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SOURCE EXCLUSIVE: Nipsey Hussle Talks Discipline, Music and Money

TheSource Feed - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 9:17am

After leaving Epic Records to start his own All Money In record label, Nipsey Hussle spent roughly eight years putting in the necessary groundwork to establish himself as an independent force to be reckoned with. Nipsey’s work ethic, financial intelligence, and marketing expertise took the advancement of his brand as far as any artist who actually had the machine power of a major label behind them, if not further. Such independent success rewarded Nipsey beyond the scope of normal music industry business making him the first artist to achieve a partnership deal with Atlantic Records which was announced at the latter of 2017. Since then, Nipsey has had a three month long strategic unveiling quite like no other.

Today [February 16th], Nipsey finally released his highly anticipated debut album, Victory Lap. He teamed up with a brilliant assortment of featured artists including Diddy, Marshia Ambrosius, Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, The Dream, and Ceelo Green in which he  performed tracks from the new album last night [February 15th] at his sold out Album Release Concert at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Palladium.

We got a chance to catch up with Nipsey in the midst of his very impressive rollout for Victory Lap and discussed time management skills, what new he has learned about the industry since his partnership with Atlantic, financial advice he would give to his son and other black men, as well as his favorites from his own catalogue of music.

While you were [on the come up] and not as established as you are now, how did you find the time to work to make ends meet before rap was paying the bills, but still study your craft and this industry, read books and work on your passion while still even maintaining a personal life, if at all possible?

It was spurts of time that I didn’t really have a social life. I had to figure out where I could cut the fat. It would be a three to six month period where I didn’t see anybody but my engineer from being in the studio. Then, I saw an old clip of Birdman saying, “I used to tell all my artists we have to make the studio the block, and everything we do something we have to do it at the studio. If we going to hang out with some girls, we have to do it at the studio. If we going to work out, we have to work out at the studio. If we going to eat, we have to eat at the studio.”

So I took a lot of insight from that and decided we have to make the workplace as sociable and comfortable and entertaining as we can make it, because if we’re going to have to leave the studio to do those things then we’re not really going to be able to get an edge over ourself and definitely not over the competition.

Overall, it was just about sacrificing. During my teenage years and my early twenties when it was all about just living and having fun we were really just sitting still working. And at times I would question that and sometimes think, “Am I really wasting these moments?” But in hindsight that’s what it took. It was the moment to get ahead and distinguish our self. It was about the sacrifice. What could you possibly give up? Then after you give that up — what else can you give up to keep gaining advantages? And not in a competitive way — but how can you keep gaining advantages over yourself? How can you master your 24 hours?

I made it where I handle my core responsibilities first early in the morning then work. Then, have a cutoff time where I can say I’ve done all my work for today and now I’m going to take some type of input — read a book, watch a documentary, talk to somebody smart. Just making sure I’m getting better every day. Then I started to enjoy that. That started to become entertaining. Then progress became an adrenaline rush and more excitement than whatever I felt I was sacrificing.

Is that particular method of time management different now that you are an established artist and time is even more scarce for you?   

I think it’s about having the discipline to find out your most effective return on your energy. For me, I wear a lot of hats in my movement. I do a lot of the marketing. I do a lot of the business. I do a lot of the think tank. But the most effective return on my energy is going to the studio. When I’m in that booth I can do something in that moment that changes my life forever at any moment. As much as I can be creative on the marketing, and as much as I can be creative with the business, the impact of the return can’t be rivaled with what I can get out of being in that booth. So I think it’s really about identifying the highest potential return on your energy, and concentrating your energy there and spending as much time there as possible.

What advice can you give as far as profitable outlets and options for black men to begin exploring to make money? And the advice that you will probably be giving to your son [Kross] when he’s finally old enough to understand money and savings and investing? 

That’s a good question. The most effective thing is to be a worker first. You have to commit yourself to working everyday and then the next step would be to figure out how not to have your work leveraged by other people. I read a book when I was young called ‘Political Economy’. It really just broke down the United States wage formula and how wages are determined. So a company at the highest level of their business strategy determines how much they can pay their employees based on a multiple. The multiple is usually 10x. Then the company says whatever that labor is worth pay them 1/10th of that. So if your labor is worth $100 an hour then they will give you $10 an hour based off the political equation. So when I read that I couldn’t help but think, “Dang, this is really a trap!”

So we have to think entrepreneurial because somebody is going to leverage our energy. Then if you factor in taxes and living expenses it really becomes a Doomsday scenario. So we have to take steps to create our own enterprise. So whatever it is, whether it’s washing cars or shining shoes, if it’s yours then you have your hands on the steering wheel. Then build off of that. One thing I used to say is that a lot of people I grew up with had too much pride to be or do certain things but they didn’t have too much pride to be broke.

So I would tell my son, there’s pride in working and there’s pride in ownership and being in control. You can have a glamorous position somewhere or you can be in “a roll your sleeve up dishwashing situation” for yourself. And I would always suggest to choose the less glamorous role if that role allows you to have your hand on the steering wheel because there’s no ceiling. There’s no formula working against your progress. The upward mobility is based on how clever and how creative you can wiggle and maneuver. But I would just say always have an entrepreneurial mindset and leverage all of your resources towards creating something that you own or control.

Can you share any particular financial mistakes that you may have made early on [maybe once or repeatedly] that you eventually learned from?

The first thing you’re going to learn is stop living above your means. We come from a culture that glorifies spending and that glorifies blowing money, living for the moment, and turning up, and all of these phrases that we subscribe to. And that shit is going to kill us. I’m not exempt from being influenced by that lifestyle and going to the strip club, throwing money, buying bottles in the club for ten times the price of what they cost at the store, and buying designer. I did everything. But I realized we’re victims of our culture. There are cultures who go to K-Mart to buy their shoes, with no disrespect to K-Mart. These dudes be worth multiple millions and they don’t wear it. They fill their accounts up. They set their family up. They set their generations up, and you don’t hear about them going broke and falling off because of that. There is no pressure from the culture they exist in. You never hear about strip clubs in other cultures. You don’t hear about going to clubs buying bottles. You hear about Owner Clubs. It’s a different pressure that’s put on us though. So I think it’s about being able to be outside of that expectation.

