Showing posts with label Artist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Artist. Show all posts

Thursday, March 9, 2023

50 Cent's G-Unit Film & Television to Develop 'Vice City' Series for Paramount+

Courtesy Photo G-Unit
Over the last decade, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson has proven to be just as adept at scoring hits in the television and movie world as he was as a chart-topping rapper.

His "Power" series and its spinoffs have been massive successes for the Starz network, and his current hit show, "BMF," is only in its second season but has already secured three spinoffs.

Jackson has the proven ability to produce, direct, and sometimes star in compelling, gritty street dramas. So, it should come as no surprise that Paramount+ has announced a partnership with Jackson's G-Unit Film & Television, along with Lionsgate Television and Paramount Television Studios, to create a new original series based on the iconic "Grand Theft Auto" series of video games.

According to Deadline, the series, tentatively titled "Vice City," is set in Miami in the mid-1980s and follows the story of three friends who were dishonorably discharged from the military after their involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal. Returning to their hometown, they unite their financial needs and criminal ambitions to form a heist crew, partnering with a mysterious Colombian immigrant. The pursuit of the American Dream leads them down a dangerous path.

"Vice City" is created by writers and executive producers Darnell Metayer ("Transformers: Rise of the Beasts") and Josh Peters ("Transformers: Rise of the Beasts"), with Chad Stahelski ("John Wick" franchise) serving as executive producer and director.

G-Unit Film & Television is also working on other projects, including the British boxing drama "Fightland." The company is collaborating with horror icon Eli Roth and 3BlackDot to produce a three-picture horror deal. G-Unit, along with Alex Young and Jason Spitz for 87 Eleven, will serve as executive producers on "Vice City."

Paul Masson Brandy Offers Hip-Hop Fans Chance to Party With 'People's Champ'

Paul Masson Brandy and Paul Wall invite fans to “Party with Paul.”
Houston rap legend Paul Wall has teamed up with Paul Masson Brandy to offer a one-of-a-kind experience to a lucky fan — a private party with the Grammy-nominated artist himself.

The philanthropic artist, who earned the nickname "The People's Champ" for his extensive charity work in underprivileged communities in Texas, will perform his chart-topping hits like "Still Tippin," "Grillz," and "Break Em' Off" in the winner's hometown, while the winner and their closest friends are treated to cocktails made with Paul Masson Brandy.

In addition to the private performance, the fortunate fan will also receive a custom set of grillz crafted by Johnny Dang & Co, Wall's long-time jewelry partner who has designed pieces for some of the biggest names in the hip-hop industry.

Wall and Dang established their iconic jewelry store in 1998, helping ignite the gold grillz trend in the hip-hop community. The store continues to sell over 100 grillz every day, catering to a worldwide clientele of A-listers.

"We're thrilled to be inviting consumers to Party with Paul for this once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Jess Scheerhorn, brand director at Sazerac, the producer of Paul Masson in a news release announcing the partnership. "Smooth, flavorful and affordable, we like to think of Paul Masson Brandy as the 'Party's Champ,' and that connection made a partnership with the 'People's Champ' even more of a no brainer for us."

From March 9th to March 31st, 2023, fans aged 21 and over can enter for a chance to win this unique experience by visiting

Wall, whose signature album "The People's Champ" debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 in 2005, and quickly achieved platinum status will also promote the event on his social media channels where he has more than one million followers.

"I really do party with Paul Masson on the regular!" Wall said. "There's nothing better than connecting with fans, performing music and just generally having a good time, and I can't wait to bring the party to someone's hometown later this year."

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Wayne Shorter, Legendary Jazz Composer and Saxophonist, Dead at 89

Tom BeetzCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jazz icon Wayne Shorter, a renowned saxophonist and composer with a career spanning more than 50 years, has died at age 89.

A publicist at Blue Note Records, Cem Kurosman, confirmed his passing on Thursday in Los Angeles.

Shorter, a 12-time Grammy Award winner, was born on August 25, 1933, in Newark, New Jersey. He gained recognition as a composer and saxophonist while performing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers after studying music at New York University in the mid-1950s. 

In the mid-1960s, he joined the Miles Davis Quintet, playing alongside renowned musicians such as pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams.

