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The Big Q&A: DMX's 1st Jailhouse Interview: Hating Rap Trends, Ja-Rule, Issues w/ Jay-Z and More (Pt.2) presents part 2 of our exclusive interview with incarcerated rapper DMX. The multi-platinum selling artist is set be released to the free world early next month and plans to hit the ground running with a new album and reality show. Read on for more on X's thoughts on today's rap game, Ja-Rule, his issues with Jay-Z and more.—Mikey Fresh




Have any rappers reached out to you while you were away want to work when you get home or to just give you some support? 
Yeah. Swizz, Busta, Dame Grease,it’s like when it happens it is appreciated, but I don’t dwell on it. I’m like ‘Oh that’s wassup. Tell him I said what up too’ and I let it go. I pretty much got a lot of people in my corner. I’m the People’s Champ.  Oh ,that was another [album] title I was gonna use too, The People’s Champ. 

Is it weird seeing the rap game now and seeing most of your peers that you came in the game with just not around anymore? 
I’m not gonna disrespect anybody or shout anybody out, but it’s sad the shit I’m seeing here. All we got is 106 & Park in jail. And it’s like ‘wow, this is the Top 10?’ Like really? I know it’s really not the Top 10, but it’s their Top 10. Damn yo, that’s not a good look. Not a good look at all. I do like Nicki Minajhow she getting at em. Haven’t heard the album, but the couple of singles I’ve heard—“Did It On Em,” you know what I’m saying? That “Boom boom boom.” Some shit, “Bang”whatever. I like her style. And Kiss got a new joint too that I’m feeling. 

Speaking of Nicki, how are you feeling about Lil Wayne and Drake?
Hmmm…no comment. I don’t like Drake. It’s nothing that he did to me, He actually is talented. He’s very talented.  

So you’re just not feeling his music then? 
Yeah, I don’t like him. It ain’t nothing personal. I don’t like his stuff. He is talented. He has a little wordplay here and there, but when I see him and here him it’s like—‘Money, I’m not rockin with that.’ 

It feels like right now in hip-hop a lot of people are saying the hardcore gangsta rap element is dead. Do you feel like that’s true?
They try to block it out.  But that’s what rap is. It’s not about disrespecting, but it’s the voice of the voiceless. Before I tell you what it is. To me, it isn’t tight sweaters. That’s not what rap is. That’s not hip-hop at all. Every phase went through changing up their dress styles and all that, but since Run DMC came out it’s been baggy jeans. That has not changed. So all this shit they doing now, tryna spark something new, that’s basically what it is. Tryna spark something new to get people to say yeah--to stake the claim as the innovators. The creators. Like, ‘yeah we started this so we must be hip-hop because everybody’s doing it.’ No! You got a few little motherfuckers following you, doing the same shit, but that’s not what it is man.

[Laughs] But I mean fashion has to evolve just like the music, no?
Yeah, the fucking skinny jeans and tight sweaters! Those are baby clothes. What are you shopping at Baby Gap??? [Laughs]

[Laughs] It’s just what people want to do now. Even some of the older rappers--they’re all getting their clothes tighter now?
You know, its cause they’re just following. They just want to fit in. They want to look like they’re younger I guess. Like I said, one thing about ‘real’ is that it doesn’t change. The truth doesn’t change. It was the same when Moses got the Ten Commandments as it is today. That’s the thing about the truth. That’s the thing about real. It doesn’t change and it doesn’t have to change. Now you can put it in a different book, but it’s still real. It’s still the truth. And that’s what I’m bringing to the table.

So I guess when X comes home, it’s still gonna be baggy jeans and Timbs. You’re not going to see X dancing around in some tight jeans.  

I think I’m gonna wear Timberlands until I die man. They may not be the hottest thing out, but Timbs keep reinventing themselves. They keep coming up with the new colors, the different bubbles, now you can get your name on them. Timbs is still on fire right now! 

Still killing it.
Yeah! And that’s all II do not own a pair of sneakers or shoes.

Word? Not even Air Force Ones?
No, none of that. I put on a pair of sneakers when I came to jail. They gave me these sneakers. Then, I felt like retarded. I felt retarded just having a pair of sneakers on in at least 10 years.

So I guess you’re not really influenced by anything current in hip-hop?
Yeah. It’s like normally, when I’m in the streets, I don’t look at videos. I don’t go to concerts. Nas is the only person whose concert I been to.  I don’t go to showsI don’t want to be influenced by what someone else is doing. I don’t want to be influenced by anything that anyone is doing. I want to be influenced by the people.

