Fat Joe’s "Family Ties" Proves To Be An Apathetic Farewell

While the black-and-white album artwork for Fat Joe’s 11th studio album very easily could have found its way into an infomercial for Rolls-Royce Manhattan, it better serves as a representation Joe’s musical disposition in 2019. Parked alongside partner-in-crime Dre Cool & Dre fame, Joe can be seen dangling his bedazzled wrist out the window, a steady stream Armand de Brignac pooling between the twin Phantoms like sea foam lapping at the hulls passing ships in the night. It’s an image awash in bombast and luxury, ideal for the grand farewell its skipper has imagined for himself. 

From trading bars with Big L to appearing in the Def Jam: Fight For New York video games, Fat Joe has long stood on the rap frontlines as an intrepid rabble-rouser. He has a way with words that is the byproduct witnessing Big Pun flip muttered tongue twisters into iconic couplets, and a “predator or prey” mentality that nourished his rise from the Forest Housing Projects. Although the era white Cadillacs and Terror Squad chains is now a fragment the past, it lives on through Joe’s animated retellings $50,000 cash withdrawals and subsequent door-to-door shake downs after being informed his balance had dipped into the red. He recounted all this and more during his visit to W 25th Street’s 40/40 Club on Tuesday night, where he spoke at length with Elliott Wilson as part Tidal’s ongoing #CRWN interview series. With the utmost respect for Wilson, Joe had little need for discussion facilitation, enchanting those in attendance with vivid studio vignettes and tales run-ins with the likes Dapper Dan and First Take’s Stephen A. Smith. “What I’m missing is a classic album,” Joe told the bewildered moderator, a Celtics green tracksuit gripping to his every gesture as if directed by some invisible puppeteer in the rafters. 

Unfortunately for all those involved, Family Ties is no such masterpiece, even as Joe pulls out all the stops and calls in plenty favors from friends far and wide to assemble the 11-track ensemble. If Family Ties is indeed his final album, then at the very least it’s an admirable enough send-f for the Bronx-bred behemoth, albeit one that doesn’t muster much replay value beyond its 42-minute duration. Arriving at a time when many the genre’s old guard are being sent to the breakers, the closing chapter to Joe’s 26-year-old discography struggles beneath the cruel hand Father Time in an effort to postpone such a fate, and in the process manages to scrounge up mostly run–the-mill scraps. That’s not to say that it lacks redeemable qualities, but rather that it’s forcibly linear in its tastes, which is a shame given Joey Crack’s aforementioned back catalogue stories and credentials.

“Projects” is a decent tone setter, its rattling percussion chiseled around street buzzwords as Dre and Joe exchange platitudes. “Been Thru,” originally intended to be a solo single for Dre, is a similarly-structured rags to riches ode, with a chorus that fashions bullet holes “big enough to fill Shaquille’s socks.” Listeners (particularly disciples the Wu) will recognize the sample Wendy Rene’s “After Laughter” on “Heaven & Hell” but will likely find themselves perplexed by the manic use Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” on the Lil Wayne-assisted “Pullin’.” Crooner Jeremih pops up on the album’s two R&B cuts, first with Bryson Tiller as part “Hands on You” and later with Ty Dolla $ign for the sensual, coupe-for-every-day–the-week “Drive.” Elsewhere, lead single “YES” attempts to fill empty space with shoddy strip club lyrics, while “Lord Above” finds Eminem taking provocative cracks at Nick Cannon in what has been one the most talked-about if preposterous rap beefs in recent memory. 

