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Interview: 2 Live Crew Reflects On The Loss Of Co-Founder Fresh Kid Ice

2 Live Crew's DJ Mixx, Brother Marquis, and manager Joseph "Lil Joe" Weinburger talk about the loss of Kid Fresh Ice. 

Earlier this morning (July 13), Christopher "Fresh Kid Ice" Wong Won died from health complications in a Miami hospital at the age of 53. Though Ice suffered from medical issues over the years, his 2 Live Crew brethren Brother Marquis and DJ Mr. Mixx kept the group alive as they created new music and toured throughout the country. Miami icons like Trick Daddy, DJ Khaled, and Uncle Luke himself issued thoughts and prayers for Won via social media.

"I just got the word that my long time friend and rap legend Fresh Kid Ice the Chinaman has passed away," Brother Marquis told VIBE. "I would like to say that I love him and extend my condolences to his family. He truly loved all of his fans. I’ll always remember and cherish all of the good times we had together and all of the history we made. I would like to express my true love for him."

READ: 2 Live Crew’s Fresh Kid Ice Dead At 53

Before Marquis and Uncle Luke joined 2 Live Crew, Won formed the group in the mid-80s with DJ Mr. Mixx while stationed together in California during his time in the U.S. Air Force. Mixx and former member Amazing Vee released the group's first single "Revelation" in 1984 and instantly gained popularity in Florida. Although Vee left early on, Won and Mixx relocated to Miami and eventually gave birth to the Miami Bass movement with their music.

"We were military brothers, and we were brothers in making music," DJ Mr. Mixx tells VIBE. "We changed the world. We had a lot of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that happened for the best of us. I hope that he rests in peace and God has mercy on his soul. We were definitely good for the music industry. We changed a lot of things. I hope that everybody gets this, and respects the fact that if you have somebody close to you that’s significant, let them know that they are significant."

After 2 Live Crew released their Move Somethin' album in 1988, the Miami Bass pioneer was involved in a serious car accident, which injured his brachial plexus and caused him to lose all movement in his left arm. Over two decades after his horrific accident, Won suffered a stroke in 2009 and another one in 2010. He survived but had to learn how to walk again and correct his speech. At press time, it was unknown whether his past ailments played a role in his death.

"Joseph Weinberger and the Lil' Joe Records / 2 Live Crew Enterprises family extend their deepest condolences to the family of Christopher Wong Won," Joseph "Lil Joe" Weinberger said in a statement provided by Abebe Lewis Branding and Marketing Group. "Hip-hop has lost a legend. No one was more passionate than the dominating Fresh Kid Ice. RIP. You will be missed."

Recently, reports surfaced that Lionsgate would spearhead the official 2 Live Crew biopic. Hopefully, Chinaman's legacy will be able to thrive on the big screen in the near future.

RIP Fresh Kid Ice.

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Lil Wayne performs at the 2019 Outside Lands music festival at Golden Gate Park on August 09, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
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Lil Wayne Talks ‘Ghost Recon Breakpoint’ Game, ‘Funeral’ Sessions And More

When Lil Wayne released his long-delayed Carter V and resolved his legal differences with Cash Money Records a year ago, he could have walked into the sunset and ended his career as one of the greatest artists ever. He’s put more than 20 years of his life into music, starting his career as a fresh-faced teenager in the mid-90s and going nonstop with more than 30 albums and mixtapes, an all-time great run of guest verses, a relentless touring schedule, and an indelible impact on the other rappers who have come after him. But Tunechi is still staying just as active, both in the booth and outside of it. 2019 alone has seen him launch a collection with American Eagle, continue his annual Lil Weezyana Fest for the fifth year, and tour with Blink 182 while releasing mashups of their previous work.

But today, Wayne is speaking with VIBE about another one of his passions: video games. He’s doing commercials for Ubisoft’s upcoming Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the 11th game in Tom Clancy’s tactical shooter franchise, slated for an Oct. 4 release. The ads see Wayne showcasing his hilarious personality, playing online with a team of other players and throwing jokes while consistently letting them down with phone calls and other distractions.

