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J.Cole And Dreamville Return To Underground Vibes For "Revenge Of The Dreamers NYC Crawl"

J.Cole and Dreamville gift New York City with a surprise concert crawl.

It may have been enough for fans, when J. Cole and his Dreamville team dropped the Revenge of the Dreamers II compilation project, but as the gift that keeps on giving, Cole and his squad gifted New York City with a surprise three-part concert series, "Revenge of the Dreamers NYC Crawl" 2015.

Early Saturday afternoon (Dec. 12), posters promoting the concerts hit every subway station and local store in the city. Not much was advertised other than the fact that J. Cole and his crew would be hitting three bars for the rest of the night, and despite some skepticism, they all delivered on that promise.

The concert crawl kicked off at Drom, followed by a Cake Shop appearance, and concluded with an encore at SOB's. The idea of the series, Cole said, was to get back to the sense of underground and raw musical talent, and celebrating artists with a true, uncensored craft, and it's safe to say that Cole's dream was brought into reality. The venues were no bigger than a small, high school theater room, packing in what seemed to be no more than a couple hundred loyal fans. And while the "Tale of 2 Citiez" rapper was the head of the show, performing some of his hit tracks like "Can't Get Enough," "Wet Dreamz," and "Power Trip," the NC rapper made sure to turn the spotlight on showcasing the unheard talent of his Dreamville artists. Most of the show was dedicated to the team, giving Bas, Cozz, Omen, Elite and newest signee, Lute the platform to share some of their music from the latest project. Sharing the light was not a problem for the Born Sinner artist though, as he acted as the hype man.

At the show's encore, Cole insisted that the Dreamville journey was by no means over. And although it is admittedly very early in the imprint's stages, there is definitely a lot of growth and progress to be made as new artists get recognized. J. Cole is arguably one of the most lyrically-conscious and talented rappers in the new generation rap game, and recognizing that he doesn't always get the credit he deserves, this concert series successfully highlighted his and the rest of his team's raw talent. Omen called Dreamville the "most innovative team" and after this stunt, it's hard to say they are anything less.

Check out some clips from J.Cole and Dreamville from the weekend's concert crawl.

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Janet Jackson performs onstage during her Metamorphosis - The Las Vegas Residency at Park Theater at Park MGM.
Farrenton Grigsby/Getty Images for JJ

Janet Jackson’s ‘Metamorphosis’ Show Is A Nostalgic, Necessary Escapade

Janet Jackson is having a full-circle moment. At Las Vegas' Park Theater, the 53-year-old entertainer recalled performing her first show in Sin City as a child alongside her brothers and sisters during her Metamorphosis concert residency on Friday night (Aug. 2).

“Forty-six years ago, when I was seven years old, I got my performance debut right here in Las Vegas, Nevada,” said Jackson, noting that the gigs were also an MGM affair like her residency. “We did two shows a night, 12-week stints. It was a lot of hard work for such a young child but I loved it.”

That same love for her craft is still evident in her stage presence four decades later. For 90 minutes, Jackson — or Miss Jackson if you’re nasty — body rolled down memory lane in Park MGM's amphitheater. Retaining the same sharp choreography from her iconic videos while backed by a live band and a fierce group of dancers affectionately known as The Kidz, Jackson ran a marathon covering the beloved deep cuts, dancefloor numbers and sensual classics that punctuated her lengthy career. Her personal evolution — from a young girl working through traumas and the pressures of show business to a self-assured woman and proud mother — put her highlight reel in perspective, as immersive visuals helped tie each chapter of her show together.

“I’ve gone through times of pain, uncertainty, and self-doubt,” a soft voice-over from Jackson shared before the opening number “Empty.” “I’ve known unexpected triumphs and I’ve also endured overwhelming tragedies. Through it all, I’ve clung to my sense of optimism — and optimism based on belief and change. I believe we can all change. Our ever-growing spirit can do more than support us. Our spirits can soar. Everyone’s metamorphosis can and will continue to bring out the essential beauty of our souls.”

