Category Archives: Music

Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

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In 2006 Hip Hop was a very interesting place. While powerhouse names like Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye West were still dominate, the mainstream is fully in the midst of a revolution led by the new music makers of the south. Lil Jon’s Crunk movement was turning out ultra energized club hit after hit. Atlanta’s Trap had invaded the scene as artists like T.I, Jeezy and Gucci Mane were just as well known in a city like New York as Jadakiss or Camron. And let’s not forget Ludacris and his DTP camp who would occupy multiple chart slots at a time. The Hip Hop landscape was changing and it was not going unnoticed by one of Hip Hop’s greats. In the view of Nasir Jones, he would tell you “Hip Hop is Dead.” I remember my personal excitement awaiting that release of this album. My Hip Hop taste is very NY for all the good, bad ad ugly of it. Nas’ attempt to being things back to the essence was a rallying cry for many even if it was short lived.

10 years since it’s scene shaking release Nas looks back on the Hip Hop Is Dead album that many rallied behind while even more rallied against. Unintended regional tensions resulted from Nas’ claim that the core elements of Hip Hop, music, wordplay, storytelling and lyricism had been given up for childish, hooks and low grade concepts. Linking up with Google Play and Mass Appeal, Nas delivers a 4 part digital documentary on the this controversial album.

“In retrospect, I missed the mark by miles,” he admits. “I didn’t want to pick people apart. I felt like that was for a younger artist to do. I thought the title was enough — to say it’s dead it was to say, ‘I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know where to start.’ But at least I’ll name it this and we’ll see what goes from there.”

Hit the jump to view the other 3 installments of the doc. Watch as Nas speaks on everything from the album title, his long anticipated collaboration with Jay-Z, to his current view of the culture and his present role in it.

Continue reading Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

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It’s been a while since I last interviewed someone so its with great pleasure that I share this latest edition of Samurai Sitdown. I’ve always been about shining light on good people doing work that you may not be ever of or just good people in general. We need a lot more positive energy in these crazy times and this woman’s constant flow of hope filled, encouraging words in the midst of her steady Hip Hop representation are one of the things I look forward to while navigating these Internets. A jewel that’s been tucked away in the Dirty South, let me introduce you to Texas’s own Ms Sandrine.

A video posted by sandrine ✨ (@drineee) on

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do? 

My name is Sandrine, also known as Drine, or Drineee on all social media platforms for all intents and purposes lol.  I’d like to say I wear many hats, or at least I try to anyway. Since 2011 I’ve transitioned from hip-hop journalist, to record label marketing rep to publicist. Oh, I’m also in finance as well.

It’s a pleasure to finally chop it up with you. Thank you for you time and lets hop right into things. Proper representation of culture and self are a big issue in many spaces right now. What does culture mean to you? In terms of Hip Hop, Nationality and Region?

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Hip Hop culture is one the most powerful forces in our society, period.  It started as a creative outlet and has turned into something way bigger than I think anyone could imagine.  When we saw politicians worrying about what 2Pac had to say, I think that’s when it really resonated that this was way deeper than rap. It’s more than music, it’s a way of life.  There are so many layers to it and I think that’s why we love it so much. 

True. That’s why we love it and why so many before us hate and fear it.

There’s a song for hustling, for your mama, for the come up, for love, for death and for everything else and the best part – it’s all genuine.  It’s easy to make a pop hit but it lasts a year, if that, and if they’re lucky, maybe some years because really, they aren’t talking about shit. When you make music with meaning it’s always going to outlast music for the moment.  

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ HIP HOP PUBLICIST SANDRINE AKA DRINEEE “THE HOPE DEALER”

NMDN Conference Returns / Nomadness 5th Year Anniversary

NMDN Conference Returns / Nomadness 5th Year Anniversary

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Many things come with the end of September. In those final days we see the official end of Summer, Football season hits the 1st quarter mark and the Tribe of Nomadness flocks to New York City for its annual celebration and newly launched business conference. This year The NMDN Conference enters year 2 while the overall Nomadness movements hits its 5th year of existence. Having been here from the beginning it’s an interesting time to reflect back on humble beginnings and where Nomadness presently is.

We were again blessed with perfect weather for the final weekend of September. With Nature doing her part, NMDN set up commenced that Friday with decorations, displays, accessories and more being delivered to the venue. As is generally the case I secured the adult beverages for the big night. There is no truer sign of an official Nomadness event then me navigating a city with a ride full of libations.

