Thursday, March 9, 2017

Biggie Smalls is Tha' Illest

Today marks 20 years since Biggie’s death

On March 9, 1997, music mourned the passing of hip-hop icon The Notorious B.I.G. after he was fatally shot in Los Angeles. His impeccable flare and innate wordplay captivated listeners on tracks like "Juicy," "One More Chance," and "Big Poppa." Despite having his career curtailed at the age of 24, his magnum opuses, 1994's Ready to Die and 1997's double-album Life After Death, are still revered the culture twenty years later.
In hopes of maintaining his legacy, FOX 5 news reporter and host of Hot 97'sStreet Soldiers, Lisa Evers, created a TV special to celebrate Biggie's illustrious career. Evers tapped two of Wallace's close friends in Junior M.A.F.I.A.'s Lil Cease and Hot 97's DJ Enuff, Biggie's tour DJ, to ruminate on their days with the late rapper. 

Shaquille O’Neal was with The Notorious B.I.G. just hours before he died back on March 9, 1997. According to Shaq’s 2011 book, Shaq Uncut: My Story, the NBA great was with Biggie at a tattoo parlor that day. And he even planned on attending a party sponsored by Vibe magazine with Biggie that night before he fell asleep while he was waiting for his ride and ultimately missed the party. Shaq found out Biggie died when his mother paged him early the next morning to check on him.

Image result for biggie"I don’t say I could’ve prevented it," Shaq said. "I was just saying…if I was out there by the car, would they still have fired? That’s the only thing I would say to myself. I don’t wanna make it seem like I could’ve saved him. I don’t want to make it seem like if I was there, the shooters wouldn’t have shot. If I was there by the truck, after we all left and I’m dapping him up, would they still have shot?"

The Notorious B.I.G. videos

The following is excerpted from Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap by Ben Westhoff, forthcoming from Hachette Book Group

Biggie and other young rappers assembled in recording studios or hotel rooms to hear Tupac lecture about how to make it in the game. "'Pac could get up and get to teaching," said EDI Mean. "Everyone was transfixed on this dynamic individual, and soaking up all the information we could soak up." But Tupac devoted special attention to Biggie, grooming him and letting him perform at his concerts. Biggie even told him he'd like to be a part of another of his affiliated groups, called Thug Life. "I trained the nigga, he used to be under me like my lieutenant," Tupac said.
Tupac claimed to have directly influenced Biggie's style. "I used to tell the nigga, 'If you want to make your money, you have to rap for the bitches. Do not rap for the niggas,' " he said. "The bitches will buy your records, and the niggas want what the bitches want." As proof that Biggie had heeded his advice, Tupac cited the difference between his early track, the aggressive "Party and Bullshit," and softer songs from his debut Ready to Die like "Big Poppa," which appealed more to the ladies: "Soon as he buy that wine, I just creep up from behind / And ask what your interests are, who you be with?"
But before Ready to Die came out, Biggie worried he could miss his shot, considering that the new label he was signed to, Bad Boy—owned by his manager Sean "Puffy" Combs—hadn't taken off yet. Things weren't happening for him quickly enough, he complained. He asked Tupac to take over as his manager, in hopes Tupac could advance his music and film career as rapidly as he'd done his own. "Biggie looked like he was wearing the same pair of Timberlands for a year, [while] 'Pac was staying at the Waldorf‑Astoria and buying Rolexes and dating Madonna,"

Born as Christopher Wallace on May 21, 1972, in Brooklyn, New York, Biggie Smalls, also known as Notorious B.I.G.,in Brooklyn, New York, in the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Biggie experienced a rough childhood—at an early age, he was surrounded by drug addicts and dealers. As a result, by his early teens, Biggie had joined the life that was all around him. "Hustlers were my heroes," he once said. "Everything happened on the strip I grew up in. It didn't matter where you went, it was all in your face."

At the age of 17, Biggie was arrested for selling crack, and spent nine months in a North Carolina prison before making bail. As he navigated his young, uncertain life, Biggie started making music. He hung around a crew called the "Old Gold Brothers," and began experimenting on his own. Around his neighborhood, Biggie Smalls, as he called himself then, began building a reputation as a musician. After a tape of his landed in the hands of Mister Cee, a well-known DJ, Smalls was featured in the hip-hop publication,The Source.

