Tag 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

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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SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 1

SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 1

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In recent years I don’t know of any city that has seen it’s stock sky rocket like Toronto. From the diversity of it’s citizens to the art and musical explosion of mainstream heavyweights like Drake and the Weekend, Toronto has emerged on the radar of people that never gave the place a 2nd though before. Y’all many are now jumping on “The 6” bandwagon there’s more to the City then OVO and Caribana. For this final edition of Samurai Sit Down I have the pleasure of chatting with Ms Erin Ashley also known as Ellhah and Ellhah Media Group. We get into all things Toronto in this 2 part conversation. Enjoy.

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 Hey what’s good? Please introduce yourself to the people. Let them know who you are, where you’re from and what you do.

Where to start… I started my career in the music industry as a writer at KevinNottingham.com back in 2008, which at the time, was one of the best indie outlets on the Internet. From there, I worked my way into the publishing industry, and have worked with outlets from Canada’s Exclaim! to XXL, and of course, managing Boi-1da.net. In addition to those, I’ve worked with a few festivals like Atlanta’s A3C Festival and Toronto’s Manifesto Festival, and have also put on a few showcases highlighting talents like EarthGang, Devontee and Raz Fresco. A lot of different opportunities have crossed my path over the years, and I’ve been grateful for every one of them, So, because of this, I now have my own public relations company. It’s a been word of mouth business for the past year, but there are things in the works for 2016.

I’ve had a personal warm spot for Toronto since the first time I visited about 4 yrs ago. How would you describe Tdot. What does it mean to you personally and in term of its overall culture and growth.

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It warms my heart that you still call it T-Dot… ‘The 6’ hasn’t grown on me yet (or many others, for that matter) yet. I grew up out the outskirts of the city, but have always loved the bright lights of the city. We’re a city of immigrants and first-generation youth, which has made Toronto such an incredible place to grow up. We’re proud of our cultures, and the city goes out of its way to highlight that. Every weekend in the summer there’s a festival that celebrates one group’s culture – whether it’s Caribana or Taste of Italy, everyone participates. The city is special in the sense that if you ask a Torontonian where they’re from, they will doubtfully say Canada – even if they were born here. It’ll always be where they’re parents were from, which sums up how they were raised and unites us as an immigrant community. I mean, it almost feels funny when you don’t hear 3-4 languages in your vicinity at any given time. You learn so much about the world simply by talking to people, which is probably why Toronto is so incredibly captivating.

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN WITH TORONTO MEDIA/PR MAVEN ELLHAH PT 1

New Record Label Angels Like Rebels Add Nitty Scott To New Experimental Crowdfunding Platform

New Record Label Angels Like Rebels Add Nitty Scott To New Experimental Crowdfunding Platform

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Hip Hop continues to spread across the globe as the prominent expressive culture of the modern age as well as a massive economic force in a wide array of business fields. With that being said, the actual process of making money directly from the sale of music has been in flux from the moment Napster’s digital audio sharing concept became reality. Today, only a small percentage of artists can bank off the revenues that album sales generate. This issue effects artists both on major labels and in indie situations. Regarding the indie/unsigned music makers of the world, Angels Like Rebels is presenting a new option.

ALR is taking the idea of crowdfunding as a way to more directly put artists and fans in control of future success.  Starting with a select group of invite only talents, ALR is in the midst of an initial funding round where fans of these respective artists invest in the them  for a variety of perks and incentives. From actual album downloads to VIP one on one access, the more you put in the more you get, theoretically.

In short the people fund the artist. If funded to a high enough level the artist officially joins the label and they promise to put out at least X amount of albums, merchandise and live shows to fulfill what fans funded and of course to push the artist to greater heights.

As many of you know I’ve followed the happenings of New York MC Nitty Scott who recently announced her addition to the Angels Like Rebels campaign. At over 2000 supports and nearly $30K she appears on her way to another career advancement. 2 years ago she successfully crowd funded the video for her Kendrick Lamar assisted “Flower Child”. so she’s no stranger to this path. The Bae God has a very supportive following. This also reveals how strategic her recent release of new music and new visuals is now that we see what she’s doing with ALR.

