Jason Chandler

The Incredible Highs & Unfortunate Lows Of The 2017 Governors Ball Festival

Other festivals might want to take notes from Gov Ball, who presented an enjoyable experience for both the fan and the artist.

Governors Ball Festival is considered to be the calmer presentation of artists, food and brands during festival season, but this year’s mix of rap, pop, alternative and rock acts made it one of its most unique and dynamic rollouts ever.

The high octave energy was dispensed evenly thanks to the die hard fans who showed up every day (June 2- June 4) to see acts like Chance The Rapper, Lorde, Childish Gambino, Logic and Wiz Khalifa. Ferry and bus rides helped transport fans from Harlem to Randall's Island, a relatively quiet space with an eerie origin story. While the weather wasn’t completely cooperative, it didn’t stop festival goers from breaking out the fringe, the glitter and noticeably, the Chance’s signature “3” hats.

With so much to cover, like Logic pointing out his fans by name from the stage, Wu-Tang’s celebration for the 20th anniversary of Wu-Tang Forever to Donald Glover announcing his soon-to-be retirement from his artist moniker Childish Gambino, here are the best moments from the festival.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the moments that left us shaking our heads and at times, leaving us speechless.

Check it out below.



Kehlani Sends Love To The LGBTQ Community

Kehlani, the R&B incarnation of a warm hug, blessed the Gov Ball stage on Friday, bringing nothing but good vibes. The Cali songstress delivered hip-hop soul to the masses with jams from her critically-acclaimed studio debut, SweetSexySavage. From “CRZY,” “Distraction” to “Do You Dirty” the singer had the attention of many, including her LGBTQ fans. With June declared as Pride month, the singer took a moment to show love the devoted community and reminded everyone to keep spreading love.

Hip-Hop Mosh Pits Just As Great As They Sound

Believed to be just a practiced nuance at rock concerts, the art form found life throughout the entire weekend. Schoolboy Q’s Honda Stage set was the place to be for those looking to push and shove to “Gangsta” and “Collard Greens.” On the grand scheme of things, it’s truly refreshing to see carefree folks jam hard to the music that normally floods aux cords at house parties.

The mosh pits didn’t stop there as they continued through A$AP Ferg, Stormy, Danny Brown and Skepta’s sets. The Bacardi stage also brought waves of pleasant chaos thanks to Rae Sremmurd. The duo brought a significantly larger crowd than their 2015 Gov Ball debut, thanks to to the success of SremmLife 2 cut, “Black Beatles.” Spreading across the grounds, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi brought their own Shrem-mania as fans climbed fences, pillars and even each other to be apart of the moment. It may seem minutiae compared to hip-hop’s latest triumphs, but it’s still an feeling like no other.

Wu-Tang Clan Celebrates Wu-Tang Forever’s 20th Anniversary

RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa and Cappadonna helped bring the same amount of boisterous spirits to the Gov Ball stage on Saturday with the celebration of the 1997 classic, Wu-Tang Forever. Deep solo cuts like Ghostface Killah’s “Fish” (Ironman) and GZA’s “Duel of the Iron Mics” (Liquid Swords) also filled the set lists to fans’ surprise. RZA and Method helped sent verbal memos heard over the festival, reminding those unaware of Wu’s influence.  Classics like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Triumph” were also performed on the stage that included an homage to the late Ol' Dirty Bastard via “Old Dirty Bastard’s Chinese Restaurant.”

Special guests included ODB’s son Young Dirty Bastard and Redman, who joined Method Man for a take on their 1999 classic, “Da Rockwilder.” It was a trip back in time any music fan would’ve loved to be apart of.


White Young Adults Saying The N-Word In Drunken Glee

Sure, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard the slur at a festival, let alone hip-hop shows by a predominantly white crowd. Nonetheless, it was pretty awkward for presumably liberal whites to chant “n***a” during the sets of Schoolboy Q, Chance The Rapper, Rae Sremmurd and YG. After peeping disrespect in Harlem (a group of white fans refusing to make space in the MetroCard line for an older black blind man to walk by), the blanket of love heavily promoted during festivals was burned in a matter of minutes.

While jamming to Schoolboy, I witnessed “n***a telephone” happen in real time. A group of friends trying to leave the front of the crowd repeated it during “That Part” with one girl getting permission after only seeing her gal pal say it with sheer happiness. From there, the group of white women in front of me jumped on the line to say “n***a” as their fringe sashayed from left to right. Wu’s set had the same amount of white fans but not many eager to say the n-word.

Chuck it up to the generational gap in white hip-hop fans we suppose.

Kendrick Lamar and the Surprise That Could've Been

This isn’t so much as a low as it is a moment that probably happened in another timeline. Schoolboy Q announced Kendrick Lamar was supposed to be his special guest, but sadly had to pull out at the last minute. Citing a family emergency, Schoolboy Q played “Humble” in his honor. We can only wonder the magic that K.Dot and Groovy Q would’ve shared on stage.


