J.B. Smoove smiling

J.B. Smoove Pairs Good Food And Great Conversation With Return Of 'Four Courses'

Funny man J.B. Smoove is making bread off his TV dinners. After bringing the laughs in Chris Rock's Top Five, the seasoned comic is returning for Season 3 of Four Courses with J.B. Smoove, having several seats with world-famous athletes, like John Starks, to astrophysicists, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, for good food and even better conversation.

Before Four Courses touches down at New York eatery, Hudson Malone, tonight (Jan. 19), Smoove dialed in from Los Angeles to discuss this season's guests and his tips on hosting a loaded feast.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)

VIBE: Four Courses is back at it again. What are some changes in the format we can expect to see?
J.B. Smoove: Every season, we have a different array of athletes, comedians, actors, musicians, astrophysicists—it doesn’t matter. This season, we turn it up a notch. I’ve definitely expanded my guest list. I tell all my guests, 'Although you’re being invited to sit at this table, it’s about everyone interacting with each other.' It really feels like a bunch of friends just having dinner. It’s that simple.

What were some meals you had?
I had a chicken dish [that] involved a brick. Somehow, you put something in a metal pan and then they put a brick on top of it to hold it down. I found that to be so amazing. It was delicious. I never had anything on a menu that involved the word "brick." When we have a dish [on the show], I always ask 'Have you ever had this before?’ Some people are very hamburger and hotdog people, pizza people. I want to give people a chance to experience a nice meal and get treated by your boy like this.

ALSO SEE: J.B. Smoove Responds To Mike Epps' Top Five Comments

Was it ever mandatory for either you or the guests to take an etiquette class?
No, not really. The cameras don’t really focus on people’s hands for etiquette, but some people just talk with their mouth open. So I gotta tell [the cameraman] to cut from those people. I don’t mind you talking a little bit with your mouth open but I don’t need to see your esophagus.

In terms of the lineup, you have a great cast of people from Russell Simmons to an astrophysicist to Sherri Shepherd. Who surprised you the most in terms of demeanor or taste?
Every personality at that table was something else, man. Some of the people I met for the first time [are now] longtime friends all of a sudden. It’s the perfect platform to meet people. You kind of forget the cameras are there. Russell is always good, Sherri Shepherd was absolutely amazing. When she came to the show, she was actually appearing on Broadway and I’m happy she took the time out to come on by. Larry Johnson was back this season; he always has the best stories. All the shows are great but the show with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist, and Gilbert Gottfried was really, really an awesome show. That might have been one of the best shows we had this season.

Was there anyone you really wanted to appear on the show who couldn’t make it?
I wanted so many people on the show. It was a weird week. There were other big events going on around the country in Vegas and L.A., like big award shows or major athletic events so it was hard to get certain guests. One major person I wanted was Terrell Owens. I wanted Louis C.K. I wanted Chris Rock. Everyone wanted to show out but it just didn’t work out. There’s always next season.

You also have Garden of Laughs coming up as well.
That’s going to be great. Great comics, great friends coming together for a worthy cause. I’ll be there performing with Lewis Black, Bill Burr, Dane Cook, Billy Gardell—it’s going to be a lot of fun. All the proceeds from the show go to the Garden of Dreams because we’re trying to brighten the lives of children who face obstacles. I grew up in the Boys and Girls Club so I completely understand homelessness, poverty, foster homes; there are kids in these situations right now. Hospitals and organizations can do their part and community organizations can do their part, but to have direct contact with something like this is a great thing.

Lastly, your three tips for breaking bread and having great conversation with multiple guests.
One tip is manners, of course. Always thank your host for inviting you. Two would be always compliment the food. There’s plenty of times people will go to someone's house and the food just ain’t no good. That’s also on my part. I have to make sure the table and the menu is loaded with amazing food. And always, always raise a glass, toast the establishment and thank them for having us. Always make sure we acknowledge the chef. I think, next season, I’ll make sure the chef always comes out.

Dine in with J.B. Smoove and his special guests on Four Courses with J.B. Smoove, returning to MSG on Monday (Jan. 19) at 9pm.

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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A look back at the collaborator's up and down relationship.
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Remember The Time: 10 Times Drake And Kanye West Were Stronger Together

Kanye West and Drake aren’t exactly in the best place at the moment. West’s Dec. 13 Twitter rant detailed their issues, in which he accuses Drake of “sneak dissing” and threatening him.

“You sneak dissing on [Travis Scott] records and texting Kris [Jenner] talking about how’s the family.” he wrote among many other tweets and allegations against the Scorpion MC.

While this is a bump in the road, the two haven’t always been enemies. Despite the shenanigans surrounding them, Kanye West and Drake have had a very fruitful relationship. All drama aside, the duo have created many memorable moments in hip-hop and pop culture. They’ve written and recorded some incredible songs and shared countless stages during concerts and tours.

To abstain from dwelling on the negativity, VIBE has collected a list of moments taking you through the high points in the rappers’ relationship. Check it out below.

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Drake's Freestyles Over Many Beats By 'Ye

Before he was one of the most sought-after rappers in the world, Drizzy has looked up to Kanye West and sampled his work. For “Say What’s Real,” a single off his mixtape So Far Gone, the “In My Feelings” MC sampled Yeezy’s “Say You Will” off of his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. The admiration continued throughout the years, resulting in more freestyles over songs like “Swagga Like Us” and “Barry Bonds.” Both tracks feature beats created by the Chi-town native. 