Fellow New Yorkers Mary J. Blige (“Lord Above”) and Remy Ma (“Splash”), the latter whom collaborated with Joe in 2017 on joint LP Plata O Plomo, display excellent chemistry with their host. Yet even the presence such high-flying acts does little to distract from the apathetic blend trap melodies and inner-city parables that is Family Ties. For what it’s worth, Joe does well to hold up his end the bargain, and there are glimpses his intellect as an emcee, both in his delivery and diction (“Seen more faces than Midnight Marauders”). But by in large, both Joe and Dre indulge a mold that overcompensates in accommodating past glories and the stylistic inclinations the new generation. Perhaps this isn’t the end the rope and there will be more striking musical endeavors from the certified hip hop hall famer in the future. In the meantime, the bonds fatherhood call. “I want to make sure every time (my daughter) turns around, her dad is there … and I’m there for her,” he said during an appearance on CBS This Morning. Retirement is a fickle thing, but family ties are forever.

Taylor Swift To Headline Glastonbury 2020

Sunday afternoon, Taylor Swift announced through her Instagram that she will be headlining Glastonbury 2020. 

Alongside a selfie with a flyer for the event, Swift writes, “I’m ecstatic to tell you that I’ll be headlining Glastonbury on its 50th anniversary – See you there! 💋.”

It’s one a select number shows Swift has scheduled for the upcoming year. Currently, she has only four other US shows planned, two in Massachusetts and two in Los Angeles.

Earlier this week, according to Stereogum, Swift accepted the Billboard Woman the Decade award and called out Scooter Braun during her speech. “After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings in a deal that I’m told was funded by the Soros family, 23 Capital, and the Carlyle Group,” she said.

She continued, “the definition the toxic male privilege in this industry is people saying ‘but he’s always been nice to me’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their right to own their music” in reference to Braun. “And course he’s nice to you,” she said. “If you’re in this room, you have something he needs.”

Glastonbury 2020 is scheduled for June 24th through June 28th, 2020.

Kodak Black Reportedly In Solitary Confinement; Says He Was Laced With Drugs

Saturday, Kodak Black‘s Instagram page was cleared out and left with a new message from the rapper as he sits behind bars. 

In a lengthy caption that sat under an inmate photo the Miami rapper, Kodak detailed an experience where alleges that he was laced with an “unknown substance,” denied medical help, and then attacked while under the influence.

Kodak Black Reportedly In Solitary Confinement; Says He Was Laced With Drugs

Mike Coppola/Getty s

“On October 29th I was laced with an unknown substance here in Miami, FDC,” the statement reads. “That substance gave me an out body experience and had me feeling like I was possessed and dying slowly. Upon this experience i managed to go to the CO’s fice to seek medical attention (As shown on surveillance cameras). I was denied ! This left me in a state paranoia.”

This explanation begins to unravel Kodak’s version the reported fight that took place between himself and another inmate. Initial reports suggest that Kodak struck a correctional ficer in the groin, leading to his hospitalization. According to Kodak, however, this fight is peppered with suspicious details.

“”Shortly after I got into an altercation with an innate,” he adds. “This same CO who denied me medical attention, proceeded to pepper spray me which instantly impaired my vision and I was oblivious to who was punching and grabbing me repeatedly in the face. Even after I was on the floor they continued to strike me and deploy more people. I was summoning for them to stop while gasping for my breath.This near death experience felt like dogs were tearing at my skin while they were grabbing and beating me while I was under the influence this unknown substance that mysteriously hasn’t popped up in my Urine analysis and mysteriously the inmate I was fighting with went home the next day.”

Ass a result the fight, Kodak was sent into solitary confinement., In his message, he confirms that he has been in solitary for 45 days and that he was beaten so badly, that he had to be wheeled to the hole. Representatives for Kodak have previously stated their belief that foul play was involved in the situation.

The South Florida native is currently imprisoned after being sentenced to serve three years and 10 months for falsifying documents in order to obtain firearms. Read his full statement below.

Billboard To Begin Counting YouTube Streams Toward Total Album Sales

According to The New York Times, starting January 3rd, Billboard will begin counting YouTube streams when calculating their album charts. 

YouTube streams will follow the same model as Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, etc with 1,250 clicks from paying users counting as one album sale and 3,750 from non-paying users resulting in the same. User-generated content will not be counted.

Deanna Brown, the president the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group said, “It’s an important part music consumption, and it’s time to recognize that.”