For Jackson, change has been essential to her career. Pivoting from actress to music artist (away from the shadows of her older brothers), she was heralded as an unfiltered woman who kept it real — or nasty. While the entertainer has shied away from the risqué on-stage behavior that became her tour signature (i.e. gyrating on or planting kisses on her fans’ faces post-pole dance like the days of her Velvet Rope Tour), be clear that the sexy has never left her. It is worth noting that physically, Jackson is in fighting shape (thanks to intense, stamina-building workouts with her physical trainer Paulette Sibliss) and showed no signs of fatigue during the dance-heavy set.

In a city breeding vices, debauchery, and potentially bad decisions, her more erotic notes sounded right at home. During a sultry performance of “I Get So Lonely,” a solo Janet got down and dirty for some steamy floorwork. Like her previous productions, her troupe of female dancers scoured the crowd for a male fan, who was brought onstage for “Anytime, Anyplace” (which was intertwined with Kendrick Lamar’s vocals from “Poetic Justice” and Ginuwine’s “Pony”) only for Janet to pretend giving him a smooch as he sat strapped to a chair.

 

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Leave a 💜 if you’re coming to see me in July or August 🤗 #MetamorphosisVegas ✨link in my bio

A post shared by Janet Jackson (@janetjackson) on Jun 6, 2019 at 10:20am PDT

Jackson’s sexiness has also translated to empowerment for minorities of every shade and struggle. Whether she’s calling out a lazy son of a gun on “What Have You Done For Me Lately” or chucking the deuces to a waste of space on “Pleasure Principle,” the performances of these tracks reminded supporters in attendance — which ranged from the ethnically diverse to queer — how Jackson laid down the blueprint for independent shot callers to get theirs in a world that often favors nasty boys (see current U.S. president). The live renditions of these songs in the age of #MeToo also affirm the timelessness and cultural relevance of Jackson’s musical inventory. The only minor downside of a mini-Greatest Hits concert is that not every song gets to shine in the spotlight in its entirety, leaving fans, both millennial and veteran, rabid for more.

Social change also fueled the residency. The final section of her tour celebrated 30 years of her breakthrough fourth album, 1989’s Rhythm Nation 1814. A visual of Jackson standing in a room of mirrors surrounded by social ills written on pieces of black tape like “Police Brutality,” “Hate” and “Sexism” backed by audio of her vowing to “keep working for change” as she did in her 20s preceded the anniversary tribute. 2019 morphed into 1989 as Jackson and her dancers donned all-black, militaristic outfits, stomping to empowerment anthems like “Black Cat” and the LP’s title track. Anyone who previously didn’t pledge allegiance to the Rhythm Nation joined the party in Vegas as a quick scan around the theater saw most fist-pumping or mimicking the moves out of their seats.

Before bringing the show to a close, Jackson made her transformation complete and dedicated a segment to her latest life chapter: motherhood. “Love. Fate. Destiny. Hope.,” her voice-over echoed before cursive text flashed on the jumbo screen against angelic images of the singer: “I am a mother. I love saying those words. I love the fact that I never gave up the one dream that meant more to me than any other. To be blessed with the responsibility, care, and upbringing of another human being. I see this as my ultimate metamorphosis.”

In 2017, Jackson welcomed a baby boy, her first child, at 50. Though she put her Unbreakable Tour on hiatus at the time, she resumed the global trek — which was renamed to the State of the World Tour — months after giving birth. Being a multi-hyphenate and mother is no easy feat nor is performing one’s catalog like it's the first time in multiple nights for a series of shows tightly packed into a span of four weeks. But somehow, like her career and personal accomplishments, Jackson gives her all into everything she does, as the leader of a nation should.

Janet Jackson’s Metamorphosis residency runs on select dates from July 24 to August 17.

