Posts tagged with "Motown records"

Fire in Little Africa illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Fire in Little Africa

FIRE IN LITTLE AFRICA SET FOR MAY 28 RELEASE VIA MOTOWN RECORDS/BLACK FORUM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE BOB DYLAN CENTER AND WOODY GUTHRIE CENTER

Album Brings Fresh and Important Perspective to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and Celebrates the City’s Vibrant Hip Hop Scene

Fire in Little Africa a groundbreaking album of original material, written and recorded by a collective of Oklahoma hip hop artists to commemorate the 100-anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre will be released on May 28 by Motown Records/Black Forum in partnership with Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Center and Woody Guthrie Center.

The 21-track collection gets to the truth of what happened on May 31 and June 1, 1921 when a white mob descended on the streets of Greenwood then a prosperous Tulsa neighborhood known as Black Wall Street and burned down the business district, destroying roughly 1,500 homes, killing hundreds and leaving thousands of Black Tulsans homeless. For years, this historic, albeit dire, chapter was left out of classrooms and textbooks as the city attempted to erase this part of its past.The artists heard on Fire in Little Africa get to the truth through urgent songs, recalling stories told and stories lived in hope to usher in a new era for Tulsa as they help the community process this generational trauma through music.

Fire in Little Africa is a powerful and timely project that provides a platform and outlet for the incredibly talented and thriving music community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, said Motown Records Chairman & CEO, Ethiopia Habtemariam. Carrying the legacy of the Black Wall Street community, Fire in Little Africa is a body of work filled with purpose and prolific storytelling. I am honored and feel privileged to have Motown Records/Black Forum partner with Dr. View, the Bob Dylan Center and Guthrie Center to release this impactful hip-hop album.

Stevie, Dr. View, Johnson, PhD, Manager, Education & Diversity Outreach at the Woody Guthrie Center | Bob Dylan Center and the album’s executive producer, added, Fire in Little Africa has evolved into a communal hip hop movement and we’re excited that we get to share the flavor, history and legacy of Black Wall Street with the world, in collaboration with the amazing leadership of the Motown/Black Forum family. We’re grateful for Ethiopia’s foresight in providing us an opportunity to share our important stories with the world. There are Black Wall Streets across the diaspora, and we unequivocally know that Fire in Little Africa will inspire many people. In the words of Steph Simon, everything is us.

In this feature, Rolling Stone noted, Fire in Little Africa is poised to teach the world about that long-suppressed history, from locals who grew up in a community that still lives with the aftermath of the massacre. Just as important, the artists involved in the project also hope it serves as a launching-pad moment for Tulsa’s hip-hop scene, which has long flown under the national radar.

The album was recorded in Greenwood over a five-day period in March 2020. Studios were set up at the Greenwood Cultural Center and other locations, including the former home of 1921 massacre mastermind/KKK leader Tate Brady. The house is now owned by former NFL first-round draft pick and Tulsa native Felix Jones. The Tulsa World was on hand to speak with the artists involved in the historic sessions. Read the article HERE and check out the accompanying video HERE.

Fireside with Dr. View is a weekly podcast featuring Dr. View in conversation with thought leaders in activism, academia and culture, centered on the movement behind the Fire in Little Africa music. Listen to Fireside with Dr. View HERE. Hosts Ali Shaw and Doc Free sit down with Fire in Little Africa artists, Tulsa community leaders and national voices for conversations on music and culture in the Fire in Little Africa podcast, which can be found HERE.

Located in the Tulsa Arts District, the Woody Guthrie Center opened in 2013. The Bob Dylan Center is expected to open on the same block within the next year. Both are projects of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the primary funder for Fire in Little Africa. The album is chronicled in a documentary film, which will be released later this year.

Fire in Little Africa marks the first new material released by Black Forum since the label’s relaunch earlier this year. Black Forum originally debuted in 1970 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam, which won a GRAMMYAward for Best Spoken Word Album. The label reissued Dr. King’s influential speech earlier this year.