Soon as we get some money they have expectations for you. Oh, you need to get a car when you get some money, etc. But all of the expectations they put on you is not in alignment with what is going to keep you wealthy and create wealth that you can pass down. To answer the question — living above my means, spending more than you’re supposed to spend.

And I feel like it’s a crime not to give the game. I find myself confused after getting the game wondering why they put us through college and grade school and not teach us about taxes not once. They don’t teach us about these things that are actually practical that everybody has to deal with. They want you to learn the hard way. So I believe if we can influence and sprinkle the knowledge and the game in the music then we have to do it that way.

You were technically already a music executive in your own right and made it your duty to be very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of this industry, but is there anything new you’ve picked up, learned or been enlightened on that only such a close knit partnership with Atlantic could teach you?

Definitely! I saw the interior mechanics of the label as they roll the album out. Just what we’re doing now is a totally different process compared to doing a release as an indie versus a major label release. You have so many people mobilizing. You have press people. You have tech people that are constantly working on social media engagement and creating different ways to spike the engagement online. You have marketing people. You have radio people that activate. It’s just different. Then you have a budget that’s not going to run dry.

As successful as you can be as an indie artist, you have to really mange the resources because you’re dealing with your own check. So outside of covering the manufacturing cost of the posters, the studio expenses, the features, you still have to pay rent and you still have to pay your team. You also have to have your own personal overhead taken care of. It get’s really expensive as an independent artist. So just a combination of those things I’m seeing how this rollout is being executed and I’m just learning how important it is to have 250 people on staff that’s focused and that wake up every morning on task, and a radio department that’s been in the game for years that have relationships and other hit records they’ve delivered that they can leverage for your record. I’ve learned a lot!

You’ve been in this game pursuing this rap career for 10 or so years now in which it has all been progressive and uphill for you — and then there are way too many artists who have had their run, had their hot moment, and been in and out of this game in less than 3 years. What’s the secret to your longevity and what advice would you give to up and coming artists on building sustainable careers and not temporary ones?

I think it’s like a relationship. If you don’t violate key principles like with a person — what makes a person keep f*cking with you for ten years? What makes a person keep picking your card up and keep tapping in with you? It’s because of the way you handle the relationship. I think it’s the same with friends and with music. You don’t do no goofy sh*t. You don’t violate what you stand for. You don’t mix up who you are and who you are perceived to be. You show growth and progress. I think that’s the biggest thing. I always say still water is dead water. You have to be flowing water. You have to make progress. You have to make moves and steps forward.

I also believe being honorable and being solid go a long way. Like you said, a lot of people had records and moments of being hot but then they do goofy sh*t that have you so turned off that you no longer value the music.

I think it’s just based on relationship principles. It’s like a reputation. The same thing that makes you good in the streets is how you carry yourself. You’ve never told on nobody. You never got marked out. You’ve never done no buster sh*t. That makes it to where you’re good and solid where you’re stand. And I think that applies to more than just music and the streets. That just applies to humans. People will respect you on how you conduct yourself, and we don’t listen to people we don’t respect. I know I don’t. It’s very hard to listen to somebody you don’t respect. No matter how good it may sound aesthetically in your mind you’re thinking this dude is a clown. This girl is a clown. I don’t want to hear nothing coming out of her mouth.

On Twitter a few days ago you asked your followers to tweet their — Favorite song? Favorite verse? Favorite overall project? — I want to ask you the same thing about your own catalog. Off the top of your head what’s your favorite song? Verse? Overall project?

That’s very hard for me to do. My favorite overall project is probably The Marathon just because of how pure that is to me and the space I was in when I was writing those records. It was like my back was really against the wall. I put a lot of those feelings into that album.

My favorite song. That’s rough. That’s a hard one. But maybe, a record off Mailbox Money called ‘That’s How I Knew’ — and it’s not because of the technical or the lyrical but mainly because of the feeling it provides. Maybe ‘Face The World’ off Crenshaw. Maybe ‘Bigger Than Life’ off The Marathon. It’s a few that’s really important to me. ‘All Get Right’ off Crenshaw is really one of my favorite energies.

Then,my favorite verse will probably be the second verse on ‘Face The World’. I’ll say that.

There is so much power in fine tuned approaches and mastering one thing rather than trying to be or do too much. What would you say is the one thing we can always count on when it comes to Nipsey Hussle and your music and your career? 

 I think my music is based on a story. It’s based on something that happened. And I’m not going to stray away from that, and I’m not going to embellish and add to it. I’m going to stick to what really happened and revolve around the true story. I think that’s what’s been most effective and made people respect and connect with it the most. Because their are a lot of people who can vouch for my stories, and even if it’s not direct feedback I know there are people that hear certain things in the music and they know it’s the truth because they were there. I know there are people who’ve been watching from the outside looking in and they hear the music and they’re like oh he’s not lying. He’s not trying to entertain. That’s really what took place.

I noticed that a lot of my songs that connected where ones that connected to life and real life situations. All the songs where I was just in rapper mode trying to rap were songs that floated to the bottom. But the songs that were based on experience and life and me turning those experiences into words and songs are the ones that become timeless. It’s like a story that you can tell from about twenty years ago. Like when your granny tells you an old story and you can still laugh at what happened because it really took place. And you can get mad or feel whatever she was feeling based on that really happening. I think it’s going to revolve around what took place. And what happened to me is so unbelievable and so hard to do that I don’t feel like I have to go anywhere else for the content. It’s so much of a rich story of what happened that it might take me ten hours to get everything and explain what really took place and the decisions and the mindset and the feelings and the emotions that went with it.

In that same regard, what exactly are we going to get differently with Victory Lap that we’ve never gotten from Nipsey before?

