Since the release of Jay-Z’s 13th studio album, ‘4:44′, there has been lots of interesting discussion about his obvious response to Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’. Jay has definitely revealed being unfaithful throughout the history-making musical project. However, I feel compelled to remind many folks that ‘4:44’ is so much more than what some of us already assumed.

‘4:44’ was in my opinion, his best work to date, because he’s the most honest and transparent he’s ever been throughout his 20-year career. His lyrics reflect that of a man who has gone through self-reflection/revelation as a husband, father, and son. He also expresses the importance of financial empowerment and touches on lack of black leadership.

 Because of the direction the Hip Hop culture has taken, this album was released at such a crucial time. It’s an album we need so desperately.

A lot of the discussion surrounding ‘4:44’ is  more on the artist delivering the message.  People are too focused on the cheating scandal and the fact that others before Jay-Z preached the same message. Apparently, Jay has “done nothing new”, according to some folks who seems less impressed with the new album. Then you have the rest who simply doesn’t like the beats.

I get that we all have a musical preference, but if you’re a true music fan and a true lover of art, you’d hear what’s beyond the beats and get in tune with the message accompanying the beat.

I say kudos to ANY artist who uses their art to spread the message for our people to level up. I don’t care who spread the message first or last, who said it, and how. We are too busy focusing on who said it first, instead of appreciating the man for the message he’s incorporated in his music.

Via ABC News:

 

“Kill JAY-Z”
The title of the first track on the album is a complete metaphor. The rapper explained to I Heart Radio that the song is “about killing off the ego.” JAY-Z also talks about his relationship with celebrities, including his former best friend, Kanye West. He raps, “But if everybody’s crazy then you’re one that’s insane.” He also addresses his sister-in-law, Solange, and that headline-making elevator fight after the 2014 Met Gala. He raps that he was egging her on. “All you had to say you was wrong,” he added, referring to himself.

“The Story of O.J.”
JAY-Z uses the story of former football player O.J. Simpson as a way to talk about the highs and lows of success, especially as a black man in America. “O.J. like I’m not black, I’m O.J…OK,” he raps unconvinced. The rapper, seemingly addressing young entrepreneurs, also talks about building financial wealth such as by buying property instead of blowing it in nightclubs.

“Smile”
This bluesy feel-good track simply reminds listeners to take a beat to smile. “Bad times turn to good memories/Smile/Even when I’m gone you’ll remember me/Smile,” he raps. JAY-Z also reveals that his mother Gloria Carter identifies as a lesbian. Still, he makes it clear to the listener just what he thinks about it. He raps, “Cried tears of joy when you fell in love/Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her.”

“Caught Their Eyes”
JAY-Z explained to I Heart Radio that this song is about “just being aware of your surroundings.” He points to a verse where he raps, “Your body language is all remedial, how could you see the difference between you and I?” He also addressed his streaming service Tidal being sued by Prince’s estate after they claimed he streamed the late singer’s catalog without permission. JAY-Z said: “I sat down with Prince eye to eye/ He told me his wishes before he died.”

“4:44”
Many are calling the title track a response to his wife Beyonce’s “Lemonade” album where she tells the painful story of a woman being cheated on. On this song, JAY-Z raps: “I apologize often womanize/Took for my child to be born/See through a woman’s eyes/Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/Took me too long for this song/I don’t deserve you.” The rapper also said he was “emotionless” during their relationship before apologizing again.

“Family Feud”
JAY-Z is clearly addressing younger rappers on this song, saying he doesn’t understand the new rap culture. “You rather be old rich me or new you,” he raps. “Nobody wins when the family feuds.” He also addresses the lack of black leaders, pointing to shamed comedian Bill Cosby and Al Sharpton.

“Bam”
Back on his typical Hov talk, JAY-Z collaborated with Damian Marley on this bass-heavy track. It seems that the rapper is reminding himself that despite his missteps and transgressions, he’s still the man. “F— all this Shawn Carter s—,” he says, referencing his birth name. “Sometimes you need your ego/Gotta remind these fools,” he adds on this track.