While YouTube is the most popular music streaming platform, according to Midia Research, it also has the lowest payout for content creators. As the Times explains, “Despite YouTube’s vast popularity, ad-supported outlets like it generated $760 million last year, while paid services like Spotify and Apple generated about $4.7 billion, according to the Recording Industry Association America.”

This is now the second major change Billboard has made to how it counts album sales recently. On November 26th, the company announced it would be revamping the way album bundles count towards total sales. They explained the changes in a press release saying, “Moving forward, in order for an album sale to be counted as part a merchandise/album bundle, all the items in the bundle must also be available for purchase concurrently and individually on the same website. In addition, the merchandise item sold on its own will have to be priced lower than the bundle which includes both the merchandise and the album. Further, merchandise bundles can only be sold in an artist’s ficial direct-to-consumer web store and not third-party sites.”

Scientists Are Sending Cannabis To Space Aboard SpaceX

According to Newsweek, Front Range Biosciences—in collaboration with SpaceCells USA Inc. and BioServe Space Technologies at the University Colorado, Boulder, is sending cannabis to the International Space Station (ISS). 

Scientists Are Sending Cannabis To Space Aboard SpaceXEthan Miller / Getty s

During March 2020, cannabis and cfee will be brought to the ISS aboard the next SpaceX resupply mission.

“This is one the first times anyone is researching the effects microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and cfee cell cultures,” Jonathan Vaught, CEO Front Range Biosciences said in a statement provided to Newsweek. “There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations. This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to earth and if there are new commercial applications.”

The company hopes that learning how plants react to space travel could influence the way in which they are grown on Earth. As the planet’s climate changes, many plants will struggle to grow in areas where they once could and learning ways to help them survive harsh conditions could help.

“These are big ideas we’re pursuing and there’s a massive opportunity to bring to market new plants that can better adapt to drought and cold conditions,” Peter McCullagh, CEO SpaceCells, added in a statement. “We expect to prove through these and other missions that we can adapt the food supply to climate change.”

Tyler, The Creator & Megan Thee Stallion To Perform At Buku Music + Art Project

The BUKU Music + Art Project has announced the lineup for its 9th anniversary. The New Orleans festival will take place on March 20 and 21, 2020 on the iconic Mardi Gras World grounds. With a diverse set performers – featuring some the biggest names in the music industry and burgeoning local talent – BUKU 2020 is sure to be special. The festival is loved for being rooted in the artistic subculture New Orleans, harnessing the vibe an underground warehouse party while boasting large-scale attractions and installations. 

Tyler, The Creator will bring his IGOR theatrics while serving as headliner. Electronic acts, Flume and Illenium, also top the lineup. More dance-inducing sets will come from Kaytranada, who just dropped his excellent sophomore album, BUBBA, and rising producer, Channel Tres. In terms hip hop, Run The Jewels, Flatbush Zombies, JPEGMAFIA, Young M.A., Megan Thee Stallion and Roddy Ricch are some the notable artists on the bill. BUKU also covered some R&B ground with 2019 favourites, Ari Lennox and Lucky Daye. 

Not only is the lineup fire, but BUKU also has an awesome ethos: “We Believe in Those Who Strive to be Dope. Originality, Creativity, Freedom and Community is Our Anthem.” These pillars freedom and community underlie their strict stance on inclusion and safety. The organizers and the BUKREWE community practice a zero-tolerance policy for: “ual harassment, acts aggression, racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, religious bigotry… or any other form hatred or discrimination. BUKU is intended to be a safe space to enjoy music, art, expression and community in complete freedom from any harassment or discrimination.”

Tickets for BUKU are now available here

Russell Simmons Blasts Oprah Winfrey Over Doc, Calls It "Flavor Of Love"

On Thursday, 50 Cent took to his Instagram page to question why Oprah Winfrey would decide to produce a documentary about former music executive Drew Dixon. The forthcoming film is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and will highlight Dixon’s accusations  ual assault against famed hip hop mogul Russell Simmons.