I think a couple of things. The production is all the way next level on the album. It’s a clear elevation from my mixtape on all levels. From the vocal production on the music, on how selective we were with features, on how selective we were with the words — it was really just a higher standard on what the hook is saying, what the verse is saying, how they all work together, and the concept of the record. The album is really concise. It doesn’t really stray from the concept of the album. Every song reinforces in a different way. I think when you hear any of the songs you’re going to be like, “Yeah this belonged on Victory Lap. This makes sense”.

I went into detail about a lot of things as far as my life and just stories and things I might’ve touched on vaguely I went into detail and dug into the concept of what happened. The overall mood of the album starts off one way, goes into a vibe in the middle, then it closes out a certain way that you’ll be able to beheld the whole project. I don’t think you’re going to want to skip anything. The order of the songs makes a lot of sense. They play off of each other. I think it’s just elevated in all respects.

What comes after the Victory Lap?

I would love to tell you. I have a title in mind but I don’t want to say it too soon because I don’t want to take the attention off Victory Lap but I have a dope follow up. But as far as The Marathon, I wouldn’t say that Victory Lap means The Marathon concept is no longer. My whole brand is built off The Marathon. My store, my clothing, my marketing company, all revolves around The Marathon concept. So I think we’re just going to complete the musical chapter of it and we’re going to go into a different direction in terms of what we’re titling the projects but as far as the concept of staying down, grinding, endurance and not quitting, and looking at it as a long term thing — that will endure my whole career. My whole life I’ll live by that. Because that’s something I really live by even before music. Like having run-ins with the police and thinking you’re about to get washed up and somehow making it home, you just think the marathon continues and this sh*t don’t stop. I think it’ll still apply after this project. It’s not over.

You can stream the Victory Lap album here.

The post SOURCE EXCLUSIVE: Nipsey Hussle Talks Discipline, Music and Money appeared first on The Source.

[WATCH]LeBron James, Kevin Durant Discuss President Trump, Race Relations On ESPN’s “Rolling With The Champion”

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:09pm

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant are two players that have been unafraid to speak out against socio-political issues that affect Black men within the United States and the duo did so again in a new video piece that was shot last month for Uninterrupted.

During what was a near-17 minute conversation between James, Durant, and ESPN anchor Cari Champion, the perennial All-Stars discussed the current climate of race relations in the country and President Donald Trump’s impact on that climate. Both James and Durant have publicly criticized President Trump in the past, Durant saying in August, “I don’t respect who’s in office right now,” and LeBron called Trump a “bum” a month later. No, they didn’t hold back this time either.

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Narcotechs Recruit Raekwon For the “Medellin” Remix

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 4:43pm

Once again the Narcotechs remind us of why bars matter. Returning with the remix to “Medellin” off the SOULFRITO project, the Narcotechs enlist the the legendary God himself Raekwon The Chef. Forever the Wu Tang Clan wordsmith Rae delivers a verse that sends chills to the hiphop spine. With classic Doza production the Narcotechs stay consistent.

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Migos Reaches 1 Billion Streams on Culture II Album

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 4:42pm

Words by Danielle Perry

Migos has done it again! After dominating the airwaves with top hits from their first album, Culture, such as “T-Shirt” and “Bad and Boujee,” the Atlanta rap trio continues their domination as their follow-up album, Culture II, receives one billion streams on multiple streaming platforms, including more top hits such as “Motorsport” and “Stir-fry.”

Following the success of their first album Culture becoming platinum, Migos continues to prove that they are here to stay with the latest accomplishment of having 1 billion streams. At the beginning of the basketball tip-off game during NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, they received three individual plaques commemorating the momentous occasion with their manager and label owner by their side, jumping for joy.

This is the first time that a rap group has garnered a billion streams for an album. The only solo and group artists that have achieved this momentous feat are A Tribe Called Quest, and The Beastie Boys. Coming off of the accomplishment, we are waiting to see what the Migos “stir-fry” even more in 2018.

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Janelle Monae Teases ‘Dirty Computer’ Album Trailer In ‘Black Panther’ Previews

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 4:39pm

Who else can introduce the superhero of the century besides the afro-funktress herself Janelle Monae?

Today, a teaser-trailer for Monae’s new album and “emotion picture,” Dirty Computer, was released to the web and select theaters, to air before screenings of none other than Black Panther. Now, Monae isn’t actually in Ryan Coogler’s revolutionary Marvel flick, but since she’s been crafting her own version of superheroine-ism since bursting onto the scene more than ten years ago. Of course, she’s been busy crafting her own multiverse; no need to attach to a corporate comics franchise. Dirty Computer indicates Monae following her vision in intriguing new directions.

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Why Mothers Should Take Their Daughters To See Black Panther

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 11:48am

Words by Nick Slay

Chadwick Boseman does an awesome job as T’Challa, however the women of Wakanda are the real stars.

Somewhere there’s a little boy texting his pops for the 15th time, asking when are they going to see Black Panther this weekend. A new American tradition has emerged, where a Father takes his son to see the characters he grew up on in comics and Saturday morning cartoons. However, if this movie is just perceived as a movie for young black boys to find the hero they so desperately need, a rare opportunity might be missed.

Director Ryan Coogler and and writer Joe Robert Cole, took so much time building the importance of black women in this film, our hero would be lost without them. For young girls of color, especially of richer darker melanin skin, unless you’re watching Viola Davis on How To Get Away With Murder, finding a black woman of deep chocolate tones to look up to is hard to find. However in Coogler’s Black Panther, there’s more powerful women of color than on all the shows on primetime combined, and none of them are famous for their snot cry (sorry Viola).

First off there is Danai Gurira‘s head of the Dora Milaje – Okoye. The bad a** head of the royal guard with a spear to takes no crap from anyone. The Dora Milaje are women gathered from the 4 tribes of Wakanda chosen to protect the king (Black Panther) who are superior in every way and have the potential to become queen. Her fights might have been more entertaining than Chadwick’s. From saving him when he’s caught off guard by women traffickers, or dropping male villains before they can get one word of screen time, she is strong, chocolate, beautiful, and convicted. Making a statement she would choose Wakanda over anyone.

