Watch: Rick Ross Brings Out 2 Chainz In London

After the the MMG team was slapped with an alleged lawsuit for skipping out on a show across the pond, Ricky Rozay made it up to his Londontown fans by performing at the Wembley Arena. 2 Chainz even made a cameo as the Bawse subbed in for Pharrell for a special rendition of "Feds Watching." Roll the World Star Hip Hop original clip above.

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Carmen Mandato

Lil Kim Talks '9' Album, Biggie And Rick Ross Comparisons, And Celebrates City Girls' JT's Freedom

This past July, Lil Kim canceled two interviews, citing that the outlets wouldn’t “put respect on my name” and “wanted to be messy.” But the rap legend known as Queen Bee has had plenty of blessings this year. At a dinner honoring their friend Notorious B.I.G.’s birthday on May 21, she and Lil Cease reconciled their strained relationship after not seeing each other in person for 13 years. In September, she received the I Am Hip Hop Icon Award at the 2019 BET Hip-Hop Awards and gave a nostalgic performance with surprise appearances by Junior M.A.F.I.A., Musiq Soulchild and O.T. Genasis.

The year’s worth of positivity culminated with the release of 9, Lil Kim’s long-awaited fifth studio album that pairs her raunchy, street-oriented bars her fans love with guest appearances by Rick Ross, City Girls and Rich The Kid. While Kim has released several mixtapes over the past decade, 9 is her first studio album since 2005’s The Naked Truth, which she released days within beginning a prison bid. And her fans were patiently waiting: the day of the release of 9, Lil Kim was trending nationwide on Twitter.

In a conversation with VIBE, Lil Kim speaks about her new album, weighs in on comparisons between Biggie and Rick Ross, and rejoices the City Girls’ JT newfound freedom.

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VIBE: Your last official album was The Naked Truth, and you had a lot to say on that album because of what you were dealing with. What made you decide to make a new album now?

Lil Kim: Why not? I’m a beast, I love music. Why not? I love music, I’m good at what I do, and my fans want it. As long as my fans want it, I’m going to keep giving it to them and doing what I want to do.

Your fans definitely want it. You were trending worldwide today on Twitter when the album dropped. What’s it like to see the interest that high so far into your career?

It’s amazing. Not only was I trending, but I was number one in so many different countries. Number one, number two. Number 16 on all genres since last night, before the album even officially dropped.

 

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You guys are doing EXCELLENT! 🙌🏾 Beehive don’t let the devil deter you from the greatness that is happening and the history that is being made. Ya’ll keep going because there’s so much history to be made and we’re just getting started. ❤️ We outside fr, the streets have spoken 🔥 #9️⃣

A post shared by Lil' Kim (@lilkimthequeenbee) on Oct 21, 2019 at 5:52pm PDT

The album sounds current, but it still sounds like you. Was there a dedicated effort to make it sound current and like what's already out there?

It was actually a dedicated effort to do what I wanted to do. To be the classic Kim I am, and be in the now and to be in the future.

One of my favorite songs on the album is “Pray For Me.” How did that come together?

That’s one of my favorite songs, too. I wrote that song right in my kitchen. I thought about it when I was going through a lot of things. I’m a very spiritual person, I’m big on energy and spirit. The energy I was feeling when I heard that beat, that’s where I wanted to release the energy and the things I was going through in that song. The song came like that, we didn’t add that in the beat in there. So I felt like the beat was laid out for me. I already saw Rick Ross, and I already saw Musiq Soulchild, and I saw myself setting the song up.

A lot of people, I believe including Diddy, have said that Ross reminds them of Biggie. Do you agree with those comparisons?

I think he has some similarities, yeah. You can tell that Biggie’s influence is there, and that’s amazing. There will never be another BIG, period. But I don’t think necessarily that Ross is trying to be BIG or anything like that. I think that he just has big love for BIG, and he has a lot of similarities, and I love it. His style is super dope. I’ve always loved him, and I think he expressed that from the moment he came out.

Another favorite is “Auto Blanco.” On that record you said, “BIG and Pac be alive if you niggas ain’t gas shit up. If I knew who did it, I’d personally wrap their caskets up.” It’s been a while, but are you still actively mourning?”

All the time I’m mourning his death. All the time. But as far as trying to go to the end of the world to find out who did it, no, I just let God work that out. Because sooner or later, everything from the dark will come out. But at this point, all I can do is live for him.

Tell me about the significance behind the number nine as this album's title.

Nine is my spiritual awakening number. There were nine members in Junior Mafia, my baby was born June 9, Biggie passed on March 9. It is 2019. My birthday is 7/11, seven plus two is nine. When you get a spiritual awakening, you have to act on that moment. And there you have it… Something that’s a spiritual awakening can’t be negative. With every rise, every level you go to, with every win when God is working on your life, the devil’s gonna come. But nine is all positive.

