Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: 'Straight Outta Compton' Is an Exhilarating Hip-Hop Epic

Review: 'Straight Outta Compton' Is an Exhilarating Hip-Hop EpicThe ferocious rhymes of hip-hop icons N.W.A.’s controversial 1988 anthem “F--k tha Police” scarcely seem to have aged when they blast on to the soundtrack of Straight Outta Compton, echoing into a world where the abuse of black Americans at the hands of law-enforcement officials remains common headline news. But if Compton is undeniably of the moment, it’s also timeless in its depiction of how artists and writers transform the world around them into angry, profane, vibrant and singular personal expression. A conventional music-world biopic in outline, but intensely human and personal in its characterizations and attention to detail, director F. Gary Gray’s movie is a feast for hip-hop connoisseurs and novices alike as it charts the West Coast rap superstars’ meteoric rise, fractious in-fighting and discovery that the music business can be as savage as the inner-city streets. A very smart piece of counter-programming in a summer dominated by lily-white tentpole movies, Universal’s Aug. 14 opener should keep the studio clocking much dollars at the late-summer box office.
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When it dropped in 1988, N.W.A.’s first studio album (from which the movie takes its title) shook the hip-hop world from its solid East Coast moorings with its button-pushing, madly rhythmic depictions of thug life in South L.A. — an ur-text for the subgenre that would become known as “gangsta rap,” though N.W.A.’s members themselves preferred the term “reality rap.” Along with Public Enemy’s “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” (released the same year), Compton was the album that fully announced hip-hop as the rage-filled protest music of its era — a primal scream from under the boot of white authority, or what the critic Nelson George called “the full-blown sound of revolution.” The group’s charismatic 19-year-old rapper and lyricist O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson (played here by his real-life son, O’Shea Jr.) said he and his bandmates were merely “street reporters,” filing dispatches from the from the front lines of a resource-starved community engaged in trench warfare with the Daryl Gates-era LAPD. Everything about N.W.A. was confrontational, starting with their name (short for “Niggaz With Attitude”).
Gray’s panoramic film (running a densely packed two-and-a-half-hours) is the story of N.W.A., yes, but also of the city in those same years — a long-simmering discontent that finally erupted into the 1992 riots. But first we begin in 1986 with the DNA of N.W.A. — the friendship between Cube and aspiring DJ Andre “Dr. Dre” Young (Corey Hawkins), and their courtship of a neighborhood drug dealer, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright (Jason Mitchell), to funnel some of his illicit funds into a record label (appropriately dubbed Ruthless) for burgeoning West Coast hip-hop acts. And it’s Wright (brilliantly played by Mitchell, the biggest revelation among the young actors) who emerges as Compton’s most compellingly complex character, a hip-hop Napoleon whose small stature and high-pitched voice mask a shrewd business acumen.
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Even when Gray (who made his feature debut directing the real Ice Cube in the stoner-slacker classic Friday) puts Compton through the somewhat familiar biopic paces, he brings a richness of observation to the table that transcends cliche. (The exhaustively researched screenplay is credited to Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, from a story by S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus and Berloff.) The live performance and recording scenes have the same loose, semi-improvised feel of the ones in the recent Beach Boys drama Love & Mercy, especially when Eazy steps up to a mic for the very first time to lay down his hit single “Boyz-n-the-Hood,” and Cube performs an early version of “Gangsta Gangsta” at a nightclub where slow-jam R&B is the house style.
These early brushes with fame bring the N.W.A. boys into the orbit of Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti, sporting a swooping gray toupee), a veteran rock manager who pledges to lead his new clients into the lap of white music-biz respectability. But while Heller may be the prototypical wolf in Jewish cowboy couture, Straight Outta Compton is loath to pass rash judgments on its characters, whose motivations Gray and the writers strive to understand even when their actions verge on the monstrous. (The only unqualified monster here is the bodyguard-turned-mogul Marion “Suge” Knight, played with terrifying force of presence by R. Marcos Taylor.)
Compton doesn’t make the N.W.A. members themselves into paragons of virtue, even as it suggests that much of their swagger and braggadocio were more performance than reality — as well as necessary defense mechanisms on streets where real gangbangers posed a serious threat and where the police made little distinction between one type of young black man and another. Gray plunges us into that pressure-cooker atmosphere repeatedly, including one scene — depicted here as the inspiration for “F--k tha Police” — that can’t help but send a chill through the theater in light of the recent events in Ferguson and other black communities: While taking a break from theCompton recording sessions, the rappers are descended on by a swarm of Torrance cops who humiliatingly shake them down while disparaging the very existence of hip-hop.
Gray casts a wider net in the film’s second half, as friction among the three N.W.A. principals (over money, natch) sends them spinning off into their own orbits, Cube with movie projects and a platinum solo career, Dre as a prolific producer who — in and out of tumultuous partnership with Knight — helps to foster a new generation of hip-hop talent (including Snoop Dogg, Tupac and Eminem). The former friends turn rivals, trading barbed insults on their albums and occasional fisticuffs in public. Then L.A. burns, and out of the ashes, a relaxing of tensions — and hope of an N.W.A. reunion — begins to take hold. But even as the film broadens its scope, Gray’s direction remains sharp and vibrant, giving us a Rashomon-style sense of how post-N.W.A. life looked from each character’s perspective, and reaching unexpected depths of emotional power as Wright starts to succumb to the AIDS-related complications that would cut his life short, at age 31, in 1995.
The movie has been made in high but never overindulgent style, with Matthew Libatique’s richly textured widescreen camerawork deliberately avoiding shopworn images of South Central life while evoking a vivid sense of place, and the editing of Billy Fox and Michael Tronick keeping the complex narrative moving smoothly from beat to beat. The encyclopedic soundtrack — ranging across the N.W.A. catalog, its members solo ventures, their old-school R&B influences, and the top-40 pop hip-hop would displace as the dominant sound of the era — has been assembled with similarly meticulous care.