Lupita Nyong’o’s – Nakia, plays T’Challa’s love interest, yet she is so much more. Functioning as a war dog or spy, her passion in the movie is saving women from trafficking and slavery. So much so she puts herself in harm’s way undercover to achieve her goals. More than just the sexy balancing act for Boseman’s Black Panther, she even insinuates that her mission to save African women supersedes her feelings for him or sitting on the throne.

Not to pass up T’Challa’s mother Ramonda played the never-aging Angela Bassett, who gave us full on Storm vibes with her grey locs, we need to focus on Letitia Wright’s character who plays the genius inventor and sister – Shuri. She is a woman who isn’t burdened by cultural norms, marches to the beat of a different drum, and provides the hi-tech toys that makes Black Panther, Batman level. Now in the comics it’s important to know much like the Dark Knight, T’Challa is a polymath. It means he excels at a high level in multiple disciplines, even creating his own version of physics based on the mystical metal that Wakanda is founded on, Vibranium called “Shadow Physics.” However in Coogler’s vision, his sister takes much of that heavy lifting. This is crucial for young black girls looking to get into STEM programs. Any nerd can tell you sci-fi novels and TV are what most investors grew up on and fueled their curiosity to change the world. As young men grew up reading H.G. Wells went on to invent the Television, rocket ships, and so forth so can young black girls look at Shuri and say I can do too. She plays the Q the gadget woman who helps T’Challa win the day. Her most important function besides her comedic timing is to make young black girls say, “I can do that!”

If that isn’t enough reason to bring your daughters to this movie (decked out in Kente cloth), I don’t know what is.

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Why Chromat Swim Is The Big Winner This Season At 2018 NYFW

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 11:32am

Words by Nick Slay

NYFW Chromat Swim wins the award for inclusion this season, however why is this highlight not the norm in 2018?

Becca McCharen-Tran, the brilliant designer behind Chromat Swim, has always been unconventional. Who else sends their runway models out to walk fueled on Red Hot Cheetos, Red Bull, and an abundance of unfiltered “Girl Power?” But more than that, it seems that Becca has ended the conversation on diversity and shows us how it’s done in 2018.

When most people think of diversity, the strategy is usually, “lets make sure we have some sistas and Latinas so the affirmative action people will get off our backs.” Inclusion, especially in the fashion industry should go so much further. Chromat Swim consistently does that. It means having more than just every shade on the white runway, but every body type too. That means curves, paraplegic, or just plain non-traditional. Young girls from every race, disability, walk of life should see themselves strutting their under the bright lights.

Right Said Fred would totally cosign that these women are “too sexy” for everything they bring to the table. On this year’s Chromat catwalk we saw transgender, curvy, Black, Asian, White Hispanic, differently abled, short, and tall hit the camera pit with a sense of self awoken fierceness that deserves two snaps from the sultan of top models herself, queen Tyra Banks. However as we fight the celebrity-in-chief, his “Trumpism” and new age made for TV fascism, Fashion Week is a place where women of color and non-traditional body types are usually overlooked or used as a diversity ploy for ratings and news captions.

To quote famous the famous stylist Eman B. Fendi who is of Egyptian and Palestinian lineage, she had a couple of different notes for fashion week this year after attending the Chromat show:

“Eh yo Vogue this what INCLUSIVE looks like,” exclaimed Fendi on her social media post directly after the show.

In terms of the noted change in the industry of there being more women of color she attributed it to the success of black designers and went on to say:

“I think because of the strong influx of Black designers such as Jerry Lorenzo, Virgil Abloh, LaQuan Smith, Shane Oliver and so many more, it forces a change. These designers support their own and in return giving full exposure of the culture. You have no option but to include and allow others around you to grow. There’s room for everyone to win.

My honest opinion: the more people of color in power, the more drastic of a change we can make in the industry. Just look at Pyer Moss last night; Black designers with the most diverse casting. In return, people support and when other designers see it, it inspires them to do different. Domino effect.”

The end goal? Fashion should see the Chromat show and take notes. If the fashion industry truly wants to tout they are making better strides than other industries in terms of diversity, they must strive towards true inclusion. Fashion is for everyone. This is America, if you can afford to buy it, you should see yourself represented in souls who strut down the catwalk. When we are all seen as looking fabulous, true acceptance begins.

Full Runway Video Below:


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Former Playboy Playmate Alleges President Trump’s System For Covering Up Affairs

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 11:21am

A former Playboy centerfold who alleged that she had an affair with President Donald Trump more than a decade ago said in a new interview that a purported effort to cover-up the story by the National Enquirer took her “rights away.”

The model, Karen McDougal, told The New Yorker that she felt like she could not so much as even mention Trump’s name after the Enquirer paid $150,000 for her story about the alleged affair and then withheld it from publication.

“At this point I feel I can’t talk about anything without getting into trouble, because I don’t know what I’m allowed to talk about,”
she told the publication. “I’m afraid to even mention his name.”

McDougal claims that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, while he was married to his current wife, first lady Melania Trump.

The Wall Street Journal
reported in November 2016 that American Media, Inc., the company that owns the Enquirer, paid McDougal $150,000 for her story about the alleged affair with Trump, and then never published it.

Instead, the company reached an agreement with McDougal to author a regular column about aging and fitness, though that deal largely went unfulfilled after Trump won the White House, according to the New Yorker.

AMI’s chairman and CEO, David Pecker, is friendly with Trump.

A White House spokesperson denied the alleged affair, calling the allegations from McDougal “fake news.”

“This is an old story that is just more fake news,” the spokesman told The New Yorker. “The President says he never had a relationship with McDougal.”

McDougal reportedly recorded her affair with Trump in a handwritten document obtained by The New Yorker. McDougal confirmed to the magazine that the handwriting was hers.

The former Playboy model’s comments on the alleged affair came roughly a month after The Wall Street Journal reported that Michael Cohen, a personal lawyer for Trump, paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 not to go public with allegations that she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2005.

Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Cohen acknowledged in a statement to The New York Times this week that he did, in fact, pay Clifford $130,000, but insisted that the payment came from his own money.

“Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly,” Cohen said in the statement. “The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone.”

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Happy 36th Birthday To Lupe Fiasco!

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:49am

On this day in Black History we celebrate the birth of one of Hip Hop’s most passionate revolutionaries. Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known as Lupe Fiasco, born today [February 16] in 1982. Lupe Fiasco is an American rapper, producer, and entrepreneur based in Chicago, Illinois.

Growing up in the inner city of Chicago, Fiasco developed a love for Hip Hop after first disliking the genre for its misogyny and vulgarity. He began recording music at age 17 in his father’s basement and two years after joined a local rap group called Da Pak, who had a short lived record deal with Epic Records. After the group disbanded, Fiasco met rapper and mogul JAY Z who helped him to sign a record deal with Atlantic Records.

On September 19, 2006, Fiasco released Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor which received three Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album, Best Solo Rap Performance, and Best Rap song for his timeless single “Kick, Push.” This album had a great commercial reception, peaking at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart and #1 on the Billboard Top Rap albums chart.

This album helped Fiasco leap to commercial success and allowed him to release his second, and more politically influenced, album The Cool. During the recording of this album Lupe Fiasco ‘s father died of type II diabetes, his good friend Stack Bundles died, and his business partner and mentor, Charles “Chilly” Patton, was sentenced to 44 years in prison. When asked about this album, Lupe said:

“Oh yeah. A lot of loss. I lost my father, I lost my business partner to prison, and I lost some friends. It was a very dark period. It still is in some aspects, but you know, I’m kind of coming out of it. But especially during the time that the album was being cooked, in my head was a very dark kind of period.”

The album went on to peak at #14 on the Billboard 200 list and #1 on the Billboard Rap chart for nine weeks. The album was also nominated for four GRAMMYs including Best Rap Album.

Fiasco released his third studio album Lasers on March 7, 2010. Although it received the most mixed reviews of all his albums, it was the first to peak at 31 on the Billboard 200 chart. This was his most successful commercial album, being certified double platinum In sales in the United States alone.

Since Lasers, Lupe Fiasco has released two albums titled Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 and Tetsuo & Youth. Both albums were quite successful making appearances on the Billboard 200 charts, Food and Liquor II peaking at #5 and Tetsuo & Youth peaking at #14. Both of these albums can also be considered the two least commercial albums from Lupe Fiasco’s career to date. They are both heavily conscious and focus on issues in this country effected people of color, those effected by poverty and Muslim-Americans.

Apart from music, Fiasco has ventured into a few other realms of business. He currently runs two clothing lines, Righteous Kung Fu and Trilly & Trully. He has also designed sneakers for Reebok. Fiasco is also a known philanthropist and has been involved in many charitable activities such as the Summit on the Summit expedition. He also recorded a single for the 2010 Haiti Earthquake relief fund. Most recently, Fiasco has founded a start up company called Neighborhood Start Fund which provides funds to help small businesses in the inner cities of this country get their start.

The post Happy 36th Birthday To Lupe Fiasco! appeared first on The Source.

Rapper Apathy Shows How Longevity Lives Underground

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:30am

Words By Zoe Zorka

In an industry overshadowed by one-hit wonders or short-career artists, few have managed to not just sustain a 20-year legacy, but to get better with each album dropped. Yet Apathy remains one of East Coast underground’s biggest hip-hop artists of the last two decades, partnering with some of the biggest names in the genre and dropping some of the most mind-glowingly intense lyrics in the industry.

And he’s just getting started.

As Apathy prepares for the March 2 release of his highly-anticipated album, The Widow’s Son, as well as a 20-city tour, we sat down to chat with the artist about what it takes to build long-term success not only in the underground world of hip-hop, but also in the mainstream.

A highly successful and versatile lyricist and rapper, Apathy, a Connecticut native, got his start over 20 years ago in a rap collective that included Louis Logic, Celph Titled, 7L & Esoteric, EL Fudge, and more. In the years to come, he would release a number of hit singles with his debut album, Eastern Philosophy, dropping in 2006 to much praise. In 2014, Connecticut Casual, his fourth studio album, reached #41 in the R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts.

This is especially evident on one of his most recent songs, “Pay your Dues,” in which he raps: Yo everybody wanna rap but nobody wanna work/Wanna take over the earth but they’re afraid of the dirt/And they’re scared of criticism and getting their feelings hurt/Everybody want results and they want it real quick/Like a rap career appears quicker than fast food.

Apathy knows that a major rap career doesn’t happen as “quickly as fast food.” His success isn’t an overnight one- the type that appears with a bright flash and then is gone as quickly as it appears, yet rather is one of a slow simmer, gradually building up to a boiling point and inevitably spilling over into the mainstream.

Despite his incredibly humble attitude, it’s clear that he’s passionate about his craft. In his thick Connecticut accent, he ascribes his success to “being relentless in making perfect music and not sacrificing his sound,” he says, adding that he understands the importance of keeping his music updated as trends change- or as he puts it, “keeping the music as true to form as possible, but updating the music as well. I just keep fine-tuning my craft and what I do. I keep elevating while a lot of guys fall off. A lot of guys just get redundant and I think I kind of keep kicking it up a little bit on each album.”

While some artists struggle to come up with new material, Gage Luce of 12G Agency, Apathy’s booking agent, tells us that he has “a ton of music stored away. Like literally albums and albums worth.” So how does the multitalented artist decide what to release and what to keep shelved?

“I don’t know,” he says, pausing to think. “It’s a type of discerning ability that I’ve developed over the years. Just certain things fit. I’ll be working on an album and think that this fits or that doesn’t. A lot of it has to do with sequencing. There’s a lot of songs that I fully intended to be on albums, but once I started sequencing the album and fleshing it out, I realized that it wasn’t flowing- or isn’t the same energy. So there’s definitely times that I’ve taken songs off of albums and put them on different albums or releases a songs separately from everything else.”

