Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Killer Mike continues his critical acclaimed success with being awarded HipHopDX's Album of the Year
The beginning of 2008 started with Mike embarking on his indie venture. He signed a deal with SMC Recordings and began putting the finishing touches on his upcoming release. With SMC's undeniable support, Mike was able to do the album he had wanted to do for sometime. In July he released I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II to critical acclaim. Receiving recognition from his peers and his fans has been a blessing for Mike and has shown him that his hard work for the past year has certainly paid off. Mike explains, ''When I completed Pledge II... the three statements that came to mind were 'The era of the Bullshit Is over', 'fire your Boss and be a Boss' and 'this album is the Soundtrack to Your Success'. As I continue on my grind, I run into supporters who tell me Pledge II has inspired everything from quitting trappin' and going legit, to people in military service, small business starts-ups as well as being just simply motivational music to get through the day."
One of Mike's many fans included fellow ATL-ien and chart topping rapper, TI. After expressing interest in Mike as a possible addition to his Grand Hustle label, TI offered a major label record deal to Mike that would still give him the opportunity to be his own boss by recording and releasing albums through indie favorite, SMC Recordings. Mike looks forward to the New Year, “In '09 I look forward to furthering the gospel of the grind through my partner ship with SMC and also forming a new and valued partner ship with TI and Grand Hustle.”
2008 was a phenomenal year for Killer Mike, Is it possible for him to top it? With a new album coming out in the spring, I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind III, and many other projects in the works - 2009 looks like it will be a banner year for this amazing artist!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Willie D, most known for his role in the platinum-selling Houston based rap group The Geto Boys, who spawned classic mega hits including "Mind Playing Tricks On Me," is no stranger to controversy. With his often hard-edged music that often conveys positive social messages, he is now introducing rap fans to the group Huntzville, the newest signing on his Relentless Music label. Just like the Geto Boys, Huntzville is a trio, and has message-laden music laced within their harsh reality raps. However, unlike the trigger happy Geto Boys, Huntzville is comprised of three white rappers, D-Boi (aka Dustin Young), Lil' Fly (aka Stephen Fox) and his brother C-Lean (aka Ryan Fox). Collectively, Huntzville has a "Backpack Fulla Guns," and they are fully ready to unload it as their first single, in preparation for their upcoming debut album Disrupting The Ordinary, slated for release in early 2009.
The outspoken group hails from Huntsville, Texas, home of the notorious prison that inspired a song of the same title by country singer Merle Haggard. These prison city playas live just an hour outside of Houston. After receiving one of their demos from a music business seminar and being impressed with what he heard, Will immediately decided he wanted to sign and mentor the group. Huntzville opened up the reunion show for the Geto Boys this past July.
Instead of reflecting on the "Mind Of A Lunatic," Huntsville's debut single, "Backpack Fulla Guns," takes the listener inside the mind of a student that is going to commit a high school shooting. Pearl Jam had addressed this phenomenon brilliantly, coming from the state of an observer in the band's prolific hit "Jeremy." Conversely, the rappers in Huntzville are addressing the message from the point of view of the shooter.
Huntzville feels that if a kid is at the point where he wants to shoot someone in his school, and if he listens to this song, and he sees that somebody understands, maybe he will change his mind about shooting someone. C-Lean notes, "This is a topic that no one else is musically approaching in hiphop, and we wanted to make a strong point of it." He adds, "Everybody can relate to being bullied or bullying. We wanted to get a dialogue going on this. It is so commonplace today, that on CNN the other day, they only ran a little tickertape on the bottom of the screen, saying there was another school shooting in Jersey. These are not even featured stories any more. No one seems to care."
"The trend is that lot of rappers are not doing anything that is going to be relevant in five years. There is so much trendy stuff and dance stuff," observes C-Lean. "We wanted to do something of substance that you could listen to in twenty years from now that would still be applicable. Unfortunately, kids are still going to be bullied in school 20 years from now, so people will relate to this topic in many ways, from many points of view."
