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What Millennials Should Know About... Hot Boys' 'Get It How U Live!'

Get It How U Live! moved over 400,000 copies independently.

VIBE spotlights music’s most essential timepieces for Gen Y. You gon’ learn today.

Hot Boys
Get It How U Live! (1997)

Elevator Pitch: Twenty years ago, while Atlanta, Texas, and Florida had already begun to establish themselves as hotbeds for southern hip-hop, New Orleans was beginning to make its presence known on the national scene. Master P and his No Limit movement may have nudged the door open with a string of multi-platinum albums, but little did we know that a rival crew out of the N.O. named Cash Money would be the ones to truly kick down the door and become the strongest unit below the Mason-Dixon line. With a roster that included flagship artist B.G., coveted free agent Juvenile, youngsters Turk and Lil Wayne, and U.N.L.V., Cash Money had already achieved success on the independent circuit, with albums from B.G. (Chopper City, It's All On U Vol. 1) and Juvenile (Solja Rags) both moving hundreds of thousands of copies in spite of minimal radio airplay.

In 1997, it was decided that the four core solo artists on the label, B.G., Juvenile, Turk, and Lil Wayne would form a group dubbed the Hot Boys, a name inspired by a New Orleans slang term for someone attracting unwanted attention from the police through reckless or careless actions. First appearing as a unit on Juvenile's Cash Money debut, Solja Rags (May 1997), the group would also contribute a song to B.G.'s sophomore album, It's All On U Vol. 1, creating the buzz for the group's own debut album, Get It How U Live! Released on October 28, 1997, Get It How U Live! would mesh the unique styles of the individual members of the Hot Boys together, from Juvenile's animated rambles to B.G.'s steely couplets. Contrary to today, when there is a multitude of teenage rappers saying ungodly things on record, Turk and Lil Wayne, were among the youngest artists in rap history to have their gangster musings taken seriously and at face value, giving the group a unique dimension and selling point.

And sell did Get It How U Live!, moving over 400,000 copies independently and all but setting in stone Cash Money's historic $30 million pressing and distribution deal with Universal Records, a contract that is still regarded as one of the biggest in hip-hop history nearly two decades later.

VIBE looks back on one of the most pivotal independent rap albums of all-time.


Still Gets Infinite Spins: After Baby and Mannie Fresh set off the proceedings with an intro, the Hot Boys waste no time hitting their stride on the fiery selection, "We On Fire part 1," a precursor to the 1999 single from their Guerilla Warfare album. Other can't-miss selections on Get It How U Live! include Lil Wayne's solo turn "Block Burner," as well as the album's rollicking title-track.

Most Slept On: Among the deep cuts on Get It How U Live! that may not be the first that comes to mind when you think of the album, but stand the test of time are the murderous "50 Shots Set's It Off," the introspective number "Dirty World," and the B.G. and Juvenile collabo "I'm a Hot Boy."

Peak Moment: The finest moment on Get It How U Live! comes in the form of "Neighborhood Superstar," a laid-back affair on which members of the Hot Boys and the Big Tymers bask in the glory of their hood fame and the trappings of life as entertainers. Although B.G. and Turk are absent from this selection, it features the core members of what would become Cash Money's star tandem in Juvenile and Lil Wayne, whom would join forces on classics like "Back Dat Azz Up" and "Project Chick" and become the most successful solo members of the Hot Boys. Having yet to release a full-length album of their own, Baby and Mannie Fresh continue to cut their teeth as rappers on "Neighborhood Superstars," anchoring the song with a pair of braggadocios verses of their own and setting the stage for their 1998 debut, How U Luv That Vol. 1. The first instance of a Hot Boys and Big Tymers collaboration being credited as a Cash Money Millionaires track, "Neighborhood Superstars" is reminiscent of many of the high-powered posse cuts that would mark Cash Money's ascent during the late 1990s and early aughts.