Throughout his storied career, Shorter's music evolved from hard bop to experimental jazz and rock-influenced jazz. His innovative sound inspired countless musicians and continues to influence jazz today. 

Shorter even contributed saxophone solos to two soft rock hits, Steely Dan's "Aja" and Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence," which reached the US Top 10. He also played on the Rolling Stones' 1997 album "Bridges to Babylon."

Shorter received numerous accolades for his contributions to the music world, including the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship, the Kennedy Center Honors and the Jazz Foundation of America Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Davis' Second Great Quintet in 2006.

The news of Shorter's death has elicited an outpouring of grief and tributes from musicians and fans alike, who celebrated his immense talent and lasting impact on jazz music.

Fellow saxophone great and composer Charles Lloyd best summed up the general mood while expressing his condolences on Twitter.

"It has been a deeply sad morning to learn that my brother and fellow explorer of the Inner and Outer Universe @Wayne_Shorte has left town," Lloyd wrote. "The Maestro was a visionary, a great composer, and a friend with whom I shared a love for the Eternal Now."

Friday, February 24, 2023

Watch: Ab-Soul Releases Raw and Vulnerable Tiny Desk Performance on Birthday

On Thursday, to mark his 36th birthday, Ab-Soul released a Tiny Desk concert, which he called his "second second chance."

The performance is a must-watch for all hip-hop fans. Backed by a hand-picked group of musicians he dubbed the "Soulersystem," Ab-Soul delivered a raw and rousing performance.

The Carson, California native's music is defined by vulnerability, pathos, and hope, all of which were on full display in his first-ever appearance on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series.

Surrounded by childhood pictures, some of which graphically detailed his fight with the rare disorder Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which ravaged his skin and left him legally blind, the artist, born Herbert Stevens IV, powered through tracks from his critically-acclaimed new album "HERBERT."

He also paired never-before-heard rhymes with instrumentals from 2012's "Control System" between sets.

Watch the full performance below:

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Chuck Jackson, "Any Day Now" Hitmaker, Passes Away at 85

Wand Management, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Chuck Jackson, the legendary R&B and soul singer known for hits such as "Any Day Now" and "I Don't
Want to Cry," has died at the age of 85.

The sad news was confirmed by Ady Croasdell, of UK-based Kent Records, who wrote on social media: "There are confirmed reports that one of the very greatest soul singers of all time, Chuck Jackson, died on February 16th. His passing will be deeply felt around the world." No cause of death was given.

Jackson had an impressive career spanning over six decades, starting in the 1950s as a member of The Del-Vikings before becoming a solo artist and signing with Wand and Scepter record labels. He released over 30 singles throughout his career, including hits such as "Tell Him I'm Not Home," "Beg Me," and "Since I Don't Have You."

In 1962, Jackson released his most famous hit, "Any Day Now," written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard. The song earned him a contract with Motown Records and was later covered by Ronnie Milsap. Jackson's "I Keep Forgettin'" was also covered by Michael McDonald and David Bowie.

Croasdell reflected on Jackson's impressive career and legacy in a statement on Kent Records' official website. "No artist had more releases or titles issued on Kent records than Chuck Jackson," he said. He also credited the company's first compilation featuring Jackson's work, "Mr Emotion" (Kent 033), with helping to revive interest in his Wand recordings, which had largely been forgotten about by the 80s.

"Throughout his career Chuck worked hard with his acclaimed live appearances and he continued to sing in great voice up until quite recently," Croasdell said. "He got a terrific reception at the Great Yarmouth soul weekender in 1990 and appeared around Europe on several occasions afterwards — as well as being in constant demand in his home country."

Dionne Warwick, a friend and collaborator of Jackson's, issued a statement about his death, saying: "Another heartache has come my way. Chuck Jackson has made his transition. He was my label mate on Scepter Records and was like a big brother to me."

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

R&B Pioneer Huey 'Piano' Smith Dead at 89

Legendary R&B pianist and early rock 'n' roll pioneer Huey "Piano" Smith has died at the age of 89.

Smith passed away in his sleep on Tuesday at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His daughter, Acquelyn Donsereaux, confirmed the news to the New Orleans Times-Picayune/Advocate.