D-Boi acknowledges the controversy surrounding some of the group's songs that will be released. He explains, "The single has a lot of meaning behind it. It's not just a bunch of killing people. It's not just mindless violence. We wanted to put a mirror up through this song, to show society that they're not doing enough about this. These shootings are going on all over America, and they are a worldwide problem. Our job with the song is to remind people we need to take care of it, or it is going to keep happening."
All one has to do is go to google news and type in "bullying" and "school," and literally thousands of hits come up.
Lil Fly notes, "We're not excusing it, glorifying it, or saying this uncontrollable reaction is what you should do. We're trying to say this exists, and there are people who honestly feel like this, and who feel they have a reason and right to do this. We're just bringing you inside what drives a person to be like this."
Lil' Fly says that it is particularly outrageous that some bullies grow up to be police officers that find people to bully. "What just happened in Houston to Donald Driver's father is deplorable," he notes. "Donald is in the Green Bay Packers, and is very involved in his community, and doing a lot of positive stuff. The police recently arrested his father, Marvin, at his home, and they reportedly took him to a gas station, where they beat him unconscious. He was unresponsive at the jail, so he was taken to the hospital, where he was listed as being in critical condition. He is getting better now. But this is what happens when bullies remain unchecked," asserts Lil' Fly.
Geto Boy Willie D, CEO of the group's label has the group's back, and is ready to defend the group in light of any ensuing controversy. In fact, Will feels so strongly, that he has penned a statement that can be found on the group's website, which in part, states, "Not so long ago, the repercussions of bullying meant you got sent to the principal's office or home. Today, bullies are being sent to the cemetery, often accompanied by other students and teachers. Where are the parents? I'll tell you where they are. Many of them are standing at the door, waiting for their child to walk through the door, so they can smack them across the head, just because they feel like it. Many of these parents stand in complete denial, causing their son or daughter to become bullies, themselves. Most children learn abusive behavior from the violence and abuse they experience at home. In an effort to seek what they errantly perceive as a feeling of power, or being "superior," such children bully, tease, put down, harass, or otherwise torment one or more victims."
Will points out the trial currently being held against Lori Drew, a 49 year-old Missouri woman that used a fake MySpace persona to bully a thirteen year old girl into committing suicide, the first criminal trial ever held involving cyber-bullying. Will, who was born as Willie Dennis, also stated on the Huntzville's website, "Many of the parents are bullies, themselves, so they see nothing wrong with it. Some maladjusted parents even co-opt with their child to abuse, torment or put down other children. Many parents vicariously pass on this behavior."
The group urges those who are dealing with issues of bullying to come to their website, and read Will's complete statement, check out Huntzville's videos and music, and post their own experiences with bullying.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Chamillionaire's Mixtape Messiah 6 featuring: Crooked I, Lil Keke, Lil Flip, Trae Tha Truth, The BossHogg Outlaws & Chalie Boy.
Dropping Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Chamillionaire will release Mixtape Messiah 7 before his upcoming 3rd major label album release VENOM.
For daily updates you can call Chamillionaire at 832.514.4730 and stay logged on to Chamillionaire.com
1. Best Rapper Alive
2. Love of Money Feat. Trae Tha Truth
3. Throwdest in the game
4. Mixtape Murder
5. The Evaluation
6. One Day Feat. J-Dawg
7. That's You
8. Track Wrecka Feat. Lil Flip
9. Everything Feat Crooked I
10. Switch Styles Reloaded
11. Murder They Wrote Feat. Killa Kyleon & Lil Ray
12. Roy Wood Jr. Outta Jail Skit
13. For the Moment
14. Shawty Feat. Chalie boy
15. Venom on the Way
16. Shine So Clean Feat. Lil Keke
17. Expensive Crack Pipe
18. Judge Judy
19. Nothin Else to Say
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
THE THREE AMIGOS is a real life documentary, starring LIL WAYNE, JIM JONES and JUELZ SANTANA as three blood brothers that will stop at nothing to become the best in the game. DJ SCOOB DOO is the man who orchestrates this special edition of STREETS TALK DVD, with behind the scenes footage of WEEZY, CAPO and JUELZ highlighted as three of the most influential figures in hip hop today. This DVD captures the hard work and dedication it takes to get to the top, and how to maintain the position with style.