The article was enough to catch the attention of Sean "Puffy" Combs, a young producer at Uptown Entertainment, a New York-based label specializing in hip-hop and rhythm and blues. When Combs split from Uptown to start his own label, Bad Boy Entertainment, he brought Smalls with him.
Image result for biggie
Immediately, The Notorious B.I.G., as he now called himself, got to work, appearing on a 1993 remix of Mary J. Blige's single, "Real Love," and followed it up with a second Blige remix, "What's the 411?" His debut as a solo artist came with the single, "Party and Bullshit," on the soundtrack to the film, Who's the Man? (1993).
In 1994, The Notorious B.I.G. released his debut album, Ready to Die, which told the story of his life, from drug dealer to rapper. Backed with hits like "Juicy" and "Big Poppa," the record went platinum and the young hip-hop artist became a full-fledged star. That same year, The Source named the rapper "Best New Artist," "Best Live Performer" and "Lyricist of the Year."
As his star power increased, Biggie did his best to share his prestige. He backed the work of several rappers that he'd originally performed with while starting out in Brooklyn, and took to the studio in support of other artists on Sean "Puffy" Combs's label. He also teamed up with such stars as Michael Jackson and R. Kelly. By the close of 1995, Biggie was one of music's best-selling and most sought after performers.

Troubled Times

However, success and wealth hardly brought peace to Biggie's life. In the immediate aftermath of Ready to Die's popularity, the rapper found himself in constant fear. In 1994, he told The New York Times that he was disliked for having more money, which came with his fame. The large rapper—at 6 feet and three inches, and tipping the scales at nearly 400 pounds—said that he jumped whenever the door to his apartment building opened, fearing that someone might want to hurt him.
Biggie's fear led to anxiety, which led to spurts of aggression. In May 1995, he allegedly beat up a man after they got into a dispute over a canceled performance. Later, he took a baseball bat to a group of autograph seekers. His most famous battles, however, occurred with others in the hip-hop industry, most notably with Tupac Shakur, Marion "Suge" Knight and Death Row Records. The rivalry turned into an East Coast-West Coast feud (with Combs and Biggie representing the East), and the tension escalated in 1994, when Shakur and a member of the Wu-Tang Clan were shot and robbed. The two men survived and Shakur came out blazing, accusing Biggie and Combs of orchestrating the attack. Both vehemently denied the accusation.
Shakur added fuel to the flames with a pointed slam on the East Coast rap world in the single, "Hit 'Em Up," in which he claimed to have slept with Biggie's wife, Faith Evans. In September 1996, East Coast-West Coast battle heated up even further, when Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Rumors of Biggie's involvement immediately began to make the rounds, and when the rapper was one of the few hip-hop artists not to make an appearance at an anti-violence summit that was held in Harlem a few weeks later, the finger-pointing intensified.
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Shakur's death amplified Biggie's fears about his own life, and his concern was tragically validated on March 9, 1997. Biggie, who had just come out of a party celebrating the 11th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, was sitting in an SUV when another vehicle pulled up to his car, opened fire and killed him. Biggie was only 24 years old at the time.
For many fans, the murder was viewed as retaliation for Shakur's murder. Biggie's death shook the music world, prompting fears that the hip-hop world might erupt into a full-fledged war, ending numerous other lives. That didn't happen, fortunately, but Biggie's friends, family and fans never received any answers regarding his death. Despite years of speculation regarding the identity of the gunman, Biggie's case was never solved. Biggie's family has been outspoken about its disappointment with the handling of the case, going as far as accusing the Los Angeles Police Department of employing rogue officers who were involved in the murder.
Biggie's death came just as the rapper was about to put out his second album,Life After Death. In the wake of Biggie's killing, the record was a giant hit, selling nearly 700,000 copies in its first week. Two years later, Born Again, an album of unreleased material from Biggie, was released. A third album of extra material, Duets: The Final Chapter, was released in 2005.
Today, Biggie is still one of the music industry's most admired hip-hop artists. Several musicians have paid tribute to Biggie by mentioning him in their songs, and his musical style has been emulated by countless up-and-coming artists. Undoubtedly, Biggie's talent as a writer and rapper will continue to be acknowledged for decades to come.Image result for biggie

Hot 97 Presents: B.I.G. 20 Years

Celebrating Hip Hop legend & HOT 97 family member for life, Biggie Smalls, 20 

years after his passing.

After 20 years, the Mafia-style murder of Biggie Smalls remains one of the most baffling mysteries in rap history.
The Brooklyn-born hip-hop legend was shot dead by a bow-tied assassin March 9, 1997, while sitting in a green Chevy Suburban parked on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
He was struck with four GECO bullets — rare, metal-piercing 9mm ammo manufactured in Europe and sold only in certain California and New Jersey shops.