Chance The Rapper Takes Us To Church

Surrounded by a live band and fashionable backup singers, Chance The Rapper’s set on the Gov Ball stage was just a peek into the artist’s “Be Encouraged Tour.” Several renditions of “Blessings” were performed throughout his set, alluding to his recent career highs. Friendly and and inviting, The Coloring Book creator did his new fans a favor by taking it back to his Acid Rap cuts, “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” “Lost” and “Juice.”

Several shout outs to the man upstairs were heard from Chance, especially during his performance of “Angels.” He also joked that critics call him a “Christian rapper” for his Grammy-winning project. It didn’t stop him from showing love as he jumped into renditions of “Waves” and “Ultralight Beam,” his contributions to Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo.

After an intermission led by Francis and the Lights, Chance brought out Ty Dolla $ign to close the show with “Blessings.” “You should be hearing your own voice,” the rapper reminded everyone. Pyrotechnics filled up the once-clear night sky with much adored melodies from Ty in the background.

As it turns out, Chance was the stamp of happiness we needed.

Childish Gambino Creates A Safe Space For Lovers

The fact that the field was nearly filled to capacity two hours before Childish Gambino took the Honda stage tells you everything you need to know about the mesmerizing set. Waves of Gambino fans with memorabilia from his 2011 “IAMDONALD” and 2014 “Deep Web” tours were more than ready to see the “Redbone” artist perform what would be his only show of 2017. Jumping right into “Me and Your Mama,” the crowd was sent into a trance of celestial bliss with Gambino’s combination of soft and soul cleansing harmonies. After a few Awaken My Love! cuts, Gambino took a trip to Because the Internet with “Worldstar,” “Crawl,” “Sweatpants, “Zealots of Stockholm” and “The Worst Guys.”

Gambino enjoyed the crowd participation of “California” when several joints found their way on stage. Strangers broke into American Bandstand mode for “3005” and “Telegraph Ave,” continuing the sentiment with “Sober” and his viral cover of Tamia’s “So Into You.”

Making a U-turn to Awaken My Love!, Gambino gave a tender shout out to his son Legend before breaking into “Baby Boy.” Music Director and producer of Awaken, Ludwig Göransson, let his guitar cry throughout the show, giving Gambino ample opportunity to grind and caress the air.

As a closer, Gambino played out one of the viral covers of “Redbone,” with a monologue about impressing the perfect girl. Endless make out sessions happened like it was New Year’s Eve in Times Square, even before Gambino could get to the hit song’s chorus. It was definitely the place to be if you wanted to share a moment of romance with a fellow music lover.


Donald Glover Announces His Retirement From Childish Gambino

As “Redbone” came to an end, Gambino thanked the fans and announced that his next Gambino album would be his last. Another bummer but not quite a low, Glover’s decision to close the chapter on Childish Gambino was evident, considering his artistic journey so far. "Last Childish Gambino album announcement. He will pursue an apprenticeship making pasta in north Italy," Atlanta writer and creative director Ibra Ake shared in his behind the scenes gallery of Gambino’s Gov Ball set. Glover is much less a master of none and more like the architect for the next phase in his innovative career.

Method Man’s Trust Fall Is A Fail

During Wu-Tang’s performance, Method Man proved to be the most interactive with the crowd as he encouraged everyone to feel powers of Shaolin during the show. His trust in the crowd was admirable, even when his stage dive didn’t go as planned.

YG & Rae Sremmurd Played At The Same Damn Time

Don’t make us choose between the two ever again.


Logic Spots His Fans By Name During Performance

Logic’s performance at the Big Apple stage was all about “love, peace and positivity” as he called out his biggest supporters by name. The moment, which happened at the beginning of his set, felt like a family reunion for the rapper and his die-hard fans. He also made sure to start the show with jams from his latest album, Everybody before taking a trip to The Unbelievable True Story and Under Pressure.

Gov Ball Special Guests Were Inflatable & Helpful

The festival brought music fans from all over and while some weren’t human, the ones who were seemed to be pretty helpful. Before joining Method Man on stage Saturday, Redman acted as a golf cart driver for Artist Transportation and helped guests avoid the crowds. He didn’t stop after hopping on the Gov Ball stage–he also transported Gambino’s Royalty collective to the stage.

Redman wasn’t the only appreciated special guest. A$AP Ferg brought out Flatbush Zombies and Ty Dolla $ign surprised both Wiz Khalifa and Chance’s fans. Eric Andre shared his love for Chance via his Instagram Stories and Kelly Osbourne hung out by the press tent after enjoying The Orwells.

Skepta kept an inflatable alien on the Bacardi stage as a reference to his “Banned From America” tour and Wiz passed inflatable joints from the Honda stage to the crowd. Other festivals might want to take notes from Gov Ball, who presented an enjoyable experience for both the fan and the artist.

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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.


8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.


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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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