HARLEM

The Renaissance: 4 New Artists Bringing Harlem World Back

Once upon a time, Harlem rappers stood in the forefront of hip-hop. Entertainers from Harlem were easily identified via their impeccable fashion sense and natural hustler’s ambition. Diddy, M-A-$-E, Dame Dash, Cam’ron and Big L, those are just some of the greats hailing from the 212 borough. After the crash of the Dipset movement, though, Harlem as a whole lost its momentum. And while there’s been talks of a Dipset reunion, not to mention the fresh presence of Vado, it would take a wave of new kids on the block to resurrect the area as an industry force. Here, we run through the prospects responsible for putting Harlem back on the map.

AZEALIA BANKS
While N.Y. is her birthplace, the mermaid queen took her talents to the U.K., where her career initially took off. After gaining notoriety across seas, Banks returned to the states to capitalize on that success, with her single “212” capturing her funky style. While she focuses heavily on fashion and creativity, her lyrical abilities are not to be slept on. This girl can spit! See: her EP 1991, released this past Tuesday (May 29).

A$AP ROCKY
A$AP Rocky’s rough-and-tumble childhood influenced the 22 year-old Harlemite to jumpstart his rap career. Rocky made headlines last year after signing a reported $3 million dollar contract with Pologrounds/RCA Records, thanks to his sly Southern-dipped rhyme style. Make no mistake, though—he’s reppin’ Harlem all day. Similar to Dipset (and Odd Future), the A$AP Mob crew he totes along consists of both rappers and creative assets.

The “Google Me” singer first hit the scene when she appeared on MTV’s hit series, My Super Sweet Sixteen. After much speculation of signing recording contracts with several labels, Taylor put the rumors to bed last week, inking to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music imprint. Not only is TT respected in the fashion world, she put her money where her mouth is on her mixtape, The Misunderstanding on Teyana Taylor, while penning new tracks and covering songs like Drake’s “Marvin Room.”

VINNY CHA$E
Another multi-talented artist rising out of Harlem, Vinny Cha$e shouldn’t be mistaken with the Entourage character. Cha$e (peep the dollar sign) not only rhymes and stays laced in $wag, but also boasts a background in videography and directing. The Harlem head started out shooting music videos and behind the scenes footage for other big like Cam’ron and Juelz Santana. If Harlem ain’t back, at least the “$” is.

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Issa Rae And Kumail Nanjiani Talk Their Black And Brown Dynamic In 'The Lovebirds'

As our latest op-ed points out, black romance films are having a moment, and The Lovebirds is adding a comedic twist to the matter. Ahead of the MRC/Paramount Pictures' premiere on streaming platform Netflix, VIBE correspondent Jazzie Belle sat down with the film's lead actors Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani to discuss the refreshing black and brown dynamic between their characters.

"I think it was just more exciting to me [to take part in a different romantic dynamic]. It was just that, and I didn't realize until later," said Rae. "Obviously with working with Kumail, it just like 'Oh, I haven't seen an on-screen pairing like this' and [I] was excited to play with him cosmetically. But yes, it's exciting to see a new and fresh dynamic in movies like this."

"When you see a portrayal of Pakistanis in American pop culture, generally, you're seeing certain lanes. You don't see us being light or funny or fun that often," said Nanjiani. "My family is very, very funny. My friends are very funny, so it wasn't even an attempt to try and show that [brown characters can be portrayed differently]. I just wanted to show how the people I know are. My mom and my dad are some of the funniest people I've ever met."

Watch the full interview above. The Lovebirds is streaming on Netflix now.

Interview's music bed provided by Gus.

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Man Who Recorded Murder Of Ahmaud Arbery Arrested

A third man has been arrested in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who recorded Arbery’s murder, was taken into custody on Thursday (May 21), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced.

“The family is extremely relieved,” attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Arbery’s mother, said in response to Bryan’s arrest. “We didn’t know if this was going to happen, but we all knew that it should happen.”

Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, while out for a jog. It wasn't until two months later that his story went viral prompting an investigation by the GBI after the local D.A., who was previously over the case, declined to make any arrests.

According to jail records, 50-year-old Bryan was booked into the Glynn County Jail on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Bryan made his first court appearance on Friday (May 22) where his lawyer filed a motion for a speedy trial.

Bryan accompanied father and son, Gregory McMichael, 64 and Travis McMichael, 34, as they followed and cornered 25-year-old Arbery before the younger McMichael shot him to death. The McMichaels claim the shooting was self-defense.

Father and son were arrested for aggravated assault and felony murder earlier in the month. All three men are being held at the same jail.

The mugshots of Gregory and Travis McMichael, who have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. pic.twitter.com/O0M6vPMs1Q

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) May 8, 2020

Merrit noted that Arbery's family hopes the men will be convicted. “Well obviously we want to see the arrests lead to a formal indictment then a vigorous prosecution and conviction. But there are other people we believe were involved. We spoke with the DOJ earlier today about their investigation into the corruption that delayed these arrests in the first place.”

An attorney for the elder McMichael claimed that the pair are victims of a  “narrative driven by an incomplete set of facts.”

“While the death of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragedy, causing deep grief to his family -- a tragedy that at first appears to many to fit into a terrible pattern in American life -- this case does not fit that pattern,” attorney Frank Hogue said. “The full story, to be revealed in time, will tell the truth about this case.”

The murder remains under investigation by GBI in partnership with the District Attorney Joyette Holmes of the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.

See more on Bryan's arrest in the video below.

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Quavo Talks Earning His High School Diploma At 29

Quavo officially belongs to the class of 2020. The 29-year-old Migos rapper announced that he graduated from high school on Friday (May 22).

“Finally can say I graduated high school class of 2020,” Quavo captioned an Instagram post of himself sporting a blue cap and gown.

 

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Finally Can Say I Graduated High School Class Of 2020 We Lit 🔥 Now What College Should I Go To? 🧐 And To Celebrate We Gonna Drop SMASH TONIGHT 🔥🌊 BERKMAR HIGH NAWFSIDE BABY

A post shared by QuavoHuncho (@quavohuncho) on May 21, 2020 at 4:26pm PDT

Now that he's a high school graduate, the Georgia native is considering attending college, as he shared in an interview with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Radio alongside Migos members, Takeoff and Offset. During the talk with Tunechi, Quavo expounded on his decision to get his diploma.

“I was doing stuff for the community and schools… always involved and just me being considered like a dropout you’re not really like an alumni,” he said before explaining that one of his former high school teachers is now a principal and encouraged him to get a diploma. “He hit me up like 'you should go back and get it.' I went back and got it.”

Quavo added that Weezy was, “definitely one of my inspirations for going back to school.”

The rapper, whose birth name is, Quavious Keyate Marshall, attended Lilburn’s Berkmar High School, where he was the starting quarterback for the 2009 season. Quavo dropped out of high school in his senior year.

Peep the Migos’ Young Money interview below.

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