New York Giant Ramses Barden Talks Super Bowl, Hip-Hop and Being a Free Agent

The average NFL career lasts only four years. NFL wide receiver, Ramses Barden, isn’t average though.

The 6’6” Super Bowl champion just completed his fourth season with the New York Giants and will more than likely sign a big time free agent contract this off-season. We caught up with Ramses and talked about last year’s Super Bowl, Kendrick Lamar, Joe Budden and much more. Check it out.

Talk about this past season. Was it your best so far statistically?
I have a mentality where I prepare daily to be the #1 wide receiver on the team. I just prepare to play the best and perform the best each day. I tried my best to take advantage of the opportunities I got this year. I was excited when those opportunities came. I was able to start in week 3 versus Cleveland. When the opportunities came I just maximized them and tried to make plays.

Who would you like to win the Super Bowl this year?
I can’t quite call it just yet. I like the Packers to make it from the NFC and I think the Texans or Broncos will represent the AFC.

Tell us about your first Super Bowl experience last year.
It was a dream season for us. We struggled at certain times, but we had a strong backbone and the mantra of “finish.” We were just a team with the courage and passion to play games until the very end and it showed because we came back to win a number of games. All of the tough times early in the season helped us gain momentum for a storybook ending. Then once we got to Indianapolis, the energy was remarkable. Indy isn’t a glitzy type of city, but it had its own sense of culture and it really came alive during Super Bowl week. People were partying in the streets everywhere and just enjoying themselves. We had a group of about 50 people follow us from a restaurant back to our hotel once, so it was really wild out there. And then winning the game was just indescribable. It’s something I’ll always remember.

This was the last year of your contract with the Giants, so now you’re a free agent. Where are you playing next season?
I would love to resign with the Giants. I’ve made [NYC] a home, made friends here and media connections for my life after football. I know it’s a business, so at the end of the day, a business decision will be made. My agent and I just have to sit down with the Giants' management and hopefully both parties can find a way to keep me around. Free agency doesn’t open until March so I’ll have a better idea of where I’ll be playing then.

Describe the adjustment coming from a small college to the NFL.
I went to Cal Poly in college, which is a lower level D1 school. It was a small school, but the style we played was very fast. It was a triple option offense with a lot of short and very fast guys on the team. Since we played at such an up-tempo pace in college, coming to the NFL wasn’t too much of an adjustment. Now, of course, the team speed of the defensive players, the players being bigger and more physical was a difference. Another adjustment was I found out this was a business. In college, you’re practicing for a few hours and watching film for about thirty minutes, and you lift weights here and there. In the NFL, people don’t understand the amount of time we put in. You’re at the facility all day long. In the off-season you sometimes have 10 to 15 hour days.

What did you do in high school or college that no one else was doing that helped you make it to the league?
Everyone has a different path. I don’t quit. I don’t know how to quit. It doesn’t matter how hard the conditioning or practice is or how bleak the opportunity looks, I’m not going to quit. I also look at each day as an opportunity to get better. It doesn’t have to be something big that you do, just do something. It can be 15 to 20 minutes, just always do something to help you get to where you want to be and that builds toward your success. A continuous focus on getting better will give you an honest chance to compete and get noticed.

What kind of music are you listening to right now?
The Joe Budden mixtape, Loose Quarter. I’m not impressed, but that’s not to say it isn’t any good. It’s just what I’ve come to expect from him, which is good music. I’m a huge fan and he’s a tremendous artist. I was a fan of his since his first album. It’s nice to see him finally getting some of the recognition that he deserves. Some of my favorite all-time artists are Nas, Jay-Z, Lupe, Blu, but Andre 3000 is the best right now. Kendrick Lamar had album of the year for me last year as well. I love music, I could go on and on about this. It was great to see Kendrick resurrect traditional values and artistry in his music and find new ways to connect with the youth.

Who’s your celebrity crush?
Phylicia Rashad. If she still looks like she did on "The Cosby Show," that’s my celebrity crush. (laughs)

What else do you have going on in your life right now?
I’m in the midst of setting up a personal charity. I’ve always been willing to lend a hand to people. I feel like charity should be hands on. People normally give money, which is great and we need that, but we also need people to give time. Seeing people in-person and allowing them to get to know you personally goes way further than just money. Money is important, but carving out time to help someone is sometimes more effective than just giving money.

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Signage is seen at the 2020 Billboard Power List Event at NeueHouse Hollywood on January 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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Billboard’s 2020 Power List Event Pins Leadership As The Music Industry’s Most Lucrative Tool

The start of a new decade inspired a change of plans for Billboard’s annual Power List. In previous years, the publication ranked 100 music industry professionals for their strides in the business by creating strategies that have propelled artists to the top of the charts and proved that the senior practices of the business can sometimes benefit from a fresh makeover. For 2020’s edition, the brand opted to not rank those chosen professionals but instead gathered and produced a list of honorees including Lyor Cohen (YouTube’s Global Head of Music), Roc Nation’s Jay-Z (Chairman), Desiree Perez (CEO), and Jay Brown (Vice Chairman) to Quality Control’s CEO Pierre “P” Thomas and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee.

To a resounding applause inside the event’s NeueHouse location on a balmy Thursday evening (Jan. 23) in Los Angeles, Hannah Karp, Editorial Director of Billboard Media Group, explained the reason for the change and the company’s hope that next year will produce another list of futuristic innovators. “For one thing it’s always been hard to compare the power of executives in different sectors,” Karp said. “We also wanted to inspire a new generation of music business executives that honor leadership instead of just leverage.”

The first award of the night, which was named in honor of Jay Frank, a beloved music industry veteran who worked as senior vice president at Universal Music Group (UMG) before he passed away from cancer in 2019, was given to Mitchell Shymanskly, vice president of data and analytics at UMG, for his strides in digital music leadership.

