Karl Ferguson Jr.

In Their Own Words: A Listening Guide To Joell Ortiz & !llMind's 'Human'

'Human' out now. 

After a challenging period of weight loss and sobriety, Joell Ortiz decided it was time to kick off his shoes and return to the booth, hungry and unbridled. One quarter of the Slaughterhouse tapped longtime comrade and genius beatmaker !llmind to come along for the ride. The result is a joint album that gives prominence to both !llmind's stellar production and Joell's nimble poetics, laden with boom-bap and Brooklyn chronicles. Yet human. makes room for new influences.

While leading singles "Latinos Pt.2" and "Lil' Piggies" are true to Joell's form, deeper cuts like "Bad Santa" and "Who Woulda' Knew" pay tribute to his older son and significant other, respectively, moving even the hardest of men.

"[When] we finished recording ["Bad Santa"], me and Joell are walking out to get some air," said !llmind. "We’re walking out and [my intern engineer] gets up, he turns around and starts balling, crying. Super crying. He was like ‘Yo, I’m just super proud not only to be here recording with you guys, but that song really hit me.’"

READ: Joell Ortiz And !llMind’s Pictorial Countdown To ‘Human’ Evokes An Important Message

Each track, despite lyrical content or theme, is tinged with a certain emotion and thusly runs in the same human vein. VIBE Viva recently caught up with the match made in Hip-Hop heaven, who walked us through the entire 11-track LP.

"Human (Intro)"

!llmind: I had this vision of starting the album with a short musical piece. I tried to create a piece that represented what a human is. So when you think human being, you think emotion. Love, hate, imperfection, desire. All those emotions and qualities that make up a human being. So, I tried to create this musical piece that expresses all of that. That’s the reason why I tried to blend my record progressions with major string progressions and bring those emotions out. And Joell speaking at the end really just sets the tone for what’s about to happen. Shouts to my man Cubeatz who co-produced it.

Joell: For me not knowing any of that and him just being like ‘I have an idea’ and then finally hearing the finished product—it’s like air. Pure air. You could feel any way listening to that music. What he tried to do, he did it. Because on certain days when it’s sunny and I’m driving my truck, I put the album on and I’m like ‘Ah, yea, just got out the shower, I’m on my way, we in the city!’ On rainy days, it feels somber. It seems calm. It enhances my emotions.

"New Era"

Joell: New Era is just tough New York rap. It’s rough, dirty New York. Roll a blunt, put this one on and vibe out. If any record says Joell Ortiz is from Brooklyn, it’s that one.

!llmind: That was the first song recorded. The way it was flipped, with that piano piece that starts the song off, I just tried to envision curtains about to open. It’s this super intense lush, street tale that’s just full of emotion.

"I Just Might"

Joell: This is fun, man. Everybody gets those days when they're feeling themselves. "I Just Might" is my feeling myself moment on the album. I’m in the studio with !ll, it’s that time again where it’s warming up outside, you know what I mean? And the way it knocked, it just put me in a certain mood, made me feel invincible. The words started to take shape. I would laugh in the booth and have to re-record certain parts. It was just that cool, fun vibe for me. Rock out with your [pauses] blank out, haha.

!llmind: Same with me. I was just flexing with the beat. Like how can I create something at the top of the album that just makes people go, ‘Wait, what the f**k?! What is this? Why are the drums kinda weird?’ Just straight flexing.

"My N*ggas"

Joell: You know, it’s not always good, what comes from [the music industry]. You know what I’m saying? Surrounding yourself with your core friends is very, very important when you’re on a journey like I’m on. Because you come across all types of energy. Some good, some bad. But you know your homies you grew up with, they’ll always be there for you. So, that was like a tribute record to them and also a jab to all of those who weren’t there. Those who, the minute I step away, they talk about me. Those who wished this never happened for me and my friends. I was trying to capture that and at the same time tell a story of what it looked like to come up. It’s a reflective record, a tough record and celebratory record.

"Six Fo’"

!llmind: That’s Joell straight flexing. Showing people he’s at the top of the totem pole when it comes to rapping. And he is. He’s one of the best, point blank.

We tapped into a certain energy and just went for it. The beat is perfect, it’s crazy. It’s almost like a lunchroom table type beat. No crazy chord progression, no hook, just going in there to f**king rap your ass off.