The Naked Truth is an angry record, and you had plenty of reason to be upset. After you got out, how did you get to the point where you were able to grapple with what happened and move forward with your life?

Because it wasn’t what people thought. I met some of my best friends inside. I got a lot of rest the first two weeks, I was tired because I was working. I learned a lot. It was like going to a very, very, very, very bad boarding school. (laughs) I learned a lot, and I got to get closer to God. It wasn’t as bad inside as it was when I came home, the things I had to go through, to be honest with you. I had worse times outside of prison than I did in prison. I had to go through some really really dark, deep things.

JT of City Girls just got out of prison, and you had them on your album on the song "I Found You." Do you have any advice for JT?

I haven’t spoken to her yet, but we’re trying to set up a call so I can talk to her. That’s my girl, I’m so happy that she’s home. I know that feeling. Ain’t nothing like your freedom. I love that girl, I love them, I love Miami…I think everybody who just comes home renewed with how they move and live at that point, because you’re free. You use your own discrepancy. Everybody has their own different climb that they’re going to.

At the Biggie dinner, you were reunited with Cease. What has it been like to have that relationship mended?

It’s a beautiful thing. As you can see, nothing but greatness and beautiful things have come out of that. Look at the BET [Hip-Hop] Awards! That shit was fucking nostalgic! That shit was fucking amazing. Junior M.A.F.I.A. came out and the crowd went nuts. Sometimes when people realize things they have done and they apologize sincerely, that is worth more than gold. That’s a family member. Family fucks up, that’s it. We do that in our family and relationship. But when it’s family, especially for someone like Biggie, we have to come together and we have to let Biggie live the way he’s supposed to. That was my way of mending his broken heart.

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Noam Galai/Getty Images for Billboard

Billboard And VIBE Host Second Annual R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players Event

Billboard and VIBE joined forces for the second annual R&B and Hip-Hop Power Players event on Thursday night (October 17). Held at New York City's Union City, the brands honored the 100 accomplished music executives, agents and more who made the third annual list for their outstanding contributions of driving, influencing and guiding the music industry and hip-hop culture today.

Billboard Executive Director of R&B/Hip-Hop Gail Mitchell and VP of Culture Media/VIBE Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas greeted guests at the invite-only reception saying, "Big shout to the team that puts this together, we just want everyone to know that this is a night of celebration. A lot of people have been working in the game for a long time - you are here tonight so you are all winning." He added, "We thank you for taking the time to celebrate your colleagues."

Shortly after, the hosts presented Steve Pamon with the Billboard Executives of the Year Award shared with Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. As he accepted his award, the Parkwood Chief Operating Officer delivered a speech saying, “This award was given to myself and Beyoncé, but the award truly belongs to the team behind me. We live off respect and responsibility. A sincere thank you.” He went on to say, “We live off of respect and the responsibility of being around all of you. You are hip-hop. We are hip-hop. It’s not about us. It’s about us all.”

The late Nipsey Hussle was honored with the Billboard Impact Award for his contributions to breaking barriers of cultural appropriation, young professionals seeking educational resources in science, tech and mathematics spaces, and positivity in his community. Prior to Marathon Agency co-founder, Steve Carless, acceptance of the world on Hussle's behalf, there was a 30-second moment of silence.

In his emotional yet encouraging speech, Carless said, “I accept this on behalf of Nipsey, his family, and all his loved ones and his children. What this means to me, it’s a testament to his hard work and dedication." He added, "Congrats to everyone who made this year. It’s a huge honor...One thing I do want to say it, this award is about inspiration. Responsibility is to uplift each other mentor each other and lead each other. May all of us leave here and know we have a responsibility.”

As attendees enjoyed beverages and captured Instagram-worthy images at the Billboard and VIBE cover-inspired installations, rappers Casanova and Young M.A hit the stage, respectively, to perform their popular singles. Flip through photos and interviews from Thursday night's event down below.

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Paras Griffin

New Music Friday: Gucci Mane, Kash Doll, Melli And More

This week has been busy in the hip-hop world. Highly anticipated albums from Gucci Mane, Kash Doll, and G Eazy hit streaming services. There's also new music from Jadakiss, newcomer 24 Hours, rap veterans Black Moon, Yo Gotti featuring Megan Thee Stallion and Lil Uzi Vert, BlueFace, and many others.

