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Cypress Hill - The Golden Era and Beyond
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: cypress hill golden.era beyond word life production new quality entertainment

Cypress Hill were notable for being the first Latino hip-hop superstars, but they became notorious for their endorsement of marijuana, which actually isn’t a trivial thing. Not only did the group campaign for its legalization, but their slow, rolling bass-and-drum loops pioneered a new, stoned funk that became extraordinary influential in ’90s hip-hop — it could be heard in everything from Dr. Dre’s G-funk to the chilly layers of English trip-hop. DJ Muggs crafted the sound, and B Real, with his pinched, nasal voice, was responsible for the rhetoric that made them famous. The pro-pot position became a little ridiculous over time, but there was no denying that the actual music had a strange, eerie power, particularly on the band’s first two albums. Although B Real remained an effective lyricist and Muggs’ musical skills did not diminish, the group’s third album, Temples of Boom, was perceived by many critics as self-parodic, and the group appeared to disintegrate shortly afterward, though Muggs and B Real regrouped toward the end of the ’90s to issue more material.

DVX, the original incarnation of Cypress Hill, formed in 1986 when Cuban-born brothers Sen Dog (born Senen Reyes, November 20, 1965) and Mellow Man Ace hooked up with fellow Los Angeles residents Muggs (born Lawrence Muggerud, January 28, 1968)  and B Real (born Louis Freese, June 2, 1970). The group began pioneering a fusion of Latin and hip-hop slang, developing their own style by the time Mellow Man Ace left the group in 1988. Renaming themselves Cypress Hill after a local street, the group continued to perform around L.A., eventually signing with Ruffhouse/Columbia in 1991.

With its stoned beats, B Real’s exaggerated nasal whine, and cartoonish violence, the group’s eponymous debut became a sensation in early 1992, several months after its initial release. The singles “How I Could Just Kill a Man” and “The Phuncky Feel One” became underground hits, and the group’s public pro-marijuana stance earned them many fans among the alternative rock community. Cypress Hill followed the album with Black Sunday in the summer of 1993, and while it sounded remarkably similar to the debut, it nevertheless became a hit, entering the album charts at number one and spawning the crossover hit “Insane in the Brain.” With Black Sunday, Cypress Hill’s audience became predominantly white, collegiate suburbanites, which caused them to lose some support in the hip-hop community. The group didn’t help matters much in 1995, when they added a new member, drummer Bobo, and toured with the fifth Lollapalooza prior to the release of their third album, Temples of Boom. A darker, gloomier affair than their first two records, Temples of Boom was greeted with mixed reviews upon its fall 1995 release, and while it initially sold well, it failed to generate a genuine hit single. However, it did perform better on the R&B charts than it did on the pop charts.

Instead of capitalizing on their regained hip-hop credibility, Cypress Hill slowly fell apart. Sen Dog left in early 1996 and Muggs spent most of the year working on his solo album. Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews in early 1997, leaving Cypress Hill’s future in much doubt until the release of IV in 1998. Sen Dog had come back for the record. He had left because he felt he did not get enough mike time, but after a few years with a rock band he was more than happy to return. Two years later, the group released the double-disc set Skull & Bones, which featured a disc of hip-hop and a disc of their more rock-inspired material. Appropriately, the album also included rock and rap versions of the single “Superstar,” bringing Cypress Hill’s quest for credibility and crossover hits full circle. The ensuing videos for both versions featured many famous rap and rock musicians talking about their profession, and the song was a smash on MTV because of it. In the winter of 2001, the group came back with Stoned Raiders, another album to heavily incorporate rock music. Three years later, the band issued Till Death Do Us Part, which incorporated several styles of Jamaican music. In 2010 they announced their signing to Priority Records thanks to the label’s creative director, Snoop Dogg. The label released their eighth studio album, Rise Up, that same year.

Source: Official Website

This week's celebrity pick is Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: jurnee smollett bell celebrity pick word life production new quality entertainment

Jurnee Diana Smollett-Bell (born October 1, 1986) is an American actress. She began her career as a child actress appearing on television sitcoms, with her most significant regular role being on On Our Own (1994–95). She received critical acclaim and Critic's Choice Award for playing title role in the 1997 independent drama film Eve's Bayou.

In adult age, Smollett-Bell has starred in films The Great Debaters (2007) and Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013). She also had starring roles on number of television series, include NBC sports drama Friday Night Lights (2009-2011), and HBO vampire drama True Blood (2013-2014). In 2016, Smollett-Bell began playing a leading role as Rosalee, the house slave, in the WGN America period drama, Underground. Smollett-Bell has won three NAACP Image Awards.

Smollett-Bell was born Jurnee Diana Smollett in New York City, the daughter of Janet and Joel Smollett. Her father was Jewish (his family immigrated from Russia and Poland), and her mother is African American. She is the fourth of six performing siblings, one sister, Jazz, and four brothers: Jussie, JoJo, Jake, and Jocqui.