Joell: That beat doesn’t take a break. It’s like ‘Hey, what do you want to do?’ It’s like the beat squaring up. Like, ‘Can you fight? Because I can.’ So, what was I going to do, other than come with it? [Laughs]

"Light A L"

Joell: Yo, were we smoking? How did Light A L come about […] Light A L is for the projects. It’s for the hood. If you’re not from there, no offense, it’s not the record for you. It’s for the block. All I did was zone out and talk about some things. That was easy to write. All I had to do was think back to my childhood, on the people I lost, the fun things, the sad things. All the things that happened growing up in the projects in Brooklyn.

!llmind: I think that was the third song we did that day. When I started to make that beat, I knew it had to be some sort of street tale, mid-tempo. Something very vivid. And to me, that’s what that track is, super vivid. With the story and images. The types of synthesizes had to also be vivid. It was an awesome backdrop for Joell to tell his story.

READ: Joell Ortiz And !llmind Deliver The Hip-Hop Gospel On “Hallelujah”

"Lil’ Piggies"

!llmind: Sh*t… one of my favorites. That was a lot of fun to record. That intro you hear was the first thing he said when he stepped into that booth and started recording. We kept that first take. I stopped in the beginning at one point and was like ‘Yo, this is the tempo for this song.’ He knew what he had to do and that’s why the intensity was so high. That intro is everything.


Joell: [Laughs] That day was crazy! A lot of the times for me when I’m recording, it’s not until I listen back that I recognize the moment. But not with "Lil' Piggies". As it was flowing and I had my pen, I was like ‘Oh man, this is the joint. This is going to touch people.’ When I went in and did the recording I knew right away Lil Piggies was tough. It’s one of those records where I drive home the point of what I’m trying to say, but take you through all types of feelings in the process. ‘Oh sh*t, he’s nice. Yo, who’s he talking about? Did you hear that drum pop and how he let it breathe?!’ All the things that make dope songs happen, Lil Piggies is that. All while you’re like ‘But who’s he talking about?’ I’m addressing real things. I’m talking about the smoking mirrors, the fabricated lifestyles. I’m talking about the most dishonest people who change when the cameras turn on.

I’m a father. I have a son, and I don’t want him thinking that in order to be successful you have to be this or do that. Individuality is important to me. So, anybody I see is a carbon copy or tracing someone else, or not being themselves, I disassociate myself. I call them piggies.

"Latino Pt. 2" ft. Emilio Rojas, Bodega Bamz & Chris Rivers

Joell: I had to put the brothers on. I reached out to Chris right away, I reached out to Bodega, shouts to him. He’s been grinding for his numbers for the longest. And Emilio Rojas as well. That was just a phone call to the homies, like yo, I have a platform for them to just rap their asses off. This beat is ill, it’s up-tempo, sounds like a collaborative joint anyway, I don’t want a hook on this either – let’s go. That was just a fun time, a fun time at the video shoot as well. Just fun, fun, fun. Shouts to my Latino brothers.

!llmind: That is another b-boy, up-tempo, lunchtable beat where you just go in and see who can rap.

"Who Woulda’ Knew" ft. Father Dude

Joell: [I’m] talking to my lady. Not all good, just human. There’s a sacrifice that comes with being with an artist. It takes a different kind of woman to deal with tours, females in your face. [There’s] just not enough quality time all the time, and [I’m] always on call. The canceling of the movies, and sacrifice on top of sacrifice on top of sacrifice ‘til she’s put in a position to think ‘Am I built for this?’ That stirs up the whole ‘What are we doing?’ They’re just moments. They’re just moments to me, because the common denominator is always love. There are fun moments, joyous moments and then there’s argument moments and reflection moments and ‘What are we doing?’ moments. It’s tough. So, I wrote that record to and for her. I understand I understand. But this is what [she] signed up for. [Is she] in or not?

!llmind: Shouts to my man G Coop on the co-production on that. And my man Father Dude who sang vocals. He’s such a soulful singer. I just wanted to bring him in and further enhance the emotion of the song and treat his voice as part of the sample of the song. Shouts to him.

"Bad Santa" ft. Jared Evan

Joell: Bad Santa… is another sacrifice record. I’m talking to my older son, who I don’t get to enjoy as much as I’d like to, because of life situations. He lives in Atlanta with his mom. We had a fallout when he was young, so they moved. Things are cool now with everyone, but because he’s over there and I’m over here. I only get him for Christmas, hence “Bad Santa.” And some summers, when he’s not playing sports. It’s just a record saying ‘Daddy’s a rapper and you’re six states away, but I’m always here.’ Don’t think of me as just the bearer of gifts. I’m more than just Santa. I’m still your dad. Your mom still sends me your grades. I still get it in from here. And when I see you, it’s all about you. But… I’m a rapper. And you live far away. This is about me wishing I could be there more, but also me trying to make him understand through a record, in one verse, how I feel.

