DJ Snoopadelic

VIBE’s Hip-Hop TurnTableCoats: A-Trak, Snoop Dogg, Loco Dice

DJ Clue, Funkmaster Flex and DJ Green Lantern. What do they have in common (other than all sounding like superheros)? The trio that many fans consider part of hip-hop’s elite all share what was once considered to be speciality skill... DJing has taken on a new meaning.

Part of the aftermath following this recent culturing of electronic dance music, every Tom, Dick and Harry is trying to be the next Avicii, Afrojack and Guetta as much as I was trying to be Tino Martinez when I was 11. This universal yearning for the life of a DJ has not only hit the feeble fans. Spreading at rates similar to the bubonic plague, EDM has affected all areas of music, including rappers and skilled hip-hop DJs.

VIBE has chosen a few DJs: each one started in hip-hop and eventually transitioned with the music trends. Although the sound and tempo may be completely different from these musicians’ roots, they still recognize their past, as each has made their mark on the music world, making them timeless and genreless.

Three Hip-Hop TurnTable Coats.....

A-Trak

The Montreal born turntablist Alain Macklovitch (better known as A-Trak) won all three major DJ competitions (DMC, ITF and Vestax) and many other accolades. The Brooklyn based scratch master has been around the music block many times. From winning DMC at the young age of 15 in 1997, he has become renowned for being one of the most skilled sonic engineers on earth. His rapper collaboration list includes names like Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, as well as being recruited by Kanye West to be his personal touring DJ. Yeezy, as we all know, doesn’t like to compliment anyone, cue Taylor Swift VMA Incident. But Mr. West was so into A-Trak’s ability as a hip-hop DJ that the Canadian performed with ‘Ye’ at the Grammys, VMAs and also made multiple appearances on his last two albums.

These days A-Trak has been killing it the EDM scene. Half the DJ/producer tag team Ducksauce with Armin Van Helden, the two have achieved massive success across the globe with productions like ‘Barbara Streisand’ and ‘Big Bad Wolf’. Ducksauce is one of the few EDM based producer teams that can boast a #1 on the US Billboard Charts. Let me also not forget he owns Fools Gold Records. Wait did I also mention he opened up the historical Swedish House Mafia event at MSG? I could go on...

Snoop Dogg/ DJ Snoopadelic

If I could, I’d drive a Snoop Deville and eat Chicken Noodle Snoop all day. His persona will live on in infamy as the pages of Rap History are read years from now. Starting as one of Dr.Dre’s proteges, Snoop’s career flourished more than any other rapper on the West Coast. Accumulating 14 Grammy nominations and a ton of other awards nods (Stoner of The Year 2002), S-N- double O - P is a social icon.

11 albums later, what is Snoop up to now? Enter DJ Snoopadelic, A project he has promoted mainly through his personal SoundCloud in which he releases new sets often, Snoop has made a number of appearances manning the 1’s and 2’s. For those of you with a love for deep house, check out Snoop’s ‘Tekno Euro Mix’. Featuring some of the most proper soulful grooves to grace this deep head’s ears, Snoop obviously has other talents far beyond his lyricism.

Loco Dice

A most dominant dance music force, Mr. Dice always goes loco when speaking of his roots and pure love for hip-hip. Back in the day he put on support sets for the likes of Usher, Ice Cube and Snoop (go figure). Dice has embarked on a mission of creating techno for all, including rap lovers. Sampling Rick Ross’ ‘Every Day I’m Hustlin’, Dice flawlessly mixed the anthem like chorus into some of the darkest, dirtiest techno ever heard. The German native is a massive star DJ across the pond. He is treated like royalty and respected like a God. That said... what did the rap enthusiast do when he happened to meet De La Soul at the airport?

Dice took a picture, uploaded it to his 315K+ fans on Facebook with the caption: ‘Woooow !!!! Am I dreamin' ??! #speechless DE LA SOUL !! #Legends’. A contemporary legend still acting like a young kid waiting outside the Yankee clubhouse trying to get autographs, you gotta love it.

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Megan Thee Stallion Releases Fiery "Realer" Video

Megan Thee Stallion is truly prepping for a hot girl summer. Following up the highly-anticipated release of Fever, the Houston-bred rapper has officially released the visuals for the project's opening song, "Realer."

