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The Vixen Q&A: Jhene Aíko On Working With Kendrick Lamar, Calling Men 'Bitches' + Falling In Love With Tupac [Pg. 2]

In a perfect world, which label would be the place for you to sign to?
Only because I’m a big fan of his music and I heard he might be having his own label, Kid Cudi. If [he] were to approach me to work with him in any sense, I would definitely be interested in that. Even Roc Nation or G.O.O.D. Music. I’m a fan of their music, and I believe that they would understand what I’m doing.

Now you have a couple collaborations that I want to find out more about. How did you link up with Kendrick Lamar? I know you first showed up on his O.D. mixtape.
His management is a mutual friend, and he heard that “July” with Drake had leaked. He called me like, ‘Are you doing features?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, who do you want me to work it?’ And he was like, ‘Kendrick Lamar.’ Ironically, I had just heard Kendrick like a week before that and I thought he was dope. We got in the studio like the next week and it was just so easy to work with him. I wrote the hook, literally, fifteen minutes are hearing the track and he listened to my hook and went straight in to do his verses. It was crazy. I had done like two songs and they weren’t for sure going to be on the mixtape but I had just wrote to them with Fisticuffs. And when I did the song with Kendrick, I fell in love with that whole sound that night. Like, dang! This is me, this is what I’m supposed to be singing. It was already in my mind but that confirmed it. So after that, I was on a roll with writing.

Besides Kendrick Lamar and the other artists you’ve collaborated with, which artists influence you?
I always say the person who taught me how to sing indirectly because I listened to her all the time was Brandy. I fell in love with her voice when I was sic years old. I always loved Brandy. I listen to Beyoncé for her technique. I believe she has a flawless voice. India Arie, Amel Larrieux. And I know it’s coming from left field, but I love John Mayer [laughs]. He’s probably one of my number one musical influences because of his writing ability and his voice. He’s somebody that I would listen to every single day. Kid Cudi, Kanye, J. Cole, Kendrick… I think I’ve recently fallen in love with hip-hop.

[Laughs]
Really! I thought I was a totally R&B girl until I started listening, you know. Tupac is like my number one idol. I feel like all around as an entertainer, he was the best. His songs, his poetry, what he actually wanted to do—he wanted to change the world. He didn’t want to just make music, and I think with a lot of entertainers, they don’t understand the power that they have and the influence that they have on the people that are listening to their music. Music draws people in, so once you draw them in, what are you gonna tell them? What message are you gonna give to them? Once their listening, are you still gonna tell them to just shake their butt? Of course he was controversial, but he was rapping to everyone and everyone could relate. In all his interviews, he had the same message of Black people empowering the black community and it was always a positive message. It was true and it was real and that’s why I think he was the greatest—he was more than just music, more than just a rapper.

I totally agree. And you have a track with Miguel that is very relatable called “Hoe” that’s basically about women being bold sexually and hoping the guy doesn’t think she’s a hoe. Do you think women should be the aggressor when it comes to sex and relationships?
I think if a woman is feeling aggressive, she should be aggressive and not hold back. Go for what she wants, you know? There's nothing wrong in knowing exactly what you want and pursuing it. As long as we are responsible with our bodies and actions, it shouldn't be a problem. The double standard doesn't exist to me. If a woman can be a hoe, then so can a man. If a woman can be a bitch then so can a man! [Laughs] Labels don't exist anyways.

[Laughs] I feel you. In this day and age, a lot more things between men and women are equal. Now, Do you ever feel like you’ll branch outside of the music eventually?
Yeah! I feel like writing is my number one thing. I want to branch out into books. I actually have a young readers’ series that I wanna do, kind of in the same lane as a Harry Potter or Narnia or Twilight. I want to write stuff like that. I feel like in my future, I’m going to write a lot of books. I’ve always been interested in acting but theater. And not necessarily musical theater either.

That would be dope. So, what do you want people to get from you now and from what’s to come musically?
For the future, I’m going to keep recording music. I’ll probably release something new within the next couple of months. I’m going to continue to just share my truths and myself because I feel like I have a lot to share with them about my life experience. The main thing is for [my fans] to find themselves in my music. You know how a lot of people say, ‘I lose myself in music,’ or ‘I like to escape,’ but I want my music to be more of an awakening. I want it to make people to be aware of life; I don’t want my music to be a distraction. I want to light a path. I want the music to be the stepping stone into changing the world really.

