I started my Twitter account almost a year ago. In the beginning, I just wasn't into that particular social network (I would literally send out one tweet every month). About three weeks ago, I decided that I was going to dig in and start using Twitter on a more regular basis. Once I got on, I started getting all these messages in support of Pittsburgh's own Wiz Khalifa. "When are you going to put Wiz on mixtape daily?" several messages read. Coincidentally, not too long from when I started tweeting, Wiz dropped his mixtape Kush and Orange Juice.
The tape was just dope — probably Wiz's best. We play it a lot around the MTV News offices, and people on the net obviously felt the same way. So with all that buzz as well as tape's superiority, we decided it was time to feature Wiz on "Mixtape Daily." The cameras started rolling in Pittsburgh and we have to say, the piece came out stuuuuupid! On Monday (May 10), you'll get to see Wiz's full "Mixtape Daily" segment. It is our main pick of the week. The piece will also be airing on "Sucker Free" and MTV Jams, and we'll let you know when you can catch Wiz on cable (stay tuned to find out exactly when).
In the meantime, check out this preview, where we capture Wiz tweeting to his loyal following. Major!
The return of Shyne marks an exciting time in hip-hop.
I remember meeting the Belize-born rapper way back in 1998 or 1999, and he was a genuine cat. I was just starting my career as a journalist, and he was just getting his feet wet as an MC. As early material started to leak on mixtapes and heat up the underground (I used to love his track "Cock, Aim, Squeeze"), you had a feeling he was going to be one of the greats. The dude was undeniably nice, and he had a voice — not just his tone, but a voice, as in speaking to what's was going on in the streets.
The day Shyne's prison verdict came in was the same day I started working at MTV News. I'll never forget that day. It was the last time a major news event happened concerning hip-hop and I didn't work on it. Shyne was sentenced to 10 years in prison for two counts of assault as well as reckless endangerment and gun possession in a 1999 shooting. I was definitely depressed to hear that such a young and talented man was going to prison. Back in 2004, I was glad to have the chance to be able to go see Shyne in prison. Obviously, you'd hate to see him in that atmosphere, but it was good to hear that being away had not broken his spirit. He was still inspired to make music and exuded strength.
Since Shyne's return home, I've talked to him a few times, and I have been encouraged to hear how he's planning to come back to music and be a factor. On Friday, a record called "Messiah" mysteriously popped in my e-mail. It was the first real song I've heard from Shyne in years. The record stayed in heavy rotation in my office on Friday as I listened to it closely along with Rahman Dukes and Sway. "Shyne is back."
Some "American Idol" alums are in Arizona right now to take part in Vince McMahon's annual Super Bowl of professional wrestling, WrestleMania.
Jennifer Hudson will be at the event to support her fiancé, David Otunga. Otunga is an up-and-coming grappler currently mentored by superstar R-Truth. Fantasia has a heavier role in the event. She'll sing "America the Beautiful." The star of music and stage sent an e-mail to MTV News this week expressing her excitement.
"It is an honor to perform on the grandest stage of all at WrestleMania XXVI following in [the] footsteps of such incredible talent over the last 25 years," she wrote. "I look forward to continuing this tradition and being part of this global event."
WrestleMania kicks off Sunday night at 7 p.m. EST at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Some of the highlights include Bret "The Hitman" Hart in a No Holds Barred match against McMahon. WWE Champion Batista will defend his title against John Cena, and Shawn Michaels is putting his career on the line against the Undertaker and his 17-0 undefeated WrestleMania record. The other main events include Edge going against World Heavyweight Champ Chris Jericho and Otunga's boy, R-Truth, trying to win the Unified Tag Team belts. Truth and his partner John Morrison take on the Big Show and former "Real World" cast member the Miz.
On Friday, those who loved him as a person and had a affinity for his raw music celebrated the life and musical impact of one of the godfathers of gangster rap, Eric "Eazy-E" Wright. It has been 15 years since the N.W.A founder passed away, from complications of AIDS, and everyone from The Game and Plies to our own Sway Calloway and Eazy-E's oldest son, Lil Eazy-E, shared memories and spoke of Wright's impact.
It's only right that as this celebration continues, we hear from one of Eazy's artists. Bizzy Bone sent in a short message he dedicated to his mentor:
Without E, I wouldn't be. He gave me life in the industry. Though they disregard, I still remember the sarge. The general of the fam, li'l man, the boss, also no mirage. We can clearly see. Eazy-E, Eric Wright, R.I.P. I thank you, E, for all you have done for me. Love you, big bruh.
Do you have memories of Eazy-E to share? Which rappers do you feel owe a debt to him? Talk about it here!
Fabolous came straight to the 'hood on Friday night in Jamaica, Queens, headlining a show at club Amazura, which included a opening performance by Queens native Grafh.
You'd expect the show to start north of Friday and creep into Saturday morning, but Loso didn't get onstage until a little after 3 a.m. — lucky it wasn't a school night. Amazura had an excellent turnout, as the massive club was practically filled.
When Loso took the stage, he mixed hit singles with material from his new mixtape The Funeral Service: There Is No Competition 2. "I'mma Do It" went to "Keepin' it Gangsta" and "Young'n." Later came freestyles over instrumentals from "All the Way Turnt Up" and "Lemonade."
Red Café got a great ovation when he came on as a surprise guest during "I'm Ill."
Unfortunately, news of G Baby's murder on his way home from the party tarnished the good memories.
Being from the neighborhood, I was horrified — for one, you have a 22-year-old man that died for no reason. Secondly, I know how excited Bleek was for the guy's career. I was also hurt because the murder puts a horrific stain on the neighborhood. I grew up minutes away from Amazura and it's a shame that when a big-name act that so many people from around the way loved to see up close comes into the environment, a tragedy happens. These deaths in the streets are so senseless.