ELHAE illustration by Siwoo Lee and Motown Records for 360 Magazine

ELHAE – SEPARATED

WATCH THE VISUAL FOR “SEPARATED” HERE

STREAM “SEPARATED” HERE

Emerging as a melodic force of nature, rare groove enthusiast, singer and lyricist, Elhae releases his music video for “Separated“ out now. A follow up to his infectious “Fun Fact“ single featuring Rick Ross, “Separated” showcases a more complex side of Elhae that his fans have yet to experience. The beautifully shot visual, directed by Loris Russier, captures the emotional dynamic between two lovers who are desperately trying to hold on to their union, but ultimately realize that they’re better off apart. The visual portrays raw imagery with emotional highs and lows as Elhae painfully sings of heartbreak and love lost. Watch it HERE.

Praised by XXL as being “the next R&B sensation that’s about to make a huge wave in the industry,” the visual encompasses all the elements of a classic period piece tied into a modern-day love story, proving that Elhae’s creativity and talent are both layered and timeless. “Choosing “Separated” as a single was a no-brainer for me. I just think it’s such a relatable song in the sense that everyone’s been there before, in that heartbroken space, that disappointed space.” Elhae continues, “It’s not an easy topic for most, but on the other side of it usually comes growth and wisdom.”

“I was really stoked to have Loris Russier direct the video. My creative director Siwoo Lee really put me on to his work and I just loved the colors he was using, the shots and angles he used to convey emotion.” Elhae continues “I knew he’d be the right guy for the job. Although it’s impossible to show a whole relationship in 3 minutes, the goal was to try to show how good things can be and then instantly not be with someone you love. The song is really emotional, and I just wanted to pair that with something just as emotional visually. I love how everything came out and excited to work on more projects with Loris in the future.”

Known for his creativity and incredible attention to detail, Elhae’s vision for the single’s cover art was inspired by the parable of Samson & Delilah, a story of man who lost his strength due to putting his trust into the wrong woman. Produced by P2J (Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl) and co-written by Ari PenSmith (Doja Cat, Snoh Aalegra) “Separated” showcases Elhae in rare form as he boldly sings “I’m man enough to take the blame for my mistakes, it’s unfortunate you wanna try again, I can’t relate.”

In addition to XXL, Elhae has garnered glowing praise from The FaderBillboardVibeThe Source, and more. His 2016 album All Have Fallen produced hits like “Doesn’t Matter” (feat. Kehlani) and “Needs,” which has over 19M Spotify streams. 2017’s Aura II EP boasted the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “Bang Your Line,” which adds to its 24M Spotify streams every day. Outside his solo work, Elhae has collaborated with stars like Lecrae and Eric Bellinger. Following his 2018 Coachella performance, he released his conceptual album Trouble in Paradise (2019).

About Elhae:

North Dakota-born and Georgia-raised singer, artist, and visionary ELHAE approaches R&B like a film director would, choosing every element carefully, ensuring an intricate level of cohesion, and building his own world. Since catching fire in 2015 on the independent Aura EP, he worked towards eventually architecting such a world. The follow-up All Have Fallen yielded fan favorites such as “Doesn’t Matter” [feat Kehlani] and “Needs,” which clocked 19 million-plus Spotify streams. In between, he garnered glowing praise from the likes of The FaderBillboardVibeThe Source, and more as Sprite named him among its P.O.U.R. (Purveyors of Urban Reality) program. The 2017 sequel to Aura, the Aura II EP, boasted “Drama,” “Something,” and the popular “Bang Your Line” [feat. Ty Dolla $ign]. The latter ignited 24 million Spotify streams and counting. Meanwhile, he lent his voice to high-profile collaborations with Lecrae, Eric Bellinger, and many others in addition to supporting blackbear on tour.