Smith was best known for his boogie-woogie piano style and recorded with many New Orleans musicians in the 1950s, including Little Richard, Lloyd Price and Earl King.

His most famous recording, "Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu," was a minor hit in 1957 but had a lasting influence on music for decades to come.

The track was covered by many artists, including Johnny Rivers, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty, the Beach Boys, the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett and the Grateful Dead.

Smith also wrote and recorded the 1958 single "Sea Cruise," which became a platinum-selling hit the following year when Frankie Ford replaced Smith's vocals on the track.

Smith's band, the Clowns, recorded several other popular tracks, including "Don't You Just Know It," which was inspired by a catchphrase often used by their then-driver Rudy Ray Moore.

Moore, an entertainer and vocalist, went on to create the persona of Dolomite, leaving a lasting impression on the world of hip-hop and Black cinema as the driving force behind the creation of "blaxploitation" films.

In the early 1980s, Smith moved to Baton Rouge and mostly left music behind. However, in 2000 he returned to the stage to perform at the Rhythm and Blues Foundation gala in New York City.

He received the foundation's Pioneer Award, which recognizes "the artistic contributions and excellence of legendary Rhythm & Blues artists who have impacted the world through their music."

Friday, December 23, 2022

Memphis Rapper, Big Scarr, Reportedly Dead at 22

Photo Credit: Gucci Mane/Instagram

The hip-hop world is reeling from the loss of another up-and-coming rapper from Memphis, Tennessee.

Gucci Mane confirmed reports that fellow Bluff City artist Big Scarr died Thursday in an Instagram post.

“This hurts,” Mane, whose label 1017 Records signed Scarr in 2020, wrote. “I’m a miss you.”

No cause of death was given for the 22-year-old, born Alexander Woods, but his demise is the third in less than a year of a prominent Memphis rapper. 

Young Dolph was murdered while at a bakery in Memphis in Nov. of 2021 and Snootie Wild was shot to death in Houston in February. 

A member of the 2022 XXL Freshman Class, showcasing rap artists on the rise, Scarr moved toward mainstream success in 2021 with the release of the hit single "SoIcyBoyz," Featuring labelmates Pooh Shiesty, who is also his cousin, and Foogiano.

A mixtape by Scarr, "Big Grim Reaper," was released in April of 2021. It sold 22,000 copies in its first week and peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard 200, and earned him his first charting project. 

Friday, December 16, 2022

RCA Drops Official Soundtrack for 'I Wanna Dance' Days Before the Release of Whitney Houston Biopic

The official movie poster for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."
Whitney Houston fans are receiving an early Christmas present this weekend to help get them in the mood for the new biopic about the music legend that opens in theaters on Dec. 23.

On Friday, RCA Records dropped an official 35-song soundtrack for the film, "Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody," which "serves as a musical memoir of the cinematic voyage," it said in a press statement.

"We think the fans will be excited to hear some incredible music they know and love, as well as some new never-before-released tracks, including 'Far Enough' and the incredible 'Don't Cry For Me,' which ends the film," said Pat Houston, President of The Estate of Whitney E. Houston, of the tracklist which spans 20 years of Houston's remarkable career.

It includes nearly two hours of remixed and original versions of the diva's songs, punctuated by special guest features by a sterling lineup of music-industry stars including BeBe Winans, Clean Bandit, Kygo, Lucky Daye and more.

Super-producer Clive Davis, who discovered Houston, said the album "brings many of Whitney's classics into 2023 and beyond."

He added, "Contemporary, current and often scorching, if you love Whitney's music, you must own this album!" 

The first female artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, Houston sold over 200 million records and is one of the best-selling artists of the 20th century.

