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Interview: Dom Kennedy Breaks Down California's New Rap Kings

“I was a kid that bought [Ice Cube’s] “It Was A Good Day” on cassette single,” proudly beams Dom Kennedy. “I bought [Notorious BIG’s] Ready To Die four or five times in my life.” The Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California rapper is embracing his inner hip-hop geek. Kennedy, who drops his latest studio album Get Home Safely today, is talking about the inspiration behind why he continues to side-step musical trends of the day. “It really revolves around OPM, which is my crew,” he explains to VIBE. “We are more of a lifestyle clique. The music is just the soundtrack to what we do in our everyday lives. I’m original because of the history…legacy. I never want to disappoint myself. So regardless of what anybody tells me, I’ve seen West Coast hip-hop at its best. I was there.”

Continues Kennedy: “I know that you can write lyrics that actually mean something and be the star that you want to be and still be respected. If I hadn’t seen and heard those things it probably would be easier for me to fall into whatever trend that’s happening. But all that stuff fades away. [Nas’] Illmatic and [Snoop Dogg’s] Doggystyle still sound good today.”

While he’s been in the game since 2008, Kennedy—who captured the hip-hop nation’s full attention with his 2012 critically acclaimed effort Yellow Album—believes Get Home Safely represents the barebones spirit of the aforementioned landmark releases. The set exhibits the laidback MC at his most personable. “This is the most honest I’ve ever been musically,” he adds. “Nothing on Get Home Safely can be duplicated by anybody. I’m describing true situations that have happened to me in my life when I was 10 or 12-years-old. Nobody else can tell you those stories from that perspective. You just had to be there.”

But Dom Kennedy is not the only Cali artist moving hip-hop forward on his own terms. From Kendrick Lamar to Odd Future, VIBE sat down with enterprising artist and label head to breakdown the current landscape of West Coast hip-hop. Westsiiide!—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

Kendrick Lamar/Top Dawg Entertainment (Compton, California)

They just bring that realism back to rap. TDE is coming from a real place; a very sincere place. Kendrick brings an attention to detail to his work. He is drawing on emotions that people haven’t felt for a long time in hip-hop, which is just authenticity. That’s how rap music and hip-hop started. It needs days and times for people to feel like the music is coming from concerned minds and people that are really walking it and living it, and not just coming from the first class seat on an airplane. You are hearing real stories from Kendrick and TDE.

Nipsey Hussle (Los Angeles, California)

Nipsey is more like the streets, and I don’t want to say gang bang, but he represents that mentality. But his thing has always been coming from that life and trying to make something of yourself. I think it was great when he [sold his Crenshaw mixtape for $100]. That’s something we had talked about. It was him just making a statement like, “You know what? Nobody is forcing y’all to do anything.” Obviously we know that as soon as one person gets the CD they are going to put it up online, but if it’s quality and if you support it you understand that whatever you want to hear and see out of an artist, all that shit cost money. So if you want to see Nipsey Hussle come back and do something even better than he is doing now—his fans like me—I’m on the tape and I still bought it. I have seven Nipsey Hussle tapes that I’ve never paid for. Because I’m a fan of Nipsey.

Odd Future (Los Angeles, California)

People just represent different things and are being brutally honest and true to that. That’s what it really comes down to with Odd Future. I’ve been around Tyler and them. My studio is on Fairfax where their store is at and where they hang out at. I’ve seen them and known them for years now before they did their thing. I knew them when some of them were just working in stores on Fairfax. What they represent and the way they move is completely authentic to how they are in real life. I think that no compromise attitude that Odd Future has is great. Everybody has found a core fanbase in LA to sustain what it is they truly want to represent, and not be afraid to be like, “You know what? I got enough fans to where we can get through this door. I got enough fans where I can be this person and not have to water it down.” That’s Tyler and Odd Future.

YG (Compton, California)

YG is the like O-Dog from Menace II Society [laughs]. He represents the young, do-it-first-and-worry-about-it-later mentality. And that’s authentic to LA to what I know and definitely to Compton. That’s why YG is who he is because the kids identify with that. YG is part of that giving back and sharing stories that are maps to people’s lives. These are young adults that are making music that’s real and at times extreme.