5 years of Tribe…… Its that time of year! #Nomadness

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As preparations were being finalized, our Nomadness family started to make its way into the city. Wrapped around the actual events of the weekend, Tribe held meet ups, brunches and various smaller gatherings all in the name of Nomadness fellowship.

I can’t help but think of all that has taken place since the 1st 100 members. The faces that have come and gone, the events, trips and bonds made. Not to mention those broken. From a small digital collective has come global acknowledgement, media recognition and a reach that literally spans the planet. It can all be a bit humbling at times. I watch it all from a unique position. High Council, Best Friend, Guardian…..I have various titles, many roles I’ve played but all of them stand in support of the Tribe. I know I saw something in this group early on but I’d be lying to say I saw all that it has become and all it would come to mean to me and so many others.

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Now Nomadness functions as a global resource for current and future generations of Urban travelers. From international business inquiries, to medical info, on the ground local knowledge of cities and towns, media connections across continents, Nomadness has grown into a position of being the stand out network for our people’s traveling needs. Along the way, the Tribe has steadily been the incubator to so many other travel groups and collectives that it’s value can not be measured solely in its own accomplishments but in the over reaching growth of many others.

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NMDN in 2016 showed major signs and growth and maturity as it took on a more serious travel tone then the previous year, as much more sensitive topics were brought forward to the various panels. #BlackLivesMatter, LGBTQ Travel & 911 Travel Info were just some of the topics that stood out at the conference. Powerhouse personalities like Necole Kane & YK Hong were among our guests speakers. Helping to pull things together appearance wise, hosting/lodging giant AirBNB was one of the top sponsors which included a couple of specialty AirBNB lounges furnished by Best Home Fashion.

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There were a lot of moving  parts both physically and logistically but I mus say that from behind the scenes, one of the biggest things I noticed was just how seamless the day went in transitioning from panel to panel. After doing this the first time there was definitely a sense of calm as the event proceeded along. The guest panelists enjoyed their time on our stages. The attendees networked while taking in vital info. Plus they received a first look into the upcoming Nomadness mobile app. 

That smooth flowing vibe would carry over into the evening Anniversary party were even more Nomadness members from around the world came through to toast to another year of travel. As our Tribe family danced to the tunes of DJ Likwid and cheered on the recipients of the annual Nomadness awards, they were also treated to a few surprises via event sponsor GOPRO. 

Half  way into a decade and Nomadness is showing little sign of slowing down. With new initiatives, services and products lined up to add even more value to the growing international network, year 6 is shaping up to be its biggest one yet.  

I’ve witnessed what started with a small hookah lounge meet up grow into worldwide force that as I type this has taken over a full town in Hungary. There is definitely a lot to celebrate. Most importantly is the ability to connect and enjoy life with our peers from around the world.

Check a few of the party images below and stay locked in for everything Nomadness has on deck.

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NetFlix Mega Hack – Welcome to the Hidden Categories

NetFlix Mega Hack – Welcome to the Hidden Categories

 

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The gift and curse of the mega popular streaming service Netflix is that often we get overwhelmed with options yet can’t seem to find exactly with we want. Netflix operates off a specific internal formula that tries to provide the best options for you to select from based on previous viewings. Notice I said the best options, not all options.

There are very detailed sub categories that open up a sea of new options for your viewing pleasure and they are accessible via a pretty simple method.

To view the categories, select a code from the list below and enter the category code at the end of the URL.

(Here’s an example: http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/11146

Note: You must be logged into your Netflix account on a desktop pc for this to work. This is not a mobile device or direct streaming device hack (i.e a bluray player or roku)).

Hit the jump for the full list of the most popular secret codes. I’m certain you’ll find something you like plus a few surprises!!

Continue reading NetFlix Mega Hack – Welcome to the Hidden Categories

The Epic Trunk Show Returns with Lifestyle, Fashion & Music

The Epic Trunk Show Returns with Lifestyle, Fashion & Music

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This past weekend Manhattan’s Shop Studios was the place to be for another edition of the formerly named Ultimate Trunk Show. Now known as the Epic & Co. Trunk Show the evenings event is a collection of indie fashion brands, lifestyle accessories and services that allow you a fresh look at some quality clothing for the summer season and pamper yourself a little as the Epic & Co provided complimentary massages, nail treatment and shoe cleaning throughout the day.  The Trunk Show definitely succeeds in presently an showroom experience to remember.