Gucci Mane – Woptober II The hustle does not stop for Gucci Mane. The A-Town-bred delivered his 15th studio album today titled, Woptober. The 13-song effort features collaborations with DaBaby and YoungBoy Never Broke Again on "Richer Than Errybody," the Megan Thee Stallion-assisted "Big Booty," as well as a verse from Lil Baby on "Tootsies. Guwop also received assists from Kevin Gates, Takeoff and others. Along with Woptober 2, the Trap House rapper appeared in a ad campaign for Gucci's Cruise20 Collection. – Darryl Robertson Apple Music | TIDAL

Kash Doll – Stacked Kash Doll continues to make a lane for her voice in hip-hop. Since delivering her 2014 mixtape Keisha vs. Kash Doll, the Detroit native has been consistent with dropping off new music, and has garnered the respect of heavyweights such Pusha T, Meek Mill, and Big Sean, who appears on Stacked. The 17-song effort features the likes of Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Summer Walker, Teyana  Taylor, and newcomer LouGotCash. – D.R. Apple Music | TIDAL

Melii: Motions Melii's Motions EP came as a surprise today. The East Harlem artist first made waves after dropping off her cover of Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow," followed by a feature on Meek Mill's "Wit the Shits."Following phAses, released earlier this year, the 21-year-old unveiled Motions, an 18 minute EP that finds the MC/singer musing over boyfriends-turned-fuck boys.

Nicole Bus – Kairos Roc Nation's Nicole Bus released her debut album Kairos today. Ghostface Killah and Rick Ross both appear on individual remixes of "You," Bus' breakout record that climbed to No. 1 on Billboard’s 'Adult R&B Songs' chart. Overall, the 14-track effort Kairos is packed with potent writing, and mature subject matter. – D.R. Apple Music | TIDAL

Gang Starr – "Bad Name" DJ Premier released the first new Gang Starr song in years several weeks ago, with the J. Cole-featured "Family and Loyalty." This week he's announced that a new Gang Starr album with the posthumous Guru is on the way, and "Bad Name" is the second taste. Over another classic Premier beat, Guru pays homage to 2Pac and Biggie while lamenting the direction that the rap game has gone in. Gang Starr's album One Of The Best Yet is set for a January 11, 2019 release. – William E. Ketchum III Apple Music | TIDAL

Smoke DZA, Benny The Butcher and Pete Rock – Statute of Limitations Benny the Butcher, Smoke DZA and Pete Rock have all had busy years on their own with projects like The Plugs I Met, Not For Sale and Retropolitan, respectively. This week, the three of them form like Voltron for Statute of Limitations, a six-song EP with guest appearances by Conway, Styles P and Westside Gunn. – W.K. Apple Music | TIDAL

Black Moon – Rise Of Da Moon Black Moon recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of their classic debut Enta Da Stage, and now they're looking forward with the reunion LP Rise of Da Moon. The album sees them with their Duck Down Records label home, production by Da Beatminerz, and guest appearances by Smif N Wessun, Rock (of Heltah Skeltah) and Method Man. – W.K. Apple Music | TIDAL

Pharaohe Monch – Internal Affairs Twenty years ago, esteemed Queens lyricist Pharaohe Monch released his debut album Internal Affairs with Rawkus Records, fueled by the hit single "Simon Says" – but the album was pulled from shelves because of sample clearances. This week, several albums into his career, Monch has rereleased the album on his own terms, and it still holds up. The album's ominous production and Monch's meticulous bars alongside the likes of MOP, Canibus, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli and Common still sounds just as sharp. – W.K. Apple Music | TIDAL

Melii – Motions Melii surprised fans with the release of her Motions EP. Earlier this year, the East Harlem native dropped off her introduction to the world with the release phAses. The rapper/singer first made waves with her cover of Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow," followed by her verse on Meek Mill's "Wit the Shits." The budding artist continues to stand on her own. Here, on Motion, a 7-song EP lasting spanning 18 minutes, Melii flexes her seasoned songwriting skills to muse over boyfriends-turned-fuck boys. - D.R.

Jadakiss – "ME" Jadakiss has taken a break from releasing music since his 2017 album with Fabolous, Friday On Elm Street. This week he returns with "Me," a Bryan Michael Cox-produced record that sees 'Kiss using the sample in his verses while revisiting accomplishments and reputation from his illustrious career. The release of the song coincides with a short film directed by Kid Art, which you can watch below. – W.K. Spotify | Apple Music | TIDAL

Yo Gotti (Featuring Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Uzi Vert) – "Pose (Remix)"

G-Eazy – Scary Nights Apple Music | TIDAL

24Hrs – World On Fire Apple Music | TIDAL

Ye Ali – Jodi Apple Music | TIDAL

Anna Wise – As If It Were Forever Apple Music | TIDAL

Blueface Ft. Gunna – "First Class"

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