Shouts to my dude Jared Evan for doing the chorus and a verse of his own and just overall enhancing the way I felt. Listening to what I said and living with it and adding what Jared does to a record — it’s super pure, soulful and heartfelt. Yea… “Bad Santa” is to my older son.

!llmind: There was something really amazing that happened while we were recording that song. So, we were recording Jared’s part and one of my intern engineers at the studio was tracking the vocals, his name is Devin. So Dev was tracking, doing a good job. We finished recording the song and me and Joell are walking out to get some air, probably get a drink or something. My man Atlas was there with us. We’re walking out and Dev gets up, he turns around and he’s balling, crying. Super crying. He was like ‘Yo, I’m just super proud not only to be here recording with you guys, but that song really hit me.’ It really hit home for him and he tried to hide it a bit, but we felt the energy. That was a super special moment. Shouts to Dev.

"Human (Outro)"

Joell: The music and lyrics in outro, in my opinion, are the most cohesive parts of the album. They both make you feel immediately. Right away, you feel what this is. It’s not a sum up of anything. It’s just an ill beat and Joell telling his story. It’s struggle mixed with triumph mixed with, uh, everything. I can’t even really put it all into the right words. To me, it’s the song on the album with the most replay value. Once again, I wrote a record to me. And [I] don’t realize it until later when I’m like, ‘Yea, I’m talking to myself again.’ It’s therapy. Music has been the thing that’s listened to me all these years. It’s been the constant ear. Like I’m on the couch, there’s a beat playing and it’s the therapist. I get to just go and that’s one of the songs where I just gave you me. All the imperfections, the whole picture of who I am. If you don’t know Joell by now and this is the first time you’re listening to him, you could learn about him through that human. record.

!llmind: We wanted to end the song off with the word human. When you listen to the album, the last cut, you hear Joell end it with the word human. I just think it’s bittersweet, because it signals the end of the album, but also what the whole album is about. What defines the album. Hopefully, that’s what sparks the listener to go back and listen to it all over again. That’s a special record. Also, one of my favorites.

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Courtesy of DubShot Records

Boomshots: The Unstoppable Rise Of Dre Island

"We rise to the top," Dre Island sings on "We Pray," his massive collab with Popcaan, "cause we know what it takes."

Building on that theme of musical and spiritual elevation, the multi-talented musician—singer, deejay, songwriter, producer, and pianist—has just released his debut album Now I Rise. The project features the aforementioned "We Pray" as well as crucial collaborations with the likes of Jesse Royal and Chronixx. "Ah mi family dem deh," says Dre Island, who has toured Europe backed by Chronixx's band Zincfence Redemption. A graduate of Kingston’s Calabar high school—alma mater of both Jr. Gong and Vybz Kartel—Andre Johnson aka Dre Island is a living link between the vaunted “roots revival” movement and the sound of the Jamaican streets.

“The revival is really within the people," he says. "Reggae music never stop. Reggae artists always been touring. So it’s just the people’s awareness.” During a time when reggae and dancehall stand at a crossroads, Dre Island has emerged as one of the few artists capable of bringing together dancehall vibes and the ancient roots traditions—not to mention outernational connections like "People" his collaboration with UK talents Cadenza and Jorja Smith. “An island is a small land mass surrounded by water,” the artist told Boomshots correspondent Reshma B in their first interview. “But if you read further it’s also a place where you go to find yourself.”

Released through a joint-venture partnership with New York-based DubShot Records and the artist's own Kingston Hills Entertainment imprint, Now I Rise is a 13-track set that includes the hit single “We Pray” featuring Popcaan, “My City,” as well as the recently released “Be Okay” feat Jesse Royal. Never-before-heard tracks include “Days of Stone” featuring Chronixx and “Run to Me” featuring Alandon as well as tracks produced by the likes of Jam2, Anju Blaxx, Teetimus, Winta James, Dretegs Music and Barkley Productions. The artist is now managed by Sharon Burke, founder of the Solid Agency in Kingston, Jamaica. Earlier this month, Dre Island premiered the official music video (directed by Fernando Hevetia) for the last song on the album, “Still Remain.”