Bet You Didn't Know: The original incarnation of the Hot Boys was comprised of B.G., Juvenile, Lil Wayne, and rapper Bulletproof, a nephew of Baby and Slim. However, due to Bulletproof's reputation as a trouble-maker and a hot-head, the decision was made to insert Turk, who originally signed with Cash Money to do bounce music, into the group as the last and final member of the quartet, and the rest is history.


Bet You Also Didn't Know: According to producer Mannie Fresh, "We On Fire Part 1" was inspired by pioneering rap group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's intricate rhyme routines, as was the concept and formation of the Hot Boys as a whole. Produced in its entirety by Mannie Fresh, Get It How U Live! showcased the Hot Boys' effortless chemistry as a unit, as well as their prowess individually, with each member getting a solo track of their own on the album. In the wake of Get It How U Live's release, Cash Money would unleash Juvenile's 400 Degreez album, which would sell over four million units and establish the label as a force to be reckoned with in the south. Following 400 Degreez with platinum releases from B.G. and Lil Wayne, as well as the Hot Boys' sophomore album, Guerilla Warfare, Cash Money Records would claim their stake as a superpower in hip-hop, a distinction that the label holds till this day

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Kentucky Catholic School Faces Backlash After Students Berate Indigenous Peoples March Protesters

Representatives from Kentucky's Covington Catholic High School have confirmed plans to look into their student body after several of their students appeared in a viral video harassing and mocking protesters at an Indigenous Peoples March.

The viral video above spread around the web Saturday (Jan. 19) a day after the protest that took place in Washington, D.C. Teens in the video were rocking "Make America Great Again" to support President Donald Trump and the anti-abortion March for Life demonstration that was also taking place on Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports  Laura Keener, the communications director with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, released a statement about the video: "We are just now learning about this incident and regret it took place. We are looking into it."

In the video below, Indigenous elder Nathan Phillips of the Omaha tribe was reportedly performing a song meant to calm down the crowd when the large group of teens surrounded him, with one eye to eye as he and another elder chanted.

In tears, Phillips recalled the incident, calling for an apology and that the teens would "put that energy into making this country really great." The teens also got their messages mixed up when they also screamed "build that wall" toward him.

"I heard them saying 'build the wall, build that wall,'" he said.  "This is indigenous land. We’re not supposed to have walls here. Before anyone came here there were no walls, we never even had prisons. We always took care of our elders, we took care of our children. We taught them right from wrong."


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#ipmdc #ipmdc19 #indigenousunited #indigenouspeoplesmarch #indigenouspeoplesmarch2019

A post shared by KC🇬🇺🌴🌴 (@ka_ya11) on Jan 18, 2019 at 4:42pm PST

Speaking to The Enquirer Vincent Schilling shared how Phillips has been attacked in the past for standing up for indigenous peoples. Schilling, who is a member of the Mohawk tribe, said Phillips was pelted with trash just a few years ago by Eastern Michigan University students who hosted a Native American-themed party.

"As a Native American journalist, I find this to be one of the most egregious displays of naïve – I can’t even say naïve. It’s racism. It’s blatant racism," Schilling said.

"The guy has just been through a lot. To see Mr. Phillips treated this way is an incalculable amount of disrespect, and it's absolutely unacceptable in Native culture. As a Native man, I’ve got it countless times myself I’ve been mocked, I’ve been teased, my culture has been ridiculed. This is just another brick in the wall. I wanted so bad to walk up to those kids and say, 'You know this is a Vietnam veteran, right?'"

Director Ava DuVernay slammed the teens for their behavior as well as a number of indigenous social justice figures.

Thank you to @VinceSchilling of @IndianCountry and many others who identified the proud Native man who is being harassed. He is Mr. Nathan Phillips. I’m reposting this video from “ka_ya11” on IG. This man’s words pierce my heart. The grace. The wisdom. The hope.

