Summer Beats Photos: Michael Jackson Tribute With Ne-Yo, Melanie Fiona + Swizz BeatzRead more
Summer Beats Photos: Michael Jackson Tribute With Ne-Yo, Melanie Fiona + Swizz BeatzRead more
Since its beginnings in the 1970s, rap music has transformed from an underground, street-based sound to a definitive part of pop culture, transcending race and becoming one of the strongest — and most prolific — voices of today’s generation. But at the Grammy Awards, rap has had a long-lasting losing streak in the top categories.
The hip-hop sound — first recognized at the 1989 Grammys — has garnered numerous prestigious nominations over the years, and for 10 of the last 14 years, rap acts have either led or tied for most Grammy nominations. But rarely will a hip-hop act win one of the show’s top four honors — album, song and record of the year, along with best new artist. Instead, rap acts tend to win rap awards.
50 Cent, who won his first and only Grammy two years ago, believes Grammy voters are out-of-touch and need a fresh outlook on what’s going on in contemporary music.
“I think that the board is a lot older and they’re conservative, so some of the content in the music is offensive on some level,” said 50 Cent, who famously interrupted Evanescence’s best new artist speech by walking onstage when he lost to the rock group in 2004. “There’s a lot of people that don’t accept that hip-hop culture is now pop culture.”
This year, hip-hop leads the Grammys in nominations again, with Kanye West earning seven; it’s his third year as the show’s top-nominated act, and his fourth overall (he tied Mariah Carey and John Legend for most nominations at the 2006 Grammys). While his song “All of the Lights” is up for song of the year, his critically revered fifth album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” didn’t score an album of the year nomination, a shock to many. Even Jimmy Jam — the chair emeritus of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences — was surprised by West’s snub.
“I think he’s one of the genius artists, and I’m saying this as a person who’s worked with Michael Jackson and Prince, so I don’t throw that word around lightly,” Jam said. “So, yes, I was surprised.”
West’s album with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne,” was also left out of the top album category; both CDs are nominated for best rap album.
Jay-Z, who once boycotted the Grammys because of the show’s lack of love for hip-hop, says Grammy nominations are “cool,” but he doesn’t use the accolades as a barometer of his success.
“The Grammys and all of those other things, they’re fine and it’s a good way for everyone to get together amongst their peers and collect some trophies at the end of the night, but my whole thing is for the people, as long as the people accept it — that’s my real Grammy,” Jay-Z said. “As long as it connects with an audience in a way.”
But Steve Stoute, the former record executive who accused the Grammys of being irrelevant last year in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times after Eminem and Justin Bieber lost top awards, says there is a bigger problem. Stoute believes The Recording Academy doesn’t have board members who understand hip-hop as a true art form.
“If (The Recording Academy) understood that, then (rappers) would be scoring technical points,” he said. “They don’t get the technical points.”
In Grammy history, 14 hip-hop albums have received nominations for album of the year. Lauryn Hill has the distinction of being the first hip-hop artist to win album of the year for “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in 1999, but the album, while featuring rap, was heavy on R&B. Hill also won best new artist that year, the second time a rap-based act had done so following Arrested Development’s win in 1993. A rapper hasn’t won the award since.
OutKast, the alternative, genre-bending hip-hop duo, followed in Hill’s footsteps with an album of the year win in 2004 for the double disc “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” It, too, was not strictly hip-hop, as Andre 3000 blended rock and even jazz for his half of the project.
But while there have been high-profile wins, what stands out more are the losses. No rapper has ever won record or song of the year, and both Eminem and West, each nominated three times, have failed to win the album of the year trophy in years where they appeared to be critical favorites.
At last year’s Grammys, three of the five songs nominated for record of the year were rap smashes. Lady Antebellum’s crossover hit, “Need You Now,” ended up taking away the record and song of the year honors.
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, the leader and drummer of The Roots, says the hip-hop community shares some of the blame for its losing streak. He says those in the genre aren’t involved enough with The Recording Academy, its community and its events.
“We’re not active members of (The Recording Academy) and I promise to take a more active role in that,” said Questlove, who has won three Grammys. “I should definitely come and be more involved in that. It’s taxing time-wise, but you know, I can either sit and complain … or do something about it.”
Jam says rap’s losses are also a reflection of the Grammy membership, which he said is “traditionally very heavy” with members of the country, jazz and classical music worlds.
