Tremaine-Trey Songz releases an album after 3 years

Its been three years since Trey Songz has released anything that would make our hearts skip a beat. The R&B singer has been dedicating his time to putting together a project that he loves and is proud of. In an interview with 106 KMEL he explained,  “Nowadays music is so like fast food, in content in general—not just music. Everybody takes everything in so fast and then they’re on to the next thing, so I want to figure out how to hold people’s attention.”

The singer gained public attention after being called out by Nicki Minaj following the entire ShEther ordeal. Smoke cleared allowing Trey to strategically release parts of his album, one by one, on Apple Music. 'Tremaine' dropped this Friday, with 15 brand new songs and I had the pleasure of working the album release signing in Brooklyn, NY. Trey is super down to earth and a pleasure to work with. I also am loving this album. Check out my recap pictures and stream his new   brand new project.

https://open.spotify.com/album/5gQtvMHA7yqdzKXrHpe63C

  1. The Prelude

  2. Come Over

  3. #1Fan

  4. Nobody Else But You

  5. Playboy

  6. The Sheets…Still

  7. Song Goes Off

  8. She Lovin It

  9. Animal

  10. 1×1

  11. Priceless

  12. What Are We Here For

  13. Games We Play (f. MIKExANGEL)

  14. Picture Perfect

  15. Break From Love

The Black Girl Podcast- A portal of Hope for Black Girls starting a career in Entertainment

"What do you take, what do you get, when you take black girls and put them on a podcast? I’ll tell you  what you get. It’s the black girl podcast...” Radio personality, Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 sings the opening of the new audio series, The Black Girl Podcast. He is music to my ears.

I found The Black Girl Podcast while scrolling down my twitter timeline. I listened to the first five episodes in one day. I cackled on the F train as my fellow New Yorker's gave me the side eye. I was listening to the ladies scream, “Fuvk on you,” through my headphones. I was hooked.

The Black Girl Podcast is a collaboration of 5 Black women who met while working at the infamous radio station, Hot 97. Scottie Beam (@scottiebeam on twitter/IG), Gia Peppers (@giapeppers), Sapphira (@sapphiraem), Bex (@blvckdaria), and Alysha P (@AlyshaP) make up the powerful series. Their conversations touch on womanhood, sex, pop culture, politics, family life, love and their careers. The Black Girl Podcast is a safe space. It allows girls to hear authentic stories from women that look like them. The podcast is my new favorite group chat and my testimony for the days when I feel like giving up. It is honest, unfiltered, humorous and most importantly inspiring to girls like me who are beginning to pursue a career in entertainment.

The most recent episode, “Prideful,” sparked this blog post. It moved me to tears. I couldn’t help but share reasons why you should listen:

Entertaining and Dynamic. These women are so much fun! They bicker, they curse, they tell jokes, they cry and they make up their own lingo. It is nothing short of your Group Me app. While listening you feel like you’re with all of your girls at a brunch table. It brings me back to college, when my closest girlfriends and I would sit in the dorms until 5 in the morning talking about everything under the sun.

Reality. The Black Girl Podcast gives you the reality of being in the entertainment industry.  Their experiences are truthful and vulnerable. They talk about freelancing and not being paid. They touch on being fired from jobs, going back to school and even dropping out. The women express their darkest moments--dealing with family and trying to attain success. They discuss gains but are not afraid to mention their losses and times where they felt defeated. The girls chat about being the only women behind major projects in their field.

Accessibility. This is one of my favorite parts about the podcast. All of these women are accessible to me. They are based in New York and are making their dreams come true in the bedrock of one of the hardest cities to live in. New York is competitive, gritty and EXPENSIVE! It warms my heart that the women of this podcast communicate with their listeners and are so grateful. They make themselves accessible, so that their listeners can give input. These characteristics give their podcast transparency.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BO5uON4h8q8/?taken-by=christinadunn_____&hl=en

Representation. Creating a narrative for black and brown women is crucial and moving for our generation. Any digital platform that celebrates and shares authentic experiences of black women is a win for me. Representation is important! These women are the mentors to all the girls pursing a similar career.