Roughly a decade ago Koch Records emerged with a new label structure that prominently promoted that it’s artists saw at least $7 per album sale. This was unheard of by industry standards.  While that amount was a bit inflated not accounting for certain expenses, an artist with a well established indie base and grass-roots marketing could pull a nice profit. Jim Jones was one such artist that get in while things at Koch were lucrative vs dealing with a major label.

I guess the real question that remains is can Angels make good on its claims? The concept sounds great.They promise that artists retain their musical rights and creative control. In addition marketing and promotional support, as well as digital and physical distribution is promised. It’s an ongoing discussion what the true role of labels should be in this internet age. We know what Industry Rule #4080 says, so will ALR be able to deliver? Should one of their artists truly blow, it’ll send waves though the industry. It could be Ms Scott. At the very least Nitty has never been afraid to take a chance. We’ll just have to wait and see what this Angels x Lil Buddha collaboration results in.

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New Drake App Takes The 6 God To New Levels Of Hilarity

New Drake App Takes The 6 God To New Levels Of Hilarity

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The man reigns as one of the top artists on the planet yet somehow Drake continues to be a walking punchline for the general public. This time around digital designer Asthen Winger aka “Whoopi” presents an app that puts the emotions of the multi award winner in your hands. Titled “Drizzy Tears” it’s your job to calm down the emotional Singer/Rapper so his tears don’t cause a flood.

Currently available via iTunes you can play a story mode or link up with a friend for competitive play.

Drizzy is pouring his Tearz into the rap game and you must stop him before it’s TOO LATE! Tap the Tearz to stop him from crying and don’t let them reach the bottom of the screen! Don’t be the worst, beat your best score and your friend’s! Use headphones to amplify the experience, the soundtrack is awesome! For best performance Drizzy recommends iPhone 5 or later.

If that wasn’t a crazy enough there’s already been a mock soundtrack created called Tears From the 6 from L.A producer Tristen Winger. I guess folk are getting the most out of this. Check out the “music” below.

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Is It Really A Bad Thing That BET Plans To Bring Back “UNCUT”

Is It Really A Bad Thing That BET Plans To Bring Back “UNCUT” ???

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A few days ago BET dropped an Instagram post the set off both applause and outrage among its viewers. The video drop was for the infamous BET UNCUT program that for roughly a decade was set up as a platform for mainstream  and underground artist to release their more sexually explicit video content.

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The show is still most known for Nelly’s Tip Drill and the drama that followed it.

You asked and we listened! The ALL NEW #BETUncut starts TUES 11P|10c!!!

A video posted by BET Networks (@betnetworks) on

Fast forward 10+ years with the rapid growth of the internet and social media with its many uncensored spaces, you can’t help but wonder why now? BET states “You asked and We listened!” Yet many wonder, with music video air play at an all time low across  Viacom core music stations (BET & MTV), it’s curious that this is what they would “listen” to and bring back. Not Rap City, Not Teen Summit, Not Caribbean Rhythms, no BET went for shock and controversy.  At a time when the social climate is super sensitive for people of color and how we are represented BET is getting ready to give space for more images that don’t always show us, especially women in the best light. Who sat down and said “Yes! This is what we need right now!” Is this just a move to take some of the visitors away from sites like World Star? Perhaps. Only time will tell.

On the flip side of things there is a contingent of people who is very much in support of UNCUT. These people question the demonizing of sexual content and argue that such material does deserve a place to be viewed just like any other genre. The reality of the matter is that explicit content is as readily available today as it was ever been in history. It may not be your desire to see it but it’s difficult to not come across graphic sexual images if you are a frequent user of social media. On top of that it was always been BET’s stance that the last night/early morning airing time of UNCUT proves that they are not pushing the content showcased onto the mainstream audience but just addressing a certain section of their target market.

It’ll be interesting to see if BET UNCUT reclaims it place as BET’s top viewed show. I think what get’s people about this is not that BET is providing a space for raunchy material to live because sex sells across the board. The issue is that it adds to the lack of balance in our turn up for TV, reality based society.

People like no they love sex. Go check out what the folk you follow on Instagram like and you’ll see it first hand.  It’s just that of all the things BET could do this seems like the least socially productive. Then again who said BET was that concerned with social progression.

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Nomadness Launches Ticket Sales For 1st Annual #NMDN Conference!