Set List: Empty Feedback Trust A Try If You What Have You Done For Me Lately Control Nasty Pleasure Principle When I Think of You R&B Junkie The Best Things In Life Are Free That’s The Way Love Goes Got ‘Til It’s Gone Come Back To Me Funny How Time Flies Let’s Wait Awhile China Love Together Again All For You I Get Lonely Moist (Sexiest part) Anytime, Anyplace Go Deep Come On Get Up Rock With You Throb State of the World The Knowledge Miss You Much Love Will Never Do Alright Escapade Black Cat Rhythm Nation

Encore: So Excited Made For Now

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Cardi B And City Girls Close Out The BET Experience With Black Girl Rap Magic

Hip-hop is the nation’s most popular genre, from underground house parties in New York, where rappers and MCs would display their capabilities through a devilish delivery, worthy of snatching the breath from your body. Over the past thirty years, rappers have ascended into modern-day rock stars; sold out stadium tours, overt interactions with the law, and for City Girls and Cardi B; the assimilation of popular phrases like, “Okurrr”, and “Periodt” into America’s vernacular.

Their cultural influence was felt among concertgoers on Saturday (June 22) at Staples  Center for BET Experience as fans armies like the Bardi Gang and City Girls transformed the venue into an old school kickback, as they went word for word with their favorite rappers.

Snatched waists, icy gold chains, furs, and the occasional twerk from a group of aunties, (they turned BET Experience into a millennial’s version of Girls Trip); featured fashions from the night resembled one of Cardi’s promotional shots for her Fashion Nova campaign. The diverse composition of fans provided evidence about Cardi and City Girls longevity in hip hop, despite claims about the womxn rappers only be worthy of “15 minutes of fame.”

“Hit 'em with that wet wet, I put a ring on it for a check check,” Yung Miami started her twenty-minute set with a live performance of “Soakin Wet “with Atlanta-based rapper Marlo, as fans witnessed the City Girl demanded the stage, twelve days after her pregnancy announcement. Followed by a live performance of “Throw Fits,” a Bounce-inspired summer anthem with G-Eazy, who performed his verse alongside Miami, and gave her a hug, an acknowledgment from the Oakland rapper, who exited the stage, as murmurs of “Act Up” quietly thumped in the background. “Shout out my bad b***hes in b***h! Who got two phones; one for their suga daddy, and one for they shoota. Free JT, QC until I die,”

Miami’s closing statements as she transitioned into the set’s closer, “Act Up.” Decked in a blue satin crop top, and high waisted tiger pants, Miami squashed rumors about her inability to rock the City Girls brand as an expecting mother with a “PERIODT,” and prepped the audience to secure their frontals for Cardi B’s headlining performance.

“I waited my whole life just to s**t on ni***s. Climbed to the top floor so I can spit on ni***s”, the Grammy award-winning rapper proclaimed her seat as one of the hardest working professionals in the game, among a packed stadium, and started her sixty minute set, with a South Bronx energy, that backed her up claims as “King of New York.” From pouring water on herself during “PRESS”, jumping on top of the stage’s speakers for “Money”, and an intermixed medley of throwing ass, twerking, and grinding on stage; her utilization of the stage is reflective of Cardi’s beginnings as a dancer, because every eye in the Staples Center were fixated on the rhythmic movements of Cardi on stage.

“This is for all the bad b***hes in the building. I did it for the bad b***hes, and you ugly a** b***hes too,” as she performed verses from charting singles, such as “No Limit,” “She Bad,” “Money Bag,” “Motorsport,” and “Thotiana.” A solo performance, Cardi’s presence engulfed the arena, and went non-stop in calling out haters in “Wish Wish.”

The self-described “ brightest motherfuckin star,” backed it up with, “All of that talk and I'm calling it out, Public opinions from private accounts, You not a check, then you gotta bounce” from "Clout," her collab with hubby Offset. 