“This album speaks of arising, growth, new beginnings and emerging from the ashes," Dre Island states. "At this time, these are all the things we need based on what is happening right now. The truth is, since 2015 I have been advertising that the album is coming. It has been five years and the time is right. As an artist and person Dre Island move different. I embrace Rasta and this way of life, but I am not part of any group like Boboshanti or Twelve Tribes. Everything I do is inspired by the father. I am moved to drop this album at this time because I am divinely inspired to do so. When you look at a song like “We Pray” I can take no credit for a song like that. Yes I wrote the lyrics and built the rhythm and I voice the track, but it's a prayer, not just a song so how a man fi tek credit for something that come from above.”

Dre Island and Boomshots have been linking up from early in his musical journey. During a recent trip to New York City, he sat down with Reshma B to speak about the new project and his unstoppable rise. Check the reasoning:

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Carlos Perez

Anuel AA Breaks Free

In 2015, an entourage of close to 30 men drew guns among one another during a traditional Christmas parranda in Puerto Rico. The scene turned into something straight out of a movie when a pair of gangsters clandestinely attempted to kidnap local rapper Anuel AA. After a brief scuffle and flagrant shouting match, however, the man born Emmanuel Gazmey Santiago went on to finish the evening’s holiday spree in the boisterous company of his loyal posse.

Months later, after ushering in the new year on a promising note by featuring on one of Latin trap’s first global hits – De La Ghetto’s sex anthem “La Ocasion” with Arcangel and Ozuna – someone delivered Anuel AA a divine premonition of sorts: “If you keep talking about this stuff in your songs, something really ugly is going to happen to you.”

A Puerto Rican music legend, Hector “El Father” of reggaeton-turned-son of God, paid Anuel a visit to share his foreboding message. “He and I did not know each other,” explained Anuel, who prides himself on waxing poetics about the real-life experiences Hector was concerned with, “but God spoke to him and Hector felt he needed to reach out to me. When he warned me, he said it with so much conviction that he even cried.”

Having forged a legacy of his own as one of the key trailblazing reggaeton entertainers of the ‘90s who later signed a deal with JAY-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, Hector – now a devoted Christian – understood life imitated art when it came to Anuel’s lyrics.

“My lyrics talked a lot about God and the devil, so when he told me that,” Anuel continued, “I knew I needed to make some changes. Those themes, good versus evil, they were my mark and what separated me from the rest.”

On April 3, 2016, just two weeks after meeting with Hector, Anuel was arrested and held in Guaynabo’s correctional institution on charges of illegal gun possession. Following his biggest musical break yet, just as he was touching the cusp of international stardom, a court judge sentenced Anuel to 30 months in federal prison without bail.

Raised east of San Juan, in the Puerto Rican city of Carolina, Anuel AA has a lot in common with many of my favorite MCs: he’s charming, resolute, and lyrically gifted, yet marred by a criminal past, complicit misogyny and the constant struggle between right and wrong. “I had no choice but to carry those weapons with me, because of the issues I had on the street,” the rapper said to VIBE Viva over the phone, while quarantined in Miami. “I thought to myself I’d rather be locked up than found dead.”

Indeed, Anuel had evaded his probable demise when he was nearly abducted and landed right behind bars months later, fulfilling a prophecy that cost him both his freedom and a flourishing start at the tipping point of trap music en Español. “I was being forced to reckon with all the bad things I had done for money in the past,” Anuel expressed, regretfully. “I started reading the Bible for the first time and realized that my talent and blessings came from God, not anywhere else.”

Anuel had begun to take music seriously around the same time his father, José Gazmey, was laid off from his coveted A&R position at Sony Music. With his back against the wall, a scrappy Anuel left home at 15 and began to engage in felonious activity to help provide for his family and finance his music endeavors.

Like many rappers on the island, Anuel was influenced by popular culture and trends on the mainland, most discernibly by contemporary trap. Anuel understood the genre’s synonymy with street life and the drug enterprise and immediately took to Messiah El Artista, a Dominican-American rapper VIBE profiled for championing Spanish-language trap music all over New York.

“I figured if Latin trap was doing well in New York, it was for sure going to pop in Puerto Rico,” said Anuel, who had signed with the Latino division of Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group the year prior to his arrest. “I spent about a month in New York before I returned to Puerto Rico. Then I started to release all the songs I had, one by one, and they began to gain popularity.”

While artists like J. Balvin helped breathe new life into the reggaeton genre in Colombia, Anuel wanted to spearhead a movement in Puerto Rico with a sound all their own. “I recorded the ‘Esclava’ remix with Bryant Myers and it might not have taken off worldwide, but it became a huge trap song in Puerto Rico.”

