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Watch: Diddy Unveils Trailer for 'Off The Grid' Film: An R&B Love Story Linked to Latest Album

Diddy has unveiled the official trailer for his forthcoming film, "Off the Grid," inspired by and soundtracked by his latest album, which offers a glimpse into a whirlwind R&B love story, with the central theme of escaping the complexities of life in favor of romantic seclusion, devoid of modern-day distractions.

In the lead role, rising talent Eva Apio, an Ugandan actress and supermodel, makes her acting debut in this significant project. Her selection came after a three-month casting process.

"Working with Eva was an incredible experience; her talent and energy brought my vision to life," said Diddy of the decision to cast Apio, in a statement announcing the trailer which is closely related to his album, "The Love Album: Off the Grid," and provides a visual and emotional extension of the project.

"Off the Grid" marks a pivotal moment in Diddy's career, representing his debut as a director and screenwriter. The film also marks his eighth acting role in a movie.

In 2021, Diddy founded Love Records, an all-R&B label dedicated to creating timeless R&B music in collaboration with the next generation of artists, producers, and songwriters. The label's first artist, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jozzy, released her album "Songs for Women, Free Game for Nxxxas" in February 2023, setting a high standard for the label.

"The Love Album: Off the Grid," was released in September 2023, receiving critical acclaim. The album features prominent artists such as Justin Bieber, Abel Tesfaye (formerly known as The Weeknd), Mary J. Blige, Summer Walker, H.E.R., Jazmine Sullivan, and more. "The Love Album" secured a place in the top 10 of Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, debuting at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and reaching No. 2 on the Top R&B Albums chart.

The official release date for "Off the Grid" is yet to be announced. Watch the trailer below:

From Yeezy to 'Yikes': Inside Kanye West's Adidas Fiasco and Partnership Termination

Kanye West (right) with Adidas CMO Eric Liedtke
Kanye West's tumultuous partnership with Adidas, which ended in October 2022, was marked by a series of shocking revelations and controversial behavior, according to an extensive investigation by The New York Times. The artist, who now goes by Ye, left a trail of problematic conduct, but Adidas continued to support him due to the immense profits his Yeezy shoe designs generated.

The Times investigation revealed startling incidents that shed light on West's behavior. During an early meeting with Adidas designers in 2013, he shocked the room by rejecting design ideas and drawing a swastika on a shoe, a move that appalled the Germans present. Adding to the disquiet, the meeting took place near Nuremberg, known for Nazi war crime trials.

West's obsession with the Nazi era extended further when he advised a Jewish manager at Adidas to kiss a portrait of Adolf Hitler daily. He even praised Hitler's use of propaganda. The artist's erratic behavior included bringing pornography to meetings and making inappropriate sexual remarks. In one instance, he compelled Adidas executives to watch porn during a meeting in his Manhattan apartment.

The investigation also revealed West's frequent emotional outbursts, crying, and anger during meetings, often creating a tense atmosphere. In 2019, he moved his shoe design operations to Cody, Wyoming, and insisted that the Adidas team relocate. During a meeting with executives, he threw shoes around the room in frustration.

Adidas was willing to tolerate West's behavior, given the success of the Yeezy brand, which was integral to the company's competition with Nike. Yeezy sales exceeded $1 billion annually, capturing the attention of young American consumers.

Adidas managers established a "Yzy hotline" text group to discuss West's conduct and rotated managers to manage him more effectively. Over time, Adidas improved the terms of West's contract, offering him more favorable royalty percentages, upfront payments, and funds for marketing. But as public awareness of his problematic remarks and actions grew, Adidas decided to terminate the partnership.

This decision led to the company's first annual loss in decades, while West's net worth plummeted. Adidas was left with the challenge of handling the remaining $1.3 billion in Yeezy products. It eventually decided to sell the products in batches, directing some proceeds to charity and retaining most profits.

Adidas stated it "has no tolerance for hate speech and offensive behavior," justifying its termination of the Adidas Yeezy partnership, while West declined interview requests and did not provide a comment.

The Times investigation drew from access to previously undisclosed internal records, offering a comprehensive view of the troubled partnership.

B-Rock and The Bizz Rapper Paul Costict Passes Away at 57

Courtesy Photo 
Paul Costict, a hip-hop pioneer and member of the '90s rap collective B-Rock and The Bizz, has passed away suddenly at the age of 57, leaving the music community in mourning.

The news of Costict's unexpected demise was confirmed by an unidentified family member who spoke to TMZ. According to reports, he died at his residence in Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday. As of now, the exact cause of his death remains undisclosed.

Costict rose to prominence as a member of B-Rock and The Bizz, a group known for their 1997 hit single "My Baby Daddy." The song achieved remarkable success, securing a place in the top ten on the Billboard charts and earning gold certification. While the group is often labeled as a one-hit wonder, their musical legacy endures in the hip-hop community.

In 2022, their influence reached a new generation when global superstar Rihanna was seen wearing a t-shirt with the phrase "dat's just my baby daddy" during her pregnancy, paying tribute to B-Rock and The Bizz.

