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V-Exclusive: Skylar Grey Talks Debut, Changing Pop Music, Em's 'King of Hip-Hop' Title

Skylar Grey is the dark, luminous vocal on Dr. Dre's "I Need A Doctor" and the pen behind Eminem's monstruous hit "Love The Way You Lie." But this is probably something you already know. Fortunately enough, VIBE tapped her Skylar's alter-ego Holly Brook to dish about a few new things going on in her life. She chatted about her isolation from the real world, shunning pop culture and what she thinks about Eminem being crowned the King of Hip-Hop by Rolling Stone. -Niki McGloster


VIBE: I saw that you surprised Karmin at Lollapolooza during their Billboard set. Are you fans of their music?
SKYLAR GREY: I’ve never met them before, and I hadn’t even heard of them because I’m so out of the pop culture world. I saw them playing “I Need A Doctor”, I was like who’s this? They let me jump in and sing it with them. I didn’t even know who Kim Kardashian was until I was at the Grammy’s, and she was standing there. I was like, 'Who’s that? I don’t even know who that is,' and somebody pointed her out. So I don’t pay attention to anything.

How far removed are you from pop culture and why is that?
Well I grew up in a household without cable so, I’d occupy my time without TV and go walking in the woods and playing with my friends. I’d also play music. I grew up outside that pop culture world, [so] I don’t really see a point, unless you really hate your life, to live vicariously through people in Hollywood because it’s all bullshit anyway. I just like to live my life well and not worry about other people's lives. I can take a good movie, but as far as reality shows and cowboys, and all that other stuff, I’m so not into it.

Do you feel pressure to be "in the know” about what’s going on in pop culture?
Oh, hell yeah. I get to see the truth sometimes about some of the bullshit they put out there, and it’s very unfortunate that they are promoting such an unattainable style because it’s not real. Everybody thinks its so glitz and glam to be in Hollywood, but it’s not.

Any thing in particular that you’ve seen and were just blown away by how fabricated it was?
That’s the thing, I don’t really pay attention, so I couldn’t give you an example right now. One of things that pisses me off is when I hear a rumor that so-so is a dick or so-so is a bitch. I mean maybe they were having a bad day. I mean, everyone in the world has a bad day where they say something they don’t mean, then they have a bad name. It’s almost like a world of little conspiracy theories about celebrities and [the rumors are] put them in the media. It’s retarded. It’s one thing to do an interview and promote your product or art; it’s another thing to create gossip for no reason.

Do you think celebrities do that or media?
No, the media does that. But, sometimes celebrities play into it. There’s a show where there are kids living in mansions, like Cribs for kids or something. I think I saw it at a hotel on tour or something, but this kid on TV had water slides and everything [in his house]. In the rest of America, the kids on TV watch it and think, 'This is the lifestyle I need to have.' They go out and steal and do whatever they need to do to get that. I think it just makes people bad. It makes them have the wrong goals in life.

I agree. Now, you've mentioned that throughout most of your life you felt out of control. In what ways did you feel out of control, and how did writing this album help?
I just felt like I let other people control my life before. I was trying to do what other people wanted me do or tried to please everyone else. Before I made this album, I went through a process of trying to figure out what made me happy, instead of trying to please everyone else. I moved to the woods and lived in isolation to get away from people who wanted me to see someone else. While I was out there, I did a lot of soul searching and self-discovery and found the superhero in me; that’s why I changed my name. It sounds selfish but, before you can help anyone else, you have to help yourself.

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Sevyn Streeter And Justine Skye Cover "The Boy Is Mine"

Originally delivered by Monica and Brandy, "The Boy Is Mine" shook up the late '90s with a powerful duet between two women fighting for one man, now over 20 years since the electric debut, the single has received the millennial treatment.

Performing at the 2019 Trumpet Awards in Atlanta on Saturday (Jan. 19), Justine Syke and Sevyn Streeter recreated the work of Darkchild producer, Rodney Jerkins, who created the track 21-years-ago. Streeter dominated Brandy's portion of the single, while Skye released her inner Monica.

