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'The Floacist' Talks New Album, Neo Soul & Possibility Of Floetry Reunion

Together as Floetry, Natalie Stewart and Marsha Ambrosius burst on to the music scene in the mid-90s as coveted songwriters. The duo penned hits for Michael Jackson, Bilal, Jill Scott and more. But by the turn of the millennium, they debuted their own style of music, which they describe as “floetic” (also the name of their debut album). Their sound was described as neo-soul but there was no denying that their unique interplay between spoken word and soulful singing blended with jazz was something that the masses craved (they have the Grammy nominations to prove it).

Although their sophomore album, 2005’s Flo’Ology, reached top-3 upon release, Floetry split the following year. Natalie, the floacist, was more low key than her singing counterpart who still toured and made cameo appearances but after four years of taking a break from the spotlight she’s gearing up for her solo debut, Floetic Soul, dropping November 9. Here, she opens up to VIBE about the Floetry split, her relationship with Marsha and why she still embraces the term neo soul. ⎯Starrene Rhett

VIBE: How was it collaborating with Musiq on your first single, "Forever"?

Natalie Stewart: Musiq was one of the first people I met when Marsha and I had come to America in 2000 and I’m a complete fan of what he does. I think not enough of us neo soul artists collaborate together and I’ve really been looking forward to working with him. I made the song out in L.A. and at the end of recording it I was sitting down listening to it and I could just hear Musiq’s energy. It was like his spirit was in the space and I felt I just needed to get him on there so I gave him a call and he said he would love to get on there. It was a very quick process but I suppose, over a long time due. So the song is about companionship, union and just how over the years in love we can do more than just be in love we can be supportive of each other.

What have you been up to all these years since your departure from Floetry? Were you touring?

If I had been touring you would have known about it [laughs]. I’ve been being creative. I did a few different shows over a few years but more so on the spoken word side of things. But ultimately I’ve been cultivating my craft, recording, trying out different energy. I’ve been building my music company. I’ve been learning and growing as a person. Living. I’ve been away from my husband and my son; I’ve been living away for so long. I came home, I got married, I’ve lived a beautiful life. I’ve always been creative. Art is not an "it’s time to make an album" kind of thing for me. It’s a day in and day out thing. It’s not only what everybody hears. I have journals upon journals of books and sketching and writing⎯all different types of things. I’ve pretty much just been chilling and gearing up to have something new and fresh to say. It’s not always about putting albums out. Sometimes you have to⎯in order for the content of the record to come together you may have to live a bit to have something to say. So in a whole, personally, that’s what I’ve been doing since the end of Floetry, and just trying to understand and formulate in my mind how I can continue the floetic ethos, the energy, floetic delivery, musical intent and just music that makes you feel good.

Talk about your music company.

I’ve created my own production house. It’s Free Sum Music. It’s a creative outlet. I work in collaboration with a few producers that I have and I produce myself. My business partner is also my husband. We all produce over here. We create the sound. We’ve executively produced this project and we work with other people and get other sounds out as well. So it’s a nice production outlet. It’s quite similar to A Touch of Jazz.

What was the reason behind Floetry's split?

It’s not as razzmatazz as I supposed it could seem. I left Floetry in 2006 in December. That was when the last show had occurred. Marsha had signed to Aftermath earlier in 2006 and Marsha and management were more so pursuing a gangster rap creative outlet and that’s just not what I came in for. So I wanted to stay in the direction of Floetry, which is poetic delivery with musical intent but that’s not musical intent. Creatively the sounds were different and I fired management and that was when we stopped working together with them.

Do you think you guys would ever come back together?

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Nelly Doesn't See 'The Big Deal' On Super Bowl Halftime Backlash

Many people have their thoughts on the upcoming Super Bowl, and how the big event's Halftime headliners (Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi) shouldn't be performing in protest of the NFL.

Nelly, who performed at the Super Bowl in 2001 and 2004, said that he doesn't see the issue with performing at the game since NFL owners don't get paid for the halftime performance.

