Will.i.am Backs Nicki Minaj; Says 'F**** Hip-Hop'
Will.i.am Backs Nicki Minaj; Says 'F**** Hip-Hop'

Will.i.am Backs Nicki Minaj; Says 'F*** Hip-Hop'

Nicki Minaj continues to make headlines. YMCMB’s seemingly unstoppable female spitter, who is coming off a win for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist at Sunday’s BET Awards, has become a headlining favorite for music fans. Whether it’s questions surrounding her gravity defying curvy physical attributes, her adventurous fashion sense or prolonged beef with Lil Kim, Minaj has become a pop culture-lightening rod. But the story that continues to follow the outspoken platinum beauty is her credibility as a hip-hop act.

Ever since Hot 97’s radio morning show host Peter Rosenberg proclaimed that Minaj’s bouncy pop hit “Starships” wasn’t real hip-hop in early June, debates have surfaced on whether or not the genre-blurring MC has left her hardcore mixtape origins behind. But there’s one individual who believes Minaj is getting a bad rap. Black Eyed Peas frontman and in-demand producer will.i.am, who worked with the rhymer on the fluffy high energy 2010 hit “Check It Out,” says hip-hop purists have it all wrong.

“I’m proud of Nicki,” will.i.am tells VIBE. You can’t listen to this stuff about not being real hip-hop. You gotta go and get it. Whatever the music is called that’s what it’s called whether it’s hip-hop, pop, rock, gospel or a freaking musical, who cares? Nicki is an artist and she is expressing herself. Why limit yourself?”

Of course will.i.am, who is set to release his next solo album #willpower on September 24th, can more than identify with Minaj. As the lead visionary behind the Peas, the Los Angeles native has had to contend with critics who have bemoaned his group’s move from grassroots hip-hop troop to Fergie featured global pop superstars. Indeed, Will.i.am has some straight-no-chaser words for detractors. “Hip-Hop was broadening itself in the ‘90s,” he says. “You had A Tribe Called Quest and Death Row…you had Lauryn Hill singing and rapping. You had Too Short, Outkast, Nas and the Roots. Hip-Hop was broadening itself. Now hip-hop is limiting itself. If hip-hop is going to continue to limit people I say ‘Fuck hip-hop.’ It’s like the most unhealthiest community.”

Will.i.am says he is more concerned with real life hip-hop issues. “People should really be tripping off the fact that all of our hip-hop heroes are dying,” he states. “Heavy D is dead and Erick Sermon recently had a heart attack. And we still talking about Nicki Minaj doing dance music? Get the fuck out of here. I want Nicki to continue to show the world what hip-hop can be. It doesn’t have to always be about fucking this stripper girl or getting money. I would rather be interested to hear what Chuck D thinks than some blogger or radio host.”—Keith Murphy

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Kareem "Biggs" Burke Launches New Music Company, Signs First Artist

After nearly a 15-year hiatus from the music industry, Kareem "Biggs" Burke is back with a new music company called Circle of Success. To kick the newly-launched business off right, Burke has already announced his first signee, Brooklyn-based artist, SAINt JHN.

Circle of Success is a management company that oversees musicians. In an interview with Billboard on Feb. 19, Biggs discussed his new venture and artist.  "The night [Roc Nation co-founder Tyran Smith], played a preview of SAINt JHN's new album, I drove home listening to Collection One and had an immediate sonic connection to his music," Burke said.

The Roc-A-Fella cofounder also addressed his new company on Instagram, noting that it was his first time backing an artist since Kanye West nearly 20 years ago. "The last 2 projects I’ve done was College Dropout and Late Registration," he wrote. "After such a long time away I’ve decided to jump back in with someone who I believe will be equally as impactful and change the game and be a HUGE brand with the music being the core of the business. @saintjhn made the decision easy for me because it’s very rare you come across talent like his. I’m BACK!!!!"

SAINt JHN is a singer-songwriter and rapper. He has previously written songs for Usher, Jidenna, and others. He also released his first album under his current moniker in Mar. 2018, entitled Collection One.

Be on the look out for what's to come from Biggs' Circle of Success company and SAINt JHN.

 

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The last 2 projects I’ve done was College Dropout and Late registration. After such a long time away I’ve decided to jump back in with someone who I believe will be equally as impactful and change the game and be a HUGE brand with the music being the core of the business. @saintjhn made the decision easy for me because it’s very rare you come across talent like his. I’m BACK!!!! #circleofsuccess #management Full story in my bio...

A post shared by Biggs (@biggsburke) on Feb 19, 2019 at 10:10am PST

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Daniel Kaluuya And Lakeith Stanfield To Star In Fred Hampton Movie

Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are reportedly being considered for roles in the upcoming film, Jesus Was My Homeboy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The movie, which will be produced by Ryan Coogler and distributed by Warner Bros., will depict the assassination of Black Panther activist Fred Hampton.

If the ink dries on the deal, Kaluuya will play Hampton. Stanfield will play William O’Neal, the FBI informant who went undercover and infiltrated the Black Panthers in order to obtain information that assisted in Hampton's assassination. Jesus Was My Homeboy will look at the rise and death of Hampton through the perspective of FBI informant O'Neal.

As previously noted, Fred Hampton was an activist and organizer of the Black Panther Party who quickly climbed the ranks to become its chairman of the Illinois chapter and deputy chairman. He was murdered in 1969 at the age of 21, by a tactical unit with orders from the FBI and Chicago Police Department.

Shaka King will reportedly direct the film and and produce from a script he wrote with Will Berson. Jesus Was My Homeboy does not have a release date at this time.

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HBO Releases 'Leaving Neverland' Trailer And March Premiere Date

Since the reveal of a contentious documentary on Michael Jackson was announced, the conversation surrounding HBO's upcoming project has continued to increase. Now, the powerhouse cable network unveiled the Leaving Neverland trailer which depicts the recollections of two men who were reportedly sexually abused when they were boys by Jackson.

Within the trailer, James Safechuck and Wade Robson discuss certain moments that they held as secrets for decades. "He told me if they ever found out what we were doing, he and I would go to jail for the rest of our lives," Wade says in the visual. The Dan Reed-directed film also features interviews with the two men's families and significant others.

In response to the doc's Sundance premiere, Jackson's family issued a statement calling out the reel's developers. "The creators of this film were not interested in the truth," the family's statement reads. "They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except the two perjurers and their families. That is not journalism, and it's not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories."

Watch the trailer below ahead of its two-night premiere on March 3-4.

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