George Zimmerman Says He’s Homeless And Suffers From PTSD

George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, spoke with the Spanish language television show “Aqui y Ahora” (Here and Now) to discuss life after the landmark trial.

Image result for George ZimmermanDuring the interview, which will air Sunday, Aug. 2 at 7pm, Zimmerman confesses that he’s now homeless, battles post traumatic stress disorder, wears a bullet proof vest and follows a safety plan when he’s in public.
Zimmerman also went onto say that despite raising $350,000 during the trial to pay for his legal defense, he’s $2.5 million in debt. The former neighborhood watchman said he’s in constant fear for his life, but still believes he was justified in killing Trayvon.
“In my mind and between God and me … I know that if I did not act the way I acted … I would not be here,” Zimmerman said.

‘Love and Hip Hop’ star Teairra Mari arrested!!!

Love and Hip Hop’ star Teairra Mari just learned the age-old Hollywood maxim isn't true... fact is, actresses who don't have juice CAN get arrested.

Image result for teairra mariTeairra ate a delicious lunch at Crustacean Wednesday in Bev Hills, and called for an Uber to take her to her next stop.
The drive started ok, but went to hell when Teairra asked the driver if she could use his charger for her iPhone. He said no, and she got pissed. The driver claims she began punching him and grabbed the charger. He pulled over, she refused get out and the cops were called.
Teairra says she never tried stealing his charger, says she only "tapped him" and he was beyond rude and told her to get out of the car like she was a "f***ing prostitute."
Cops were called and the driver made a citizen's arrest for battery and theft. Law enforcement sources tell us they found the charger in her purse.

Future’s ‘DS2′ Has Over 25 Million Streams

The first week sales for Future’s DS2 were good enough to put him in the #1 spot on the Billboard charts. 

During that week, Spotify had 14 million streams of the album, which counted in his Billboard album sales. Now, Apple Music has decided to unveil some interesting numbers for Future’s third album.Image result for future

In its opening week, DS2 was streamed over 11 million times on the platform, which brings the total to over 25 million. Those Apple Music streams don’t count on the Billboard charts yet. Neither do the millions of steams on Future’s YouTube page.
Without a doubt, this has been the most successful project of Future’s career.

Jordan Brand Loses Trademark Lawsuit

Qiaodan Sports Co., a Beijing-based company that makes

 ridiculous Jordan Brand 

knock-offs, just picked up the 

'W' against Michael Jordan 

and his brand. 

