NEW MUSIC VIDEO – “Angels” by: Chance The Rapper featuring Saba

As the anticipation for Chance The Rapper’s third solo project release grows, he has continued to make noise. Whether it be from late-night talk shows, Saturday Night Live, beefing with Spike Lee, collaborating with Kanye West, or working with the Chicago White Sox — Chance is definitely making noise.

In what has the makings of an anthem-like song for the city of Chicago, Chance makes the city the focal point of the “Angels” music video. The video depicts Chance as a superhero fresh-out-of-the-comics as he flew onto a Chicago ‘L’ train car. As Chance surfed the CTA train car, Saba (featured on the hook) and others had fun of their own inside the train.

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The video has a powerful ending as a halo appears over the head of the little boy who stars in the video. “Angels” is song much about cleaning up the streets of Chicago and reminiscing on all of those who have lost their lives in the city. Showing Chance (a Chicago-native who continues to work to help the young people in the city) as a superhero but still showing this little boy with a halo is a powerful message. It takes more than one person to right the wrongs in Chicago.

Chance continues to go against the grain in hip-hop with his music, performances, visuals, and business ventures. To be a 22-year old independent rapper without a commercial album and to be making the moves he’s made, it is hard not to be impressed by Chance The Rapper.

NEW MUSIC – “S.W.S. MFnUntitled” by: MFn Melo

Not-so-lucky Libra. Clumsy dreamer, but won’t fall asleep.

The wait is almost over!

MFn Melo has done just enough in his young career to build an inquiring-type of buzz. A few loose tracks here-and-there, plus Pivot Gang’s Jimmy mixtape has put the Chicago MC in a position where whenever he drops music the hip-hop blogs will post it. When an artist in such a position, it is easy to become complacent with getting blog posts and a few shows a month but MFn doesn’t appear comfortable with complacency.

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Chicago currently has a huge hip-hop scene that continues to grow with a wide-variety of acts, so it is important for artists like MFn Melo — on the brink of greater recognition — to flood the streets with quality content.

“S.W.S. MFnUntitled” is MFn Melo’s first track release of 2016 and it’s definitely an attention-getter, as he raps over Kendrick Lamar’s “untitled 05 | 09.21.2014.” MFn made sure the listeners didn’t forget what to expect from him — lyrics, flows, and aggression.

Hopefully we get Melodramatics sooner-than-later but I think it would be smart for MFn to drop his debut project in the summer and just feed the listeners a bunch of loosies in the meantime.

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“Word to Smooda!”

Phife Dawg, legendary A Tribe Called Quest MC, dead at 45

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Microphone check, one-two, what is this? The five-foot assassin with the roughneck business – Phife Dawg (“Buggin’ Out”)

Phife Dawg co-founded the legendary hip-hop group — A Tribe Called Quest alongside Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi. After a few classics, the legendary group completely broke up. Tension flared between Phife and Q-Tip but all of that seemed to be resolved last year when the group reunited on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon‘s stage. The group even spoke about a potential reunion album while promoting the 25th-anniversary release of People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

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Phife Dawg has been battling with diabetes since 1990. Phife even gave himself the title “funky diabetic” on the Tribe song “Oh My God,” off of the classic Midnight Marauders album. He received a kidney transplant in 2008 after being on the wait-list for two years.

Phife’s death was confirmed by Statik Selektah on Twitter but no cause of death as yet been announced.

Hip-Hop lost an all-time great. A pioneer.12321209_10153996801619192_3620258956156778833_n

Lollapalooza’s 2016 lineup has been announced; Hip-Hop will be well-represented

Rumors were spreading about J. Cole, LCD Soundsystem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead being at the 25th anniversary of Lollapalooza. Just seeing those names confirmed was enough motivation to get anyone to come to the Chicago festival but this lineup is completely stacked from top to bottom!

I cannot remember being this excited for Lollapalooza — as a hip-hop fan. Look at some of the great hip-hop acts Lollapalooza has lined up: J. Cole, Future, Bryson Tiller, Vic Mensa, Mac Miller, Vince Staples, ASAP Ferg, Dreamville (Bas, Cozz, and Omen), Jazz Cartier, Saba, Smino, and Towkio.