As the conversation turns to ‘The Widow’s Son,’ Apathy’s excitement is clearly contagious and his thick Connecticut accent grows even more pronounced as he talks about what he thinks makes his upcoming album different than his previous ones. “I think people digesting the lyrics because there’s a lot of deep material in there- there’s a lot about alchemy, religion, philosophy, metaphysics, and stuff like that- all mixed in with hip hop. The reaction is what I’m most excited about- how people will react to it and perceive it.”

One thing that sets Apathy apart from pretty much all of his peers is his strong affiliation with the Masonic brotherhood. An active freemason, Apathy points out that his music isn’t meant to persuade anyone about his Masonic views, but rather to educate.

“I think that the big difference too is there’s a lot of masonic knowledge that I drop on there. It’s not a masonic album. You don’t have to be a fucking Freemason to hear it, but it’s got a lot of gems in there. I’m talking about the stuff that I’ve studied and it’s cool to introduce people in the hip hop realm into freemasonry- to guys who might be interested. But I don’t care if people get into it or not. Freemasonry is about a self-mission. It’s about yourself.”

As the conversation turns to his upcoming tour, it’s clear that Apathy has had to lean on himself- or as he eloquently puts it in his song “Dead in the Middle:” I am my own hype man.

His hype man’s clearly earning his keep as excitement for both the album and tour are at all-time highs on social media.

Yet social media isn’t how Apathy measures his success. As he raps in “Pay your Dues”

“I wanna drop vinyl you’d rather go viral.”

If there’s one artist that can do both, it’s Apathy.

Apathy tour dates are as follows. More information can be found at: https://madmimi.com/s/b7f6bb.

March 02 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
March 03 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
March 07 – Long Beach, CA @ Dipiazza’s
March 08 – Los Angeles, CA @ Los Globos
March 09 – San Jose, CA @ Back Bar
March 15 – Bend, OR @ Astro Lounge
March 16 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater
March 18 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
March 21 – Missoula, MT @ Monks Bar
March 22 – Bozeman, MT @ Zebra Lounge
March 23 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
March 24 – Denver, CO @ The Roxy
March 25 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Black Sheep
March 27 – Greeley, CO @ Moxi Theater
March 28 – Flagstaff, AZ @ The Green Room
March 29 – Phoenix/Mesa, AZ @ Club Red


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Today In Hip Hop History: 2Pac’s ‘Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z.’ LP Turns 25 Years Old

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:13am

Today in Hip Hop history 25 years ago, February 16, 1993, the legendary pop culture icon Tupac Shakur released his second studio LP entitled ‘Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.’. 2Pac created the acronym ‘N.I.G.G.A.’ stands for “Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished”. It showed the political stance of Pac with a message that was clear and in your face.

Though it was released by T.N.T. Recordings, Interscope Records and EastWest Records America, in 1997 the album’s rights were inherited by the label his mother Afeni Shakur founded, Amaru Entertainment. The album includes classics like “Keep Ya Head Up”, “I Get Around” and “Holler If Ya Hear Me”. Since its release it has reached double platinum, selling over 1,639,584 copies in the US alone. Features include the group Live Squad, 2Pac’s brother The Wycked (now known as “Mopreme“, later a member of 2Pac’s groups Thug Life and The Outlawz), Ice-T, Ice Cube, Treach, Apache, Poppi, Deadly Threat, R&B singer Dave Hollister and Digital Underground. Production was done by the late Jam Master Jay, Special Ed and more.

The post Today In Hip Hop History: 2Pac’s ‘Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z.’ LP Turns 25 Years Old appeared first on The Source.

Lil Pump Arrested After Shooting Through The Door Of His Home

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:59am

Lil Pump, the rapper best known for the hit “Gucci Gang,” was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly firing off a gun inside his San Fernando Valley, California home.

According to news reports, the 17-year-old, whose real name is Gazzy Garcia, called the police and claimed three men had attempted to break into his home. He also alleged they shot a single bullet through his front door.

The outlet reported authorities were “immediately suspicious” of Pump’s claims and found the bullet hole was shot from within the house, not outside.

CBS Los Angeles reported he was home alone. Officers served a search warrant on his home and seized cannabis, according to the outlet.

Authorities also allegedly found a .38 Glock handgun in bushes below the apartment.

Pump was booked into the Sylmar Juvenile Hall after being charged with illegal discharge of a firearm, the outlet reported. He is now wearing an ankle bracelet and has since been released, according to reports.

“We got rich lawyers, the best lawyers in the planet,” he told TMZ on Thursday. He also rapped a few bars about Xanax and his Gucci tattoos.

The rapper released his self-titled debut album in October. He co-wrote “Gucci Gang”, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Kanye West Settles Lawsuit with Insurance Co. Over Canceled Tour Dates

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:53am

New reports reveal that Kanye West has reached a settlement with insurance company Lloyd’s of London after not being paid when the artist was forced to cancel tour dates after a mental breakdown. Kanye sued the insurance companies for a reported $10 million, but a settlement was reached outside of court for an undisclosed amount of money and the case was dismissed.

Fans may remember moments from the Saint Pablo tour in 2016 that could have led to this breakdown. During his Madison Square Garden show, Yeezy left mid-performance after getting word that his wife Kim Kardashian had been robbed at gunpoint in France. Kanye was forced to cancel two shows after the incident. The “Life of Pablo” rapper also was rumored to have had a mental breakdown as the anniversary of his mother’s passing approached which led to ultimately canceling a more hefty part of the tour.

The insurance companies initially refused to pay Kanye West despite that West had checked into a psychiatric hospital associated with UCLA. Doctors at UCLA said that it would be best for Kanye not to continue the tour. Days later Kanye’s touring company, Very Good Inc., filed the lawsuit for the $10 million.

After a long hiatus from social media, Kanye West returned to Instagram on Valentine’s Day to wish his wife and mother of three, Kim, a special holiday. The rapper/producer flooded Instagram with photos of iconic celebrity couples such as former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Kanye’s mother-in-law Kris Kardashian and Rob Kardashian as well as many others.