2018 saw him grace the stage of Coachella for the first time in front of 40,000 fans as he diligently worked on new tunes in Los Angeles, Miami, and Atlanta. Inspired by childhood favorite albums such as Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet, and Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, he developed an airtight vision with a detailed plotline for his next release. In 2019, the vision unfolds over the course of his twelve-track conceptual project, Trouble In Paradise [Atlantic Records], introduced by the intoxicating first single “Hennessy.” His sound is about to blow up on the biggest canvas possible now.

ELHAE image Siwoo Lee by Motown Records for 360 Magazine

ELHAE still image by Loris Russier and by Motown Records for 360 Magazine

Duke Deuce – Soldiers Steppin

Memphis’ rising crunk star, Duke Deuce kicks off 2021 with his new rapid battle-ready song/video “Soldiers Steppin.” Watch the wild video here and stream the song here via Quality Control Music / Motown Records / Made Men Movement. “Soldiers Steppin”; makes its broadcast premier on BET Jams and BET Hip Hop.

The military themed video executive directed by Duke Deuce himself from the wardrobe to the script, finds Duke and his crew as soldiers being disciplined under their sergeant. Weapons at hand and the 1,2 step on lock, the crew bounce their way through training.

Duke’s sound is unique defying rap boundaries bringing Memphis crunk culture back to the forefront. Already under his belt Duke has collaborated with the likes of Mulatto, Lil Yachty, Juicy J, Project Pat, and more. Recent releases from Duke include his punchline filled “Duke Nukem Freestyle” and his southern stripclub themed “KIRK (ft. Mulatto).” Duke grew up around the Memphis sound and recalls the likes of Three6Mafia, 8Ball, and MJG as influences as well as his father Duke Nitty who produced the Memphis classic “S.O.U.T.H. Parkway” by Gangsta Blac. Duke is just getting started this year with one “what the f***” adlib at a time.

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Queen & Slim Soundtrack Out Now

Motown Records released Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack on vinyl for the first time. The two-LP limited edition of the acclaimed soundtrack is now available at participating independent record stores in conjunction with the Record Store Day’s RSD Drops 2020 program. Visit here for further details. Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack merchandise is available HERE.

Starring Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Queen & Slim is a powerful, consciousness-raising love story that confronts the staggering human toll of racism and the life-shattering price of violence. The film, from GRAMMYwinning director Melina Matsoukas and Emmy winning writer Lena Waithe, has won numerous awards including Best Movie at the BET Awards 20.

The music in the film serves as an additional voice and showcases the range of talent across Black artists with a compelling blend of genres. The 16-song soundtrack features new tracks by Ms. Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion x VickeeLo, Lil Baby, Vince Staples featuring 6lack X Mereba, Tiana Major 9 & EARTHGANG, Coast Contra; featuring BJ The Chicago Kidand Syd, plus classic songs byRoy Ayers, Bilal, Mike Jones and others. Blood Orange composed the film’s score and is featured on the soundtrack. See below for track listing.

Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack has received numerous award nominations, including an NAACP Image Awards nod for Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation. Collide by Tiana Major9 and EARTHGANG took Outstanding Original Song honors at the Black Reel Awards earlier this year and was named one of the best R&B songs of 2019 by VIBE.

Motown Records President Ethiopia Habtemariam, Waithe and Matsoukas served as executive soundtrack producers. AP said, “Together they’re like the perfect aux-cord DJs. They hit play, and they don’t miss.” The Atlantic noted, “The Best Part of Queen & Slim is the Soundtrack Music is woven throughout with an impressive ear for black American artists’complex relationships to the country they inhabit, and to other black people.”

TIME hailed the soundtrack as “an astounding collage of sound an ode to the past, present and future of black music.” NYLON predicted that Ride or Die from Megan Thee Stallion x VickeeLo “will be bumping in the club for months.” Pitchfork praised Vince Staples’ “Yo Love” feat. 6lack & Mereba as “a charming swerve from Staples that’s only further proof of the rapper’s chameleonic talents.” Rolling Stone said, “Guarding the Gates is an immersive and sprawling ballad as [Ms. Lauryn] Hill delivers a mesmerizing vocal performance.”