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Day two is a must-go for me — Radiohead, ASAP Ferg, Mac Miller, and Saba. Day one is J. Cole, Bas, Cozz, Omen, Danny Brown, and Jazz Cartier.

Who am I kidding? All three days are going to be eventful and that’s where the negative comes in, Lollpalooza is very expensive — $120 for a one-day ticket. Tickets are on sale this morning (March 23, 2016) at 10am.

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Nardwuar vs. DJ Khaled

“You know a lot!” – DJ Khaled

If you are unfamiliar with Nardwuar the Human Serviette, this is a great way to be introduced to him. Nardwuar is a different breed of interviewer, hailing from Vancouver.

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“Catalog Alert” – DJ Khaled

Nardwuar’s research-game is crazy! He dives deep into his interviewee’s history to ask about things that are usually overlooked and ties them to the music. DJ Khaled wasn’t an exception.

Many people don’t take DJ Khaled seriously and/or question exactly what he does but he has definitely left his mark in hip-hop and he wasn’t an overnight success. Nardwuar dug deep into Khaled’s past showing how long of a grind and how much hard-work it took for Khaled to get where he is now. From sneaking mixtapes into customers’ shoeboxes when he worked at Champs to performing at SXSW alongside Nas.

“Biggest interview you ever did! Congrats, your price weNt up!” – DJ Khaled

NEW MUSIC – “Buddha” by: Phoelix (featuring Saba)

Phoelix was first introduced as the producer of Saba’s last track release, “Soap Box”. Phoelix re-introduces himself on his first single — “Buddha” — through his songwriting ability with his own vocals.

  • The biggest question going into listening to “Buddha: what kind of music should we expect from Phoelix?            
  • The biggest question after listening to “Buddha: did Saba breathe during his verse?

Saba’s verse was very dope — crazy flow and many great quotables. But as dope as Sab was, he didn’t necessarily outshine Phoelix — which says a lot about Phoelix’s impact on the song. I have never been a fan of synthesized vocals but once I got past that and listened to the lyrics, I was very impressed by Phoelix’s obvious talent.

I am definitely looking forward to what else Phoelix has in-store, as a producer and as a solo artist. More of the same? Or hopefully some variety?

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NEW MUSIC – “FN-2187 (100 Bars)” by: Joseph Chilliams

“Hardest nigga to come out of the Chi since Kevin Garnett”

As the wait for Joseph Chilliams’ full-length solo project continues, the westside representative proceeds to impress and heighten the anticipation for that full-length project with his release of loose tracks.

In case you don’t know, FN-2187 is “Finn” (also known as the black stormtrooper from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens). Chilliams was inspired by seeing a fellow-black man in space and decided to drop this tune consisting of 100 otherworldly bars!

“Any rebels listening? I destroy legends like Hayden Christensen”

WATCH: Kendrick Lamar showcases Compton for Grammys commercial

kdot2Seven Grammy nominations in 2014 was just the icing on the cake for all that Kendrick Lamar had accomplished with the release of his debut commercial album — good kid, m.A.A.d city. The accomplishment of being nominated for seven Grammys was tainted when popular opinion suggested that Kendrick was robbed of Best New Artist and Best Rap Album awards in favor of Macklemore.

Fast forward to 2016, Kendrick is nominated for 11 Grammys (second most nominations for a single night behind Michael Jackson’s 12 nominations in 1984).

I have argued that good kid, m.A.A.d city is better than To Pimp A Butterfly but I will acknowledge that To Pimp A Butterfly has a stronger message and can be considered a more important work of art.

To promote the 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony, Kendrick took the spotlight off of himself to showcase the “mad city” that molded him — Compton.

Kendrick should win at least five Grammys out of his 11 nominations. Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance, Best Music Video,  and Song of the Year for “Alright.” Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. To Pimp A Butterfly could very well be Album of the Year as well.