Thaddeus T-Bird Maye, a former bandmate of Costict, paid an emotional tribute to the late musician. "This one really hit home. I got tears in my eyes as I post this. PAUL COSTICT was a very funny and Kool brother. We go way back to Blount High School," said Maye. "He was so funny. Love you, brother. Rest in peace. Please keep me and his family in your PRAYERS."

B-Rock and The Bizz, consisting of Costict, Baron "B-Rock" Agee, Leevirt Agee, and Maye, emerged from Mobile, Alabama, in 1986, making history as the first rap group from the city. Their signature hit, "My Baby Daddy," propelled them into the national spotlight, earning gold certification and securing a place in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100.

'Shaft' Icon Richard Roundtree, Who Showcased Musical Talents, Passes at 81 After Cancer Battle

Richard Roundtree, the legendary actor celebrated for his groundbreaking portrayal of private detective John Shaft in the iconic 1971 film "Shaft," passed away Tuesday at the age of 81 following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

The confirmation of Roundtree's passing was provided by his manager, Patrick McMinn, who had been managing his career since 1987. McMinn, in a statement, reflected on Roundtree's profound impact on the film industry. He stated, "Richard's work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men in film. The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated."

Roundtree's remarkable journey began with a modeling career, but at the age of 28, he secured the role of John Shaft in the iconic "Shaft" film. The action-packed movie, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, achieved tremendous success, grossing $12 million against a meager budget of $500,000 and helping rescue the studio from financial woes. It set the stage for an era of prolific Blaxploitation filmmaking and underlined the historical oversight of Black talent by Hollywood.

However, Roundtree's influence extended far beyond the silver screen. In 1972, he ventured into the world of music with the release of his debut album, "The Man from Shaft." This musical project marked a distinct departure from his tough-guy image as a private investigator and showcased his versatility as an artist.

"The Man from Shaft" was a unique creation, with Roundtree's singing debut produced by the accomplished musician Gene McDaniels. McDaniels, known as a singer, songwriter, and producer, played a pivotal role in shaping the album's sound. Roundtree's vocals were complemented by a talented ensemble of musicians, including jazz luminaries such as Hubert Laws, Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgion, Sonny Fortune and Billy Harper. This collaboration resulted in a musical fusion that combined elements of jazz and funk, creating a distinctive and memorable sound.

The lead track of the album, "Gets Hard Sometimes," exemplified the fusion of genres, incorporating a funky groove that bore the hallmark of McDaniels's musical style. While "The Man from Shaft" did not achieve widespread commercial success, it represented a significant and memorable project in Roundtree's artistic journey, highlighting his willingness to explore different creative avenues beyond acting.

Roundtree's groundbreaking role in "Shaft" led to two rapid sequels, "Shaft's Big Score" and "Shaft in Africa," as well as a short-lived 1973 "Shaft" television series on CBS, which he viewed as a less favorable chapter in his illustrious career.

As the years went by, Roundtree's career continued to flourish, extending beyond his initial stardom. He featured in films such as "Earthquake," "Man Friday" alongside Peter O'Toole and Larry Cohen's monster comedy "Q — The Winged Serpent." In addition to his film work, he made notable guest appearances on television, including roles in "Roots," "Magnum P.I." and "The Love Boat."

In 2000, Roundtree revisited the world of "Shaft" in John Singleton's revival of the franchise, co-starring with Samuel L. Jackson, who played a character related to Roundtree's original private eye. This collaboration continued in 2019 with Tim Story's comedic take on the series.

Born on July 9, 1942, in Rochester, New York, Roundtree briefly attended Southern Illinois University before embarking on his modeling career. In the late '60s, he joined the Negro Ensemble Company, which initiated his involvement in New York stage productions.

Roundtree's remarkable career spanned over five decades, and his portrayal of Shaft, his contributions to genre filmmaking, and his captivating screen presence added vibrancy to films like "Se7en," "Brick" and "Speed Racer." His recent work included a role in "Moving On," a comedy featuring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was later released in theaters.

He was married twice, first to Mary Jane Grant from 1963 to 1973, and later to Karen M. Cierna from 1980 to 1998. He is survived by his four daughters, Nicole, Tayler, Morgan and Kelli Roundtree, as well as his son, James.

Puma Taps A$AP Rocky for F1 Creative Leadership

A$AP Rocky named PUMA x F1 Creative Director. Photo Credit: Ryo Sato
Move over Kanye, there's a new hip-hop shoe-fluencer in town.

Global sports brand Puma and A$AP Rocky have unveiled an exciting long-term creative partnership. Their collaboration centers on the world of motorsports, with A$AP Rocky taking on the role of Creative Director for the Puma x F1 category, emphasizing the fusion of sport and streetwear.

"Working with brands as iconic as Puma, and as innovative as F1, has been truly inspiring," noted A$AP Rocky in a release announcing the alliance. "When the world sees what we're doing, I believe a shift will happen with how brands approach taking risks and working with diverse creatives."

Born Rakim Athelaston Mayers, A$AP Rocky has transcended the realm of music to become a fashion icon and cultural influencer. He embarked on his musical journey as a member of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, a pivotal chapter in shaping his artistic identity and earning him his moniker.

