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Kendrick Lamar on Rumored Mixtape With Game: 'I'm Just Now Hearing About It'

Rumors come and go in hip-hop pretty frequently. But the latest to surface will certainly have fans anticipating a confirmation.

Game and Kendrick Lamar’s collaboration “The City” off The R.E.D. Album was a song that displayed a perfect chemistry between the Compton natives. With rumors swirling that a bigger project is in the works, can a joint mixtape make a statement in 2012? That’s the word on the streets, but the two have neither confirmed nor denied the tape.

Here’s what Kendrick told XXL about the mixtape. Although he currently denies the rumor, Lamar did give some insight on working with Game--an artist he's been making music with for about six years.

“Me and Game in the studio is war. Game is out to be the best. I’m out to be the best. When you have two people in the lab that has the chemistry… Sometimes you’ll have two good artists in the lab and they don’t have the chemistry. Sometimes you have to [distinguish] people from being rap friends and real friends. But we have the best of both worlds. When you have two of us in there trying to write the craziest verse, its going to come out to a crazy song at the end of the day. That’s what’s needed in hip-hop: friendly competition.”

Outside the studio, Game still drops knowledge on the rising star.

“I got in the lab with Game in ’06.I go all the way back. I was on one of his mixtapes. He gave me the opportunity to showcase my skills. Just the vibe around him, he plays the role of big homie. He obviously done touched spots in this industry that I’m trying to touch.  Every time I’m around him he schools me on different aspects of what to do and what not to do.  He’s made mistakes that he’s manned up to and admits. Just being a man and coming to me at that just shows me the ropes. It’s all love. It lets me know I have genuine people that are in it for my best interests.”

It’s interesting that Kendrick enjoys the rumor and even says if it were to materialize, Dr. Dre would lend a hand behind the boards.

“If this was a good rumor, all the way past rumor times two, you would definitely get one of them [Dre beats]. I’m just now hearing about [the rumored mixtape] truthfully.” --Eric Diep

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Jussie Smollett Cut From Forthcoming Broadway Play

Jussie Smollett has lost a starring role in a forthcoming Broadway play in the wake of his hate crime scandal. The actor was reportedly nipped from the Broadway reboot of the Tony-winning play, Take Me Out, the Daily Mail reports.

Smollett was originally cast to play the main character Darren Lemming, an interracial baseball player who comes out a gay at the height of his career. Ironically, the character also suffers a racial and homophobic attack by a teammate.

The actor previously read for the role only one day before his alleged attack in Chicago in Jan. 2019. A source close to Broadway told the British newspaper that Smollett and his co-star Zachary Quinto's castings were going to be announced in Mar. 2019, but "everything shifted" after Smollett was arrested and charged on the suspicion of staging his own hate crime and stalling a police investigation.

Smollett's disorderly conduct case has since been dropped, but the city of Chicago is suing the actor for $130,000 for the time wasted on his extensive investigation. Jussie didn't appear in the last two episodes of Empire's fifth season, but he is expected to return to the hit Fox series in the upcoming season.

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‘The Chi’ Recap: Ep. 2 Shows That Hustling Humanity Is The Key To Surviving The Jungle

How does one survive in a jungle? How does one survive in an environment where volatility is the norm and there’s no observed rule of law outside of one’s own self-interest?

The characters in The Chi have had to figure that out for more than a season and especially after the vicious assault on 73-year-old Ms. Ethel in the Season Two premiere. Detective Toussaint (Crystal Dickinson), the new detective investigating the assault, described Chicago as “a f**king jungle.” The new episode, entitled “Every Day I’m Hustlin,’” made the primary survival tactic in this jungle clear: You must hustle your humanity.

Out of all of the nefarious characters in The Chi universe, it’s Brandon’s girlfriend Jerrika Little (Tiffany Boone) who employs that tactic the clearest in this episode. She does so in pristine offices, decadent fundraisers in expensive courtyards and her fancy apartment. In The Chi, a jungle can take many shapes, but the hustle remains essential.

Jerrika comes from affluent parents who are real estate developers and judge people’s value by what they do for a living. Her father, while disparaging her choice to date Brandon, says he didn’t “spend 100 grand on Spelman for [her] to marry a cook,” as if his daughter’s life is a property he’s added improvements to in hopes of a large return on his investment. Even though Jerrika is displeased with her parent’s emotionless pragmatism, the episode shows how she’s internalized their worldview and it is that view that is the impetus of her hustle.