Click here to listen to the soundtrack. Find the complete tracklist below:

I Wanna Dance With Somebody Soundtrack Tracklisting
1. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston & P2J)
2. Don't Cry For Me (Whitney Houston & Sam Feldt)
3. Higher Love (Whitney Houston & Kygo)
4. The Greatest Love Of All (Whitney Houston & Jax Jones)
5. I'm Every Woman (Whitney Houston & SG Lewis)
6. How Will I Know (Whitney Houston & Clean Bandit)
7. I Love The Lord (Whitney Houston, BeBe Winans, Great John)
8. Don't Cry For Me (Darkchild Film Version)
9. Honest (Heartbreak Hotel) [Whitney Houston & Lucky Daye]
10. Okay (Whitney Houston, Oxlade, Pheelz)
11. You'll Never Stand Alone (Moto Blanco Remix)
12. Love Will Save The Day (MATVEI Remix)
13. Tomorrow (Whitney Houston & Samaria)
14. Home (Live from The Merv Griffin Show)
15. You Give Good Love
16. Saving All My Love for You
17. If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful (Whitney Houston & Jermaine Jackson)
18. Far Enough
19. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)
20. So Emotional
21. Where Do Broken Hearts Go
22. Moment Of Truth
23. I'm Your Baby Tonight
24. The Star-Spangled Banner (Live from Super Bowl XXV)
25. One Moment In Time
26. I Will Always Love You (Live from The Concert for a New South Africa)
27. Medley: I Loves You, Porgy / And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going / I Have Nothing (Live from The        21st Annual American Music Awards)
28. Run To You
29. Impossible Things (Whitney Houston & Leikeli47)
30. Why Does It Hurt So Bad (from the "Waiting to Exhale" – Original Soundtrack)
31. It's Not Right, But It's Okay
32. My Love Is Your Love
33. I Didn't Know My Own Strength (Live from The Oprah Winfrey Show)
34. Clive's Message
35. Don't Cry For Me (A Cappella)

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Gunna Released From Jail After Taking Plea Deal in YSL Case

Photo Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Atlanta rapper Gunna has been released from a Georgia jail after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The 29-year-old platinum-selling artist was arrested in May along with Grammy Award-winning rapper Young Thug, after a 56-count grand jury indictment naming 28 members and associates of the record label imprint YSL (Young Stoner Life) was filed in the state.

"I have chosen to end my own RICO case with an Alford plea and end my personal ordeal by publicly acknowledging my association with YSL," the rapper said in a written statement shared with the media on Wednesday by his attorney Steve Sadow. 

"An Alford plea in my case is the entry of a guilty plea to the one charge against me, which is in my best interest, while at the same time maintaining my innocence toward the same charge."

Thanks to the plea Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, will serve no prison time.

One year of his five-year sentence was commuted to time served and the rest was suspended. While the musician does not face any more time behind bars, he does have other obligations to keep as conditions of his release.

As part of the 500 hours of community service he is beholden to, Gunna is required to spend 350 hours speaking to young men and women about the hazards and immorality of gangs and gang violence.

The grand jury indictment that led to his arrest and that of his associates claims that the record label imprint YSL is "a criminal street gang" that "claims affiliation with the national Bloods gang."

The indictment cites numerous gang-related incidents, spanning years, that include criminal actions by YSL operatives in coordination with the Bloods gang, including murder.

"When I became affiliated with YSL in 2016, I did not consider it a 'gang'; more like a group of people from metro Atlanta who had common interests and artistic aspirations," Gunna said."My focus of YSL was entertainment — rap artists who wrote and performed music that exaggerated and 'glorified' urban life in the Black community."

I love and cherish my association with YSL music and always will. "I look at this as an opportunity to give back to my community and educate young men and women that 'gangs' and violence only lead to destruction."

The "Drip Too Hard" artist made it clear that even though he took a plea that he will not be involved in the prosecution of his co-defendants.

He added, "While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, have NOT agreed to testify or be a witness for or against any party in the case, and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way."

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Blueface Taken Into Custody in Las Vegas on Suspicion of Attempted Murder

Courtesy Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Rapper Blueface was arrested Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas on suspicion of attempted murder.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that the 25-year-old, whose real name is Jonathan Porter, was taken into custody around 2:40 p.m. outside of a business in the 300 block of Hughes Center Drive.

“He will be booked into the Clark County Detention Center on warrants for attempted murder with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm at/into an occupied structure,” it read, noting that the artist was wanted in connection with an Oct. 8 shooting in the 6000 block of Windy Road.