Akin to the heydays of reggaeton, an Afro-Caribbean genre-fusing hip-hop and reggae that originated in Puerto Rico, trap music was considered lowbrow and was heavily criticized for its vulgarity, violence, and explicit lyrics. Puerto Rican critics and artists alike had very little faith in the music’s potential and therefore denounced it. “DJ Luian, who is like a brother to me, couldn’t understand why I wanted to put all my energy into music that none of our artists wanted to sing.”

“Reggaeton went dormant for years,” he continued. “It was necessary to make trap music, because it felt like reggaeton was stuck in another era.” A self-described student of the late and oft-controversial Tupac Shakur, Anuel thought reggaeton had reached its pinnacle and believed Latin trap would be its successor.

Songs like “Nunca Sapo,” where Anuel channels Rick Ross’ Teflon Don ethos and spits a grimy slow-tempo flow over a sinister 808-laden instrumental, helped put a face to Anuel’s little-known name in the US. On cuts like Farruko’s “Liberace,” Anuel speeds up his delivery for fun and plays on the “Versace” rhythm popularized by Migos, who all hail from Atlanta—the widely credited birthplace of trap music.

For Anuel, whose life mantra “real hasta la muerte” is now a famous hashtag, music aspirations had little to do with radio play. Anuel, 27, was largely concerned with dominating the digital space, especially while incarcerated. Despite his arrest, he continued to release music from behind prison walls while his team fed his massive following up-to-date content.

Hear This Music CEO, DJ Luian heeded what Anuel was trying to accomplish and began to work with Bad Bunny, the Latin Grammy-winning artist and star voice of the current Latin trap movement. “When I was locked up, Luian helped develop Bad Bunny and he basically became in charge of keeping trap alive while I was away,” said Anuel, who ironically came under fire recently and was accused of throwing shade at Bad Bunny for the video treatment of “Yo Perreo Sola,” in which the rapper-singer dresses in drag as a stance against toxic masculinity.

“I couldn’t believe something like this was going viral,” Anuel interrupted anxiously before I could expound on a question concerning their relationship. “It looked like it was something that was edited or put together to make my Instagram posts read that way. I immediately texted Bad Bunny about it and he was like, ‘Don’t worry, people are always going to be talking sh*t.’”

Anuel considers Bad Bunny a genius at what he does and maintains that despite not knowing each other very well, he and his fellow compatriot are friendly collaborators with a working rapport: “When he and I do a new song together, what will people say then?”

Today, the collective jury will reach a verdict upon listening to Anuel’s newly-released sophomore studio album Emmanuel, where fans will find a track titled “Hasta Que Dios Diga,” a sultry, mid-tempo reggaeton number. Fans can expect to hear a star-studded project riddled with guest features, including Tego Calderón, Daddy Yankee, Enrique Iglesias, J. Balvin, Ozuna, and Karol G, to name a few.

Discussing life during a global pandemic, Anuel spoke fondly of his partner-in-rhyme, Colombian singer-songwriter Karol G. “She’s the love of my life. She’s been there with me through the good and bad. People who really love you are the ones who stand firm by you when things are bleak. In my toughest moments, Karol was there. She’s shown me how to be a better man,” he gushed.

“Karol comes off as super feminine—which she is, but Karol also has a really tough masculine side,” Anuel laughed heartily on the other end of the line. “She rides motorcycles and likes taking them up these crazy hills. She rides jet skis too! She’s like a dude, haha. We work well together and we give each other advice all the time.”

The pair are making the most of quarantine life in South Florida, releasing a self-directed and self-shot music video for their joint single “Follow,” a reference to flirting over social media in the era of social-distancing, the idea that shooting one’s proverbial shot can lead to a budding romance.

On July 17, 2018, Anuel dropped his debut studio album, Real Hasta La Muerte, hours before he was released from jail. By September, the RIAA certified his introduction to the game platinum, garnering the attention of Roc Nation artist Meek Mill. When the Philly wordsmith released his fourth studio LP in November of the same year, followers were geeked to learn Anuel had earned himself a place on Meek’s highly anticipated Championships album with “Uptown Vibes.”

I always wanted you and anuel aa to make a track together bc i feel like he’s the meek mill of spanish trap , how was it working with him ?