“We’re a membership organization and the members vote. So, if the numbers of members who consider themselves of the hip-hop genre … if those numbers are lower, then the results probably point to that fact,” Jam said.
But Stoute, who is the author of “The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy,” had harsh words for Jam, a founding member of funk-soul band The Time and best known for producing multiple hits for Janet Jackson, Usher, Boyz II Men and more with partner . Stoute and Jam had a conversation after last year’s awards, and Stoute was upset that Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” wasn’t up for song of the year: At the Grammys, a track is not eligible for that award if it contains a sample or if it’s not an original piece of work; that disqualifies much of rap, which relies heavily on sampling (“Empire State of Mind” samples The Moments’ “Love on a Two-Way Street”).
Stoute said Jam should be helping hip-hop, and blasted the renowned producer.
“What he’s doing is not right,” Stoute said of Jam. “And if he’s supposed to be the guy who understands urban music because of his famed career as a producer … (and) if he’s not going to be sensitive to the creativity around hip-hop, I am sorry, we’re in trouble.”
Jam, who was The Recording Academy’s chairman from 2005 to 2009, says his goal was to diversify the Grammy community, and if people have an issue with traditional Grammy rules, they should demand a change.
“You can write a proposal,” Jam said. “I hope … people step up to the challenge rather than dismiss it, which is the easy thing to do.’”
Jam also said he helped bring forth the best rap song award at the 2004 Grammys, which honors rap tracks that contain samples. Jam also implemented a new rule in 2009 that allowed anyone nominated for a Grammy to bypass the regular application process and automatically be made a member for a year. He said he did it so that nominated acts would easily be involved in the organization the following year.
“If hip-hop is the most nominated, then they should be the best represented according to what I did,” Jam said.
Rapper Heavy D died last month of a blood clot in his lung that was likely formed during a long flight home from London, where he had performed a tribute to Michael Jackson, according to the L.A. County coroner’s office.
Although some had speculated that Heavy D’s weight or pneumonia played a role in his death last month, the autopsy report released Tuesday revealed that he suffered from deep leg thrombosis that caused a pulmonary embolism.
Known as the silent killer, a pulmonary embolism is the medical term for a blood clot in the lung. A blockage typically forms in the legs. During long periods of inactivity, the clot can break off and travel to the lung, where it can become fatal if not treated immediately, said Dr. Matthew Butteri, who specializes in internal medicine at UC Irvine Medical Center.
“It’s the equivalent of a heart attack,” Butteri said. “Just like when you have a blockage in your coronary arteries and you have a heart attack. Well, this is an infraction in your lungs, so it’s really a lung attack because the blood clot is preventing getting oxygen to critical lung tissue.”
Butteri recommended in-flight exercises and short walks during flights to prevent clots from forming.
Heavy D, who was born Dwight Arrington Myers, collapsed outside his Beverly Hills home Nov. 8 and later died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 44.
At the time of his death, the musician was being treated by a private physician for a cough that some said may have become pneumonia. A toxicology report found the presence of medication in Heavy D’s system, but it was at a therapeutic level.
He was 6 feet 3 and weighed more than 300 pounds at one point, but had slimmed down in recent years. His weight was not a factor in his death, authorities say.
Instead, Craig Harvey, chief of the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, said the blood clot was “most likely formed during an extended airplane ride.”
Heavy D helped shape rap music in the late 1980s and ’90s with a fusion of New Jack Swing and reggae. He later became an actor, most recently appearing in the movie “Tower Heist.”
Other well-known figures have died or suffered from the condition. Tennis star Serena Williams underwent emergency surgery in Los Angeles in March for a potentially lethal blood clot in her lung. In 2003, NBC correspondent David Bloom died of a pulmonary embolism in Iraq, three days after complaining about cramping behind his knee.
Factors that cause the condition include immobility, such as being bed-ridden or taking long flights; surgery; smoking; the use of birth control pills; and a genetic predisposition.
One of the hardest working rappers is back with his new album. That’s right people! Pastor Troy is here and releasing Still Troy, which packs a powerful punch of crunked up beats and cool hooks wrapped in his southern-istic flow. This album definitely delivers non-stop hard pounding beats with a chill vibe that represents for the South. In this album, Pastor Troy reminds us that he is a force to be reckoned with and takes on a ride and shows us why.
Starting off strong with From The Top, it is only but an introduction into what’s next. Can You See Me cements his arrivals and lets all his haters know that he’s here to stay. He then goes into a catchy track, Get Out, that will have you dancing and repping your hood. He keeps it real as the beats slow down with I’m Just Chillin and Cab I Holla, featuring Ralph. He goes back into gangsta mode with that southern drawl on Ain’t Gangsta No More and Represent Dat.