Russell Simmons Blasts Oprah Winfrey Over Doc, Calls It "Flavor Of Love"
Mike Coppola / Staff / Getty s

Dixon has repeatedly stated that Simmons not only harassed her but he raped her back in 1995, an accusation that the music icon vehemently denies. Fif shared that he believed Oprah was “targeting black men” with her latest venture and because her After Neverland show with Michael Jackson’s Leaving Neverland accusers.

Simmons has stepped forward to address his former friend himself with a lengthy caption that accompanied a photo Simmons and Oprah together. “Dearest OPRAH,you have been a shining light to my family and my community. Contributing so much to my life that I couldn’t list a fraction it in this blog,” Simmons wrote. “Ihave given you the gift meditation and the groundbreaking book’THE POWER OF NOW ‘we bonded to say the least. This is why it’s so troubling that you choose me to single out in your recent documentry.”

He states that’s he’s admitted that in previous years he’d acted as a “playboy” or a “womanizer” by “sleeping with and putting myself in more compromising situations than almost any man I know.” He calls the number women he’s had ual encounters with “embarrassing” and “that some could reinterpret or reimagine a different recollection the same experiences.”

Simmons claims that he took and “passed nine 3-hour lie detector tests (taken for my daughters), that these stories have been passed on by CNN, NBC, BUZZFEED, NY POST, NY MAG, AND OTHERS.” He detailed why the accusations against him have little merit and said, “Shocking how many people have misused this important powerful revolution for relevance and money. Maybe you should name your documentary ‘FLAVOR OF LOVE’!? In closing, I am guilty exploiting, supporting, and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society, but i have never been violent or forced myself on anyone.” Read his message to Oprah in full below.

Kawhi Leonard Drops Over $6 Million On Gorgeous L.A. Penthouse

Kawhi Leonard is one the best players in the NBA and this past fseason, he ditched the Toronto Raptors to go back and home and play for the Los Angeles Clippers. California has always been where Leonard’s heart has lied and the Clippers are a team that is able to give him the hometown comfort. Considering the Clippers star is a couple months into his tenure with the team, it only makes sense that he would be looking to cop some real estate in the area.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Leonard has purchased a huge 4,280 square foot penthouse in Los Angeles which is right across the street from the Staples Center. The whole place cost the Clippers star a whopping $6.725 million and could prove to be quite the sound investment, especially when you look at the photos which can be found here

Kawhi Leonard Drops Over $6 Million On Gorgeous L.A. Penthouse

Ronald Martinez/Getty s

Per LA Times:

Centered on the downtown cityscape, the 4,280-square-foot unit features vibrant wood floors, walls glass, two custom fireplaces and magnetic, wall-mounted iPads for controlling smart home systems. The family room adjoins a center-island kitchen with a breakfast nook. In the master suite, there’s a steam shower.

A pair underground parking spaces were included with the three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence, which had been listed for $6.995 million. A rotop swimming pool, a fitness center and valet and concierge services are among building amenities.

Based on the specifications seen above, it’s clear that the Clippers star will be living lavishly while he’s in the city this year.

Offset & Cardi B Welcome 2 New Family Members

Cardi B and Offset already have their hands full raising Baby Kulture and living life in the public eye. The two are constantly involved in damaging headlines that could hurt their personal lives, including accounts from “insiders” that claim to know who so-and-so cheated with and more gossip-y reports. Much what’s said about the power couple in the media is untrue. When Kulture was first born, the pair wanted to keep her out the public eye, shielding her face from social media and finally revealing her to the world on the cover Father Of 4. Cardi B has hinted that she wants to have another baby soon but she’s just taken on more responsibility in another way.

Offset & Cardi B Welcome 2 New Family Members
Emma McIntyre/Getty s

There are two new additions to the Cephus household running around and looking cute. Offset posted a video to his Instagram prile, asking fans to help him find names for their new dogs. “2 NEW MEMBERS TO THE FAMILY,” wrote the Migos rapper, fielding name suggestions in the comments. The two puppies are male and female and Offset’s musical partner Takef has already come through with some solid choices for their names. “Take & Qua,” wrote the rapper in the comments, insisting that the two Migos members earn a permanent place in Set’s home. 

