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Kirko Bangz Talks New Mixtape, Drake & Weezy Comparisons, Reppin' Houston in 2012

Kirko Bangz will always throw it up for Houston. From the huge inked image of the cityscape on his forearm to his buzzing single, “Drank In My Cup,” Bangz reps his city first before anything. His slow-downed melodies are double cup doses of the Screw sound infused with his own flavor.

The follow-up to Bangz’ underground hit “What Yo Name Iz” has helped him rise to hip-hop notoriety. While both buzzsworthy singles have made waves on the radio, Bangz is already hearing the rumors about his longevity.  A one-hit wonder is a popular curse in hip-hop but instead of letting the rumors affect his work ethic, he uses the talk as motivation.

The Progression 2: A Young Texas Playa has set the bar for his growth as an artist. For this installment, Bangz went into the studio with a mission to prove himself. The results can be heard on tracks like “Knowmtalmbout” featuring Paul Wall. The H-Town rapper says he perfected his rap game over the years, adding more variety of records to the 11-track mixtape to widen his audience.

Just days before the release, the Warner Bros Records artist talked to VIBE about The Progression 2. The 21-year-old was strictly here for business, but we got him to discuss his thoughts on comparisons to Drake and Lil’Wayne, the difference between the first The Progression, down South legends co-signing him, and more. --Eric Diep

On the history behind his Progression series:
“When I was in college, I was doing a mixtape series called Procrastination Kills. That was like my album/mixtape at that time. And my mixtape in between, I would do a Progression release. I just did Procrastination 3 with Drama a couple months back, this is like my off-season training right now.

The first one, I was in college, two years ago. I was really freestyling on all different types of beats. I really was just working on my craft as far as rapping period. Not really just coming up with songs or hooks. This one, it’s a gumball of different things, for the girls, for the n*ggas for the streets, and we got storytelling on there as well, but it’s more put together."

On Recording “Drank In My Cup”:
"I just heard the beat and the hook came to my head. A lot of times [when] I was going places, a lot of people didn’t know where I was from. Sh*t I got to let these n*ggas know I’m from H-Town, so I just threw that “Drank In My Cup” in there because, believe me, all that sh*t started out here. I had to get that and bring that culture in a new style, a new sound in Houston as well as mixing in the old shit we on as well."

On the Drake and Lil’ Wayne comparisons:
"They’ve been getting their money for a while and I respect them as artists. Just for me to come in the game and have two singles and people start comparing me to [Wayne and Drake] is cool because a lot of times when you go hard they compare you to something because they don’t believe in you yet. I got to prove it to you. I’m hearing I’m a one-hit wonder. Now I’m hearing that I’m a two-hit wonder, and sh*t like that. My music keeps on getting better, people are going to respect it for me."

On having hip-hop heavyweights (Bun B, Slim Thug, DJ Drama, Paul Wall) in his corner:
“It helps you a lot. You know people like Bun, Drama and Paul have been putting in they work for years. So for them to co-sign me now is a blessing. It puts something on my shoulders beacause I can’t let them down. That’s why I really represent my city every time I rap, or anytime I talk. To put on and represent them and contribute to what we trying to do out here means a lot, but when you expect that, you gotta do something with it. Everything is all G. The co-signs are good, but I still got a lot more work I gotta do."


Watch Kirko's "Drank In My Cup" Video Below:


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Paras Griffin

Police Conducted Welfare Check On Wendy Williams Over Alleged Poisoning

Police reportedly conducted a wellness check on Wendy Williams at her New Jersey home earlier this year after an anonymous caller claimed the TV personality's husband, Kevin Winter was poisoning her, People reports.

The incident reportedly occurred during Williams' television hiatus in Jan. 2019. According to the police report obtained by People, police arrived at Williams' residence shortly after the call was made. Hunter reportedly answered the door, claiming his wife was recovering from an illness.

Authorities noted that Hunter was "hesitant" to let the police inside the house but eventually did. There, they found Williams in bed with a "blanket covering her from neck to toe." Williams told the cops she was recovering from a broken shoulder.

Williams reportedly "became tearful" when they asked if there was any truth to the poisoning allegation, but she ultimately denied that any wrongdoing was taking place. Police said Hunter "then responded saying something to the effect of there had never been any calls to his house regarding domestic violence."

While the couple might not have received calls to the house, there have been rumors of domestic abuse. Many assumed that was one of many reasons why Williams filed for divorce against Hunter earlier this month. Even so, the Williams maintained that she was leaving on good terms.

"I am going through a time of self-reflection and am trying to right some wrongs,” he said a recent episode of her self-titled show. "No matter what the outcome is or what the future holds, we are still The Hunter Family and I will continue to work with and fully support my wife in this business and through any and all obstacles she may face living her new life of sobriety, while I also work on mine."

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Parrish Lewis/SHOWTIME

'The Chi' Recap: Ep. 3 Shows The Effects Of Childhoods Being Stolen By Adults

A child can die and still grow up. A child can die from growing up. In The Chi, where humanity is hustled and children face their mortality, childhood is a luxury few are lucky enough to keep let alone enjoy. Adults traffic in stolen youths, trading in childhoods that never belonged to them. Some use them to make their lives easier, others use them to advance their careers, but they all snatch away the childhoods of young black boys and girls in order for them to navigate adulthood better.