A video of the apparent undercover operation was posted online, showing plainclothes officers taking the star into custody outside of Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles. According to TMZ, which first posted the footage, six to eight officers were involved in his arrest. The Los Angeles native's girlfriend, musician and influencer Chrisean Rock, was with him.

After rising to prominence as a meme rapper in 2018, Blueface scored a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart with a remix of his song "Thotiana" (featuring Cardi B and YG), which peaked at No. 8.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Joyce Sims, R&B Singer Who Topped the US and UK Charts in the 1980s, Dies at 63

The family of R&B star Joyce Sims, who rose to prominence in the U.S. and U.K. in the 1980s with hits like “All and All” and “Come into My Life,” has confirmed her death at the age of 63.

“My heart is broken. I will always remember the happy times we’ve shared, the love and support you have given me will not go in vain,” Annette Ramsey, one of Sim’s siblings shared on Facebook. “I Love you Big Sis RIP.”

No cause of death was given for the singer-songwriter, whose demise on Friday (Oct. 14) was first reported by U.K.-based events organizer CJ Carlos on the same social media site.

"Having spoken to her immediate family tonight (Oct. 15), it's with a heavy heart that I post this news,” he posted. “Joyce Sims has passed away. Joyce was an amazing singer-songwriter who had so many hits in the 80s.”

Carlos added, "As most of you know she was going to be one of our USA artist's in Portugal next May. My heart goes out to her partner Errol and their children and close family."

The New York native was best known for her hit “Come into My Life.” Released in 1987, the single peaked at No. 10 on the U. S. Billboard R&B chart and at No. 7 on the UK Singles Chart.

Along with her first hit, 1986’s "(You Are My) All and All,” which reached No. 6 on the U.S. dance chart and No. 16 on the U.K. singles chart, “Come into My Life” helped propel her eponymously named debut album to success in both countries.

Her follow-up albums did not reach the same heights, but she continued to perform and put out new material steadily. She had multiple minor hits with tracks like “Lifetime Love”, “Walk Away” and “Looking for a Love.”

Sims, whose last album was 2014’s “Love Song,” was touring the U.K. as recently as this summer and had plans to release a new one this year. Her music has also been sampled by several other popular artists, including Snoop Dogg and Angie Stone.

Fans and contemporaries rushed to social media to mourn her passing.

DJ Premier tweeted, “R.I.P. To the Icon JOYCE SIMS.”

“Rest in peace Joyce Sims,” English singer Kenny Thomas wrote on Twitter. “Another soul legend taken too soon. Thank you for the music.”

Friday, September 23, 2022

Platinum Rapper, Fat Joe, Inducted Into White Castle Hall of Fame

Fat Joe (middle) was recently inducted into the White Castle Craver's Hall of Fame.
Fat Joe is officially a Hall of Famer.

No, the Bronx-born rapper and actor won’t be joining Eminem this fall when he is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame later this fall along with other luminaries from across the music industry.

He has been, however, inducted into White Castle's Cravers Hall of Fame as a Craver in Extremis.

The legendary burger chain, known for its square hamburger sliders, held a surprise ceremony in Joe’s native New York borough on Thursday.

White Castle vice president Jamie Richardson presented the rapper with a plaque commemorating his induction and said the company was proud to be associated with him.

"The Cravers Hall of Fame honors our loyal fans who represent the best of White Castle, and Fat Joe embodies that lifelong dedication," said Richardson. "We share the same values, including family, humility and commitment to the community. We're grateful to have someone such as Fat Joe as an ambassador."

The Cravers Hall of Fame is an exclusive club that White Castle created in 2001 to recognize its most zealous fans, who are affectionately referred to as Cravers.

Joe, who also received word that a booth in the Castle is now known as the "Fat Joe Lean Back Booth," a nod to his 2004 classic song and in his honor, said he appreciated the love from one of his favorite franchises.

"If you're from the Bronx like I'm from the Bronx, the White Castle in my neighborhood was a flagship location,” he said during the ceremony. “I've been coming to White Castle with my aunts, uncles, mother and father, wife and my kids, and that's what it is all about."

The Grammy-nominated artist said his go-to meal at White Castle is a Double Cheese Slider, onion rings and clam strips.

