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VIBE Exclusive: dead prez’s M-1 Reacts To Kanye's NYT Shout-Out: ‘I Consider Myself A Peer’

It seems like you can’t escape Kanye West these days. From his tabloid wet dream relationship with soon-to-be baby mother Kim Kardashian to the deafening hype surrounding his upcoming release Yeezus, due out June 18th, the man seems to be on everyone’s mind. It’s a point made during a recent interview with The New York Times in which West declared that he is, “the Michael Jordan of music,” among other monster quotes. But far-out hubris aside, one part of the sit-down that caught many by surprise was his heartfelt shot out to revolutionary rhyme act dead prez.

According to West, the uncompromising duo of and M-1 have had a huge impact on his more socially conscious, rebellious work. “Before, when I wanted to rap, my raps sounded like a bit like Cam’ron; they sounded a bit like Mase; they sounded a bit like Jay-Z or whoever. And it wasn’t until I hung out with Dead Prez and understood how to make, you know, raps with a message sound cool that I was able to just write ‘All Falls Down’ in 15 minutes,” he said of the critically-acclaimed group.

When VIBE caught up with M-1, the two-fisted MC was gracious in his reaction to West’s unmitigated praise, which also included the rapper/producer recalling, “I was just hanging out with them all the time in New York. I would produce for them. You know, I was able to slip past everything with a pink polo, but I am dead prez. And now, because I was able to slip past, I have a responsibility at all times.” Read on.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

VIBE: What was your reaction to Kanye West saying that dead prez stands as one of his biggest artistic influences?
M-1: Hearing Kanye say that about dead prez is like man sharpens man, steel sharpens steel. I consider myself a peer of Kanye. I respect his ear because he listens to the music that I listen to. He listens to Curtis Mayfield; he listens to Michael Jackson; he listens to Bob Marley; he listens to Roberta Flack. I know this because I’ve heard him play these records in front of me.

What are your memories of being in the studio with West?
We’ve spent hours and hours together. Kanye would always let [stic man and I] hear brand new tracks that he would make and raps that he would make. More than anything, I’m so happy to know that that can happen today because sometimes artists feel like they are on their own island and they are isolated and nobody is in their lane. A lot of people don’t know, but Kanye produced “Still Bigger Than Hip-Hop,” which was the remix on our first album Let’s Get Free (2000). I have to remind people that that’s how far back I’ve been a fan of what he does.

Are you looking forward to hearing West’s new album, Yeezus?
Yes…I think Kanye always pushes the envelope when it comes to the style of his music. He’s always pushing himself to find that place. I love his unquenched, eternal search for who he is no matter how egotistical it may be.

Indeed, where would Kanye be without his ego?
Well, we all have an ego. I just respect his drive to share that skin and new layer.

Can we talk about new music? What are you currently working on?
Definitely look out for the new A-Alikes single “Whole Life”…that’s a really good single and video. They (Ness and K) are RBG family, so look out for that. And there’s an album coming out called The Midnight Man that I did with Brian Jackson who’s the partner for Gil Scott-Heron. It’s a tribute album to Gil Scott. He is everything to dead prez. He taught us how to combine sharp wit and criticism around with being politically astute. I started working on that with him before he passed. The first single is slated to be released in about two weeks and it’s called “Hold On.” The album features eight songs from me, two songs from dead prez, one from Nas, one from Killah Priest, and more.

Wow, that sounds inspiring. How does it feel being connected to such an icon like Gil Scott-Heron?
I jumped at the opportunity to do it. I would have done it before hand but I was waiting in line. This is a good record. All the original Midnight Band stuff that Brian brought with Gil-Scott is there, but revamped. We are playing a few jazz festivals as well—the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Jazz à la Villette in Paris…I’m going to be one of the frontmen for some of the best musicians that came through that jazz-soul-funk revolutionary music. I’m blessed to be working with them.

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Maryland Judge Overturns Jury's Decision To Award Korryn Gaines Family $37 Million

A Maryland judge has overturned a jury's decision to award the surviving family of Korryn Gaines $37 million. The 23-year-old was shot twice, along with her 5-year-old son Kodi, during an hour-long standoff in August 2016. The child survived Gaines did not.

According to CNN, Baltimore County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mickey J. Norman stated in an opinion Cpl Royce Ruby's conduct was "entitled to qualified immunity," which translates as Ruby was well within his rights as a member of law enforcement and is "shielded from liability for civil damages."

Norman's opinion states Ruby acted within the margins of the law. "This court has found that Corporal Ruby is entitled to qualified immunity and therefore, his shooting of Gaines was not unlawful."

However, Norman states the damages Gaines' surviving family was seeking were "excessive and shocks the conscience."

