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Interview: Pistons Guard, Reggie Jackson, Talks The Game Of Call Of Duty And Detroit Basketball

Point guard of the Detroit Pistons, Reggie Jackson, gives the inside scoop on what type of gamer he is, on and off the court, as talks about the game of basketball and the new Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

With the 2015-16 NBA in full swing, teams are off to a clean slate in their journey to the Larry O’Brien gold. As hoop heads watch their favorite squads hit the hardwood night in and night out, a team with a bad boy legacy is starting to make some noise this season. When the Detroit Pistons brought in their prolific scorer and playmaker, Reggie Jackson, they knew that a promising new beginning was on the rise for the Motor City to revive their hopes of bringing the team back into serious contention in the Eastern Conference.

Though the point guard is making magic on the court with teammates like double-double machine, Andre Drummond, by his side, there’s something else that Jackson channels his ultra competitiveness into. That something would be Call Of Duty. It’s no secret that NBA players love to dab into the world of gaming (on and off the court). With the release of the new Call Of Duty: Black Ops III, Jackson took some time out of his busy NBA schedule to tell us what about the game draws him in and how he even gets his teammates involved in some COD action.

Check out Reggie Jackson’s one-on-one with VIBE as he spills the beans on his COD game plans, the friendly trash talk that happens between his teammates and what’s to come for Detroit Pistons basketball this season.

 

VIBE: As an avid fan of Call of Duty, what about the game draws you into it so much?
Reggie Jackson: I’m just testing free runs and figure out the range of motions that you have, that way you won’t have to kill people on there. So I’m definitely loving the new aspects to the game.

What are some of your best go-to strategies when you play Call of Duty?
I definitely use my brother as sacrificial Rambo. I always send him out there to kind of know where I’m at, you know, try to be random.

What is it about the new Call of Duty: Black Ops III that you think separates itself from the ones prior to it?
The ability to probably swim, running off of walls, along with being able to steel strikes and shoot. Just a lot of the underwater combat and being able to fight in the air now. Combining reality with being able to do special things in the game.

You’re an avid fan of COD, what sort of player would you consider yourself? What level would you rank yourself when you play?
I’m always up there at the top. In the game, I have to be the best so I definitely love being advanced. Being an advanced veteran pretty much all the time.

When you’re in the offseason, how much time would you say you spend regularly playing COD?
I probably end up playing around three hours a day.

That gets cut down during the season, right? Being that you’re more busy.
Yeah, because I have more scheduling, more games and traveling and everything. Offseason is just pretty much hanging out during the day, having fun playing games, and chilling.

The basic question that all gamers get asked, Xbox or PlayStation?
PlayStation 4.

Your teammate, Andre Drummond, is also an avid fan of COD, so do you and your teammates band together to play or against each other in the online multiplayer mode?
We’ve got to play together. We’ve got to try to go out there and hold it down. You know awful teams get veteran players so you’ll probably hear it in the locker room before practice the next day here and there.

The competitiveness that you possess within the game of basketball transitions over when you play COD?
Oh yeah! You always want to be the best. I definitely do, I like to trash talk my teammates.

#foundahome #noplacelikehome #alllove #Detoritvseverybody #DetroitBasketball #blessed

A photo posted by Reggie Jackson (@reggie_jackson) on

With the Pistons being off to hot start this season so far, what about being in Detroit gives you that refreshed feeling with a new start with a new team in a new city? Does that give you a sense of belonging?
Yeah, I got a little taste of it when I came here for about two months last year. I just love the new beginning and what we’re building here and just how welcoming the people are here. I just love it out here, my teammates and the whole organization.

You’re taking on a much larger role that you seemed more than ready for. How was the transition from role player to one of the leading men on the team been for you so far?
I'm just enjoying the change and getting the chance to be myself. I just try to lead by actions and how I am and just talking to my teammates and figure out the best solution for us to get a victory each and every night.

Let’s take it back to the physical grit and grind of the Bad Boys era with Isaiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, etc. Is that something that you hope to bring back to Detroit Pistons basketball? Or do you see you guys bringing something new to the table for Detroit?
We’re just trying to be ourselves. We’re very defensive-minded and that’s what triggered our success so far this season but we’re just trying to be ourselves and build our own identity instead of following. It’s easier. We do try to take some of that Bad Boys mentality into our identity but we’re just trying to be who we are.

With Stan Van Gundy leading the way this year, what are some things you can say you’ve learned from him while being under his guidance that has elevated your game?
I’m still young and have a way to go but he’s had me get more into film and studying the game a lot more than I had before. Now I’m getting to know the game and my opponents better. I really enjoy it because I think it’s helping all of us with our strengths.