Brooklyn Supermarket Honoring The Notorious B.I.G. With Limited Edition Grocery Bags

The Notorious B.I.G. tragically lost his life March 9, 1997, but his legacy lives on not only through his music, but in many aspects of culture that he touched. Even grocery stores.

As a child, Christopher Wallace bagged groceries at Brooklyn’s Met Food Supermarket and on the 20th anniversary of his passing, the store is paying tribute to the rap legend with special edition paper bags.

The Biggie Bags are the creation of Jed Heuer and his wife, Jennifer, who have lived in the area since 2000. There are 100 special edition bags at Key Food, the store that now stands where Met Food was at 991 Fulton Street, that are available for purchase on a first come, first served basis.

“This project is about paying respect to a legendary artist and sharing a piece of neighborhood history.”

Biggie was fatally shot 20 years ago in Los Angeles after attending a party. He died an hour later and the murder is still unsolved.

Remy Ma Ends Nicki Minaj Beef to Focus On Empowering Women

The internet undoubtedly had the time of its life picking apart each slanderous bar on Remy Ma’s “SHETHER,” but for the song’s creator, there is some disappointment in the hype of the track’s aftermath.

In a Facebook Live session with Buzzfeed’s Another Round Podcast, Remy explained why she’s not for the tearing down of other women, despite what went down between herself and Nicki Minaj.

She did clarify that if you rub her the wrong way, likely in the case of the Queens rapper, she’s ready to take aim.

“I do not condone or recommend the tearing down of another female,” Remy Ma said. “That’s not what I do. Anybody that knows me knows that I embrace females. I always want to do some girl-oriented thing. I think we work so much better when we work together and when we help each other. I just don’t, especially when I know someone who’s come from somewhere like I’ve come from, when you come from the bottom and you’ve actually managed to make something of yourself, it just makes me happy. It just makes me all mushy inside. However, in the event that you piss me off and we become archenemies, run for cover.”

Later in the interview, the Bronx wordsmith did fess up to not being “particularly proud” of “SHETHER.” She also explained that she and Nicki could have made an equally powerful impact doing a collaboration.

“It just bothers me that this record that I put out where it’s literally picking apart a female went so viral, and every media outlet wants to talk about it and pick it up. I feel like we could’ve done the same thing working together. I would’ve liked it so much better that way. … I don’t regret [“SHETHER”], but I’m not particularly proud of it,” she said. ” I just think it’s crazy the way people celebrate women attacking each other as opposed to working together.”

While admitting that she was “on high alert” in the week after dropping “SHETHER,” Remy is not among those waiting for Nicki’s response (which is probably not coming anyway).
“It’s over now,” she said. “If she wants to say something then cool, but I said what I had to say and that’s really it.”

El Chapo Movie in the Works at Sony

The studio is set to pick up the rights to the upcoming book 'Hunting El Chapo: The Thrilling Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captures the World’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord.'

As he was in real life, Mexican drug lord El Chapo is proving to be a wanted man.
Sony is picking up the rights to Hunting El Chapo: The Thrilling Inside Story of the American Lawman Who Captures the World’s Most-Wanted Drug Lord, an upcoming book by Cole Merrell and Douglas Century.
3 Arts Entertainment will produce the adaptation.
Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán is the Sinoloa drug cartel boss who, in addition to being one of the most powerful crime lords of all time, had a knack for escaping his prisons. Three times he made headlines with his escapes, prompting massive manhunts. He was last recaptured in 2016 and extradited to the U.S. in January.
The project will compete with Fox’s thriller, The Cartel, which adapted Don Winslow's novel that was a fictional take on El Chapo, with Ridley Scott attached to helm.
Sony is hoping to bag a similarly big-name director, with Michael Bay at the top of the studio’s list of most wanted.  
Hunting El Chapo is due to hit shelves Oct. 17.