The free-flowing Hennessy never fails in setting a calm laid back atmosphere. Whether you were on the main floor sampling the fashions or the rooftop awaiting a massage you could enjoy one of the V.S drinks being offered that evening.

A video posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

Now  what would such an event be like without music though? We wouldn’t have to wonder as DJ 9AM held down the tunes with right mixture of classics with a healthy dose of newer material.

Over the course of the evening I saw some familiar favorites like the always fly Heirport Apparel line.

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Dirty Razkal  returned with some new items including some back packs that I really was feeling.

Personally I really like the items that Kingdom Native had on display. Bringing a positive faith-based theme to fashion I appreciated what they were doing simply from the standpoint of counteracting the react wave of satanic themed items that have been made popular by many of today’s Hip Hop mega stars like Lil Wayne.

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Most notably is the popularized upside down cross images that have ended up on so many fashion pieces. For this reason alone Kingdom Naive gets my support.

Along with them, Imperfect Apparel had some items that I can picture a few of my friends rocking this summer from the US to Japan. I would also point people in the direction of Born Republic Co. for a solid selection of accessories from necklaces to bracelets and more.

Now I do want to give you guys my personal pick of the day. It’s great to look good but often times keeping things fresh and clean is a head ache. Sneaker loves will appreciate this because I brought my Nike Pythons to the event hoping to restore their shine.

Fresh feet work via @ecosolelution. @epicandco Trunk Show.

A video posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

EcoSOLElution used nothing more than a brush, water and their natural solution to deliver a major cleaning on my sneakers. This is a true must have for your favorite sneaker head. Get some asap. You’ll be glad you did.

Covering this event I was working with the good folks at Mr Refined  so make sure you swing by their side of the Internet to get more insights and a lot more images from the show!!

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MR REFINED LAUNCHES NEW PUBLICATION FOR THE TODAY’S URBAN PROFESSIONALS

MR REFINED LAUNCHES NEW PUBLICATION FOR THE TODAY’S URBAN PROFESSIONALS

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**CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY OF MR REFINED MAGAZINE***

One of the most powerful forces in our society today is media. It is how people get most of their information and for better or worse it’s a huge factor in how people form their views and opinions. With this power comes a responsibility to be truly comprehensive, honest and engaging with the content you deliver. In addition to that, the people now hold more ability to control the stories and narratives that are presented. Enter Mr. Refined Magazine.

I take personal pride and consider it an honor to have my words among the premiere articles within the newly launched Mr. Refined magazine.

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The Mr. Refined brand has set itself as an expanding force in delivering mature lifestyle content for the new age young adult. From style to travel to business and more Mr. Refined magazine looks to deliver a quarterly dose of high-caliber reading material that you can truly relate and connect to.

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So, without further ado here is the info to get your own copy of Mr. Refined Magazine. You have your choice of digital or hard copies. You won’t be disappointed so order your copy and please share this among your peers.

**CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR COPY OF MR REFINED MAGAZINE***

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SXSW Welcomes President Obama For Keynote Speech

SXSW Welcomes President Obama For Keynote Speech

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: President Barack Obama speaks at the opening Keynote during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Long Center on March 11, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW)
AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 11: President Barack Obama speaks at the opening Keynote during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Long Center on March 11, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SXSW)

There was once a time when SXSW was viewed as an annual mecca of indie music and film. Recently as the Austin based conference has grown in mainstream notoriety the Tech space has emerged as a thriving element of the SXSW experience. Social media standards like Twitter and Foursquare both launched during previous SXSW.

This year the SXSW attendees received a massive treat as for the 1st time ever a current President of the United States, Barack Obama delivered an opening keynote address to Launch SXSW Interactive.

You can view the speech in its entirety below. Just hop to the 40 minute mark.

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SAMURAI RIDES: ROLLING OUT WITH THE 2016 KIA OPTIMA XL TURBO

SAMURAI RIDES: ROLLING OUT WITH THE 2016 KIA OPTIMA XL TURBO

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#SamuraiRide #DriveKia

As Samurai Rides continues to share quality autos with you, one of the biggest things I’ve been introduced to is the series of excellent cars that Kia has released. I had a hard time giving back the flagship vehicle K900 last year and this month I was introduced to the 2016 Kia Optima XL Turbo. Kia has another winner on its hands.