Smollett-Bell began her acting career appearing in a recurring roles on the ABC family sitcoms include Full House and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper playing Denise Frazer. From 1994 to 1995, she co-starred with her siblings in the short-lived ABC sitcom On Our Own. In 1996, she appeared in the Francis Ford Coppola film Jack, making her big screen debut.

Smollett-Bell received critical acclaim for her performance as 10-year-old Eve in the 1997 independent film Eve's Bayou opposite Lynn Whitfield, Samuel L. Jackson and Debbi Morgan. In casting the role, writer-director Kasi Lemmons envisioned "a light-skinned black child who could convey the nuances of a Creole child in the 60s.” She received the Critic's Choice Award and was nominated for the NAACP Image Award. The following year, she joined the cast of CBS sitcom Cosby, for which she won two NAACP Image Awards. In 1999, Smollett-Bell starred in the racially charged Disney channel film Selma, Lord, Selma. In 2000, she co-starred with Sharon Stone and Billy Connolly in the film Beautiful Joe. In 2001, she played the daughter of Angela Bassett in the television film Ruby's Bucket of Blood. In 2005, she co-starred with Bow Wow and Brandon T. Jackson in the roller skating film Roll Bounce. In 2006, she appeared in the drama film Gridiron Gang.

In 2007, Smollett-Bell portrayed Samantha Booke (loosely based on Henrietta Bell Wells), the sole female debater at Wiley College in the historical film The Great Debaters. The film was produced by Oprah Winfrey and Harvey Weinstein and starred Denzel Washington, who also directed the feature. For her performance, Smollett-Bel received NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. The following year, she returned to television, appearing in two episodes of ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. From 2009 to 2011, she was regular cast member in the DirecTV drama series Friday Night Lights playing Jess Merriweather. From 2010 to 2011, she also co-starred with Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell on the short-lived CBS legal drama The Defenders. From 2013 to 2014, she was regular on HBO series True Blood.

In 2013, Smollett-Bell played the leading role in the drama film Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor directed by Tyler Perry. The film received negative reviews from critics, but was box-office hit grossing $53,125,354. It is the highest-grossing Tyler Perry film which the writer-director did not star in and the highest-grossing Tyler Perry drama. She later played Juanita Leonard, the wife of boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, in the 2016 biographical sport film Hands of Stone co-starring with Usher and Robert De Niro.

In 2015, Smollett-Bell was cast as lead character in the WGN America period drama series Underground. Smollett-Bell plays Rosalee, a shy house slave, working on a plantation in 1857.

Smollett-Bell has been active in HIV/AIDS causes since she was 11. She spoke at the Ryan White Youth Conference. Her first encounter with the disease came at age seven when a crew member of On Our Own died of AIDS. Smollett-Bell is on the Board of Directors of Artists for a New South Africa, an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS in Africa. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Defense Fund.

On October 24, 2010, she married musician Josiah Bell.

Source: Wikipedia

The Beastie Boys’ unconventional methodology represented a unique hybrid of rock and hip-hop
Category: Classic Hip Hop
Tags: Beastie boys classic hip hop word life production new quality entertainment

Adam Yauch aka MCA (vocals, bass; August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012), Michael Diamond aka Mike D (vocals, drums; born November 20, 1966), Adam Horowitz aka ADROCK (vocals, guitar; born October 31, 1966)

The Beastie Boys combined hardcore and hip-hop in a fresh-sounding musical mashup that was danceable, infectious and wickedly funny. By attracting a sizable following of white fans – hardcore-loving teens and party-minded frat kids – with their bratty wit and cunning collages of beats and samples, they broadened the audience for hip-hop, bringing it into the mainstream. Like their fellow New York rappers Run-D.M.C., they ignored the color line dividing rock and rap in the Eighties.

Due to their brash humor and punkish sensibility, the Beastie Boys have been called “the bastard brat offspring of Sesame Street and the Sex Pistols,” “AC/DC meets Run-D.M.C. with a teenage wit” and “the Marx Brothers of rap.” Over time, the Beastie Boys would also embrace a degree of maturity, exploring their creativity with ever-more adventurous mixtures of samples and live playing, and delving into jazzy funk-soul grooves on intermittent instrumental projects. 

The Beastie Boys are inextricably associated with the street-smart attitude and urban swagger of New York City, where they were raised. The roots of the Beastie Boys date back to 1981. Formed as a hardcore quartet, the original lineup comprised Mike D (real name: Michael Diamond), drummer Kate Schellenbach and guitarist John Berry – who’d all belonged to an earlier group called the Young Aborigines – and MCA (Adam Yauch). Their first performance was at Yauch’s 17th birthday party. This lineup recorded an eight-song debut EP, Polly Wog Stew, released in 1982 on the Rat Cage label. It contained their hardcore manifesto “Beastie Boys.” Mike D later revealed that “Beastie” stood for “Boys Entering Anarchistic States Towards Internal Excellence.”