Jerkins, who is credited for working with the likes of Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Destiny's Child and more, was honored with the Music Excellence Award during Saturday’s ceremony. The award ceremony will air Feb. 11 on Bounce TV. T.I., MC Lyte, and Dapper Dan are among other powerful figures in music to be honored during this celebration.

Check out the clip of Sevyn Streeter and Justine Skye below.

Justine Skye And Sevyn covered the boy is mine live

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J. Cole performs during the From Dust To Gold preview party at the Apex Social Club at Palms Casino Resort on May 17, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Palms Casino Resort

J. Cole Rests Instagram, Possibly Teases New Music

Fans have been watching J.Cole's every move since his infamous Dreamville-Revengers recording sessions in Atlanta last week. Now that the bars are laid down, the creative is talking his sh*t on social media. Well, almost.

It appears the "ATM" rapper wiped his barely-used Instagram account clean and posted a graphic with the words, "I'm counting my bullets." While Cole doesn't engage on the platform, he was seen in the form of in-studio photographs by his team and over 100 collaborators who were in attendance of the Dreamville-Revengers recording sessions.

But as quickly as it appeared on Monday (Jan. 20), it was also deleted from his account.

Cole confirmed the conclusion of the sessions last week that included elite peers like T.I., Ludacris and Akon in addition to the game's most promising acts like Childish Major, Dreezy, Smino and R&B/jazz maestro  Masego. Dreamville members like Ari Lennox, J.I.D., Bas and EarthGang were also in attendance.


View this post on Instagram


I went to #ROTD3 and all I got was these really cool ass photos ! 😂 #prememagazine #prememag

A post shared by Anthony Supreme (@anthony_supreme) on Jan 17, 2019 at 5:23pm PST

The Revengers sessions are done thank you to every artist and producer that came through. I love y’all, that shit was beautiful. Next step, finish the songs and let the 🌎 feel em.

— J. Cole (@JColeNC) January 17, 2019

J. Cole's manager and Dreamville Records president Ibrahim "Ib" Hamad teased new music from the rapper last week and promised that new music was coming sooner than later.

YOOOOOOO @KingOfQueenz y’all need to drop this shit already man #ROTD3 @JColeNC

— Lionel🧸 (@Elite_Lionel) January 18, 2019

I got you when it’s finished 🙏🏿 I’m tryna put it together #Revenge

— Ibrahim H. (@KingOfQueenz) January 18, 2019

This is sure to be another banner year for a Cole as his breakout mixtape The Warm Up, turns ten this year.

Seems like all we can do now is sit and wait.

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Chicago Man Has Wrongful Murder Conviction Overturned After Serving 17 Years

A Chicago man who accused a retired cop of framing him for a murder he didn't commit has finally had the conviction overturned after spending 17 years in prison.

According to Buzzfeed News, Geraldo Iglesias was released from prison in 2010 for the 1993 murder of Monica Roman, who was shot and killed while sitting inside her car in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. However, Iglesias spent the last nine years fighting to have the conviction removed from his record because it prohibited his ability to get a job or find housing.

Iglesias is the 10th man to have a conviction overturned after being investigated by Reynaldo Guevara. Buzzfeed invested the former detective and found 50 men accused him of framing them for murders they allege they didn't commit.

At Iglesias' 1995 sentencing, he spoke directly to the victim's family and expressed his condolences while maintaining his innocence.

"I would like to say that I apologize and I’m sorry for what happened to the young lady and I send my condolences to the family but I would like to say I had nothing to do with it and the Lord knows I had nothing to do with it.”

Iglesias' conviction was sealed on the testimony of a jailhouse informant Francisco Vicente who alleged Islesias confessed to him about killing Roman. Vicente said Iglesias said, "I shot the bitch in the head.”

In the past Guevara and his partner, Ernest Halvorsen have used the 5th Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination. Buzzfeed reports at least 17 defendants who allege Guevara framed them are still behind bars.


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