Monthly Archives: January 2013

Members of A Tribe Called Quest and Black Sheep Unveil New Project evitaN

EVITAN DRES AND JAROBITeaming up with Dres, Jarobi has shocked the hip-hop world. And it was worth the wait. Speed of Life, the highly anticipated debut release by evitaN (Jarobi and Dres), gives a new spin on hip-hop’s golden era.

Recorded in 2011 and 2012 at the Sound Machine in New York City, evitaN, the hip-hop supergroup consisting of Jarobi (A Tribe Called Quest) and Dres (Black Sheep) recruited an all-star cast to create what many are already calling a classic. And we have none other than Q-Tip to thank.

Dres had been trying to convince Jarobi, the “mystic man” who did not rhyme on any of A Tribe Called Quest’s albums, to record an EP for his Pool of Genius label for many years. Eventually, Jarobi had a revelation: “I got to this period in my life where I decided to stop saying no to things. I told myself the next opportunity that comes through, I’m not going to say no. I promise you, within three hours of me saying that, the phone rang and it was Dres.”

Dres and Jarobi recorded the first song together, “Keep Keepin’ On.” Jarobi played it for Q-Tip, who replied “Yo! You guys should be a group!” They went back into the studio and recorded “P.T.I. (Occupy Wall St.)” with the production team of DJ Bazooka Joe and Marc Lawrence. This became their first single, released in late 2011, and evitaN (Native spelled backward) was born. Less than a year later, EVITAN SPEED OF LIFEthey had 26 songs recorded and 15 of those became the Speed of Life album.

On Speed of Life, evitaN welcome guest appearances by Bootsy Collins (on vocals and bass), Rah Digga, Havoc of Mobb Deep, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Craig G, Homeboy Sandman and more.

EvitaN is a new hip-hop duo featuring Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest and Dres of Black Sheep. Their debut album, Speed of Life, is available now on iTunes,, Spotify, Rhapsody and digital music stores worldwide, released by Pool of Genius.

Black Sheep was the first hip-hop act to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno . Their debut album, A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, was certified Gold by the RIAA within six months of its release, and it is widely regarded as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time. “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)” is one of VH1’s top 100 hip-hop songs of all time.

A Tribe Called Quest is one of hip-hop’s most legendary, beloved and revered groups, consisting of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi. In the 1990s, they jump-started and perfected the hip-hop alternative to hardcore and gangsta rap. Jarobi, the honorary member of ATCQ, was rarely heard. For more information, visit

MC Lyte Launches Hip Hop Sisters Legends Series

dl_lyteLegendary lyricist MC Lyte, together with Sunni Gyrl’s newly appointed COO Lynn Richardson, launched the long anticipated Hip Hop Sisters Legends performance series with Yo Yo, Monie Love, Lady of Rage, MC Smooth and Lil Mama in Los Angeles, CA.

The series included auditions for and announcement of the Next Top Female MC: Intelligenz; a real talk panel discussion: Who Are They, Where Are They, What Happened & Why; and a heart-stopping, standing-room-only performance by the female legends. This historic launch came on the heels of MC Lyte’s announcement of not one, but two $100,000 First Wave scholarship winners at the 2012 Soul Train Music Awards Red Carpet Pre-show. 

“It has been my desire to expand the influence of female emcees and now that time has arrived,” said MC Lyte.  “My company, Sunni Gyrl, has been in existence for over fifteen years and together with my charity, Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, I am committed to giving back and to aggressively expanding opportunities for female emcees and for other artists who wish to leverage my diversity, success, and leadership in the entertainment industry.”

Yo Yo , longtime friend, legendary lyricist in her own right, founder of IBWC and Yo Yo School of Hip Hop, says, “Working with Lyte is a no brainer; she is honest, kind, innovative and a visionary.”

“Seeing these women come together is a long awaited experience for millions who grew up appreciating hip hop,” says Lynn Richardson , a celebrity financial coach, former Fortune 50 Vice President who also serves as President of the Board of Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, and Chief of Operations for Russell Simmons’ and Dr. Benjamin Chavis’ Hip Hop Summit Action Network.