“Moonlight”
Even JAY-Z was inspired by this year’s Oscars when the best picture announcement was flubbed. On the hook, JAY-Z raps: “We stuck in La La Land/Even if when we win, we gonna lose.” The rapper is commenting on the music industry for hip-hop artists, saying that it needs to progress further. He questions aloud why younger artists are “still signing deals” when record labels often “run off with your masters.”

“Marcy Me”
This track is clearly an ode to Brooklyn and the Marcy Projects, where JAY-Z grew up and which he often raps about. “I’m from Marcy Houses/Where the boys die by the thousands,” he raps, before adding, “Yeah, that’s where it all started.”

“Legacy”
If you had any question just where JAY-Z’s head was, he makes it clear on the final song on “4:44.” His daughter, Blue Ivy, helps on this track that talks about his desire to create generational wealth from his success, rapping, “that’s the key.” Jay-Z adds that if he could make this happen, it would be a first for his family. “Black excellence, baby, let them see,” he raps.

 

‘4:44’ is a breath of fresh air and again, perfect timing! I’d like to think that my people will have an open mind and an open ear to take in the messages in this project that’s most important. It’s more than just his apology to Beyonce for cheating. It’s more than the instrumentation.

‘4:44’ is a musical template for us to strengthen our culture as a whole, as well as enhance our personal way of living.

In this day in age of Hip Hop, it’s awesome to see an iconic Hip Hop artist use his platform to create something that’ll make us want to level up on our black excellence.

Don’t downplay Jay-Z’s efforts to spread the message to his people. He’s done something that some of these new-age rappers WISHED they have the balls to do.

 

 

As of now, ‘4:44’ is exclusively available to Tidal subscribers with pre-existing accounts before the release date and Sprint customers. It’s reported that the album will be officially released next week.

 

It appears that Kendrick Lamar’s mother approves and loves her son’s latest album, ‘Damn’!

Peep the text the proud mother sent her son below!

 

💀💀💀

A post shared by Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) on

 

 

Speaking of ‘Damn’, the anticipated release earned Kendrick a 3rd No 1 album on Billboard 200 and the biggest debut of 2017!

Did you copy yours yet?

Hit play below on the visual to one of my favorites on the 14-track album, “DNA”. The visual features iconic actor, Don Cheadle, who does an epic performance!

You attend a concert for your favorite artist….

The last thing you expect is to get punched by the artist you admire….

Instead of maintaining your dignity…you make peace with a twerk.

Watch how that goes down before I share my thought piece.

When I watched the footage obtained by TMZ, so many thoughts gathered.

I’ve also heard mixed reaction, including those who say that it was the woman’s fault for what happened. Yes…she could have had a weapon of some sort and Jackson had a right to keep himself unharmed…yada yada yada.

Let’s be clear….we all know she’s wrong for trying to pull the man off stage. Although Jackson appeared to have thrown the punch to free himself from her grasp, he was still wrong for it. If you have 10 bodyguards on stage protecting you, why the hell do you feel comfortable enough to use your fist on a woman half your size?

Anyway….

This piece isn’t about Jackson throwing the punch….
this piece isn’t even about the woman pulling him off stage which she shouldn’t have done…

What has my blood boiling is the fact that this woman publicly shamed herself, influenced by her admiration for this artist. As soon as Jackson threw that punch, he smelt a lawsuit and that’s why he quickly called her on stage.

I can hear the inside convo….

50: “Lemme see what you workin’ wit’, Shawty…do your thing.”
fan: “‘Aight…”

This is what happens when celebrity worship and the objectification of women collides.

It was obvious that the woman didn’t care that she was just jabbed with a grown man fist to the chest…a place where her beating heart resides!

Dude used her admiration for him with requesting a twerk, and she didn’t mind at all. Sore chest and all, homegirl twerked like cash  raining on her…because 50 Cent, her boo….let her.

There’s a problem when we allow ourselves to be degraded….especially in public for the country to see. We’re spreading the message that it’s okay, or even normal, to accept misogyny into our space.

That incident was a clear example of the admirer being intimidated by a person with fame and mental power so much that she didn’t want to react other than twerking for her favorite rapper.

