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Talib Kweli on Working With Mos Def, Boycotting Tyler Perry

You also mentioned that you’re in the studio with Mos working on Black Star records. What is it like recording with him regularly again, instead of just one or two joints for each others’ albums?

Well that’s what we’re doing. We don’t have plans for an album; we do songs here and there, and if we like something, we put it out. The music we’re putting out next year isn’t necessarily going to be in album format, it’s going to be song by song. When the Black Star album came out, people were excited about albums. But these fans aren’t excited about albums. Research points to the fact that they’re excited for individual artists, individual movements, and individual things. It’ll switch back at some point, but right now, the focus is songs. … We put out this latest one because we were feeling it.

You also put the album on Spotify before it actually released; that’s actually where I’m listening to it. What was the reasoning behind that, and how do you feel about that decision weeks later?

Point blank, it’s a challenging thing to get people to understand that this is not Talib Kweli featuring Res, this is not Res featuring Talib Kweli, this is not hip-hop, this is not neo-soul. No matter what I say, it’s been hard to get people to understand that. The best way to let people know is to just let them hear it. That’s what was behind the decision to put the album on Spotify.

…I don’t know if it’s going to translate into sales, but what it has done is get people to hear the album and understand it. So when people are excited about the album, they can now know what they’re excited about. Before the Spotify thing, a lot of the excitement was just over people being fans of me and Res. … If they truly indeed bought it, I’m happy, and I don’t call them out for it. Hey man, you’re supporting what I do. But if you listened to Idle Warship and told me it was “true hip-hop,” you didn’t listen to it. You’re just supporting your idea of what you like about me, and I’m not mad at that. But it’s definitely misguided to say, “Idle Warship is a hip-hop album.” … Some of the support of Idle Warship is so glowing and so gushing, and then they put at the end of it, “Real hip-hop.” And I’m like, “Aw, they don’t get it.”

Got a random question outside of music. Tyler Perry casted Kim Kardashian in his upcoming film, The Marriage Counselor. As a result, some of his fans are threatening to boycott the film, and/or his work—

That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day. I don’t know what the film is about, but she may be perfect for the role. Maybe she’s not perfect for the role, but he cast her because when you put her in a movie, people are going to come see her. Either way, it’s a win-win for him; either way, it’s a good decision on his part. I’ve got respect for any businessman who employs some of my favorite artists, from Cicely Tyson to Taraji P. Henson, all of these women have gotten checks from Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry has been supporting the Black actress more than anyone in Hollywood. Whether you agree with him or not, whether you like his movies or not. But we’re not talking about quality plots or storylines and this and that. But the idea that you boycott? First of all, if you’re the type of person who cares about race issues, then you need to respect that man for what he’s done for Black actors. I’m talking as a working artist, not as a community leader. Personally, I’m not a fan per se of his films, but I damn sure know why they work. And if you are a fan of his films, you don’t have any business worried about if he casts Kim Kardashian, that’s a great idea.

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Cardi B Awarded Crossover Artist Of The Year At 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards

2019 has been a pretty successful year for Cardi B. In February, Cardi won a Grammy Award for "Best Rap Album," and as of Thursday (April 26), the Bronx beauty was awarded Crossover Artist of the year at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The 26-year-old beat out Demi Lovato, DJ Snake and Drake in the category. Cardi's been featured on some of the hottest Latin records that have ruled both 2018 and 2019. She has her hit song "I Like It" with Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, and she's featured in the tracks "Taki Taki" and "La Modelo" as well.

Cardi's win makes her the first female rapper to ever win a Billboard Latin Music Award. The MC took to her Instagram stories to thank the publication for the award, a move that comes after a recent squabble she had with gossip page "The Shade Room."

On Wednesday, in a series of now-deleted Instagram videos, Cardi slammed the gossip page for posts she felt harmed her husband Offset's image. In the video, Cardi called out TSR for allegedly only sharing negative news about her label mates at Quality Management, rather than uplifting them and the rest of the black community.

“Everybody that they know that I’m cool with, they always try to get them set up for people to talk sh*t,” she said. "Offset donated 25K to the Ellen foundation for the kids in Africa. Did The Shade Room post it? No… are they posting any positive sh*t and investment talk that he’s been talking about in his interviews? No. But they sure post the way he had drama with his baby mom. They sure posting about his court cases, right?"

Congrats to Cardi on her win.

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Jussie Smollett's Potentially Final 'Empire' Episode Draws Low Viewership

It hasn't been revealed whether Empire will return for a sixth season. However, if the show returns, there's no word on if Jussie Smollett will reprise his role as Jamal Lyon.

Regardless of the unknown, it looks like fans weren't all the way tuned-in to what may have very well have been Smollett's last episode on the show. Per Variety, Jamal's groundbreaking wedding episode garnered low ratings for the Fox series.

"The episode, in which Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon tied the knot in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, returned a 1.1 rating in the key 18-49 demo and 3.8 million total viewers," reports the site. "Those numbers are a tick up on the 1.07 rating of the previous two weeks, but are still down on the season 5 average, which currently sits at around 1.4."

Smollett's character was written out of the last two episodes of the fifth season, due to his highly-publicized arrest in February for allegedly filing a false police report claiming that he was attacked physically and verbally in Chicago. All 16 charges against him were dropped in March.

Recently, his Empire family penned a letter of support for their cast member, urging the show's producers to allow him to come back for the unannounced sixth season.

"[Smollett] is kind. He is compassionate," the letter says. "He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped."

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SWV Reacts To Female R&B Artists H.E.R, Teyana Taylor, And More

SWV recently sat down for BuzzFeed's "Cocoa Butter" video series to react to the new generation of female, R&B vocalists, and the veteran trio's facial expressions said it all.

The first singer the ladies reacted to was H.E.R. "I'm partial because I just love H.E.R. So she could sing dookie on a stick, and I'll still be like, oh she sounds nice," Tamara Johnson-George said.

"I wanna hear her do something different though," Coko chimed in, adding that she should experiment with more upbeat tempos.

Another notable reaction was given to Chloe x Halle. While the women agreed that the duo sounded a lot like their mentor, Beyonce, they felt that they hadn't heard any songs that "pop."

SWV didn't jump up and down for everyone, but they collectively loved Teyana Taylor. "She's going to be around for a minute," Leanne "Lelee" Lyons says.

The trio started to really dive in and dissect the artists when they moved on to Queen Naija. Although two-thirds of the group said they like Queen, Coko's facial expressions said something else. "You heard her sing live?" She askd. "I just like to hear them sing live because nowadays these girls sound like a computer."

SWV also reacted to Jhene Aiko, Kehlani, and Syd. See their reactions below.

SWV Reacts To Teyana Taylor, Queen Naija, H.E.R. & more! pic.twitter.com/vF4CQNZlTq

— Cocoa Butter (@cocoabutterbf) April 25, 2019

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