‘Thank Me Later’ Proves Their Shared Power 

After meeting in 2009, the duo came together to bring Drake's Thank Me Later album to the next level. They collaborated on two tracks- the futuristic love songs “Show Me A Good Time,” and “Find Your Love.” With West holding down production, deep-pocketed 808’s and table-top scratch sounds were highlighted. The accolades for the latter song resulted in the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as they created their own lane.

Drake Calls Kanye “The Most Influential Person”

In a 2009 interview, the then-industry rookie had some nice words for West. Speaking specifically about the 41-year-old’s 808’s and Heartbreak album, the Toronto rapper described ‘Ye as "the most influential person” who was important to young emcees in the game.

"Before I ever got the chance to meet him, Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes," Drake said. He knows how to utilize great sounds and great music. So before I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I'd even go as far as to say he's the most influential person as far as a musician that I'd ever had in my life."

Their Collaborations On Wax 

The pair has been making music together for nearly 10 years, with some standout tracks including “Forever,” the remix to “All Of The Lights,” and “Pop Style.” On their 2017 song “Glow” off of Drake’s playlist More Life, both rappers discuss their growing, limitless success. West was rumored to initially appear on Drizzy’s smash-hit “Nice For What.” He reportedly had a verse on the critically-acclaimed track until the beef between Drake and his G.O.O.D. Music cohort Pusha T became lethal.

The Joint Mixtape That Never Happened

Drake and Kanye are no strangers when it comes to making joint albums with other artists. Drake worked with Future on the platinum-selling album What A Time To Be Alive, while Kanye released Watch The Throne with JAY-Z to critical acclaim. However, it has been hinted for the longest time that the two were working on a full-length album of their own.

Kanye confirmed the plan to release an album with Drake to Vogue in 2016, shortly after hinting at a joint project during OVO Fest. The Take Care rapper co-signed the announcement, saying "What my brother was asking before was, are you ready if we make an album?"

Drake Writing For Kanye’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’

Drake wrote a song for Kanye’s 2016 effort, The Life of Pablo. The Canadian hip-hop star helped pen the Isaac Hayes and Nelly-sampled “30 Hours.” Drizzy was also reportedly on the original, unreleased version of Pablo’s “Wolves,” which featured Icelandic artist Bjork (the album version features Vic Mensa and Sia).

The Duo Become Friendly, Competitive Neighbors

By the time of their initial meeting in 2009, Kanye already clocked in nearly a decade of music industry knowledge, and Drake was making the transition from teen TV star to full-time rapper. But who would have thought the duo would have eventually become actual neighbors?

Drake eventually moved to Calabasas, Calif.- a neighborhood in Los Angeles many celebrities call home- around the same time West began publicly dating his now-wife, Kim Kardashian. In the 2016 bop “Summer Sixteen,” Drizzy jokes, “Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye / And look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine's just bigger's what I’m saying.”

 

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There goes the neighborhood

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on Nov 7, 2016 at 3:05am PST

Kanye Supports OVO Fest

Drake created a hip-hop festival called OVO Fest in 2010. Not only does it feature notable acts in urban music, but it also gave a platform to upcoming artists from Canada who might not have gotten a platform back home. Kanye West was one of the first supports of the music event, performing at three of the festivals.

He also admitted that Drake inspired him and JAY-Z to record Watch The Throne during 2013’s OVO Fest, stating, "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this ni**a wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects.”

Kanye Apologizes To Drake Over G.O.O.D. Music Album Rollouts

Earlier this fall, Kanye West apologized to Drake in a series of tweets for planning the rollout of albums by artists under his G.O.O.D music roster around the proposed release of Scorpion.

In one of the tweets, Kanye wrote “Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place. We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.” In another tweet, ‘Ye revealed that he never listened to the diss tracks between him and Pusha, and didn’t have conversations regarding Drake’s child with him.

Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place … We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.

— ye (@kanyewest) September 5, 2018

They Shared Laughs Over Meek Mill Memes

Drake and Meek Mill were in an infamous feud back in 2015. After performing his diss track aimed at Meek- "Back to Back”- at the 2015 OVO Fest, Drizzy, Kanye, and Will Smith enjoyed a laugh over the countless memes mocking the Philly MC.

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VIBE / Nick Rice

Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

What a year 2018 has been for music lovers.

Listeners enjoyed a buffet of diverse melodies, savoring in the choice of curating the tunes they craved as opposed to consuming more than they can digest. Rumored albums from veterans like Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V and The Carters' first joint project battled its way to the top of our personal charts alongside music's innovators like Noname, The Internet, Buddy, and Janelle Monae.

Within that aforementioned list of artists, a new generation of lyricists and vocalists found their footing with fans and critics alike. The rising crop of talent released projects that should motivate each of them to carve out space for forthcoming awards. While we took into account the albums released from Dec. 1, 2017 to Nov. 20, 2018, that moved us emotionally, we also checked off a list of requirements like replay value, overall production, critical reception, and cultural impact.

Here are the 30 albums (in alphabetical order, not ranked), that instilled pride in our culture, made us take a look within, and encouraged us to appreciate music all over again.

READ MORE: 25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

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