There ain’t that much admiration in the world.

I wonder what went through her mind when she felt that blow…
I wonder how she REALLY felt when she was requested on stage…

Something tells me that Jackson succeeded in avoiding a lawsuit. Homegirl was on that stage going through a moment of male privilege, celebrity worship, and sexual objectification. Twerking for a man after he punches you in the chest kinda solidifies that notion, and sadly, she probably didn’t think it was a big deal.

I’m convinced she went home that night and bragged how she got to be on stage with her boo.

Kendrick Lamar recently released new music that we’ve been anticipating. But, like most of Kendrick’s material, his new single, “Humble”, comes with some controversy and THIS TIME, I’m really not sure why.

Read the lyrics below from the 2nd verse

“I’m so fucking sick and tired of the Photoshop/Show me something natural like afro on Richard Pryor/Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks.”

 

Before I share my discombobulation over the outrage of some of the women, hit play below to the visual to K-dot’s “Humble”.

 

I’ve played this over and over again to feel the outrage that’s been sparked by some of my sistahs and to be honest…I’m still perplexed. In fact, the more I listen, the more I dig it.

I’ve been following the outrage of some of the women on social media…particularly Twitter and I’ve read some valid points about misogyny in Hip Hop. That’s a general observation I’ve had for years as a hip hop fan. However, I don’t see the need to knock the brotha for simply expressing in his art that he doesn’t mind flaws and that’s EXACTLY what he’s doing.

In my humble opinion, I feel like some of you folks need to project your anger over the objectification of black women at those who truly deserve it. How about this beauty expert? –>read here

I’ve been reading and hearing that Kendrick is “problematic” and “expressed his own sexual desires”. I’ve also read and heard that the word “bitch” was used numerous times in the video which also sends the wrong message.

One…you have to understand hip hop and have listened to it long enough to know that his usage of the B word was not intended for his female listeners. In fact, if you’ve been following Kendrick since “Control”, you’d realize “Humble” is a diss track.

Two…This artist expressed love for natural beauty, yet all some of you hear are a certain group of women being empowered while another group is being “shamed”.

Nowhere in this single is this artist expressing disdain for any group of women. None of his lyrics display disrespect to those who have had plastic surgery. I fail to hear where he’s said anything negative towards women who wears weaves and/or has had plastic surgery through this single. Saying he wants to see a natural ass with stretch marks is not him expressing that we SHOULD be one way or another.  I take that as an expression of overlooking flaws and seeing beauty that’s natural….and natural, in itself, is beauty.

The man even expressed he’s sick and tired of Photoshop images, but y’all wanna be mad about that, too! If he would have said we should post Photoshopped images and images with layers of filters to alter our natural appearance, then y’all would really have something to be outraged about!

Please stop

If you’re a fan of Kendrick Lamar, then you’d know he tells a story and expresses his thoughts and feelings through his art.  If you’ve listened to two of his biggest albums, then you’ve listened to his struggles with negative thoughts, feelings on black on black crime, self-love, love of black people and being black. With his art, he could easily continue to evolve as a lyricist, especially if he continues to praise the natural beauty of a black woman as he has in “Humble”. That’s big for any hip hop artist to do because we (natural women) aren’t celebrated properly as much as we should be.

This faux outrage is draining and unnecessary, to say the least. Y’all wanna be mad at someone? Direct your anger towards Bill O’Reilly for trying to come for Maxine Waters!

 

 

 

 

Two of the ladies of Hip Hop, Remy Ma and Nicki Minaj, are the talk of these internet streets!!

The women served each other verbal annihilation on some diss tracks, and both tracks, especially Remy Ma’s, has the internet going bonkers!!

Before I share my thoughts, hit play for both tracks below!

 

Gucci Mane & Nicki Minaj- “Make Love”

Remy Ma-“shETHER”

First…let me just say… Remy’s diss track left Nicki so exposed, my soul delve into a sea of humiliation for her!
Homegirl done went in from her “fake ass” to her brother who’s an alleged child molester.