Since Streets Talk DVD first dropped, the series has truly become "where the streets get their news from". THE THREE AMIGOS also features guest appearances from BABY, DAME DASH, MIKE EPPS, SKULL GANG, BYRD GANG and much more! BONUS FEATURES include an extended clip of the highly anticipated LOST IN YONKERS DVD, hosted by JADAKISS.
For a sneak peak of Streets Talk DVD: The Three Amigos, go to: www.djscoobdoo.com
“Concerning this author’s allegations, we would hope in the future that legitimate media will not continue to be exploited by such an obvious attempt to promote this unauthorized ‘biography.’
The writer’s wild allegations concerning Mr. Jackson’s health are a total fabrication.
Mr. Jackson is in fine health, and finalizing negotiations with a major entertainment company & television network for both a world tour and a series of specials and appearances.”
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Collipark Music & Beat Banga Productions Present
The Brand New Mixtape From
DJ Chuck T & Yung Daze
"The Emergency Room"
(Download Instructions: Do Not Right Click and Select Save! Simply Click On The Link Below and It Will Take You To A Download Page.)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
"We are honored to be working with the largest labels in the music industry to help them reach their consumers more directly. At Musicane, our core belief is that music is the unifying lifestyle driver, particularly online through fans' social networks and related blogs. By partnering with the largest content providers and their artists, we have built a win-win business model for distributing and retailing products to today's growing online communities," said Musicane President & COO Vikramaditya Jain.
Under the terms of the agreement, Musicane will offer tracks from SONY BMG Music Entertainment's vast historical catalog and more than 100,000 tracks from EMI Music to the service. Artists who will initially be available through Musicane in the coming months include Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Coldplay, David Cook, John Legend, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Pink, Sara Bareilles, The Killers, U2, and Wyclef Jean.
Initially rolling out in the music space, Musicane's proprietary widgets allow users to personalize and embed their own media storefronts on their social network profiles and blogs. Users can purchase music downloads without leaving the page they are on utilizing the company's unique embedded commerce technology. Through the Musicane model, users can now earn money from their existing social network presence as well as recommend their favorite music and artists.
With these deals in place, Musicane will now serve as an authorized digital retailer to three of the four major music entertainment companies, delivering 80% of the world's major label musical content to consumers for the ultimate interactive online shopping, entertainment and discovery experience.
Today Musicane widgets are widely used by major artists on their websites and social network profiles and have generated over 70 million impressions in 2008. Approximately 500,000 people have embedded Musicane widgets on their profiles with ten million widgets employed through artist launches.
A social shopping network blending online shopping and social networking, Musicane was founded by Internet entrepreneurs Vikramaditya Jain and Sudhn Shahani. Musicane benefits consumers through easier product discovery, participation in sales revenue and bringing the shopping and discovery experience to their existing social communities.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
I try my best not to use the word in my articles, rants and columns, unless done so for emphasis, not to say that it’s right, but just to drive home a point sometimes. What I hate seeing, is when I read a magazine, such as XXL, and the first column I read, within the first two paragraphs, I am already exposed to the N word and then I think to myself, ‘Damn, we are not in the hood speaking amongst ourselves anymore’. Hip-Hop has such a diversified audience nowadays that every word that is literally spoken or written in Hip-Hop is exposed to the masses and we have to stop and wonder why ‘others’ feel as if they can comfortably repeat a statement, phrase or a verse they hear on a rap record or read in an article.
Now, I hate to call out Datwon Thomas, because he is one of the few guys that I honestly like from a standpoint of being a good guy (Except the fact that I haven’t written not one article for XXL, KING or any other Harris property!) or any other Website Owner or Editor that has control over these matters, but we NEED to be careful with what we are putting out there for the masses. None of us would want to hear a white or Asian person using that word so freely, but how can we get mad when we are putting it out there for them to use. And not only use but use in front of us?
I’ve been advocating for years for artists to curb the use of the ignorance of the word but of course, money talks and most rappers continue to use the N word in song. Nowadays, we hear it blatantly on the radio and if the radio stations don’t even bleep it out anymore, then what does that tell us?