On the insidious side, Ronnie’s lawyer Kimberly Hendricks (Kimberly Hebert Gregory) uses Kevin’s youth to both intimidate and discredit the only eye witness to Ronnie’s murder of Coogie Johnson in Season One. She orchestrates this by employing a white man with a purported history of dealing with black youths testifying in court to tell Kevin’s family about the untold dangers that can arise from his testimony against Ronnie in the courthouse. All the while, Hendricks sits nearby surveying the scene of her own making, knowing the preservation of Kevin’s precious youth would be his mothers’ first thoughts when hearing of these “consequences” and force them to not have Kevin testify.

Not too long after that, Hendricks calls into question the validity of the 12-year-old eyewitness account, since she claims the accounts of adults are typically unreliable and Kevin having experienced trauma from shooting Ronnie makes his account even more shaky. Soon after, we find out Hendricks’ motive for using Kevin’s young age to get a murderer out of jail is not based in some warped view of justice, but instead in her desire to advance her own law career by making partner at her law firm.

The Chi drives home the severity of what Hendricks’ actions could do to the future of a child like Kevin. Before Kevin and his family are intimidated by Hendricks’ flunkie in the courthouse, Kevin mentions how some of his knowledge of the criminal justice system comes from long-running TV drama Law & Order. Mere seconds later, a young black boy, who looks no older than Kevin, is escorted in handcuffs by police officers while wearing grey prison garbs. This idea of adults snatching away black boys’ youth through the legal system is an all too common reality in a city such as Chicago, where judges go against local ordinances banning the detention of children under 12 years of age at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Beyond Chicago, adults within the American legal system have had transactional relationships with black youths. Between 2000-2007, judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania received financial compensation from the owners of juvenile detention centers for filling their detention centers with young offenders through excessive sentencing for minor infractions. The ordeal is referred to as the “kids for cash” scandal, a title that could easily be the name of an episode of The Chi.

But, just like in episode two, where Jerrika appeared to sell out of her blackness for the advancement of her career, nothing is ever clearly good or bad in The Chi. In one of the more heartbreaking scenes in the early part of the season, Kevin discovers his classmate Maisha (Genesis Denise Hale) hasn’t been coming to school because she has to watch her siblings while her mother works. Her mother is robbing her daughter of a traditional childhood by having her assume parental roles over her siblings versus focusing on school. As Kevin sits in her living room surrounded by her siblings and their toys, Maisha’s usual calm but condescending demeanor is replaced with irritable fatigue. You can see her face struggle to contort into a smile when joking with Kevin.

Neither Maisha nor Kevin make any mention of Maisha’s father, so it’s safe to assume she lives in a one-parent household, like more than 11 million other American households, according to 2016 Census data. Of those more than 11 million households, more than 80 percent of them are headed by mothers. Those same mothers have to spend upwards of 70 percent of their annual income on child care. Without Maisha sacrificing a piece of her childhood, her siblings may not have one of their own.

When Maisha somberly asks Kevin if she’ll see him tomorrow after school—she’d asked him to bring her each day’s homework—the look in her eyes is one crying out for a connection to her peers’ leisurely, carefree lives. That’s what people see when they look at him: the purity of childhood. It’s the reason why Jake wouldn’t let Kevin be part of his illegal candy resale scheme in episode two. So much of The Chi involves making sure this one black boy doesn’t get swallowed by the streets.

Despondent themes aside, the episode is not without its silver lining. There is a humorous side to children growing up too quickly in The Chi. Papa, Kevin’s best friend and the most mature kid in the show, participates in the school’s candy drive in order to win a flat screen TV for his man cave. But instead of a “man cave,” he calls it a “Papa cave.” Humorous displays of otherwise depressing topics, such as black youths growing up much faster than they should, gives The Chi’s commentary a bit more realism, showing that there’s good in the bad, and vice versa.

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Streeter Lecka

DMX Joins Cast Of Upcoming Film 'Chronicle Of A Serial Killer'

DMX has some major deals lined up. The artist has reportedly signed on to join the cast of an upcoming thriller film, entitled Chronicle of a Serial Killer, according to HotNewHipHop.

The film reportedly follows the story of Henry Brolin, a serial killer who targets women who he thinks will eventually turn out just like his mother. DMX will reportedly portray one of the lead detectives on the case. X joins a cast featuring Tara Reid and Russian Doll's Brendan Sexton.

Steve Stanulis, the film's director said DMX was a "perfect fit" for the role. "When my casting director suggested DMX it immediately resonated with me as a perfect fit," Stanulis said. "I have no doubt he is going bring a different dynamic to the role and I'm excited to have him part of this talented cast. I'm looking forward to working with him and everyone else this summer."

According to previous reports, the new gig is just one of many opportunities that X has in the works. He's also rumored to be working on a several other box office films and a new album.

Chronical of a Serial Killer will reportedly begin filming in New York City in June 2019. It's unclear when it will hit the box office at this time. Stay tuned for more details.

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