“Jay was a visionary in our field, he saw things differently which is the true definition of an innovator,” he said. “He was looking constantly for an edge and it was a great privilege of mine to have the opportunity to work alongside him.” Shymanskly learned the mantra, “We don’t succeed alone.” That quote was echoed by Columbia Records chairman/CEO Ron Perry, who received the Breakthrough Award. He gave praise to his team for their work and success, especially after a year of witnessing Lil Nas X’s breakneck speed to pop stardom.

While future pioneers both in front and behind the mic filled the room, a living legend who helped shape some of music’s most fortified models also made a special guest appearance. The Clive Davis Visionary Award was presented to Atlantic Records’ Craig Kallman (CEO) and Julie Greenwald (COO) by the man himself, Clive Davis.

Greenwald shared the duo’s singular vision that allows Atlantic Records the ability to remain one of the music industry's pillars of success. “Build and maintain a music company that we love, we surrounded ourselves with an extraordinary team of people and then we signed artists that both Ahmet and Lyor would truly be proud of,” Greenwald said. For women in the music industry, being able to take that stage and receive these awards was a major feat for Jody Gerson, UMG’s CEO, who received the Executive of the Year award. The Executive of the Decade award was given to UMG's chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. “To me, what is most meaningful is that this is a recognition without qualifications,” she said. “I am being honored not as a female executive, but as an executive. It is my hope that this award will help pave the road for more exceptional and diverse leaders to come. We all deserve to be judged for our merits regardless of who you are or how you identify.”

Gerson also sits on the board of directors for She Is The Music (SITM), a program that promotes inclusivity in the music industry. Gerson revealed that UMG will donate $50,000 to the organization, which aims to provide resources for gender diversity in songwriting, producing, executive positions and more. In 2018, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative conducted a study on the lack of women representation in the music sector. The research, which was published in 2018, concluded that for the year of 2017 out of 651 producers only two percent were women while men dominated at 98 percent. In the songwriting world, out of 2,767 credited songwriters, 12.3 percent were women while 87.7 percent were men.

Now, with new sights and plans set to change the makeup of the industry, Gerson reiterated that there's no better time than the present to implement new practices. “The moment of change is here.”

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Allen Berezovsky

Lauren London Debuts The Marathon Clothing x Puma Collection

The Marathon Clothing and PUMA are teaming up once again. The brands will be collaborating in honor of the late Nipsey Hussle. His wife, Lauren London, debuted the Marathon Clothing x Puma’s “Hussle and Motivate” collection on social media on Thursday (Jan. 23).

London is featured in the line's campaign shoot with Hussle's close friends, YG, J. Stone, and Pacman Da Gunman. Per a press release: "After first releasing in September 2019, PUMA will re-issue key pieces from the collection for fans and supporters including co-branded tracksuits and t-shirts featuring checkered patterns and TMC motifs, as well as PUMA’s signature California sneakers in black and white iterations."


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A post shared by Lauren London (@laurenlondon) on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:56pm PST

Another image from the clothing collaboration shows London wearing a white sweatshirt with a message that reads, “We (The Marathon Clothing) honor the unwavering faith of those that never quit. Our products represent their testimony. Life is a marathon.”

A portion of the net proceeds from PUMA’s sales of the PUMA x TMC Collection will go directly to the Neighborhood “Nip” Foundation. Beginning February 1st, the collection will be available again in select retailers and on PUMA's official website.


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A post shared by Lauren London (@laurenlondon) on Jan 23, 2020 at 5:58pm PST

London previously linked with Puma for a viral video campaign paying tribute to her longtime love. Hustle, whose Victory Lap recently went platinum, will be celebrated at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards with a tribute featuring YG, Roddy Ricch, Kirk Franklin, DJ Khaled, and John Legend.

The 2020 Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Lil Wayne performs at the 2019 Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park on August 09, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
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Lil Wayne Reveals Release Date For ‘Funeral’ Album

Four years after initially announcing the project, Lil Wayne took to Twitter on Thursday (Jan. 23) to reveal that his  Funeral album will drop next week.

“Welcome to the funeral, closed casket as usual,” Tunechi says in the album teaser. The Grammy winner also tweeted a link for fans to pre-order physical and digital copies of the album as a CD, vinyl or “digital cassette.” The online shop features album merchandise, including long-sleeved shirts, hoodies and beanies.

In a recent interview with VIBE, Lil Wayne said that even though his recording process has drastically changed since his prolific mixtape days, he still finds enjoyment in going to the studio to create.

“I love the difficulty of trying to fit in with what’s going on today, making sure I sound likable to the ears today and having to remind myself that it’s not about what it was back then. Going to the studio now, for me, is awesome. I used to go to that muf***a and do 12 songs a night. Cut a beat on, I’m going to go and you let me know when to stop,” Wayne said.

“...I can’t wait to get in the studio now every night, just to see what I can come up with. [Before] it was just me going to the studio and saying, let me kill ten more songs and then I’m going to go home or do whatever I was doing. Now, it’s let me see what I come up with. Self-discovery, rebirth – call it whatever you want to call it but it feels awesome, I swear to God.”

The New Orleans native’s last studio LP, Tha Carter V, dropped in 2018 after years of delays. In 2019, the 37-year-old rapper embarked on a joint summer tour with Blink-182, but the jaunt was marred by difficulty as Wayne walked off stage during one show and threatened to quit. He changed his mind hours later.

Even with all the tour trouble, Blink-182 had nothing but good things to say about Weezy. “The one day where he walked off stage, he had said, ‘I just felt like they didn’t like me,’ so he walked off stage,” drummer Travis Barker explained in an interview last year.

Funeral drops on Jan. 31. Check out the album teaser below.


— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) January 23, 2020

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