It’s bad enough that most popular publications and websites report the negativity that goes on in Hip-Hop without offering the positive aspects of this community. We, as property owners or delegators of content, should be held to a higher standard ESPECIALLY the more popular publications and I would like to see the use of the N word brought to a minimum when you KNOW your audience is mostly the general public.
Collectively, we have to take responsibility for what the general audience is seeing and PARTICULARLY, our children are witnessing the lack of respect not only against us, but amongst us.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
"An album so exquisite, so assured, it threatens to invent an entirely new strand of urban pop music...the best album released this year, an information-age masterpiece" - Washington Post
“His new album, ‘808s & Heartbreak’, is austere and disciplined…a new burst of creativity that rivals his debut, "The College Dropout…With ‘808s & Heartbreak,’ West tears down…his previous three albums and builds something bold and new in their place. His current musical vision may be dark, but it can also be beautiful." – Newsday
“An introspective, minimal electro-pop record steeped in regret, pain, and even more self-examination…West's pain is articulated in ways that, while borne from his experiences, can be easily translated to the listener's. The kind of universality is a staple of great pop…” - Pitchfork
“The Chicago rapper hangs a dramatic left on ‘808s & Heartbreak’, an album whose frosty, minimal sound backs lyrics of surprisingly raw emotion…he offers this glimpse of the soul beneath the swagger, and we like him better for it.” – EW
“On ‘808s & Heartbreak,’ Mr. West is done letting himself off the hook…The product of a tumultuous year in his personal life, it operates solely on the level of catharsis — no commentary, no self-consciousness, no concern for anything but feeling…Every song on the album is rife with anguish, and his lyrics, about the shards of broken relationships… can carry a fresh sting.” – NY Times
"An extremely intriguing, sporadically gripping, undeniably fearless and altogether unexpected piece of his troubled soul." - Chicago Sun Times
December 4, 2008 – New York, NY – Certainly amongst the most talked-about and debated pop moments in recent memory, Kanye West’s bold, controversial new album 808s & Heartbreak has resonated with listeners around the world; like his previous three albums, 808s has entered the charts on top.
To call 808s a ‘departure’ from West’s signature sound is more oversimplification than understatement. Rolling Stone refers to the album as West’s Blood On The Tracks while others have called it his Kid A; both watershed moments in the creative developments that would follow for those legendary artists. If anything, The 10-time Grammy-award winner has broadened the idea of what his sound can be: global pop, tribal rhythms, brooding atmospherics and stark electronics are mixed deftly with soaring melodies and arena-sized anthems. One thing is clear: very rare, and riskier still, is the moment when a pop artist of such global acclaim, influence and success releases a record as a pure art piece, a raw creative outlet. On 808s, West’s shattering of musical boundaries has torn down, for once and for all, the limitations of genre.
The experiment has been dangerous and controversial, but rewarding. As Kanye said on his blog this week: “People really have their feathers ruffled about this album, don't they? Good!” In a recent interview with MTV News, Kanye described the spark that led to the album: "It was just what was in my heart," Kanye explained. "The type of ideas that I was coming up with, the melodies that were in me — what was in me I couldn't stop.”
Recorded in just three weeks in Hawaii, 808s and Heartbreak pulses with that creative urgency. From the hypnotic opening plea “Say You Will,” to the dramatic closing tribute “Coldest Winter,” 808s explores feelings of paranoia, guilt, isolation, and ultimately heartbreak – the name Kanye gave to the mix of autotune, delay and distortion he used to effect his vocals throughout.
“Kanye’s brilliant new album has been re-affirming for me,” said Island Def Jam chairman Antonio “LA” Reid. “It re-affirms my faith in the power and energy and excitement of music, on a very pure level. I congratulate him for it.”