Hope. Scottie Beam’s story of being on street team is what moved me. I am currently in the same position but instead for iHeart Media, home of Power 105.1. There are times when I feel defeated but she gave me hope. Her story reassured my belief that  hard work and dedication will get you where you need to be. All of the women on this podcast give me hope. Their drive to create content and their hustle towards their goals makes me feel like I am not the only one on this journey.

This podcast is a portal of ambition, comedic relief and an inspiration! I hope you all check it out.

Follow on IG/Twitter: @Blackgirlpod
iTunes: http://apple.co/2gyeR0N
Google: https://goo.gl/KUZOCa
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/blackgirlpodcast/episode-1-hi

Solange Tweets about Creating Safe Spaces where Black Artistry Can Thrive.

The Recording Academy awarded Adele, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year over Beyoncé at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Viewers, music enthusiast and even Adele herself were shocked to see the Album of the Year win.

Adele thanked the crowd and the Academy, but a shocking turn of events occurred, when she reached her hands out to Beyoncé with her Grammy award in two pieces.

“I can’t possibly accept this award, and I’m very humbled, and I’m very grateful and gracious but, my artist of my life is Beyoncé,” Adele said. “And this album for me, the ‘Lemonade’ album, is so monumental, and so well thought out, and so beautiful.”

Adele continued to honor Beyoncé, calling her “the light’ for all artists in the room. She also mentioned that Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ album, had a striking impact on her Black friends-- a remark further proving the cultural impact of the singers latest project. Beyoncé has been nominated for Album of the Year three times but has never taken one home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkazGhNRNU4

Following the event, Solange took to her social media platform, a place where she is often vocal, honest and uplifting to her followers. She tweeted Frank Ocean’s open letter to the Grammy’s. The piece displays his discerning sentiments towards The Academy.

Solange’s tweets continued to chirp, “There have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for album of the year there have been over 200 black artists who have performed,” she said.

The facts are, the last black artist to win Album of the Year was Herbie Hancock in 2008, not to mention, the last black woman to win the same award was Lauryn Hill for ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,’in 1999. Black women before Lauryn who took wins in this category were Whitney Houston (1994) and Natalie Cole (1992).

Solange’s criticism of the Grammy’s is correct and uncovers problematic institutions in music that mirror inequalities faced by Blacks in our nation’s politics, education system and poverty. Color blindness and lack of credit are inconsistencies that continue to spark public outrage about Black lives.

Black artists are keystones to music. They are innovative, talented and creatively unbound cultural influencers. Despite these facts, black artists are not awarded graciously on platforms such as the Grammy’s for their work.

Solange’s final tweet, all of which were deleted, was the most powerful, truthful and moving statement for our time.

“Create your own communities, build your own institutions, give your friends awards, award yourself and be the gold you wanna hold my g’s,” she said.

Solange’s Twitter fingers are what Black artists need to recognize their worth. F.U.B.U,  For Us, By Us. Institutions that amplify our voices, showcase our authenticity and ones that do not rob us of our creations are the only places that will allow us to hold gold. Solange continued to propel her voice when she told press that she is the vessel for, “Creating strong, visual, representations of not only myself but, again, black women.”

Solo is not asking for ‘A Seat at The Table,’ she is sitting down and pushing against the naysayers who will not let her and other black artists eat.

Problematic Artists: My Love/Hate Relationship

We are all used to Kanye’s outburst. He has been on a road of endless contradictions, a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tirade, for some years now but his most recent one has had me mind boggled. I’ve taken time to ask Kanye fans how they felt about his take on society, this election year and most importantly I’ve been questioning my sick love for some of Hip-Hop’s most problematic artists.

The Saint Pablo Tour has been Kanye’s space for voicing his opinion. He takes time out of his performance to talk about anything and everything—his family life, opinions on other artists in the industry and societies inequalities. Most recently he made a few strong statements including Blacks adamant focus on race and his support of President-Elect, Donald Trump.

https://youtu.be/tA0PURaILF0

After these comments were made I was outraged. Some weeks ago I stood for hours, jumping and screaming for Mr. West at the Saint Pablo tour in Vegas. I couldn’t believe he could show support to a xenophobic, misogynists, bigot but, then again majority of America elected that same man, right?

