All Articles Tagged "rap"
Industry observers scoffed when T.I. announced he wanted a new $75 million recording contract at the demand. As we reported,T.I.’s 10-year contract with Atlantic Records had just wrapped up when declared his new going rate. Well, T.I. is now talking a $200 million record deal.
“I am a free agent. I’m operating as an independent label. I do not have corporate sponsors. I don’t have no corporate backing. I don’t have no major distribution. We Master-P-ing this Isht right now… I’m proving I’m worth $200 million,” T.I. told Billboard.
By proving it, he means delivering hits through his Grand Hustle label, which launched in 2003. But as the magazine points out it has been an uphill battle. The label struggled when T.I. was in prison for most of 2009 through 2011. There had been some bright lights, such as B.o.B. and Yung L.A., who released a platinum-selling hit “Aint’ I” in 2008 but they all petered out. And Meek Mill, who signed with T.I. in 2008, jumped to Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group before releasing a record.
Grand Hustle finally had new signings like British rapper Chip, and Houston vet Trae Tha Truth. T.I.’s first post-prison album, “Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head,” hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Last week, he released “G.D.O.D.,” the debut mixtape from Hustle Gang, a new moniker for the label, notes Billboard. The project was preceded by a single from T.I. and B.o.B., “Memories Back Then,” featuring Kendrick Lamar and Hustle Gang singer Kris Stephens. The song broke through the Hot 100 at No. 88—without a major-label push.
“That dark period is over, and the celebration shall begin. But before the celebration we got to put in the work. And this work is a part of it,” T.I. told Billboard about Grand Hustle.
Grand Hustle now has 30 members and T.I. says he knows his company’s worth—and wants to be paid it. “Right now, I’m proving I’m worth $200 million. I done sat with all the people; everybody says they’re interested, but they don’t want to cut that check. Alright — we’re going to motivate them to cut that check,” he said.
We’ll ask again: Will T.I. get what he’s asking for? Or is he over-reaching?
Where in the world are the Grandmaster Flashes of today? You know the rappers who told a story that many folk could relate to. Nowadays hip has hopped its way into the bowels of shame. No, I’m not talking the Talib Kweli’s of the world either, I’m talking mainstream rappers whose controversial rhymes are landing them in hot waters, mainly because of heavily misogynistic-laced lyrics. Some have offered apologies to the public, while others would rather snub their nose at us than muster up an “I’m sorry.” It truly is a jungle out there for some of these rappers, and it makes one wonder if they’ll keep from going under. Ah-huh-huh, huh, huh.
Does gospel get a bad rap?
If you grew up in a “praying house,” as some call it, chances are you were required to go to church all the time – probably three times during the week and all day on Sunday. At home, the Bible may have been centrally located and the gospel music playing was a constant. Your parents and grandparents played all the goodies like Shirley Caesar, Mississippi Mass Choir, Mahalia Jackson (if you really want to take it back) and James Cleveland – they were the real music stars. So it was church and gospel music. That’s all there was back in the day. That’s it.
But that was then.
Today, gospel is a booming business that goes way beyond praising God in song. Many artists are doing reality shows, making songs that sound really close to secular music and other becoming involved in other business ventures that some may consider attempts to be more mainstream. It’s almost become a gift and a curse.
When it was first revealed that Mary Mary would be getting their own reality show early last year, I admit to being one of the people staunchly opposed to the entire idea. Like, of course, Mary Mary are really just two women who lead very regular lives outside of music but as they are gospel artists, I was nervous about how much they would show of their lives. I, like many others, were worried they’d be “ungodly” in their personal lives and it would turn me off. Sure, I was prejudging them and as judgment is a part of life (despite what many of us might say), I don’t really apologize for it. As it turns out, the show isn’t that bad (aside from the occasional very “angry” moment from one of the sisters) and I enjoy watching. They’ll be on season three soon so I guess so does everyone else.