Last night, Kanye picked up 6 Grammy nominations for Song of the Year for “American Boy” w/Estelle, Best Rap Performance By A Duo or Group for “Put On” w/Young Jeezy and “Swagga Like Us” w/ JAY-Z, T.I., & Lil Wayne, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “American Boy” w/Estelle, Best Rap Song for “Swagga Like Us” w/ JAY-Z, T.I., & Lil Wayne and Album of the Year for Tha Carter III (Featured Artist).
As West wraps the final international leg of his acclaimed, sold-out Glow In The Dark tour in Australia this week, he will continue to support of 808s & Heartbreak, including a performance on Saturday Night Live next Saturday, December 13th. Tonight, “Street Lights,” a track from the new album, will be featured in Grey’s Anatomy. Moving into the new year, West promises the launch of several design and fashion collaborations and ventures, as well as continued musical travels and adventures. Stay tuned…
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
"Poker Face," the second RedOne production from the CD, is also a proven hit. It's already #1 on the RIANZ New Zealand Top 40 Singles Chart and at #3 on the Australian ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart. In the United States The Fame debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Electronic Albums Chart and #17 on the Billboard 200 Chart, with sales of 24,000 copies sold in its first week. The LP was also #1 on the Canadian Album chart.
Having established himself as a top global producer and songwriter, RedOne has kept close ties with the international community that launched him into prominence. Born in Morocco, RedOne rebelled against his aristocratic upbringing and set off to Sweden, ground zero for the thriving pop music scene in the early 90‘s. Inspired by the kinetic energy, a penniless RedOne took odd jobs and slept on a recording studio floor just to stay close to the music. After a short stint in a rock band, he began to refine his producing and songwriting skills and scored a publishing deal with BMG. RedOneE2s sound is a convergence of rhythms of his native Morocco and the Euro-pop that inspired him early on. His career jumped off with successful stints writing and producing CD tracks by Nordic artists such as the wildly popular A*Teens. In 2004, RedOne hit it big with the European smash “Step Up,” winning both Swedish Grammy and Scandinavian Song of the Year awards with frequent co-writer Bilal Hajji. In March of 2006, RedOne produced a "mash-up" of Shakira‘s "Hips Don't Lie" featuring Wyclef Jean which brought him international attention from various artists and record companies.
It's rumored that RedOne was recently in the studio with Michael Jackson along with his production partner Akon to mastermind Jackson's new album due in 2009. He was also one of the producers responsible for the musical success of New Kids On The Block new CD The Block, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart. Aside from working with Lady Gaga, RedOne is in the studio non stop and has upcoming releases with some of the most respected artists in the business including Enrique Iglesias whose Greatest Hits LP released November 11th which features the RedOne produced single "Takin' Back My Love" (featuring Ciara). He’s also worked with Brandy (Epic), Lionel Richie (Island), Flypside (Interscope), Menudo (Epic), Varsity (Virgin), and Tami Chynn’s SRC/Universal debut which he co-produced with Akon. He has also garne red praise for his previous work with Robyn, Cheetah Girls, Christina Milian, Tiffany Evans, and 3LW, to name a few.
"Thanks!" said a spokesperson for the band. "You guys own." Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo were unavailable for comment due to a mini-golf tournament.
In 2007, Gnarls Barkley received five nominations, won two Grammys, and gave a characteristically cinematic performance.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Let’s think about it. Not taking anything away from Britney Spears but when was the last time a rapper was allowed to get away with a third of the shit Britney has gotten away with and then get accepted back like she was always sane? She has been through 2 marriages, 2 divorces, 2 pregnancies, that alone would eliminate any and all rappers from getting the chance to get back in the spotlight, unless, of course, it was an arrest or drug-related incident. Can you really imagine Mainstream America allowing a Foxy Brown or a Lil Kim getting away with that?
And she has shown a little craziness with the shaving of the hair, going completely bald, smashing cars with umbrellas and hitting paparazzi with vehicles, yet, she has never spent a day in jail. She was sent to the loony bin, have had control of her finances taken from her, kids taken away and yet, she will no doubt have a number one album again! She is allowed to get away with all this shit, yet we vilify DMX when he goes on one of his many rants and speed chases. Why can’t the Hip-Hop community welcome a DMX with open arms the way Mainstream America is willing to accept crazy ass Britney back?