The jury awarded $32.85 million to Gaines' son Kodi, $23, 542 for his medical bills and $4.53 million to Gaines' daughter Karsyn Courtney. The jury also found it fit to award Gaines' mother Rhanda Dormeus $307,000 and $300,000 to her father Ryan Gaines.

Judge Norman said the court would grant a new civil trial on account of this new opinion.

J. Wyndal Gordon, Gaines' family lawyer said the family is disappointed but not "defeated nor deterred from doing what must be done now."

"We have great appellate issues and an excellent opportunity to have reviewed not just the recent decision but some of the earlier decisions in the case that were disfavorable," Gordon said. "Nobody told us the road would be easy. I don't believe God brought us this far to leave us. This case is by no means over. We will fight to the finish to preserve the jury's verdict and restore justice to the family."

Baltimore County police spokesperson confirmed that Cpl Royce Ruby is still a member of the department.

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Alberto E. Rodriguez

Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Deny Actor Paid $3,500 To Orchestrate Attack

Sources close to the Jussie Smollett investigation have spoken with several media outlets and allege new evidence shows the Empire actor may have orchestrated the attack, and even paid men $3,500 to go through with it.

The two men who are brothers were arrested Wednesday and released Friday (Feb. 15) without charges. Both men are cooperating fully with Chicago police, and authorities found records they purchased a rope at a local hardware store, which was used during the attack.

Smollett's attorneys, Todd S. Pugh, and Victor P. Henderson, quickly denied the claim made by authorities.

"As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with," the statement read. "He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

On Jan. 29, Smollett was leaving a Subway fast-food restaurant when the actor alleges to have been attacked by two men who beat him, poured bleach on him and tried to hang a rope around his neck. The 35-year-old entertainer, who identifies as gay, said one of the men shouted "This is MAGA country" as well as other racial and homophobic slurs.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said one of the men appeared on Empire and have past affiliation with Smollett.

During his interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America Thursday (Feb. 14), Smollett expressed frustration about not being believed. Sunday morning (Feb. 17) the hashtag 'JussieSmollettHoax' trended on Twitter. The Internet was split with many offering a digital "I told you so" due to the reports, while others, particularly members of the black LGBTQ community, questioning why many were quick to believe the word of law enforcement.

Us straight men waiting on the LGBT community to apologize after Jussie lied

— Flickens McCray (@Mickens__) February 17, 2019

No idea what actually happened w/ Jussie Smollett. But do know that 4 years ago, Chicago PD spent 13 months justifying Laquan McDonald’s murder before releasing dashcam video showing he was walking away before being shot at 16x by an officer. Why are we just accepting their word?

— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) February 17, 2019

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Dave Chappelle Personally Provides Tickets To Couple Who Were Scammed On Craigslist

One couple's Valentine's Day was made thanks to Dave Chappelle after they were scammed out of $500 dollars on Craigslist trying to buy the tickets to see the comedian.

Diedra and Eddie Dickens story was brought to light by WBTV on Wednesday (Feb. 13) when the couple shared how they were robbed online. In an effort to surprise her husband for Valentine's Day, Diedra attempted to buy tickets to see Chappelle on Valentine's Day after hearing he would perform in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. After she was unable to find tickets on Ticketmaster, she tried Craigslist where she found a perfect match for her and her husband, who would've needed a wheelchair accessible seat.

“They were seats one through four so those would be great because I could put my husband in seat one at the end of an aisle and that kind of good stuff,” she said.

But after sending $500 via Apple Pay to the seller, she never heard back. Diedra filed a police report after she was unable to get in touch with the seller.

“I was having good faith and it cost me $500,” she said. “You have no empathy or goodness, or I don’t know, maybe no soul."

After their story was shared on the local news, Chappelle's team caught wind of what happened and decided to surprise the couple on Thursday (Feb. 14), who decided to have dinner with friends.

Last night we told you this Charlotte couple was scammed out of hundreds of dollars trying to buy @DaveChappelle tickets on Craigslist. Tonight we were there as DAVE HIMSELF hand-delivered the group tickets! Awesome! @WBTV_News

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Shocked and amazed, the couple was thrilled to meet the comedy legend who hand-delivered real tickets to his show. He chatted and took pictures with the couple while sharing the importance of buying tickets from credible platforms.

"Someone on my team called me, actually last night, and told me about this situation and we thought it'd be fun to do that for someone for Valentine's Day," he said to WBTV, who helped him find the couple. "I didn't expect to be on the news doing it but I'm glad, that's good. It's good that people know to always get your tickets from reliable sources and take every opportunity that's presented to you to be kind, especially if it's something that's easy to do."

Here’s a portion of our interview with @DaveChappelle. Great quote - “Take any opportunity that’s presented to you to be kind, especially if it’s something easy to do.” @WBTV_News

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Check out the good deed above.

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