I was mad because I used to admire Kanye West for getting on national television and criticizing President Bush for not caring about black people. I now question if Kanye cares? Has his fame clouded his judgment? It's easy to say, "don’t judge a man based on a few comments that he’s made," but the erratic outburst have increasingly become worse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIUzLpO1kxI

“Name one genius that ain’t crazy.”- Kanye West

I do miss the old Kanye, the Kanye that sampled Nina Simone’s Strange Fruit--a song that is the direct response to the lynching of blacks in the south. The Kanye that told black people that their lives mattered during Hurricane Katrina. The Kanye that just said in his most recent album, “Hands up we just doing what the cops taught us, Hands up, Hands up, then the cops shot us,”  another direct take on the state of Blacks in America.

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the Go Kanye
Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye
I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye
The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye
I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye
I gotta say, at that time I'd like to meet Kanye
See I invented Kanye, It wasn't any Kanye’s
And now I look and look around and there's so many Kanye’s
I used to love Kanye, I used to love Kanye
I even had the pink polo, I thought I was Kanye
What if Kanye made a song about Kanye
Called "I Miss The Old Kanye"? Man, that'd be so Kanye
That's all it was Kanye, we still love Kanye
And I love you like Kanye loves Kanye

Many of Ye’s followers resent his new artistic path of bad moods, angry outbursts, and narcissism and wish he would return to the wisdom he promoted on The College Dropout.

-Genius

My opinion does not have to be yours but think about the set-up of the tour itself. If you went to the tour and felt what I did, you were mesmerized by the genius of the lights. The ability for a man to have a mosh pit of at least 500 people jumping at his feet.  The stage that is leveled above them is just a few feet high and all his fans are chanting his name like he is GOD in the flesh. When you are there you feel like worshiping whoever you call God. The tour’s experience puts no doubt in my mind why he called this album—the gospel.

It’s irresponsible for a “man with all that power,” to tell a group of millennials that he did not vote as they chant his name in praise. He's preaching a sermon that is damaging. In my opinion it gives our generation more excuses to use when addressing our political power. I also think it’s inexcusable not to call your favorite artists out on their shit. Sadly enough after hearing his rant, I got back in the car turned on Pandora radio and I was back screaming the lyrics to Feedback. Maybe we are all walking contradictions?

I have felt this same way about Lil Wayne, ASAP Rocky, whose music I listen to at least once a day and Cole—“for calling bitches, bitches so regularly.” I recognized that my love-hate relationship for Hip-Hop will never go away and it will always have me thinking.

What’s your take on it? What's going on with Ye?

11/21/2016- After his comments in Sacramento Kanye West has cancelled all tour dates for the Saint Pablo Tour.

https://youtu.be/bkUr99epJh8

 

Meet Mod Da God—A lyricist eager to change the typical “Rags to Riches” story

His white T-shirt with cherries on his chest bounces off the blue walls of his fairly new apartment. His eyes are low and he’s grinning per usual.  This interview is different from any other I have done.

It’s a bit more personal and tells a story of someone who I’ve grown to admire. He can make an entire room burst into laughter. But, what started out as another joke to me was the manifestation of ‘MOD’—a “Man of Dreams.”

Jared Fenton, 22, better known as Mod Da God, could be seen through my MAC computer. He was 400 miles away, in Buffalo, NY, a place I loosely call home. I spent my college years there. And it’s where I met Mod.

“You don’t even remember Chris,” he said.  “We were in south campus, in some bumass south campus party, you were one of the first people I told,” he said. “I told you: I’m legit with this rap shit and I’m going to be somebody.”

I nodded my head trying to remember when this was. (Quite honestly we were probably both intoxicated and sweating profusely. After minutes of playing around I'm sure we linked arms in the college ritual of swag surfing ).

None of this was a joke. 4 years later after reminiscing over that very moment, in a 50 minute interview Mod talked to The Initiative about how he made it on Hot New Hip Hop, his new mix tape and his humble beginnings.

The Initiative: How did this all start? One minute we were playing and now you’re on Hot New Hip Hop.

