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Black Thought & Questlove Talk Success, 'Def Jam Payment Plan'

So how do you measure success?

 BT: At this stage of the game, I measure success with just relevance. Like still being here. Being around.  Maybe short-term success is Yo, where you charted on Billboad Hot Whatever, but in the long run, the larger scheme of things, it’s about being able to change with the times and still matter. So I feel like the Roots is one of the most successful black bands ever. Just because of the fact that we’ve been here as long as we have.

QL: 18 [years].

BT: And each record has been timely and been credible in its own right. There’s nothing that I would necessarily change or nothing that I regret about our discography. I feel like it’s a legacy that we could all be proud of. That’s what is most important to me.

When you have stepped out as a guest—think of a song like “Super Lyrical” with Pun—that stands up with any record. What other records would you say you’re most proud of?

BT: Hmmm…. I think like, I’m proud of it all man. Like, it’s all true. It’s easy for me to make some shit up, or just name the luxuries in life that I enjoy. It’s a bunch of shit that people just gettin’ on now, like “Yo, drink this; wear this.” I stopped doing it 10 years ago. But I feel like that’s mine. That’s my shit. You don’t need to know that…

Yeah but I mean lyrically, like songs, verses. Ahmir, what’s your favorite “Black Thought” verse?

QL: Probably “No Alibi.” I mean but then again, it’s like, I hate the whole, you know, you name something from like 12 years ago, and does that negate what we did yesterday? Even though it is rather blasphemous—I mean, it’s no secret that everyone holds Things Fall Apart to their hearts—but more and more, people every day are coming to me and saying, Okay, this might be the album to beat. Or I never thought that you guys would even make me feel about music a certain way.

You’re talking about How I Got Over?

QL: There’s things on this record that I’m still discovering. But if I were to name just one rhyme, I think his Black Album was definitely “No Alibi” on Illadelph Halflife. Just for his lyrical sport.

There’s a line on “Dear God” that I have to ask about. You said “Look how they got us on the Def Jam payment plan?” What’s that about?

QL: That’s funny imagery. [laughs] Even L.A. Reid had to laugh at that one.

BT: It’s something to conjur up. It implants a visual and an idea in your mind. It blue-collaraizes, it kinda de-glamorizes the whole “I’m a rap star” and “I’m a Def Jam artist” kinda thing. It’s like I have a job, that it’s a blessing to have, and I go to work. And there’s still the same brown-nosing that goes on at the rock quarry or in the corporate world, but that goes on in the world of entertainment too.

 

SEE ALSO: Black Thought And Questlove Toast To Henny Black In France [PHOTOS]

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LeVar Burton Announces Schedule For His Podcast’s Live Readings On Twitter

The legendary LeVar Burton has joined forces with Twitter’s livestream outlet to bring his audio-only “LeVar Burton Podcast” to streaming life. On Wednesday (April 1), Burton shared the announcement that’ll kickoff this week.

On Friday (April 3), Burton will read a selection from author Neil Gaiman, one of the first writers to grant Burton full permission to read his literary work on a livestream platform. Mondays will be reserved for readings geared toward children, Wednesdays go to young adults and novels that align with them, and after a week of balancing work and home life, Fridays are reserved for adults.

THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 4th, it begins right here on @twitter pic.twitter.com/pxWZ5lat5k

— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) April 1, 2020

In response to his initial tweet about wanting to partner with a livestream platform, HarperCollins Children’s Books tweeted Burton to let him know he also has permission to read certain book titles up until May 31. The Star Trek actor's idea was sparked out of a desire to soothe COVID-19 pandemic tensions through reading.

To avoid legal complications, Burton said he was trying to find a way to bring his hit podcast to a live streaming platform without getting sued by authors. The longtime Reading Rainbow host added, “I figured that during this difficult time I could contribute by reading aloud to folks who could use some diversion for themselves and their families.” Now, his gesture is coming to life.

Hi @levarburton! We are granting permission for online readings of HarperCollins Children’s Books titles through May 31, 2020. Please review our guidelines & check out https://t.co/hkCRaE9GTM for more info. Read on, with our ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IjlCRoy5s4

— HarperStacks (@HarperStacks) March 25, 2020

Samuel L. Jackson also joined in on the live reading sessions that's currently happening across social media platforms, reading a spirited take on Adam Mansbach's Go the F**k to Sleep in the form of a poem the author penned titled "Stay the F**k At Home.”