Diddy to Debut 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop: The Bad Boy Story' Documentary at Tribeca Film Festival

Continuing the 20th-anniversary celebration of Bad Boy Entertainment, music mogul Diddy will debut his forthcoming documentary Can't Stop, Won't Stop: The Bad Boy Story at this year's Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
“I am blessed to be introducing our film at the Tribeca Film Festival," Diddy said in a statement sent toBillboard. "Tribeca brings the biggest names in entertainment and culture together with visionaries from across industries to celebrate the power of storytelling. There is no better place to share the story behind the Bad Boy movement and this unprecedented musical event."
The documentary, a Live Nation Production directed by Daniel Kaufman, will take a behind-the-scenes look at the prolific label's legacy and offer an in-depth look at the two-night anniversary extravaganza that took place last May at Brooklyn's Barclays Center in honor of the late rap great, The Notorious B.I.G.
The film will explore Bad Boy Entertainment's beginnings in Harlem and Brooklyn, its influence on pop culture, fashion and music, and delve into the tragic murder of Biggie Smalls.
The cameras will also trail Diddy as he tries to wrangle the Bad Boy Family -- including Lil' Kim, Mase, Faith Evans, Mario Winans and 112, among others -- for the pair of sold-out shows within a three-week rehearsal period. 

"Bonnie & Clyde" Couple Charged With Murder After Self-Snitching On Facebook Live

It seems police have access to the Internet after all.

A couple has been arrested for the murder of a 19-year-old man in Oak Cliff, TX last week. According to Dallas News, Dallas police obtained footage of the pair incriminating themselves while broadcasting via Facebook Live. In the recording, which you can see below, the couple shows off firearms and ammunition, and they allude to having recently shot someone. 

The couple, 17-year-old Hakeem Leprince Griffin-White and 27-year-old Ashely Ann Coleman, were arrested on Sunday. They have each been charged with one count of murder. Coleman is being held on $500,000 bail, and police said Griffin-White is being held for the same amount, though jail records list his bail at $200,000. 
They have each been charged for the murder of Drekeiston Alex, who was shot in the middle of the street on Thursday afternoon. He attempted to run away but collapsed soon after he was shot. He was taken to Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, where he was pronounced dead. 

Rick Ross Has Martha Stewart Debut His New Album Cover

Rick Ross' new album cover was presented by Martha Stewart on Wednesday.

Rick Ross got creative for the unveiling of his album cover for Rather You Than Me. The Florida native had Martha Stewart present the artful cover on social media Wednesday. 
In the photo she posted on Twitter, Stewart presents the vinyl cover the same way she would with an apple pie. She even shared the date the album drops.
When Yung Renzel visited Martha and Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party this season, he and Stewart got quite friendly on set.
It's Ricky Rozay's ninth studio album and he's promised to settle the score with somebody he's looked up to his entire career. He released two tracks off the project at the end of last year: "Buy Back The Block" and "I Think She Likes Me." He even dropped a remix of "Buy Back The Block" about a week ago.

Women's March Organizers Arrested at Trump Tower International Women's Day Protest

The organization's Twitter account documented the situation and called for a protest "to show solidarity" on Wednesday afternoon.

More than a dozen demonstrators involved in the New York City protest near the president's Trump International Hotel and Tower were arrested on Wednesday.
The NYPD confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that 13 people were arrested Wednesday afternoon, not long after the International Women's Day marchers had made their way to the Columbus Circle hotel for the "Day Without a Woman" rally.
The Women's March, the organization behind the "Day Without a Woman" strike happening nationwide on Wednesday, confirmed to THR that the 13 people taken into custody were organizers and supporters of the event. Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, and Bob Bland were among those arrested for civil disobedience.
"Today, the national leaders of the Women’s March gathered with allies and those participating in the day’s actions for a show of solidarity and revolutionary love," a rep for the organization told THR. "After a peaceful protest in New York City in honor of A Day Without a Woman, 13 organizers and supporters were arrested by the New York City Police Department in an act of civil disobedience outside of Trump International Hotel & Towers."

Monday, March 6, 2017

Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L. Jackson and More React to Ben Carson Referring to Slaves as Immigrants

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was slammed on social media on Monday, March 6, after he referred to slaves as immigrants in a speech.

Ben Carson"That's what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity," Carson said while addressing HUD employees in Washington, D.C.. "There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less. But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-grandsons, great-granddaughters, might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land."
Azealia Banks Fails to Appear in court
Twitter was quick to slam the newly appointed politician.
“Ben Carson..please read or watch Roots, most immigrants come here VOLUNTARILY, cant't really say the same about the slaves..they were stolen,” Whoopi Goldberg tweeted in response to Carson’s speech, while Samuel L. Jackson added: “OK!! Ben Carson....I can't! Immigrants ? In the bottom of SLAVE SHIPS??!! MUTHAFUKKA PLEASE!!! #dickheadedtom.”
Chelsea Clinton also reacted to Carson’s ill-informed speech. “This can't be real. Slaves were not & are not immigrants. 2017,” she tweeted.