Sunday, November 30, 2008
You would think that after all the bullshit fellow NFL player ‘Pacman’ Jones has gone through in the previous year and the Michael Vick situation, people would be more cautious about the ignorance that still possesses their lives. What needs to start happening is that when these idiots decide to act out in public, they should be reprimanded as harshly as you or I would if we committed the same acts, but without the high priced attorneys stepping in to save their dumb asses!
I still don’t understand why rappers, actors, entertainers and sport players feel that they have to prove their ignorance while in the streets. They create their own imaginary image and feel that they have to live up to ‘being real’ for the sake of the ignorant people that they either admire or want to be cool with, yet, avoid making money because they can’t get endorsements and wonder why people only see them as talented people and nothing else. We all know they crave respect, admiration and acceptance but why is it that it has to be done on an ignorant level? Yet, I can’t get in the ‘cool club’ because I don’t have the status of these ignorant people, yet they are the ones keeping up the stereotype, ESPECIALLY in the New York City area. Thanks Plaxico Burgess for giving these club owners more reason to prevent me and my other law-abiding friends the opportunity to hang out and have a good time based on your ignorance and their perception of ALL Black people. They look at us and say, the niggas get rich and still act like niggas. Thanks to all the dumb ass rappers and entertainers that feel that they have to be ignorant to get respect in the same streets that will test them more than any other group out there. Thanks for re-enforcing my thoughts on going to these ‘high profile’ events and staying home and being safe and not having to worry about being shot or left out in the cold because I am not one of the ‘cool kids’.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
20 November 2008
So for years I’ve been reading in the newspapers and watching on TV and reading on the internet how race relations are great and it’s not as bad as it used to be. I have strongly disagreed every time I would see such a report knowing that I am a dark-skinned black man living in the New York City area, knowing that I am being judged solely on the color of my skin. Knowing that police officers routinely stop me in my vehicle based on how I look and not because I’ve committed any crime or traffic violation. I know that there are racist people preventing me from gaining things based on their own insecurities and prejudices.
I laugh when my white friends and acquaintances swear up and down that racism is barely existence nowadays (Though I am not accusing them of racism at all) because they are comfortable hanging with Blacks and other ‘minorities’. I even chuckle when they feel comfortable laughing at my peoples use of the N word that we, not I, but we, are comfortable saying in front of them and in videos and on record and on film (That’s another subject that I will write about in length some other time!). But, in case most of you think otherwise, racism is alive and well and kicking! It never left, it is still lingering and it is making a more blatant comeback right in front of our very eyes!
Want proof? It was reported yesterday that since Barack Obama has been elected, there has been a spike in hate crimes throughout the nation! And we have to remember that there are many crimes that are underreported in the mainstream media. Blacks have been labeled savages since I can remember and references are always made towards our Hip Hop videos and black on black crimes, yet, according to all the media reports, all of these hate crimes are being committed by whites against Blacks and other minorities. There have been reported death threats against Obama for almost 2 years now since he announced he was running for President of The United States. I am 100% sure that there are groups out there plotting right now to try to eliminate the nation’s first Black President-Elect.
We must keep our eyes open and realize that much hasn’t changed when it comes to racism, it’s just disguised better. But as we approach the inauguration of President Barack Obama, I truly believe we will see an even higher rise in hate crimes committed by angry white, racists. I can hear them now, ‘How dare they let this nigger be leader of this here country?’
Words Lines and Phrases
At 33, Kenji Jasper can boast of a 18-year career in writing and journalism, which began when he published his first article as an intern for The Washington Informer newspaper at the age of 13. At 14, he became a contributor to Black Entertainment Television's YSB Magazine, and later worked as a writer/instructor at The Institute for the Preservation and Study of African American Writing. He also served as an on-air personality for WTTG Fox 5's Newsbag (1986-1987), and later as one of the founding cast members of Black Entertainment Television's Teen Summit (1989-1993). By the time he graduated from Morehouse College in 1997, his journalism had appeared in The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union Tribune, and The Atlanta Tribune .
