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Interview: NFL Star Cam Newton Talks Music, And Why He Could Never Be A Rapper

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has accomplished a lot in just two years in the NFL. The former no. 1 overall draft pick and 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year set numerous rookie QB records, was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012, and is already one of the best players in Panthers history.

But he's also one of the most sought-after spokesmen in the NFL, dedicated to charity, and easily one of the most stylish athletes on the planet. Cam spoke to VIBE's Evan Schwartz about his new campaign for Gatorade, Beat The Heat, plus his wide-ranging taste in music, and his acute fashion sense.

In part one of the interview, Cam explains why he'll stick to football over rocking the mic.

VIBE: Tell me about Beat The Heat and the work you are doing with Gatorade.

Cam: Beat the Heat is about bringing awareness to coaches, players, and parents to keep their athletes hydrated throughout summer sports. It’s very important for everyone’s health to stay hydrated during, and also before and after sports. We just want to bring awareness to every athlete, every coach, every parent that has a student or has anything to do with sports. Professionals do a great job because we have on-hand trainers – that’s their job, that’s what they do, they make sure everyone is aware of their health on the field. But I think the challenge is for high schools, that age range, as well as college. For coaches, don’t tell kids to be a hero, and know the difference between challenging and pushing their players in a positive way, or being obnoxious and doing a particular activity that is challenging a person’s health.

VIBE: It seems like every time I see you, you've got on giant headphones.

Cam: Partnering with Beats By Dre has been an unbelievable source for me, because I am a person that believes in different emotions with music. Music can bring about different vibes on the field, off the field, urban life, going to church, leaving church. Everything the world may bring, there’s a song for it to put you in the right frame of mind.

VIBE: What kind of music do you listen to?

Cam: Artists from Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker, Donnie McClurkin, to The Fray, to Explosions In The Sky. I listen to Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Drake, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Flo Rida, Future, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Maxwell. I can go to Kenny Chesney if I want to go country - sheesh, man! There’s a lot of them. I don’t just listen to one particular style of music, especially in my locker room you have to be somewhat of a hybrid for music because we have different days when different music is played.

VIBE: How did you get such an appreciation for different kinds of music?

Cam: It started at a young age, especially being in the church. My father always wanted me to play a musical instrument and I never had that type of skill. My oldest brother, Cecil, plays the drums, and I always admired him playing and practicing. I was a fan of his, but never could make the sound he could make on the drum set. It was that, and being in church, especially being in Baptist or Pentacostal church where music can have a person on the floor catchin’ Holy Ghost! Then going to high school, being in Atlanta – you look at the top ten hottest artists right now, outside of Drake and Lil Wayne, we probably have the most artists in the country right now from Atlanta. You think of Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Future, T.I., Ludacris.

VIBE: Do you have a set playlist before games?

Cam: I know when it’s getting close to game time, I create a different playlist for each and every game. Before the game, to gametime, to warmups, going to the stadium, I have a different playlist that puts me in a different mode.

VIBE: Do you have a few songs from your playlist you can share?

Cam: Being that this is VIBE Magazine, I know people will be very familiar with the songs, but they’re very… explicit. There’s no similarity between football and ballet, so this ain’t ballet music being played on the field. I’m pumping something that’s going to put me in a frame of mind to go to war, and something that’s very high tempo and high beat.

VIBE: Have you ever tried rapping?

Cam: A lil’ something here and there, but strictly joking, nothing serious. I have a couple [rapper] friends that I talk to, and I’m aware of their work schedule. Being a successful rapper and the schedule you have to have, I don’t think my brain can form different song after song after song, and hit after hit. Especially now with mixtapes being very key, and people putting out mixtapes more than they put out albums, and coming up with different styles and different forms of music.

VIBE: You can't exactly squeeze a rap career into the NFL offseason.

Cam: Absolutely not! I’ll stick to buying their CDs and going to Best Buy to listen and find new music.

On Thursday, Part Two of the interview in which Cam discusses his clothing line and how he honed his personal style.

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Celebrate Apollo 11's Historic Moon Landing With Grand Marnier's "Moonwalk" Cocktail

It's been five decades since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to land on the moon. To mark the historic moment that occurred on July 20, 1969, global French liqueur brand Grand Marnier is celebrating the historic "Moonwalk" cocktail inspired by Amstrong and Aldrin's lunar journey.

In 1969, Joe Gilmore, head barman of the Savoy Hotel's American Bar, invented the drink to commemorate the astronauts' return from their successful mission. The classic cocktail — made of Marnier's cognac and bitter orange-flavored liqueur, champagne and more — is said to have been the first beverage they sipped upon their homecoming.

“The cocktail was a mix of grapefruit juice, Grand Marnier, champagne and rose water,” he explained to Wonderland in 2008. “The Savoy sent it off in a flask and I received a letter back from Neil Armstrong thanking us and saying it was the first drink they had when they came out of quarantine.”

In honor of the 50th anniversary, we're sharing the classic "Moonwalk" recipe for you to enjoy from the comfort of your home today and for years to come. Scroll down for more details and relive the historic moment in the video below.

Bonus: We've added four more Grand Marnier cocktail recipes for the French holiday, Bastille Day (July 14). À votre santé (Cheers)!


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Scotch Porter Taps VIBE Editor-In-Chief Datwon Thomas For 'Dare To Care' Campaign

Grooming brand Scotch Porter has selected VIBE editor-in-chief Datwon Thomas as one of several men to participate in its "Dare To Care" wellness initiative launching on Father's Day weekend.