Russell Simmons, a mentor and friend to MC Lyte and advisory board member for her charity, praised both MC Lyte and Lynn Richardson for their efforts and calls the Hip Hop Sisters Legends Series a genius idea. 

For more information, visit

Hennessy And Nas Unveil Year Two Of The “Wild Rabbit”

Luxury Cognac Brand Hennessy Partners with Groundbreaking Musician Nas to Inspire Fans to Reach their Full Potential

HENNESSY AND NAS UNVEIL "WILD RABBIT"Hennessy, the number one selling Cognac brand in the world, announced today that its successful “Wild Rabbit” campaign will continue for a second year. Centered on the notion that true greatness is reserved for those who have reached a level of mastery yet still push for more success, the “Wild Rabbit” program draws parallels among the journeys of leading icons in various fields and the paths being forged by Hennessy aficionados.  The award-winning campaign, which in 2012 spotlighted inspiring tales of such masters as Manny Pacquiao, Erykah Badu and Martin Scorsese, will add a new ambassador to their ranks: multi-platinum recording artist and rhyme master, Nas.

“Our ‘never stop, never settle’ mantra communicates a value at the core of who we are as a brand and resonates with our consumers: pursuing one’s potential comes from an inner drive to continuously grow, continuously improve and seek greater levels of mastery,” said Rodney Williams, Senior Vice President, Moet Hennessy USA. “Nas is not only a master in music, but is blazing new trails in film and philanthropy, among other passions.”

To introduce the Nas partnership, Hennessy a private concert was held on January15 at New York hotspot, R Lounge. Hennessy partnered with Livestream to capture the concert for fans worldwide. The event is available for download via

“This partnership with Hennessy has been almost two decades in the making,” said Nas. “I am honored to be included in the group of previous partners Hennessy has selected over the years and hope this campaign will inspire others to ‘never stop, never settle.”‘

Online, fans can engage with Hennessy on Facebook (, Twitter (@HennessyUS), and at  Most recently, Hennessy launched an Instagram profile (HennessyUS) that delivers a visually unique, interactive online brand experience and with Hennessy’s other platforms lets fans discover the world of Hennessy and delve into their own Wild Rabbits. As a reward for their tenacity in the chase, those who venture deeper into the digital rabbit hole can uncover hidden rewards ranging from VIP experiences to event invitations to engagement with Hennessy talent.

The Wild Rabbit campaign received several major awards since breaking last year, including the Cannes Silver Lions Award in Film Craft, the Impact Blue Chip Brand Award, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America Out of Home Media Plan of the Year Award.

Red Bull Thre3Style Returns to Rock Dance Floors Across The US

thre3style_logo_2012Red Bull Thre3Style is back and looking for the best open format DJ in the World.  The competition series, which will be hosted in more than 20 countries, kicks off in the U.S. this month with qualifying battles in more than 25 cities. Hundreds of DJs hand-picked by curators will battle their way through a series of competitions in the hopes of landing the coveted title of Red Bull Thre3style National Champion – a title that comes with bragging rights, cash prizes, a stamp of approval from some of the best DJs in the world including DJ Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip and A-Trak; and a ticket to compete in the Red Bull Thre3style World Finals in November.


Local qualifiers are currently underway with remaining battles in:  Cleveland, New Orleans, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Seattle, Pittsburg, Detroit, San Diego Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Austin, Kansas City, Charlotte, Nashville, Brooklyn, Chicago and Orlando.

 Winners of these local qualifiers will advance to the Regional Qualifiers in Philadelphia , Miami, Dallas, Seattle and Chicago where their performances will be judged by the world-renowned DJ Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip and A-Track. Regional winners will meet in Los Angeles in April at the Red Bull Thre3style National Finals to determine the best open format DJ and who will represent the USA in the World Finals at the end of the year.

The reigning world champion– Four Color Zack is a native of Seattle, WA who came up through the ranks winning each qualifying battle in last year’s Red Bull Thre3style series competition. The notoriety gained by winning the title has resulted in a steady flow of DJ gigs across the country for him.  Four Color Zack will also be a judge at several Red Bull Thre3style local qualifiers this year.


