ryan-leslie-20

Ryan Leslie Determined to Deliver the Unexpected on 'Les Is More' (PG.2)

He also reintroduces the rap talents that fans have heard on previous tracks, such as “Christian Dior Denim Flow.” The song, which included Leslie, West, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Lloyd Banks, Cyhi Da Prynce and John Legend, received positive praise from listeners. Leslie originally held down eight bars on the G.O.O.D. Friday track, but boasted 12 on the re-released version. He deemed the rapper-heavy joint “one of the great moments in and of itself in Ryan rap history” And a good indicator that he was on the right path.

“It’s my goal with this record to raise the bar for what we expect an artist to do,” Leslie said, not just posing a challenge to himself but to evolve as an artist. The extreme example of a one-man band, he handles all aspects of his work from thinking up the concept, constructing the beat and laying down the vocals. In fact, he was also is hands on with executing the video and editing it on Final Cut Pro. Not many can do the same.
In terms of collaborations, Leslie said Mr. Hudson appears on the track “Breathe.” However, he emphasizes that Les Is More is a solo project that chronicles his life, journey, travels and relationships. Another record “Swiss Francs,” includes French rapper Booba and showcases Leslie’s bilingual flow, incorporating some French into his wordplay.
Leslie also partners with style heavyweights John Galliano, Balmain and Lanvin to depict a luxurious rap lifestyle in his videos. However, he has not forgotten his humble beginnings and still recalls the whirring sound of his mother’s sewing machine on the first days before school. “My mother used to take fabrics and she would literally sew our clothes for us (he and his sister),” Leslie said, citing it as his first fascination with creating a quality garment. Since then, his mama-made attire has now evolved into custom-made suits in Italy.
Another person you can expect to see plenty of on Les Is More is his girlfriend. Fourati, who has been featured in “Beautiful Lie,” also stars in the upcoming “Good Girls,” set to drop before New Year’s. The song contains self-explanatory lyrics written by the rapper to his own: “Same time next year, I’ll be hopin’ that you’re still here/ But a little better than we did this year because baby you’re my good girl.”
Leslie constantly shifts the focus to his music, no matter what he may be facing in his personal life. As seen in concerts and online videos, his live performances emit an electricity that seems effortless. With that much energy on-stage, VIBE.com was curious to know how he preps beforehand.
“To be completely honest with you, I probably have the most inexpensive rider list of all time – all I need is a bottle of water,” Leslie said, admitting that his entourage often complains that he never touches anything in the dressing room. Although the list is nowhere near as lengthy as Drake’s, it has slightly grown to include peanut M&Ms, chicken wings and other tiny amenities, but his only prerequisites remain water and a couple of towels before rocking a show. “I’m there to work.”
Despite the record label setbacks and opinions from naysayers, it’s that disciplined mentality that has allowed Leslie to be an artist of all trades. With Les Is More, fans can expect to see and hear him as they never had before. --Adelle Platon

Back to Page 1

From the Web

More on Vibe

102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too. https://t.co/IJQrclGQ6I

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

Continue Reading
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence

Rey Ma Facing Additional Charges In Alleged Assault Against Brittney Taylor

Rey Ma has been hit with additional charges in an ongoing assault case in which she stands accused of attacking former Love & Hip Hop: New York cast member Brittney Taylor. The Bronx native appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court Friday (May 24) where she was arraigned on four misdemeanor charges, according to TMZ.

Although Remy was initially charged with assault, and turned herself in to authorities earlier in the month, she now faces two counts of third-degree assault, one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, and one count of second-degree harassment. She was offered the option to plead guilty to the top charge and enter anger management in exchange for having the other charges dropped but reportedly rejected the deal.

A trial date has been set of July 12.

Taylor claims Remy punched her in the eyed during a run-in at the Pretty Lou Charity Concert at New York City’s Irving Plaza last month. Remy was among the event performers along with Fat Joe, Jim Jones and more. She denies attacking Taylor and claims to have video evidence proving her innocence. TMZ reports that prosecutors have since changed the time of when the supposed altercation took place to line up with the time that Remy would have been at the venue.

Upon leaving the courtroom Friday, Remy didn’t mince words when speaking about going to trial. “Who looks forward to going to trial? I have things to do in my life,” she said according to the New York Daily News. “I have a real job, I have a family, I have a husband, I have a daughter.”

Continue Reading
34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

Continue Reading

Top Stories