But creative writing has always been his true love. He penned his first novel, "Dark" , at the age of 21. It has since been released in the United Kingdom and translated into French. It was later optioned to be made into a film by State Street Pictures(Soul Food, Barbershop, Roll Bounce) and Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Mr. Jasper has contributed articles and essays to Newsweek, National Public Radio, The Village Voice, VIBE, The Charlotte Observer, The Chicago Sun-Times and Essence among many other publications. His first work of nonfiction, The House on Childress Street, was published in January of 2006. He is co-editor of Beats, Rhymes and Life, a collection of critical writings on hip hop culture and the novella, Snow, which was published by VIBE Books in 2007.
He is also the CEO and Editor of The Armory, a publishing partnership with Akashic Books. It's mosrt recent release, Cake, by author D, was published in Summer 2008. He is currently at work on Nightshift, the first novel in a three-part series and other screenwriting and client projects.
novel in a three-part series and other screenwriting and client projects.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Erika J. Kendricks
Confessions Of A Rookie Cheerleader/Publishing Prep/NABFEME
New York, NY
Erika J. Kendricks, a Chicago native, rocks out in the middle of Manhattan with her Himalayan hottie, Cody. She graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Psych and after a few bouts of indentured servitude at Ogilvy PR Worldwide and J Records, Erika completed her MBA and escaped to New York City. She snagged both her luggage and a coveted gig (read: “…and you’ll be sharing office space with the warm sodas in the utility closet…”) at the ultra-chic record label, Island Def Jam.
Kendrick quickly took a first class flight out of her own minstrel mind, clicked her Henri Bendel heels three times, and stubbornly left the music game behind. She switched stilettos and hopped on a publishing plane after inking a 2-book deal in the reputable Random House literary game. Her first born, CONFESSIONS OF A ROOKIE CHEERLEADER: A Novel, dropped in 2007, the second, APPETITE: A Novel, will follow cleverly close behind in June 2009.
Kendrick is currently working on her third sneak-peak read and also developing a tween series while writing the screenplay for CONFESSIONS OF A ROOKIE CHEERLEADER. She is the senior editor and a contributing writer for Pilot Getaways, a travel magazine.
Kendrick is a managing partner of PUBLISHING PREP®, a comprehensive course curriculum designed exclusively for the aspiring writer. She is also the President of the New York chapter of NABFEME - National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment (NABFEME.org). Erika is a member of the Stanford Alumni Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Black MBA Association and a recipient of several “Who’s Who” honors. Kendrick has recently contracted with the GIRL SCOUTS OF AMERICA Scholar’s Program to teach creative writing to juniors and seniors. And proudly, her heart perpetually pumps to the oh-so-fabuloso crimson-and-cream stomps of Delta Sigma Theta!
CONFESSIONS OF A ROOKIE CHEERLEADER hit bookstores nationwide February 27, 2007 and was named the Wendy Williams Book Club Pick of the Month and Ebony Magazine’s Top 3 Pick for April Fiction. The acclaimed title has garnered coverage in Publisher’s Weekly, Upscale Magazine, Romantic Times, Black Beat Magazine, Rolling Out Magazine, W.I.N.E. (Women In Entertainment), Ebony Magazine and several online publications including, but not limited to, Shake Your Beauty, Nia Online, Urban Reviews, Crème Magazine, Strive Magazine and Black Athlete.
Kendrick is currently in talks with networks and studios to option both the television and film rights. APPETITE is slated to drop June 23, 2009.
Erika can be contacted for panels or speaking engagements at www.erikakendrick.com, Erika@erikakendrick.com, or for any additional literary opportunities through her agent, Stephany Evans, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1) I’ve always said there’s a difference between R & B and Soul, could you tell us your interpretation of both?
I always felt the difference comes with the feeling behind the song- R&B has a specific twist to it that makes you wanna move and what not, but soul, in my book is the ultimate form of song- no restrictions no boundaries no slick metaphors, just pure passion and heart. That's where I see the difference. Soul is timeless and R&B is very changeable.
2) You have an interesting story where you say you grew up in the streets AND the church. How were you able to do both and what effect did that have on your talent and vision?