Take a look at the adorable doggies in the video below and let him know what you think they should be named.

Cardi B Resembles Nicki Minaj Too Much In This Video

Who wore it better? Nicki Minaj or Cardi B? While Nicki Minaj has tried out a bunch different eccentric hairstyles over the course her career, one has defined her for years: her long bob with the bangs. Sure, a look cannot be exclusive to one person but, given the history that Cardi B has with Nicki Minaj, you would think she would try to stray away from anything that her rival has ever touched. A number her fans were surprised upon opening up their social media feeds, seeing their hero rocking a near-identical haircut to Minaj and looking just like the Queen in a new video.

Cardi B Resembles Nicki Minaj Too Much In This Video
Jamie McCarthy/Getty s

Aside from the nose ring, you could have fooled us this morning when we saw Cardi B sticking out her tongue to her millions followers. The star showed f her angles, feeling herself and inviting everyone to comment on their thoughts but what she wasn’t expecting was a barrage people saying that she looks just like Nicki Minaj. The two women don’t necessarily share too many facial characteristics so it’s surprising to see how similar they look here. Placing them side-to-side, you’ll notice what we’re saying.

Who do you think wore the hairstyle better? Cardi or Nicki? Or do they both look bomb?

Kobe Bryant To Battle Pharma Company Over "Black Mamba" Trademark

Kobe Bryant went through most his NBA career with the nickname “Black Mamba” thanks to his competitive spirit and ability to demoralize opponents seemingly at will. Bryant appears to be quite protective this nickname as recently, he went to war with Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals who are currently applying for a trademark to the name “Black Mamba HYPERRUSH.” Bryant believes the company is leeching f his infamous nickname although for now, the United States Patent and Trademark Office is ruling against him.

According to The Blast, the board made three cases as to why they would let Hi-Tech continue with their request. “There is evidence in the record that: (1) Opposer admits that there is a species snake known as BLACK MAMBA; (2) Bryant derived his nickname BLACK MAMBA from the Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill and (3) BLACK MAMBA is also the nickname the boxer Roger Mayweather.”

It appears as though these two have been battling it out since 2017 and now, they will be going to court where a judge will handle the case. Hi-Tech has called Bryant a bully for what his tactics in battling this case although Kobe maintains the use the “Black Mamba” name could confuse people.

Stay tuned for updates on this case as we will be sure to bring them to you.

Lizzo Accepts Intriguing Invitation From The Rockets After Lakers Debacle

Lizzo came under fire this past week thanks to her actions at a recent Los Angeles Lakers game. The “Truth Hurts” singer was sitting courtside at the game and admitted to having a crush on Karl-Anthony Towns. From there, Lizzo wore a dress with a hole cut out in the butt so everyone could see her thong. Her dancing made quite an impression on the crowd that was there although it led to some negative publicity. Lizzo has been quite clear with how she feels about this negativity and that she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

In light recent events, the Houston Rockets have invited Lizzo to dance with their Clutch City Dancers at an upcoming game. As you can imagine, Lizzo was quick to accept the invitation and even said she would “be there w/ bells on my booty.”

It’s unclear as to when Lizzo will be heading to Houston for this opportunity a lifetime although we’re sure it will be sometime in the not so distant future. Her Lakers game antics are fresh in everyone’s mind and now would be the best time to capitalize on the trend.

Will you be tuning in for her Clutch City Dancers debut?

Odell Beckham Jr. Teases New Nike Air Max 720 Collab: First Look

Nike and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. might have some more Air Max 720 collabs in the works, including a nod to OBJ’s alma mater, LSU. The former Bayou Bengal shared a glimpse the LSU-themed kicks on instagram this week, though it remains to be seen if these will be available to the public. 

