Music

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Why we should stop referring to Hip-Hop as “Old- School”

Written by: Jermaine A. Shoulders

Jaswriter122@gmail.com

I decided to speak my peace after I had recently read a Twitter post by Kevin Powell, a writer from Brooklyn, NY. He and I are both a part of the Hip Hop generation, the musical phenomenon that has taken over the world, and has  been such an influence on so many cultures. Watching the world embrace an art form that I saw blossom right in front of my eyes, literally, like outside my window, is simply amazing. To watch the millennials and this newest generation totally live in this culture is something we never thought about. Especially, when all we knew was the turntable and the microphone.

I am Hip-Hop through and through, and so is Kevin Powell. My kids tease me all the time about it, not even realizing it was my generation that gave them their style and language. Are we that disconnected? Is the generational gap that wide? No, I don’t think so. But, what we are as a generation in this day and age is not “old school” but “classic.”

Classic is defined as: serving as a standard of excellence: of recognized value. Traditional, enduring”. (Webster’s Dictionary).  When you think of Hip-Hop as a culture, not just the music, you cannot deny its influence. Hip-Hop is full of creators, innovators and game changers. From the way DJ’s scratch records and create mood and rock a party, to the way emcee’s use words to evoke every emotion imaginable to the listener, to the style of dress and speech that is imitated the world over.

I think the term: “classic,” is the perfect way to describe Hip – Hop music. Much like other genres of music (rock, R&B/Soul, jazz, classical), Hip Hop has more than solidified itself in the fabric of American music culture, but also a seminal offering to the rest of  the world. Kevin’s premise in his tweet was that the term “old school hip-hop” is outside the realm of what the music truly is.  And I would have to agree.

There are classic Hip-Hop songs, lyrics, sounds, vernacular, dress styles and movies. Not to mention dance styles, that vary from region to region. That element of Hip-Hop is still alive and well. Our overall “get down” indeed serves as a standard of excellence and is recognized for its value. When you use the term “old-school” there tends to be a negative connotation that creates an idea that it is out-dated or old.  The culture itself is so fluid and it’s always evolving. Therefore, it can never get old. In today’s day and time, lack of respect for the art form and lack of overall creativity from some in the culture only slightly threatens Hip-Hop’s constant evolutionary existence.

We have created other terms that could be synonymous with classic like “foundation” or “essence” or even “roots”, but none of those terms holds the weight of classic as it is undeniable in its influence. When something is considered classic, people tend to listen. People tend to give that thing, whatever it is, a little more respect.

It takes a lot to be considered a classic and think Hip-Hop has earned that right, especially, with many of our classic artists, namely, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, NWA and Beastie Boys, Run DMC and Public Enemy, now sitting and honoring Hip-Hop in the Rock in Roll Hall of Fame.

So let’s do away with that term “old-school” and embrace the term “classic”. Once again the fluidity of the culture demands things change and embrace a new view, a view worthy if it’s name.

 

Check-out the The Art of Hip Hop Trailer, which is a documentary spearheaded by rapper “Ice T” to paint a better picture of my passion for the culture.

 

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My first impression of The Weeknd’s “StarBoy”!

The Weeknd is back, and with more great music! Last year the Canadian singer received a Grammy for his album “Beauty Behind the Madness”, and fans have been patiently waiting to see if his new body of work would follow in its footsteps! His fourth studio album “Starboy”, was released this past Friday and is already receiving positive feedback. I can honestly describe it as one of my favorite R&B albums of the year, and it has only been out for a couple of days! Crazy right? Many artists had highly anticipated albums this year, including The Weeknd, and he did not let us down at all.

If I could choose one word to describe this album, I would say that it is diverse. Each song has its own individual sound and personality, and I think that’s what makes this album so great. He provides us with a range from Daft Punk with the album’s first single “Starboy” and “I Feel it Coming”, to  a classic R&B vibe with his song “True Colors”, and he even adds a Hip-Hop spin with his song “All I know” featuring Future.