They invited their friend ADROCK (Adam Horowitz), who was in a band called the Young and the Useless, to join when Berry left. The slightly revised foursome cut a 12-inch single, “Cooky Puss”/”Beastie Revolution.” Released in 1983, these comical rants attracted attention and got them gigs. Over the next year, the Beastie Boys evolved from an instrument-thrashing hardcore group to a full-on rap act. Schellenbach moved on to the group Luscious Jackson, and the surviving Beasties – Mike D, MCA and King Ad-Rock (later shortened to ADROCK) – became a three-man posse of MCs with deejayed accompaniment. A friend of theirs, New York University student Rick Rubin (aka “DJ Double R”) was an early turntablist for the Beastie Boys before becoming a world-renowned record producer and label mogul.

In 1984, Rubin and Russell Simmons launched the Def Jam label, and the Beastie Boys’ next 12-inch single, “Rock Hard,” was among its initial releases. Based on their growing buzz, Madonna tapped the Beastie Boys as the opening act on her spring 1985 Virgin Tour. The group’s third 12-inch single, “She’s On It,” was featured in the hip-hop film Krush Groove (1985). The flip side, “Slow and Low,” was given to them by Run-D.M.C., who also tapped the Beastie Boys as a support act (along with LL Cool J and Whodini) on their 1986 Raising Hell Tour. It was rap’s first big-budget tour.

The Beastie Boys brashly announced themselves to the world with the full-length Licensed to Ill (1986). A milestone rap-rock release, it contained a feisty statement of purpose (“The New Style”) and the boisterous Gen X anthem “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!),” a Top 10 hit. Later described by MCA as “a joke that went too far,” it turned into the party-rock anthem of the Eighties. The raucous video they made for the song – intended as nothing more than “a goof,” in MCA’s words - became a staple of MTV, establishing the Beastie Boys as poster boys for rude, obnoxious fun. Other songs on the album – including ”She’s Crafty,” “Paul Revere,” “Girls,” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and “Brass Monkey” – reinforced the notion of the Beastie Boys as a threesome obsessed with girls, rhymes and good times. Rubin’s hook-minded production, and galvanizing bursts of guitars and drums gave the album a forceful sound. It was a rap album that rock fans could get into. On tour, the Beastie Boys reveled in bacchanalian excess; their stage props included a dancing cage and a 20-foot hydraulic penis.

Licensed to Ill was a pop-culture phenomenon, becoming the first rap album to reach Number One. It topped Billboard’s album chart for seven weeks and has sold more than 9 million copies in the U.S. alone, making it among the best-selling rap albums ever. While it typecast the Beastie Boys as party animals, the group exploded any notions of one-dimensionality with its ambitious followup, Paul’s Boutique (1989). Having fallen out with Rubin and Def Jam in the wake of Licensed to Ill’s stratospheric success, the Beastie Boys now found themselves on a new label (Capitol) with a different set of producer/collaborators (the Dust Brothers). Although it didn’t sell as well as its predecessor, Paul’s Boutique was a dizzyingly brilliant, sample-heavy collage that has been called “the Pet Sounds and Dark Side of the Moon of hip-hop." 

A kaleidoscopic montage of quick-cut samples and smart-mouthed spiel drawn from seemingly every corner of the pop-culture spectrum, from Johnny Cash to the glam-rock group Sweet, Paul’s Boutique attained the status of a critically revered masterpiece. “It’s safe to say that nobody has ever made a more unexpectedly brilliant sophomore blast than the Beastie Boys,” wrote Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield in a retrospective re-review. “[It’s] a celebration of American junk culture that is still blowing minds today.”

The Beastie Boys released three albums in the Nineties – Check Your Head (1992), Ill Communication (1994), and Hello Nasty (1998) – along with a smattering of EPs. With these releases, the Beastie Boys – who are competent instrumentalists - developed a self-contained style of writing and recording that involved collective jamming, individual composing, sampling, revising and assembling. The Beastie Boys –assisted by keyboardist Money Mark (real name: Mark Nipooa), studio hand Mario Caldato, Jr. and turntablists DJ Hurricane (real name: Wendell Fite) and Mix Master Mike (real name: Michael Schwartz) – performed most of the music while integrating an array of samples, beats and witty wordplay into an ever-intriguing sonic smorgasbord.

The Beastie Boys’ unconventional methodology represented a unique hybrid of rock and hip-hop approaches, and the painstaking process involved meant that years passed between releases. In fact, the Beastie Boys released only one vocal album, To the 5 Boroughs (2004), in the first decade of the 21st century. However, the Beastie Boys released a few all-instrumental projects along the way, including 2007’s The Mix-Up, which won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album. 

