Posts tagged with "Tupac Shakur"

Podcast via 360 Magazine

Alison Interviews – Kadeem Hardison

Actor and director Kadeem Hardison is known for his iconic TV role as Dwayne Wayne on the groundbreaking NBC sitcom A Different World, which aired for seven seasons, from 1987 through 1993, and highlighted the lives and relationships of Black college students attending the fictional HBCU, Hillman College. The show also starred Lisa Bonet, Marisa Tomei, Jasmine Guy, Sinbad, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cree Summer, and Darryl M. Bell, among others.

Kadeem went on to play Zendaya’s father in Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover, and to recur in Showtime’s Black Monday. Hardison will now star in the upcoming AMC television series, Moonhaven, which takes place 100 years in the future in a utopian society set on a 500 square mile Garden of Eden built on the Moon.

The following are excerpts from the latest episode of the Allison Interviews podcast with host and entertainment journalist, Allison Kugel, interviewing Kadeem Hardison. Hardison talks about his relationships with Lisa Bonet, Marisa Tomei and Jasmine Guy, directing Tupac Shakur and Jada Pinkett Smith together, his friendship with Zendaya, and wishing Malcolm X were alive while he was growing up. The full podcast episode is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and the video episode of the podcast is available on YouTube

On Lisa Bonet confiding in him about how early fame affected her

“I had worked with Lisa [Bonet] the year before A Different World.  I did a guest spot on The Cosby Show and I was just really interested to know how she dealt with the fame thing. She was probably the most famous person I had ever met at that point. So, our conversations were me asking her, ‘So what’s it like with that big spotlight on you everywhere you go.’  She said, ‘Well, you know, I used to love to go to malls and I don’t go to malls anymore. I used to love to go out to the movies and I can’t do that anymore.’  It was all about these things that were kind of restricted, or she restricted herself from, because it brought so much attention. She was someone I was gaining knowledge from. Then on A Different World, I got to pretend to have a crush on Lisa, which was the easiest job in America.” 

On having a crush on Jasmine Guy as soon as they met

“I met Jasmine the year before [A Different World].  We did a film together. Our characters didn’t speak, but in the down time we kind of got to hang out a little bit and be at parties and stuff like that. Oh boy, I had a crush on Jasmine the minute I saw her. When I met Jasmine [Guy] it was an instant skipped heartbeat. Once Lisa was gone, I got to pretend to fall in love with Jasmine (on A Different World).”

On Marisa Tomei’s character being the only white character on A Different World

“[Marisa] was cast before I got there. Usually when you make a show, you better have some white characters in it (laugh), or someone is going to raise hell. Someone is going to say, ‘Why are there no white folks on it?’  It’s a historically Black university. Black being the operative word. But I loved her character.  I was sad when she was gone in the second season.” 

On Marisa Tomei and Kadeem wanting their A Different World characters to get together

“During the first season she and I both lobbied to the writers to put us together. Let us have more scenes together. Let something develop between us. Like why doesn’t she see him? Why doesn’t he see her?  It just seemed so obvious that the two weirdest outcasts would kind of find each other. I thought our characters were kind of made for each other, because she was kind of off, and I was definitely off. I thought, ‘Nobody sees him out of the group.’ Like the girls that I’m chasing all the time; nobody sees him.  Why doesn’t she see him and why doesn’t he see her?  They seemed like they could bond off of their uniqueness, or the fact that they are both a little bit off. But at the time it was ‘let’s keep the blacks with the black, and the whites with the whites.’ It’s crazy.”

On directing Jada Pinkett Smith and Tupac Shakur together on A Different World

“It was fantastic. They had a seamless chemistry.  How do you direct De Niro and Pacino?  You just kind of stand back and let them go. You hope that the cameras are in focus. I didn’t really have to tell him much.  I didn’t have to tell her hardly anything. It was a joy to watch.  It was probably the easiest directing job. The fight scene we had to tweak a little bit.  We had to work on it, because it was a fight between Jada’s character’s current boyfriend and Pac’s character.  So, we had to spend some time working that out, but once I said ‘Action,’ it took on a life of its own. It felt like a real fight. It felt like a real brawl, and that was Pac.  That was him going in, like, ‘I’m going to whoop this sucker.’ It was awesome to direct the two of them.  They were good buds and I kept asking her, ‘Is he going to show up? Because I have lots of rapper friends and I knew that [being on] time is not their friend?  She said, ‘Yes, he’s coming. He’s on his way.’

“I always felt like I loved Tupac as a rapper, but I was jealous of him as an actor, because I just thought he had such range. He could touch places that I didn’t know if I could go. I just wanted to watch.  But it wasn’t Macbeth, you know what I mean?  He’s playing the neighborhood cat that comes in full of bravado to claim the girl he thinks is his. He was like, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’  (laugh). [Jada] was playing the girl who was trying to get away from that life. There were no real notes for them. There was no reason to say, ‘Hey try it like this.’ Everything they did was magic.”