The album has features from: Daft Punk, Future, Kendrick Lamar and Lana Del Ray. If you’re looking for something to listen to as the year wraps up I definitely recommend it! My favorite song so far is “True Colors”. Give the album a listen and let us know what you’re favorite song is! I can’t wait to hear what you think, happy listening!

Update: The Weeknd’s album “Starboy” is # 1 in over 80 countries.

Check out the FULL visual to “Mania” Below!

Take a listen to the album Here

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A True Ode to Hip-Hop: A Tribe Called Quest’s releases a new album after 18 years

After 18 years, the legendary group: A Tribe Called Quest releases their final album, “We got it from here, Thank you for your service”. After the passing of member “Phife Dawg” in March of this year, I thought I’d never hear anything new from them again. The album is eclectic, soulful, and nostalgic as it reminds me of why I fell in love with Hip-Hop.

#ATCQ2016 – London, UK – @diabolicalest93

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The album’s first single “We the people” discusses a lot of the issues that our current generation faces on a day to day bases. Q-Tip comes hard on the first verse as he addresses police brutality, inequalities that minority’s face, and how we live in a world that is divided. But that’s not all that this album has to offer, it’s raw, relentless and it’s what Hip-Hop has been missing.

#popupshop #nyc #atcq we will be here today

A post shared by Q-Tip The Abstract (@qtiptheabstract) on

With features ranging from: Andre 3000 to Marsha Ambrosia, I can honestly say that this album is a treat. Even if you’ve never listened to them before I would encourage you to give them a try!

You can find the Album on iTunes. Be sure to tell me what you think about it!

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Listen to Solange’s new album “A Seat At The Table”

Today is the digital release date of Solange’s fourth studio album “A Seat At The Table.” I can’t say who’s worse, her or Frank Ocean for making fans wait four years  to hear some new music. But, I think that it may be well worth it, as Solange says that this is her “…most proud body of work.”

On this new album, you will hear features from: Tweet, Kelela, Kelly Rowland, BJ The Chicago Kid, The Dream, Lil Wayne, Q-Tip and more

Check out her digital book HERE , and tell me what y’all think about it!

Me ….being a bootleg choreographer….coming up w moves for da video 🎥

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Chrisette Michele Interview Recap

Chrisette Michele is such an amazing artist, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her perform live and needless to say she blew me away. Lets be honest, most artists now a days sound completely different live than they do on their albums, but not Chrisette, shes one of the few artist that puts on an awesome live show! With that being said, a few weeks ago I was given a press pass to attend the Pose ‘N Post Symposium presented by Chrisette Michele & Rich Hipster, in my hometown of Richmond, VA. Of course I was super excited and ready to go, but unfortunately due to the venue flooding the event was cancelled. Well, a few days ago I got an email from her PR people letting me know that I would have an opportunity to interview Chrisette via telephone. I was already a fan, but being that this woman actually took time out of her busy day to call me and allow me to interview her, really says a lot! She is truly an amazing human being, super down to earth, and a woman of her word. So, check out my interview recap below with the lovely Chrisette Michele!

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What Inspired you to start the Pose ‘N Post Symposium?

Chrisette explained that the the Pose ‘N Post Symposium was started because she was so inspired by the platforms and businesses created by some of her favorite YouTube vloggers, bloggers, and social media mavens. She went on to stress the importance of social media in today’s world and how it can really help individuals create a business for themselves by doing what they love.

What is the mission of the Pose ‘N Post Symposium, what will attendees take away after attending?

Chrisette stated that her mission is to “create an environment where like minded individuals can celebrate each other”. Attendees will be able to share tips, and success stories about their journey’s with one another, all while gaining some great insight into branding and building their social media presence.

Will you be adding anymore dates, what future plans do you have for the Pose’N Post Symposium?

Due to the overwhelming response she’s had to all of the show dates, a 2nd leg of the tour will be added with additional dates and locations, so make sure to check out richhipster.myshopify.com/collections/pose-n-post-symposium for more details on upcoming dates. All the dates on the current leg of the tour have been sold-out; Chrisette is really excited with the response she has gotten thus far from vloggers and bloggers!