“That’s happened more than a few times, when you play games a lot, especially with your homies, and everybody’s on some sort of team and everybody’s counting on everybody,” Wayne tells VIBE over the phone. “It doesn’t even have to be a phone call. It can be somebody at the door, it can be your mom screaming at you, anything.”

Artists have historically relied on video games to pass the time during their tours, and Wayne has always been known for his adoration for the Madden NFL series. He’s a die-hard sports fan, as seen from his social media and his appearances on sports talk shows with his friend Skip Bayless. Years ago, T-Pain said he saw Wayne and Cash Money co-founder Birdman bet up to $10,000 on games, while letting the computer battle it out to see who wins – like sports betting, but you get to pick each other’s competition.

“I don’t recall that,” Wayne laughs when asked if T-Pain’s statements were true. “I don’t recall letting the computer play for no $10,000, but we definitely probably played each other for something like that. … I’m sure I didn’t lose that $10,000 bet whenever it happened. I don’t think I’ve lost too much. I’d say about $500 would be the biggest loss I’ve had, if anything. Maybe $1,000. But I’m putting the [cheat] code in on you and everything for that $10,000.”

These days, while Wayne says that Drake and Birdman have made games tough for him in terms of other artists, he admits that his biggest competition is at home.

“If I’m playing an artist, I’m only practicing against you to get better against my kids. You gotta stay superior on stuff like that,” he chuckles. His sons are aged 10, 9 and 9, “but think they’re 21 and 22.” “My sons, they like to play vintage, so I have to go back and get a team that was great in the year of the team that they pick. My middle son’s vintage team is the LA Rams, my youngest son, Meatball, is going to go with the Atlanta Falcons from the year that Deion Sanders was playing, and my oldest son, Tune, is going to go with the Bengals when they had Boomer Esiason.”

Wayne also spoke about the Top 50 rap lists that have been circulating this summer. While he’s cited Jay-Z as his GOAT before, he took time to give credit to Missy Elliott as one of his favorite rappers and described her impact using another sports analogy.

“A lot of people, their eyes widen up when I say that. If I placed her, there may be a question. It shouldn’t be, though,” Wayne says. “When Missy came out, everybody was rapping about the same things, and everybody [in each region] was trying to get better at the same things, one type of style, in my eyes. … Missy came out way from Virginia on some other shit, making sounds. Her and Timbaland were like Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick.”

His rap bonafides are unquestionable, but Wayne has also dabbled in rock: his tour with Blink 182 was paired with a mashup of his song “A Milli” and the band’s “What’s My Age Again,” and he released his own rock album Rebirth in 2010. When asked if he would consider making another rock album, Wayne said he liked the idea.

“I would definitely want some help on it this time. I did that one by myself. The most help I got, I consider her like another mom, is [soul/R&B singer] Ms. Betty Wright. She taught me a few strings, a few chords on the guitar, how to hold a few notes,” Wayne reveals. “I would definitely fuck with Blink, I’d let Travis go crazy on one or two of them bitches. … I would love to go back and do some vintage songs on it this time as well. I would have to get some clearances on one or two songs from a band or an artist we all love, and do it like that. I’m trying to see what’s up with a Nirvana song or something. Try to get my Kurt Cobain on.”

The Young Money Entertainment founder also says that despite a lack of updates, he and Drake still plan to make an album together.

“We’re both doing what we do, but he already know,” Wayne says. “We still text and send songs here and there, change a verse because he killed me or change a verse ‘cuz I killed him. It’s still the same competition.”

While those two projects are good interview fodder, Wayne’s 13th studio album Funeral is further along – he’s said in the weeks after this interview that he plans to release it by the end of the year. It’ll be his first collection of new, timely music in at least four years, and he says his recording process has changed drastically since his prolific mixtape days.

“I love the difficulty of trying to fit in with what’s going on today, making sure I sound likable to the ears today and having to remind myself that it’s not about what it was back then. Going to the studio now, for me, is awesome. I used to go to that mufucka and do 12 songs a night. Cut a beat on, I’m going to go and you let me know when to stop,” Wayne says.