The music is becoming a little more “interesting” as well. While many of us who know and sometimes enjoy gospel music may recall it being traditional – mostly slow and literally almost just like church – in its sound, a lot of today’s music is quite…hip. Kirk Franklin led that wave in the late 90s with “Stomp.” Artists like Mary Mary, Tye Tribbett and others are continuing the trend. While these artists are continuing to deliver “the word” in song, some feel they’ve gotten too secular (if you recall, “God In Me sounded a lot like “Blame It On The Alcohol”). New artist Lecrae (who actually won a Grammy earlier this year) is a young gospel rapper – and a great one, at that – who grew up with hip-hop music did not initially “know God.” He surrounded himself with a party lifestyle full of drugs, alcohol and women. He finally had an epiphany of sorts and decided to turn his life over to God. But he raps; should he not be allowed to perform his praise in the way he knows how?
The question becomes: Is today’s Gospel just getting bad rap? Are people too uptight and caught up in what gospel artists “should” be? If you think about it, a lot of these artists grew up in not only a hip hop era, but also a media based one. They’re gospel singers, not blind singers who don’t know what’s happening outside of their genre. Shouldn’t they have a right to express themselves in a way they see fit without being disrespectful to their message? It seems like many people who are familiar with gospel would like to see it stay in this “box” that’s full of choir robes and hymns. Admittedly, I’m a person who likes gospel music in spurts and am fairly conservative in what I like. But as I recently watched an episode of “The Sheards” while wondering why they would even bother with reality television, I thought, “They have a right to show their lives too. Stop being so critical.” It may not stop me in full from being critical but I’ll watch with more openness.
Gospel artists seemingly will never catch a break unless they stick to this mold of only singing and speaking about God, heaven and the like. Perhaps that’s too much responsibility and as we know, you can’t please everyone.
What do you think? Are people too hard on the gospel artists or should some gospel artists be more mindful of the product their releasing?
When Iyanla Vanzant sits down with DMX, everyone had better tune in with a notebook and pencil because it’s going to be explosive. Vanzant meets the embattled rapper on the season 2 premiere of Iyanla: Fix My Life to offer “support” around his issues with drug abuse, women, his extensive arrest record (“roughly 30 times,” he tells her), and his relationship with his family, particularly his son.
Vanzant spoke to ESSENCE.com about the episode, where she thinks DMX went wrong, and what we can all learn from him.
On where she thinks DMX went wrong in his life:
I don’t think that he went wrong. All of us have ways in which we mask and cover our pain. This is a man who is in a tremendous amount of pain. Some of us eat; some of us shop or eat chocolate. What he is doing is a less socially acceptable way to mask and cover his pain because he doesn’t have the skills and the tools to deal with it otherwise. So I don’t think he went wrong, it’s just a defense mechanism.
The breakthrough moment:
Sometimes you go on to do one thing and something else unfolds. When you’re dealing with the ravages of long-term drug abuse you’re also dealing with the impact of the entire ecology of the environment. What we discovered was that the greatest healing was for his son Xavier who had not had the ability to address what he was feeling about his father. Xavier really got the biggest breakthrough.
This was a really good interview and you can read the rest over at Essence.com. While this episode is clearly going to give us every level of entertainment we need, it is possibly the chance for us to learn something about ourselves and not just using it as a moment to laugh at someone else’s situation.
The second season of Iyanla: Fix My Life premieres tonight at 9p ET on OWN. Will you be watching?
Fools Run In Packs: Meek Mill Talks Charging Fans $100+ For Pics And Why He Doesn’t Care About Rick Ross’s Lyrics
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Rick Ross, and rightfully so. Many have been very vocal about their disgust over his lyrics in the remix to the Rocko song “U.O.E.N.O” (“Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it”). As a result of those lines and his clear confusion about why it’s wrong (saying you would never say the word rape in a song and implying it just because you think you sound witty makes no sense) has led to a lot of uproar and calls for Ross to lose his endorsements with Reebok.
Now people in his camp are having to answer for their boss’s lyrics, including Meek Mill, who had a radio interview in DC with 93.9 where he talked about that controversy, along with the heat he has been getting on his own for allegedly charging fans at his shows to be able take pictures with him. His answers were interesting to say the least, and can be kind of difficult to read…good luck.
