NEW YORK — He's spun at parties for Will Smith, and back in the day he carried crates for Biz Markie, and last night, DJ Nick Cannon showed off his skills at the Pink Elephant for the big shots who were out to celebrate the DVD release of "Notorious."
That's right, DJ Nick Cannon. The actor is known for making people laugh, but behind the turntables he's no joke. DJing has been a talent and passion Cannon had kept on the low until the last few years. Last night, he played records by New Edition, Madonna, Kris Kross and of course the whole Bad Boy Family (circa 1994-97).
Much of the cast, including the film's star, Jamal Woolard (Biggie), and Naturi Naughton (Lil' Kim) were on hand at the Vibe-hosted party. Big's real-life partner in crime, Lil' Cease, also came out, as did sexy model Melyssa Ford and Vibe editor in chief Danyel Smith.
The "Notorious" DVD comes out April 21, in both the original format and the uncut version.
By Nick Neofiditis
As you enter the NYC borough of Brooklyn, there's a sign that reads very bluntly: "Welcome to Brooklyn: Believe the Hype." That sign never read more true than last night as I walked out of the "Notorious" movie premiere in New York.
Surrounded by the likes of Puffy, Mrs. Wallace, Biggie's managers Marc Pitts and Wayne Barrow, Mary J., Lil' Cease, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Nas, Jadakiss, Faith Evans, a host of family and friends of the late rapper, virtually all of the cast from the film and just about anyone who matters in the hip-hop industry — it's hard to believe I even managed to score a seat in the theater! Besides being privileged enough to enjoy the premiere of the film in such company, I also got a chance to hear and see the reactions of the crowd during the movie and as we flooded out of the theater.
"Dumb rappers need teachin'." MCs, you can learn a thing or two from Notorious B.I.G.
Back in 1995, after he had dropped one of the top 10 greatest hip-hop LPs ever (Ready to Die), after he was considered the best rapper in the game, after all the money, a string of commercially successful hits, he just wanted to be "hard."
Big had his eyes on the prize, but still, he wasn't trying pander to any audience or water himself down. He was trying to do him! That's something I see less and less nowadays from MCs. It feels like a lot of guys want to jump on whatever bandwagon has the hottest pipes at the moment.
Take it from Frank White: The only way to be bigger is to ride your own course.
By Rahman Dukes
There's a spine-tingling moment in "Notorious" when Biggie and Puff Daddy are surrounded by an auditorium full of angry Tupac fans during a performance at an Atlanta college. At the height of what had become a bicoastal rap war led by the two kings of hip-hop, B.I.G. and Tupac, Biggie Smalls had had enough of the heckling and decided to react.
"Who shot ya?" Big rapped. "Separate the weak from the ob-so-lete/ Hard to creep from Brooklyn streets/ It's on, n---a, f--- all that bickering and beef."
"Who Shot Ya" would become one of the greatest hip-hop records to date — and one of the most misunderstood. The song's interpretation played a role in the demise of the MCs' relationship. Read More...
By Rya Backer
Booyahs from Manhattan! Not to big-up myself, Citizens of Cramerica, but yesterday was a really great day to be me. After writing a brief blog on our dear leader's fixation with "Notorious," I received an on-air shout-out from Jim Cramer himself on last night's "Mad Money"!
Naturally, this was done while he plugged his book (now in paperback!), "Real Money," but he was quick to point out that "according to Cramer fave Rya Backer of MTV News," "Notorious" was coming to theaters "tomorrow." Unfortunately, that's not actually the case: I was referring to the film's premiere — not its nationwide release, which is on January 16. Fortunately, he pronounced my name correctly, which is a feat very few have accomplished.
In any case, this was probably the most exciting thing that's happened to me all year. If I may overreach like the kind critics who have already dubbed Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion as the best album of the year, my Cramer shout-out is likely to be the highlight of my 2009. Unless, that is, bigger things are to occur within the coming days.
See, I think it'd be sort of fun to see "Notorious" with the man whose visage graces the screen on my cell phone — and apparently, enough of my co-workers agree to have helped make this video invite.
So, Jim, what do you say? Maybe after the flick, you can explain to me exactly what a "commodity" is!
By Rya Backer
Not to be the bearer of bad news, but we're kind of in tough economic times.
Unfortunately, that's about as far as my knowledge of money extends (no, Dad, I'm not proud of that), but you can't say I'm not proactive. See, in an effort to learn why we're all going to be working until we're 80, I've made a habit of watching/ nursing an obsession with Jim Cramer's "Mad Money" on CNBC. OK, so maybe I don't watch it for the stock tips as much I just enjoy watching the host — what with his sound-effects board, those squishy bulls that line his desk and whose heads he bites off, and his "boo-yahs." And, ideally, if I watch enough of the show, I'll gain worlds of financial literacy strictly through osmosis.
By Daniela Capistrano
Like most Notorious B.I.G. fans who are eagerly anticipating the biopic set for release January 16, I was concerned about how true-to-life "Notorious" would be.
Luckily, some folks who were close to the legendary artist signed on as consultants for the film to ensure accuracy, including rapper Lil' Cease, who gave details about his contributions to the film during our set visit back in May.
This afternoon, Lil' Cease and friends DJ Mazi O and Rich Nice dropped by the newsroom to visit Sway. Being a big fan of Cease's style on Lil' Kim's debut album, Hard Core, I couldn't help but take the opportunity to snap a photo.