On almost turning down playing Zendaya’s dad in Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover

“When K.C. Undercover came along, I didn’t really know who Zendaya was and I was a little skeptical about [the] Disney Channel.  I wanted to curse, bleed, and do all kinds of adult stuff, and that’s not going to happen with the Disney Channel. When I got word of the audition I was in New York and my nieces and my sisters were asking me, ‘What are you doing next?’  I said, ‘Well, there’s this show with this girl named Zendaya or something like that, and they want me to be her daddy.’ Everyone from my six-year-old niece to my 30-year-old sister all flipped out and said, ‘You have to take that. That girl is going to be something!’”

On celebrating with Zendaya when she landed her role in Spider-Man

“She’s my ace, and all of these moves she’s made have been really well thought out.  I was there when she booked Spider-Man and we jumped around the room like, ‘Holy sh*t, you’re going to be in Spider-Man? What?!’ And I was there when she got the musical with Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman. I knew that once we get out of Disney world, we just want to get a chance to get our hands on some meat, to see if we can really act, because we’ve been doing nice, easy cotton candy for so long. I have to see if I can really throw down still.  Her show, Euphoria was it, and I’m loving it!”

On why he wishes Malcolm X was alive while he was growing up

“Once you die, you become a god, but I think if he was still around, the teaching would have reached more.  He would have had to grow, change, and adapt.  All of that would have made him better, and us better, for having him. He would have been able to import that into us. It’s hard to say, because now he is It. He’s the one you look to and say, ‘This is what this guy said,’ or ‘This is what he was saying,’ but you never get to hear what he would have said had he lived another 10, 20, or 30 years. That’s where it would have gotten groovy, because I think he was gone before I was born. It would have been nice to see him as a real person instead of this god that you have to read about in books, or look at on old tapes from the time that he was living, and not the times we’re living in. In my 20s, I would have liked to know what he thought about the world we were living in. In my 40s, I would have liked to know what he thought about the world we are in. That’s the version of things I would want.”

DMX via shotbyjacques for use by 360 Magazine

DMX Estate Given to Family

DMX‘s ex wife, Tashera Simmons oldest sons , Xavier Simmons, Sean Simmons and Tacoma Simmons have been appointed temporary co-administrators of the estate of Earl “DMX” Simmons pursuant to a decision of the Westchester county Surrogate’s Court today. They will now exclusively manage the affairs of their late father’s estate.  The estate has retained entertainment attorney Ron Sweeney of Ron Sweeney and Company to exclusively handle all entertainment related matters.  Estate Attorney, Herb Nass is the attorney for the Earl “DMX” Simmons estate and the sons as co-administrators..”

When it comes to DMX, a man blessed with a vicious bark of a voice, there is no such thing as half-stepping. Born Earl Simmons in 1970, the Yonkers-raised MC arrived as the physical embodiment of unbridled energy—a one-man distillation of fellow rugged New York acts like Wu-Tang Clan. With the release of his 1998 debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, DMX wrapped himself in musical aggression that enhanced his imposing presence across songs like the minimal, clanging “Get at Me Dog,” and rowdy breakout “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.” But X scaled back the pugnacity on that same album’s introspective “How’s It Goin’ Down,” which featured angelic vocals from R&B’s Faith Evans and painted a vivid picture of a complex relationship headed down the wrong path.

DMX would revisit that sensitivity on “Slippin’,” a heart-rending track from 1998’s Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood that found him expressing a desire to live a less tumultuous life. As at odds as the rapper’s two sides may seem to be, he’s always thrived most while letting his emotions fly unrestrained. In 2000, he released ...And Then There Was X, where even the anthemic “Party Up” served as a prime example of DMX’s uniquely intense take on hardcore hip-hop. But whether ferocious, amped up, or introspective, the MC has remained grounded by his faith, which, especially in the later years of his career, he approaches with nothing short of absolute devotion.

Following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., DMX took over as the undisputed reigning king of hardcore rap. He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare. His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap’s most distinctive personalities during his heyday. Everything about DMX was unremittingly intense, from his muscular, tattooed physique to his gruff, barking delivery, which made a perfect match for his trademark lyrical obsession with dogs. Plus, there was substance behind the style; much of his work was tied together by a fascination with the split between the sacred and the profane. He could move from spiritual anguish one minute to a narrative about the sins of the streets the next, yet keep it all part of the same complex character, sort of like a hip-hop Johnny Cash. The results were compelling enough to make DMX the first artist ever to have his first four albums enter the charts at number one.