A$AP Rocky's meteoric rise began in 2011 with the release of his single "Peso," which quickly garnered widespread attention and radio airplay. In 2013, his debut studio album, "Long. Live. A$AP," skyrocketed to number one on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved double platinum certification.

The collaboration kicks off with an innovative "in the lab" incubator approach, enabling A$AP Rocky to creatively explore the potential of the category. During the initial phase, he will contribute to visual and video content for the brand, providing a window into the intersection of car culture and streetwear fashion.

Later this year, Puma, in partnership with A$AP Rocky, will unveil an exclusive Puma x F1 collection. This limited-edition offering will serve as a preview of the forthcoming capsule collections scheduled for 2024, focused on high-visibility F1 races.

Come 2024, A$AP Rocky's creative vision will take center stage during multiple Grand Prix races, commencing with the Miami event. His involvement will extend to designing and curating collections, organizing race-day activations and overseeing marketing efforts.

By 2025, A$AP Rocky will engage in shaping the entire range of Puma x F1 products, encompassing racewear, fanwear and high-fashion pieces. His ongoing contributions to product design and marketing strategies aim to challenge the traditional boundaries separating sports, culture and fashion.

Maria Valdes, Puma's Chief Product Officer, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership: "We couldn't be more excited to collaborate with A$AP Rocky. He's incredibly talented, deeply thoughtful and invested in our brand. He will showcase his vision with elevated F1 race capsules on a global scale, attracting new audiences and undoubtedly shaking up the track. In the future, he will influence the broader Puma x F1 range, continuing to drive progress at the intersection of sports and culture."

"Legendary DJ and Producer DJ Mark The 45 King Passes at 62

45 King Boiler Room DJ set (Screengrab: YouTube)
DJ Mark The 45 King, an icon in the world of hip-hop renowned for his groundbreaking work as a producer and DJ, has passed away at the age of 62. His death was confirmed by DJ Premier, who described him as an "ICON."

While the specific cause of his passing remains undisclosed, the news comes shortly after DJ Mark The 45 King celebrated his 62nd birthday on October 16, marking a somber moment in the realm of music.

Known as Mark Howard James in private life, DJ Mark The 45 King hailed from the Bronx, New York, and commenced his illustrious DJ career in the mid-1980s. He adopted the moniker "45 King" due to his unique ability to craft beats from old 45 RPM records, setting the stage for his distinctive approach to music production.

His career trajectory saw a meteoric rise with the release of the breakbeat track "The 900 Number" in 1987, a composition that has inspired countless artists through its samples. Inextricably tied to the Flavor Unit, a renowned collective of artists, DJ Mark The 45 King lent his production talents to a lineup that included luminaries like Queen Latifah, Chill Rob G, Lakim Shabazz and Apache.

One of his most significant career milestones came in 1989 when he made pivotal contributions to Queen Latifah's album "All Hail the Queen." His production on this record is lauded by critics as some of his most exceptional work.

In 1996, DJ Kool, a go-go artist from Washington, D.C., catapulted to success with the hit song "Let Me Clear My Throat," which was set to the backdrop of DJ Mark The 45 King's "900 Number" beat. DJ Kool graciously acknowledged the 45 King as the originator of the song's iconic sound.

The pinnacle of his career arrived in 1998 when he produced "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" for Jay-Z, featuring the memorable chorus from the original cast album of the Broadway musical "Annie." Jay-Z himself hailed DJ Mark The 45 King as a trailblazer in hip-hop during an interview, recognizing his pivotal contributions to the genre.

DJ Premier, a close collaborator and friend of DJ Mark The 45 King, shared his thoughts on the iconic producer's passing, stating, "R.I.P. DJ Mark The 45 King who passed this morning. An ICON. His 62nd Birthday was Monday. I never heard of Gang Starr until I heard DJ Red Alert play their 2nd single Produced by Mark on 98.7 Kiss in NYC while shopping my demos looking to get a record deal."

DJ Premier added, "Mark is responsible for so many classics and was a member of the Iconic Crew FLAVOR UNIT, including Queen Latifah, Latee, Chill Rob G., Lakim Shabazz, Double J, Lord Alibaski, DJ Cee Justice, Apache, Naughty By Nature, Freddie Foxxx, Markey Fresh, Rowdy Rahz, Storm P, Shakim, and many more members. His sound was unlike any other, from his heavy drums to his distinct horns on every production."

Further acknowledging DJ Mark The 45 King's impact, DJ Premier noted, "He got a huge Warner Bros. deal and remixed the Classic Madonna single 'Keep It Together' and the raw remix of Eric B. & Rakim 'I Know You Got Soul.' The '900 Number' is a Super Classic, Queen Latifah's 'Wrath Of My Madness,' 'Ladies First' with Monie Love, Chill Rob G's 'Court Is In Session,' Latee's 'Cuts Got Flavor,' the Historical Jay-Z hit 'Hard Knock Life,' and Eminem's 'Stan,' to name a few of his catalog that will forever ring bells."

Throughout his distinguished career, DJ Mark The 45 King provided beats for a multitude of celebrated artists, including Eric B. & Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, Madonna and Eminem.