While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man (Kaluuya) and a black woman (Jodie Turner-Smith), are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.

As they drive, these two unlikely fugitives will discover themselves and each other in the most dire and desperate of circumstances and will forge a deep and powerful love that will reveal their shared humanity and shape the rest of their lives.

Waithe wrote the screenplay forQueen & Slim from a story by herself and bestselling author James Frey (A Million Little Pieces, Katerina). The film is produced by Frey, Waithe, Matsoukas, Michelle Knudsen, Andrew Coles, Brad Weston and Pamela Abdy. The executive producers are Pamela Hirsch, Kaluuya, Aaron L. Gilbert and Jason Cloth. Universal Pictures and Makeready present Queen & Slim in association with 3BlackDot and Bron Creative, a Makeready/De La Revoluci, Films/Hillman Grad/3BlackDot production.

Track Listing Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack

LP1 / SIDE

  1. Megan Thee Stallion feat. VickeeLo, Ride Or Die
  2. Bilal feat. Raphael Saadiq, Soul Sista (Remix)
  3. Vince Staples Feat. 6lack & Mereba, Yo Love
  4. Tiana Major9 & EARTHGANG, Collide

LP1 / SIDE B

  1. Syd, Getting Late
  2. Mike Jones feat. Slim Thug & Paul Wall, Still Tippin’
  3. Coast Contra feat. BJ The Chicago Kid, Queen x Slim
  4. Choker, Frame

LP2 / SIDE A

  1. Lil Baby, Catch The Sun
  2. Roy Ayers, Searching
  3. Ms. Lauryn Hill, Guarding The Gates
  4. Burna Boy, My Money, My Baby

LP2 / SIDE B

  1. Cedes Benz, The-Dream
  2. Little Freddie King, Standin’ At Yo Door (Live)
  3. Blood Orange feat. Ian Isiah & Jason Arce, Runnin’ Away
  4. Moses Sumney, Doomed

Joy Denalane – Be Here In The Morning

Today the R&B songstress Joy Denalane aka Germany’s Queen of Soul shares her video for Be Here In The Morning (feat. CS Armstrong) via Motown Records. The video was directed by Henrik Alm and made its broadcast premiere on BET Soul. Watch here. The track is off Joy’s debut U.S. album LET YOURSELF BE LOVED. Listen here.

“The song is about a relationship that’s in a good state, but maybe there is a moment where the partners tell each other that if you don’t see me for who I am we’re going to stumble into a problem,” says Joy Denalane. “Honor me for what and love me for who I am and if you do that then I’m gonna be there in the morning.”

“Be Here In The Morning” was created together with C. S. Armstrong. The Texan enchants the audience with a voice that many associate with the early Motown years. Be Here In The Morning is showcasing the vocal perfection of these two artists: in harmony with Joy Denalane they create a complex, soulful love duet about soulmates, consideration and tenderness. “Be Here In The Morning” captures a moment just before sunrise and lets another beautiful facet of love shine through on the album.

With LET YOURSELF BE LOVED Joy is making her definitive soul statement. The Motown album is in equal parts self-assertion, genealogy and homage to the great classics of the genre. A musical masterpiece where Denalane confidently brings together all the strands of her previous work. Nevertheless, she is not interested in vintage simulations of old soul recordings. She is driven by showing her musical identity. The album includes her singles I Believe (Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid), I Gotta Know, and Top Of My Love. Recently Joy performed her track Be Here In The Morning (Feat. CS Armstrong) on COLORS.

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Lil Baby – My Turn

Lil Baby declared 2020 as his year, and he continues prove not just that, but that he owns 2020 as he goes from strength-to-strength. This week the Grammy-nominated rapper is the first and only artist of 2020 to go RIAA-certified double-platinum in the U.S. with his release of “My Turn” (Quality Control Music, Wolfpack Global, Motown Records). “My Turn” is both 2020’s highest selling & highest streaming album in the U.S.