How did the Rich Hipster label come about, and what can we expect to see from Rich Hipster in the future? 

The Rich Hipster label was inspired by everyday people, ( thats typically where she finds most of her inspiration) through meeting and conversing with people on a daily basis. Chrisette Michele went on to explain that Rich Hipster is “more than a label, but a lifestyle”. We can expect lots of dope things from the Rich Hipster brand in the future including new artist like her brother Lem Payne, the label will also be hosting lots of charity events, summer BBQ’s, music showcases, etc.

Are you currently working on new music, if so what can we expect from this album?

A new album is in the works, so fans get ready! Chrisette stated that while she has no name yet for this new album, “it is highly inspired from old soul- singers” and you’ll definitely be able to hear that influence throughout the record!

Where do you find inspiration when writing new material, and where do you like to record?

Chrisette finds inspiration in everything from friends & family, to nature, and the world we live in. She loves to record new material with just herself, a piano, and without the use of studio engineering.

It was such a pleasure speaking with the beautiful Chrisette Michele, ladies be on the look out for the Pose ‘N Post Symposium, it could be making its way to your city next!

 

 

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PREMIERE: Jhené Aiko’s Eternal Sunshine

She’s soulful. She’s deep. She’s beautifully raw. She’s Jhené Aiko and her new music video “Eternal Sunshine” encompasses all she is. The video references very real, very tragic moments in her life (the death of her brother and a car crash involving her daughter, sister, daughter’s father, and herself), but her tone isn’t morose, it’s one of acceptance and peace. Once again, Jhené illustrates why she’s the chillest in the R&B game.

read more

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New Artist Tink Redefines Feminism in Rap

Tink has spunk. The petite hip-hop artist openly identifies as a feminist and has renounced the “bitch” title: an easy go-to image for female rappers. This is bold and refreshing territory for an up-and-coming artist competing with the likes of Nicki Minaj.

Tink’s February cover story with Fader chronicles her path from Chicagoan recording tracks in her basement, to signing with Timbaland’s label Mosley Music Group. Fader even compares her fierce attitude to Daenerys Targaryen, and rightly so. Tink is undoubtedly breaking boundaries within hip-hop culture, in true Daenerys fashion.

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“I’m definitely a feminist. The industry made me that way. I had to grind so hard to be taken seriously, had to work twice as hard to get here,” Tink said in her interview with Fader. “I’m in my own little lane, doing just me. I don’t have to fit in.”

A compelling feminist voice is desperately needed in rap music today. While popular artists like Missy Elliot and M.I.A. are recognizable feminists, they are easily drowned out by chart-toppers like Minaj.

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Nicki Minaj has addressed the importance of female empowerment and strength before.

“I love my females. I give them confidence to say I am me, take it or leave it, I love it and I don’t care what you think about it,” Minaj said in an interview.

 But that message is clouded by her lyrics and emphasis on physical traits. She is the highest-selling female rapper, but her song lyrics generally lack substance. Such as the song “Anaconda” with lyrics that read:

“Fuck those skinny bitches in the club. I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the motherfucking club, fuck you if you skinny bitches. What? Yeah! Yeah. I got a big fat ass. Come on!”

Tink’s strong feminist presence, and dedication to following her own path, is the perfect antidote to the degradation of women in the industry.

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“I had to cut off calling myself a ‘bitch.’ And I cut out some of the songs where I was degrading myself. When people do that, of course it’s seen in a fun way, but at the same time it’s sending the message to everybody else to look at you as a bitch,” she told Fader. “I want to dig deep into bad relationships, molestation, racism, and not feeling pretty. I want to get under people’s skin.”

And we want you to, Tink. Combining societal issues with catchy music will help empower women who feel oppressed and discriminated against. Tink, who is only 19, can also help send the message to young women that there are more important things than having a pretty face and Minaj-esque booty. And she has the musical talent to make it big. With songs like “Tell the Children” and “Try Me” Tink has the momentum to become the next It Girl.

Read the full cover story here.