Red Bull Thre3Style is an in international DJ battle series based on an innovative concept that gives highly skilled DJs a platform to battle, perform, gain notoriety and express themselves in a party atmosphere.  Unlike other DJ battles that are based on more technical aspects, this is a creative and unique format that seeks to find the DJ that has best perfected the true art of “party rockin’.”  Competing DJs fight for the crowd’s favor, each with a 15-minute set that MUST contain at least three different musical genres.  A panel of music industry judges selects the winners based on track selection, creativity, mixing skills, stage presence and crowd reaction. Sets from competing DJs are archived at

 Official Web Site-

Twitter- @redbull3style / #rb3style



Inspectah Deck & 7L & 7L To Release ‘Czarface’ LP On 2-19-2013‏

CZARWhen soon-to-be-renowned Boston hip-hop duo 7L & Esoteric collaborated with the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck on the title track to 7LES’s debut EP Speaking Real Words in 1999, the timing was perfect. The upstart duo was building a serious buzz on the East Coast and beyond, while Deck was still winning praise for his gold-selling solo disc Uncontrolled Substance. As flashy pop-oriented rap was pumped on commercial radio stations, their natural chemistry and sympatico skills shone as a beacon to real hip-hop fans, a base of listeners who were soon asking about their next musical summit.

14 years later, the hunger for sharp lyrics and head-snapping beats hasn’t dissipated. In the face of the ever-worsening status quo of watered-down and vapid radio rap songs, the call for something real has only gotten stronger, and once again the time is right for a call to action – for someone or something to come in and send wack rappers running for the hills in fear. Enter CZARFACE, the upcoming full-length album from Inspectah Deck and 7L & Esoteric, to be released on indie stalwart Brick Records on February 19, 2013.

As Deck explains, “We called it CZARFACE because a czar is someone who is pretty much idolized by certain people no matter what he does or what he’s done. At the same time, he’s looked at like some type of martyr.” His lyrical partner Esoteric adds: “CZARFACE is a vigilante. He’s an anti-hero character who serves as the face of the project and his focus is on annihilating the hip-hop media darlings the mainstream caters to.”

As any fan will agree, there is no disputing Deck’s important place in the hip-hop game as a lyrical idol. As a founding member of one of hip-hop’s most important groups, the Wu-Tang Clan, Deck has firmly established himself an elite lyricist with 20 years of legendary verses under his belt, lacing Clan classics like “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Protect Ya Neck,” “Triumph” and “Bring Da Ruckus” with street wisdom delivered by a liquid flow.

For Deck, joining forces with 7L & Esoteric is a natural fit: like him, the producer/MC pair has forged a unique and still-expanding career by earning respect from their peers and always seeking out new creative opportunities. Since the release of Speaking Real Words in 1999 they’ve released five more critically acclaimed albums as a duo, toured the world and participated in group projects with the likes of Army of the Pharaohs and East Coast Avengers.

CZARFACE packs enough ammunition to answer anyone questioning whether these veterans still have the heart for battle. Deck has kept the Wu-Tang flag flying high in recent years, collaborating with Raekwon and RZA while releasing solo albums such as 2010’s The Manifesto (Traffic). From the Boston end, Esoteric has branched out beyond ongoing work with childhood friend DJ 7L, pushing his own creative talents in new directions: from a self-produced instrumental disc inspired by Japanese b-movies (Pterodactyl Takes Tokyo, Fly Casual, 2008) to the deeply-personal concept album, Saving Seamus Ryan (Fly Casual, 2009).

With both lyricists in prizefighting form, CZARFACE is a showcase for lyrical finesse, superior rhyme skills and teacher-approved sharing skills. To wit: a track like the single “Cement 3’s,” where Deck and Eso trade incisive, rewind-worthy verses over a hypnotic head-thump beat from 7L, while Roc Marciano delivers the final verbal body blows. Unsurprisingly, respect for real hip-hop runs deep, and CZARFACE brings an army with it—consider the star-studded guest list which includes Action Bronson, Vinnie Paz, Oh No, Mr. MFN eXquire and Deck’s fellow Wu-Tang Clansmen Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna.

