wondaland-review

Review: 'The Eephus’ Is Your Ticket to See Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Collective Live

After just one listen of their EP...  you’ll want to see the experience go down in person.

Jidenna’s “Classic Man” is almost 2015’s “Fancy.” Before you start huffing and puffing -- hear me out.

Love it or hate it, “Classic Man” has been in our subconscious to the point where it’s virtually impossible to get bored of it. Since dropping in February, Jidenna's breakthrough single quickly received heavy rotation on the radio, and listeners heard it even more once West Coast kingpin Kendrick Lamar blessed the remix. While music critics and fans alike are still trying to crown the Song of the Summer, “Classic Man” is really on “Fancy” levels in terms of conversation. From on the verge pieces to straight slander, the Nigerian-American singer (sometimes rapper) is reveling in his moment anyway.

READ: Notes From Wondaland With Janelle Monáe, Jidenna & Music’s New Cool Kids On ‘The Eephus’ Tour

What the song represents is a fine-tailored lifestyle with an emphasis on looking sharp (and feeling sharp), a musical genre he has called Swank. However, it's just one aspect of the sonic movement Janelle Monáe is creating under Wondaland Records. The Eephus, a baseball term about the game-changing pitch, is a metaphor for the vision in the collective and their mission to move the needle in music. Jidenna may be the rising star with “Classic Man,” but Wondaland’s roster of rockers, multi-instrumentalists and all-around talents are spotlighted in their compilation EP.

The Eephus introduces Deep Cotton, St. Beauty and Roman GianArthur, who all let their eclectic influences do the talking. When this scribe attended their New York City stop of The Eephus tour at Highline Ballroom last week, I witnessed first-hand how those tastes were translated on stage.

Deep Cotton, the duo of Chuck Lightning and Nate “Rocket” Wonder have tons of energy, full of flailing movements, shouts and an irresistible bounce that erupted fans. All of it was surprisingly tamed on EP opener, “Let’s Get Caught.” No worries, though: Deep Cotton serve up an upbeat jam about hitting the town with your bae. Hey, even these punk prophets can turn down for just one night.

St. Beauty, two Atlanta natives named Alex Belle and Isis Valentino, are soul goddesses who prefer chiller vibes than their rambunctious labelmates. On “Going Nowhere,” St. Beauty offers a gorgeous and tender ballad that feature Belle’s emotionally-charged singing. The next track is GianArthur’s “I Know,” whose name you might recognize as the guest feature on “Classic Man.” On his solo work, he lets his R&B roots shine, built over jazz interpretations and smooth grooves. “I Know” fits in line with his earlier work (“I-69”), where his sweet voice will immediately make you gush. Remember his name, ladies.

The Eephus includes Wondaland Records’s biggest songs -- the original and remix of “Classic Man” and “Yoga.” Both these songs have been tearing up the summer, and are perfect lead-ins for Monáe and her collective. If this release is your only means of getting familiar with Wondaland, then let this be your ticket to see them on tour this month because their music is made for a live experience. (Did we also mention it’s free?)

On all fronts, The Eephus steers some attention away from Jidenna in favor of illustrating the talents of Monáe’s other co-signs. And considering Jidenna’s career trajectory just off one song to his name, they’re poise to make their whimsical world of creation the trendy thing to do. -- Eric Diep

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LeBron James Promises To Carry On Kobe Bryant’s Legacy

LeBron James is vowing to carry on Kobe Bryant’s legacy. Although he admitted to not being ready to speak out, King James broke his silence on Bryant’s passing via Instagram on Tuesday (Jan. 28).

“I’m not ready but here I go,” James started. “Man [I’m] sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi, and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!!

“Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa [Bryant] and the kids,” James continued. “I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this s**t on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️”

 

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I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jan 27, 2020 at 6:43pm PST

Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven others died in a helicopter crash last Sunday (Jan. 26). The group was headed to Kobe's Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks, California. Aside from Gigi, Kobe and his wife, Vanessa Bryant, shared three other daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

In a second Instagram post James wrote, “My brother!!! I love you man.” James, who was spotted in tears upon learning of the NBA legend’s death, attended a tribute to Kobe and Gigi at his son, Bronny’s, high school on Tuesday (Jan. 28).