Karl Kani Reinvents Himself... Again from Winnie StaCkz for use by 360 Magazine

KARL KANI REINVENTS HIMSELF… AGAIN

By: Clara Guthrie

At the junction of fashion and hip-hop lies the iconic and immortalized designs of Karl Kani. Coined the Godfather of Streetwear, the brand’s designer, born Carl Williams, first developed an interest in fashion when he watched his father, a Panamanian immigrant, have his clothing personally made by a tailor. In a conversation with Flaunt, Williams said, “Watching him make his own clothing inspired me to understand how easy it is to make clothing. […] so I decided I wanted to make my own outfits with my dad’s tailor.” This endeavor quickly became a small business of its own as friends would ask Williams to make them replicas of whatever styles he was wearing. But the real turning point moment was when an incredulous friend refused to believe that a certain jacket had actually been made by Williams, asking why his name was not emblazoned on the piece’s tag. The “street revolution”—as Williams calls it—then began, and every new design proudly had Williams’ name on it.

In 1989, at just 17 years old, Williams moved to Los Angeles to pursue fashion more seriously. He opened a store on Crenshaw Boulevard and continued to design, but this time under a new moniker, Karl Kani. According to the official Karl Kani website, the name came to being as the brand grew in recognition and demand, and consequently, Williams would always ask himself, “Can I do this?” It was with this incessant question in mind that he rose to his own challenge and legally changed his name to Karl Kani, an alternative spelling of both his birth name and “Can I?”

Since the brand’s electric inception, Karl Kani filled a void in the world of fashion and revolutionized the concept of streetwear. In the Flaunt interview mentioned above, Kani said, “Hip-hop needed a clothing brand; Karl Kani needed an industry, so we [could] combine together and [were] able to create success for everyone.” Karl Kani quickly became the “it” brand for the Golden Age of hip-hop that emerged in the late 1980s and commanded the music and pop culture scene through the 1990s.

The eternally cool streetwear brand became the paragon of and blueprint for a distinctive revolution in the world of fashion. In a white-dominated industry, Karl Kani clothing was unapologetically designed with black people, and specifically black creatives, in mind. “The only thing that really kept me striving was seeing black people being successful in the music industry,” Kani told The Los Angeles Times in 1994. “I wanted to be a part of that, but I knew I couldn’t sing or dance or rap. I couldn’t do all that, but I could provide clothing for the people who were out there, who could make me famous at the same time.”

Kani formed poignant and lucrative bonds with many of these black performers, most notably Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. In 1994, Kani approached Tupac about shooting a campaign for the fashion company since the rapper often sported his clothing and asked how much he would charge for the favor. As Kani remembers it, Tupac responded, “No, I’m not charging you for nothing. You’re my people, you’re black. I got you.” His only request was that Kani put his song, “Thug Life” in the background of some of his advertisements. The Karl Kani × Tupac collaboration became iconic: a moment in which two art forms came together and the world stood by to watch.

Kani’s relationship with Biggie was solidified when the artist shouted out the brand in his song, “One More Chance,” rapping: “I got the funk flow to make your drawers drop slow, so recognize the dick size in these Karl Kani jeans. I wear thirteens, know what I mean?” (And by the way, Biggie really did wear a size thirteen in Karl Kani jeans. Kani consciously made clothing for men of bigger sizes who fashion largely ignored at the time.)

You can check out Tupac, Biggie and a collection of other celebrities wearing Karl Kani HERE.

One of Kani’s most resonant, popular and withstanding designs was the wide-leg jeans. The design came to being as Kani noticed that people would size up when purchasing jeans to achieve a baggier aesthetic but the waists would then be far too large on them. He ingeniously bypassed this problem by increasing only the size of the pant legs and never altering the waist.

If there is anything that defines Kani, though, it is his adaptable, trendsetting and forward-thinking mind. When his signature wide-leg jeans were co-opted by other brands, and as the streetwear look evolved past its earlier days, Kani ensured that his designs pioneered stylistic change, never to be left behind. “A lot of people are doing a lot of the things we used to do, and we want to look different,” Kani said in 1994. “By staying real and staying focused and always changing your style, you’re always going to stay ahead of the marketplace.”

Recently, Karl Kani has made a striking resurgence in the world of streetwear due to its on-point designs—including an entire collection of unisex pieces—and the rise of nostalgia fashion, now making the brand a multi-generational and inclusive powerhouse. This new wave of Karl Kani designs has been accompanied with a new troupe of black artists advertising the brand. For example, the rap group, Migos, formed a relationship with Karl Kani starting in 2015. “They wore it in all their videos and press and they were able to reintroduce my brand to a whole new young generation which was really cool because they were on top of their game,” Kani said to INDIE Magazine in 2019. Kani also told Wonderland Magazine that he sees artists like “Rihanna, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky [and] Keith Powers” as dream collaborations and models for the brand: artists that represent the eternal spirit and vibe of Karl Kani.

