Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Hip-Hop Icon Juicy J Releases Raw Memoir 'Chronicles of the Juice Man'

Juicy J, a pioneering member of the legendary rap ensemble Three 6 Mafia, has unveiled his life's raw and unfiltered journey in his recently published memoir, "Chronicles of the Juice Man." In exclusive interviews with Good Morning America and the Allison Interviews podcast, Juicy J offered a glimpse into the trials and triumphs that propelled him from a humble beginning to hip-hop superstardom.

Born and raised in Memphis, Juicy J reflected on his upbringing as a young, underprivileged African American. "My roots instilled in me the values of hustle, resilience, and unwavering faith in the face of adversity. Today, I stand here because I never gave up," he shared.

As a pioneering member of Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J and the group boldly ventured into subjects considered taboo in the music industry at the time. "Our lyrics explored uncharted territories — from gritty narratives of drug culture to the mean streets of Memphis, covering the highs and lows. We held nothing back," he reminisced.

When discussing their audacious lyrics, Juicy J explained, "We didn't overthink it. We entered the studio, poured our hearts out, and let the music flow organically. No filters, no inhibitions. We were unapologetically ourselves."

In a poignant revelation during the Allison Interviews podcast, Juicy J candidly discussed his ongoing battle with Xanax addiction and the mental health challenges he's confronted. He underscored the power of resilience and faith, urging others never to give up. "My journey has been marked by trials, guided by a higher purpose. I stand as a testament that, even in the darkest hours, one can emerge victorious," he passionately asserted.

Juicy J also fondly recalled Three 6 Mafia's historic Oscar win for Best Original Song with "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," featured in the film "Hustle and Flow."

In an unexpected twist from the Allison Interviews podcast, Juicy J shared a chance encounter with Hollywood luminary Will Smith on that very night. According to Juicy J, Smith humorously quipped, "Man, I’m just mad ‘cause y’all got one before me." While the exchange carried a playful undertone, Juicy J found it noteworthy, given his profound respect for Smith's musical legacy.

With no signs of slowing down, Juicy J currently serves as the executive producer for Tyler Dollar Sign's upcoming album and produces records for Megan Thee Stallion. Anticipation builds for his upcoming album, "Memphis Zoo," a collaborative venture with Xavier Wolf. Additionally, a significant partnership with the record label 10K Projects, including executive producer roles, lies on the horizon.

"Chronicles of the Juice Man" is now available at major book retailers.

Monday, April 3, 2023

Kem's Memoir 'Share My Life' Reveals Journey of Love, Faith and Redemption

Photo Credit: Keith Majors
Grammy-nominated R&B artist Kem will release his memoir, "Share My Life: A Journey of Love, Faith and Redemption," on Tuesday. The book takes readers on an intimate journey through Kem's life, from a difficult childhood to homelessness and his rise to international stardom.

Kem is renowned for his polished and smooth style, earning four Grammy nominations and releasing numerous hit albums and singles, including "Love Calls," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Why Would You Stay," and "Nobody." The memoir shares its title with one of Kem's No. 1 hit singles and is published by Simon and Schuster. Kirkus Reviews praised the book as a "forthright chronicle of hard-won success."

In his memoir, Kem bravely delves into the emotional struggles he faced on his journey to success. Growing up with an alcoholic mother and a distant father, Kem battled with feelings of abandonment, turning to drugs and alcohol to cope. After finding himself homeless and in drug rehab centers, he discovered his passion for music, composing songs that would eventually appear on his debut album, "Kemistry." This seminal work catapulted him into the ranks of Motown's legendary icons.

"I think it's my responsibility to share my life — the good times and the bad — so that I can encourage and inspire others," Kem said about his motivation for publishing the book. The memoir was co-written with music biographer David Ritz, known for his biographies of music greats such as Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson.

Photo Credit: Keith Majors
To coincide with the book's launch, Kem's label home of twenty years, Motown Records, will release his live album "Anniversary" on April 7th. The album features hit singles from Kem's entire career and was recorded at The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in Detroit during the fall of 2022.

"Celebrating the 20th anniversary of my signing to the Motown label is exceptionally significant for me," Kem said. "Having the last two decades of my career culminate in a live album recorded in Detroit, in the city and with the people who first heard 'Love Calls' and helped put me on the map, is epic."