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WATCH: Adele joins James Corden in “carpool karaoke” on ‘The Late Late Show’

163dc378James Corden is in an unfortunate place in late-night television by coming on at 11:37pm CT (following The Late Show with Stephen Colbert). Between the horrible time slot and being a new face to American viewers, Corden has struggled to gain much attention with his show. But his “carpool karaoke” series has been a hit! Corden has driven globally-popular musicians around to sing in the car with him, such as: Justin Bieber (twice), Jennifer Hudson, One Direction, Stevie Wonder, and more.

What I enjoyed most about his “carpool karaoke” episode with Adele was, of course, Adele rapping Nicki Minaj’s best verse ever — Minaj’s guesr verse on Kanye West’s “Monster.” But I also loved how comfortable Corden made Adele feel. I haven’t seen many Adele interviews but the few I have seen, she wasn’t nearly this relaxed and personable.

REACTION: 2016 Oscar nominations

2015 offered plenty of good-to-great films (not as many “great” films as one would hope but still a good year in cinema). Some of my personal favorites were Mad Max: Fury Road, Spotlight, The Big Short, Creed, Straight Outta Compton, and The Hateful Eight.

My first reaction when I saw who was nominated was “so, the Oscars are still super white?!”

  • Best Picture
    The Big Short
    Bridge of Spies
    Brooklyn
    Mad Max: Fury Road
    The Martian
    The Revenant
    Room
    Spotlight
  • Best Director
    Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
    Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
    Adam McKay, The Big Short
    George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
    Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Best Actor
    Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
    Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
    Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
    Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
    Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Best Actress
    Cate Blanchett, Carol
    Brie Larson, Room
    Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
    Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
    Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
  • Best Supporting Actor
    Christian Bale, The Big Short
    Tom Hardy, The Revenant
    Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
    Sylvester Stallone, Creed
    Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Best Supporting Actress
    Rooney Mara, Carol
    Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
    Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
    Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
    Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight  
  • Best Original Screenplay
    Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
    Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen, Bridge of Spies
    Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Ronnie del Carmen Inside Out
    Alex Garland, Ex Machina
    Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus, Straight Outta Compton                                                                              
    [via Vulture]

Just by reading the nominations, I found it HILARIOUS that literally the only white thing about Straight Outta Compton (other than Paul Giamatti) is who wrote the screenplay. The cast is black, the director is black, but the white screenplay writers get the Oscar nomination? Maybe that just amuses me. I mean, the portrayal of N.W.A. and the direction was practically flawless.

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Let’s talk about Creed, I didn’t think Michael B. Jordan’s performance in it was nearly as good as his performance in Fruitvale Station, so him not getting nominated wasn’t really bothersome to me. I liked that Sylvester Stallone got nominated because I loved his performance — hell, he should win! But I also thought Tessa Thompson should’ve been nominated as a supporting actress in Creed, she had a very powerful performance in a semi-limited role.

WESTWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Writer/Director Ryan Coogler, Tessa Thompson, Producer Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Creed" at Regency Village Theatre on November 19, 2015 in Westwood, California.  (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

The Academy can nominate up to 10 films for Best Picture, yet they only nominated eight. I thought The Martian was wack! Straight Outta Compton was highly-praised but yet was still snubbed. Director of Straight Outta Compton, F. Gary Gray, and director of Creed, Ryan Coogler, also deserved consideration (along with Quentin Tarantino) but I understood the choices made in that crowded category.

I don’t think anyone wants an affirmative action-like system in award shows, where nominations are just made simply to diversify the award show but it is baffling how it seems racial-minorities are so frequently snubbed.

This is why I hate award shows and the announcement of the nominees, just give the award out to who you picked as the best movie and keep shit moving.

Award shows are money-grabs, they nominate so many films so the big stars will come to the event and networks will pay hellacious amounts of money to broadcast the event and advertisers will pay even larger amounts of money to get their ads ran during the event on the network. And none of this is surprising when you look at the article The Atlantic posted in 2014 saying out of all of the Oscar voters: 94% are white, 76% are men, and the average age is 63-years-old (although the president of the Academy is Cheryl Boone Isaacs; a black woman).

Did I mention there will be a black host? And it’s Chris Rock of all people? I hope Rock rips the Academy a new asshole! Haha

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