It is safe to say that no matter who takes over the hip-hop scene next, or however the world of street fashion reinvents itself, Karl Kani will be a part of it.

Karl Kani Reinvents Himself... Again from Winnie StaCkz for use by 360 Magazine

Photo Credit: Tony Photo

Karl Kani Reinvents Himself... Again from Winnie StaCkz for use by 360 Magazine

Photo Credit: Tony Photo

Karl Kani Reinvents Himself... Again from Winnie StaCkz for use by 360 Magazine

Photo Credit: Tony Photo

Karl Kani Reinvents Himself... Again from Winnie StaCkz for use by 360 Magazine

Photo Credit: Tony Photo

DMX illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo Credit Jonathan Mannion) for 360 Magazine

DMX

Official Statements from DMX’s Family & White Plains Hospital

“We are deeply saddened to announce today that our loved one, DMX, birth name of Earl Simmons, passed away at 50-years-old at White Plains Hospital with his family by his side after being placed on life support for the past few days. Earl was a warrior who fought till the very end. He loved his family with all of his heart, and we cherish the times we spent with him. Earl’s music inspired countless fans across the world and his iconic legacy will live on forever. We appreciate all of the love and support during this incredibly difficult time. Please respect our privacy as we grieve the loss of our brother, father, uncle and the man the world knew as DMX. We will share information about his memorial service once details are finalized.” – Earl “DMX” Simmons’ Family

“White Plains Hospital extends its deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Simmons, as well as his friends and legions of fans who expressed their unwavering support during this difficult time. Earl Simmons passed away peacefully with family present after suffering a catastrophic cardiac arrest.”   

When it comes to DMX, a man blessed with a vicious bark of a voice, there is no such thing as half-stepping. Born Earl Simmons in 1970, the Yonkers-raised MC arrived as the physical embodiment of unbridled energy—a one-man distillation of fellow rugged New York acts like Wu-Tang Clan. With the release of his 1998 debut, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot, DMX wrapped himself in musical aggression that enhanced his imposing presence across songs like the minimal, clanging “Get at Me Dog” and rowdy breakout “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.” But X scaled back the pugnacity on that same album’s introspective “How’s It Goin’ Down,” which featured angelic vocals from R&B’s Faith Evans and painted a vivid picture of a complex relationship headed down the wrong path. DMX would revisit that sensitivity on “Slippin’,” a heart-rending track from 1998’s Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood that found him expressing a desire to live a less tumultuous life. As at odds as the rapper’s two sides may seem to be, he’s always thrived most while letting his emotions fly unrestrained. In 2000, he released …And Then There Was X, where even the anthemic “Party Up” served as a prime example of DMX’s uniquely intense take on hardcore hip-hop. But whether ferocious, amped up, or introspective, the MC has remained grounded by his faith, which, especially in the later years of his career, he approaches with nothing short of absolute devotion.

Following the deaths of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., DMX took over as the undisputed reigning king of hardcore rap. He was that rare commodity: a commercial powerhouse with artistic and street credibility to spare. His rapid ascent to stardom was actually almost a decade in the making, which gave him a chance to develop the theatrical image that made him one of rap’s most distinctive personalities during his heyday. Everything about DMX was unremittingly intense, from his muscular, tattooed physique to his gruff, barking delivery, which made a perfect match for his trademark lyrical obsession with dogs. Plus, there was substance behind the style; much of his work was tied together by a fascination with the split between the sacred and the profane. He could move from spiritual anguish one minute to a narrative about the sins of the streets the next yet keep it all part of the same complex character, sort of like a hip-hop Johnny Cash. The results were compelling enough to make DMX the first artist ever to have his first four albums enter the charts at number one.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Mannion

Photo credit: Jonathan Mannion

QxA with Akeem Mair

This holiday season, actor Akeem Mair took the time to speak with 360 Magazine about his craft, his inspirations, how his career has been impacted by COVID-19, and more. Movie star Akeem Mair is the entertainment industry’s up-and-coming icon. In his career as an artist, he has appeared in several movie productions including All About Money, A Wonderful World, Limbo, Life of a Villain, Red, Fine Line, Silent Love, The Kidnap, etc. He’s worked with many production companies, including the Columbia College of Hollywood Production.

Akeem has signed with two agencies: Commercial Talent Agency (under Sarah Angeli) and Minc Talent (under Mariko Ballentine). At 32, Akeem is in his prime. With his noteworthy work ethic and passion, he is destined for greater heights. In fact, he has over 5 million views for a single video alone – the time when he appeared for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which Ellen described as “the best episode she’s ever seen.”

Besides this feature with 360 Magazine, Akeem appears in many publications such as NY Wire’s Top 25 Individuals, US Reporter’s Top 15 Entrepreneurs, LA Wire’s Top 20 IG Accounts to Follow in 2020, and many more. Read on to hear 360’s interview with Akeem below.