Aside from one track blessed by the almighty DJ Premier, production on CZARFACE belongs exclusively to DJ 7L, who provides the musical backbone which holds the album together. His ability to craft a hip-hop sound that’s current and exciting with a classic feel left Deck impressed: “This is one of the first albums I’ve heard in a while that gives you so many different feels. You hear the ‘80s hip-hop style, ‘80s R&B and rock combined with what’s going on now. That’s creating something new, in my opinion.”

A collaboration this big is bound to catch some attention, as it has from MISHKA NYC artist Lamour Supreme, who created the eye-popping comic-book-inspired cover art for CZARFACE. That’s just a taste of the surprises that lie in store when the album is released in special, deluxe packaging on CD and double LP on February 19, 2013.

As Deck states, summing it all up: “When you see our face, you see the face of hip-hop, you see the face of music in this form. People do what they do—there’s techno rap and all kinds of rap out there. But this is that speaking-real-words rap. Go ahead and dissect everything we’re saying, you’ll get plenty out of it.”

Wu-Tang Clan’s Cappadonna Returns to Bring ‘Eyrth, Wynd & Fyre’

CappadonnaCappadonna grew up with and attended grade school in Staten Island with the members who would eventually construct the seminal rap group Wu-Tang Clan.  However, it wasn’t until 1995 that he made his recorded debut, appearing on Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx LP; and was soon thereafter anointed as the official tenth member of the group thanks to the serious darts he spit on the instant classic “Ice Cream.” In 1996, he played an integral role on Ghostface Killah’s Ironman LP. During 1997, his Wu affiliation not only continued, but flourished as he contributed on the Clan’s second LP, Wu-Tang Forever (which is now 6X platinum).

Though he continued to be a regular fixture on all Wu-Tang Clan related projects, Cappadonna’s solo debut, The Pillage, was released in 1998 and it was executive-produced by RZA and included cameos from Method Man, U-God, and Raekwon. The Pillage instantly impacted upon its release and it debuted at number #3 on the charts and was quickly certified Gold.

Cappadonna was again predominantly featured on the Clan’s 2000 release, The W, and followed up with his sophomore solo-project project, The Yin and the Yang, which reaped similar commercial and critical success. Cappadonna’s third solo project, The Struggle, was released in 2003 and Cappa reaffirmed his status within the crew by contributing to the Clan’s fifth-studio LP 8 Diagrams in 2007.   Cappadonna inked a new solo-deal with Koch Records shortly thereafter in 2008 and would go on to release his fourth official solo-project Slang Prostitution with Koch in 2009 and The Pilgramage in 2011.

While the legendary MC has remained an active voice within the Wu-Tang collective, touring, contributing to classic Soundtrack (High School High & Don’t Be A Menace) cuts and as a member of Ghostface Killah’s Theodore Unit and the more recent commingling with his Wu-comrades on RZA’s The Man With The Iron Fists OST on the Wu-Tang Clan reunion track “Six Directions Of Boxing” and appearing on the Wu-Tang Clan & D-Block project Wu-Block. The “Papi Wardrope Kings” renaissance continues with his new double-disc solo-project, Eyrth, Wynd & Fyre, which will be released by RBC Records on February 12th, 2013. “Eyrth, Wynd & Fyre represents the energy and elements of life. The changes that the earth generates, the turbulence of life; if the wynd is not in your favor, you cannot fly high. The Fyre is the truth, it just can’t be denied, the truth hurts, but it also builds character” states Cappadonna.

Cappadonna’s “Eryth, Wynd & Fyre” will feature production from Stu Bangas, J. Glaze & G-Force (among others) and feature guest appearances from Solomon Childs, Sav Kills and shows that Capp’s “PLO Flow” is just as sharp as ever as Cappadonna laments  I’m just trying to be the best I can be for my fans, I just want to be loved for my art, I want them to see my passion and as long as people are still feeling that and applauding, I’m going to keep milking that cow the best I know how. To be releasing this project with RBC Records (who has also released projects from Tech 9Nne, DJ, Quik, E-40, Too Short & more) is a blessing, its always good to be among the legends.  We have all been in the game for many years; it feels good to be a part of that and to have a home.”