Nomadness Launches Ticket Sales For 1st Annual #NMDN Conference!

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GET YOUR EARLY BIRD TICKETS HERE!! USE DISCOUNT CODE NMDN15

Travel is something that has been a part of life for many for years. Yet for the most part the media depiction of Urban travel(ers) has been a mix of tropical getaways and domestic parties in locales like Miami & Las Vegas. You would never know they people like us were in Asia, Europe or Australia just like everyone else. This misrepresentation is core to what birthed Nomadness. 4 years later there is a massive growth in the urban travel community.

Just as media is still in need of more diverse travel content the live conference space that connects and networks with the people and brands in the travel community is suffering from the same issue. If Nomadness shows the world anything, let be that when a space is nonexistent we will create it.  From that same spark that formed the Nomadness Travel Tribe we give you NMDN.

GET YOUR EARLY BIRD TICKETS HERE!! USE DISCOUNT CODE NMDN15

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On Sept 26th Nomadness presents a full day of travel workshops and panel discussions. NMDN is ideal for the modern traveler, the travel business person and more. We will be touching on all elements of travel culture the Nomadness.

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That means more fun, creativity and style then your usual hotel conference room convention gathering. Get a peek at some of our panelists here on the NMDN IG page.  Make sure you follow that and the NMDN Twitter page to stay up on all the needed updates.

Early bird tickets sales started today so don’t miss out on this event. It’s the beginning of a new day.

GET YOUR EARLY BIRD TICKETS HERE!!
USE DISCOUNT CODE NMDN15

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SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ RISING HIP HOP ARTIST NITTY SCOTT MC PT 2

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ RISING HIP HOP ARTIST NITTY SCOTT MC PT 2

 

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Welcome to part 2 of this special Samurai Sit Down with Nitty Scott MC. From personal insecurities and her relationship status we dive into some personal matters with the affectionately nicknamed #BaeGod so get comfy and enjoy.

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I saw you do your thing last year at the SOURCE360 lady’s night event at BAM. You seem very comfortable on the stage and on camera. Has that always been the case?

Thank you! I definitely think so. I practically grew up on stages: beauty pageants, talent shows, this game show on ABC Family, public speaking & poetry jams … I’ve done cheerleading and dance competitions, worked at Disney as a character performer … I’m just one of those people that loves to entertain and relate to people, say profound things, provoke feelings. It’s my calling.

Do you have any mentors in this game? Who do you turn that to to help direct your path?

Sort of! I’m a very independent little trailblazer at heart, so I rely on my own wisdom & instincts more than anything. But there are people here to help guide me when I need it, & others have dropped amazing gems on me along the way. I’d say 6th Sense, 88-Keys, Ski Beatz, Rah Digga and my boy Ace are always on call when I need some direction.

Hit the jump for the conclusion of  Samurai Sit Down: Nitty Scott MC

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ RISING HIP HOP ARTIST NITTY SCOTT MC PT 2

SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ RISING HIP HOP ARTIST NITTY SCOTT MC PT 1

 SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ RISING HIP HOP ARTIST NITTY SCOTT MC PT 1

 

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This has been a long time coming but the stars finally aligned for me to bring you a deeper look into the artist known as Nitty Scott MC. From back pack rocking underground phenom to emerging break out sensation Nitty has been both a wonder and a mystery as she’s openly transitioned into a new phase of her life. After her self imposed hiatus to clean house she’s now back, in a better place and ready to deliver. Will the potential that many have seen in her come to fruition? Your friendly Social Media Samurai got the chance to chop it up with Nitty on a wide range of topics so check it out.

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We’re half way into 2015. What has the year taught/showed you thus far both personally and professionally?

I guess I’ve learned to be extremely tolerant. You know, when you ask the universe for patience, I don’t think some patience just drops into your soul, but instead you get put into a situation where you have to practice an acceptance of your reality. I’ve had a turbulent past 12 months; relocating at least 4 times, employing a new team of advisers, reinventing my entire brand. It’s been quite the process trying to restructure my world & execute the vision I have for myself. But I’m still rocking these shows, shooting videos & recording new material. I’m rolling with the frustrations, staying connected to my fans and preparing for my season every day. And once that time comes, it’ll be well worth the wait.