“It’s different now. I can’t wait to get in the studio now every night, just to see what I can come up with. [Before] it was just me going to the studio and saying, let me kill ten more songs and then I’m going to go home or do whatever I was doing. Now, it’s let me see what I come up with. Self-discovery, rebirth – call it whatever you want to call it but it feels awesome, I swear to God.”

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Stanley Nelson Lays Bare The Complicated Cool Of Miles Davis

Miles Davis had it. Whatever it was, Miles Davis was the sole proprietor. The aura, skill, and style that oozed from Davis’ pores helped propel the trumpeter to stardom. His musical accomplishments were only made more striking by the swagger that garnished them. Davis’ cool, projected best on stage, was an unwavering confidence with a dollop of syrupy charisma. Even his voice, a sandpaper-like whisper, which came as a result of yelling after throat surgery, weaved its way into the mythological-like figure Davis became. To be frank, Miles Davis was a cool-ass motherfucker and he knew it.

Yet underneath Davis’ cool was a man equally tormented by the second-class citizenship his country forced on him, as well as his own personal demons. Standing up to the racist government sometimes proved easier than defeating his alcoholism and drug abuse. Those closest to Davis felt his venom whenever he bit, and graciously allowed their love for him to be a balm for the wounds he left. How could the same man who composed and performed Kind of Blue be responsible for the cruelty of those who loved him so?

Well, it’s complicated.

Director Stanley Nelson lays Miles Davis bare—his good, bad, and beautiful—to a new generation while crystalizing the jazz musician’s legend to longtime fans with Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool. Nelson’s latest demonstrates Davis' complexity and all that he endured.

Nelson invited VIBE to his 5,000-square-foot Harlem office to discuss Davis. Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the nearly two-hour film, Nelson offers a firm handshake and an even stronger espresso. He apologizes for not having much sugar but makes up for it with a Wicker basket full of snacks that sits atop his white granite kitchen island. I opt for cookies and sneak the last bag of white cheddar popcorn for the train ride back to the office.

As we walk past the stainless steel appliances and through the dining room, the September sun shines bright through windows striking the white living room walls. Several books about Frederick Douglass are neatly stacked on the dining room table. Nelson reveals the writer and abolitionist will be the subject of his next feature, but for now, the 68-year-old director is entrenched in promotion for Miles Davis, an artist he says “transcends music.”

In between sips of tea, Nelson explains why Davis will always be a figure worth examing,

VIBE: What is your definition of cool? Stanley Nelson: I think the definition of cool changes with the times. I think cool is a certain calmness and being ahead of the times. It’s also a certain sophistication, I think Miles Davis had for so much of his life personified.

What do you think are some of the ingredients that go into making a Miles Davis? I don’t think there are very many people, across all genres, who can compare to Miles Davis. Miles Davis did what he did for five decades and was a leader in so many different movements in music and in jazz. Miles Davis transcends music.

What do you mean when you say "Miles Davis transcends music?" Miles Davis transcended the music because he was a leader in the way he looked, in the way he dressed, in things he demanded as you can see in the film. He demanded that he be treated with an amount of respect. The fact that he had black women on the covers of his albums, all those kinds of things made Miles Davis so different from so many other jazz musicians, who we love and admire for their music. We love and admire Miles Davis for his music, but it wasn’t just the music that made Miles Davis special.

Miles was also undeniably a beautiful looking man, and this was in the 50s and 60s. Miles Davis had very dark skin which was something that was not in the general public how it was thought of, so Miles kind of flipped that on its head.

This is going to sound like a dumb question but I have to ask it anyway. Why did you decide to honor Miles Davis with this film? There are a lot of reasons for making this film. There are a lot of reasons for making any film so whenever filmmakers tell you there’s only one reason they’re probably just lying, or saying whatever their publicist wants them to say. For one, his music is so incredible I would say he is easily one of the most important musicians of the 20th century, maybe the most important, you can argue that in any genre. Two, I’m a jazz lover and three Miles Davis is a very complicated individual so it makes for a better film. It’s not a simple story. I also think as we got into the film that Miles Davis’ story isn’t only about music, but it's about being a black person in the second half of the 20th century in the United States and I think that’s what makes the film work on a different level than a lot of other jazz films.