The Nike Air Max 720 OBJ has already released in multiple colorways, including “Black/Red Orbit” and “Desert Ore” iterations as well as a colorful “Young King the Drip” design. Each the collaborative Air Max 720s are constructed a combination leather, mesh and suede, with a clear, bulbous Air Max 720 cushioning unit beneath the silhouette.

What we haven’t seen is a Cleveland Browns colorway the Nike Air Max 720 OBJ, and if the recent trade rumors are true we don’t expect to see any Dawg Pound inspired collabs any time soon.

Odell Beckham Jr. Teases New Nike Air Max 720 Collab: First Look

Sean Gardner/Getty s

Tupac Shakur’s Prison Polaroids With Wife Keisha Morris Going Up For Auction

Another set Tupac Shakur’s images are making their way to auction. On Thursday, Nate D. Sanders Auctions will be taking bids for two the rapper’s Polaroid photos that were reportedly taken during his time in prison. The pictures were given by Tupac to his fellow inmate, Carmella Viserto, who also provided the auction company with a letter authenticity.

Tupac Shakur's Prison Polaroids With Wife Keisha Morris Going Up For Auction
Provided by Nate D. Sanders Auctions

One the photos features the slain rapper with Keisha Morris, his wife at the time. “June 4, 1995 / 2 Our Best friendz / Much Love 2 the Both u / 2PAC & Keisha,” Tupac wrote on the photos. The second Polaroid was taken the day after Tupac and Keisha were married. At the top the photo Tupac wrote ”Keisha & TUPAC” and along the bottom, “2 Carmela & Anthony our inspiration to be patient & loving. UR great friends we wish u much success & happiness as we take each day with the next / 2PAC.” Keisha adds a note on the side margin: ”Love Keesha.” 

According to the press release, bidding for both photos will begin at $3,000. It’s unclear how much they’re estimated to go for, but a ographic image drawn by the late rapper recently brought in $21K.

Tupac Shakur's Prison Polaroids With Wife Keisha Morris Going Up For Auction
Provided By Nate D. Sanders Auctions

Fat Joe Recalls Going Broke From Withdrawing $50K Cash Daily

It wasn’t easy to keep up with the opulence the early 2000’s rap game. Every artist was doing the most in terms chains, cars and clothes. In his interview with Elliot Wilson for Tidal’s “CRWN” series, Fat Joe admitted that he got carried away with the flexing during that time and it left him broke. 

Joey Crack explained how this occurred after the success his 2001 album, Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.), and its hit single “What’s Luv?” Once the money started flooding in, he started pampering himself and his whole Terror Squad crew. “I made so much money that I was going to the bank every fucking day to get 50,000 in cash,” he said. “Every n**** in my crew—30 n****s in the Bronx—has white fucking Cadillac trucks with TS chains on.” He likens the prevalence his team’s stunting to a flu, “a virus trucks.”

Then, one day, things flipped around on him.”So I go in there one day and the lady goes, ‘Mr. Joe, there must be something wrong. There’s no money in your bank account.'” Joe then gave a visceral description what he experienced upon hearing that news. “My asshole got this tight, my n****… like the cartoons birds is going around your fucking head.” 

The story doesn’t end there. Joe wasn’t going to just wallow in his brokeness. “I left the bank, my n****,” Joe continued. “You see the movies like Gladiator, Troy, 300? You know how they be coming in n****s’ cribs for taxes? Taking the chickens, the cow, and shit? ‘Any n**** owe me a dollar – go get that shit.’ This gets bad because it’s people we actually love.” He then detailed one unnamed DJ who was aggressively targeted for $5,000 that he had owed Joe for ten years. 

Today, Joe must be in a comfortable financial situation. If what Remy Ma said is correct, they’re making 7 figures a year just f the royalties from “Lean Back” and “All The Way Up”. His new (and potentially final) album, Family Ties, may spawn another hit for him to eat f. The Eminem feature on there is definitely raking in some streams from all the drama it stirred up