"Dare To Care," according to a press release from Scotch Porter, aims to "evolve the perception of manhood." The project will highlight men who use philanthropy, media, education, fashion, music, and advocacy to "aggressively push boundaries to reveal the multiple internal and external layers of themselves to inspire others."

Along with Thomas, other notable participants include Akbar Cook, principal at Westside High School; Carl Banks, two-time Super Bowl Champion and founder of Gil Sports; Emil Wilbekin, founder of Native Son (and former VIBE editor-in-chief); hip-hop artist Grafh; Travis Simons, pastor and life coach; and Iquan Worthington, founder of The Artoholiks.

“For so long you’re taught ‘you can’t cry, you know you play ball... that’s a hard foul’, it’s all these different things,” Thomas said. “It’s about understanding when you need to step up into a position and when you to need to be empathetic to others and yourself.”

The "Dare To Care" campaign will open Father's Day weekend with a multi-city digital billboard review, and across multiple platforms.

Scotch Porter customers can also visit to submit their own videos about how they're driving change around the mindset of being a man. More information about the company and the "Dare to Care" mission are available on Instagram and Twitter (@ScotchPorter), Facebook (ScotchPorter), and join the conversation with the #ScotchPorter hashtag.

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Courtesy of STRONG by Zumba

Zumba, But Make It Slap: Grammy-Nominated Producer Sevn Thomas On Creating 'STRONG By Zumba' Music

As New York residents anticipate the summer sun, the dancefloor of popular hotspot Copacabana was transformed into a full-blown STRONG by Zumba session.

With a high-intensity exercise led by Ai Lee Syarief, one beat, in particular, riled up attendees. It's the aptly titled "Knock 'Em Down," created by Grammy-nominated producer Sevn Thomas. Fast and slightly akin to his many hits (turn up Travis Scott's "WAKE UP" and Drake's "Pop Style"), the Toronto native gave the crowd another bop to add to the workout playlist.

Scoring a workout isn't easy, but the pairing seemed ideal for Thomas. "It's the perfect merge between music and exercise," he tells VIBE before the big workout. "They go hand in hand with each other, they complement each other. A lot of people listen to music when they work out to get in their zone and channel that energy. I thought it made perfect sense."

Thomas' collaboration with the STRONG by Zumba brand falls in line with the non-dance workout and incentive to challenge traditional fitness regimens. Past collaborators include Timbaland, Steve Aoki, and Krewella. While Thomas isn't the first hip-hop based producer, his take twists the brand's sound with an arena-like quality and a high tempo beat.

"["Knock 'Em Down"] is energetic, intense—a driving force," he said. "It's the perfect pulse for an intense workout. I tried my best to represent that in the beat as best as I can." 

Thomas' beat was used during the middle of the workout when legs were giving out and water breaks lasted a little longer than intended. As Syarief set up the next set of crossovers and squats intervals, guests like Chanel Iman were moving to Thomas' beat with ease. Thomas also joined in on the fun, STRONG by Zumba gear and all.

"Sevn's innovative sounds, blending of multiple genres with hip-hop beats and wrapped with a hint of his signature Caribbean-inspired bounce syncs perfectly with STRONG by Zumba," said Zumba CEO, Alberto Perlman. "By working with world-renowned producers, we are able to provide the best, most motivating and unique beats in every class that drive the ultimate afterburn."

For Sevn's personal STRONG by Zumba playlist, the producer is all about trap beats and artists like Young Thug's YSL Records signee Lil Keed.

"I really like trap music. That's my type of stuff [to workout to]," he said. "I've been listening to a lot of Travis Scott. I'm not sure if you're familiar with an artist named Lil Keed. I love Lil Keed right now, he's one of my favorites. His brother, his name is Lil Gotit. I love Lil Gotit's stuff too. I've been rotating that stuff when I'm in the gym doing my thing, I kind of zone out to that."

But STRONG by Zumba's workout not only came from a little inspiration from trap music but martial arts as well. Lead instructor and developer Syarief found her way to the brand in 2010 and has been the face of their many workouts like Zumba, Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba, Zumba Sentao, Zumba Gold, Zumba Gold Toning, Zumba Kids/Kids Jr. and Zumba Step. Syarief says the latest Zumba workouts are less about perfecting reps and more about moving to the beat.

"There are so many fun movements. You're going to sweat, you'll go to your limit, it's going to be hard. But the music is always there to push you," she said. "Even though you feel like, 'Can I still go?' The music will push you and we don't count reps. You won't even think of the reps, just to move to the beats. That's what makes it different than any other workout. We're going to start a bit slow and then it's going to increase the intensity until we really push your limits. You always have small, active recovery bouts in between so you can really catch your breath and then go full high intense, work hard. So that you have the afterburn effect and then you have the active recovery."

When Thomas isn't on the boards, he's trying his hand at developing artists. Currently, he's working with Long Beach native Gibby, a partnership that fits his organic approach, not molding them into a carbon copy of what's trending.

"I think he's going to be super special. He is super special but for the world not to see how super special he is[...] That's one of the things I have on my agenda right now," he said. "It's super cool and interesting to work with a new artist because you see how chemistry and synergy work as well as working with somebody that gets it. An artist such as Gibby, he gets it, it makes it so much easier for me. It's not as much heavy lifting, but it's super dope to see how people are on the same wave and how they can exchange ideas with each other. The end result is always the best when you guys have the finished product, it's kinda like 'Look what we created together.' That's the fun part."  

Thomas also has a few major productions on the way, noting how he's very booked and busy. "I've been getting in the studio with everyone right now," he said. "So I'm super excited to see how that unfolds."

Learn more about STRONG by Zumba fitness here.

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