What about being around your teammates gives Detroit that new revitalized feeling for basketball and gives the fans hope this season with all of you guys coming together?
I think this year being looked at as underdogs, being doubted and overlooked, we just come together and play our best each and every night and to the best of our abilities. Like I said, it’ll lead us to our success because we’re a young group of guys and I think that we can only get better. We’re a hungry group so once we give it our all, it’ll give the city something to be proud of.

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25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

The female voice in hip-hop has always been present whether we've noticed it or not. The late Sylvia Robinson birthed the hip-hop music industry with the formation of Sugar Hill Records (and fostering "Rapper's Delight"), Roxanne Shante's 55 lyrical responses to fellow rappers were the first diss tracks and Missy Elliott's bold and striking music and visuals inspired men and women in the game to step outside of their comfort zones.

These pillars and many more have allowed the next generation of emcees to be unapologetically brash, truthful and confident in their music. Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy and Nicki Minaj's Queen might've been the most mainstream albums by womxn in rap this year, but there was a long list of creatives who brought the noise like Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, Noname and Bbymutha. Blame laziness or the heavy onslaught of music hitting streaming sites this year, but many of the artists on this list have hibernated under the radar for far too long.

VIBE decided to switch things up but also highlighting rap albums by womxn who came strong in their respectively debut albums, mixtapes, EPs. We also had to give props to those who dropped standout singles, leaving us wanting more.

READ MORE: 15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

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10 Most Important Hip-Hop Artists Of 2018

We’ve reached another end to an eventful year in hip-hop. From rap beefs to new music releases and milestones, 2018 has been forged in the history books as a year to remember. But more important than the events that happened over the span of 12 months are the people who made them happen.

While fans received a large dose of music from our favorite artists and celebrated some of the most iconic album anniversaries, there are a few names that stood out as the culture pushers, sh*t starters, and all-around most significant artists of the year.

For your enjoyment, VIBE compiled a list of the top 10 most important hip-hop artists of 2018 based on a series of qualifications: 1) public actions - good, bad, and ugly; 2) music releases; 3) philanthropic/humanitarian work; and 4) trending moments.

Be clear: This list isn’t about the most influential, the most talented, who had the best music or tours. While we are commemorating artists for the work they’ve contributed to this year’s music cycle, we’re looking beyond that and evaluating how these particular artists have shaped conversations and pushed hip-hop culture forward.

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NEXT: Intent On Impact, Kiana Lede Is Ready To Leave Her Mark

After learning The Alphabet Song as a little girl, Kiana Lede would always “get in trouble” for singing during class. “My mom was like, ‘why can't you focus?’” she laughs while reminiscing on her career’s formative years. “I was like, ‘I don’t know! Songs are just playing in my head all the time!’”

Whilst sitting in a shoebox-sized room at Midtown Manhattan’s Moxy Hotel on a humid September day, the now- 21-year-old Arizona-bred R&B songbird, actress and pianist speculates that she “may have had ADD.” However, she settles down after taking off her white cowboy boots and flops down on the ivory-clothed bed, demonstrating that her fiery Aries energy can be contained. Cool as a cucumber, Lede shuffles between chewing on banana candies and blowing smoke rings after taking drags from a pen, all while musing about her journey to becoming a Republic Records signee.

“I just grew up singing and doing musical theater, and reading a lot of books, and playing piano way too much in my room by myself,” she says, pushing her big, curly brown hair out of her face. Her expressive green eyes widen as she grins. “It was my thing. Nobody in my family does music, just me.”

After winning Kidz Bop’s 2011 KIDZ Star USA talent contest at 14 (which her mother secretly entered her into), Lede was signed to RCA Records. She was released from her contract and dropped from the label three years later. However, thanks to guidance and friendship from the Grammy-winning production duo Rice N’ Peas, (who’ve worked with G-Eazy, Trevor Jackson, and Bazzi), she released covers of songs such as Drake’s “Hotline Bling” while working to get her groove back. The latter rendition resulted in Republic Record’s Chairman and CEO Monte Lipman flying her out and signing her to his label.

“I got a second chance, which a lot of people don't get,” she reveals. “So I'm really happy that that all happened. I wouldn't be here right now in this room if that didn't happen.”