Well I was able to do both because I had no choice...I had a mother who prayed and a strict dad from the south, so we had to go to church or we had to grab the ping pong paddle dad used to keep in the dresser to tear our butts up!!! And then being in the hood anyway, it wasn't like we could just leave- my dad works hard just to say he's broke so it was about being able to do both because I had to do both. That's where I was.
But it actually gave my songs love and respect, seeing how at the time that's the only place I could free myself -behind the sounds of my soul and the words from my heart
3) What can we expect from you that would make us listen to your songs and eventually buy your album?
The biggest thing you can ever expect from me is a strong visual…I'm such a handsome, funny and talented guy that you have no choice but to love me!!! LMAO!! But no seriously, the character I display is somewhat like a movie character- I'm always someone to watch and wait to see what I do next. My songs carry a sense of freedom and realness that I think everyone can relate to...
4) Now being on the Polo Grounds roster and getting your start with Murder Inc., it’s safe to say that you have reputable people backing and believing in you, does that put more pressure on you to succeed?
Truthfully it does. It’s one thing to have you and your family to take care of but it’s another thing to have people who are into you and pushing you, and everyday you fight not to lose their interest. Some people don't care, but I do- that's just me. I have to get it done. I'm always in a situation where I have to prove myself, so yeah it’s a whole lot of pressure honestly speaking.
5) Does the current condition in the industry (sales are going down yearly, the quality of music isn’t the same anymore, etc.) scare you as far as trying to sell music?
Hell yeah!! LOL!! Scares me everyday because I didn't get a deal off of the type of music that's winning now, so its like I'm just praying and hoping the lovers of my music are still out there…The world is changing and so is our music- we’re not listening to the temptations no more- they were then, T-Pain is now, and Boxie is the future. But that's just my personal thoughts…
Monday, November 17, 2008
As happy as I am that I’ve witnessed the election of a Black president, the struggle is FAR from being over! My primary concern and fear is that the number of people who were finally energized to actually go out and vote, will feel like their job is done and they can become complacent. That is too far from the truth! I am almost embarrassed that some of my friends, who are around 40 years old, have finally exercised their right to vote. Yes, it’s good that they did it as opposed to never doing it but to not have done it is still something that amazes me. Not being involved in who is making decisions for your well-being is not a wise decision. Allowing others who have no interest in you or your concerns, to make laws and decisions that do affect you, doesn’t sit well with me, especially when these rights were fought for our benefit.
What people still don’t understand is that there is still a lot on the table, even in local elections and we must not stop at the presidential election every four years. I’ve stated this almost yearly that we can’t just be concerned about candidates and politics when there is a presidential election. We must have the same energy and focus when it comes to electing our mayors, governors, congressmen, representatives, councilmen, judges and every office in between all of those!
The parties are good, the celebration is great but the struggle is still here. As you look on TV, listen to radio, search the internet, you will see that other factors out there mad as hell about what has transpired. Violence is being committed on innocent people based on their skin color because of the outcome of a major election and you think the struggle is over? We are having the SAME fight we’ve had for years, our parents have had, our grandparents have had and most likely our children will have! We cannot rest on our laurels now and not in the near OR distant future! I still have a great chance of being arrested based on the color of my skin, not my actions. I can still be assaulted by these ignorant racists who are trying to make a point. I can still be denied a job based on how I look, not my abilities.
I know this should be happy times but I have to look at the realistic painting being drawn. There is still a lot of work to do and we cannot think that by having a Black president that we are about to see a breakthrough immediately! This includes continuing to vote, finding out about every candidate who is running for political office. Finding out WHO your politicians are and what roles they play. Knowing what laws are out there, what your rights are. Organizing OUR communities and stop looking for others to help us or bail us out. TEACH our children, GUIDE our children and LOVE our children. Stop the blatant ignorance that is being shown, specifically in the Hip Hop community, where the voice may actually be the strongest for us. These are just a few examples and we ALL need to first look at ourselves, then after we realize how we can help, reach out to help others.
The struggle is NOT over and shouldn’t be treated as such!