With the help from Ralph on the hook, Pastor Troy borrows a beat from fellow Atlanta native Usher on I’m A Gangsta as he and Mesha Right drops their feelings on that gangsta love. He further represents his city with Dirty Atlanta with the hook taking reference from Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana.
On A Yacht, featuring Yung LA, which doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album is up next. The beat is too gritty for this smooth sounding album. The album ends with the reflective hood anthem, Keep Ya Head Up, featuring Eklips Da Hustla, and gives inspiration for all that are down and out.
Overall this was a decent album from Pastor Troy as he represented for the ATL. It’s a mellow and chill album with hard-hitting beat tracks tucked in where it needs to be and proves why he still has his longevity and appeal to pull you into his songs. This is a type of album that can be thrown on at all types of occasions, at the club or just riding around the way. Pastor Troy has been around for a long time and I can see him being around even longer.
Standout Tracks: “I’m Just Chillin”, “I’m A Gangsta”, “Represent Dat”
1. From The Top
2. Can You See Me
3. Get Out
4. I’m Just Chillin
5. Hundred Thousand (ft. Mistah Mud & Lil Pete)
6. Can I Holla (ft. Ralph)
7. Ain’t Gangsta No Moe
8. I’m A Gangsta (ft. Ralph & Mesha Right)
9. Represent Dat
10. Dirty Atlanta (ft. Ralph)
11. On A Yacht (ft. Yung LA & Lace Leno)
12. Keep Ya Head Up (ft. Eklips Da Hustla)
13. To The Bottom
Posted in UncategorizedSeptember 9, 201038 comments
Jay-Z has confirmed that he has signed Will Smith’s daughter Willow to a new deal on his label, Roc Nation.
The rapper/mogul appeared on Ryan Seacrest’s show this morning and confirmed rumors that he snatched up Willow, whose song “Whip My Hair” has generated an instant buzz.
“We at Roc Nation are excited to work with Willow,” Jay-Z told AllHipHop.com in a statement. “She has an energy and enthusiasm about her music that is truly infectious. It’s rare to find an artist with such innate talent and creativity at such a young age. Willow is about to embark on an incredible journey and we look forward to joining her as she grows in all aspects of her career.”
Willow, 9, already has a career, having landed roles in I Am Legend and in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.
“After meeting with several record companies, it was clear that Jay-Z, Ty Ty, Jay Brown and the Roc Nation staff was the unquestionable choice,” Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith told AllHipHop.com in a statement. “Their passion for Willow combined with their boundless vision and artistic integrity made Roc Nation the perfect home for our little girl.”
According to Jay-Z, Willow’s advanced beyond her years and has a vision for her career in the music industry, despite only being nine. He noted that superstars like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder started their careers off young.
“I heard the record first before I knew that it was recorded by a nine year old and I was like man that record’s a smash,” Jay-Z told Ryan Seacrest. “I believe in superstars. I believe on big records on superstars and I think she has both.”
Rap runs in the family’s blood.
In 1985, Will Smith started off as a rapper in known as The Fresh Prince, from the streets of Philadelphia, along with his partner DJ Jazzy Jeff.
Willow’s 12-year-old brother Jaden also raps on a song called “Never Say Never” with teen idol, Justin Bieber.
And their mother, Jada Pinkett-Smith, front a hard rock band, Wicked Wisdom.
A release date for Willow Smith’s Roc Nation debut was not available as of press time.
Posted in UncategorizedJune 30, 2010No comments
Chris Brown’s “comeback” performance at Sunday’s BET Awards shocked fans and naysayers as the R&B singer broke down into tears while paying tribute to Michael Jackson.
While some were impressed and welcomed the singer back into their good graces, others remained more critical and questioned his true intentions.
Adding more fuel to that fire is Lloyd, who’s gone on record to say that he encouraged Chris Brown to cry onstage, an order Brown obviously took to heart.
In an interview with Rap-Up, Lloyd says he told the controversial singer that he had “to really show his heart out to the world” and cry.
“He’s back with a vengeance….I think that they’re gonna find a place in their heart for him again….I told him man, you gotta get up there. You gotta CRY, you gotta really show your heart to the world.”
Check out the video of Lloyd making the statement to Rap-Up at the 3:19 mark.