Although they came intermittently, the Beastie Boys’ albums were packed with music. Check Your Head, Ill Communication and Hello Nasty each contain 20 or more tracks. Beginning with Check Your Head, the Beastie Boys – having relocated to Los Angeles – worked at their own G-Son studio, which gave them the latitude to jam and experiment at their leisure. They also launched their own imprint, the Capitol-distributed Grand Royal label.

For To the 5 Boroughs, they returned to their New York City roots, recording at their own studio in downtown Manhattan. In 2011, 25 years after the release of Licensed to Ill, the trio released Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, their eighth full-length album. The group that virtually invented rap-rock has maintained its relevance with cool grooves and razor-sharp rhymes with each release.

On May 4, 2012, Adam Yauch aka MCA died of cancer at age 47.

Source: Rock Roll Hall of Fame

- See more at: https://rockhall.com/inductees/beastie-boys/bio/#sthash.btR7sJvV.dpuf

 

The Golden Era and Beyond - Fat Joe
Category: The Golden Era
Tags: golden era beyond fat joe word life production new quality entertainment

Joseph Antonio Cartagena (born August 19, 1970), better known by his stage name Fat Joe, is an American rapper. He is also the CEO of Terror Squad Entertainment, and member of musical groups D.I.T.C. and Terror Squad.

Fat Joe's debut album was Represent, released in 1993, followed by Jealous One's Envy in 1995. From 1998 to 2006, he was signed to Atlantic Records, releasing four albums under the label, Don Cartagena in 1998, Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) in 2001, Loyalty in 2002, and All or Nothing in 2005. Around the release of All or Nothing, Fat Joe became involved in a highly publicized feud with another New York City-based rapper 50 Cent, who attacked Fat Joe in his song "Piggy Bank". His most popular song in which he performed was his Remy Ma duet "Lean Back" with Terror Squad. The song was a number-one hit in the summer of 2004.

Starting in 2006, when his album Me, Myself, & I was released, Fat Joe was signed to Imperial Records, which distributes through Terror Squad Entertainment. His follow up album was The Elephant in the Room, which was released in 2008; Jealous Ones Still Envy 2 (J.O.S.E. 2), the sequel to Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.), was released in October 2009. His tenth album The Darkside Vol. 1 was released on July 27, 2010.

Fat Joe was born on August 19, 1970 in the South Bronx area of New York City, where he was raised by parents of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent. He lived in public housing and began stealing at a young age to support his family. He also admits that he was a bully in his childhood. His brother introduced him to rap music. As a teenager, he was highly influenced by fellow Latino rapper Big Pun. Fat Joe explained the rapper's influence on him by saying "Latinos before us who had the opportunity to do it just didn't know how to do it. They came in trying to do this black music, waving flags. [But] we're trying to kick in the doors for other Latinos and represent our people, and it shows."

Under stage name Fat Joe da Gangsta and part of the Diggin' in the Crates (D.I.T.C.) rap group, Cartagena was signed to Relativity Records in the early 1990s, recording material and working with many artists who he would later sign to his own label. In 1993, his debut album, Represent, was released, featuring production from The Beatnuts, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, and others. Its lead single, "Flow Joe" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart; other minor singles from the album included "Watch the Sound" and "This poo is Real".

In 1995, Fat Joe released his second studio album, Jealous One's Envy, which peaked at #71 on The Billboard 200 and at #7 on Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. The album featured a guest appearance from KRS-One and production from Diamond D. The lead single was Success, which did not chart, but his second single, "Envy" peaked at #8 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. The success of this album led Fat Joe to be featured on the remix of LL Cool J's single "I Shot Ya" along with Foxy Brown, Keith Murray and Prodigy of Mobb Deep.

Released in 1998, Don Cartagena was Joe's third album and his first for Atlantic Records. It peaked on The Billboard 200 at #7 and #2 on Top R&B/Hip Hop albums, eventually being certified gold by the RIAA.

The album featured two hit singles "Bet Ya Man Can't Triz", and "Don Cartagena". Guest appearances included Nas, Diddy, Big Pun, Raekwon, Jadakiss, and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Within the album, Fat Joe debuted his own group Terror Squad that consisted of the late Big Pun, as well as Cuban Link, Triple Seis, Prospect, Armageddon and later Remy Ma. Joe himself acknowledged, in an interview with HipHopGame.com, that he has received criticism for releasing only one solo album by a former Terror Squad member, Remy Ma, as well as barely featuring original members Prospect and Armageddon on "True Story." Terror Squad singer Tony Sunshine has had possible album release dates pushed back over three years, and Joe had stated that artists Prospect and Armageddon have not released solo albums yet as the result of them being "really lazy". Former Terror Squad member Triple Seis also went on record when asked who had written Fat Joe's lyrics, stating that he and Pun were Joe's ghostwriters, and asserts that Joe continues to hire ghostwriters. In 1999, he appeared on Jennifer Lopez's single "Feelin' So Good" from her On the 6 album with late rapper Big Pun.