This is just the latest collaboration between Joe and the company. Earlier this year they teamed up to introduce the Spicy Joe Slider and Sloppy Fries to celebrate JOE-nuary as a month dedicated to all things Joe.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Fetty Wap to Spend a Minimum of Five Years in Prison After Pleading Guilty to Federal Drug Charges

Rapper Fetty Wap, seen here in a 2019 mugshot, has 
plead guilty to drug trafficking. 

Rapper Fetty Wap will spend at least five years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court Monday to conspiracy to possess and distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

The charge carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence, but the 31-year-old "Trap Queen" artist could face up to 40 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Wap — whose real name is Willie Junior Maxwell II — and five co-defendants were accused of conspiring to possess and distribute more than 220 pounds of heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine between June 2019 and June 2020.

Prosecutors allege the defendants used the U.S. Postal Service and cars with hidden compartments to move drugs from the West Coast to Long Island, where they were stored for distribution to dealers on Long Island and in New Jersey.

The plea comes two weeks after the artist, who had been released on a $500,000 bond following his arrest in October, was returned to jail for threatening to kill someone and brandishing a gun during a FaceTime call in December.

A sentencing date has yet to be set by the court, but an attorney for the rapper has requested the process be expedited.

Wap's 2015 eponymous debut album thrust him to the forefront of the music world. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and featured four Billboard Hot 100 top 40 singles, including the diamond-certified "Trap Queen" which peaked at No. 2. and earned the musician two Grammy nominations.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Rapper, Nipsey Hussle, Receives Posthumous Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

Nipsey Hussle was honored posthumously today with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The ceremony came over three years after the rapper was shot dead outside his Marathon clothing store in South Los Angeles on what would have been his 37th birthday.

It took place in front of family and friends on Hollywood Boulevard. His longtime girlfriend, actress Lauren London, was in attendance — along with his sister Samantha Smith and grandmother Margaret Boutte.

"I think I speak for the entire city of LA when I say that we've always known Hussle was destined for greatness," said London, addressing the crowd. "This moment only amplifies this for us. Nip would've been honored by this moment."

Smith added, "Nip the Great, look at who you are, look at what you did. I'm in awe but I'm not surprised. You've been a star in my eyes, the family's eyes, God's eyes, far before the accolades caught up."

Boutte accepted the star on behalf of Hussle's family.

"He lives forever,'' she said. "And I look at his picture and remember all the wonderful times we had together. Nipsey, I love you; I miss you, but you're close at heart always."

Born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, the Los Angeles native worked his way from gang member to Grammy Award-winning musician and gang reformer during his abbreviated life.

To help keep others out of gangs, Hussle worked with the city on public works projects and provided shoes for students and shelter and accommodations for the homeless. One of his community improvement efforts, a redeveloped strip mall, housed the shop where he was killed on March 31, 2019, by 32-year-old Eric R. Holder Jr.

The gang member was convicted of first-degree murder in July. Sentencing is set to take place in September. Holder faces up to life in prison.

Watch the entire presentation below:


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Gladys Knight a 2022 Kennedy Center Honoree

Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Soul legend Gladys Knight will join an elite field of performers and artists being honored for their contributions to American culture this December at the Kennedy Center Honors Gala.

Recipients of the 45th Kennedy Center Honors were announced Thursday. The gospel, soul and R&B star is joined by actor and filmmaker George Clooney; contemporary Christian pop singer Amy Grant; Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban-American composer Tania León and the rock band U2 in receiving recognition.

“I’m humbled beyond words to be included amongst this prestigious group of individuals, both past and present. You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honored on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these—it just wouldn’t have seemed possible," said Knight of her selection in a statement released by the organization.

The seven-time Grammy winner added, "It would have been the dream of all dreams. I have been blessed with so much in my life and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list. To be honored as a Kennedy Center Honoree is among the highlights of my career. I stand here with my fans, my family, my friends, my team, and my faith in accepting such an amazing distinction. It is dedicated to all those who paved the path for me to be able to accomplish the wonderful blessings I’ve been able to receive. The Kennedy Center’s commitment to the arts is unparalleled and I am so very grateful for this moment.”