Mod: I was deadass! I’ve always had a strong love for music. My father is into music. Before I moved to Mount Vernon and I lived downtown in the Bronx we practically lived in the studio. We would turn off the TV and my pops would be in there with his headphones. I’ve always been around it. He produces, he can mix. He tried to get me to play piano and shit but I was never into that. I’ve always had a love for lyrics and at this point I realized that this is for me.

The Initiative: So this is it, no more school? You’re going to be a musician.

Mod: (pause) Yeah, I’m on a different path man, I’m done with that.

The Initiative: You mentioned a lot in this first mix tape that’s why I asked. You talked about homelessness, possibly dropping out. What happened last winter?

Mod: When I first decided I was going to rap, it was over. I was stacking my bread; I convinced my parents I was taking a semester off. Then I needed a place to stay. It was just a tough time but I am good now. Now I’m in the daily life struggle like everyone else, trying to get by. I’ve put out my own videos and one day I would want to produce my own music. I will never stop rapping, the words move too much.

The Initiative: What was your inspiration behind your first mixtape?

Mod: I wanted to look like I was serious about rapping. But not just look like, I am serious about this. My first project is so positive because—my parents. I already think positive and I think ahead. I already know I’m successful at this rap shit, that’s how I live, time just has to meet it. So, I was thinking for my first mix tape, I’m about to J. Cole it. I want positive, I want different. My thought was, if I get big enough and they listen back to it they are going to be proud of me and the message I put out. That was my inspiration.

The Initiative: That’s always been you! You are so family oriented. What’s amazing is that following this mix tape, you made it to Hot New Hip Hop for three weeks in a row. How did this happen? How did that feel?

Mod: Listen, the first time was a fluke. John put the song up and then I got a text. Drake “Pop Style,” was at the top and we were at the bottom. I was like Oh Shit. Then, the second week, I told everyone I was going to make it on. We were sitting in the car and it happen again. On Sundays, you just submit the song. The next week, I was sitting in my crib thinking, it would be crazy if I make it again. And then it happened for the third time that was GOD.

The Initiative: That’s pretty crazy. So what’s next, where you trying to hear yourself?

Mod: I’m going big this time! I don’t think people are trying to hear me. My audience is my friends. I have to get it heard somewhere else. A lot of people show love though. I ain’t about to stop, I want to put out two more tapes before the years out.

The Initiative: Where do you get this drive? Who are your biggest inspirations, icons?

Mod: … I want to be like Jay-Z. When I think far ahead, I think  about how am I going to boss up. Jay-Z, 50 Cent, J. Cole too. Big Sean too, all inspirations.

The Initiative: You just named my favorite rappers. As for Big Sean, people need to really listen to him because I think he’s often overlooked.

Mod: He’s a boss, they’re all bosses. Meek Mill, Dave East—he’s a young n*gga, inspirational.

The Initiative: Alright, so what do you bring to the table?

Mod: My story is just different. Went to school, didn’t fuck with school. Been in the hood, been out the hood. I’ve had hood friends,  been broke, been middle class. I’ve been everything, I feel like people focus on the struggle too much. But at the same time, everyone didn’t come from the bottom. At the end of the day more people are more like me then they think.

The Initiative: Your story isn’t rags to riches-"poor then I rose to the top…"

Mod: Yeah and I don’t like that killing shit. I don’t like that shit! I don’t want to get shot. They killing people and then that’s the top song in the club. I don’t like that shit.

The Initiative: You know what I respect that. That’s not your story and you’re not trying to live that story.

Mod: You ain’t about to hear me shooting nobody. I am down talking guns (laughing). My new shit is down talking guns and people shooting each other.

The Initiative: That’s dope, you know my background with Black Lives Matter and you’re one of the few people who I know off-hand, who use Frederick Douglas in a bar. You touch on pressing issues: guns, tuition, school, being a black man. Why is that important to incorporate in your music?

Mod: Black Lives Do Matter. At that time, those lyrics,  it was how I was feeling. I listen to this shit back and I may have been harsh but that’s how I was feeling about our people. This is real, you have to understand where it comes from. They can’t think, I’m crazy. If you turn on the TV you see where I am coming from. More people need to be honest about it.

