KEPSTAR – Shades Of Gray (Hosted by Clinton Sparks)

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Every day we are introduced to new artists backed by a major name. Some are worth the time to listen to, but most aren’t. Kepstar’s Shades Of Gray falls in the former category. Introduced to the world by the world famous Clinton Sparks, Kepstar is off to a good start. His mixtape Shades Of Gray showcases good lyrics and solid production making for a great listen.

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DRAKE – Take Care


Take Care is an unbelievably plush album. Not only are the soundscapes on the album orchestral, ethereal, but the tone of the album is equally emotionally indulgent, Drake adopting the position of a somewhat world-weary player. The tone is set unmistakably with the opening track, Over My Dead Body, a piano-chord rich number. Drake boasts of his success, detailing a sense of disaffection in equal measure: “I was drinking at the Palms last night/ Ended up losing everything that I came with,” he raps, before adding, “Feel like I been here before, huh/ Still got ten years to go, huh.” It’s a tone that stays throughout. Even whilst he’s boasting of his lyricism, his album success, on tracks like Headlines and Crew Love, there’s a note of mournfulness, of predictability, about this game. The Weeknd’s verses on Crew Love is a particularly wistful, ethereal addition.

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T.I. Says Eminem Helped Him Overcome His Drug Addiction


T.I. is coming clean about his drug addiction.

The recently-freed rapper told that Eminem helped him with his own drug addiction, which started off with medication for oral surgery.

“I haven’t had a chance to speak to Em since I’ve been home,” Tip said. “I heard that while I was down, he was trying to get in contact with me, but I don’t know if the dots just didn’t connect. [Eminem] overcoming his own adversities, winning the battle against his own demons and continuing to break the mold and re-set the standard of what it means to be the most successful hip-hop artist in the game … I salute that to no end.”

Eight people shot during rap music video taping in Oakland


Oakland police are investigating the shooting of at least eight people, including a 1-year-old boy, during the filming of a rap music video.

The boy was in critical condition after being shot in the head Monday night, and an adult also was in critical condition with unspecified injuries, police told the Oakland Tribune. Other victims were in stable condition Tuesday.

The shooting occurred in a liquor store parking lot, where dozens of people had gathered, possibly for a taping by Oakland rapper Kafani. Officials said he was at the scene but unhurt, although Kafani, on his Twitter account, contested that report.

“News reports wrong I did not shoot a video today,” he tweeted. He later added, “Just cuz a promo van with my picture on it there don’t make me there!!!! I drive a bentley not a promo van!! pray for my lil cuz thx.”
Police say that an argument broke out and bullets flew, striking the rapper’s van and littering the parking lot with at least 50 shells.

It was unclear Monday night where the victims were located during the shooting, but police said more than one shooter was involved.

Police were searching for a dark-colored Buick occupied by three teenagers and a man in his 30s.

Mother Of Hip-Hop, Sylvia Robinson, Dies


Sylvia Robinson, known to many as the mother of hip-hop, has died aged 76.

The former soul singer set up trail-blazing record label Sugar Hill Records in 1979 with her husband Joe.

She produced hip-hop’s first commercially successful single, Rapper’s Delight, and co-wrote Grandmaster and Melle Mel’s anti-drugs anthem White Lines (Don’t Do It).

Robinson died of congestive heart failure in New Jersey, said her publicist Greg Walker.

Early success

Born Sylvia Vanterpool in New York, she had a long career in the music industry before the arrival of rap.

She scored several novelty hits in her teens as Little Sylvia, but scored a huge hit with Love Is Strange in 1957, recorded with her guitar teacher McHouston “Mickey” Baker.

The pair’s song, with its suggestive “how do you call your loverboy” refrain, is known to millions from its use in Dirty Dancing.

It was co-written by Bo Diddley, after Robinson secured permission from the bluesman to reversion one of his stage instrumentals into a jukebox smash.

The duo had a few more modest hits before they broke up, while Robinson achieved sporadic success in the 60s as a writer and producer.

Club revelation

As a solo artist, she had a hit in 1973 with the sexually suggestive Pillow Talk, an early prototype of disco music, and a direct influence on Donna Summer’s heavy-breathing hit Love To Love You Baby.

But it was 1979 when she first experienced rap and latched on to its potential.

It was at a club called Harlem World in Manhattan, where a DJ called Lovebug Starski was talking and chanting over a mix of R&B records.

“I saw him talking to the kids and saw how they’d answer back,” she told Vanity Fair magazine in 2005.

“He would say something every now and then, like ‘Throw your hands in the air,’ and they’d do it. If he’d said, ‘Jump in the river,’ they’d have done it.

“A spirit said to me, ‘Put a concept like that on a record and it will be the biggest thing you ever had.’”

Robinson recruited three unknown MCs – Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike and Master Gee – and recorded Rapper’s Delight, 15 minutes long and backed by a sample from Chic’s Good Times.

A seven-minute edit was put together and the song crossed over to the mainstream, eventually charting at 36 in the Billboard Hot 100.

“When it came out, nothing was the same afterwards,” hip-hop historian Harry Allen told US radio network NPR in 2000.

“By making it palpable, it made hip-hop as a commercial medium possible.”

Although the Sugar Hill Gang never equalled the success of their debut, the label continued to score hits.

Among them were Apache, That’s The Joint and The Message – the song widely credited with bringing social consciousness to hip-hop and the first rap song ever added to the US National Archive.

Sugar Hill Records was eventually closed in 1986, and its studios in Englewood, New Jersey burned down in 2002.

Sylvia Robinson is survived by her sons Joey, Leland and Rhondo and 10 grandchildren. Mr Robinson died of cancer in 2000.

G-Dep Fails to Get Murder Charge Reduced


After confessing to a 17-year-old murder, G. Dep has failed to get charges downgraded to manslaughter.

The former Bad Boy Records rapper, born Trevell Coleman, is now facing 15 years in prison at minimum. Last year, he walked unannounced into a Harlem police station and confessed to shooting a man during a 1993 robbery. He was arrested after investigators reopened the case, long turned cold, and found that the victim, John Henkel, had died from his wounds.

According to the New York Post, G. Dep’s attorney had lobbied prosecutors to have the murder charge reduced to manslaughter in light of Dep’s courageous confession, which he made as part of a 12-step drug rehab program. “I’m just trying to get right with God,” the rapper said at the time.

However, prosecutors refused the request on Thursday, insisting that Dep either plead guilty and face a minimum of 15 years or go to trial and potentially face an even lengthier sentence.

“His decision was made for all the right reasons,” the lawyer reportedly said of Dep’s confession. “The DA should ask themselves whether they made their decision for the right reasons.”

G. Dep has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial in November if he does not accept the plea deal.


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