What do you love most about being an actor?

I found a strong love of being in front of the camera with everybody watching. It’s like my escape from my own reality, which is refreshing to me. I get the opportunity to pour myself into different characters and experience that person’s life. How they see the world and how different their life experiences are from mines. I love to learn how they think, how they would react in certain situations, the way they talk and walk, the way they dress, etc. Then, you can take what you learn from playing that character and use it to make your own life more complete. Meaning if you like how that character approaches life, then copy and apply it. At first the camera scared me – I’m not gonna lie. But a director once told me that the fear I show in front of the camera robs the audience of their entertainment. Once I broke out of that, my understanding of my own craft changed. Acting is my life!

Did you always wanted to be an actor, or did you have other ambitions?

Actually, believe it or not, I wanted to be a financial banker. I watched Michael Douglas in the film called, “The Game,” and became hooked after that. I saw the 2000 BMW 740 I, the designer suits, the excitement of winning their clients’ money in the office, the personal maid that lives at his house, and I always loved crunching numbers in a calculator. But as I was working at Ralph’s grocery store when a loyal customer ending up changing my whole life. I was a cashier, and she came into my line with a sad demeanor. I could tell something was troubling her, so I tried to brighten up her day with my personality. I said “Hi, it’s good to see you again, did you find everything ok?” She said softly, “Yes I did, thank you!” I said, “Usually I see you smiling, but whatever you’re going through I know God will not give you more than you can handle! He has something better for you!” After the transaction I said, “Have a Blessed day! I hope to see you again soon.” Immediately she paused and finally looked up at me for the first time and I could tell she had been crying. She asked me, “Are you an actor?” I said, “No. Why do you ask?” She said, “Because your energy is filled with so much positive energy. You move people by it. You lifted up my spirits after I just lost my house in a foreclosure. Thank you!” Her reply shocked me. After she left, I went home that day and wondered, What would my life look like if I was a successful actor? I thought about how I would be able to help my family so much more and how I can infect millions of people with the same positive energy. That night, I searched ‘how to become an actor’ and it said most start as an extra on a movie set. The next day I reached out to Central Casting in Burbank for their free introduction and here I am today! I am more than satisfied and really love what I do!

How has COVID-19 impacted your industry?

My industry has changed a lot! At first, the acting classes I would attend would be at different acting studios across Los Angeles and held in person. Same as the auditions I would get. And I would have to deal with sitting in the heavy traffic, busy freeways, hoping to get to where I need to on time. Now it’s crazy to think everything is happening on my iPhone 11 Pro! My auditions are either through Zoom or I would have to submit a self-tape that would record off of my phone’s camera and be edited in the iMovie feature. All of my classes have been online through Zoom. So, the coaches now email you a link to jump on when class starts. The biggest issue now is not the heavy traffic, it’s the internet connection. If you have bad WiFi, it easily destroys your Zoom live audition and costs you the job. So, it is extremely important now to have amazing WiFi connection.

Do you have other passions besides acting?

I love writing poetry; it really soothes my soul. I like to write out all the emotions and experiences I go through like in poems and lyrics. 2pac was the one who really inspired me to use my pen as an outlet.

I appreciate Vaughn and 360 Magazine

For allowing me to tell my story

It was a journey to chase my dreams

And stayed away from things ain’t for me

I would sit in the movie theaters

And picture myself reaching glory

I knew could take care of my family

If I stop feeling sorry

By working hard building my legacy

It creates an attraction

Sending me blessings of opportunities

I would of never would of imagine

I had to escape from my reality

By following my passions

I can’t be worried about anybody else

I constantly take action

When I’m finished grinding everyday

I die as a legend

What is the biggest life lesson you learned?

You have to decide to go after your dreams because that’s what you want to do. There’s going to be so many people in your ear telling you different things and most of the time, it’s family because they want to protect you from failing. The only problem about that is it takes you away from doing what you love and moves you closer to a life of regret. So, take your time and really think about your dreams and how you want your life to be. Take out a piece of paper and write what you want out of life. I am an actor today because it’s my dream. I wrote it down, I proclaimed it in front of the mirror, and I tell my friends and family all the time what my dreams are and that I am going to achieve them.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

My biggest challenge is balancing my money and time. Because let me tell you, I’ve invested a lot of money to strive as an actor. Dreams come with lots of sacrifices. This is the one side of dreams that is not so glamorous. I can’t watch television when I get home because I have to practice, do auditions, or attend classes. Before I can even think about buying the latest technology, clothes, or shoes, I would have to also think about classes, camera equipment, printing, headshots, costumes, etc. You have to be willing at any moment to sacrifice for your dreams and it’s the hardest part. I’m giving up sleep most days because I’m so busy, but I love it!!