Missy Elliott Honors 'Missy Elliott Day' with $50,000 Donation to Prevent Evictions

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Portsmouth native Missy Elliott, captured during the state's recognition of Missy Elliott Day in 2022 (Photo courtesy of the Virginia Office of the Governor).
In a heartfelt homecoming celebration, hip-hop artist Missy Elliott returned to her roots in Portsmouth,
Virginia, marking the anniversary of "Missy Elliott Day" on Tuesday. During this emotional event, she pledged a generous donation of $50,000 to the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority, reaffirming her unwavering commitment to her hometown.

Elliott's donation is aimed at providing vital support to approximately 26 families at risk of eviction who meet specific criteria. She passionately stated, "I feel like as artists, we are celebrated a lot. So instead of it being about me, I wanted it to be about the people here, my hometown."

The commemorative event also witnessed Missy Elliott's mother, Patricia Elliott, sharing touching memories of their family's financial struggles before Missy's meteoric rise in the world of R&B and hip-hop. Recalling the pouring rain and the passionate shouts of fans who chanted, "we love you," Mrs. Elliott emotionally reflected on the enduring love from their hometown. Missy Elliott reciprocated that love with this substantial donation.

Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover emphasized the pressing issue of eviction in the city and highlighted Missy Elliott's donation as a beacon of hope for many residents facing this challenge. Elliott, who personally understands the struggles of single mothers, said, "Especially for me, who has been in a situation like that, my mother is a single mother, that's what made it important."

Aside from her philanthropic endeavors, Missy Elliott's impact on her hometown was also celebrated on October 17, 2022, when Governor Glenn Youngkin officially declared it as Missy Elliott Day in the Commonwealth. The city of Portsmouth honored her by renaming McLean Street to Missy Elliott Boulevard and presenting her with the key to the city.

Missy Elliott's remarkable journey from Portsmouth to international stardom serves as an inspiring example of hometown pride and giving back to the community. With chart-topping hits like "Sock It 2 Me," "She's a Bitch," "Get Ur Freak On," "One Minute Man," "4 My People," "Gossip Folks," and "Work It," her musical legacy and impact on the music industry are significant, earning her four Grammy Awards and numerous accolades.

Watch: Smokey Robinson's Age-Defying Performance Delights NPR's Tiny Desk

On Monday, NPR presented the latest installment of its "Tiny Desk Concert" series, featuring legendary Motown icon Smokey Robinson. The 83-year-old music sensation graced the stage at NPR Headquarters in Washington, D.C., accompanied by a 12-piece ensemble.

Robinson's influence on the music industry is undeniable. Known for his pivotal role in shaping the Motown sound, R&B, and soul music, he remains a distinguished artist even at the age of 83.

The performance commenced with a rendition of his 1981 classic, "Being With You," showcasing the enduring charm of his falsetto.

Robinson continued by performing "The Tears Of A Clown," a song he co-wrote with Stevie Wonder during his time with The Miracles. This classic delighted the audience, and Robinson's talent shone through.

Two tracks from Robinson's latest album, "Gasms," were also part of this intimate performance. "Beside You" exuded romance, with a standout saxophone solo by Brandon Wright in "If We Don't Have Each Other."

Robinson concluded the concert with his timeless hit, "Cruisin'." The audience participated with enthusiasm, creating a heartwarming atmosphere.

Smokey Robinson's legacy as an influential figure in the world of R&B, soul music, and the Motown sound is well-documented. His ability to craft timeless and romantic tunes has set a standard for generations of songwriters.

The concert featured two tracks from Robinson's latest album, "Gasms," revealing his ongoing commitment to creating soulful and timeless music.

NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert" series has hosted other celebrated R&B artists this year, such as Babyface and Charlie Wilson, in line with its commitment to showcasing musical excellence.

Isley Brothers Co-Founder Rudolph Isley Dies at 84

The Isley Brothers in 1969 (Left to right: Rudolph, Ronald and O'Kelly Isley). Photo Courtesy T-Neck Records
Rudolph Isley, a trailblazing co-founder of the legendary R&B group The Isley Brothers, has passed away at the age of 84. The iconic singer died on Wednesday in Illinois, with reports suggesting a heart attack as the cause. His passing marks the end of an era in the world of music, leaving a profound legacy.

As a teenager, Rudolph Isley embarked on his musical journey alongside his brothers O’Kelly, Vernon, and Ronald in their hometown of Cincinnati. They initially began performing gospel music in various churches, soon transitioning into a versatile act that would leave a lasting mark on the music industry.

In the words of his brother Ronald, "There are no words to express my feelings and the love I have for my brother. Our family will miss him. But I know he's in a better place."

Rudolph Isley's daughter Elaine released a statement, saying, "Rudolph Isley, a founding member of the world-famous Isley Brothers, died peacefully in his sleep on the morning of October 11, 2023. He died at his home, with his devoted wife Elaine by his side. They had been married for 68 years. Rudolph was a deeply religious man who loved Jesus."