Thanks to the new opportunity she was given, Lede’s sound has evolved into something she’s proud of—equal parts soul, R&B and bohemian. As evidenced by the aforementioned ensemble, glimmers of each aesthetic can be found when observing her personal style as well. She released her seven-song EP Selfless in July, which features the bedroom-ready “Show Love” and “Fairplay,” which manages to fit in the mainstream R&B vein while also showcasing her goosebump-inducing vocals. The remix of the latter features MC A$AP Ferg. What pleases her most is that it not only garnered a favorable response from fans, but that those listeners found it so relatable.

“As an artist, it's really nerve-wracking for someone who writes about such personal things all the time,” she says. “Just the fact that it is my story… It's good to know that other people know that there's somebody on their side, and they're not the only ones going through it. A lot of people obviously feel this way, and have been through this same thing that I've been through. So I think that's cool.”

Although she moved to various places as a Navy serviceman’s daughter, Lede claims Phoenix as home. This means she hails from the same stomping grounds as rockers Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks and the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. However, growing up in a mixed race household gave way to tons of sonic exploration outside of the rock-heavy scene.

“My dad's black, and both of my parents are from the East Coast,” she says of her musical and ethnic upbringing (she’s black, Latina and Native American). “[My parents] listened to a lot of R&B. My mom listened to a lot of SWV, TLC, Boyz II Men. I didn't realize I knew the songs until I got older. I played a charity show with T-Boz, and I was like 'why do I know these songs?'” Lede also says her father was a fan of neo-soul and gangsta rap, but she personally believes the early-2000s was the best time for music.

“[That era] influences a lot of my music subconsciously, and also, singer-songwriter stuff,” she continues. “I listen to a lot of early-2000s music because I played piano most of my life. I listened to Sara Bareilles, John Mayer.”

An open book, Lede details some of her struggles with anxiety and depression with the utmost candor. After being dropped from RCA, her trust in people diminished, and she experienced long bouts of depression after being sexually assaulted by someone in the industry. The track that she feels most deeply about is “One Of Them Days,” which tackles these issues head-on.

“When I'm anxious and depressed, it's really hard to be happy,” Lede says. “Most of the time, I can do it, but there are just some days where I literally can't separate the anxiety, and I can't tell anybody why, because I don't really know why myself… I was feeling very odd that day, didn't even know if I could write a song. Hue [Strother], the guy who I wrote the song with, he was like 'I totally get you. Lots of people go through this.’’’

As we’ve observed in headlines recently, mental health and being honest about life’s trickier situations can help someone going through the same thing, and Lede hopes her music provides encouragement to those who are struggling. As for how she’s learning to push through her mental health roadblocks, she meditates, runs, and is an advocate for therapy, especially in Trump’s America, where harrowing news reports dominate the cycle.

Another hallmark of Kiana Lede’s personality is her bleeding heart for others. She cites women of color, sexual assault victims and the homeless youth specifically as individuals she feels most responsible to help, since she is personally connected to all three. While she’s aiming to create a project that helps homeless youth specifically, she’s working hard this holiday season to ensure that they have a place to stay “at least for the night” after horrific wildfires displaced many individuals in California.

“My passion is really people. Music is just a way that I can get to helping people,” she says with a grin. “Helping people emotionally and physically are both very important. I never want to stop helping people. I feel if other people can respect me, and I can respect myself, then I'll be happy. Happiness is all that we strive for.”

Recently, Lede played her first headlining solo show, a one-night event at The Mint in Los Angeles. While she was thrilled to see that the show sold-out, she was even happier to see the faces of her audience members, who she said ‘looked like [her].’ “Mixed girls, brown girls, black girls, gay boys,” she explains over-the-phone. Even though she wasn’t in person to discuss her latest huge accomplishment, you could hear the pride and joy through her voice.

As for the future of her career, she’s looking forward to more acting roles. You may recognize her from the first season of MTV’s Scream, and after her recent Netflix series All About The Washingtons with legendary MC Rev Run was cancelled, she has been “reading for auditions” and is “negotiating” for a role in a film set to shoot in NYC. While her time with the Run-DMC frontman was brief, she says he taught her about the importance of “not compromising your art for money.”

What Kiana Lede is most excited about, of course, is making music. She hopes to work on a new EP and then release an album after that. The ultimate goal is to fully realize the dreams in her personal and professional life, and she assures she’s just getting started.

“I want to be able to look back on my career and think 'man, I really poured my heart into this music, and made music that mattered, and made music that made people feel a certain way, whether it's bad, good, sad, anxious, whatever it may be.’”

READ MORE: NEXT: H.E.R. Is The Future Of R&B (And Then Some) In Plain Sight

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