Kem is currently embarking on a co-headlining national arena tour with Ledisi called the Soul II Soul Tour. The tour kicks off on Friday and features Musiq Soulchild as a special guest. Fans can purchase tickets online at

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Da Brat Reveals She's Pregnant at 48

Photo Courtesy Twitter

Da Brat, the legendary rapper behind the hit song "Funkdafied," is pregnant at the age of 48.

The hip-hop icon revealed the news in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE magazine published today.

Da Brat, whose real name is Shawntae Harris, and her wife, Jesseca "Judy" Harris-Dupart, CEO of Kaleidoscope Hair Products, said they were inspired to have a baby after their marketing campaign for a new hair product line featured the tagline "extending our family."

"It started as a joke, but then we got a huge response. It was like, 'Oh my God, do we want to actually have kids, and if we do, girl, we better hurry up!'" Harris-Dupart told PEOPLE.

The couple tied the knot in February 2022, and Da Brat said she thought having a baby was "not in the cards" for her at this stage in her life.

"It's been quite a journey," she said, adding that they had to learn a lot about pregnancy and childbirth for women over 40.

Da Brat has been in the music industry for over three decades, with hits such as "Funkdafied" and "Give It 2 You," and has also appeared in films and television shows.

She became the first female solo artist to go platinum with her debut album, "Funkdafied," in 1994.

The rapper recently made headlines after receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January 2023.

Her induction ceremony was attended by several of her peers in the music and entertainment industries, including Mariah Carey, Queen Latifah, and Jermaine Dupri.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Viola Davis Becomes Third Black Woman to EGOT With Grammy Win

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Viola Davis joined an exclusive club with her win for Best Audio Book, Narration, and Storytelling at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards for her audiobook "Finding Me: A Memoir" on Sunday.

She became just the third black woman to reach coveted EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) status, and one of only 18 entertainers to win all four of the awards comprising entertainment's holy grail.

The 57-year-old actor credited her younger self with the inspiration for the project.

“I wrote this book to honor the 6-year-old Viola,” she said. “To honor her life, her joy, her trauma, everything. And, it has just been such a journey – I just EGOT!”

The award was the latest in a long list of accolades for the talented thespian, singer and author.

Davis was the first Black woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama, as well as the first Black woman to receive four Academy Award nominations.

Her other EGOT wins include two Tony awards for her work on Broadway: Best Featured Actress in 2001 for her role in "King Hedley II", and Best Leading Actress in 2010 for "Fences," an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in "How to Get Away with Murder" and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the celluloid version of "Fences."

Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson are the two other Black women that have reached EGOT status. Singer John Legend is the only Black man to EGOT.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Singer Ashanti Hopes to Uplift Children With First Book

Photo credit: @walik1 @redcarpetimages/Instagram
After finding success as a singer, songwriter and actress — Ashanti has set her eyes on conquering the literary world.

The Grammy Award-winning singer, who has sold over 27 million records, released "My Name Is a Story" today.

Inspired by her struggles as a child, the 41-year-old artist's first outing as an author is a picture book starring her younger self that aims to instill confidence in its readers.

"I wrote this book to remind children that every name is special and deserves to be honored and celebrated," she wrote on Instagram about her reasons for writing the book.

She added, " Every name tells a story. What’s in a name? Everything! Saying each other’s names correctly is one way to value and see people fully. My hope is that MY NAME IS A STORY will be an inspiration to anyone who has been made fun of because their name was different, or had their name mispronounced or not pronounced at all."

The star dropped by the Essence Festival of Culture earlier this month to celebrate the book launch by swapping stories with and signing copies for fans. She had so much fun that the session lasted an hour longer than intended according to reporting by PEOPLE.

"The stories were like, 'I'm so glad that you're doing this because I always felt embarrassed when it was time for the teacher to call out everyone's name and she would stutter on my name,' " Ashanti told the publication about her conversations with fans. "I didn't want them to feel like that."

The book is available to order on all major platforms now. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

New Book Takes a Look at the LIfe and Legacy of DJ Screw

Courtesy of DeMo Sherman and University of Houston Libraries Special 

Hardcore hip-hop fans, especially those with any affinity, connection, or affection for Houston’s eclectic rap scene, are getting an early gift this year.

