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Little Simz's 2016 Was Everything But A Still Wonderland

Little Simz's 'Wonderland' will be the one you have in rotation to round out 2016.

We may be running out of legends according to Little Simz, but the UK rapper is definitely leaving her mark. The Forbes “30 Under 30” MC exposed us to the Stillness In Wonderland this past Friday (Dec. 16) with her sophomore project and accompanying film.

In anticipation for both of the drops, Simbi took to Twitter to share a little background into what Stillness meant to her, stating it was the “biggest challenge for me to date.” She and her fans are used to a rapid release of sonic revelation, releasing Gucci Mane numbers with 10 projects in the last three years. Simz stepped out of her comfort zone, slowing down the press and embarking on the road “for near enough the whole of 2016,” filling her schedule with tours and international festivals to provide for the conceptualization of this project. She made a note that traveling, discovering herself and the world, while “the beauty, distractions and trappings of the world of entertainment” allowed her to astutely draw parallels to her life and Alice In Wonderland, which acts as a sequel to her debut project, A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons.

The independent artist’s LP has been compared to Solange’s A Seat At The Table in successfully offering a safe haven to escape to, amidst a world that seems confusing and cruel, “without ever losing sight of the truth.”

Beginning with the acronym “LMPD,” Simz begins to analyze the social scope of the world around us from her perspective as she declares that even though she isn’t half the woman that Maya (Angelou) was, she still hears “the voice of Nina (Simone) here guiding us.” While her male counterpart, Chronixx, attests that “Luther King’s soul is still patiently waiting for his dreams to come true.”

Simbi Ajikawo vents about how life’s different opportunities and possibilities act as rabbit holes leading you to different outcomes, a majority of which have been accumulated “Trust Issues.” With the combo track, “Doorways + Trust Issues,” the introverted artist embodies a more introspective rendition of the concept behind  Biggie’s “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems.” In the complementary film, Simz creates a dichotomy between the two halves. During the “Doorways” portion, she explores a still atmosphere to embody someone weighing out their options. For the remaining “Trust Issues,” Little Simz is still, observing an active environment, much like someone’s mind state as they experience trust issues.

The rest of the album explores her desire to be the “One In Rotation” in your speakers and simultaneously reminds herself to be “Wide Awake” as she reflects on what she brings to the game with her “Bad To The Bone” demeanor. Simz also surveys how the “finer things and italian meals” embody the “Picture Perfect” lifestyle, while the Cheshire prompts her to be careful because “this could end up being your reality.” Nearly rounding out the album with “Poison Ivy,” in the Tilla-assisted track, the MC explores a toxic relationship with unapologetically, grungy guitar riffs matched with echoed percussions to create the image of the dance of forbidden lovers.

But, the film is what really makes the album come alive, bringing her concept to the forefront. Giving feels of the original, Alice In Wonderland, with swift scene-to-scene ups and downs, accompanied by a human Cheshire, who doubles as a therapist. Simbi delivers a modern-day Wonderland with a static TV, appearing virtually at the end of every scene, representing her life being on display, which is a relatable concept with the assistance of the variety of social media outlets available to us.

Take a break from your hectic day-to-day responsibilities and drift into Wonderland with Little Simz’s latest project here. And stay tuned for the initial release of her 4-part WELCOME TO WONDERLAND comic book series, pictured below, focusing on the supernatural nature of Wonderland, written by Eddie "Versetti" Smith with artwork by McKay Felt.

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The Musical 'Exodus' Of Brian McKnight

With every grand entry, there usually comes a grand closing. In the case of R&B veteran Brian McKnight, it's no surprise that he has decided to end his 20-album run of compilations with his latest studio album, Exodus. Although McKnight doesn't consider this the end of his musical career, the singer-songwriter has decided to use this time to redirect his energy and time to truly living life and pursuing other endeavors.

"It's not really retirement. It's that I think that I've said everything I need to say as far as original music is concerned," he says in an on-camera interview with VIBE. "And it's funny because I have friends of mine that are calling like, so you're not writing for yourself and well, can I have those songs that you're going to write that you're not going to use?