— Nagga (@naggareports) December 17, 2018

“Recording with Meek Mill for me was like when Allen Iverson played with Michael Jordan for the first time,” Anuel said, singing praises about their first-ever partnership. “I’m a huge fan of Meek; when his music took off I was still in the streets, so I related and identified with a lot of the things he was saying.”

“Meek doesn’t understand a lick of Spanish,” he mused in jest, “but he’s always with a bunch of Latinos. When I speak to him he says, ‘I don’t know what you’re saying, but my Spanish [speaking] ni**as tell me you be talking that sh*t!’”

Anuel leveraged his knack for storytelling and released “3 de Abril” earlier this year, an emotional freestyle about the day he was arrested and a graphic snapshot of his trials and tribulations.

“I did things without caring about the consequences. I thought I was a man because I was street smart. Now I know what it’s like to lose everything, so I wanted to talk more about my life and the experiences of me and my family,” Anuel described the inspiration behind the song.

Following the release of “3 de Abril,” Anuel again turned hip-hop heads when he and Lil Pump shared a fiery audiovisual for their collaborative effort “Illuminati,” stamping Pump's first new song since summer 2019. This year, Anuel also has songs with Colombian pop empress Shakira (“Me Gusta”) and with the late Juice WRLD (“No Me Ames”).

Albeit Anuel and Juice WRLD never got to meet in person, Anuel learned about the Chicago rapper from listening to his singles on the radio in jail. “The same year I won Billboard Latin’s Artist of The Year award, Juice WRLD won New Artist at the American Billboard Awards. We ended up recording the song after that but held off on releasing it for a bit because he and I had respective singles coming out at the same time,” Anuel explained.

“By the time we were finally ready to premiere it, Juice WRLD had passed away. We were never able to record together in person, but at least we got to feature him on the video. I know the tribute gave his fans and family some needed strength.”

Less than 30 minutes have gone by and already I am forced to wrap my conversation with Boricua’s burgeoning superstar:

Anuel, explain “real hasta la muerte” for me. Why exactly is this mantra of yours so important? 

“I can’t betray anyone. I don’t know what it’s like to really betray someone. I’m very loyal to my circle, my family, and those I hold close to me. Being real is what keeps me humble. It doesn’t matter how much money I make or how much I accomplish. What’s critical is staying real to myself and keeping my feet on the ground. That’s what helps keep me going.”

This interview was translated from Spanish to English and has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Exclusive: BBD's Mike Bivins And Ricky Bell Speak On Funk Fest 'Garage Concert Series' And George Floyd's Murder

The early '90s wouldn't be the same without Bell Biv DeVoe's style of hip-hop, smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop feel appeal to it. Even as a stark departure sound and style-wise from their New Edition group days, BBD  literally ushered in a new tint to the already hot sounds of Teddy Riley's "New Jack Swing" of the mid to late '80s. Their universal party anthem single, "Poison," cures any wack wallflower growing jam and will forever be the barbeque favorite of your aunt and uncle to sprain an ankle to while dancing.

So today, May 28th at 9 pm EST on, it's only right that the crew known as BBD brings that same energy to the comfort of our homes, with "The Garage Concert Series" during these quarantine times via a streaming deal with the 19-year-old urban music festival, Funk Fest. The series is billed as a jam session that comes to you with the flavor of a bare-bones home garage performance that gets to the organic feel of the music. Joining BBD in this landmark event will be recent Verzuz social media battle stars, Jagged Edge.

Tonight's festivities will be in honor of aiding those in need through the newly created charity by the trio named BBD Cares. This community initiative focuses on the seniors of Laurel Ridge Rehabilitation Care Center in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Proceeds from the moderately priced pay-per-view performance will go to those impacted by the grip of Covid-19. "We’re proud to launch the Garage Concert Series and our BBD Cares effort to raise money and awareness during a time when our communities, our culture, and our society need healing," said Ricky Bell.

Both Mike Bivins and Bell spoke to R&B Spotlight founder, Cory Taylor for VIBE on ZOOM to detail the idea and plans for the Funk Fest and Garage Concert series, as well as expound on the turbulent times we are currently experiencing in society. While explaining how hard things are to bare, music being an outlet helps in healing and this digital event looks to continue to flourish in expanding that notion. “The Garage Concert Series, which we conceptualized and named after other culture-shifting brands like Amazon and Microsoft that started in their garage, is our contribution to the global community,” states Bivens.

Be sure to watch their interview with us and log on to at 9 pm EST for a blast to the past of good music for a great cause. Ronnie DeVoe sums it up best, “our goal is to continue to spread the love while raising money for those who are most in need.”

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