Nicknamed the "Empress of Soul," Knight has enjoyed decades of success in the music industry, both as the frontwoman of the Pips and as a solo artist. Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

The Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which is a major fundraiser for the Kennedy Center, will take place on December 4 and be broadcast later on CBS and streamed on Paramount+.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Lil Baby Named ASCAP Songwriter of the Year

Frank SchwichtenbergCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Rapper Lil Baby has been named Songwriter of the Year by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

ASCAP announced the news Tuesday in conjunction with the beginning of its 35th annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards.

The virtual event is taking place on @ASCAP and @ASCAPUrban's social media channels through Friday.

It is the second consecutive win in the category for the 27-year-old rapper, who won his first Grammy in April as a featured artist on Kanye West’s “Hurricane."

A prolific songwriter, Lil Baby took part in the creation of some of hip-hop's biggest hits, while working with some of the genre's top artists such as Drake and DJ Khaled. A brief list of some of the hits he helped create includes "Every Chance I Get," "Girls Want Girls," "On Me," "Rags2Riches 2" and "Wants and Needs."

The artist made his studio debut in 2018 with "Harder Than Ever." The album was certified platinum. His second studio effort, "My Turn," topped the Billboard 200 in 2020, and "The Voice of the Heroes," a collaborative effort with Chicago rapper Lil Durk gave him his second project to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts.

Earlier this year he announced his third studio effort would be out sometime this summer.

Other notable winners included the R&B/Hip-Hop and Rap Song of the Year award being presented to songwriters Orville “Buggs Can Can” Hall and Phillip Triggerman Price (a.k.a. The Showboys), Dion “Devious” Norman, Trè Samuels and Dave Welcome for “Go Crazy,” performed by Chris Brown and Young Thug. 

The hit song broke the record for the most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart (29).

Click here for a complete list of winners.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Beyoncé Releasing New Album 'Renaissance' in July

Beyoncé marked her return to music with a photo shoot for British Vogue.  

After two weeks of cryptic clues that had the Beyhive abuzz that their Queen B was on the verge of releasing new music, the Beyoncé stans were vindicated Thursday morning when their liege's record label took to social media to officially announce her seventh studio album.

Posting an image of a black square with "act i" and "RENAISSANCE" written in white on each side, the record label captioned the post: "Beyoncé. RENAISSANCE. July 29."

Tidal, the streaming music service formerly owned by her husband Jay-Z (who still retains a board seat) before he sold it to Square for $297 million last year, posted a similar message at the same time.

While the details of the album have yet to be officially revealed, BeyLegion shared a screenshot implying that the project will have 16 tracks.

The star's self-proclaimed "biggest fansite" has a solid record of breaking legitimate news about its subject.

"Renaissance" is the 40-year-old's first solo since 2016's critically acclaimed triple-platinum album "Lemonade."

During the six-year gap, she kept busy with collaborative projects. In 2018 she released "Everything Is Love" with Jay-Z, and in 2019 she curated and was heavily featured on "Lion King: The Gift" a soundtrack for Disney's live-action adaptation of the classic animated movie. She also released "Homecoming: The Live Album" that same year, which features live renditions of some of her biggest hits. In 2022 she earned an Oscar nomination for her song “Be Alive,” which was featured in King Richard.

An interview with Vogue's Rafael Pavarotti, done in conjunction with Beyoncé's cover shoot for British Vogue's July issue, sheds a little light on the project. In an excerpt, the longtime fan wrote:

She then asked me if I wanted to hear her new music. As someone who first saw her perform live with Destiny’s Child 23 years ago, a moment’s walk from my family home when the group played at the Notting Hill Carnival in 1999, I can feel the tingling excitement build as we make our way to her home recording studio. With minimal ceremony, she takes her laptop and plugs it in as we all sit on some sofas. Quietly, the superstar hits play on her upcoming album.

Instantly, a wall of sound hits me. Soaring vocals and fierce beats combine and in a split second I’m transported back to the clubs of my youth. I want to get up and start throwing moves. It’s music I love to my core. Music that makes you rise, that turns your mind to cultures and subcultures, to our people past and present, music that will unite so many on the dance floor, music that touches your soul. As ever with Beyoncé, it is all about the intent. I sit back, after the wave, absorbing it all.