Kanye topped off his IG flood with a photo of Kimye eating ice cream together.

Kanye has deleted his account since wishing his wife a happy V-day. Perhaps with this settlement money they’ll have an iconic weekend at the expense of Lloyd’s of London.


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Fox News Reporter Laura Ingraham Tells LeBron James To Shut Up and Dribble Basketballs Instead Of Talking Politics

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:29am

If you needed more proof that America is a divided nation, maybe you should check out Fox News.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked LeBron James on Thursday night after his statements about President Donald Trump in an interview he did with Kevin Durant and ESPN’s Cari Champion.

James gave his candid assessment about the state of the country and spoke at length about the issues he believes are exacerbated by the current president. He said that Trump ‘doesn’t give a f–– about the people.

“The climate is hot,” James said of the current political climate. “The No. 1 job in America, the appointed person is someone who doesn’t understand the people. And really don’t give a f— about the people. When I was growing up, there was like three jobs that you looked [up to] for inspiration. It was the president of the United States, it was whoever was best in sports and it was the greatest musician. You never thought you could be them, but you can grab inspiration [from them].”

Ingraham made arguments on why he, as well as Kevin Durant, should not give his opinion about politics publicly, especially being someone who left high school a year early to join the NBA and get paid “$100 million a year to bounce a ball.”

Laura Ingraham says #LeBronJames should "shut up and dribble" and leave political comments to people who didn't leave high school a year early. pic.twitter.com/vwInOpZJZq

— Thomas Bishop (@bishopk0s) February 16, 2018

Sorry, Ingraham, but neither player is paid $100 million a year, and James did graduate high school. But please, continue to belittle them and tell everyone why they shouldn’t be commenting on politics.

James is not shy about sharing his political beliefs when he sees fit. He backed Hillary Clinton during the presidential election. He notably called President Trump a bum for rescinding an invitation to the Warriors. Durant said last summer that he would not visit the White House with Trump in office.


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Chris Bosh Wants To Make a Comeback To The NBA This Season

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:13am

Chris Bosh wants to make a comeback to the NBA.

Bosh, 33, was initially forced out of action in February 2015 after a blood clot was found in his lungs. He missed the remainder of the season only to return in 2016 as an All-Star but another blood clot surfaced in his calf shortly thereafter and he hasn’t been in the league since.

During Thursday’s episode of First Take, Bosh said,

“I’ve been in the gym. I can still play basketball. No I’m not done yet.”

When directly asked by Stephen A. Smith if he’s trying to make a comeback, Bosh responded,

“Yeah, I’m trying to come—man, I see all these guys shooting threes and not playing defense. Man, I mean, I got to get some of it.”

.@chrisbosh says he's trying to come back to the NBA. pic.twitter.com/2yUmuaonCw

— First Take (@FirstTake) February 15, 2018

If Bosh is serious about a comeback in time for the remainder of this season, he will have until March 1st, which is the deadline for a free-agent to sign with a team and be eligible for the playoffs

While it has been two years since he suffered from the injury, respiratory illnesses are taken very seriously in the NBA. Even if a team decides to sign him, he may not even pass a physical which is required for a player to sign with any NBA team.

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Kryie Irving’s Uncle Drew Gets His Own Movie Check Out Teaser Trailer

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:08am

Kyrie Irving is just about ready to let his alter ego make his big screen debut.

Lionsgate Studio  has released the first trailer for the upcoming basketball comedy Uncle Drew.

The trailer for the film (scheduled to be released shortly after the NBA Finals in June) was released on Wednesday, and it straddles the line Adam Sandler drew in the sand with the Grown Ups franchise between hilarious for kids under age 13 (it’s not yet rated) and hilariously bad for everyone else.

The film pays homage to NYC’s street ball culture by placing “Uncle Drew” in the position of bridging the gap between the old and new generations of the sport. Starring the likes of Shaquille O’NealNate RobinsonChris WebberReggie MillerLisa Leslie and more, the Uncle Drew film is slated to combine comedy and sports into an experience enjoyable for all.

The Legend is ready to ball on the big screen. Get ready to watch #UncleDrew in theaters June 29! #JustDrewIt @UncleDrewFilm pic.twitter.com/hetZxkgozM

— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) February 12, 2018

Uncle Drew was the focal point of a series of ad spots, featuring a sweatpants-clad, overweight 80-year-old who stuns the block with his skills on the court, played by then-Cavalier Kyrie Irving while he was in his early 20s.

Uncle Drew will hit theaters on June 29th.

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Toast To This: The Shoe Surgeon And Jack Daniels’ AF1

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 9:01am

While Hennessy is in short supply, many are turning to Jack Daniels might do the trick. But who would ever think, the world famous Tennessee Honey Whiskey would inspire such a beautiful sneaker. Designed by Dominic Chambrone, better known as “The Shoe Surgeon,” this iconic creation will be ready for All-Star Weekend.

As if a bottle of the golden whiskey fell from the production line, landing directly on Nike’s Air Force 1. This exclusive custom silhouette comes dressed to impress, like a classic whiskey sipper in a tailored three-piece suit.

Made with three types of leather, gold metal eyelets, and leather laces with matching metal aglets.  Vachetta tan leather accents symbolize the whiskey’s honey flavor. Additionally, the black Horween leather symbolizes the premium quality of all Jack Daniels products. Lastly, a distressed brown leather decorates the shoes’ upper, symbolic of Jack’s signature aging process.

It is clear a lot of thought and attention to detail went into creating this masterpiece. Just like Jack Daniels gets better with time, these sneakers will age gracefully.

Keep in mind, these are exclusive.

Which means if you want a pair, you will need to be in Los Angeles on February 17 or February 18th, stop by the Lynchburg General Store pop-up between 10 and 11 AM. Get your wristband, drawings will began at 11 AM. However, if you’re not old enough to buy and sip Jack Daniels, you’re not old enough to buy these whiskey inspired Air Force 1’s.