Then where do you still draw inspiration from?
From the people! I walk amongst the people. I hear what their complaints are. I hear what they like. They tell me what they’re looking for. I can be hanging out with about 7 or 8 guys and we’ll see something and I’ll be like ‘aight so I was right in thinking that not to go that way.’ I get to stay on the same page as the fans, because I walk amongst the fans. You can’t speak for the people unless you’re able to walk amongst the people.  And how many of these rappers out here actually hang out with regular people.

Probably none.
Exactly! But I do. People see me in the mall. I might have one or two dudes with me, but they ain’t no rappers. I talk to my fans and because I’m easy to talk to, they feel comfortable in telling me what they’re looking for. ‘X when you gonna come out with this’, ‘X, you need to come out with something like this’I hear it all the time about how they don’t like the skinny jeans and the shit that’s on the radio right now.

It seems like now, rappers are really making a trend of coming in and out of jail. I don’t know if you heard but Prodigy just came home, T.I.’s locked up right now.
How long did Prodigy do?

Prodigy did almost 3 ½ on a gun charge. He just came home. 
And Ja just went in, right?

Yup. Have you had any contact with him? I know you guys had some issues in the past.
Yeah since we had issues, we’ve had contact. But I saw him at the VH1 hip-hop Honors.

Yeah I saw there was a picture of you, Foxy, and Ja altogether.
Yeah. It was like, I was sitting in the front and his wife was behind me. And I looked back and I spoke to her. And when I turned around againactually I was getting up to leave and he was sitting there. So people were already looking at us and knew that I didn’t know he was behind me. It was quiet. So when I turned around and seen him, I could feel all the eyes on me. And I was like ‘Yo watup man’ and gave him a pound and everybody started clapping.

Did you guys have any more words?



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Don Cheadle as Mo in 'Black Monday,' Episode 4 ("295")
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'Black Monday' Recap: Mo Feels The Weight Of Playing God

Another week, another dive into Black Monday. In this week's episode, “295,” Mo tries to salvage his plan to get the Georgina company’s shares after Blair and Tiffany Georgina’s surprise breakup in the previous episode threw a wrench in that plan. By the end of this week’s episode, Mo gets what he wants but it doesn’t go as planned. Don Cheadle told VIBE that Black Monday was “ a good way,” and this episode shows just that, starting with Mo’s God complex.

Stop Trying To Be God

You need a certain cocktail of self-aggrandization and delusions of grandeur to walk around with a God complex. Mo has that cocktail coursing through his veins. The entire episode revolves around Mo’s attempt to control the actions of humans by placing them in certain situations he is sure will yield his desired results. Only someone blinded by their obsession with being right wouldn’t see having to fix a “foolproof” plan makes him a fool.

The writing expertly showed that when you play God your creation is your reflection, especially in the tense scene at Mo’s dining room table with Blair and Dawn. He turned Blair into a cocaine-addicted party animal to show him how empty life is without having someone you love. Then, in one scene, Dawn exposed how all Mo did was build Blair in his image without realizing that part of his plan was to inadvertently show Blair just how miserable Mo really lives.

Even ostensibly innocuous details carry a huge emotional weight thanks to Black Monday’s writing and Cheadle’s consistently engaging performance. The writers literally had Mo on the outside looking in at forces out of his control at the end of the episode when he’s looking into the bar. It’s at this climactic moment of the show that Mo realizes his own mortality by getting what he wants but missing out on what he knows he needs.

It’s also at this moment that the show’s most boring lead character grew into someone worth watching.

Blair Is Here

For the first three episodes, Blair was as interesting as paint on the wall; always in front of your face but in the back of your mind. Before a single character utters a word in this episode, Blair is chain-smoking cigarettes, snorting coke and dressed like a Saturday Night Fever extra. He died “for a song and a half” and was electroshocked back to life, all in the first minute of the new episode. Blair has finally joined the Black Monday party and the show is better for it.

Mo molding Blair into his image allowed Blair to tap into a new level of confidence.  Blair’s exchange with Dawn about the implicit racism and sexism in 1980s films like Teen Wolf was rewind-worthy hilarious and ends with Blair remarking, “My favorite line from the movie is, ‘I’m not a f*g, I’m a werewolf. Oh, Michael J,” easily one of the funniest 1980s critiques on a show full of them.