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Fifty Shades of Grey: The Weeknd “Earned It” | Cover

Hello beautiful souls,

Since the much-anticipated movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” came out today, I wanted to share with you all my cover of The Weeknd’s song “Earned It” from the soundtrack for the movie. When I heard this song about three weeks ago, I immediately fell in love. After that day, I am not sure if it was fate, or my own paranoia, but I felt like the song was following me around. I couldn’t turn on Pandora, my car radio, or get on YouTube without hearing this song…so I decided to sing it.

Like the video, share the video, and subscribe!

 

XOXO

-Kiana

 

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How Music Snatched me Bald This Week

Kid Fury, a great modern philosopher, often compares Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s combination of vocal ability, performance expertise and undeniable beauty to ones edges being violently snatched from ones scalp. This has always resonated with me, because there’s no doubt that Queen Bey has a way of throwing so much greatness in your face all at once that it’s just rude, it’s so unexpectedly mesmerizing that I often feel like a part of my being, like my baby hairs, has been ripped away without warning – but I don’t mind at all.

screen-shot-2014-07-30-at-9-47-38-amThis week, the world of hip-hop and R&B has left me near bald yet again. It all started with Janelle Monae’s release of her latest video for “Electric Lady.” This song has always been a favorite of mine – it’s fun and upbeat, and the way you’re seamlessly introduced to its infectious beat after “Q.U.E.E.N.” on Monae’s album always gets me. But the visual for the song is even better. In it, Monae literally lets her hair down, revealing the most beautiful array of natural curls that I’ve ever seen, and gets down at what looks like the college house party of my dreams – there’s dancing, stepping, and also a T.I. appearance (plus cameos from Kimbra, T-Boz, Esperanza Spaulding, Monica, and Estelle) It was too good. Edges: gone.

 

Remy-Ma-DJ-Khaled_0Next, hip-hop legend Remy Ma came home. After serving 6 years in a woman’s correctional facility (“Orange is the New Black” realness) the rapper was finally released this week. However, as soon as she got out, the former Terror Squad member wasted no time. She was in the studio with DJ Khaled the next day and recorded a “They Don’t Love You No More” Remix, and believe me, her verse sounds like six years of preparation – it’s fire. However, I as well as many other fans didn’t even get the chance to process her homecoming yet; to hope, to dream about the possibilities before she decided to unleash this. Edges: burned.

 

FLAWLESS-BEYONCE-MINAJAnd then, there was Beyoncé. To be honest, I shouldn’t be surprised by her behavior considering the fact that she stole edges across the world like a thief in the night when she unexpectedly dropped the her self-titled album. However, she got me again. Beyoncé casually released a “Flawless” remix this weekend featuring none other than Nicki Minaj. If you haven’t noticed, Nicki’s also been killing it lately. She’s giving great hair, has starred in movies, and has released her best work in years. (“Bang Bang” her collab with Ariana Grande and Jessie J is still at the top of the charts and her much awaited single “Anaconda” is set to release on Tuesday) But on top of all, they decided to just drop a song on us that can only be described as flawless. Not only does Beyonce match Nicki’s level of slay-age as she affirms that she’s the baddest, but she addresses that infamous surveillance video with the line “Of course sometimes s— goes down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator.” … Bald.

Feel free to enjoy all of this music while I wait for my hair to grow back. 

 

For more stories like this check out the new issue of Natura Magazine HERE.

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Michael Jackson: ‘Love Never Felt So Good’ (Audio)

Check out your first listen of Michael Jackson‘s brand new song “Love Never Felt So Good”!

img_1457_michael-jackson-love-never-felt-so-good-full-song-from-new-album-xscape-cd2The track is off the new album XSCAPE that was made with previously unreleased songs and is being released nearly five years after the late singer’s untimely death. The album was produced and curated by Epic Records Chairman and CEO L.A. Reid. Go pre-order your copy right now on iTunes.

We got our first taste of the song when it debuted at the 2014 iHeartRadio Music Awards with Usher doing a dance performance alongside the music.

WHAT DO YOU THINK of Michael Jackson’s new song?