Veering off from Mr. Davis for a bit, how do you decide which topics or events you want to turn into films? You’ve done the black press, you’ve done a story about The Black Panthers, you did a story about Emmett Till. How do you choose which one to make into a film?

One of the great lessons for me was the first film I made called Two Dollars and A Dream. It was about Madame C.J. Walker and it took me seven years to make the film and I realize at that point films can take a long time to make, to raise the money and actually get the films made, so it's really important that the film be important to me, at least, that’s part of how I think about films when I think about what to do next. I’ve also been afforded the opportunity to paint on a big canvas so I’m trying to make stories that are big. I’m not just making small stories.

Did you always have this mentality of making big stories? I think so. I think part of that was unspoken, not really something I thought of. If you make something you want it to be a success, you want it to be a big success especially if it's going to take seven or 10 years of your life.

Why was Carl Lumbly the one you picked to voice Davis? Carl Lumbly is a great actor and he’s someone that I knew. Carl did the narration for one of our other films a long time ago, so Carl is someone I thought of. We sent him a bunch of tapes of Davis’ actual voice, and he practiced and we got back to him in a week and asked him to give us his Miles Davis voice over the phone and when he did, we were like, that’s good. It wasn’t perfect, but we could make it work.

What I personally loved about the film was that you didn’t glance over Miles Davis’ bitter personality. I loved the interviews with Frances Taylor, but it broke my heart that the creator of Kind of Blue forced his dancer wife to drop out of West Side Story. Miles was not an easy guy.

That’s putting it mildly. I think it was important that we tell that part of the story. I think what makes his story so rich and emotional there’s that dichotomy with Miles. The man that made some of the most beautiful music ever created and then was so rough for so many people. How do those things exist? Miles basically ruined Frances’ career by pulling her out of this show.

Yes! He was abusive to her, and after a few years they broke up. Her career had been ruined. I think one of the things that was so great for us while making the film was that Frances was so resilient and so beautiful and so funny in the film. You realize he tried but he couldn’t break her. I should say that Frances passed away Thanksgiving of last year. It was such a joy to be with Frances and interview her.

What do you hope people who don’t know Miles Davis will take away from the film and what do you hope people who do know Miles Davis will learn? One of the challenges of making any film, especially a film about Miles Davis, some people come in thinking there’s everything to know about Miles Davis. Some people come in and say "Miles who? Why’d you drag me to the theater?" You’ve got to walk that line and tell everybody something new and also be entertaining.

My mission in this film is partly to entertain. I don’t care how much you know about Miles. If you walk into this film and it’s two hours long you’re going to learn something new, or it’s going to be told to you in a different way. Certainly you’ve never been exposed to Frances. Just being exposed to Frances in and of itself is a trip. Part of the job is to entertain and frankly, that’s what we’re trying to do.

Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool is in select theaters. Click here

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Tekashi 6ix9ine attends the Made in America Music Festival on September 1, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Nine Trey Trial: 6 Takeaways From Tekashi 6ix9ine's Testimony

Daniel Hernandez, known widely as Tekashi 6ix9ine, took the stand in a Manhattan federal courtroom against Anthony “Harvey” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack who are facing racketeering and firearms charges. Acting as a cooperating witness, the 23-year-old used part one of his testimony to break down his origins with the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods and how they've played an instrumental part in keeping up the rapper's gang image.

Pitchfork reports in addition to his testimony on Tuesday (Sept. 17) about "Treyway," the rapper made it known he began cooperating with federal agents on November 19, 2018– just one day after he was arrested on his own racketeering and firearms charges.