The episode also entangled Blair in the show’s first love triangle, ensuring that Blair’s character growth is probably not done. With Blair now being compelling, following Dawn and Keith’s character-defining performances in the previous episode, Black Monday has set up its four most accomplished actors to be able to carry entire story arcs without relying on each other. But, the Black Monday world got bigger than those four in this week’s episode.

The Wall Street Mythology

There’s not enough time in a 30-minute episode to flesh out every character’s backstory and fully formed personality. The most surprisingly funny part of episode “295” was the story arc of Jammer Group traders Keith and Yassir (Yassir Lester) trying to stop Wayne (Horatio Sanz) from completing a “The LaGuardia Spread”. The arc showed that Black Monday has an ingenious way of speeding up character development: mythologize Wall Street.

On Black Monday, “The LaGuardia Spread” is when a trader takes a huge position on a stock, goes to LaGuardia Airport and waits to see if they made a huge profit or debilitating loss. If you guess right, you come home. If you guess wrong, “you don’t come home ever. You get on a plane and you f**king disappear,” according to a frantic Keith. Wayne was nothing more than a bumbling joke punchline of a trader before this episode. In only a few minutes of screentime we find out Wayne slept with his wife’s sister, has some weird dislike for The Howard Stern Show’s weekly guest Jackie Martling, and is so money hungry that he’d be giddy at the news of a mad cows disease epidemic and it’s positive effect on his “LaGuardia Spread” trade.

A similar result happened before on Black Monday. In the series premiere, the Lehman twins (Ken Marino) laid out the Georgina Play, the foundation of Mo’s plans to get all the shares from the Georgina company from Blair after he marries Tiffany. That Wall Street myth led to their grandfather setting himself on fire. That myth also showed that at any moment any person you see on screen become valuable because of what they about know how this fictionalized world works. As long as Black Monday continues to use the inherent absurdity of Wall Street as a machine for character development, this show could begin entering the conversation for one of the best ensemble casts on television.

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Cardi B Says Jussie Smollett May Have "F**ked Up Black History Month"

Many people are split on the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett. The Empire actor claims he was attacked by two MAGA supporters in late-January, who doused him in an unidentified liquid while shouting racial and homophobic slurs at him.

Cardi B, who is often vocal about issues in society on her social media platforms, spoke out against the reports that Smollett potentially orchestrated the attack.

"I'm really disappointed in him," she said in an Instagram Live video. "I feel like he f**ked up Black History Month, bro. Like, damn. I'm not gonna say, yet. Until he say it out his mouth that it was fake and the sh*t was staged, I don't want to completely blame him, because somebody I was talking to they said police in Chicago are racists..."

She continues by stating that there's a possibility that the police may be trying to frame the actor, who maintains his innocence amidst damning reports. However, she said that it's "f**ked up" if he is indeed lying to the public.

"Then you gave Donald Trump immunity to f**kin' laugh at n***as and sh*t. Make mothaf**kas look bad," she concluded.

Watch her comments.

Cardi B gave her opinion on the Jussie Smollett case on Instagram live. (1/2)

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 18, 2019

Cardi B gave her opinion on the Jussie Smollett case on Instagram live. (2/2)

— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) February 18, 2019

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Reports Emerge Claiming Jussie Smollett "Rehearsed" Alleged Attack

TMZ reports that Empire actor Jussie Smollett, who claimed in late-January that he was attacked by MAGA supporters, reportedly rehearsed the alleged assault with the two men involved. According to prosecutors, his alleged racial and homophobic attack will be headed to a grand jury next week.

Per the site, "Abel and Ola Osundairo told cops they got in a car with Jussie and scouted a location, settling on the one right outside the actor's apartment. The brothers said Jussie chose the spot because he believed a camera would have captured the action."

The sources close the the situation said that Jussie reportedly wanted to make the attack a "physical thing," but did not want to be seriously injured. While Jussie left the scene with just a scratch, the brothers- who are Nigerian, and not white- did not know they left a mark on him, as that's not what they had rehearsed.

"On the night Jussie says he was attacked, the brothers claim they showed up at the scene but were extremely nervous because, just as they played out the scene, a car drove by and they were worried they'd be ID'd," the site continues.

Smollett released a statement through representatives vehemently denying the allegations that he orchestrated the attack, maintaining his original story.


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