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Interview: Smino Celebrates The Art Of Black Excellence On "Blkoscars"

The St. Louis artist shares with VIBE the inspiration behind his latest track and updates on his upcoming album, blkswn. 

The firm presence of black culture at this year's Academy Awards Sunday (Feb. 25) will be felt on the red carpet all the way to the small screens of Middle America. The power of such films as Fences and masterful filmmakers like Barry Jenkins has even influenced budding lyrical maven Smino to release "Blkoscars" (featuring Jay2), an ode to black excellence and witty retort to the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite debacle.

The St. Louis native tells VIBE inspiration for the Monte Booker-produced track came during  2016, the year everyone hates and the height of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. "I was in Chicago with my brother and Monte sent me this cool a** beat," he said. "We were discussing the absence of people of color at the Oscars since #OscarsSoWhite was happening, so that's where the concept came from. It just so happened that people of color have taken over the nominations this year, so it's just good timing how it all came together." For the first time in Academy history, a black actor is nominated in every single major acting catergory—Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. While Viola Davis is recognized as the most nominated black woman in Oscar history, other legends of color like Jackie Chan will be receiving the Honorary Academy Award (he's only the fifth Asian to receive the award.)

Never one to mask his confidence, Smino is a nurturing and encouraging supporter of black culture. "The coldest s**t about being black is you're kind of just ahead of the curve naturally," he said."Your access to cool s**t just comes out of the air. I feel like a black kid could sit in his room forever and not meet one person in his whole life and make some dope a** art based on what he can pull together from his head. It's already through our ancestors, the music and different crazy styles."

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Smino showcases the wave on change on "Blkoscars" with his ability to drop melodic hooks and double-timed bars. The young-old cat says he was blown away by Oscar-nominated films Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures. "I saw all of them with my girl. Moonlight is good as f***," he boasts. "Mahershala [Ali] did a great job in both films (Hidden Figures and Fences). Hidden Figures actually inspired the last song I put out ("Anita") and Fences was so impressive, I didn't get to see the play but I appreciated the film."

Fences-director and star Denzel Washington is among the rapper's Top 3 actors list, along with Jamie Foxx and Will Smith. "Foxx is so versatile and [then there's] Denzel," he said. "He made Training Day so he's the top dog." When it comes to learning any gems from Hollywood, Smino says he's observed it from afar. "You self-consciously study the game and s**t when you're a kid, but you're watching entertainers grow their brand," he said. "I've always paid attention to that."

Smino has wrapped up visuals to "Anita" and says his blkswn project is entering the final stages of completion. For now, feel the groove of black power on "Blkoscars" below.

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Cardi B To Join James Corden On A Forthcoming "Carpool Karaoke" Segment

Your rapper’s favorite rapper Cardi B is slated to make her debut on “Car Pool Karaoke” with James Corden, Billboard reports. The Late Late Show host teased the upcoming episode, which airs Monday (Dec.17) via Instagram along with a small schedule of the show’s upcoming guests.


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Here’s what the next two weeks look like on the @latelateshow! Seeing the year out with a bang x x x

A post shared by James Corden (@j_corden) on Dec 10, 2018 at 5:17pm PST

In addition to the “Money” rapper, Amber Heard and Armie Hammer will also appear on the same episode. Corden is closing out the last leg of 2018 strong by having a slew of other prominent stars on the show on the last week before the program goes on break for the holidays. The likes of Gwen Stefani, RuPaul, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Blunt, Leah Remini, Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others will be featured on the show after Bardi’s Monday episode.

To say the least, we're sure the British talk show host and the newly minted Grammy-nominated rapper are going to have the time of their lives.

The 26-year-old's now estranged husband Offset, along with the other members of Migos were guests on the beloved show. Joining Corden as he drove through the streets of Los Angeles, the trio performed a slew of hits including "Walk It Talk It"  while also giving a nod of praise to past hits, including Whitney Houston's "Wanna Dance With Somebody."

With all the fun Migos had with Corden, we can only imagine what shenanigans James and Belcalis are going to get into.

READ MORE: Cardi B Buys Her Mother's House

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Usher Releases "Peace Sign" Video Off Of 'A' Project

Given Monday's (Dec. 10) debate about who's the king of R&B, one of the names that steadily popped up in the conversation has stepped onto the scene. In a visual promotion for his A soundscape, Usher released the video for "Peace Sign" alongside producer Zaytoven.

Previously, the pair hit the studio for an eight-track project that pays respect to their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. It was surprise-released in October and effortlessly fuses ATL's aura on the soundscape. Now, the "Peace Sign" video puts that decision into cinematic motion.

"Atlanta offers a certain attitude and a sauce that I can't explain, and it is a little bit in 'No Limit,' it is a little bit in 'TNT.' I'm literally talking sh*t, man," he said in an interview with The Fader. "I'm popping sh*t that I haven't popped, like really ever. And that's what being in the moment creates. When you have months and months to think about it and you begin to analyze all the people who you need to think of and what you want this entire project to work out, you'll lose certain elements of your spontaneity an incredible culture that just happens in the moment. I didn't give that space. I really was honest with the feelings, I was honest with the conversation and I was really in the moment. And I thank Zay for that."

Watch the video up top.

READ MORE: Tyrese, Usher And Others Reacts To Jacquees' Claim That He's The King Of R&B

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T.I. Releases Short Film For "The Amazing Mr. F**k Up"

T.I. keeps himself accountable for his wrongdoings in the cinematic visual for "The Amazing Mr. F**k Up."

Premiered Monday (Dec. 10) on his series T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle, the track featuring singer-songwriter Victoria Monet, is flipped into a 10-minute-short film. Directed by Mike Ho, the short film stars comedienne Britney Elena, Colombus Short, Woody McClain and model Denise Rodriguez.

Starting at a fancy dinner gathering among friends, things take a turn for the worst when the rapper's other partner invades the feast. On the Dime Trap cut, T.I. calls out himself for his past mistakes and deviances with acknowledgment on how he needs to do better.

"It's amazing all the sh*t I done / Such examples I've been setting for my son / All she did was stay down and have my kid / All the time just to realize I ain't sh*t," T.I. spits. In addition to the rapper flexing his acting chops, the album version of the song includes the infamous scene in ATL between Tip and Lauren London, where his character snatches a necklace he gifted for New New.

The rapper is currently closing out the year on an impressive note as it was revealed that his music has been streamed 276 million times on the music streaming service Spotify. "A modest flex to end my 18th year in this sh*t!!!! Multitudes of Gratitude!!! #NextYearWeGoBigger!!!!," the Grand Hustle emcee tweeted on Saturday (Dec. 8).

Check out the video above


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Extra thx to @brittneyelena @woody_thegreat @mikeho_ @officialcshort and errrrbody involved in bringing this vision to life!!! #TheAmazingMrFuckUP out @vevo after tonight’s episode of Friends and Family Hustle!!! @vh1

A post shared by TIP (@troubleman31) on Dec 10, 2018 at 6:34pm PST


A modest flex to end my 18th year in this sh*t!!!! Multitudes of Gratitude!!! #NextYearWeGoBigger!!!!

— T.I. (@Tip) December 8, 2018

READ MORE: T.I. On 'Madman' Donald Trump: 'On The World Stage, It's A Joke'

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