The Initiative: Angie Martinez just did an interview with Idris Elba and he said if you have the platform to talk about this stuff you should. So I think its dope that you talk about it. You remind me of Cole. You have the same concept…I love Timmy Turner but I also love consciousness. How are you going to be different from Cole?

Mod: Street music, Meek Mill, talking about all that fly stuff, people feel that because that’s what they want. But J. Cole you feel him the same way but his story is just like wow! Love Your’s is the most beautiful song ever written. You can play that around your mom. He has better numbers than all of them, he’s not taking any L’s. People call him boring but he’s only dropping once a year and has an effect  on people.

The Initiative: What do you want out of this, what’s your long-term goals? 5 years?

Mod: 28. I’m up! I’m different, I’m not here. I work way too hard. I can drop mad tapes with the music I have. The end goal is a label. I want to put everything out right.

“This is everything I said I was.”

His creativity trumped college. Mod is taking his talent elsewhere and dedicating his life to his music. Following the interview Mod played me songs off his next tape which will be out in September. His new song Believe is now on Sound Cloud and just made it to Hot New Hip Hop AGAIN. Its only up from here.

Hear more Mod Tha God at: https://soundcloud.com/moddagod

Meet DJ Nyla: Cracking the Mic and Smashing Turntables

She plops down on the crisp white sofa. Her head is right above a stenciled, iHeart Media logo. “This is my first interview,” she said. “Not really but you know what I mean.”

From Paris to Philly. Her latest trip to New Orleans is just one of the many places where Nyla has left her mark. The German born, military brat, calls Maryland home but often finds herself on the nearest flight to a destination she has yet to uncover.

Her pit-stop in the Big Apple is her new stomping grounds--her home away from home. 21 year old, Nyla Billups, St. Johns graduate, Power 105.1 and Source intern, is navigating the concrete jungle and hustling her way to the top of the entertainment industry. In an industry that is heavily dominated by men, Nyla is taking the world by storm, garnering every skill and following in the footsteps of powerful women like Angie Martinez, Angela Yee and Karen Civil.  She is a jack of all trades.  Not only does she want to crack the mic and rock the airways on radio, she is also proclaiming the title as a powerhouse Dj.

“When I was younger I’d tell people that I want to be Oprah,” said Nyla. “I want to be an influencer. My two passions in life are social issues and Hip-Hop and I am trying to find a way to combine both.”

Nyla found her love for Hip-Hop through influencer's close to home, her parents. They were both students of the game. She recalls being exposed to Wu Tang and other classic 90’s artists,  way before she knew she wanted to be a personality.

“My father was big on New York music, but my family is from the south. We listened to a lot of Trick Daddy and a lot of Outkast,” she said. “I grew up off that culture. Sure, I watched Disney Channel but BET! I could tell you all the shows that came on and at what time.”

In High school, Nyla began to entertain the idea of Djing. Djing is the first element of Hip-Hop culture. The complex mixing and scratching of 70’s disco and mcing is the foundation of the music we love today.

“Disco was brand new then and there were a few jocks that had monstrous sound systems but they wouldn't dare play this kind of music,” said Grand Master Flash. “They would never play a record where only two minutes of the song was all it was worth. They wouldn't buy those types of records.”

Grand Master Flash is a Hip-Hop pioneer and the creator of  ‘the scratch’. An idol in Nyla’s eyes to say the least, Grand Master Flash is a worldwide Hip-Hop pundit. Practice is the key to mastering the craft but in high school Nyla fell short of that effort. Her first piece of equipment was only $50.

Spin. Stop. Scratch. Spin.

The record to Nyla’s life turned around when she began to intern at Power 105.1. Power 105.1 is the home of the Breakfast Club—Angela Yee, Charlemagne the God and Dj Envy. It is also the home of radio legend, Angie Martinez—an original reporter of Hip-Hop news.

“When I started working here at Power, being around some of the best MC’s to do it, DJ TY Boogie, DJ Will, DJ Clue, DJ Self—when I see them spin and scratch, its inspiring,” she said. “I want to be the one to make the people dance because when they get on I want to move, I want to have that same power too.”