Connection is a major thing. I think in today’s era of social media it’s what separates a mere product or personality from a true brand. How do you connect with your fans?

I totally agree. The dope thing is, your fans just have to really like YOU. The person, the personality, the demeanor. The music is the soundtrack to your brand, but I think who you are is what keeps people interested. I haven’t been able to release a new project in about a year, but with social media, I can maintain visibility & still touch fans while I work on my master plan. What are my personal hobbies? What current events do I find important, or funny, or upsetting? What friends, family or teachers occupy my world? What am I working on in the studio?

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Hit the jump for the rest of  Samurai Sit Down: Nitty Scott MC pt 1.

Continue reading SAMURAI SIT DOWN W/ RISING HIP HOP ARTIST NITTY SCOTT MC PT 1

Did The B-Sides Weekend Save Tidal? – Jay Z’s Ultimate Lifeline

Did The B-Sides Weekend Save Tidal? – Jay Z’s Ultimate Lifeline

 

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Folk are still talking about the back to back performances Jay Z treated his faithful Tidal members too in NYC this past weekend. We’re only a few weeks removed  from Hov’s unexpected Twitter appearance to defend Tidal’s slow start. The immediate back lash from naysayers that had already started digging the grave for the newly launched media platform was felt all across the internets. Given that tension filled climate, the announcement of the B Sides show couldn’t have come soon enough.

As Pier 5 hosted the Jay Z love fest for fans of all ages, one thing became crystal clear. When Jay presents himself through music no one questions him. There’s always a space for people to doubt the motives behind his many business ventures. From his interjection into the Occupy Wall Street movement to last years drama packed partnership with high end store Barney’s there have been time’s when even the most faithful fan had to wonder if the all mighty dollar was all that mattered.

TIDAL X: Jay-Z B-sides in NYC on May 16, 2015 in New York City.

Many were viewing TIDAL the same way. “It’s too expensive.” “Why would I move from Spotify for streaming or Youtube for video content?” There are no lack of questions about the point behind Tidal. Then the content slowly started rolling out. Exclusives from Rihanna & Beyonce were released. The Internet moves at lightning speed but at least for now Tidal user were getting material 1st and in this age that means everything even if it’s only a matter of days or even hours. It seemed clear that Tidal for now was going to ride the backs of its flagship superstars.

That was plan A. Plan B was the live concert access. Roc Nation artist J Cole featured a private concert performance exclusive to members which was received to very positive reviews. Now it was time for the big guns. Jay Z announced the all time rumored B sides concert for the good people of NYC, that were subscribed to Tidal of course.

Prompted to create their own B sides playlist of Jay Z songs, members directly won tickets to the live showing . In addition to all this, to show that he does have a heart, the 1st of the 2 nights was streamed live for free to show all just what Jay had on deck.

It was a memorable hip hop night punctuated by a Rocafella x State Property reunion, an appearance by the ever enigmatic Jay Electronica  and an opening freestyle taking aim at Tidal’s competition as well as touching on a few of the social issues now burning throughout the nation.  When it was all said and done It was nothing but positive reactions to the weekends events. Fans and industry folk alike not only expressed satisfaction with Jay Z’s concert but it would seem that many were won over enough to buy into Tidal membership. Many who were trashing the service within the past month were now all in. What happened? What converted the doubtful? It’s really simple. Jay went back to basics.

Jay spoke to the people in the language that brought him his initial fame. He put the corporate talk and investment chatter to the side for a moment to rap with folk. Instead of tweeting and trying to explain why Tidal is “for the people” he cut the middle out and just connected with the people. Before all else Jay is Hip Hop and Hip Hop culture still rules the world. When you can create emotion and tap into feelings and memories with the public, it goes so much further then logically breaking down percentages and profit margins.

Hov went back to being the guy that everyone followed. From white tees to throw back jerseys to button ups. The real was back. Tidal was presented as the ultimate VIP pass instead of just another streaming service. As long as experiences can be provided then Tidal will win in the end.

As I type this Tidal just released Made in America Tickets to Tidal users. People, especially those in Hip Hop lovee feeling “exclusive”. Watch Jay and company ride that Tidal wave all the way to the bank.

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