Mos Def Speaks On The Escstatic; New Wesley Snipes Flick

Posted: Tuesday – June 09, 2009 @ 9:40 PM

Three years since highlighting his musical self, Mos Def is more than ready to reestablish himself in the eyes of the rap community with the release of his forthcoming opus The Ecstatic.

For the rapper/actor, the challenge lies in giving fans an album worth adding to their collection, as he admits that the “quality, clarity and ambition” behind his latest project is prevalent.

“The aim is high,” Mos Def told USA Today while sharing that his writing and rhyming skills have sharpened since arriving on the scene with the single “Universal Magnetic,” 12 years ago.

“I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money,” Mos explained. “I want to give people some truth and positive heart lift. The quality, clarity and ambition are there. There are no discotheque anthems. Um, no disrespect to discotheque.”

The Ecstatic’s pending release follows Mos Def’s 2006 album True Magic.

The rapper’s third offering, which included production from The Neptunes, Rich Harrison and Minnesota, was released without promotion in a clear case without cover art.

Between albums, the rapper kept himself busy over the years via acting roles in a string of films such as The Italian Job, Monster’s Ball, 16 Blocks, Be Kind Rewind, HBO’s Something the Lord Made, Cadillac Records and his latest big screen outing, Next Day Air.

Despite the Mike Epps and Donald Faison-assisted feature’s failure to generate a big payday at the box office, Mos Def is looking ahead as he ponders various movie offers and maintains high hopes for Toussaint, a Danny Glover-helmed biopic about Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L’Ouverture.

In addition to the rapper, the cast will include Wesley Snipes and Don Cheadle.

“It’s hard to take Hollywood too seriously,” Mos Def said regarding the importance of a successful film project. “If you can turn a dollar and sleep at night, then cool. Whether a movie sinks or swims, you want to have a decent experience, so you go for something that at least is trying to be good.”

Preceded by a trio of singles (“Life In Marvelous Times,” “Quiet Dog (Bite Hard)” and “Casa Bey,” The Ecstatic will feature appearances from Slick Rick, Scarface, Talib Kweli and K’Naan in addition to producers Madlib and Chad Hugo.

Musically, Mos Def sheds light on the title of his new album as he admits that The Ecstatic borrows its name from a 2002 comic novel from Victor LaValle.

Mos Def’s The Ecstatic is in stores today (June 9).


Juicy J Says ‘Crunk Isn't Dead,’ Preps New Solo Album

Posted: Tuesday – June 09, 2009 @ 9:37 PM

As a member of the Memphis collective Three Six Mafia, Juicy J can take credit for being one of the originators of the Hip-Hop sub-genre known as “Crunk music.”

But in 2009, Crunk has seen a steep decline from its previous early decade dominance.

Unlike other veterans that bemoan the sudden trend and stylistic shifts in Hip-Hop music, Juicy J states that Crunk is evolving along with the rest of the culture.

“I will never say its dead, it’s different,” Juicy J told during a tour of Germany. “The Crunk now is not like the hollering chants that we used to do back in the day. It’s not like it used to be. A lot of young cats – they do it a different way. I’m not mad at nobody. Get your money. God bless. This is our talent; if you making some money with it, that’s a blessing.”

Still, Juicy J realizes the importance of maintaining a distinct, signature sound in a market where innovations are quickly copied and appropriated.

To that end, he assures fans that his forthcoming sophomore solo Hustle Til I Die will be a return to the original Three Six Mafia sound.

“I just took it back to the old Three Six Mafia, the ones that the fans want to see,” Juicy J explained. “Its a lot of fans that wanted to hear a lot of the older stuff. This is not no major release – just an independent album – so I made it straight for the gutter, straight for the streets. I just took it back. I put a lot of work in this album. I got my subjects on there that I talking about, but its like the Three Six Mafia original sound.”

Juicy also praised the Internet as an essential 24/7 promotion tool, and confirmed that preliminary work has begun on a new Three Six album.

“Never [will I retire]. Even my Youtube channel – that’s hustling. I’m trying to make this the biggest Youtube channel.” Juicy J stated. “I stay hustling. I talk to them every day. Even if I’m at the bar, I might have my laptop with me and say, ‘I’m at the bar.’ I read the internet every day, because it helps me keep up. It’s cool. It’s getting bigger and bigger every day. The fans give me ideas every day. We’ve been working hard. We about to bring it back.”

Juicy J’s Hustle Til I Die will be released on June 16.

It features appearances from Gorilla Zoe, Project Pat, V-Slash, Webbie, and Gucci Mane.


Exclusive: Max B To Appeal Conviction, Lawyer Says

Posted: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 @ 9:33 PM

Rapper Max B has swiftly responded to a murder conviction with an appeal of all charges, his lawyer said.

In a statement issued to, Gerald Saluti said, “Max B would like to first thank all his family, friends and fans that have supported him throughout this trial. Please don’t give up on him at this point. Although the jury has spoken and Max has been convicted of felony murder, kidnapping, robbery and conspiracy a swift and successful appeal shall follow.”

Saluti also expressed concern that the facts in the case were not properly addressed.

“It is inconceivable that a jury could convict Max under the facts presented by the State. Even Gina Conway the State’s own witness testified that Max knew nothing of a robbery,” he stated. “Ms. Conway, a jilted lover and proven liar, said so at the trial itself. Max said after the verdict was read that he is confident that justice will eventually be served and he will be free.”

Despite the conviction, more music will soon follow.

“Max intends to continue putting out music for his fans while the appeal process grinds along. Although shocked by the verdict, Max remained grateful,” Saluti concluded.