Problem (Compton, California)

Problem’s overall hustle is nonstop. I feel like everybody brings something unique to the table. But Problem came in and just reclaimed his position. He had been around for a while. He’s that missing link in our culture. He’s street, but with a different point of view. Everybody is not going to go the same way as a Dom Kennedy and make a certain song. People definitely are not going to be as artistic as Kendrick. Like I said, we all bring something special to the table. I think the West Coast is everything now.

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Stockton Launches Basic Income Program Gifting Residents With $500 A Month

Stockton, California has launched its basic income plan gifting dozens of residents with $500 a month, the Huffington Post reports.

Last year, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs responded to criticism over the program which was designed to help close the poverty gap as residents struggle to stay afloat amid California's skyrocketing rent prices and increase in homelessness.

The basic income plan -- the first of its kind to be launched by a U.S. city -- was announced by Tubbs and the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) in 2017. Under the program, 130 residents will receive a monthly stipend via prepaid debit cards for the next 18 months.

Exciting! Congrats to the team, the city, and to the recipients. We’ve learned so much getting to this point and I am looking forward to learning more. Stockton lead the way @stocktondemo #ReinventStockton https://t.co/j2OPkA4zG8

— Michael Tubbs (@MichaelDTubbs) February 15, 2019

Stockton's median household income is just under $50,000 a year. Residents are chosen through an “algorithm” to make sure that the selection is representative of the community’s diversity.

The money is funded by a grant from the Economic Security Project, in addition to other funds raised, Tubbs said.

“There’s no restriction on how people can use the money,” he pointed out. “If people use it for drugs and alcohol that’s there prerogative. [But] if I didn’t believe in the capacity of the folks who elected me to make good decisions, I probably shouldn’t be mayor.”

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Alabama Newspaper Editor Calls On KKK To Lynch Democrats In Washington D.C.

The editor of a failing Alabama newspaper made news after he penned an editorial pleading for the KKK to “night ride again.” Goodloe Sutton, editor and publisher of the Democrat-Reporter, a small weekly paper in Linden, Ala., doubled down on his racism in an interview Monday (Feb. 18).

"If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we'd all been better off," he told the Montgomery Advertiser. "We'll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

Sutton added that he’s not asking for “Americans”  to be lynched. “These are socialist-communists we’re talking about.” He also compared the KKK to the NAACP. “They didn’t kill but a few people. The Klan wasn’t violent until they need to be.”

In his editorial, Sutton lashed out against Democrats in the Republican party for “plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.”

“They do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas,” he wrote. “The socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people.”

Later in the piece Sutton put a bird call out to the KKK. “If you haven’t noticed, they did away with the draft so their sons would not have to go into battle. Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there.

Sutton’s editorial is obviously catching backlash and calls for his resignation. The Alabama Press Association’s Board of Director’s condemned Sutton and suspended the newspaper’s membership. Auburn University’s Journalism Advisory Council voted to revoke his award in community journalism and the University of Southern Mississippi took him off their Journalism Hall of Fame.

Sutton's paper is doing so badly that he was forced to move the publication to an old barbecue restaurant. This new round of publicity could officially put the paper out of its misery.

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Khloe Kardashian Splits With Tristan Thompson, Confirms Latest Cheating Rumor

Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson are reportedly done amid reports that the NBA player cheated on her with her little sister’s best friend, Jordyn Woods.

According to Hollywood Unlocked, and multiple other reports, Thompson and Woods were spotted getting extra close during a party last weekend. Apparently, Woods stayed with Thompson until the next morning.

Thompson tweeted “FAKE NEWS” in response to the story, but he later deleted the post. Woods, meanwhile, turned off the comments on her Instagram account.

Kardashian confirmed the rumor with a comment on Instagram.

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#KhloeKardashian confirms our story. We got you Khloe! 🙏🏼

A post shared by HOLLYWOOD UNLOCKED (@hollywoodunlocked) on Feb 19, 2019 at 2:15pm PST

Kardashian found out  about the cheating story on Monday (Feb. 18), People magazine reports.  “The whole family is furious,” said an alleged source. “They were blindsided.”

The 34-year -old reality star shares an infant daughter with Thompson. The couple dated for nearly three years, but cheating scandals are nothing new for the Cleveland Cavaliers player who cheated on Kardashian while she was pregnant with their daughter.

Thompson and his son’s mother, Jordan Craig, split while she was pregnant with their son. Thompson began dating Kardashian soon after.

 

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