Lil Baby also hit #1 at urban radio for the 7th time — with his important and powerful single “The Bigger Picture,” hit 20 Billion streams globally, and was named Vevo’s Top Performing Hip Hop Artist of 2020.

All in a week’s work for Lil Baby who is celebrating his many milestones by giving fans the video release of “Forget That (featuring Rylo Rodriguez).” Rodriguez himself is an artist signed to Lil Baby’s 4PF label, where Baby continues to support artists and share his knowledge of being successful while staying authentic and true to himself.

WATCH: FORGET THAT (FEATURING RYLO RODRIGUEZ) HERE

Earlier this year, Lil Baby graced the cover of Rolling Stone; tied Prince and Paul McCartney for Billboard Hot 100 hits; saw his February #1 release of “My Turn” return to the top of the Billboard 200 three months later; spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart (tying Taylor Swift for most weeks atop the list in 2020). In June, Lil Baby dropped the powerful record, “The Bigger Picture,” articulating frustration, confusion, and a call to stand up for something much bigger than himself.

With such a rapid rise and a relentless stream of critical and commercial hits, it’s clear that Lil Baby is one of the greatest and most important success stories in hip-hop. At 25, has been one of the most dominant and critically acclaimed names in rap since his first release in 2017, and with just 3 years under his belt, it’s clear his run is far from over.

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Tiwa Savage – Temptation ft. Sam Smith

Today, Nigerian-born singer/songwriter Tiwa Savage shares her new single “Temptation,” featuring multi-GRAMMY Award-winning pop phenomenon Sam Smith. Released via Motown Records, “Temptation” is the latest single from Savage’s highly anticipated fourth studio album Celia, due out this Friday. The track is written by Tiwa Savage, Sam Smith, and Fireboy DML. It was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria and is produced by London.

Listen to “Temptation” by Tiwa Savage feat. Sam Smith HERE 

Hailed as the “Queen of Afrobeats,” Savage is the most popular female artist in Africa, and arguably the most popular artist in Nigeria. Last month, the globally celebrated fashion icon offered the first glimpse at her forthcoming album with “Dangerous Love” — a laid-back and enchanting track built on her signature blend of R&B and Afrobeats. Marking her directorial debut, the song’s video finds Savage co-directing alongside Ibra Ake (Childish Gambino, Beyoncé) for a stunning visual shot in Lagos, Nigeria.

Named after her mother, Celia showcases Savage’s extraordinary vocal talent and the incredible musical growth she’s experienced over the years. Born in Lagos, she grew up attending church with her parents and soon developed a love for performing, then relocated to London with her family at the age of 11. At the age of 16, she found herself singing backing vocals for George Michael — a turn of events that quickly led to working with the likes of Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Emma Bunton, and Blu Cantrell.

Despite having already completed a degree in business administration at the University of Kent, Savage was determined to pursue music and landed a scholarship at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston. Although she later moved New York City and linked up with various producers and industry professionals, she eventually returned to Nigeria (a move partly motivated by the lack of true female superstars in her home country). In 2019, she signed an exclusive recording contract with Universal Records, releasing her first global single “49-99” under Motown Records that summer. By the following spring, Savage had graced the cover of Billboard magazine’s first issue devoted entirely to Africa, alongside Afrobeat superstars Davido and Mr Eazi.

Through the years, Savage’s fearlessness in merging eclectic genres has more than paid off, earning her an abundance of awards and accolades. To that end, she made history in 2018 by becoming the first female to win the MTV Europe Music Award for Best African Act. She’s since garnered four Channel O Music Video Award nominations, five World Music Award nominations, and a multitude of nominations from the MTV Africa Music Awards, BET Awards, MOBO Awards, and many more. She’s also undertaken a number of philanthropic endeavors, supporting several youth engagement organizations and breast-cancer-screening projects across Nigeria and beyond. Additionally, Savage is very active in #JusticeForUwa, loudly voicing her disgust at the rape of a young girl in a church in Nigeria, and creating an Instagram account where rape victims can speak out.