"I'm like, sure. So that's another way to go, writing songs for other people. I just, there's so many other things that I want to do. I want to wake up every day and my wife and I just do whatever makes us happy."

With his single Earl Cohen-produced "Nobody" and 12 other signature, love tunes on the tracklist, Exodus serves as a solid body of work. The inspiration behind is last album of original work? The love of his life—his wife, Leilani—who he randomly crossed paths with at an event he was attending.

"I think the thing that people need to realize is that when you meet someone and all you want to do is give of yourself to them, then it's no longer about you."

Watch our full interview with McKnight where he talks about his new album, how he's been managing the new normal, quarantine life, why he's been able to stand the test of time and that thing called love.

Stream Brian's Exodus album on Apple Music, Spotify, or Tidal.

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DJ Cassidy

Watch: DJ Cassidy Debuts New Digital Music Show 'Pass The Mic' Featuring Legendary Music Greats

When we think of good times from back in the day, it's usually with some type of musical soundtrack that accompanies the action we think of fondly. Another layer to those scenes are usually the songs from the legendary artists that celebrity mixmaster, DJ Cassidy has on speed dial and in his new digital music show, Pass The Mic.

From the golden era to now, the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Jeff Red, Patrice Rushen, Ricky Bell & Bobby Brown of New Edition and many more, take turns passing the mic virtually over an impeccably timed mixed version DJ set by Cassidy, all from the comfort of their homes.

Having secured the social platform Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/djcassidy) for the debut run on Thursday (July 2) to the huge success of over 20k viewers, Cassidy reposted the 24-minute soul session in full through his Instagram TV (watch below).

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A post shared by DJ Cassidy (@djcassidy) on Jul 2, 2020 at 8:16pm PDT

DJ Cassidy explains the idea and inspiration for the program:

"This week is my birthday week, and since I’ve been known to celebrate by uniting my friends in droves and surprising them with legendary performances by iconic artists, I wanted to find a way to revisit that tradition in light of the times. One evening, during the heat of the quarantine, I FaceTimed with my dear friend and mentor, Verdine White of Earth Wind & Fire. While we were catching up, his classic record, 'That’s The Way Of The World,' came on my speakers. Hearing that song, while on the phone with Verdine, put a smile on my face and brought me some much needed calm. I thought about how fortunate I was to have friendships with many of my heroes and how lucky I was to be able to enjoy their music in their company.

I wondered if I could find a way to share that special feeling with others, so I sat at my turntables in my living room and began Zooming with my musical heroes of 1970s and 1980s, literally passing the mic from one home to the next, in effort to honor and uplift the heroes around the world on the frontlines of health, freedom, and justice. The result is PASS THE MIC.

I hope this virtual mix moves others as much as it has moved me. I am forever grateful to my musical heroes for their decades of hope, inspiration, and soul, and with them, I celebrate all the heroes around the world."

Overwhelming love for the project has Cassidy already looking at version two sooner than later. Be on the look out for more live home performances from our music icons and DJ Cassidy.

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Pop Smoke attends the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 16, 2020 in Paris, France.
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Listen To Pop Smoke’s Posthumous Debut Album ‘Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon’

Pop Smoke’s heavily anticipated debut album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, was released on Friday (July 3).

The album dropped with new cover art after Virgil Abloh caught backlash for his initial design. 50 Cent offered to help Abloh rework the cover but its unclear if he had a hand in the final product.

 

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SHOOT FOR THE STARS AIM FOR THE MOON Available Now 💫

A post shared by @ shootforthestars on Jul 2, 2020 at 9:07pm PDT

Pop Smoke, whose birth name was Bashar Jackson, was shot and killed in February. The Brooklyn native would have celebrated his 21st birthday on July 20.

Last month, the late rapper’s mother family announced the official launch of the Shoot for the Stars Foundation, which was established before his passing. “The foundation is meant to inspire inner city youth to do just what the name said ‘Shoot for the Stars,’” his mother said in a statement.

As for the album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon features 19 tracks, with guest appearances from 50 Cent, Quavo, Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Tyga and more.

Listen below.

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