His Airness filed a trademark lawsuit against the company for using a name and logo that resembles the iconic Jumpman that is used on Jordan Brand and Nike products, but the Chinese court system ruled against him. 
"'Jordan' is not the only possible reference for 'Qiaodan' in the trademark under dispute," the court stated in the verdict. "In addition, 'Jordan' is a common surname used by Americans."
According to the ruling, because the logo being used doesn't include any facial features, there wasn't enough evidence to prove that the company was stealing Jordan's likeness- thus, there was no basis for the trademark lawsuit.

Tyga Says Eviction Lawsuit Is Fraudulent

Image result for tygaTyga calls BS on his landlord's eviction lawsuit.

Tyga's landlord recently filed a lawsuit and threatened eviction if he doesn't pay two months of back rent for his Calabasas, CA mansion. But Tyga is saying he is not a renter, but an owner of the house in question.
Tyga claims he made a $200,000 down payment on the home a year ago and was given permission to move in during escrow, reports TMZ. He said that the landlord never provided his bank with the requisite info needed for the loan to process, thus the escrow period didn't end when it was supposed to.
"We evidently live in a world where a man's word is no longer your bond," said Lee Hutton, Tyga's attorney.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

E-40 To Perform At Budweiser Monument Series Concert In San Francisco

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Budweiser’s Made In America Festival in 

Philadelphia is around the corner, but there 

is another show that will serve as a prelude. 

Mary J. Blige kicked off the summer by rocking Liberty 

Island in NYC and on August 15, E-40 will be performing 

at Crissy Field in San Francisco.

The private concert is part of the Monument Series and 

also includes Cash Cash and Day Wave on the 

bill. Budweiser teamed with the National Park Foundation 

and Crissy Field is located underneath the 

Golden Gate Bridge.

The concert also serves to raise the profile of the Find Your Park  movement. Besides the live music there 

will be interactive games, food, and plenty of Budweiser.

50 Cent Presents Check For $5,050 To Ferguson

The rapper says that his positive actions are received by crickets.

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50 Cent presented a check for $5,050 yesterday (July 28) to the St. Louis Area Foodbank in Ferguson, Missouri, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The money was provided by alcoholic beverage company Beam Suntory and beverage distributor Major Brands.
50 Cent took to Instagram to share the news.
"I just want to give you a example of how things are for me," he writes. "Anything negative go's every were, do something positive and crickets."

Lil Kim Files Domestic Violence Lawsuit Against Ex-Boyfriend

Lil Kim doesn't want her ex-boyfriend to see their baby daughter.

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Lil Kim has filed a domestic lawsuit against Bronx rapper Mr. Papers, her ex-boyfriend and the father of her 13-month daughter Royal Reign.
Kim, and Mr. Papers, whose real name is Jeremy Neil, are in the midst of fierce custodial battle. According to Bossip, Kim hasn't allowed Neil to see their daughter since the couple split 11 months ago. He filed for visitation rights last month, and the judge granted his one-day-a-week request under the condition that a court-approved monitor be present for all visits with his daughter.
Kim filed the lawsuit after failing to attend a July 9 hearing. Neil denies having laid a hand on her.
“She’s playing really dirty now with the domestic situation,” said Tasha Hilton, Neil's publicist. “There has never been any domestic violence.... he’s not trying to take custody, he’s not trying to take her. He is literally just trying to see her. He’s been trying to do it very quietly.”

Soccer Player Jerome Boateng signs to Roc Nation Sports

Roc Nation Sports adds its first soccer player.

Image result for jerome boatengJay Z signed Jerome Boateng to his Roc Nation Sports agency, Daily Mail reports.
Boateng is a German soccer player who currently is a defender on FC Bayern Munich. He also plays for the German national team and won the World Cup in 2014.
Jay Z and the 26-year-old celebrated the deal at the 40/40 Club in Brooklyn.
"America is a big market," Boateng says. "With Jay Z and Roc Nation I have a lot. We want to try what is possible."
Earlier this month, Jay Z made Dez Bryant the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL with a five year, $70 million deal.
Other athletes signed to Roc Nation Sports include basketball player Kevin Durant and baseball player CC Sabathia.