The Isley Brothers made their mainstream breakthrough with the timeless classic "Shout," first released in 1959. The song's enduring popularity was further solidified in 1978 when it became immortalized in the film "Animal House." Since then, it has remained a cherished anthem at sporting events across the nation.

In addition to "Shout," the Isley Brothers amassed an impressive catalog of hits, including "Twist and Shout," "It's Your Thing," "That Lady" and "Fight The Power."

Notably, their track "Contagious" climbed the charts in 2001, making history by securing the record for the longest span on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart — a remarkable 42 years of chart-topping influence.

The Isley Brothers' journey was not without its ups and downs, including a brief hiatus following the tragic death of Vernon, who was struck by a car while riding his bike at the age of 13. However, the brothers regrouped and pursued various musical genres in New York City, ultimately reshaping the landscape of pop, R&B and soul.

In 1989, Rudolph Isley followed a different calling, leaving the group to fulfill his dream of becoming a Christian minister. Despite his departure, he continued to reunite with his brothers periodically, and in 1992, they received the highest honor when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The news of Rudolph Isley's passing coincides with a legal dispute between him and his younger brother, Ronald, concerning The Isley Brothers' trademark. Rudolph, who had been married to Elaine Jasper since 1958, is also survived by the couple's four children Elizabeth, Valerie, Elaine and Rudy, along with several grandchildren.

Legendary Pop Icons Taylor Swift and Beyoncé Unite at Movie Premiere

Photo Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images for TAS
Beyoncé, a Swiftie?

A seismic collision of two music industry titans unfolded on a star-studded Wednesday night in Los Angeles when Beyoncé made a surprise appearance at the premiere of Taylor Swift's "Eras Tour" concert film.

Swift's Instagram post following the event conveyed her heartfelt appreciation for Beyoncé's support, offering an intimate peek into their legendary union. The post included a heartwarming video of the two icons sharing popcorn inside the movie theater. Swift's sentiments resonated deeply, with the songstress expressing, "I'm so glad I'll never know what my life would've been like without @beyonce's influence."

Swift didn't stop there; she lavished praise on Beyoncé, commending her groundbreaking contributions to the music industry. Swift highlighted the invaluable lessons the Queen Bey has imparted to her and other artists: "The way she's taught me and every artist out here to break rules and defy industry norms. Her generosity of spirit. Her resilience and versatility. She's been a guiding light throughout my career, and the fact that she showed up tonight was like an actual fairytale."

The premiere marked the eagerly awaited unveiling of Swift's "Eras Tour" movie, which offers a captivating behind-the-scenes look at her record-breaking stadium tour. The film's box office prospects are nothing short of monumental, with early projections suggesting a colossal domestic debut exceeding $100 million. Responding to insatiable fan demand, Swift electrified her devotees with a thrilling announcement just an hour before the premiere — the film's release would be expedited by a day.

Beyoncé is currently in the final stages of negotiations to bring her own concert film to life, featuring the astounding "Renaissance" tour. This remarkable project is poised for release through AMC Theatres, the same platform that Swift utilized for her "Eras Tour" movie. While specifics remain under wraps, insiders have tantalizingly hinted at a December 1 release date for Beyoncé's highly anticipated concert film.

Remarkably, the Knowles-Carter family has shown unwavering support for Taylor Swift in the past. Just last month, Tina Knowles, Beyoncé's mother, took to social media to celebrate the profound contributions of both artists to the music industry and their undeniable ability to "stimulate the economy."

The intersection of BeyoncĂ© and Taylor Swift at this premier heralds a momentous meeting of two reigning queens—a convergence of music's most potent forces. Both artists have enthralled audiences worldwide this year with their powerhouse concert tours, and now they are extending their impact to the silver screen. In an industry frequently marred by rivalries, the mutual support and camaraderie between these two global superstars make for a powerful statement.

Kendrick Lamar's Quartet of Wins Steals the Show at BET Hip Hop Awards

LL Cool J performs onstage during the BET Hip-Hop Awards 2023. Photo Credit: Getty Images for BET 
The BET Hip Hop Awards celebrated the incredible 50-year history of the genre. It was a night of triumph for Kendrick Lamar, who clinched a record-breaking four awards, solidifying his position as a dominant force in hip-hop.

Lamar's accomplishments were nothing short of extraordinary. He claimed the Hip Hop Artist of the Year award for the third time, a testament to his enduring influence. In the Best Live Performer category, he secured his fourth win, joining the elite ranks of Kanye West and Jay-Z. The Lyricist of the Year award marked his ninth triumph, solidifying his status as a lyrical heavyweight. And in a unique feat, Lamar and his frequent collaborator Dave Free received Best Video Director of the Year for the second consecutive year, a distinction not witnessed since Hype Williams' four-year reign from 2009-12.
The evening was also a showcase of thrilling performances. Sexyy Redd ignited the stage with chart-toppers like "Pound Town," "Shake Yo Dreads" and "SkeeYee," while DJ Kid Capri, D-Nice, and host Fat Joe set the night on fire with a DJ battle. The audience was taken on a mesmerizing musical journey by Scott Storch and Spinderella.