Red-headed Meg and her friends brandish toy guns, high karate kicks and body rolls as she talks her sh*t. And, much like her project's artwork, there were flames—both literally and figuratively—to be had all around.

Even some of her celebrity peers have expressed excitement over her video's release.

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥❤️❤️

— TRINA (@TRINArockstarr) May 21, 2019

🐎 🔥 https://t.co/54S59MQ8fx

— Wale (@Wale) May 21, 2019

Watch Hot Girl Meg's spicy "Realer" video up top.

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VIBE Debuts New Podcast On Battle Rap Culture, 'The Chosen' (Hosted By Nunu Nellz)

THE CHOSEN Podcast, hosted by the battle scene's stage Queen, Nunu Nellz, is a show that highlights the artists, entrepreneurs and personalities that shape Hip-Hop battle culture. A lot of success stories may look like they started overnight, yet took many years of hard work and dedication...we will showcase that journey through their stories.

The first episode of THE CHOSEN is with SMACK WHITE, the leader of MC battle culture as founder of the  Ultimate Rap League (URL). This Queens, NY native is a great opening act for what The Chosen is about, success against all odds. A man who took the positive from his neighborhood and helped to create a global platform for people to exhibit their talent through battle rap.

And for some added flavor, the intro beat to the show is produced by none other than the infamous himself, Havoc of Mobb Deep.

Check the first of many great episodes to come of The Chosen Podcast.

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😢 THANK U to @smackwhite @beasleynyc @urltv for embracing me with nothing but love from the first day I met u guys. Thank you for making NUNU NELLZ a house hold name. From my start on “ battle rap arena “ on 15moferadio to writing my first column “what’s hot what’s not “in battle rap for 100barsmag then taking that same column to a printing magazine ( rydermagazineboss ) where it was sold at train station, online and at the legendary black star, I just been blessed. I been able to travel the world and meet so many great ppl bc of u guys. Thank u for any league that ever book me to host their event . Thank u to my fiancé @mr.guercy for pushing me to be the greatest woman I can be and introducing me to the editor and chief of @vibemagazine, @datwon . Thank u to @datwon for believing in the vision and giving me my very own show on the vibe platform #THECHOSEN. This is so BIG and I’m so excited about this new journey . I love media . I love learning about ppl grinds and how they became successful . It was so important to me to grab that @nickiminaj #vibemagazine cover for my first interview . I won’t allow anyone to give me pickle juice (barbs will catch that 🤣) but thank u to all those saying congrats . When the first interview drop im open to all feed back to be the best I can be for the people 💯 Hair @beautiibyday thank u for always stopping what u doing to get me together . I appreciate u

A post shared by URL Princess (@nunu_nellz) on Mar 28, 2019 at 8:11am PDT

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Bradley Murray

Jamila Woods Resurrects Legends On ‘Legacy! Legacy!’

Three years ago, Jamila Woods entered the scene as a woman grounded in her self-hood on her debut HEAVN. The album is a memoir of her upbringing on Chicago’s South Side and her introspections are comfort food for anyone on a search for their center. She digs up memories such as pride in games she played growing up on “Popsicle (Interlude)” and runs down why she’s worthy of all good things on the healing self-love anthem “Holy.” The sound is dripped deeply in neo-soul and hip-hop, in the family of her Chicago peers Saba, NoName, and Chance the Rapper.

Now the 29-year-old returns evermore enchanting on her sophomore effort, Legacy! Legacy! This time, the singer-songwriter puts herself in direct lineage with legendary black artists, writers, poets, and musicians by naming each of the project’s tracks after them. Woods was inspired by these heroes on her journey as an artist, published poet and community organizer. But she’s not simply riding on the shoulders of these legends. She’s using lyricism and storytelling to resurrect them as if they were to speak to us today.

“I thought of it not so much as writing songs about these people, but thinking of the songs as self-portraits,” she explained to Pitchfork in an interview. “I was looking through the lenses of these different people, their work, things they said.”

The result is 13 tracks of her soothing lullaby, free-flowing melodies, and sing-songy raps of gratitude for each of the lessons she learned from these greats.

There is “Betty” dedicated to Betty Davis, an unsung funk musician whose empowered spirit was ahead of her time and caused her to be shunned from the spotlight. Davis was also married to jazz pioneer Miles Davis, who she influenced in the latter part of his career. The marriage ended in a rocky divorce and Jamila considers whether this hindered Betty’s success by flipping her story into a song about guarding her light around toxic masculinity and men who could interrupt her growth. “Let me be, I'm trying to fly, you insist on clipping my wings,” she sings over the piano-led track, produced by Chicago producer OddCouple.

