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Rico Love On Nelly Comeback: 'I'm Laughing In Their Faces Right Now'

One of the biggest music stories of 2010 has been the surprise return of pop rap superstar Nelly with his omnipresent radio hit “Just a Dream.” The St. Louis-born act, who last enjoyed Top 40 Billboard chart success with his 2004 double album Sweat and Suit, was essentially written off by critics following disappointing sales of 2008’s lackluster Brass Knuckles. It was a sizable fall from commercial grace for the melodic rapper whose albums (including his 2000 landmark debut Country Grammar and 2002’s Nellyville) and a string of hit singles (such as the no. 1 album title track “Country Grammar,” “Ride Wit Me,” “Hot in Herre,” the Kelly Rowland-featured “Dilemma,” and “Over and Over,” an unlikely duet with country music superstar Tim McGraw) have sold close to a combined 30 million copies.

For Rico Love, who co-wrote the Jim Jonsin produced “Just a Dream” with Frank Romano, being involved with the major comeback of Nelly has been a highlight of his thriving career.  “It’s the most gratifying situation ever because everybody doubted Nelly,” says the writer/producer, who has hammered out hits for Beyonce (“Sweet Dreams”); Usher (“There Goes My Baby”); and Diddy’s Dirty Money (“Hello Good Morning”). “A lot of people in the business were telling me, ‘Yo, don’t waste your time…Nelly can’t come back…he’s over.’ So to see his success on such a large scale, this is amazing to me. I hate non-believers…I can’t deal with those kind of people. It’s almost as if I’m laughing in their faces right now.”

Love says the success of Nelly’s “Just a Dream” which will be featured on the rapper’s 5.0 album due out November 16, can be attributed to the natural progression of the track. “It happened organically,” the 27-year-old recalls of the making of the song.  “Nelly and I set up a recording session and did a few joints. Jim Jonsin came in the studio and played this great track and Nelly started humming out a melody. I wrote down the concepts for the verse and came up with the line ‘I was thinking about her, thinking about me’ which eventually became ‘Just a Dream.’ I felt like I wanted to say something I knew that was comfortable for Nelly’s tone and his range. Nelly and I played off of each other in that sense. It was just us having fun in the studio.” 

Beyond “Just a Dream,” Love has been making his own noise. He recently inked a label deal (Division 1 Music Group) with Universal Motown. Love’s first artist set for release is former Young Gunz MC and Jay-Z protégé Young Chris. “I don’t have a favorite musical genre,” Love says when asked of his overall striking diversity from pop to R&B to rap. “At the end of the day, I might want to hear just Mozart or Billy Joel the next day or Biggie. I’ve educated myself on other forms of music to keep myself knowledgeable.”—Keith Murphy 

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White Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Running Over Black Teenager

A white man who ran over and killed a black teenager with his car in Oregon in 2016 was sentenced to life in prison for his crime. The decision marks Oregon’s first hate crime murder conviction in 30 years.

According to The Oregonian, Russell Orlando Courtier will not only serve time for killing 19-year-old Larnell Bruce Jr., he adds an additional four-year term to his sentence for a bar attack in 2015. He will have to serve a minimum of 28 years before he’s eligible for release.

Per the report, Courtier and Bruce got into a fistfight outside of a 7-11 in August 2016. Prosecutors do not know what prompted the fight between Bruce and the 40-year-old.

“Courtier was a member of a white supremacist prison gang [“European Kindred”] and was wearing the gang’s logo on his baseball cap and had it tattooed on one of his legs when he encountered Bruce outside the convenience store,” The Oregonian writes.  “A moment later, surveillance video captured Bruce sprinting down a nearby street and then a sidewalk in a desperate attempt to get away from Courtier and the Jeep.”

During the trial, witnesses say that they heard Colleen Hunt, Courtier’s then-girlfriend and passenger in the Jeep, yell “Run him over!” and “Get him, baby!” She pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the case, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“[Bruce’s] family also has started a nonprofit organization -- Love and Live #LarnellBruce Foundation -- to help victims of hate crimes and their families get through the enormous anger and loss that results from such crimes,” The Oregonian concludes.

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LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige And More Appear In American Cancer Society Campaign

Hip-hop and R&B heavyweights and legends such as LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Remy Ma, Salt N’ Pepa, Jhene Aiko and more appear in the newest campaign for the American Cancer Society. The campaign and message is clear: “Beat Cancer Like A Boss.”

The video features Meek Mill’s “I’m A Boss,” and the stars featured in the video send encouraging messages to those battling the disease about what it means to use your inner boss to beat it.

“Boss is battling cancer my finding your inner strength,” Simone I. Smith, LL’s wife of 24 years, says in the video. “Cancer left its mark, but it couldn’t beat the boss within.” Smith was diagnosed with stage III chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in 2004. Today, she celebrates nearly 15 years of being cancer-free.

“With the help of ACS and a few friends, this campaign was created to empower women to lean onto their support system and tap into their strength to ‘Beat Cancer Like a Boss,’ a message I carried with me throughout my journey to recovery,” said Smith in a statement.

More info about the “Beat Cancer Like A Boss” campaign can be found at cancer.org. Watch the video above.

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HBCUs Got To Watch Beyonce's 'Homecoming' At Exclusive Screenings

Thanks to Beyonce and the good people at Netflix, HBCUs were able to watch the artist’s highly-anticipated release of her documentary, Homecoming, at advanced, on-campus screenings.

“Homecoming is nothing but fun, laughs, and amazingness,” one fan in attendance said in a video of the various screenings. They took place at Howard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Texas Southern University.

"More than anything it uplifted HBCUs and it empowered HBCUs,” another fan continued in the brief clip.

During the documentary, which was released on Wednesday (April 17), Beyonce discusses her appreciation of HBCUs, stating in the doc, “there is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

See some reactions from students at these HBCUs below.

"More than anything it uplifted HBCUs and it empowered HBCUs."

Last night, #BeyoncéHomecoming took over @SpelmanCollege, @Morehouse, @TexasSouthern, and @HowardU. pic.twitter.com/CnzsIMAqHh — Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) April 17, 2019

The line is lit as we anticipate the doors opening for our exclusive, early campus @Netflix screening of #Homecoming, a film by Beyoncé. pic.twitter.com/WUTBykukD8

— Howard University (@HowardU) April 17, 2019

Beyonce showing love to other hbcu’s besides spelman, Howard & morehouse is why she’s the goat

— ManiLou💛 (@y0urfav3emani) April 17, 2019

Beyoncé wore, and more importantly OWNS Morehouse gear. that’s it, that’s the tweet.

— capricorn hoodrat (@notoriouslang) April 17, 2019

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