Nyla took her last refund check and invested in herself. Her brand new Serato equipment is now part of the soundtrack to her life. Building relationships with the Power 105 DJ’s, who participate in Angie Martinez’s ‘Live at Five,’ has allowed Nyla to master transitioning techniques and the baby scratch. She pays homage to You Tube also. The internet is a driving force in her ability to practice and master mixing.

“I am trying to start small before I go big. I am going to take my time,” she said.  “I am going to stay humble and work my way up. I don’t want to be a button pusher.”

Her first gig transcended #Black Girl Magic. Nyla, was the feature Dj at the first Fifty Shades of Magic event. Fifty Shades of Magic, is a non-profit organization led by Nyla and a few distinguished women who are climbing the ladder in their respective industries. It is an open platform focused on the mentorship, guidance and development of young girls. Nyla played empowering music from the soundtracks of Beyonce, Solange and the iconic Lauryn Hill.

Nyla is one of the many revolutionary women Dj’s that are on the rise. Her counterparts Vashtie and Kitty Cash have broken into an industry that has been male dominated for many years. Her passion for Women’s Rights, the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for political integrity are driving forces in Nyla’s love for music.

“I want to use my platform to talk about the next presidential campaign or voting for the senate,” she said. “The biggest issue is that a lot of people don’t know [politics] but everyone loves music, so I want to be able to draw people in through music.”

Take #TheInitiative to keep up with  Nyla

20 BIG Facts about the Notorious B.I.G


1. There's no place like home.
Biggie is from Bedstuy, Brooklyn.

2.Hip-Hop it started out in the park.
Biggie's name blew up heavy on the streets before his hits saturated Billboard Charts.

 

3. Rare findings
Biggies original demo tape was only sold in the Lion’s Culture in Brooklyn.

4. He changed his stage name
Notorious B.I.G., wasn't his original stage name. He went by MC Quest then Biggie Smalls. The name derived from Calvin Lockhart's character in Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier's 1975 film "Let's Do It Again." He changed his name to Notorious BIG to avoid any patent complications.

5. The Source
Diddy discovered Biggie in The Source magazine under the Unsigned Hype column.

6. Mary J Blige tracks helped boost him to stardom
Before making a solo appearance. He appeared on a 1993 remix of Mary J. Blige's single, "Real Love," and followed it up with a second Blige remix, "What's the 411?"

7. Pivotal Career Moves
His first solo single "Party and Bullshit," was released under Uptown Records. This indicates that BIG was under Uptown and made the move to Bad Boy Records.

8. Angie Martinez the legend
The beat of Biggie's 'Ten Crack Commandments,' comes from Angie Martinez's break that aired on Hot 97.

9. 4.5
Biggie’s Ready To Die received 4.5 mics from The Source magazine.  When the magazine reviewed the album 8 years later in 2002, it was changed to a 5 mic rating.

10. Michael Jackson was a fan
Biggie is one of the few hip-hop artist to ever record with Michael Jackson (1995). Six years later Michael Jackson released his tenth studio album 'Invincible' which featured a verse from B.I.G.

11. From High School to stardom
Biggie, DMX, Busta Rhymes and Jay Z are all products of Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School.

12. That baby is not Biggie!
B.I.G is not on the cover of 'Ready To Die.' The baby is Keithroy Yearwood. He made $150 for being on one of the greatest albums in Hip-Hop history.

13. Business Owner mentality
Biggie planned to open a soul food joint and he wanted to name it 'Big Poppa'

14. Awards.
He never won a Grammy.

15. Television Appearances.
Biggie made a special appearance on the fondly remembered Fox cop show, New York Undercover. He rapped “Juicy” and sat in on a fictional panel about violence in rap. He also made an appearance on Martin playing himself.

16. Walk with a limp.
Biggie walked around with a cane, due to a broken left leg he suffered in a car crash with Lil Cease.

17. BIG.
Biggie was 6’1, 395 lbs, according to the coroner’s report.

18. Irony.
'Ready to Die,' was released on September 13, 1994, and reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart, eventually being certified four times Platinum.

19. Friendship.
Tupac and Biggie were not always enemies.

20. Life After Death
Big Planned To Drop 'Life After Death' On Halloween In 1996.