Mixed throughout the set are essential comedic moments from the rapper, such as a little dance to her repeating “I ain’t going to jail. F**k you mean. I ain’t going to jail” after being charged with 14 counts, dancing like an auntie at the cookout to "Finesse," and camp-inspired moments of fake tears to emotional standbys, "Ring" and "Be Careful." The Cardi B experience closed with "Bodak Yellow," the second song to top Billboard Hot 100 since Ms. Lauryn Hill, is a Cinderella ending to Cardi’s show, a living testament to the rapper’s growth and development in the game, since its release date, two years ago.

In the beginning, music industry executives categorized hip hop as a short-lived phenomenon that scheduled to fade away as its content was too explicit and lacked the range to establish fan bases outside of the boroughs of New York. Similar to Cardi and Yung Miami, hip hop’s 15 minutes of fame will never be up, and thirty years in the future, attendees will still be playing the female rapper’s discographies at family cookouts, a testimony to Cardi and City Girls’ longevity.

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Jennifer Lopez performs onstage for herIt's My Party Tour at The Forum on June 07, 2019 in Inglewood, California.
Rich Fury

Jennifer Lopez Throws Her Own Extravagant Birthday Bash For The ‘It’s My Party’ Tour

Two decades ago, Jennifer Lopez made her official foray into music with her debut album On The 6. After heightened success as the star in the 1997 biopic Selena, she released the album — an amalgamation of chart-friendly pop mixed with dance floor-ready R&B and Latin soul — on June 1, 1999. Its title and sonic influences were nods to her roots, specifically the 6 train which runs from her native Bronx to other parts of New York City. On the second night of her sold-out stint at Los Angeles’ The Forum (June 8), the triple threat not only celebrated twenty years of infectious earworms with a two-and-a-half-hour set but hosted a lavish birthday celebration as proof of how far Jenny from the block has come.

A montage of J.Lo’s iconic career opened the show, depicting the former Fly Girl from In Living Color reminiscing on her milestones from humble beginnings to motherhood. “I was just a dancer from New York and I was trying to make it,” she said in the video. That hustle manifested into superstardom as she pumped out albums, tours, movies, fashion and beauty franchises that have kept her brand — and cash flow — from going stagnant.

As a summer-long pregame for her real-life birthday, Lopez set the Party off with a decadent Moët & Chandon champagne bottle parade and 20 dancers in tow (including finalists from her dance show World of Dance, Swing Latino, season two winners The Lab and dancer Briar Nolet). “Everyone’s a VIP member,” her DJ proclaimed as Lopez proceeded to host an extravaganza that could only be described as balling with no budget. With roughly eight wardrobe changes, cinematic vignettes that provided opportune moments to switch ‘fits, elaborate sets, and enough confetti showers to rival New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, Lopez made every attendee feel like it was his or her life’s anniversary, too.

For those still hung up on the 2000s, J.Lo catered to the day-ones with updated versions of her early hits. Her inaugural hit “If You Had My Love” set the mood for a burlesque performance that included a sultry lap dance from her and two dancers for a lucky male audience member. She also worked a hefty, black chaise chair with a steamy striptease that quenched the thirst of anyone at the show without a beverage. This later transitioned into a candlelit performance of Drake’s Scorpion slow jam “Teenage Fever,” which sampled the 1999 song and perhaps, served as a gratuitous thank you to the 6 God for showing love. “Waiting For Tonight” ditched the green laser aesthetic from the iconic video for a more vibrant, Pride Month-friendly set-up as Lopez slipped into a lime green catsuit and her dancers vogued ball-style in neon colored outfits that exposed their taut bods.

Never shying away from her hip-hop swag, several numbers saluted her rap ties like the J.Lo and Ja Rule collaborations “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny” triggered instant nostalgia of Juicy Couture velour suits and dog days at the local park. The LOX-assisted “Jenny From The Block” featured Lopez in a cheeky jumpsuit and shimmery New York fitted cap. She broke it down to French Montana’s “Shot Caller” and the song’s sampled classics: 20th Century Steel Band’s “Heaven and Hell is on Earth” and Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx.” More contemporary jams like the money-loving anthem “Dinero” (with featured guest and fellow Bronx boo, Cardi B, projected against a backdrop of a golden bank vault) the rump-shaker “Booty,” and a random but here-for-it dance performance to Blueface’s “Thotiana” also got the crowd hype.