GloRilla and Fivio Foreign delivered a dynamic performance, presenting their latest hit, "Cha Cha Cha." The City Girls wowed with a dance-infused rendition of "No Bars" and "Face Down." DaBaby wrapped up the night with a medley of hits, including "Ghetto Girls," "Shake Sumn Remix" with Sexyy Redd, and "Project Chick" featuring Juvenile and Mannie Fresh.

The event also featured touching tributes. LL Cool J and Rakim led a poignant tribute to Marley Marl, the recipient of the I Am Hip Hop Award. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of So So Def and its visionary founder, Jermaine Dupri, the night showcased an impressive lineup of hip-hop luminaries, including Bonecrusher, Chingy, Lil Jon, Ludacris, Nelly, Bow Wow, Da Brat, Dem Franchize Boyz and Tyrese.

The cypher, presented by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, saw lyrical titans like Bun B, Cassidy, Foggieraw, Gloss Up, Lady London, Lola Brooke, Scar Lip and Symba engaged in intense lyrical showdowns. The digital cypher featured DJ Hed, LaNell Grant, Maiya The Don and That Mexican OT.

Kiernan "AKA" Forbes was posthumously honored with the Global Visionary Award for his profound influence on global hip-hop. Family members Lynn and Tony Forbes accepted the award during a touching tribute segment for international broadcasts of the BET Hip Hop Awards 2023.

The awards show, though pre-recorded, aired on Tuesday night and featured special appearances by DJ Envy of "The Breakfast Club" and DC YoungFly, host of "Celebrity Squares." The cast of "The Impact: ATL" (Ari Fletcher, Lakeyah) and stars from "Basketball Wives: LA" and "Basketball Wives: Orlando" (Brooke Bailey, Nique Brown, Mehgan James) added to the event's grandeur.

The 2023 Award Winners

  • Hip Hop Album of the Year: Drake & 21 Savage - "Her Loss"
  • Best Hip Hop Video: Lil Uzi Vert - "Just Wanna Rock"
  • Best Collaboration: Lil Durk feat. J. Cole - "All My Life"
  • Best Duo or Group: Drake & 21 Savage
  • Best Live Performer: Kendrick Lamar
  • Lyricist of the Year: Kendrick Lamar
  • Video Director of the Year: Dave Free & Kendrick Lamar
  • Song of the Year: Lil Uzi Vert - "Just Wanna Rock"
  • Hip Hop Artist of the Year: Kendrick Lamar
  • Best Breakthrough Hip Hop Artist: Ice Spice
  • Hustler of the Year: 50 Cent
  • Sweet 16: Best Featured Verse: Jay-Z - "God Did" (DJ Khaled feat. Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy)
  • Impact Track: Lil Durk feat. J. Cole - "All My Life"
  • Producer of the Year (Digital): Metro Boomin
  • DJ of the Year: Metro Boomin
  • Best Hip Hop Platform: "Caresha Please"
  • Best International Flow: Black Sherif (Ghana)

Celebrate 50 Years of Hip-Hop with JID and 5 Gum's Musical Collaboration

5 gum and JID honor 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop with new track inspired by iconic artists from the genre, available exclusively on five vintage Boomboxes, set to play the song only 5 times in a lifetime.
In a tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, critically acclaimed rapper JID has joined forces with 5 Gum to create an extraordinary musical experience for genre enthusiasts. To celebrate this monumental milestone, 5 Gum and JID have co-crafted a unique track infused with audio references from five of hip-hop's most influential albums.

These iconic albums, including Ludacris' "Word of Mouf," Mary J. Blige's "What's the 411?," Common's "Resurrection," The Roots' "Phrenology" and Timbaland's "Shock Value," serve as the wellspring of inspiration for this musical piece.

However, only five fortunate fans will have the opportunity to experience this track. Each cassette tape, featuring JID's song, is intentionally designed to "self-destruct" after just five listens, elevating the listening experience to an entirely new level of uniqueness.

"When 5 gum approached me with this opportunity, I was thrilled to work on a project that revolves around that thrilling experience of hearing a deep and meaningful song for the very first time," JID said in a release announcing the project. "To pay homage to some of the most iconic names in Hip Hop through this campaign is really dope. I hope the fans who hear the track enjoy it as much as I do."

Adding an extra layer of uniqueness to this musical journey, each of the five limited-edition retro boomboxes, housing JID's track, is meticulously crafted from upcycled vintage devices. These boomboxes boast transparent casings, vintage analog counters, and lucite-embedded volume knobs. Their centerpiece is a unique item—a piece of Peppermint Cobalt 5 gum, chewed by the artist himself.

The "5 in a Lifetime" campaign is now open for entries and will remain so until Tuesday, October 31st. For a chance to be among the fortunate few who get their hands on one of these unique boomboxes and experience JID's exclusive track, click here.

JID, whose full name is Destin Choice Route, is an integral figure in the hip-hop scene. He's a part of the musical collective Spillage Village, founded by EarthGang in 2010, alongside Hollywood JB, JordxnBryant, and 6lack, among others. Signed to J. Cole's Dreamville Records and Interscope Records, JID is also a member of the hip-hop supergroup Zoink Gang, collaborating with artists like Smino, Buddy, and Guapdad 4000.