 

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♾ my brother!! I love you man!! 💔🙏🏾❤️. 👑X🐍

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Jan 28, 2020 at 3:08pm PST

The coroner’s office has officially identified three of the nine victims in the deadly crash, and contacted their loved ones. The deceased include John Altobelli, head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, his wife, Keri, and their daughter, Alyssa, who attended Harbor Day School with Gigi. Mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, a basketball coach at Harbor Day School, and pilot, Ara Zobayan, also died in the crash. Authorities have recovered all nine bodies at the crash site but the fatal incident remains under investigation.

The night before he died, Bryant put up an Instagram post congratulating James on beating his scoring record. “On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next.”

 

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On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next. 💪🏾

A post shared by Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) on Jan 25, 2020 at 8:18pm PST

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Douglas Grundy

Disturbing Video Shows Violence And Inhumane Conditions Inside Mississippi Prison

As Yo Gotti and Jay Z’s Team Roc imprint continue to demand changes within Mississippi’s Parchman Prison, a batch of disturbing photos and videos are further exposing the rampant violence, and inhumane conditions, inside the facility.

The horrific footage, leaked by Team Roc, was recorded by inmates on cell phones, which is considered “contraband” and could result in punishment. The video shows a gruesome fight between inmates that led to one inmate being stabbed multiple times. Another clip, filmed by an inmate, shows his  a broken toilet and no running water inside of a filthy cell.

Yo Gotti and Team Roc filed a federal lawsuit against prison officials on behalf of 29 inmates, and an emergency restraining, the latter of which was initially rejected and resubmitted. The leaked footage has been added to court document, TMZ reports.

Last week, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves blamed the “recent series of killings” on inmates with cellphones. Reeves has since announced that a unit in the prison will be shut down.

Joshua Norman, a 26-year-old inmate, was found hanging in his prison cell on Sunday (Jan. 26). Norman was serving a five-year sentence for armed robbery and became the ninth Parchman inmate to die in the last month.

An inmate was found dead in his one-man cell at the MS State Penitentiary at Parchman this morning. No foul play is suspected, according to the Sunflower County Coroner as an ongoing investigation continues and the official cause & manner of death are pending autopsy results.

— MDOC (@MS_MDOC) January 26, 2020

A day later, the Mississippi Department of Corrections reported the death of 28-year-old inmate Limarion Reaves who became the 13th inmate to die in a Mississippi facility in the last month. Reaves, who was serving three years for aggravated assault, collapsed inside the Kemper-Neshoba Regional Correctional Facility.

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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

T.I. Apologizes To His Daughters In Wake Of Kobe Bryant’s Death

The death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, inspired T.I. to issue a public apology. The rapper took to Instagram on Monday (Jan. 27) with a message for his two oldest daughters, Zonnique and Deyjah.

“I love you girls more than my vocabulary will allow me to express,” he wrote. “You have grown so much right before my very eyes [and] blossomed into strong, brilliantly opinionated, independent young women. I'm so proud of you both and I love you to no end, more than you'll ever know.

“Please forgive me for any and all imperfections that cause misunderstandings between us…charge my mind, not my heart,” he added. “Life may throw us curveballs [and] deal us some pretty bad hands at times. But rest assured, you'll NEVER find yourself in a place too high or low for me to be there to catch you when you fall.”

The father of seven said that he refused to “let another second go by” without telling his daughters how much he loves them. He also posted messages dedicated to wife, Tameka “Tiny” Harris, and his four sons, in addition to numerous tributes honoring Kobe and Gigi.

Tip came under fire last year for a podcast interview where he revealed that he goes with his 18-year-old daughter, Deyjah, to doctor’s appointments to ensure that she remains a virgin. The comments drove Deyjah to briefly delete her Instagram before returning to social media but disabling the comment section of her account.

T.I. later sat down at The Red Table Talk to address his virginity comments and the subsequent backlash.

Read Tip’s message to his daughter’s below.

 

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I love you girls more than my vocabulary will allow me to express. You have grown so much right before my very eyes & blossomed into strong,brilliantly opinionated, independent young women. I'm so proud of you both and I love you to no end,more than you'll ever know. Please forgive me for any and all imperfections that cause misunderstandings between us.... Charge my mind,not my heart. You see Life may throw us curveballs & deal us some pretty bad hands at times. But rest assured,you'll NEVER find yourself in a place too high or low for me to be there to catch you when you fall. I just Can't let another second go by without letting you know while we're still here in this life together.... You have ALL MY LOVE FOR ALL MY LIFE...&AFTER‼️ @princess_of_da_south @zonniquejailee

A post shared by TIP (@troubleman31) on Jan 26, 2020 at 8:34pm PST

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