Who are the people who are your biggest influences and why?

Tupac Shakur, Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy are my biggest influences. Everyone knows why Eddie Murphy is so big of an inspiration to me. It’s how I got my name! His character, Akeem, from Coming to America made my parents fall in love with the name due to his performance. As I’m older now and have watched it for myself, it’s crazy so much of my personality has rubbed off of him and into me. He possesses a sense of humor and radiates authority, yet he remains humble, practices kindness and self-sacrifices for the people around him. Denzel Washington is my next inspiration. I always love how Denzel approaches his game. The confidence, swag, fearlessness, and mental toughness he possesses in most of the characters he played, you can just feel his presence through your television. His Oscar performance character Alonzo Harris in Training Day was unbelievable. You felt the selfishness, greed, carelessness, ruthlessness, and his betrayal. I would love to ask him, “how do you get to that place in a character and stay there?” Finally, 2pac! His wisdom and his work ethic are what really blow my mind. I love how he was able to captivate a crowd of people and get everyone to follow him around. To be so young and so ahead of his time is crazy. He inspires me to think ahead always and to do more than what you think your capable of doing. And stop taking breaks! I remember how upset he got when his team took breaks and reminds them how time is short.

If you could change one thing you did at the beginning of your career, what would it be?

I would go back to tell the younger me to keep track of your day. Stop worrying about your yearly resolutions and worry about your daily resolutions. Because if you can’t take care of a simple day, how on earth are you going to conquer your year? It’s going to escape you every time. I always hear it in people’s voices when they talk about what they are going to be or going to have. I’m like, wait a minute, what are you going to do today? And people are usually confused or haven’t thought about it. See, it’s that’s answer right there that’s gonna kill everything you just told me.

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Tupac Shakur, Interscope Record, 360 MAGAZINE

25th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue of Thug Life

Interscope Records announces the release of a 25th anniversary vinyl reissue of Thug Life: Volume 1 — the only studio album from Thug Life, the group founded by rap legend and cultural icon Tupac Shakur. In addition to the vinyl reissue, the anniversary celebration includes the release of all-new Thug Life merchandise, including t-shirts, a hoodie, jacket, overalls and beanie. Album t-shirt and hoodie will also be available for purchase bundle with vinyl.

See link to Tupac official store HERE.

Initially released on September 26, 1994, Thug Life: Volume 1 received gold certification from the RIAA. Among the album’s notable tracks are “How Long Will They Mourn Me?” ft. Nate Dogg, a reflective but powerful piece featured on 2Pac’s diamond-selling double-album Greatest Hits. In addition, the largely-self-produced Thug Life: Volume 1 includes tracks like “Pour Out a Little Liquor” (which also appears on the soundtrack to Tupac’s 1994 film Above the Rim), “Cradle to the Grave,” and “Str8 Ballin’.”

Prior to forming Thug Life in 1993, Tupac had established himself as a formidable new force in the hip-hop world with his 1991 debut album 2Pacalypse Now and 1993’s platinum-certified Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. With its unapologetically honest and deeply personal look at street life, Thug Life: Volume 1 is widely considered a crucial midpoint between Tupac’s early work and his history-making, diamond-selling, massively influential 1996 album All Eyez on Me.

Tracklist for Thug Life: Volume 1:

Eastside:
1.  Bury Me a G 
2.  Don’t Get It Twisted
3.  Shit Don’t Stop 
4.  Pour Out A Little Liquor 
5.  Stay True   

Westside:
1.  How Long Will They Mourn Me? 
2.  Under Pressure 
3.  Street Fame 
4.  Cradle To The Grave 
5.  Str8 Ballin’ 

ABOUT TUPAC SHAKUR:

Though his recording career lasted just five years, Tupac Shakur is one of the most popular artists in music history, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide. Over half of his eleven studio albums have sold in excess of three million copies each, and two of his releases — 1996’s All Eyez On Me and his Greatest Hits collection — have received diamond certification, with sales of over 10 million copies each. In December 2016, it was announced that Tupac would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, making him the first solo hip-hop artist to be recognized for inclusion. The ceremony took place in Brooklyn, New York, on April 7, 2017, and included a musical tribute from Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, and T.I. Along with his musical career, Tupac also found success and critical acclaim as an actor, starring in films like JuicePoetic JusticeAbove The RimGridlock’d, and Gang Related.

Tupac’s life and legacy continue to impact and influence culture today, from a groundbreaking performance via hologram at the 2012 Coachella Music and Arts Festival to a spoken-word appearance on Kendrick Lamar’s critically praised 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly.

New EP by TJ Porter

HARLEM RAPPER TJ PORTER DROPS NEW EP “NO DISTURBANCE”

LISTEN HERE:
http://TJPorter.lnk.to/NoDisturbance

HE WILL BE FEATURED IN DEF JAM’S UNDISPUTED COMPILATION, OUT MARCH 8TH!