In 2017, he released his debut studio album, "The Never Story," which garnered widespread acclaim and featured the hit single "Never." In 2018, JID released his second album, "DiCaprio 2," which included popular singles like "151 Rum" and "Off Deez" (featuring J. Cole), and garnered critical acclaim. In 2021, he reached new heights with the single "Enemy" in collaboration with pop rock band Imagine Dragons, peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. JID's latest album, "The Forever Story" (2022), has received acclaim from critics and reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

To further commemorate the anniversary of hip-hop, 5 Gum is gifting a unique analog boombox and making a $20,000 donation to The Hip Hop Museum. This contribution supports the museum's mission to preserve the rich history and culture of hip-hop music. The Hip Hop Museum will open its doors to the public in 2025, allowing visitors to explore and experience the cultural significance and history of hip-hop.

Rocky Bucano, founder and Executive Director of The Hip Hop Museum, expressed gratitude for the support, stating, "We are incredibly thankful for 5 Gum including The Hip Hop Museum in their initiatives to celebrate Hip Hop's 50th anniversary. The cultural influence of hip-hop goes far beyond music and entertainment. It's a global movement that brings people together and inspires them to actively chase their dreams. The support from 5 Gum and JID greatly assists in furthering our museum's mission to inspire, empower, and promote understanding of this rich culture's history."

Simone Biles Makes History as the Most Decorated Gymnast with 6th World All-Around Title

Courtesy Photo USA Gymnastics
Simone Biles added yet another chapter to her legendary career by clinching the individual all-around title at the world championships for the sixth time on Friday. This remarkable feat not only solidifies her status as the most decorated gymnast in history but also exemplifies her enduring excellence in the sport.

A decade after her initial triumph in the same Belgian city at the tender age of 16, Biles demonstrated her unmatched prowess once again. Her performance garnered an impressive 58.399 points across the balance beam, floor, vault, and uneven bars, outshining Rebeca Andrade, the Brazilian defending champion, by a substantial 1.633 points.This victory marked Biles' 27th world championship medal, with an astounding 21 of them being gold. Her latest achievement followed a mere two days after she led the U.S. women's team to an unprecedented seventh consecutive victory in the team event.

Simone Biles' triumphant return to competition comes less than a year before the Paris Olympics. Despite formidable competition from Andrade and Jones, she continues to stand head and shoulders above the rest, a full decade after her reign began.Biles has maintained her dominance since returning to the sport after a two-year hiatus prompted by struggles with a mental block known as "the twisties," which affected her performance in the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics. Although she withdrew from the individual all-around competition in Tokyo to prioritize her mental well-being, her return has showcased her unwavering commitment to excellence.

Her impressive comeback commenced with a remarkable display at the U.S. Classic in early August, followed by her eighth national title a few weeks later. This week marks her first appearance at the world championships since 2019.

Biles' journey continues, with upcoming competitions including the women's vault and uneven bars finals on Saturday and the balance beam and floor exercise finals on Sunday.

Friday's triumph further solidified Biles' standing, with a record-breaking total of 34 medals at the Olympics and world championships combined, making her the most decorated gymnast in history. At 26 years old, she has become the oldest U.S. woman ever to secure a world championships medal. Furthermore, her remarkable undefeated streak in all-around competitions has spanned since 2013.

Drake Announces Music Hiatus to Focus on Health

Canadian rapper Drake, aged 36, has decided to temporarily step away from his music career to focus on his health. He made this announcement on his show, "Table For One," broadcasted on SiriusXM's Sound 42.

Drake, born Aubrey Drake Graham, revealed he has been battling persistent stomach issues and has now committed to a hiatus that may last "maybe a year."

He candidly stated, "I probably won't make music for a little bit. I'm gonna be honest. I got some other things I need to do for some other people that I made promises to, but I probably won't make music for a little bit. I'm gonna be real with you. I need to focus on my health first and foremost and I'll talk about that soon enough."

While emphasizing the importance of health, he expressed, "Nothing crazy, but just I want people to be healthy in life, and I've been having the craziest problems for years with my stomach. So I need to focus on my health and get right, and I'm going to do that."

He continued, "I need to get right. I have a lot of other things that I would love to focus on. So I'm gonna lock the door in the studio for a little bit. I don't even know what a little bit is. Maybe, maybe a year or something, or maybe a little longer."

Drake's decision to step away from music comes on the same day he released his eighth studio album, "For All the Dogs."

On his show, he briefly described his album, stating, "How can I describe this album to you? I'll keep it short and sweet. Please don't ask me what I feel if you can't handle the real. That's it, that's it. I apologize in advance. Maybe that was, that's probably the alternate album title too."

Drake concluded by expressing his hope that his new songs will bring enjoyment to his listeners.

In August, he unveiled the album's cover art, which was created by his 5-year-old son, Adonis Graham, whom he shares with French artist Sophie Brussaux.

This announcement follows Drake featuring Adonis in the music video for his latest single, "8AM in Charlotte," released just the day before.