Necole Bitchie got word from numerous people, fans of the rapper, who were pissed about him asking them to pay more than $100 for a chance to cheese it up with him in pictures. When asked about the rumors that he was doing this, he says it wasn’t him, but his people (“homies”) who were making folks pay to take a pic with him. But with R&B divas like Beyoncé and others charging hundreds of dollars for meet and greets, he doesn’t see the problem at all:
“Actually, I was not charging to take pictures ya know? My homies be in the crowd and if my homie trying to make some money and you trying to get backstage, he might charge you. That’s your fault. I don’t even see nothing actually wrong. Beyoncé and Rihanna, they charge $500 for a meet and greet. I’m bout to do a meet and greet right now free. I been doing this for years, you know what I’m saying? I take pictures everyday. I just took 20 pictures. I hang in the neighborhood, you know what I’m saying. I hang in the hood. So you know it’s average to me. I come outside everyday, pictures is average to me.”
“You know man, I don’t even care about nobody criticizing no lyrics man. People rap about killing stuff all day man. Biggie said ‘rape your kid, throw her over the bridge,’ back then and it was nothing, it was just hip-hop. Now you got all these weirdos on these social sites voicing their opinions about something anybody say. I don’t care; you know what I’m saying? I’m from the hood. I never really cared about what nobody said in no raps. Raps always been talking about killing, drugs, all types of stuff, you know what I’m saying? So you can’t just criticize no one thing nobody say man. It’s imaginary visuals. If a writer write about somebody getting raped in a movie, is he a rapist or he want girls to get raped? No, he just wrote about that in a movie.”
Misogynist rap lyrics are nothing new. But last week Rick Ross discovered the suggestion that he spike a woman’s champagne before having sex with her without her knowledge was a step too far. After radio stations banned his song, the rapper took to airwaves to plead his case.
The rapper’s apology wasn’t enough for some. (It was pretty terrible.) Protest group UltraViolet delivered 72,000-plus signatures to Reebok’s flagship store demanding they back away from their endorsement deal with Ross. The brand, who Ross name-dropped just a few beats before the lyrics in question, has remained silent on the issue. But, should brands be called in to play the role of morality police, making sure the artists who make their products cool stay on their best behavior?
Rewarding & Punishing Bad Behavior
Brands have distanced themselves from artists for bad behavior or questionable values before. T.I. lost his deal with Axe body spray after going to jail for violating probation in 2010. Chris Brown was dropped from Doublemint after his infamous Grammy night brawl with Rihanna. Pepsi cut ties with Madonna and later Ludacris when they didn’t agree with the images portrayed in their music.
When brands align themselves with artists like Rick Ross, they know what they’re getting themselves into. Ross made himself rich masquerading as a drug lord with murderous tendencies. Ross’ lyrics are horrible, but Reebok would come off a little hypocritical asking their “gangster” spokesperson to tone it down. (“We like you coke dangerous, but not date rape dangerous.”)
Companies, especially juggernauts like Reebok, don’t choose brand ambassadors haphazardly. They strategically choose public personas whose images are in line with their brand, and the lifestyle they want to sell.
Why Do Good Brands Like Bad Boys?
Cortez Bryant, co-founder of management firm handling Lil Wayne, a rapper who has also come under scrutiny for his lyrics, says that companies are willing to take a risk on artists who capture the attention of their target demographics, even when their track record is questionable. “You know, in the previous years we’ve had hard times, but people ‘get it’ for [his] brand,” he said of Wayne’s partnership with Mountain Dew. “It just seemed like where they were going with their brand, which is all about diversity and crossing barriers, is the same place we want to go.”
Would companies like Reebok dropping artists like Rick Ross make other artists rethink their lyrical content? Maybe. Hitting a person in their wallet is usually an effective way to get them to change their ways. But, at the end of the day, it isn’t Reebok’s job to change Ross.