True sneakerheads will remember that moment on MTV Cribs, when Fat Joe famously licked the bottom of his mint condition Jordan VII’s, well to those lucky few will take these luxurious customs home: we recommend you don’t lick these in public. One tender lick of these Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey Air Force 1’s–and you just might end up feeling tipsy.

The post Toast To This: The Shoe Surgeon And Jack Daniels’ AF1 appeared first on The Source.

Lessons In Black Art History With Kojo Owusu-Kusi

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 8:29am

Art is one of the purest forms of history, during this historic month we would like highlight one Black visual artist. His artistic expression is related to his blackness, Hip-Hop culture and African roots.

We took a moment to journey through the mind of Kojo Owusu-Kusi, what we learned from him shows why art is the purist form of history. Check it out below:

The Source: Where are you from, how does this influence your art? Kojo: I was born in Ghana, but I’ve lived in the UK and US since I was 3 years of age. No matter where I’ve lived, as soon as you get home you are in Ghana. My parents taught me a great deal about my Asante heritage. Ankara cloth was the first type of art I fell in love with. I used to ask my mom what the colors and patterns meant. For most of my youth I grew up in South London, which had a heavy population of Jamaicans. A few my friends parents had extensive reggae 45s and I would study the album art and how the art conveyed the artists message. Being an African in America introduced my to a whole new history and struggle I wasn’t familiar with. After living on the east coast for some time and being in certain situations as a black man, was then I could truly understand and relate to certain topics I choose to explore artistically.  Some of your artwork combines African culture with the popular culture of African Americans, can you explain why? I always say, “I want to be the AUX cord between Africa and the diaspora. W.E.B. DuBois talked about Black people in America having a double consciousness. I myself feel like a hybrid with a triple consciousness.  Why is it important to show these cultures together? Because they are all the same, just done in a different name. I want us to see and acknowledge the similarities and appreciate the differences.  How has Hip-Hop influenced you as an artist? My mind is 75% rap lyrics. Hip-Hop is the force. It’s the one thing you will hear no matter where in the world you go. It’s like Michael Jackson. Hip hop introduced me to everything. Describe your favorite Hip-Hop moment? 2016, Brixton. Last night in London  chilling with Cormega before hopping on a plane to Ghana few hours later.  I grew up on Queen’s rappers and Cormega was one of the first rappers I did artwork for. Being that we were in London, where I grew up and having to leave from being around him straight to Africa, was just a dope sum up of life back then. In what ways does your work show Black pride? The messages I try to convey and the imagery. Imagery is important, showing an alternative view point, which really should be the truth. But this life is a Babylon ting. How does your work spread Black pride/ influence? Working to be living proof that Black artist can have value. Giving an option of placing art on your wall that actual reflects your life. Just having something for us.  Do you think your work would be different if you were from a different part of the world? Yes, I’ve experienced it. Being in London the culture is totally different. The vibes is it’s own wave, then when I’m on the east coast and Ghana. When I’m in Ghana I like to be outside more, so I’m doing more photography and graphic design. While in NY and London I’m inside more and painting and working more. Plus the access to different mediums and opportunities are  totally different. I spent a month in Uganda and there wasn’t one art store in the country. So finding places to get paint that you really would like to use was hard. Its all in the vibes of the environment.  What does Black history mean to you? Understanding… It is like Black history is sometimes hidden, changed or no told to us. But with each new piece of info I’m given, helps me understand where I’m coming from and what made me Why is Black art important to Black history? Art is one of the major ways we look at the culture and intelligence of a people. It conveys the minds of the time.  Describe your creative process and what inspires  you? I get all my ideas while in the shower. Do you have a particular favorite piece? No, I love my pieces all the same.

Check out his work below:


Find him on Instagram: @citizins


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Teen Arrested After Threatening “Round 2 Of Florida” Shooting

TheSource Feed - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 12:30am

A South Carolina high school student was arrested Thursday after he threatened a “round 2” of the Florida school shooting over Snapchat.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office arrested a ninth grader at Broome High School after he reportedly posted a Snapchat picture of himself holding what looked to be an assault rifle and a partial mask, adding the caption “Round 2 of Florida tomorrow”.

The ninth grader was arrested for disrupting his school and is currently at a Greenville Department of Justice facility.

Authorities were alerted to the photo after the school got a tip that a child had showed the photo to a parent. Both were able to identify the student in the photo.

“After informing the suspect and his parents of the law violation, the suspect stated his Snapchat post was just intended as a joke, and that he didn’t have any serious intentions,” Lt. Kevin Bobo said in a statement, adding that it turned out the student had been holding a pellet gun and wearing a ski mask.

“The safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance,” school district spokeswoman Sherri Horton said in a statement. “In order to ensure the safety of every student, the District Three Administration and Board of Trustees are providing additional security at the school.”

A Florida high school experienced a mass shooting Wednesday when suspect Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the Parkland school, killing 17 people and injuring several more.

The post Teen Arrested After Threatening “Round 2 Of Florida” Shooting appeared first on The Source.

Eric B. And Rakim’s Twitter Page Deletes Anti-Millenial Rap Tweets

TheSource Feed - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 4:59pm

Did Eric B. and Rakim speak too soon?

Well, whoever controls their Twitter page thought it was necessary to delete the Tweets that was sent out from the duo’s verified account earlier this week.

There were some very controversial tweets ent out concerning the current state of Hip Hop and how this generation has contributed to the devolution of its music in particular.

A tweet went out the next day saying, “You need to look real close at this previous tweet that’s reached almost 1 million people already and see what you read. It says ‘rap’ not ‘hip hop.’ If you don’t know the difference, you can’t make a difference. #KNOWtheLEDGE”

What made this so monumental is that Rakim is arguably the best to ever touch the mic in Hip Hop culture, so whatever he says weighs heavy on the scales of public opinion as well as cultural relevance.

Both of the controversial tweets were deleted, but according to Rakim’s manager, Eric B. and Rakim’s feelings are mutual in regards to sentiments tweeted from the account.

Eric B. is in control, but for the first time in a long time, these two agree on something.

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