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Chuck D Says Public Enemy And Flavor Flav’s Split Was A Hoax

On April’s Fools Day (April 1), Chuck D decided to send the masses for a spin. In March, the Public Enemy frontman claimed the historic group parted ways with Flavor Flav. The news made plenty of headlines and even produced statements from both Chuck D and Flav’s representatives. Now, the former is saying it was all a hoax.

In a statement, Chuck D said the decision was influenced by Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds.” He began his explanation by saying the decision was meant to serve as “a wake-up call” and that he was tired of hip-hop only making the news for the bad moments and never for the positive accomplishments. As for Welles’ radio program, Chuck D said it was to show how people follow each another without question.

"I had watched Orson Welles’ ‘War Of The Worlds’ from 1938 when he pulled the wool over the public’s eyes as they put 100% belief in the technology of radio. Most people followed like a Pavlovic dog just like they do now,” he wrote. “Flav doesn’t do benefits and stays away from political events - we been cool and always agreed about that. Enemy Radio was built for that reason, to be a DJ+MC auxiliary unit of Public Enemy, a no-slack homage tossback to DJ+MC roots. It is DJ Lord, myself and Jahi with the S1Ws.”

Initially, Flav’s decision to not perform at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) seemed to have been the catalyst for the current situation. Flav seemingly doubled down on Twitter where he questioned Chuck D’s statements. “@MrChuckD are you kidding me right???,,,over Bernie Sanders??? You wanna destroy something we’ve built over 35 years OVER POLITICS???,,,all because I don’t wanna endorse a candidate.” A reported cease-and-desist letter was sent to the group via Flav's lawyer claiming his likeness was being used by Sanders' campaign.

The tweet later prompted a response from the group's members, noting they didn’t part ways with Flav over his political beliefs. They claimed, since 2016, that Flav “has been on suspension” and that “he had previously missed numerous live gigs” around the world.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: #ChuckD (@mrchuckd_pe) and #PublicEnemy (@publicenemyftp) have issued a statement regarding #FlavorFlav...

A post shared by VibeMagazine (@vibemagazine) on Mar 2, 2020 at 4:29pm PST

"Hearing the confused mush of political talk while under the bowels of Trumpotus made me use a presidential stage as my platform," Chuck D continued to write. "Out of this storm came a plan between Flav and me to remind people that what’s important should have as much, if not more, value than just what’s popular. Thus came the HOAX, our ‘War Of The Worlds.’ Believe half of what you hear and NONE of what you see."

In an interview with Talib Kweli's Uproxx podcast "People's Party" Chuck D said he let certain people know what was on the horizon for April 1 and reassured those people that him “and Flav have been better than ever.” Additionally, Enemy Radio released an album titled Loud Is Not Enough, with its first single being titled "Food as a Machine Gun." Chuck D noted that at the end of the day, the entire situation's "original intention was to get your attention."

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Vanessa Laine Bryant (L) and Kobe Bryant attend the 2018 Baby2Baby Gala Presented by Paul Mitchell at 3LABS on November 10, 2018 in Culver City, California.
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Vanessa Bryant Reveals Latest Installment Of Kobe Bryant’s ‘Wizenard’ Book Series

The latest installment in Kobe Bryant's bestselling Wizenard book series has officially arrived. The late NBA legend's widow, Vanessa Bryant, took to Instagram on Tuesday (March 31) to announce the release of The Wizenard Series: Season One.

“Welcome back to Dren! We hope you are all ready to catch up with the West Bottom Badgers for another magical basketball season. 'The #Wizenard Series: Season One' is OUT NOW,” reads a message on Vanessa's Instagram account.

The announcement was also posted to Kobe’s Instagram, marking the first post since the 40-year-old athlete, his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi Bryant, and seven others, passed away in a helicopter crash two months ago.

Created by Kobe, and written by Wesley King, The Wizenard Series follows a young athlete named, Reggie, who has big basketball dreams but serves as a bench warmer for the worst team in the league. Although Reggie is committed to putting in the work to make his dreams come true, he must first “survive the extraordinary ordeals of practice.”

The book is a followup to Kobe’s #1 New York Times bestseller, The Wizenard Series: Training Camp.

 

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Welcome back to Dren! We hope you are all ready to catch up with the West Bottom Badgers for another magical basketball season. The #Wizenard Series: Season One is OUT NOW.🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡🧡#KobeBryant #GranityStudios #Kobeinc

A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Mar 31, 2020 at 8:57am PDT

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