Woods continues to explore relationships on “Frida,” a funky boom-bap number produced by Chicago-based Slot-A, who produces most of the album. The track draws inspiration from the Mexican icon Frida Kahlo’s relationship with Diego Rivera. The couple lived in separate homes connected by a bridge while they were together. Woods uses this as a symbol for maintaining your own space to find self, whatever that may look like, even when you’re in a partnership. “Multiply my sides, I need a lot of area/A savior is not what I'm seeking/I'm god enough and you be believing,” she commands.

Although Woods shines on her own tracks, one standout feature is Brooklyn emcee (and current touring mate) Nitty Scott on “Sonia.” The track is inspired by a poem written by Black Arts movement poet Sonia Sanchez in the voice of an enslaved black woman who was finding power in detailing the trauma of her condition. Similarly, Scott lays out all her experiences with toxic relationships on a verse that should be studied by all young woman as a relationship manual. “All the women in me are tired/Listen, ni**a/My abuela ain't survive several trips around the sun/So I could give it to somebody's undeserving son,” Scott quips. Woods also describes finding clarity on relationship issues after talking them out with her mother, grandmother, and cousin. “I knew I could do it 'cause if my blood went through it/I knew I could endure it, I knew that I could heal it,” she croons.

When she’s not breaking down the personal, Woods takes on race politics. On the gritty “Miles” dedicated to the aforementioned Davis, Woods embodies his rebellious attitude toward racism. “You could make me tap dance, shake hands, yes ma'am/ But I'm a free man now,” she flexes on the track’s first verse. The song also tells of a man who took the oppression he faced and poured it into mastering his musicianship. Davis talks about this in a 1962 Playboy interview, where he explained that when he was in high school he knew he was the best trumpeter in music class, but all the white students would win the first prizes in contests. “It made me so mad I made up my mind to outdo anybody white on my horn,” he recalls. “If I hadn't met that prejudice, I probably wouldn't have had as much drive in my work.” Davis went on to become one of the most influential jazz artists in the world. Woods calls on that pride he had in his genius, as she references Davis’s 1950 album Birth of Cool on several lines, including, “You can't fake the cool/I could do it in my sleep.”

The spacey-electronic “Octavia” echoes the late science fiction author’s notable ability to manifest her success through journaling. Butler was one of the most prominent black women to write in a mostly white and male-dominated genre, publishing dozens of books, and was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, among other awards. During Butler’s rise, she wrote out her goals in a series of affirmations that were put on display in an exhibit called “Octavia Butler: Telling My Stories” at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California in 2017. One of the notes read, “My books will be read by millions of people! I will buy a beautiful home in an excellent neighborhood!” On the chorus, Jamila borrows one stunning line from her notes: “I write it down, it happens next/So be it, see to it.”

Woods talks candidly to white Americans about their privilege and how it blinds them from reality on “Baldwin” in the same way James Baldwin did in his writings. Baldwin once wrote in a 1962 essay in The New Yorker: “Now, there is simply no possibility of a real change in the Negro’s situation without the most radical and far-reaching changes in the American political and social structure. And it is clear that white Americans are not simply unwilling to effect these changes; they are, in the main, so slothful have they become, unable even to envision them.” Woods keeps the same energy when grieving about gentrification — which is now a fabric of life in most American cities — and the stress it can bring black natives of big cities. “You could change a hood just by showing your face / Condo climbing high, now the block is erased / (You don't get it, get it),” she spits.

On Legacy! Legacy!, Woods took her ability to paint her rage with social conditions and complex emotions within intimate relationships to the next level, solidifying her as a modern day griot. Yes, this album on the surface is inspired by historical figures but, as promised, the songs aren’t simply biographies about their accomplishments. Woods studied what made each of these individuals human and transformed those insights into a cohesive oral history that connects the past to the present. It’s not an album to be digested in one sitting. She is inviting us to join her in remembering these legends more deeply beyond social media posts that dilute their legacies to soundbites, photos and quote posts on their birthdays. The eras from which these icons rose to prominence passed, but the lessons they offer are timeless. Count on Woods to keep them alive and make sure they’re told.

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