America’s opioid epidemic is worsening

States are losing the battle against deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl

ON TUESDAY February 28th, in an address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump vowed to end America’s “terrible drug epidemic”. When discussing America’s social ills, Mr Trump has a tendency to exaggerate. But on the subject of drugs, the president’s characteristically dark and apocalyptic tone may well have been warranted.

In 2015 more than 52,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. That is an average of one death every ten minutes. Approximately 33,000 of these fatal overdoses—nearly two-thirds of them—were from opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin. Although the absolute death toll from opioids is greatest in big cities like Chicago and Baltimore, the devastation is most concentrated in rural Appalachia, New England and the Midwest (see map). Many of the victims hail from white middle-class suburbs and rural towns.

Azealia Banks Fails to Appear in court

The opioid epidemic has its roots in the explosive growth of prescription painkillers. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of opioid prescriptions (selling under brand names like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet) supplied by American retail pharmacies increased from 76m to 219m. As the number of pain pills being doled out by doctors increased, so did their potency. In 2002 one in six users took a pill more powerful than morphine. By 2012 it was one in three.

Michelle Obama Thanks Chance Rapper

States have since cracked down on prescription opioid abuse, creating drug-monitoring programmes and arresting unscrupulous doctors. Pharmaceutical companies have reformulated their drugs to make them less prone to abuse. Unfortunately, as the supply of painkillers has dropped, many addicts have turned instead to heroin (see chart), which is cheap and plentiful. In 2014 more Americans sought treatment for heroin than for any other drug. In 2015, as total opioid deaths grew by 15%, heroin deaths increased by 23%.

To stem the tide of deadly overdoses, states rely increasingly on naloxone, a drug that reverses heroin’s effect on the brain and jump-starts breathing in addicts who have overdosed. First approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1971, naloxone has been used by doctors and paramedics for decades. In recent years, states struggling with a surge in overdose deaths have passed laws making the drug available to police officers, firefighters and addicts’ friends and family. A recent working paper suggests that such laws—which are now on the books in 45 states and in Washington, DC—reduce opioid-related deaths by 9-11%.

That is still not enough. Data released in recent months show that the opioid epidemic is worsening, driven largely by the rise of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. In 2016 fatal overdoses increased by 26% in Connecticut, 35% in Delaware, and 39% in Maine. During the first three quarters of 2016, deadly overdoses in Maryland jumped by a whopping 62%, prompting the state’s governor to declare an official state of emergency. Mr Trump’s promise to end the scourge of opioid abuse in America is looking more challenging by the day.

Rihanna Receives Harvard University's Humanitarian Award

"All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian," the singer said in her speech.

2/28/2017 by Taylor Weatherby, of Billboard
Image result for Rihanna humanitarian awardAs one of the world's most famous female singers of today, Rihanna's contribution to the world has been plenty impactful in itself. But something fans may forget is how philanthropic the "Love on the Brain" singer is as well.
Because of Rihanna's work on her native island of Barbados and the charities she has founded over the years, the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations honored her with the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award. In a ceremony held Tuesday, she thanked the university for the honor and delivered an inspiring speech — but, of course, had to start off with a little pat on the back for her achievement.
"So I made it to Harvard," Rihanna began as she jokingly flipped her hair. "Never thought I'd be able to say that in my life, but it feels good."

Azealia Banks Fails to Appear in court
As she continued, the singer explained that she has had a passion for helping people since she was a young girl watching commercials about how a quarter could help save a child's life. "I would think to myself, 'I wonder how many 25 cents I could save up to save all the kids in Africa.' And I would say to myself, 'When I grow up and I get rich, I'm gonna save kids all over the world.' I just didn't know I would be in a position to do that by the time I was a teenager," Rihanna laughed.
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After touching on all of the organizations she has since started and helped with, Rihanna encouraged the students at the ceremony and everyone listening to join her in her selfless contributions.

Michelle Obama Thanks Chance Rapper
"All you need to do is help one person, expecting nothing in return. To me, that is a humanitarian," she said, adding, "What that little girl watching those commercials didn't know is that you don't have to be rich to be a humanitarian, you don't have to be rich to help somebody. You don't have to be famous, you don't even have to be college-educated. But it starts with your neighbor. ... You just do whatever you can to help in any way that you can."
This article first appeared in Billboard byTaylor Weatherby