"I don't see the big deal on people upset about who's performing at halftime, because, what people have to understand, if you're really against the NFL, the halftime show is not what you should be concerned about," he told TMZ's cameras at LAX. "If you're watching the NFL, if you're supporting your team, that's how [NFL owners] get paid. They don't get paid through the halftime show."

The topic of Colin Kaepernick reportedly expressing disappointment in Travis Scott for agreeing to perform came up in conversation. Reports initially stated that Scott consulted with Kaepernick about performing, but the NFL free agent reportedly never said he was okay with him performing. Nelly said that the former 49ers quarterback has his own reasons for being upset, but that doesn't negate the fact that halftime show doesn't generate money for the owners.

"I wouldn't say that he has a point in the sense of... I mean, [Kaep] has his own reasons. But again, if you watch the NFL every Sunday, you support your team, that's how they make their money," he continues. "If you're trying to make a stand against the NFL, you should probably not watch it on Sunday or you should not go to the games ... the halftime show is irrelevant."

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A$AP Rocky Comments On R. Kelly: "He Needs To Be Dealt With"

A$AP Rocky stopped by Angie Martinez's Power 105.1 radio show to discuss his annual Yams Day celebration in honor of deceased A$AP Mob member, A$AP Yams. The event will take place Thursday (Jan. 17) at the Barclays Center.

While discussing the special guests that will take the stage, Rocky said that his "brother" French Montana is one of the MCs who will be there. When asked about French's recent comments about R. Kelly, Rocky decided to put his two cents in on the highly-publicized sexual misconduct allegations against the Pied Piper of R&B.

"Can I say something about that?" said Rocky when queried abut French's take on Kelly's legacy.  "I think [French] had a Kanye moment where he was trying to articulate something and his delivery just wasn't right. I think what he was trying to say was people like Bill Cosby, people like R. Kelly, [they] build up this legacy for a long time, and it just gets taken away."

Rocky continued by bringing up Kelly's marriage to the then-underage Aaliyah, expressing shock that her age on their marriage certificate was forged.

"Don't get me wrong- do I know if R. Kelly is a rapist and all that other stuff? It seems like he is," he exclaimed. "I mean, like he married Aaliyah when she was, like, 15... He married Aaliyah at 14, 15… how old was he when that alleged video came out? Too g*d damn old. I look at it like this. If that man has a sickness, he needs to be dealt with. He done beat the court dates… it goes to show the whole system is corrupted… R. Kelly was the King of R&B… and this motherf**ker now is known for being a sex pedophile.”

Watch his comments above around the 16:40 mark.

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Cardi B Comments On Government Shutdown: "Our Country Is In A Hellhole"

Cardi B wanted to give her two cents on the now-25 day partial government shutdown. The Grammy-nominated rapper got political on her Instagram page, stating that she believes our country is in a "Hellhole" and she feels terribly for those affected.

"It’s been a little bit over three weeks. Trump is now ordering, as in summoning, federal government workers to go back to work without getting paid," she said. Cardi continued by telling people not to drag former President Barack Obama's partial government shutdown into the conversation, as his shutdown was for a better reason than Trump's dream border wall.

"Now, I don't want to hear any of y'all motherf**kas talkin' 'bout, 'Oh, but Obama shut down the government for 17 days,' Yeah, b***h! For healthcare!" she continued. "So your grandma could check her blood pressure and you b****es could go check y'all p***y at the gynecologist with no motherf**kin' problem. This sh*t is really f**kin' serious, bro. This sh*t is crazy. Like, our country is in a hellhole right now. All for a f**kin' wall."

The Invasion of Privacy MC continues by stating that she is "scared" and feels badly for those who aren't able to be compensated for their work.

"Now, I now a lot of y’all don’t care…  b***h I’m scared," she concludes. "This is crazy, and I really feel bad for these people that gotta go to f**kin' work without getting f**kin' paid."

Watch her comments below.

 

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I know a lot of ya do r watch the news so I’m letting ya know shit getting real .....I ain’t going to say nothing much tho I don’t want mofos to off me.....ANYWAYS TWERK VIDEO OUT NOW

A post shared by CARDIVENOM (@iamcardib) on Jan 16, 2019 at 2:41pm PST

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