Any J.Lo set would be remiss without an emotional segment that harps on her incessant campaign of positivity. After slipping on a voluminous red gown, Lopez slowed down the tempo to deliver a rendition of “Limitless” off the soundtrack for her 2018 rom-com Second Act mashed up with David Guetta and Sia’s powerhouse number “Titanium.” To tug at heartstrings even more, Lopez’s daughter Emme joined her mother onstage and flaunted her vocal chops in an impressive sing-off. The night’s leading lady also admitted that birthdays, especially big ones (she turns 50 in July), often prompt deep self-reflection.

 

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I can’t take it! #Emme #Limitless #ProudMama #JLoItsMyParty

A post shared by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:59am PDT

After covering one of her favorite songs “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, Lopez launched into a mini-TED Talk on perseverance. “Even though [“Gravity” is] a love song, it’s about a struggle. Life is like that,” she said. “But somehow, we always find our way back to ourselves when we make it through its tough times. You get to a certain point in your life and people start asking you for advice. It’s like, ‘What have you learned? Give me some secrets. What do you wanna teach your children? What do you want them to know?’

“And I always say, I just want them to know they can do whatever they want to do or they can be whoever they want to be,” she continued. “Life gon’ be hard sometimes and they’re gonna fall down but they gon’ get right back up and mommy’s always gonna be right there.” She turned her attention to the fans, injecting them with the same can-do attitude. “In some of the toughest times I’ve had, when I have fallen down, you guys have helped me get right back up. I want everybody to know that because we’ve really been on this journey together, haven’t we?” she asked. “Something I’ve learned... It took a long time for me, maybe just this year, it really clicked in, is that you can really do whatever you want to do.”

With her toast-worthy speech a wrap, Lopez resumed her boogie-down bash, bringing the funk with “Hold It Don’t Drop It” before repping for all the Latinos in the house with a medley of her Spanish-language bops like her verse on Nio García, Darell and Casper Mágico’s 2017 smash “Te Bote” as well as the Bad Bunny duet “Te Guste.” While Lopez has since secured a diamond from her now-fiancee Alex Rodriguez, “El Anillo” still rang off (pun intended) in the arena.

After shaking what her momma gave her all night, Lopez brought a different type of cake for the finale. After burning what was probably several hundred calories during performances of the club bangers “Dance Again” and “On The Floor,” she returned in a nude bodysuit surrounded a flurry of showgirl feathers as the centerpiece of a three-tiered structure mirroring a wedding cake. It was a fitting encore for a 49-year-old woman who has spent her entire career chasing her passions, even if the risks yielded some type of personal loss or failure both in private and in the public eye. Being an entertainer who can pull off a soirée of this magnitude across the country (while juggling motherhood, an acting career, and other entrepreneurial endeavors) requires the type of confidence only afforded by those who know and trust themselves. As pyrotechnics lit up the stage and metallic streamers and oversized white balloons fell from the ceiling, one particular J.Lo one-liner from the night mirrored her life in that moment. “I’m from the Bronx and this is my party,” she said. “I can do what I want.”

It's My Party Tour Set List

Medicine Love Don’t Cost A Thing Get Right Dinero I’m Real (Remix) Ain’t It Funny (Remix) Jenny From The Block If You Had My Love Teenage Fever (Drake original) Girls Booty Gravity (Sara Bareilles original) Limitless Titanium (David Guetta featuring Sia original) Ain’t Your Mama All I Have Hold It Don’t Drop It Te Bote 2 (Nio García, Darell and Casper Mágico original) Te Guste The Ring (“El Anillo”) Waiting For Tonight Dance Again On The Floor Let’s Get Loud

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