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Joy Denalane – I Gotta Know

Today, Motown Records signee, the R&B songstress Joy Denalane aka Germany’s queen of soul drops the video for I Gotta Know. Watch it HERE. This follows Joy’s recent releases Top Of My Love, Put In Work, and Believe (featuring BJ The Chicago Kid). The tracks are off her upcoming album LET YOURSELF BE LOVED out September 4th.

With I Gotta Know, Joy Denalane shares a roaring, at times angry song which shows that love in all its complexity is not only told in ballads or mid-tempo compositions. Backed by a fantastic band, grand strings and winds, Joy Denalane creates a sound that is almost bursting with energy, perfectly woven to provide the necessary space for the powerful bandwidth of her voice. I Gotta Know pushes for the truth behind the rumors, yes, jealousy also plays a role, but at the core there is the pure and simple desire to not be hurt and humiliated by further lies. A universal feeling in which Joy Denalane instills with her voice self-confidence and strength and prefers to demand the end of the relationship rather than to continue to torment herself. I Gotta Know is a power move full of femininity and emotion.

Joy has collaborated with the likes of Raekwon, Lupe Fiasco, Bilal, Common, Hugh Masakela and more. Joy’s talent, emotional honesty, the culturally complex story of her life and natural beauty make her an incredibly attractive and versatile artist. Joy is the essence of the modern, global, black woman. She is the daughter of a South African father and a German mother and was born in the divided city of Berlin. Her access to African music and rhythms as well as her love of American soul music made her an enthusiastic follower and participant of the up-and-coming Hip-Hop movement, which found a home in the culturally diverse city of Berlin at an early age. At the same time, she was inspired by singers like Aretha Franklin, Letta M’Bulu and Mary J Blige, who gave her the energy and courage to combine all these musical backgrounds and create her own unique style. She is strong, beautiful, sensitive, a working mother and an ambitious artist

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Chaz French – What A Day Video

Today, critically acclaimed Washington, D.C. rapper Chaz French presents a powerful music video for his latest single “What A Day.” Watch it HERE. Get it HERE via Motown Records.

In the sunny day-in-the-life visual directed by Nicolas Castro, the MC gives a tour of various black-owned businesses in his hometown of Washington, D.C. Taking to the streets on his bike, he cruises the neighborhood and meets up with author and activist Tony Lewis, Jr. to pick up his book Slugg: A Boy’s Life In The Age Of Mass Incarceration before stopping by Southwest Soda Pop Shop, The Museum, Spice Suite, and the legendary Horace & Dickies. We see the faces of this community in the clip.

In a thoughtful post-script, he recalls, “I spent Black Out Tuesday supporting friends and family with Black-owned businesses and hope you did too… What A Day.”

Stay tuned for more music from Chaz French very soon.

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Sing Illustration by Mina Tocalini

Tiana Major9 – At Sixes and Sevens

Tiana Major9 announces the release date for her Motown debut EP, At Sixes and Sevens

Today, Motown Records’ rising star Tiana Major9 announced the date for her label debut EP, At Sixes and Sevens. On August 7th, Tiana will root her blend of R&B, soul, and hip-hop attitude with smooth jazz eloquence, all the while staying true to her East London and Jamaican spirit in the EP. When asked about her EP Tiana states, “To be at Sixes and Sevens means to be at a state of total confusion…Love is confusing.”

Leading up to this release, Tiana has kept her fans excitedly awaiting. In June, SPIN premiered Tiana’s track “Lucky,” which is on the upcoming EP. “Lucky” followed the breakout artist’s Motown solo debut, “Think About You,” which premiered on Teen Vogue. Tiana also promotes the upcoming EP with the release of the first episode of her new autobiographical 4-part miniseries, Behind At Sixes and Sevens. The series explores the journey of Tiana signing with Motown Records and gives fans an earnest look into the star’s life.

Tiana Major9 has been referred to as “one to watch in 2020” by Billboard and listeners couldn’t agree more. Watch out for all that is to come from Tiana in 2020, and beyond.