Brooklyn-based writer Lance Scott Walker’s long-anticipated book on legendary Texas' music fixture DJ Screw, “DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution,” dropped today, and according to early reviews, it is a winner.

"Weaving flashes of his own voice into an oral history featuring over 130 of Screw’s friends, family, heroes, students, and more, Walker stitches together a full picture of the iconic DJ’s legacy," Rolling Stone’s Mankaprr Conteh said of the tome, which is the culmination of 16 years of research by the author.

The book meticulously documents the life of the late innovator, born Robert Earl Davis Jr., who created a signature “chopped and screwed” sound that would come to define the city of Houston by spinning two copies of a record to “chop” in new rhythms and having local rappers freestyle over the tracks and slow down the recordings of the session on tape.

Walker may be based in New York, but he is no stranger to the subject matter. A Galveston, Texas, native — he got his big break writing about music and nightlife for Houston Press and Houston Chronicle in the early 2000s and has written several other books on Houston rap.

For his latest work, he interviewed everyone from Screw’s childhood friend to collaborators and fans who helped popularize his tape and the hip-hop moguls that drew inspiration from and honored his work.

“Screw slowed down the music because he wanted to hear what the rappers were saying. He wanted you to hear what they were saying,” Walker told Houston Matters Michael Hagerty in a recent interview. 

“Sometimes there would be a message in there that he wanted to repeat so you would hear him wind it back, and sometimes he’s not just winding back a couple of words but an entire phrase or an entire 16 bars. Whatever it is he wants to run back, he’s running it back because he wants you to hear it.”

Walker added that the sound, like its hot and seemingly endless summers, is something that is Houston, but the narrative on the Screw tapes cemented his legacy and its importance to the city.

“You heard local rappers talking about local neighborhoods, local streets, local record labels, local places where they went… that sort of thing, so it sounds like Houston. It’s got that hot sort of slow sound.”

Monday, February 14, 2022

R&B Singer, David Bowie Muse, Ava Cherry Releases Memoir

During the mid-1970s when the musical chameleon christened David Robert Jones, but better known to
the earthlings who consumed his works during his hall-of-fame career as David Bowie was near the pinnacle of his creative powers, he moved to the US as he gravitated towards funk and soul.

During much of that period, which saw the then relatively unknown outside of the U.K. artist, become a worldwide sensation, Ava Cherry was by his side. A former fashion model turned musician, she was Bowie’s lover, backup singer, collaborator and friend.

Their five-year relationship inspired one of his greatest hits and most beloved songs “Golden Years,” and Cherry’s influence on Bowie during that period was essential in the development of his breakthrough album from that period, “Young Americans.”

Now the nu-soul diva is finally revealing what it was like to work with the global rock icon in the 1970s in her new book (available now at major retailers, “All That Glitters: The Ava Cherry Story.”

Cherry told iHeartRadio’s biography podcast series “Off the Record” in 2021: “I was already hooked. There was nothing I could do about how I felt. I wasn't going to let him go,” of meeting Bowie and making love with him only to be introduced to his wife in the morning and told they had an open marriage.

She was not the only one addicted apparently. Cherry's formative years on the Chicago black music scene shaped her soul music sensibilities and she shared that influence with the rock great whose copy of James Brown’s “Live at the Apollo” had been one of his most treasured possessions as a child.

Cherry took him to the black music mecca and soon he had recruited house band’s guitarist, Carlos
Alomar and headed to Philadelphia's Sigma Sound, the center of the "Philly Soul" explosion, and vowed to cut a record that emulated the funky sounds of bands like the Spinners, and the O'Jays.

That album “Young Americans” became Bowie’s first to reach the top 10 of the Billboard charts in the US, and its lead single “Fame” — which Cherry can be heard on — his first No. 1 hit in the country.

Eventually, Cherry and Bowie’s partnership collapsed under the weight of his drug use and money woes according to her interview with “Off the Record,” but she never stopped caring for him.

“I stayed in love with him for so long because I knew I didn't do anything wrong for us to break up,” she said. “It was just the circumstance."

Cherry remained friendly with Bowie in the following years, even attending the engagement party for his second wife Iman and remained active in the music world as well, first as a backup singer for R &B legend Luther Vandross and eventually as a solo artist.