Answering questions from attorney Michael Longyear, the rapper "unhesitatingly" replied in full to the prosecutor about his kidnapping, how he learned about the Nine Trey crew, and why he continued to support the gang with guns and other resources.

With the rapper taking the stand again on Wednesday (Sept. 18) for part two of his testimony, here's what you missed from his first testimony.

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Day 1 1. Tekashi Testified Against Fellow Nine Trey Gangsta Blood Members

Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack were called out by the rapper as alleged Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods members. Prosecutors claim the men were two high-profile members of the gang who terrorized neighborhoods with gun violence. Mack allegedly sold drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, and ecstasy in Brooklyn. Both are accused of kidnapping the Hernandez last year.

2. Trippie Redd's Gang Affiliation Was Identified By 6ix9ine

Speaking on his come up in the industry, the 23-year-old shared how his hit single "Gummo" was a direct diss to former labelmate, Trippie Redd. “Me and Trippie Redd were signed to the same label,” Hernandez said. “There was a lot of jealousy involved," he revealed while sharing how Trippie's alleged affiliation with Five Nine Brims.

3. Tekashi Provided Gang With Hits In Guns In Exchange For Protection

In 2014, Hernandez worked at Stay Fresh Deli, a vegan bodega in Bushwick where he met Peter “Righteous P” Rodgers. After being told he had the "image" for a rapper, he started making music and touring. He met rapper Seqo Billy who introduced him to members of the Nine Trey to act as supporters in his "Gummo" video. Hernandez purchased three dozen red bandannas for the men in the video. "I told Seqo that I would like for them all to wear red,” he said.

From there, he met his former manager, Kifano “Shottie” Jordan, who taught him the Nine Trey handshake. After creating “Kooda” he “officially became a Nine Trey member” without going through a traditional initiation like slicing a stranger in the face with a blade.

His role in the gang was simple, the rapper divulged. “[I] just keep making hits and be the financial support for the gang... so they could buy guns and stuff like that.” When asked what he got in return he said, “My career. I got the street credibility. The videos, the music, the protection - all of the above."

After seeing the traction from "Gummo" and "Kooda," the rapper realized Treyway could change his life. “I knew I had a formula,” he said. “That’s what people liked.”

4. Tekashi Turned On Gang Members 24 Hours After His 2018 Arrest

Hernadez didn't need much time to ponder a working relationship with the feds. Just 24 hours after he and other Trey Nine affiliates faced racketeering charges, the rapper agreed to work with the feds. Initially facing 47 charges, his current testimony stems from a plea he took with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office; under the agreement he pled guilty to nine federal counts.

“The defendant’s obligations under this agreement are as follows: That he shall truthfully and completely disclose all information of the activities of himself and others to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and that he cooperate fully with law-enforcement agencies,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Longyear said during the plea proceeding. “It is understood that the defendant’s cooperation is likely to reveal the activities of individuals and that witness protection may be required at a later date.”

5. Ellison Claims The Rapper's Abduction Was A Publicity Stunt

Ellison and Mack have accused the rapper's kidnapping in July 2018. Hernandez spoke to Angie Martinez shortly after the kidnapping and suspected people in his crew were behind the act. But Ellison’s lawyer, Devereaux Cannick, has another theory.

Calling the kidnapping a “hoax,” Cannick compared the incident to Jussie Smollet's Chicago incident. The name drop is a direct reference to the actor's claims of faking a racist and homophobic attack against himself. Cannick also claimed Ellison came up with the kidnapping as a publicity stunt in order to boost Hernandez's image.

Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Rebold argued that the kidnapping was real. After Ellison was fired from a "protection role" in Hernandez's camp, Rebold said, “This did not sit well with Mr. Ellison,” allowing the kidnapping plan to come to life.

6. Tekashi Nodded To His Music Videos Played In Court

Two music videos, “Gummo” and “Kooda," were played at the courthouse. Hernandez pointed out alleged gang members who appeared in the videos while nodding to his viral hits. While speaking on the creation of the video, Hernandez said he wanted the “aesthetic” of “Gummo” to reflect the "Treyway" vision.

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