“NO DISTURBANCE” TRACK LIST:
1. I CAN’T
2. THE DON
3. HARDER THAN EVER (FEAT. JAY GWUAPO & KJ BALLA)
4. CHEATED

“TJ Porter is leading Harlem into the future.” 

“He cuts through beats with ease & takes an approach that most artist don’t.” 

“His rhymes, deft and sharp with Harlem’s natural proclivity for quick wit and bucket drummer cadences, are leavened by a singsong delivery that sounds modern, but anchored in a traditionalist’s slickness.”

ABOUT TJ PORTER:

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take…but TJ Porter is shooting to win. The Harlem native is taking his prowess from the basketball court—hunger, drive and hard work—into hip-hop. “This is a mental game,” he says. “I want to be the best.”

Raised in the Robert F. Wagner Housing Projects, the 18-year-old (born Terrence Reaves) grew up on Nas, The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. “My uncle would say, ‘I want y’all to listen to this and by the end of the day, tell me what the songs mean.’” Mature for his age, he began rapping at eight and made his first song at 12. “As a kid, I was always chilling with the older guys in the hood. I would always be rapping.” His natural athleticism led him to want to pursue basketball professionally. For several years, music took a back seat to his hoop dreams.

In 2016, TJ’s career—and life—hit a turning point when his best friend, Chico, was fatally shot in a gang-related incident. He questioned his life in the streets and admits, that he was filled with anger. “I ain’t gonna lie. It changed my life.” Through tragedy sprung hope. He took on “We gon’ ball,” the mantra of his slain friend, and the moniker “TJ Porter,” a nod to the debonair Rich Porter from Paid in Full, and set his eyes on rap as the prize.

With the forthcoming Voice of The Trenches, TJ Porter is ready to tell his story. Autobiographical, he hopes to showcase the many facets of New York City—good and bad. He’s slated to hit the road later this year and release a trilogy of projects leading into NBA All -Star Weekend 2019. More than anything, TJ hopes that his success can serve as a motivation, especially to other young people. “I’mma give you the trenches,” he says. “But these are the opportunities you can get.”

FOLLOW TJ PORTER
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Def Jam Recordings to Release The Hate U Give Official Movie Soundtrack

Def Jam Recordings, the iconic label and global brand synonymous with hip-hop culture, partners with 20th Century Fox on Oct. 12th release of the Official Soundtrack to the highly-anticipated film The Hate U Give.

Def Jam Recordings’ next generation of stars, Arlissa and Bobby Sessions, join an all-star cast cast of contemporary and legendary artists including Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Logic, Jadakiss, and Tupac Shakur for the official soundtrack of The Hate U Give.

Arlissa and Bobby Sessions introduce new, previously unreleased songs on the soundtrack, which Variety raves, “cleverly mimics the film’s outlook by oscillating between snatches of 2Pac and modern R&B;” South London-bred, 25 year old siren Arlissa, who appeared in the August issue of Vogue, experienced her first real taste of success with her breakthrough track “Hearts Ain’t Gonna Lie.”

Arlissa’s defiant anthem “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give soundtrack garnered early buzz at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of T.H.U.G., with Toronto’s NOW exclaiming “the soulful ballad has got ‘Oscar nominee’ written all over it.”

Listen to it here!

“It’s been a true honor to be involved in something so significant and relevant to today’s social climate…I was one of the millions of people who were deeply touched by the book, so to be able to contribute to the movie, which shines such a strong light on inequality, has been a responsibility I’ve taken with such pride and care. This is not just a film, this is education,” says Arlissa.

Fiery Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions, who NPR raves, “confronts racism with a captivating flow that’s both acrimonious and awe-inspiring,” and whose debut EP “channels the anger and despair that accompany the cycle is systematic racism” according to XXL, performs the eponymous title tune, “The Hate U Give.”

Shaping up as one of the fall season’s breakout movies, The Hate U Give stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr, a teen who is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.  Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right. Amandla’s original song “Always” closes out the soundtrack.

The Hate U Give also stars Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Issa Rae, KJ Apa, Algee Smith and Sabrina Carpenter, with Common, and Anthony Mackie. The film was directed by George Tillman Jr. (NotoriousMen Of Honor), and produced by Robert Teitel, George Tillman Jr., Marty Bowen, and Wyck Godfrey.  The Hate U Give, whose screenplay was written by Audrey Wells (A Dog’s PurposeUnder The Tuscan Sun), is a Fox 2000 Pictures, State Street Pictures, and Temple Hill Entertainment production, distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Woody McClain to Reprise Role in “The Bobby Brown Story”

NAACP-nominated Lead Actor Woody McClain is reprising his role as Bobby Brown in BET’s The Bobby Brown Story, which follows Brown through highs and lows both personal and professional as he settles into new roles as a husband and father. The direct sequel to The New Edition Story is set to premiere in September as a two part television event.