In my opinion, I think the internet only generated mad hype for Remy’s track, because she apparently stated what’s being said as “facts”, according to Hip Hop enthusiasts.

Despite being entertained by it all, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t point out the obvious problematic situation within this so-called beef between these two women. It’s something that’s been going on for a long time in this industry and as a woman, I’m over it.

This beef pulls the rug out and reveals two major factors…the lack of sisterhood and the lack of support for women in the Hip Hop industry.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m well aware that diss tracks have been around for a long ass time. Hip-Hop wouldn’t be TRUE Hip-Hop without a good diss track between artists. Especially when the dissing doesn’t result to violence &/or death.

My issue is the underlying problem in society with black women being looked at as “catty”, “bitchy”, and simply don’t get along. This “beef” between these two iconic artists feeds into that perception.

This beef between Remy and Nicki has me wondering one thing…Can the Hip-Hop industry learn to support sisterhood, female empowerment, and use these two artists as the catalysts for change in how society views black women?

When “Ladies Night” came out in the nineties, I was just in awe of the female MCs who participated in that project. I thought it was dope how some of the biggest female Hip-Hop artists of that time got together and release FIYAH! Not only that, they revealed an admirable display of female empowerment, by proving to the Hip-Hop community and the world that when women get together, amazing things can happen! Especially black women!

 

This is what I want for Remy and Nicki. Both women are respected as great Hip-Hop artists in their own right. They both are dope with lots of fans, so I can only imagine how they’d be if they work together.

 

Do you think if Queen Latifah and MC Lyte dissed each other like this, this would happen?

In such a male-dominated industry, I think it’s important for the female MCs to do their part in advocating women supporting women. Especially when they are in the same line of work.

It only makes sense.

But, I guess, as with all entertainment, folks like drama. The Hip-Hop industry has always been “slick” with how they promote. They will bring in two popular MCs, somehow get them in the studio to freestyle soul-crushing lyrics about one another, and hype that shit to get the people talkin’.

Once the people start talkin’ (and bloggin’), the money rolls in.

That’s how the industry works.

In my humble opinion, the industry thrives off drama. What better way to set shit off then to get two opinionated black women, who both strive to become queens in the rap game, and use them against one another?

First, his relationship with Nicky Minaj failed….now, Meek Mill is PROBABLY recuperating from a sore ass and all!

The Dreamchasers rapper took a nasty fall, leaving his mom’s house and it was all caught on security camera.

Meek posts video of the actual fall with the caption…

“They spoke a L into existence 😂😂😂😂 leaving out my mom house was tragic for me! Icey a** steps!!! U fall get right back upppp! 😂😂 I ran I thought a ghost pushed me! I might sue yeezy! 😂 SINCE YALL WANNA SEE ME FALL SO BAD!!!!”

 

 

Questlove is the drummer for the Grammy-Award Winning band, The Roots. The well-loved drummer sat down with Matt Lauer of ‘Today’ for a trip down memory lane. He opened up about what it was like to grow up in a musical household, competing against BoyzIIMen as students at the Philadelphia School Of Performing Arts, having to be home from school before ‘Oprah’ came on, how he came up with his moniker, and so much more!

There are two versions of this interview.

Press play here for the short version of Questlove’s interview


To watch the full 30-minute interview, press play here

The legendary MC from A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg, was working on new music at the time of his unfortunate death. Now, the J-Dilla produced single, “Nutshell” from Phife’s album, ‘Give Thanks;, has dropped.

 

Such a bittersweet gift for Quest fans. His presence is STILL and will always be missed!

“Nutshell” is available in iTunes

Half the proceeds will be donated to the American Diabetes Association and the National Kidney Foundation.

Arsenio was ending his long-time hosting gig with ‘The Arsenio Hall Show’, and what better way to say farewell to his fans than a visit from some of Hip Hop’s biggest artists? Back in the nineties is when Hip-Hop was….TRUE Hip-Hop and you can’t help but go through a sense of nostalgia as you watch this throwback episode of the Hip-Hop artists doing a freestyle in honor of everyone’s favorite late night talk show host!

Do you remember this performance???

Check out more throwback hip-hop by Nostalgic Crates

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