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 19, 2019

Thank you for the kind shout-out @Ava

Nathan Phillips and I have shared in a sacred pipe ceremony to honor Native American veterans.

He is a Vietnam veteran, such behavior is terrible.

Again, thank you for your support.

— Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) January 19, 2019

The teens in the video haven't been identified.

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Man Exonerated After Serving 45 Years Forced To Sell Prison Artwork For Money

A Detroit man who served 45 years behind bars for a crime that he didn’t commit, is forced to sell his personal collection of artwork that he made in prison. Richard Phillips, 72, doesn’t have steady income at the moment, and his lawyer is currently battling the state of Michigan to get him compensated for the wrongful conviction that stole his freedom.

"I don't have an income right now," said Phillips while showing off his paintings to Fox 2 Detroit. "This is my income."

In the early 1970s, Phillips was wrongfully convicted for the murder of Gregory Harris. He was sentenced to life in prison but always maintained his innocence. “I would rather died in prison than admit to a crime I didn’t do,” Philips said.

Phillips was convicted through an eyewitness account implicating him and a second man, Richard Palombo. In 2010, Palombo admitted that Phillips had no involvement in the murder and that he didn’t even know him. A new investigation was launched in 2014, nearly 20 years later Phillips appealed his murder conviction.

Last March, Wayne County Prosecutors Kym Worthy dropped all charges against Phillips, officially freeing him from prison. “There’s nothing that I can say to bring back 40 years of his life. The system failed him. There’s no question about it,” Worthy said at the time. “This is a true exoneration. Justice is indeed being done today, but there’s nothing that we can do ... to bring back those years of his life.”

Art played a big part in helping maintain his sanity through the sentence. Though he remained optimistic, Phillips admitted that he never truly believed he would be released. To pass the time, he began painting. He pulled inspiration from everywhere: his favorite artists, photos and even tapped into some of the loneliness that he felt in prison. "It was created in a harsh environment. But it goes to show you that beauty can come from something ugly."

Last year, Detroit's Demond Ricks was awarded $1 million for spending 25 years in prison on a wrongful conviction. As it stands, Phillips is the longest-serving wrongfully convicted former prisoner in U.S. history.

Phillips' artwork will be on display at Michigan's Ferndale's Level One gallery beginning Jan. 18.

See more on his artwork in the video below.

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Gladys Knight Defends Decision To Perform National Anthem At Super Bowl Amid Criticism

Glad Knight says she wants to “give the National Anthem back its voice.” The music legend released a new statement defending her decision to sing  the National Anthem at the Super Bowl in Atlanta, next month, amid criticism from fans.

Several artists turned down offers to perform at the Super Bowl in protest of the league’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick. Knight clarified that her choice to sing has nothing to do with Kaepernick, and she doesn't exactly agree with the anthem being "dragged into the debate."

"I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight said in a statement to Variety. “It is unfortunate that our National Anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the National Anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

The 74-year-old singer also noted that she has been on the forefront of social justice issues for much of her career. "I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3 to give the Anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words,” Knight said. “The way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life, from walking back hallways, from marching with our social leaders, from using my voice for good.

"No matter who chooses to deflect with this narrative and continue to mix these two in the same message, it is not so and cannot be made so by anyone speaking it,” she continued. “I pray that this National Anthem will bring us all together in a way never before witnessed and we can move forward and untangle these truths which mean so much to all of us."

Knight isn’t alone in catching heat for joining the Super Bowl lineup. Travis Scott and Big Boi, both of whom will perform with Maroon 5 at halftime, received backlash as well.

Earlier in the week, reports surfaced claiming Scott had a meeting with Kaepernick that ended with “mutual respect” and “understanding.” Kaepernick’s girlfriend and Hot 97 DJ, Nessa Diab, denied the report tweeting, “There is NO mutual respect and there is NO understanding for anyone working against @Kaepernick7 PERIOD. #stoplying.”

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