Fat Joe released his fourth album Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.) in 2001, featuring production from the then-popular Irv Gotti. The album featured a star-studded lineup from the likes of Ashanti, Ja Rule, N.O.R.E., Busta Rhymes, Petey Pablo, M.O.P., Ludacris, R. Kelly, Buju Banton, and artists from his Terror Squad label. The lead single "We Thuggin'" featuring R. Kelly was a big hit in late 2001, but would not reach the level of the Irv Gotti-produced "What's Luv?" which was a massive hit in early 2002 and featured The Inc. superstars Ja Rule and Ashanti. The album was Fat Joe's biggest hit as it was successful from its January release all the way into May, being certified platinum. However, Fat Joe's fifth album Loyalty, released later in 2002 and featuring production from Irv Gotti, was not as successful.

In 2003, Fat Joe was featured in the pop single "I Want You" by Mexican singer Thalía. The same year, he and Tony Sunshine performed the single "Crush Tonight" from Loyalty on the Comedy Central program Chappelle's Show, hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle.

Despite the setback, Fat Joe scored a number-one hit in 2004 with his group Terror Squad, collaborating with Remy Ma on the Scott Storch production "Lean Back" from the album True Story. The song was criticized twice by conservative columnist L. Brent Bozell III for its extensive use of obscenity. However, Jason Birchmeier of Allmusic called the song "a perfect club-ready duet between Joe and Remy Ma that boasts a trademark Scott Storch beat and a memorable singalong hook and dance-along step". He then began recording material for Ivy Queen's debut English-language album Real in support of her goal to compete in the world of English-language hip hop music.

A year later, in 2005, Fat Joe released his sixth album All or Nothing, noted for featuring the popular diss track "My Fofo", aimed at fellow New York rapper 50 Cent, who had dissed Joe for recording with Ja Rule. All or Nothing spawned the singles "So Much More" and "Get It Poppin" featuring Nelly, also with guest appearances from Eminem, Mase, Remy Ma, Mashonda, and R. Kelly. Responding to "My Fofo", 50 Cent attacked Fat Joe in his song "Piggy Bank" from his best-selling 2005 album The Massacre. Fat Joe subsequently attacked 50s street credibility and called him a "coward" on a phone interview with Kay Slay of New York City hip-hop radio station WQHT. The conflict carried on at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards, while Fat Joe introduced the reggaeton act featuring Daddy Yankee, Joe remarked, "I feel safe with all the police protection—courtesy of G-Unit." Shortly after, when MTV switched to a commercial break, 50 Cent directed an obscenity at Joe, and 50 Cent jumped on stage as Fat Joe was leaving.

Me, Myself & I, released in 2006, is Fat Joe's seventh album. It was his first album released on his new deal with Virgin Records. It featured the hit single "Make It Rain" with southern rapper Lil Wayne, followed by "No Drama (Clap and Revolve)". Fat Joe did a freestyle cipher segment for VH1's "Freestyle 59" competition in October 2006 prior to the VH1 Hip Hop Honors featuring New Jersey emcee Neuse.

In June 2007, the Reverend Michael Pfleger targeted Fat Joe as among several rappers he believed promoted misogyny in his billboard campaign "Stop Listening to Trash", which was launched June 18, 2007 throughout Chicago, Illinois, where Pfleger preaches. Also that month, Fat Joe was featured in the DJ Khaled singles "We Takin' Over" alongside Akon, T.I., Rick Ross, Birdman, and Lil Wayne and the remix to Khaled's "I'm So Hood" with Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, Ludacris, and Birdman. Verbal disputes between Fat Joe and 50 Cent continued during this time period: in September 2007, on the BET program Rap City, 50 Cent accused Fat Joe of being cowardly for not willing to confront him, but Fat Joe dismissed this claim as nonsense. Later in January, 50 Cent released another Fat Joe diss, called "Southside Nigga (I'm Leaving)". At the end of January 2008, Fat Joe and his longtime accountant Brian Dittrich both denied rumors spreading on the Internet that Fat Joe owed the IRS in taxes.

On March 20, 2008, shortly after record sales were released for Fat Joe's new album The Elephant in the Room, 50 Cent released a video via his YouTube account, which features the "funeral" of Fat Joe, which shows 50 Cent crying in the fake footage. 50 Cent then talks about Fat Joe's record sales, and states that he ended Fat Joe's career (like he says he did to Ja Rule's) and that his mixtape blew out Fat Joe's album.

Fat Joe's ninth solo studio album, J.O.S.E. 2, was released towards the end of June 2009.The project reprises the title of Joe’s 2002 RIAA-Certified Platinum release, Jealous Ones Still Envy (J.O.S.E.), and marked Joe’s third release since bringing his Terror Squad imprint to the EMI family in 2006. For this album, Joe has reached out to many artists, landing assists from Ron Browz, Fabolous, Lil' Kim, T-Pain, Lil Wayne, and Akon. Producers include Jim Jonsin, The Inkredibles, and frequent collaborator StreetRunner. "One", featuring Akon, was the first single. The album was released on October 6, 2009 and sold 11,000 copies in its first week. It debuted on The Billboard 200 at #73.