Supplying The Demand
If Ross is selling a lifestyle the Reebok consumer wants to attain, the brand has a successful partnership. Unless their alliance with the rapper impacts their relationships with their other customers, say active women, the brand has no reason to walk away from him. Let’s be real. Ross’ controversy, like countless other rap lyric scandals will most likely fade from the news cycle, his fan base unbothered. If Reebok did drop his contract, he’d just find another brand to align with.
Brands can’t be relied on to influence artists. The more effective approach for those looking to curtail offensive messages against women may be to look at why personas like Ross and the lifestyle of drug-fueled chauvinistic fantasies he promotes are so attractive to some consumers. After all, brands and enterprising artists like Ross will always and only align themselves with what sells.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Missy will always hold a special place in my heart. She took the Hip Hop world by storm, making an entrance no MC, and especially no female MC had seen before. Missy’s debut album Supa Dupa Fly was one of the first Hip Hop albums my father bought for my sister and I for Christmas and my life was forever changed because of it. Missy was brazen, insanely creative and even a little or a lotta bit raunchy at times, a well-rounded, very real woman. Even as a fifth grader, I could relate to her. Anyone who’s listened to Missy over the years has noticed that her lyrics are often hilarious, risque and sometimes just downright outrageous. We grabbed a few of our favorites here. Check them out and feel free to add your favorites in the comments section below.
Is hip-hop destroying black America? To answer this question fairly, we must first discard the distorted image of hip hop that mainstream media has passed off for the past 20 years.
Hip-hop is a movement consisting of four main artistic elements: DJ’ing, rapping, breaking and graffiti. But at its core, it is a philosophy based on the idea that self expression is an integral part of the pursuit of peace, love and unity. It was created by young visionaries who tapped into their greatest potential and gave birth to one of the most important cultural phenomenon the world has ever seen.
Shaped by the spirit of Africa, The Carribean and black America, it is a culture that binds us under the belief that we must strive for excellence through our respective art forms, as well as within our souls. It’s a lifestyle that unites people from the U.S to Nigeria, France to Brazil, Japan to Mexico, often unable to speak each other’s language but fully capable of understanding all that makes us who we are.
Read more on TheGrio.com.
We all have a song or two that we just can’t stand. Sometimes the radio plays a jam one time too often. Sometimes the beat isn’t exactly on point. And sometimes, the lyrics are the problem. It may not be the whole song we’re over, but there are choruses and phrases we’re just sick of or that make no amount of sense at all. Check out our list of 10 rap phrases that we don’t want to hear anymore.
“Popped a Molly”
Rap music may need an intervention. Apparently, Molly is the new hot drug in the street. Rappers spit about it so much, white people get on the Internet and Google “who is Molly?” They know Molly as MDMA and they’ve been losing their minds on the designer drug since the late eighties.
Rappers like Juicy J talk about popping a Molly in almost every song. And all I want to know is can we move on and talk about something different? ‘Cause ya’ll sound like a broken record. No? Well get back at us when ya’ll are done getting high.
Why in the world does the city of Los Angeles keep allowing Frick and Frack to run aimlessly around with no supervision?
Okay, so we just reported this morning that Katt Williams was arrested Friday on child endangerment charges. Well, hours after he was released – hours – it appears he was a primary witness in a huge brawl involving his friend and tour manager, Suge Knight.
There are no details as to what exactly started the fight but someone sent a video in to TMZ where you clearly see him in some type of heated “situation” with a group of people. After a few security people are able to break things up (with one young man ending up on the ground), Suge walks a few feet away and ends up punching someone else in the face. We can only assume that the person must have said something Suge didn’t like because Suge landed the first punch.
Katt Williams was hiding between dumpsters during the exchange and once blows were thrown, he was ordered by someone who looks to have been part of his security team into a black truck. They immediately sped off.
As the video continues, other security guys are urging Suge to get into a white truck in order to leave the scene. Without giving notice to the packed parking lot of onlookers, Suge sped off and almost hit quite a few people.
How do these two find so much trouble? Suge is almost 50 years old and Katt is knocking on the door of 40 – when does this end? If you can’t figure out how to avoid having a fight at those ages, you don’t ever need to go out. I would say “grow up” but somehow, that doesn’t seem applicable.