Four unique box sets are currently available for pre-order on Beyoncé's website. Every purchase includes a CD, T-shirt, mini-poster and a 28-page photo booklet.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Murder-Suicide Takes the Life of Acclaimed Producer Metro Boomin's Mother

Photo Credit: Twitter
Leslie Joanne Wayne with her son Metro Boomin.

Leslie Joanne Wayne, the mother of famed hip-hop producer and DJ, Metro Boomin, was the victim of a
murder-suicide perpetrated by her husband over the weekend.

TMZ broke the story with sources connected to the investigation telling the outlet that Wayne appears to have been murdered by her spouse — not Metro's father — Friday night outside of Atlanta.

Representatives for the 28-year-old artist confirmed the death and requested privacy for the artist, whose real name is Leland Tyler Wayne, and his family during this difficult time.

Metro Boomin, whose chart-topping work with artists like Drake, Kanye West, 21 Savage and many more has made him one of the most sought-after producers in the business, credited his mother with much of his success.

He recalled her encouraging his music career and even driving 17 hours from their home in St. Louis to Atlanta every weekend to work with OJ Da Juiceman who helped hone and develop him as a producer.

In a 2016 profile for The FADER, Metro Boomin said his mother drove him 17 hours from their home in St. Louis to Atlanta to meet OJ Da Juiceman who, in turn, helped him grow as a producer.

"My name is Leland Tyler Wayne,” he told the publication of his mother who he described as a warmhearted, protective woman, whose support and care knows no limits. “My mom wanted to give me a name where, no matter what I wanted to do, I’d be able to do it. An astronaut. President. Whatever. Leland Wayne.”

The name of Wayne's spouse has not been released and an autopsy is being conducted to determine the official cause of death.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Suspect Named in Shooting Death of Atlanta Rapper Trouble

Photo Credit: Rockdale County Sheriff's Office
Jamichael Jones is wanted in connection with the 
the murder of Atlanta rapper Trouble.  
Atlanta rapper Trouble, who broke onto the scene with the breakout hit "Bussin" on his 2011 debut
mixtape "December 17th" and was best known for his collaborations with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, is dead at 34.

According to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, the artist, whose real name is Mariel Semonte Orr and was also known as Skoob, was shot and killed Sunday morning in Rockdale County.

In a news release, officials said deputies from the office responded to the Lake St. James apartment complex located at 50 St. James Dr. in Conyers, Georgia, after reports of a shooting around 3:20 a.m.

Once there, police discovered Orr lying on the ground from a gunshot wound. He was transported to a hospital for treatment and was later pronounced dead.

An arrest warrant has been issued for 33-year-old Jamichael Jones in connection with the murder which may have been triggered by a domestic dispute.

“What we know and what I can tell you is that with Mr. Mariel Orr which is the victim was visiting a female friend at the complex and Mr. Jamichael Jones did know the female and it was a domestic situation,” Rockdale County Public Information Officer Jedidia Canty said. “I know there are a lot of people that are really upset right now about the situation.”

Trouble's label, Def Jam Recordings, mourned the rapper's death on its official Instagram account.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the children, loved ones, and fans of Trouble. A true voice for his city and an inspiration to the community he proudly represented. RIP Skoob,” the label posted.

Following his mixtape success with "December 17th" (ranked number 23 on Complex’s “The 25 Best Mixtapes of 2011” ), he was named to XXL magazine’s list of “15 Atlanta Rappers You Should Know” in 2013 and eventually produced two studio albums "Edgewood" in 2018 and "Thug Luv" in 2020.

It was his collaborations with platinum artists like Drake, The Weekend and other Atlanta rappers such as the Migos that made him a star.

Several of them turned to social media to mourn his death Sunday. 
Prolific producer Mike Will Made-It, who signed Trouble to a record deal on his label Ear Drummer Records in 2017 and served as executive producer on his debut album "Edgewood," wrote that "Trouble’s personality lit up a room and his conversation left you more creative then when you walked in,” in his Instagram Stories. 

He added, "His accent, dialect, and charisma were of constant discussion when we spoke; usually chats full of laughter.”