In January 2010, Fat Joe announced that he was working on a new album, The Darkside Vol. 1. MTV News reported that Fat Joe intended "all the material...to be much harsher" than his previous album. Production comes from The Alchemist, Cool & Dre, Streetrunner, DJ Premier, Scoop DeVille, Just Blaze, Scram Jones, Raw Uncut and DJ Infamous with guest appearances by Busta Rhymes, Trey Songz, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly, Clipse, Cam'ron, Rico Love, Too $hort, TA and Young Jeezy. The first single from The Darkside Vol. 1 is "(Ha Ha) Slow Down," which features Young Jeezy. The second single off the album is "If It Ain't About Money" and features Trey Songz.

On March 28, 2010 Fat Joe signed a record deal with E1 Music. The Darkside Vol. 1 was released on July 27, 2010 and sold approximately 12,000 copies in the first week and entered the Billboard 200 at #27.

On August 6, 2010 Fat Joe was interviewed on MTV RapFix Live by Sway. Fat Joe announced in the interview that he planned to record 2 more volumes of The Darkside and then retire.

Joe was featured on a remix to DJ Khaled's song "Welcome to My Hood", which also features Ludacris, T-Pain, Busta Rhymes, Twista, Mavado, Birdman, Ace Hood, Game, Jadakiss, Bun B and Waka Flocka Flame. It is included as the final track on Khaled's fifth studio album We the Best Forever.

In January 2010, Fat Joe announced that he was working on a new album, The Darkside Vol. 1. MTV News reported that Fat Joe intended "all the material...to be much harsher" than his previous album. Production comes from The Alchemist, Cool & Dre, Streetrunner, DJ Premier, Scoop DeVille, Just Blaze, Scram Jones, Raw Uncut and DJ Infamous with guest appearances by Busta Rhymes, Trey Songz, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly, Clipse, Cam'ron, Rico Love, Too $hort, TA and Young Jeezy. The first single from The Darkside Vol. 1 is "(Ha Ha) Slow Down," which features Young Jeezy. The second single off the album is "If It Ain't About Money" and features Trey Songz.

On March 28, 2010 Fat Joe signed a record deal with E1 Music.[38][39] The Darkside Vol. 1 was released on July 27, 2010 and sold approximately 12,000 copies in the first week and entered the Billboard 200 at #27.

On August 6, 2010 Fat Joe was interviewed on MTV RapFix Live by Sway. Fat Joe announced in the interview that he planned to record 2 more volumes of The Darkside and then retire.

Joe was featured on a remix to DJ Khaled's song "Welcome to My Hood", which also features Ludacris, T-Pain, Busta Rhymes, Twista, Mavado, Birdman, Ace Hood, Game, Jadakiss, Bun B and Waka Flocka Flame. It is included as the final track on Khaled's fifth studio album We the Best Forever.

In an interview with XXL Magazine on September 21, 2011 Fat Joe stated The Darkside Vol. 2 is going to be his first ever official mixtape and will feature the Mark Henry produced songs "Massacre on Madison" and "Drop a Body", both of which were released earlier in the year. Joe went on to say he is also working on an album which is yet to be named but the first single is called "Another Round" produced by Cool and Dre and Young Lad and features Chris Brown.

On October 19, 2011 Another Round the first single off Joe's yet to be named eleventh studio album was released on iTunes. The second single released from the album is "Yellow Tape" which features Lil Wayne, ASAP Rocky and French Montana. In September 2012, Joe featured in Grammy awards winner Alejandro Sanz's new album, La Música No Se Toca in a music named Down. Joe would then release another single, "Ballin'" on March 18, 2013. The song features Wiz Khalifa and Teyana Taylor.

Via Hiphop Wired, Fat Joe revealed that he and Remy Ma are releasing a joint album. He said "Me and Remy just wrapped up a new album. Just me and Remy. I’m super excited about that. The album is ridiculous. So we’ve been working musically like crazy. ” He reported the first single would be “All The Way Up” and will feature French Montana. They have shot the video and it was released on February 3, 2016.[44] Fat Joe could not explain what the album would be called saying :"I have the title, but we’re trying to see if we can legally use the title."