Tracklisting and credits for Cappadonna’s Eyrth, Wynd & Fyre:

Disc One:

1.) “In The Dungeon” f/ Show Stopper (produced by: J. Glaze)

2.) “Hustle Game Tight” (produced by: J. Glaze)

3.) “Puffed On Pride” (produced by: J. Glaze)   

4.) “Boogah Hill” (produced by: J. Glaze)

5.) “The Better Life Movement” (produced by: J. Glaze)   

6.) “Real Life” (produced by: J. Glaze)  

7.) “Pull Ya Life Together” (produced by: J. Glaze)   

8.) “Creature Feature” (produced by: J. Glaze)   

9.) “The Body Rock” (produced by: J. Glaze)   

10.) “Rap Is Like Crack” f/ Solomon Childs of Theodore Unit (produced by: J. Glaze)

11.) “Children Of Israel” f/ Show Stopper (produced by: J. Glaze)   

12.) “God Forgive Me For My Sins” (produced by: J. Glaze)

13.) “Net Surfin” f/ Show Stopper (produced by: J. Glaze)

14.) “Back To School” (produced by Whaul)

Disc Two:

1.) “Free Lunch” f/ Lounge Mode (produced by Keelay & Zaire)

2.) “Real Talk” f/ Lounge Mode (produced by Cosmos Shines)

3.) “Welfare” f/ Sav Killz (produced by Chris Bay)

4.) “Bar B Que” f/ Lounge Mode (produced by DJ Snips)

5.) “Actual Facts” f/ Sav Killz (produced by DJ Snips)

6.) “Rep Ya Borough” f/ Lounge Mode (produced by Kevlaar 7)

7.) “Live Ya Life” f/ Lounge Mode (produced by Cosmos Shines)

8.) “Chains” (produced by Stu Bangas)

9.) “Socializing” f/ Lounge Mode (produced by Keelay & Zaire)

10.) “It’s A Man’s World” (produced by Kevlaar 7)

11.) “Baby Mommas” (produced by Keelay & Zaire)

12.) “Ease On Down The Road” (produced by Keelay & Zaire)

13.) “We Hood Rich Now” (produced by Stu Bangas)

14.) “Uncle Gem’s Rice” (produced by G-Force)


Nas and Lauryn Hill Black Rage Tour Ignites Chicago

By Sommer Thornton

120920_tourNas opened the show with a bang, “God Son” and rolled through his Illimatic album, his Stillmatic classics, and did hits like “Bye Baby”, “Cherrywine”, and “Accident Murders” from his new hit album, Life is Good. This is the second time Nas has been to Chicago recently. He was here for the Heineken Red Star Access Concert with Pusha T in August. I love how the Congress Theater creates intimacy with the masses of people. I saw a 50 year-old white man bobbing his head with 17 year-old black boys and Asian teens dancing their heels off. I saw a lot of billows of weed smoke in the air too.

Nas and his full band ran through a catalogue of hits for the commercial heads, then Nas performed some of his non single classics like “Shoot Em Up”, “Pain”, and “We Major”, from Kanye West’s College Dropout album. My favorite part was when Nas asked for the fans to”pray for his city” of New York, that is still recovering from hurricane Sandy.

When Ms. Lauryn Hill finally graced the stage, she was dressed down in an African military inspired number wielding her arms to the melody of her backup singers and directing her band like a composer. “Everything is Everything” took it to the next level, as Lauryn’s musical journey led the crowd through her interludes and overlapping bridges jazz and rock-reggae infused. Lauryn also performed new versions of “Lost Ones”, “X-Factor”, and “Forgive Them Father” from her multiplatinum album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Lauryn’s set was high energy and eclectic. It was as if the last 10 years of her life were bursting out in a climatic rebirth. In the middle of the set, Ms. Lauryn explained where Black Rage derives from then journeyed her fans through the album the Score with the Fugees, performing “Fu-gee-la” and “Ready or Not.”

The entire show was a dream fulfilled. The only thing missing was a duet of “If I Ruled the World.”

Tour came to Chicago in November 2012.