Kia does an amazing job with space and leg room. From the moment I take the first step into a car I see that gorgeous Black on Black leather stitched interior. In addition, that leg room is immediately clear as well. The Optima is incredibly roomy without me having to drop the seat back and cut rear passenger comfort. Factor in the heated seats and steering wheel to a the calm silent interior and it’s an ideal setting to hit the road.

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But who wants silence? Open up that panoramic sunroof and turn up the music.  Powered by Harman/Kardon® QuantumLogic™ Premium Surround Sound with Clari-Fi™ your AUX cord will have those ride ready tunes sounding so clear and powerful.

I got caught in some funny weather while riding with the Optima because when New York winter meets global warming anything is possible. Thankfully my time on the road wasn’t affected by the rain or the snow. The Optima slide through it all with sharp on point precision. The Advanced Smart Cruise Control aided with this as well. At this point, you have to really be oblivious to your surroundings to hit something.

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As I mentioned earlier my only hands-on comparison car to the Optima is the K900. It’s an unfair match as the K900 is the luxury piece of the Kia line but with that said there isn’t some insane drop off in driving quality. On road handling, technology with mobile app compatibility, safety and entertainment all line up for a great experience. 178 horses under the Optima hood gives you a healthy amount of power on the streets to get where you need to be. Combine that with 25 – 30 miles per gallon in gas and you’ve got fuel efficiency that your wallet will appreciate. I could say more but honestly, I just suggest you give the Optima a solid test drive if you’re looking for a new mid-size sedan.

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Samurai Sit Down: AmalgamPhilly Comic Shop Owner Ariell Johnson

Samurai Sit Down:  AmalgamPhilly Comic Shop Owner Ariell Johnson

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In a year where the upcoming wave of comic based material will very heavily feature characters of color there was big news recently made by a young Philadelphia entrepreneur Ariell Johnson. Her AmalgamPhilly comic book & coffeehouse has been all the rage with fellow comic book fans, gamers and more as she reflects the importance of diversity in comic business spaces as well as in the comics themselves. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Ariell Johnson so get comfy and check this geeked out edition of Samurai Sit Down.

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Thanks for taking some time from your new business to talk with us. To start can you share your earliest comic memories and what was it that turned this hobby into a professional goal?

I started reading comics in high school, when my friend would let me borrow his comics, I didn’t buy my first comic until I was in college. It was Storm & Illyana Magik, a four issue mini-series, and I got it off of eBay.

The idea came when a local coffee shop that I would frequent on Fridays, after buying my books from Fat Jack’s, closed. It was such a great coffee shop, I loved the vibe so much, it was owned by a young black woman, and it was just everything to me. A home away from home. Her closing made me want to create the kind of space that she had created, but incorporating comic books into the mix.

Continue reading Samurai Sit Down: AmalgamPhilly Comic Shop Owner Ariell Johnson

Social Media Skills – Are You Connecting Your Sites w/ IFTTT ?

Social Media Skills – Are You Connecting Your Sites w/ IFTTT ?

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We all know that the digital world is connected. Your Tweets link to sites. Your IG posts can link to Facebook. Snapchat visuals can be saved and used on other platforms. To survive today your service can not be isolated from the other spaces of the online world. ITFFF which stands for “If This Then That” is an online service that customizes reactionary commands between your various online activities. It’s a must have function and I’m going to tell you why.

The interesting thing about how these sites connect is that they often aren’t as efficient as they could be. Understand that while an Instagram want to be linked to your Facebook or Twitter, they number one goal is to bring people back to the Instagram site. To this end notice that when you link IG to Twitter the resulting tweet doesn’t include your image. You get a preview of your caption and a link back to IG. It’s frustrating but understandable. IFTTT solves that issue. While some may consider it playing down to folks shorter attention spans the  fact is you want to cut steps needed to share content. Instead of the native tweet that IG will produce IFTTT offers actions, that they call “recipes”, that automate a tweet with full image to your Timeline from Instagram.

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That’s just one of a hundred ways you can streamline your online work. In addition to that keep in mind IFTTT is not limited to just social media, there are recipes for Google, LinkedIn and WordPress. IFTTT is also expanding to offer connection with music services, home electronics and even your car. Some of the new more extensive services require payment but it’s totally worth it.

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Customization is the wave of the future. The goal is to make your world seamlessly connected and under your control no matter where you are. Take some time to visit IFTTT and rest assured you’ll find more than a few things you can use to improve your digital experience.

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