Source: Wikipedia

Gospel Legends-Be Be and Ce Ce Winans Tags: legends be be ce ce winans gospel music word life production new quality entertainment

For more than a decade, BeBe and CeCe Winans have been among the most commercially successful contemporary gospel acts in the United States. A hallmark of their sound is their "light" version of gospel, a soothing sound enriched by modern jazz, R&B, and pop elements. Criticized by gospel traditionalists for weakening the sacred music's message by adapting instrumentation and arrangements of contemporary pop and soul music, BeBe and CeCe Winans successfully aimed at reaching the broader and younger audience that traditional gospel had largely lost. Their lyrics, which are not as heavily loaded with Christian symbolism as traditional gospel, extended the appeal of their musical message of love and respect to a broad secular audience.

BeBe and CeCe Winans' unique style won over a huge number of listeners and sent two of their albums platinum. Their album from 1988, Heaven, was with Aretha Franklin's 1972 Amazing Grace, only the second gospel record ever to go gold. Since then, BeBe and CeCe Winans have earned many more top ten hits on Billboard's R&B charts and won numerous Grammy, Stellar, and Dove Awards.

BeBe and CeCe were born into a family of gospel singers that in the 1980s and 1990s produced no fewer than four celebrated gospel acts: The Winans, Daniel Winans & the Second Half, and, of course, BeBe and CeCe. BeBe and CeCe gave their two youngest sisters, Angie and Debbie, their start singing back-up, and the two girls went on to form a duo of their own called Sisters.

BeBe and CeCe Winans' parents met in a church choir, the Lemon Gospel Chorus, in 1950 and formed their own choir after their marriage in 1953. BeBe Winans was the youngest of the seven Winans sons; CeCe was the first of their three daughters. To keep their kids off the streets of Detroit, the Winans made it a point to take them to their Pentecostal church regularly. As in many churches, singing together was a large part of the worship experience, and like so many other singers, BeBe and CeCe Winans got their start in their local church choir.

All ten of the Winans brothers and sisters were good singers and their impact on the church choir, according to BeBe, was great. "We were the chorus," he told Washington Postwriter Richard Harrington. "We directed the choir, my brother played organ and taught the songs. We were the strong tenors, the strong altos, the strong sopranos." Father David Winans did not only sing in the choir, he was also a member of a four-man singing group, the Noble Aires. He knew discipline was important if one wanted to succeed as a singer. "My father was pretty strict on the guys growing up, but they loved it," CeCe Winans told Harrington. "He drilled them so they would be perfectionists in what they did," she recalled, "but [singing] was never something they pushed on us." The four eldest Winans brothers David, Ronald, Carvin, and Marvin formed the gospel quartet the Testimonials in the early 1970s. They later changed their name to The Winans, went off to California to record their first album in 1980 and subsequently won multiple Grammy Awards.

Even as teenagers, the only music BeBe and CeCe were allowed to listen to at home was gospel music. However, growing up in Detroit in the late 1970s, it was nearly impossible for them not to be influenced by musicians from outside the gospel realm like the Temptations, the Supremes, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder. In the late 1970s, BeBe and CeCe, together with their older brothers Michael and Daniel, formed their own group, the Winans, Part 2 and started performing at church and family events.

While BeBe was sure that he wanted to sing for a living, CeCe didn't go for a career as a singer at first, opting instead to study cosmetology. However, in 1981, Howard McCrary, musical director of the religious TV program The PTL Club and a friend of the Winans, invited BeBe and CeCe to sing in the show. Together with six other singers, they became the PTL Singers in 1982 and performed to a mainly white audience for the first time. Occasionally BeBe and CeCe sang duets on the show, including "Lord, Lift Us Up," a cover version of Joe Cocker's and Jennifer Warnes' hit, "Up Where We Belong," from the soundtrack of An Officer and a Gentleman. PTL also became their first record label. The album Lord, Lift Us Up was released by PTL in 1984. The duo's cover version of "Up Where We Belong" became a hit on mainstream radio and the duo caught the attention of several record labels.


From there they went on to sing as the gospel duo BeBe and CeCe Winans. Thanks to BeBe's big, deep voice that managed to be tender and powerful at the same time and CeCe's rich alto, they were in demand from a variety of churches. Chris Willman of the Los Angeles Times described the duo's singing style as belonging to the "Megalo-Melismatic school .... swooping and dipping all over a single, poor defenseless syllable." However, in early 1984, 18-year-old CeCe Winans left PTL and moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, back to Detroit. She got married in June to Alvin Love, a sales account executive, and opened her own beauty salon. BeBe ventured into commercial jingles.

In 1985, gospel label Sparrow Records took BeBe and CeCe under its wing. They were the first black artists on Sparrow's roster and produced a single of BeBe's song "I.O.U. Me." Delighted by the high quality of their recorded work, Sparrow president Bill Hearn asked Capitol Records if they were interested in BeBe and CeCe's music. They were, and the gospel duo signed a second contract with the major label. Supported by two record labels, BeBe and CeCe Winans entered into the most dynamic phase of their career, one which would take them to the top of contemporary gospel and R&B.