As a real estate agent of her own, Jerrika abandons her blackness in order to land a six-figure deal for a housing property funded by black business woman Harriet Brown (Jacqueline Williams). Sitting in her office, with her degrees and achievements decking the walls behind her, Brown rejects Jerrika’s proposal for the inclusion of low-income housing and pejoratively refers to black people seeking low-income housing as “those people” that will ruin your property. You can almost see the battle between Jerrika’s blackness and her career aspirations waged in her head as she twitches in her seat, rattles her fingers on the desk and leaves an uncomfortably long pause between Brown’s dismissal and her response.

But, Jerrika changes her stance and even says she personally wouldn’t recommend low-income housing because, for her, upward social mobility is tantamount to survival, and not that easy to vilify. This idea of feeling forced to abandon your blackness in the pursuit of mobility in business is an obstacle millions of black women face in their respective fields. In 2010, Chasity Jones had a customer service representative job offer rescinded from Catastrophe Management Solutions due to her having dreadlocks; a decision the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed legal in 2016. When the law of the land doesn’t protect you, then jungle rules apply, and sometimes that involves camouflaging.

Young Money APAA sports agent Nicole Lynn is one of the few black women certified to be a sports agent. She’s made it to a rarified space partly by not fully being herself. “I still have never worn braids at the NFL Combine. I’m not there yet. I still have an act of ‘covering.’ Covering is when you hide something about yourself to conform to dominant culture,” Lynn said in a recent interview. Realities such as these show how dismissing Jerrika’s decisions as simply bad belies the difficulty of being black in a world where advancement is harder for you than for anyone else.

Jerrika isn’t the only one in the episode with their humanity and their hustle at odds. At a mediation between Emmett and the mother of his son, Tiffany (Hannah Hall), to establish financial support for the child, Emmett learns he’ll have to hustle to get a piece of his humanity back. The normally boisterous Emmett whimpers to almost a despondent whisper when he rhetorically asks the mediator, “I got to pay for my son, but I can’t see him?” Emmett’s situation evokes similar emotional conflicts as Jerrika as the cards seem to be stacked against Emmett, but it’s largely due to his own personal faults.

The most vicious example of the battle between hustle and humanity occurs following the passing of Junie, a friend to Reg (Barton Fitzpatrick) and the gang he leads. For a few minutes, as the young black men that are part of the gang watch social media videos of their fallen friend in their dilapidated trap house, you can see the compassion in those young men who, more than likely, have had to do inhumane acts for their gang. But, in less than a minute, Reg convinces his group to abandon any emotional mourning of their lost friend and instead honor his legacy by hustling more to get money to pay to the leadership of the 63rd St Mob to avoid being murdered.

In The Chi, emotions can be hindrances to survival, leaving a chasm between one’s hustle and one’s humanity that, for some, is irreparable. It’ll be interesting to see what’s left of the people in The Chi after they’ve given away pieces of their humanity to survive.

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Netflix To Air African Children's Series, 'Mama K’s Team 4'

Netflix will continue to bring exciting content to its platform, and for the first time ever, a children’s series from Africa will be brought to the popular streaming service.

According to Variety, Mama K’s Team 4 is produced by South Africa’s Triggerfish Animation Studios and CAKE, a British kids’ and family entertainment production company. The series follows four teenagers who live in a futuristic version of Lukasa, Zambia. They are called on to save the world by a retired secret agent.

“[Mama K’s Team 4] was created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, who in 2015 was one of eight winners of the Triggerfish Story Lab, a pan-African talent search backed by the Cape Town-based animation studio and The Walt Disney Co.,” Variety continues. “The series is designed by the Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope.”

Even better, Netflix is also working with Triggerfish and CAKE to find a local Pan-African writer to join “Mama K’s” creative team. 

“In addition to giving African writers a global platform on which to be heard, we are excited to present this powerful and entertaining new animated series that brings Malenga’s incredible and unique vision to life on Netflix,”  Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation at Netflix, said in a statement. “‘Mama K’s Team 4’ has the potential to give a whole new generation of African children the opportunity to see themselves on screen in the powerful, aspirational characters they look up to.”

Netflix is also home to Queen Sono, which is the first African Original Series to stream on the platform.

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