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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Cardi B Awarded Crossover Artist Of The Year At 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards

2019 has been a pretty successful year for Cardi B. In February, Cardi won a Grammy Award for "Best Rap Album," and as of Thursday (April 26), the Bronx beauty was awarded Crossover Artist of the year at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.

The 26-year-old beat out Demi Lovato, DJ Snake and Drake in the category. Cardi's been featured on some of the hottest Latin records that have ruled both 2018 and 2019. She has her hit song "I Like It" with Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, and she's featured in the tracks "Taki Taki" and "La Modelo" as well.

Cardi's win makes her the first female rapper to ever win a Billboard Latin Music Award. The MC took to her Instagram stories to thank the publication for the award, a move that comes after a recent squabble she had with gossip page "The Shade Room."

On Wednesday, in a series of now-deleted Instagram videos, Cardi slammed the gossip page for posts she felt harmed her husband Offset's image. In the video, Cardi called out TSR for allegedly only sharing negative news about her label mates at Quality Management, rather than uplifting them and the rest of the black community.

“Everybody that they know that I’m cool with, they always try to get them set up for people to talk sh*t,” she said. "Offset donated 25K to the Ellen foundation for the kids in Africa. Did The Shade Room post it? No… are they posting any positive sh*t and investment talk that he’s been talking about in his interviews? No. But they sure post the way he had drama with his baby mom. They sure posting about his court cases, right?"

Congrats to Cardi on her win.

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Jussie Smollett's Potentially Final 'Empire' Episode Draws Low Viewership

It hasn't been revealed whether Empire will return for a sixth season. However, if the show returns, there's no word on if Jussie Smollett will reprise his role as Jamal Lyon.

Regardless of the unknown, it looks like fans weren't all the way tuned-in to what may have very well have been Smollett's last episode on the show. Per Variety, Jamal's groundbreaking wedding episode garnered low ratings for the Fox series.

"The episode, in which Smollett’s character Jamal Lyon tied the knot in TV’s first-ever black, gay wedding, returned a 1.1 rating in the key 18-49 demo and 3.8 million total viewers," reports the site. "Those numbers are a tick up on the 1.07 rating of the previous two weeks, but are still down on the season 5 average, which currently sits at around 1.4."

Smollett's character was written out of the last two episodes of the fifth season, due to his highly-publicized arrest in February for allegedly filing a false police report claiming that he was attacked physically and verbally in Chicago. All 16 charges against him were dropped in March.

Recently, his Empire family penned a letter of support for their cast member, urging the show's producers to allow him to come back for the unannounced sixth season.

"[Smollett] is kind. He is compassionate," the letter says. "He is honest and above all he is filled with integrity. He is also innocent and no longer subject to legal uncertainty with the criminal charges against him having been dropped."

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SWV Reacts To Female R&B Artists H.E.R, Teyana Taylor, And More

SWV recently sat down for BuzzFeed's "Cocoa Butter" video series to react to the new generation of female, R&B vocalists, and the veteran trio's facial expressions said it all.

The first singer the ladies reacted to was H.E.R. "I'm partial because I just love H.E.R. So she could sing dookie on a stick, and I'll still be like, oh she sounds nice," Tamara Johnson-George said.

"I wanna hear her do something different though," Coko chimed in, adding that she should experiment with more upbeat tempos.

Another notable reaction was given to Chloe x Halle. While the women agreed that the duo sounded a lot like their mentor, Beyonce, they felt that they hadn't heard any songs that "pop."

SWV didn't jump up and down for everyone, but they collectively loved Teyana Taylor. "She's going to be around for a minute," Leanne "Lelee" Lyons says.

The trio started to really dive in and dissect the artists when they moved on to Queen Naija. Although two-thirds of the group said they like Queen, Coko's facial expressions said something else. "You heard her sing live?" She askd. "I just like to hear them sing live because nowadays these girls sound like a computer."

SWV also reacted to Jhene Aiko, Kehlani, and Syd. See their reactions below.

SWV Reacts To Teyana Taylor, Queen Naija, H.E.R. & more! pic.twitter.com/vF4CQNZlTq

— Cocoa Butter (@cocoabutterbf) April 25, 2019

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