Tuesday, June 20, 2017

[EXCLUSIVE} Prodigy, MC of long-running New York rap duo Mobb Deep, dies at 42!

Prodigy, MC of long-running New York rap duo Mobb Deep, died in Las Vegas. At press time the cause of death was unclear.

The group’s publicist sent the following statement to XXL:

“It is with extreme sadness and disbelief that we confirm the death of our dear friend Albert Johnson, better known to millions of fans as Prodigy of legendary NY rap duo Mobb Deep.  Prodigy was hospitalized a few days ago in Vegas after a Mobb Deep performance for complications caused by a sickle cell anemia crisis. As most of his fans know, Prodigy battled the disease since birth. The exact causes of death have yet to be determined. We would like to thank everyone for respecting the family’s privacy at this time.”

We send our condolences to P’s family, friends and colleagues.

Prodigy and his Mobb Deep cohort, Havoc, grew up together in Queens, New York City and broke into hip-hop with a raw, vivid and vicious distillation of East Coast gangsta rap. The pair released their first demo together in 1992 under the name Poetical Prophets, which they followed up a year later with their Mobb Deep debut, Juvenile Hall. While that record wasn't well received, their 1995 follow-up The Infamous, remains a hardcore NYC classic and features one of the group's signature songs, "Shook Ones Pt. II."

Prodigy and Havoc would release eight records together as Mobb Deep, with their last, The Infamous Mobb Deep, arriving in 2014.

In 2000, Prodigy launched his solo career with H.N.I.C. and would go on to release an array of solo records and mixtapes, as well as collaborations with producers such as the Alchemist and Big Twins and Un Pacino. In January, Prodigy released his last solo record, Hegelian Dialectic (The Book of Revelation).

This story is developing
This article was originally published by Variety

This article originally appeared in XXL

Contributing author Max Weinstein


[The urban music industry weighs in] on the Recording Academy’s decision to add a rap nomination review committee.

While the Recording Academy’s addition of a nomination review committee for the rap fields at the Grammy Awards is welcome news for the urban music world, it is raising some perennial concerns: Who will be included on the committee and how transparent will the selection process be?
The addition of the rap nominations review committee is one of several rule and procedure amendments announced by the Recording Academy this week, effective immediately for the 60th annual Grammy Awards (Jan. 28, 2018). Those changes include instituting online voting for the Academy’s 13,000 voting members; songwriters credited with at least one-third playing time on an album being eligible to receive a Grammy in the album of the year category; and nomination review committees also being established in the contemporary instrumental and new-age music fields, in addition to rap.
That now brings the total number of nomination review committees -- including album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artist -- to 15. Introduced more than 20 years ago, the review committee was conceived as a measure to further shift focus away from the popular vote to concentrate more on the creative craft.
Cortez Bryant, a partner in the Maverick management consortium and COO of Young Money, calls the addition of a rap nomination review committee a step in the right direction. He and fellow Maverick partners Gee Roberson and Shawn Gee helm a combined roster that includes Grammy Award-winning artists Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Jill Scott. While thankful for those wins, Bryant also notes, it’s “no secret that the Grammys have also looked really bad when it comes to the rap category.”
One case in point: when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis received the best rap album Grammy in 2014 for The Heist. The pair won over Kendrick Lamar, who was favored to win for his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city. Macklemore later acknowledged that Lamar should have won.
“I commend them for putting together a committee to pay special attention to the fastest-growing genre in the world," Bryant continues. "But who's going to be on that committee? That will determine if the problem can really be solved. If it's a committee of people who don't understand our culture, then the results will likely remain the same.” 
This article was originally published by Billboard

This article originally appeared in Billboard

Contributing author GailBBMitchell


How Irv Gotti Brought Murder Inc. to 300 Entertainment

In May, Irv Gotti announced on Instagram that he was reviving his label Murder Inc., a roster co-founded with his brother, Chris Gotti, that was comprised of Ja RuleAshanti and others who delivered chart-topping Rap&B hits in the early aughts. 

However, after legal troubles, Irv Gotti hopes to bring back Murder Inc.'s glory days in a new partnership with 300 Entertainment. 

{EXCLUSIVE} Prodigy Dies at 42!

"I had the opportunity to spend some time with Irv reviewing his vision for The Tales anthology series," says 300 Entertainment co-founder/CEO, Kevin Liles, referring to Gotti's forthcoming BET scripted anthology series, premiering June 27. "I was blown away by his ability to take cultural phrases and give them the right visual context."
Gotti's revamped label also ushers in a couple new signees, hip-hop artists Boogiie Byrd (from D.C.) and duo Fitted Circle (St. Louis), who were introduced to Gotti by filmmaker Benny Boom. "Then I got to meet Boogiie Byrd and Fitted Circle and I saw the same excitement in Irv's eyes that he had at the beginning of Murder Inc," continued Liles. "50 million plus records later.... our trust and respect for what we do could not be any greater. At 300 Entertainment, we are always aiming to provide an unparalleled platform for entrepreneurs and creatives. Irv has proven to be all the above and we welcome him and the new faces of Murder Inc to 300."
The excitement is mutual for Gotti, who adds, "I couldn't be more excited to be with 300. With Kevin Liles, Lyor Cohen, and the whole staff at 300. I need to be with a company that understands hip-hop culture and understands me and my crazy ways. My acts Boogiie Byrd and Fitted Circle are going be the next superstars to come out under Murder Inc. The sky is the limit with me and 300." According to Gotti's Instagram post, Ja Rule and Blackchild will also be "apart of everything I am doing."
Gotti also plans to release the Irv Gotti Presents: Music Inspired By Tales album and to reveal the name of another Murder Inc. at a later date. 
This article was originally published by Billboard
Contributing author