After the duo signed with Capitol Records, their debut album BeBe & CeCe Winans was released in 1987 on the Sparrow/Capitol label. Producer Keith Thomas collaborated with the duo on the full vocal arrangements which were then sung by other Winans family members, including brother Marvin. Besides winning a Grammy, the album made it into Billboard's top ten spiritual albums--the category where black gospel artists are listed--and the magazine's top 20 inspirational albums--which usually represent white gospel. BeBe Winans, who co-wrote most of the catchy melodies, explained to Washington Post writer Richard Harrington that it has become their mission to demolish these divisions, because he couldn't "see the color of music."

CeCe was honored with her first Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance for a Female. The songs "I.O.U. Me," "For Always," and "Love Said Not So," went on to become hits from the album. Not only were BeBe and CeCe popular among gospel fans--they were also popular in the so-called secular market. In addition, BeBe starred in the Broadway musical Don't Get God Started in 1987. Discussing this experience, BeBe Winans told Billboard's Bob Darden, "I'd get so involved with a song that I'd go on too long. The crowd would love it, but when I'd come backstage, I had driven the producers crazy!"

The tour for their first album included mainly neutral concert halls--rather than traditional gospel venues--where BeBe and CeCe could freely perform their music. Their lyrics were often ambiguous and lacked the strong Christian messages that most pastors required for their churches. The duo also toured with Sandi Patti and with The Winans. On a trip to Poland and Russia, their religious music even received a positive review in a communist newspaper.

The duo's second album Heaven was released in 1988. Peter B. King wrote in the Seattle Times that its sound was "best described as synth-funk gospel," dominated by "synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines." For the tune "Celebrate New Life," BeBe and CeCe Winans teamed up with their friend Whitney Houston. Another song on the album, "You," was co-written by three members of the jazz gospel quartet Take 6 who also sang backup vocals. Heaven included new versions of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Kool & the Gang's "Celebration." Heaven cemented BeBe and CeCe as gospel stars of the first order. It was the first Gospel album ever to reach the top ten on Billboard's R&B charts and only the second to be certified gold.

BeBe and CeCe's next album, Different Lifestyles, was another ambitious project that saw them pushing into other genres, characterized by the New York Times' Michael Eric Dyson as "a curriculum of musical diversity--from rap and uptempo rhythm-and-blues to a sample of a gospel shout." They also included a star-studded lineup of guest artists, including Luther Vandross, M.C. Hammer, and Mavis Staples of the Staple Singers. "Sometimes we were concerned that people may think we can't do a full album without any special guests," CeCe told Billboard's David Nathan. "But what do you do when someone like Luther calls?" BeBe and CeCe co-wrote ten of the record's eleven tracks. The first single from Different Lifestyles, "Addictive Love," was an immediate hit among radio programmers across the nation. The album eventually reached number one on the Billboard R&B charts.

Following the release of Different Lifestyles, BeBe and CeCe set off on a year of hectic touring which left them feeling exhausted. They took a year off from performing and recording. Their next album, released on Sparrow/Capitol in 1993, was their first Christmas album, appropriately entitled First Christmas. "It was fun taking songs and making them into BeBe and CeCe songs without really trying to change them because they were already great," CeCe told Lisa Collins of Billboard.

They followed up the Christmas record with 1994's Relationships. It was an album that almost didn't appear on Capitol. BeBe and CeCe had been growing increasingly dissatisfied with their record company, which they felt was not giving them the support they deserved. The bad feelings were turned to good, however, when Gary Gersh took over as Capitol Records' president and CEO in mid 1993. "We were involved in every aspect of Relationships, which included being at several marketing and other label meetings," BeBe told J.R. Reynolds of Billboard. BeBe and CeCe once again felt that they were part of Capitol's future. Nonetheless, the record was the last one the duo recorded together.

In 1996, BeBe released his first solo album, BeBe Winans, to mixed reviews on Atlantic Records. The album's first track "In Harm's Way" was, according to Jet, inspired by Ronald Winans' heart attack which had almost killed BeBe's brother. In 2000, BeBe signed with Motown and released his second solo album Love & Freedom. The album was nominated for a Dove Award in 2001.

CeCe Winans' solo career took off right from the start. Her husband Alvin quit his position at Xerox and became her business manager. CeCe's first solo release, Alone in His Presence, went gold in 1995 and was awarded a Grammy as the year's best contemporary soul gospel album. In 1996, CeCe was the first black female to win the Dove Award for female vocalist of the year. She hosted her own television show, CeCe's Place, on the interfaith cable channel Odyssey Network, and authored her autobiography, On a Positive Note: Her Joyous Faith, Her Life, and Her Everyday Blessings.She also founded her own company, CW Wellspring Entertainment, including record label Wellspring Gospel. By 2001, CeCe had recorded four solo records and had won a total of eight Grammy Awards. The first release on her own label, 1999's Alabaster Box, was certified gold and nominated for a Grammy.

Source: Planet Shakers

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