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Review: K. Michelle's 'Rebellious Soul' LP Is Girl Talk, Unfiltered

Rebellious Soul is the modern woman's manifesto

K. Michelle has come a long way from rather humble beginnings. Before her reintroduction to the world as one of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’s raucous cast members, Kimberly Michelle Pate was just another line item on Jive Records’ roster. Five years later and with a new home at Atlantic Records, K. Michelle the artist deserves a second look, and not just because of her colorful tresses or the neck-breaking paddy wagon hanging off her back. Her debut album Rebellious Soul offers an uncensored account of today’s average (okay, slightly richer) woman figuring life out at her own pace.

Rebellious Soul paints the portrait of 2013's multidimensional gal: she can be sensitive, lusty, compassionate, short-tempered, worrisome, confident, ratchet and at any given time, may try to hide a part of herself from view. There’s this lofty expectation for a woman to have it all together and be nipped and tucked to perfection a la Beyoncé (because c'mon, who doesn't want to be the better beach?), but as humans, we're all perfectly imperfect, and not in Elle Varner's starry-eyed kind of way. K. Michelle compiles a soundtrack for the non cookie-cutter ladies who are still a work in progress and totally okay with that.

The Tennessee native's latest offering arrives at a time where an R&B purist toying with more international sounds is commonplace. Hodgepodge albums cover anything between pop infusion and EDM sampling. K rejects any such deviation; Rebellious Soul is strictly rhythm and blues. Of the LP's 11 tracks, most of the notes are belted out in hopes that one, she’s convinced listeners she can hang with the big girls, and two, her tea is worthy of spilling. The girl gospel of sorts delves into open forums that typically manifest over libations or a ladies' night in. It ventures all over the place both emotionally and topically. She jumps from citing the source of her aggression (“My Life”) and breakup bounce backs (“Repair This Heart [Interlude]”) to failed attempts at fixing ain't-shit men ("Can't Raise a Man") and the profitable powers of her p-word (“Pay My Bills”). When she tosses the surprise “Coochie Symphony” into the mix, it’s hard not to crack a smile. How can you not be amused by quality opera imitation about a man repairing her lady flower?

For a few tender moments, K. Michelle tucks jokes and obscenities to the side to make way for vulnerability. She admits to moments of low self-esteem and letting others determine her value. “Thought I liked the woman I was, but people keep saying change,” she sings on the somber, piano-driven “I Don't Like Me.” On a positive note, the sweet and soothing album closer, “A Mother’s Prayer,” is an audible plea about a mother wanting nothing but happiness for her young son.

While K. Michelle does a satisfactory job at putting quarrels of the heart on wax in the beginning, the album’s real gold comes from the sonics of its latter half. The lead single “V.S.O.P.” – named after the smooth cognac “Very Special/Superior Old Pale” – is the project’s shining star. The energetic and infectious twist on Debra Laws’ 1981 jam “Very Special” is a bonafide contender for those serious about their karaoke. “Sometimes” also brings out one’s inner shower diva (cuss words notwithstanding, K’s testimony-infused timbre makes it easily mistakable for a Sunday’s Best selection). “When I Get A Man” is jewel number two. The triumphant vocals during the chorus hit you like one of Mrs. Carter’s infamous wind fans (sans the wig snatching). K. Michelle melds flawlessly with her backup singers while dreaming up the day she becomes the perfect Mrs. Her rotational love life may be broadcasted as often as her music is, but just like most, she has dreams of a happy ending.

To say K. Michelle’s a little rough around the edges would be an understatement, but it wouldn't feel right any other way. Although she catapulted her celebrity thanks to train wreck television, the 31-year-old has much more to offer the entertainment world than "shaking the table" moments, Piscean dramatics and a mouthful of expletives. Her keep-it-real charm drew fans in, and her rebellious soul will keep them there. During her public ascent to stardom, K. Michelle isn’t interested in being the ideal role model to her fans. She’s just a woman living and figuring out her life at the same speed as everyone else, enjoying and sharing every bit of the ride with us. —Stacy-Ann Ellis (@stassi_x)

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Michelle Obama Interviews Barack Obama For First Episode Of New Podcast

Michelle Obama kicked off her podcast this week with a very special guest. The former first lady welcomed her husband, Barack Obama, for a lengthy discussion about their childhood, as it relates to race and class, experiences that shaped their “notion of community,” and more.