And to narrow that down, what’s one main message you want people to tune into?
Definitely the whole “sailing souls” thing. A lot of people are still confused about what that means, and it just means to stay true to yourself and go with what you feel. Feeling are really the only thing that is real. I kinda want to convey the message to just be yourself. Don’t ever lose yourself for whatever reason—because you want to make more money, because you want to be prettier or whatever. I’m not a slave to anyone; I’m sailing my soul instead of selling it.

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'Young And The Restless' Star Kristoff St. John's Cause Of Death Revealed

Kristoff St. John reportedly died of heart disease that was triggered by alcohol abuse, TMZ reports. The Young and the Restless star's cause of death and autopsy report was released on Tuesday (Mar. 19).

The official cause of death was listed as hypertrophic heart disease and categorized as accidental, according to the medical reports. The disease reportedly makes it difficult for blood to reach the heart and often goes undetected.

In regards to St. John's death being marked an "accident," medical officials said the star was on an alcohol "binge" at the time of his death. The report also noted that St. John was discharged from the a mental health facility in Los Angeles only two days before his death. He was reportedly admitted to a 72-hour hold for psychiatric evaluation after he threatened to harm himself.

As previously reported, the actor was found dead on Feb. 3, in his San Fernando Valley home. Sources close to the late star said he struggled with substance abuse and depression, both of which may have stemmed from his son Julian's suicide in 2014.

Kristoff played Neil Winters on Young and the Restless. He earned nine Daytime Emmy Award nominations for the role.

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Pooch Hall Accepts Plea Deal In Child Endangerment And DUI Case

Pooch Hall will not being heading to prison for his recent DUI incident that resulting in him wrecking his vehicle while his young child was in the car. The Ray Donovan actor accepted a plea deal in the misdemeanor case on Tuesday (Mar. 19), TMZ reports.

In exchange for no jail time, Hall has been sentenced to three years probation. He will also have to complete a three-month alcohol program and attend parenting classes for one year.

As previously reported, Hall was charged with felony child abuse and a DUI in Oct. 2018 after a witness spotted him driving recklessly with a toddler in his lap. He eventually swerved off the road and crashed into a parked car. Another bystander said they saw Hall's child crying in the front seat. The car seat was allegedly not installed. When the police and medical team arrived, he reportedly blew .25, which is more than three times the legal limit.

The actor originally faced six years in prison for the charges. As long as Hall completes the ordered programs and probation, the charges will be dismissed.

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Nas Gives Travis Scott Advice On Addressing Politics In 'Playboy'

Playboy unveiled its "The Speech Issue" on Monday (Mar. 18), which included a thoughtful conversation between Nas and Travis Scott. During their lengthy conversation, the two discussed the debate regarding hip-hop's generational gap, politics, and more hot topics.

Scott kicked off the discussion by commending hip-hop veterans on paving the way for younger artists. "The past generation knocked down so many doors where, you know, they were spitting a lot of pain, man," La Flame said. "They was dealing with a lot of police stuff. We’re still dealing with that now, but it wasn’t so free. Now we got more of a voice at the label."

Nas appeared to agree with Scott. "Nowadays the pain has changed. We’re after different things. We broke past the barriers," he added. "We understand what we need to do and we’re in control of what we’re doing, and no one can stop it now. No one can tell us what to do, what we can’t do. Rap music can’t be stopped now."

The conversation then shifted to politics and an artists's obligation to speak up about the things they believe in. The "Sicko Mode" rapper reached out for advice, suggesting that he was a little confused on how to tackle such a big topic. "I wouldn’t say I don’t feel compelled to speak on political issues; sometimes you just don’t want to speak too much on stuff you don’t know much about," Trav explained. "It’s not like I’m not thinking about what’s going on in the world. I’m an expressive artist, but with media and shit, it gets misconstrued."

Scott previously received backlash for performing at the 2019 Super Bowl Halftime Show instead of standing in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. Despite public outrage, Nas asserted that the decision to speak up should always come naturally and not depend on outside opinions. "One thing we can’t allow politics to do is take over our mind and make us fall into their game. What’s going on in the news could consume our lives. If that happens, life doesn’t go on," the Queens native said in response.

Nas also noted that hip-hop and the "hood" will always serve as a voice for the underrepresented. "Those 'hoods are always going to yell out and say what’s going on," he continued. "It’s going to get more fly and futuristic. But the message is always: We want food, shelter, health care and all the things we’re deprived of. We want no police brutality. We want all these things. That’s what hip-hop is talking about."

Read the conversation in full over at Playboy.

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