling as its opening-night slot at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, where it preceded an impassioned live performance by its subject, the artist born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones and better known by his stage name: Nas. Still, this brisk, stylish and extremely heartfelt portrait of Nas’ rise from the housing projects of Queensbridge to the heights of hip-hop royalty ably stands on its own, marked by an admirable focus on the man and his music rather than hype and hagiography. Sure to be embraced by fans (but also a fine primer for neophytes), “Time” should have a long home-viewing shelf life following additional fest and select theatrical bookings.

In his feature directing debut, the former graffiti artist and graphic designer One9 smartly avoids trying for a comprehensive career portrait of Nas, instead centering on the rapper’s humble origins and the making of his landmark 1994 debut album, “Illmatic.” Comparable in its impact on hip-hop to that of Jackson Pollock’s splatter paintings on the art world, “Illmatic” seemed a prodigal work, constructed of airtight rhythms and intricate rhymes, steeped in the violent realities of ghetto life yet far-reaching in its lyric and musical allusions (including “samples” that ran the gamut from jazz to Michael Jackson), as intimate as a diary while also serving as a very public statement of artistic intent. Nas was all of 20 at the time, and best known for his electrifying guest rapping on popular singles by Main Source and MC Serch.

Two decades later, Nas is close to an eminence grise, but the figure who appears onscreen for much of “Time Is Illmatic” appears humbled by his massive success and is quick to acknowledge those who helped pave the way (like the pioneering female rapper Roxanne Shante, who gave the teenage Nas an early break as part of her crew), as well as those (like childhood friend Willie “Ill Will” Graham) who were less lucky at surviving the Queensbridge mean streets. To this, the film adds a carefully selected mix of testimonials from friends, family members, artistic collaborators and assorted lions of old-school hip-hop. But save for a couple of fleeting appearances by Cornel West and Henry Louis Gates, “Time” eschews third-party critical analysis in favor of keeping the focus on neighborhood and personal experience, a cinematic “trip down memory lane” to complement the one Nas rapped about on “Illmatic” itself.

The pic’s first half devotes much of its energy to anatomizing Nas’ childhood and early performance career, with particular attention to his parents — the jazz sideman Olu Dara and his wife, Ann Jones — who raised their two sons (Nas and younger brother Jabari, aka “Jungle”) in a bohemian cocoon of art, books and music very different from the Queensbridge norm. After a brief childhood flirtation with the trumpet, Nas had already begun writing rhymes by age 8. Curiously, it was Dara himself, by then divorced from Ann, who persuaded both boys to drop out of New York’s public school system (where he believed they were receiving an inferior, resource-starved education) after completing the eighth grade. He wanted them to follow their entrepreneurial dreams, which was easier said than done in the New York of the pre-Giuliani, crack-besieged late ’80s and early ’90s.

Fans of old-school hip-hop will take particular delight in the docu’s evocation of the neighborhood rivalries and MC battles that played out in the form of tracks like Marly Marl and MC Shan’s “The Bridge” and KRS-One’s “South Bronx,” and helped to stoke the young Nas’ creative fires. (The opening cut of “Illmatic” featured a prominent sample of the seminal 1983 hip-hop feature “Wild Style,” also excerpted here.) Returning today to the old neighborhood, Nas reflects emotionally on the devastation wrought by drugs and gang violence and how, but for a few strokes of luck, he too might have become another victim.

In its second half, “Time” shifts gears to the recording of “Illmatic,” with Nas and his quintet of illustrious producers (Nas, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S. and DJ Premier) offering insightful, track-by-track deconstructions of the album’s most enduring cuts: “Life’s a Bitch,” “One Love,” “The World Is Yours” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” with its inspired sampling of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.”

The documentary occasionally reveals its multiyear gestation period in the variable range of video formats used to capture the interviews, but otherwise sports a polished, professional sheen.

review by Scott Foundas via Variety.com