Barack tweeted a photo from the podcast on Thursday (July 29) with the caption,. “Michelle and I have spent a lot of time together these past few months. We’ve had a lot of good talks — and this one’s up there with the best.”

Michelle and I have spent a lot of time together these past few months. We’ve had a lot of good talks—and this one’s up there with the best. Take a listen to the very first episode of Michelle’s podcast: https://t.co/JEaVgT6GPC. pic.twitter.com/oRn1figrRK

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 29, 2020

The podcast aims to give listeners deeper insight into Mrs. Obama's life. “I spent a lot of time thinking, talking with friends and family,” she explained of her life after the White House. “Really just being, if you know what I mean. I reflected back on my time in the White House of course, but I went even deeper. I looked back at the whole arc of my life.

“In this first season, you’ll be hearing me talk with some of the people I’m closest with — my mom…my brothers…friends..colleagues. And I wanted to start at the most basic level. In these episodes, we’ll be discussing the relationships that make us who we are. Sometimes that might be as personal as our relationship with ourselves or how we navigate our health and our bodies at various points in our lives,” said Mrs. Obama. “In other episodes we’ll be talking about what the challenges and the joys of being a parent or a spouse…the growth we gain from leaning on colleagues and mentors…the friends that help us sort through the toughest times.”

Click here to listen to the first episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast.

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YG attends the 2019 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
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YG Recalls Police Pulling Guns On His Children During Home Raid

YG has had his share of run-ins with police, but one incident was particularly harrowing for the Compton native. In an interview with The Morning Hustle, YG opened up about his home being raided and police pulling guns on his young daughters.

The incident occurred in January, a day after the  30-year-old rapper was briefly arrested for suspicion of robbery.  “They came through like four in the morning,” he recalled. “We asleep, the helicopter came around and all that..they bang the door in trying to get in the door, so I go downstairs, I open the door…boom! They drew [guns] on me. That’s normal, but my kids at the time [were] 4 years old and 6 [months old]. They were upstairs in the room with their mama.”

Cops went upstairs where his children were in the room with their mother. “They go up in the room and they got the big AK’s all up in my little kids’ faces [yelling] ‘Don’t move! I’m like ‘bro, what the f*ck is ya’ll doing? Ya’ll got me f*cked up! They doing this to my little kids…and these are little girls, you know what I’m saying?

“I’ve been through a lot of other stuff with the police but I’m from the streets though so it’s like I got a target on my back from that and I know that,” he continued. “When you from a certain area the police gon’ f*ck with you.”

YG added that he’s never been beaten by police, but at least two of his friends have been killed by cops. “It’s a lot of stuff that be going on with the police that don’t make the news, he said. “That activity [being targeted by police] became normal to us. [We’ve] dealt with that for a long time. It’s sad to say but when you’re Black, you feel like that’s what comes with being Black.”

The incident was the second time that police raided his home in the last year. In July 2019, authorities raided the residence in connection with a shooting investigation. YG was not involved in the investigation and was not home at the time.

Watch his full interview below.

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Naya Rivera Laid To Rest During Private Ceremony In Los Angeles

Glee star Naya Rivera was laid to rest during a private ceremony held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles last week, according to a death certificate obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday (July 30).

Rivera’s funeral date was July 24. Her cause of death is listed as an accidental drowning, and her date of death is July 13 -- five days after she went missing at Lake Piru in Ventura County, Calif.

The 33-year-old actress took her 4-year-old son, Josey, out for an afternoon on the lake on July 8. Mother and son were in the water when things went awry and Rivera lifted him back onto the boat.

Rivera drowned within minutes of being submerged in the lake, her death certificate states. Josey was found safely on the boat and was able to tell authorities what happened to his mother.

Days later, Rivera’s family broke their silence to thank those who recovered her body.

“We extend endless gratitude and ovation to the heroine who found her. Thank you to her fiends, colleagues, and fans for your continued support,” the family said. “Heaven gained our sassy angel. We kindly request that our privacy be respected during this very difficult time.”

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