Simone Biles' Leadership Propels Team USA to Seventh Straight Gymnastics Gold

Simone Biles, widely recognized as the greatest gymnast of all time, led Team USA to a historic victory on Wednesday by securing their seventh consecutive gold medal in the women's team final at the 2023 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp.Team USA's extraordinary performance resulted in a total score of 167.729, reaffirming their dominance in the gymnastics world and surpassing the Chinese men's team to establish a new record for most consecutive wins. Brazil, under the leadership of 2022 World all-around champion Rebeca Andrade, clinched their first-ever medal in this event with a silver, amassing a team total of 165.530. France claimed the third spot on the podium with a score of 164.064, marking their first team medal at the World Championships since 1950.Biles, already a legendary figure in the sport, achieved yet another remarkable milestone. With this team gold, she has amassed an impressive 26 medals at the World Championships, including a stunning 20 titles at global events. Her unrivaled prowess on the gymnastics floor continues to redefine the boundaries of excellence.

Her unparalleled success extends beyond the World Championships, with seven Olympic medals, comprising four gold, one silver, and two bronze. This brings her combined tally of World and Olympic medals to 33, a feat that ties her with the legendary Vitaly Scherbo, who represented the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, and Belarus.

Reflecting on the team's exceptional achievement, Biles emphasized their collective spirit and resilience. ""I think our grit and fight [makes this team special]. I mean, it wasn't our perfect meet today, we had a teammate go down, and we had some mistakes here and there, [but we] just keep going, keep pushing, keep relying on our training because it was not our best day and that was a little bit close watching those standings," she stated.

Latto Breathes New Life Into Halls Cough Drop Packaging

Photo Credit: Nate Hurtsellers, Director of Photography
Grammy-nominated rapper Latto is teaming up with Halls to breathe fresh air into their cough drop wrappers. These limited-edition wrappers, set to debut on October 4th, feature 16 distinct pep talks inspired by Latto's chart-topping hits.

"The Halls brand is excited to see this partnership come to life and for people to check out the new limited-edition packaging," said Alex Derrig, Halls Brand Manager, in a statement announcing the partnership. "As someone who knows the importance of having reliable sore throat relief, and who offered a modern voice to the brand's iconic pep talks, there was no better partner for this campaign than Latto."

This marks the first time Halls has revamped their pep talks in over a decade.While this partnership may seem unusual, it reflects the growing trend of artists dipping their toes into diverse industries. For Latto, this venture is an opportunity to connect with her fans in a unique and unexpected way.

"Working with Halls has been an incredible experience," said Latto. "Halls has always been my go-to when my throat is irritated, and the pep talks on the wrappers provide lighthearted emotional relief when I'm not feeling my best. Fans are always on the lookout for what lyrics I'm working on and what's coming next for me - which is why I can't wait for people to check out my new lines on the limited-edition wrappers, and I hope they can help make someone's day a little brighter."

Starting at $14.99, the Latto x Halls Honey Lemon Share Jar (250 ct) will be available on while supplies last.

NBA Icon Michael Jordan Soars to Forbes 400's Elite Wealthy Club

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Michael Jordan during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 22, 2016.
NBA legend Michael Jordan has achieved another groundbreaking milestone in his legendary career, this time off the basketball court. Forbes has officially ranked him at number 379 on its esteemed Forbes 400 list, making him the first professional athlete to ever earn a spot among America's 400 wealthiest individuals.

This prestigious entry into the Forbes 400 is attributed to Jordan's strategic move earlier this year when he sold his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA franchise he had acquired in 2010 for approximately $275 million.

Forbes estimates Jordan's current net worth at an impressive $3 billion. His journey to billionaire status began in 2015, driven not only by his basketball prowess but also his lucrative endorsement deals with iconic brands like Nike. This partnership, which started in 1984 with a contract worth $500,000 per year plus royalties, has remained a cornerstone of his financial success. As of the latest data, Jordan continues to receive yearly royalties from Nike, amounting to a substantial $260 million.

However, it's not just Nike that contributed to Jordan's financial empire. Over the years, he inked lucrative contracts with major brands such as Hanes, Gatorade, and Upper Deck, further bolstering his financial standing.

Beyond his wealth accumulation, Jordan has also become renowned for his philanthropic efforts. In celebration of his 60th birthday, he made history with a generous $10 million donation to Make-A-Wish America, marking the largest individual gift ever received by the foundation in its 43-year history.

While Jordan's prowess on the basketball court is legendary, with five MVP awards and six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls during his illustrious 15-season career, his off-court achievements continue to shape his legacy. His strategic investments and business acumen have made him an iconic figure not only in the world of sports but also in finance and philanthropy.

In the larger context of America's wealthiest individuals, Jordan's journey from the courts of the NBA to the elite ranks of the Forbes 400 is a testament to his unique blend of talent, business savvy, and dedication to making a difference.

As of Forbes' latest assessment, Elon Musk leads the Forbes 400 list with an estimated worth of $251 billion, followed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with an estimated wealth of $161 billion.

Forbes reports that the collective net worth of America's 400 richest individuals now stands at an astounding $4.5 trillion, equaling the record set in 2021. This sum even surpasses the 2022 GDP of Japan, which was $4.23 trillion according to the World Bank.