Woody was recently nominated for Outstanding Actor at the NAACP Image Awards for his depiction of Bobby Brown in The New Edition Story, while the show took home the award for Outstanding Limited Series. The New Edition Story pulled record ratings, attracting 29 million total viewers during premiere week, making it the network’s highest-rated and most-watched telecasts since 2012.

Soon after the premiere of The Bobby Brown Story, he will be seen on the big screen in Canal Street playing “MayMay,” set to release in Fall 2018. His recent projects also include a role in USA’s series “Unsolved,” a scripted true crime series based on the murder investigations of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

Woody McClain was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in Jacksonville, Florida before moving to Los Angeles in 2012 to pursue a career as a professional dancer. He has since performed with numerous artists including Chris Brown and Fifth Harmony.

After excelling in his career as a professional dancer, he began creating original social media content and noticed very quickly that he had a gift for making people laugh. In fact, Woody signed with Kevin Hart’s production company, ‘HartBeat Digital’, in December 2015 to produce content after his version of Hart’s “Permission to Cuss” skit went viral and caught Hart’s attention.

Alongside his acting, he has teamed up with Kevin Hart for a streaming series in which he plays Kevin, based on Hart’s most iconic stories and stand-up bits available via Hart’s streaming video service, “Laugh Out Loud”. McClain is the creator, Executive Producer and star of Stories With Kev, with Hart serving as Executive Producer.

EW’s first look at The Bobby Brown Story

Instagram

Twitter

Photo credits to Mario Barberio

EBIE PAYS TRIBUTE TO FATHER/GANGSTER RAPPER, EAZY-E

In honor of his birthday, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright, daughter Ebie collaborates with famed photographer Mike Miller to recapture similar photos for both daughter and father to share.

In tribute of what would have been Eazy-E’s 53rd Birthday on September 7th, 2017, Ebie states:

“I usually try to do a tribute to my father on his death anniversary but something about his birthday just seemed more fitting this year. I called on none other than Mike Miller who is responsible for shooting some of my dad’s most classic pictures to help me bring my “Eazy-E inspired” vision to life. Mike is phenomenal and I just felt chills imagining how it was on the days he and my father got out in the streets and got creative together. 22 years later and it still hasn’t gotten any Eazier but today is a celebration … Happy Birthday dad!! I know you’re watching over me and I’ll forever continue to be Ruthless.” – Ebie

Having photographed many major-label album covers from various genres, Mike Miller has become a famed photographer/director. He has worked with various other musical acts including Tupac, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, YG and Eazy-E, and is currently working with Ferrari and collaborating withRetna, Shepard Fairey. A number of Mikeߣs previous clients include&#a0;Angelina Jolie, Jack Nicholson, Cameron Diaz, James Franco, Sony, Nicole Richie, Nike, Puma, MTV Video Awards, Coca~Cola, and Stussy.

unnamed (4)Mike Miller has recently made headlines after allegedly suing The Kardashian Clan: Kylie and Kendall Jenner for the use his photos of Tupac Shakur without his permission.

Mike recently collaborated with Ebie to create an “Eazy-E” inspired photoshoot to pay tribute to the rapper’s birthday. While working with Ebie, Mike shared:

“Wow… Ebie is just awesome. Being a DJ and photographing musicians for 30 years her dad was one of my all-time favorite people to shoot as well as one of my all time favorite rappers. I felt an immediate connection with Ebie, having daughters of my own saddens me that he’s not around to see his grow. We had a blast…. Happy Birthday Eazy.”

In Mike Miller’s book “West Coast Hip-Hop: A History in Pictures”, Mike shared what it was like working with the legendary rapper:

“I consider myself very fortunate to have photographed Eazy, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Ren , Yella and Arabian Prince. First time “The Source Magazine” asked me to head out to a Culver City recording studio to shoot NWA. Eazy greeted me and showed me around the studio. Gold and platinum records lined the walls. Eazy played me tracks off the new Album, outing the final touches before it was release. I shot some cool solo images of Eazy outside. There was a giant American Flag blowing in the wind and I photographed him in the afternoon sunlight. Another shoot for Eazy was at Ruthless Records. While waiting for Eazy to arrive I pulled out my skateboard and began skating in the parking lot. Eazy pulled up in his new BMW. He grabbed a deck out of his trunk. The artwork was my friend Natas signature board. We talked skateboarding for a bit, he was really into it. Since I grew up skateboarding and liking NWA, I was stoked. Then we did some photos with his car. It seemed a little boring so I added color filters over my lens. We talked about his new projects and planned some upcoming photo shoots.”

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