Prosecutors accused Max B., born Charly Wingate, of coordinating the robbery of two men at a Holiday Inn located in Northern New Jersey. He faces 25 years in jail.


Breaking News: Max B Found Guilty

Posted: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 @ 9:27 PM

Former Dipset member Max B. was found guilty of murder conspiracy and robbery charges today (June 9).

Prosecutors accused Max B., born Charly Wingate, of coordinating the robbery of two men at a Holiday Inn located in Northern New Jersey.

Max B.‘s ex-girlfriend Gina Conway testified that she and a stepbrother named Kelvin Leerdam were to rob two men of over $40,000 in cash during the robbery.

The plan went awry and resulted in the death of one of the robbery victims, David Taylor, who was shot at point-blank range in the face by Leerdam.

Conway testified against Max B. and Leerdam, in exchange for a sentence of 18 years on armed robbery and manslaughter charges.

Sources have told that Max B. was convicted on nine out of the 11 charges stacked against him.

Max B is scheduled to be sentenced July 30.

He faces up to 25 years in prison for his part in the crime.


Ace Hood Planning "Classic" Album With DJ Khaled

Posted: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 @ 9:22 PM

As the first artist on DJ Khaled’s fledgling We Da Best imprint, Broward County, Florida native Ace Hood has been in the recording studio hoping to release what he has labeled a “classic” album.

A number of Florida’s best rappers are banding together to support Ace Hood with guest appearances on his new album, which is titled Gutta.

The album features cameos by Trick Daddy, Flo Rida, Akon and Plies, while Cool & Dre, The Runners, Danjahandz and J.U.S.T.C.E. League rounds out the album.

“This album is definitely gonna be a classic,” Ace said of the album. “People are expecting a lot out of me not only because I’m on Khaled’s label, but because everyone knows that the ace is ranked as the highest.”

Ace Hood, born Antoine McColister, signed with DJ Khaled, after he caught the attention of the popular Miami DJ during a performance at Khaled’s annual birthday bash.

According to Ace Hood, he didn’t think the opportunity to perform would lead to a full-fledged record deal.

“We was outside the radio station not even trying to get a deal, just hoping to perform at his birthday bash,” he recalls. “We just figured we’d try and perform. He had a contest going on where you had to give a certain amount of reasons why you should perform at the birthday bash. So I was going to rap for him on camera and show him why I was worthy. Although he had to go to a meeting, he came out, looked at me and said ‘I love his image.’ We handed him a CD and once we did that he listened to it and called my manager that night. He said ‘I love his swag, I hear starvation in his music and I want to take a meeting with him.’”

DJ Khaled signed Ace Hood shortly after the meeting and has been promoting the rapper ever since.

Ace Hood’s latest single is titled “Cash Flow,” which features T-Pain and Rick Ross.

“Once I played the song for Rick Ross he loved it and he put his whole swag to it” explained Khaled. “The song was pretty much done but we felt to make it more of a hit record, get somebody like T-Pain who’s running the game right now, on the hook to make it go that much further.”

Ace Hood’s Gutta is due in stores June 30th.


Busta Rhymes – Back On My B.S.

Posted: Thursday – May 28, 2009

[ratings id="503"]
Whenever I hear someone say “that guy is back on his bullshit,” I usually think that person is doing what they usually do. Maybe it’s what they’re good at. So when I first heard Busta Rhymes was renaming his album to Back On My B.S., I thought I would be hearing an album in the same vein as The Coming or Extinction Level Event because he had two singles called We Made It featuring Linkin Park and Don’t Touch Me. I thought we were in for another Busta Rhymes classic. Then I heard the single Respect My Conglomerate. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a hot song. The way Busta flows and the video (rappers seem to really want to be in a mob) was tight. But this is not the Busta people want to see.

What a lot of people liked about Big Bang was, for the first time, Busta Rhymes gave a little incite about his life that he never did before on the track Been Thru The Storm. I thought this was going to be a new trend for him. When rappers get older, sometimes they become a little more introspective. This was not the case on Back On My B.S. Nothing really works on this album, from the cliche features with T-Pain and Ron Browz to the empty sounding production. This heavily featured album seems to not know what direction it was trying to take. For instance the song We Want In sounds like a remix of Pop Champagne without any of the original rappers.

There is no problem with trying to keep up with the times, but it should not influence your music this much. Now on tracks like Kill Dem, where he does his Jamaican flow, and Don’t Believe Em with Akon and T.I., Busta seems like he’s redefined. This is where his flow, his style, features, and production is on point. The song Decision, although needing three superstar singers and Common, Busta Rhymes comes with that introspective feel that is nice to groove to, backed by pianos. This is where the album shines. But it is songs like Shoot For The Moon, Hustler’s Anthem 09, and Give Em What They Askin For, that really dulls the album back to average.

What this album really lacks is replay value. A majority of his songs are forgettable. And the tracks where he reaches for humor, such as I’m A Go and Get My, are just not funny. Then like I said before, there is nothing wrong with trying to keep up with the times, but tracks like Arab Money just have way too much Auto-Tune to tolerate. The reason why Big Bang worked was because everything seemed to mesh well. Nothing on it seemed forced. This isn’t the case for Back On My B.S. For anyone who thought Don’t Touch Me was a hint as to what Busta Rhymes was going to offer us, you will be sadly mistaken. What we have is a confused record and maybe a confused artist who needs to find his niche again. There comes a time when the elite rappers may have to gracefully bow out; maybe Busta’s time is coming soon.

- By Hakim Hill


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