People in the hip-hop nation are wondering if the Grammy Awards are snubbing hip-hop.
At Sunday night's show, the only hip-hop award that was broadcast during the show was Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, which Jay-Z, Kanye West and Rihanna won. The only hip-hop act to perform was the finale of
Lil Wayne, Drake and Eminem performing "Drop the World" and "Forever" — and even with that coveted spot, the performance was mired in controversy due to network's overzealous muting of the song's lyrics. There was no moment in the spotlight for Eminem's two wins; no show-stopping performances like last year's
"Swagga Like Us" tag-team of Jay-Z, T.I., Lil Wayne and Kanye West with M.I.A., which killed it collectively and individually.
I can't lie: This was definitely my most fun year covering mixtapes. In the MTV News hip-hop world, we went from exploring the underground scene once a week with "Mixtape Monday" to checking in five days a week with "Mixtape Daily." As always, your support is considered a huge blessing and is never taken for granted.
It wasn't that long ago when people were saying mixtapes were dead. Word? Nah. Mixtapes are forever no matter what. DJs, MCs and even singers jumped heavy into the mix this year. 50 Cent, Young Jeezy, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly, DJ Drama, Drake, Gucci Mane, OJ Da Juiceman, DJ Khaled — the list is endless. On Monday (December 14), we're going to be saluting the elite of the top dogs (and kittens — what up Nicki?). All week long, we'll be trumpeting the people who had the most impact on the underground circuit.
On Monday we jump everything off when we announce our Mixtape of the Year. On Tuesday (December 15), we'll bring you the year's other top tapes. On Wednesday (December 16), get ready for some controversy when we announce our pick for DJ of the Year. The following day, we highlight our Firestarter of the Year — the rookie who broke through in a major way. Finally, on Friday (December 17) we bring the pick for Mixtape Artist of the Year.
Hip-hop, we did it again. Let's make 2010 even greater and more historic.
No sleep 'til Brooklyn. During rush hour, it takes about 90 minutes to get from Manhattan to BK, but horrendous traffic couldn't deter stars current and past from the Def Jam label from traveling to the world's most popular borough for VH1's sixth annual "Hip-Hop Honors." Right in the heart of Crooklyn at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the red carpet for the event was filled with heat (literally — it felt like it was about 120 degrees) and love.
KRS-One must have hugged former Def Jam franchise player DMX on the carpet. The Blastmaster said a definitive "Him!" and pointed to X when asked who was one of the artists that defined the label over the years.
Meanwhile, there's clearly no more bad blood between Ashanti and Ja Rule, as she smiled brightly when talking about performing with her former Murder Inc. labelmate.
Ludacris arrived with Player's Circle and Titi Boy took home the award for flashiest bling with a iced-out 747 hanging off of his chest.
As the carpet came to a close, Method Man ran into Kid Rock and the compliments went flying. Meanwhile, Fabolous said hello to fellow BK native Foxy Brown. Inside, Foxy and Onyx's Sticky Fingaz exchanged numbers before going to their seats.
They had New Kids on the Block earlier this summer and Toby Keith and the Dave Matthews Band in a couple of months, but on Monday night (July 27), Lil Wayne will be the star attraction at the Toyota Pavilion in Scranton, PA (as the sign on the photo reads).
But on Sunday night, as the MTV News crew came to the venue, we received one surprising rule: "Look out for the snakes, dog!" advised the head of security on the "Young Money Presents: The America's Most Wanted Music Festival." Apparently some reptiles had slithered in the outdoor backstage area at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain.
Scranton is home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (MLB's Bronx Bombers Triple A team) and not exactly the hip-hop capital of the globe, but one of the biggest MCs on the planet has been in town all week. Yes, Lil Wayne, Weezy F. Baby himself has been in Scranton all week rehearsing for his new tour with Young Jeezy, Soulja Boy, Jeremih and Drake.
The Toyota Pavilion is said to hold around 16,000 people — 6,000 seats under a canopy-like top (which also covers the stage) and 10,000 on the lawn that runs up a hill.
When MTV showed up earlier this afternoon, Weezy wasn't due to arrive until about 8:30 p.m., while Drake was said to be coming 30 minutes after that. The always sexy Nicki Minaj was already backstage getting ready to rehearse and Jeezy and Soulja Boy weren't due to rehearse their sets until Monday morning.
T-Pain's managers, Rocco Valdes and Mike Blumstein of Chase Entertainment, obviously know how to get that mullah. They got their start working in the studio at Slip-N-Slide Records with producer Jim Johnson. One day, the duo were in a parking lot and heard T-Pain's demo through record promoter T.J. Chapman and sought out the singer. Now, in addition to Pain, they help guide the careers of new artists A.B., Sophia Fresh, Young Cash and Sophia Del Carmen, as well as producers Catalyst, All-Star and Detail (who wrote and produced Ray J's "Sexy Can I"). One of their favorite places to break bread? Miami, of course. The pair tell us the spots in Miami that you can get some great business done.
Best Places in Miami to Cut a Deal »Tootsie's: "Everyone knows Tootsie's," says Valdes. "I've been everywhere, and it's the best strip club in the United States. You take a client to Tootsie's and get a table and throw beautiful women over them all night, and the deal is done."
»Philippe at the Gansevoort South Hotel: "Good food and drinks and beautiful women," Blumstein advises. "It gives people a feel of Miami and is a great place to get someone drunk and negotiate better terms. This is for the more reserved clients."
»Nobu: "Can't go wrong with this spot because this is a lot of people's favorite restaurant," Valdes adds. "Easy deal closer." Read More...