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B2 Talent Asia

Stream: VIBE's 'Urban Asia Vol. 1' Album (Feat. Edison Chen, Higher Brothers, Jackson Wang And More)

VIBE and B2 Music Hong Kong present the first and only Asian hip-hop compilation that matters. 

Chinese lyricist Bohan Phoenix starts off his verse in “Just Like That” by spitting braggadocio bars in English. Once he switches gears and raps slang in his native tongue, Phoenix challenges his haters to learn his language because “translating is just not my swag.” No matter what dialect you’re fluent in, it’s easy to understand how his speedy flow sounds so crispy over the upbeat bass line and futuristic synths as he keeps up with Atlanta artist Rome Fortune over DJ Tittsworth & Mestizo’s trippy instrumental. Their brand new collaboration is just another example of how strong the Urban Asia movement has become.

Hip-hop’s everlasting influence in Asia and the South Pacific region has inspired a tidal wave of skilled lyricists to defy all sonic boundaries with their music. While OG’s like Jin and Dumbfounded paved the way for today’s young Asian-American wordsmiths like Brian, Keith Ape, and Ted Park to blow up in the states, seasoned rhymers overseas like SEAMO and Boss X fka Fat Shady as well as dynamic women like Raja Kumari, UKA, and Mrs. M have already taken their respective countries and the Asian continent by storm.

In a historic move, VIBE, in partnership with Hong Kong-based b2 Music, is overjoyed to debut its first series of compilation albums, featuring the hottest rap music from Asian countries like China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, India, Mongolia and Hong Kong. VIBE Presents: Urban Asia Vol. 1 holds an array of popular, international bangers with lyrics in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Hindi and Mongolian.

“We are excited to launch this album series with our partners at B2,” said Datwon Thomas, Editor-In- Chief of VIBE. “Through these compilations, worldwide fans will be able to follow the developments and growth for the hip-hop genre in the Far East, one of the fastest growing - and most exhilarating - markets in the world.”

VIBE Presents Urban Asia Vol. 1 features 15 tracks featuring veteran heavyweights in the Asian rap game Edison Chen, MC Yan, and Thaitanium who throw down combative punch lines alongside with China’s newcomers Bohan Phoenix, the Higher Brothers and Jackson Wang. Korean DJ and producer TPA leads the cross border effort with his track ‘China Trap House’ featuring Hong Kong rhymers Al Rocco and newcomer Ivy.

While groups like the Beijing Boiz and Khasi Bloodz cause a ruckus with their bangers, its the ladies of the Southeast who prove just how overly dedicated they are to hip-hop. Rappers like Raja Kumari, Mrs M and UKA stand out with their hard-hitting bars about their struggles over melodies that stem from the Golden Era.

“The diversity of rap and hip-hop in Asia is astounding,” said Jonathan Serbin, Head of Asia for Billboard. “From local dialects to cross-border collaborations with international stars, the region is producing an exciting range of music. This series will provide exposure to the world-class artists developing in this part of the world.”

Among the playlist of international hits, the compilation album also holds four exclusive tracks including Bohan Phoenix, Rome Fortune, DJ Tittsworth & Mestizo’s “Just Like That.” Hong Kong beatmaker Silverstrike & Dutch producer Gianni Marino grab Japanese-Filipino rapper Shimica to channel her inner Nicki Minaj for their new energetic Trap banger “That’s Not Me.”

Meanwhile, Chengdu’s own Boss X recruits Xinwen Xu from superstar Jane Zhang’s Showcity camp and China’s freshest rap sensation Alex Hong for their motivational, bilingual song “Youth Anthem.” Korean American MC Eddie Supa also debuts his fresh single “Can’t Breathe” with Wiz Kalifa collaborator Stan Sono and former K-Pop star Jackson Wang. Supa’s latest offering is the sole trap-influenced emotional jingle on the album that will help anyone find love in the club.

Asia’s hip-hop community has always found solace inside the house Quincy Jones built. Now we’re laying the foundation to help them establish their legacy in the rap with this eclectic compilation album. Kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month the right way and push play on VIBE Presents Urban Asia Vol. 1 below.

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Premiere: Chronixx's “Same Prayer” Music Video Feat. Kabaka Pyramid

Do not be deceived by the gorgeous vistas of Jamaican mountainscape displayed in the visuals for Chronixx's “Same Prayer.”

The subtly crafted song is more concerned with navigating the treacherous terrain of humanity's inner landscape than enjoying the view outside. And it's definitely not all zen, yoga, and spirulina. "There’s so much good in the world," Chronixx sings, "and still evil a lurk." The song finds him beseeching the Almighty (Jah) to protect him and his loved ones (I and I) "from the ones who nuh care 'bout the fact we share the same air / and the blood that we bleed is alike." In other words, it's a song for this exact moment—when people are dying every day and nobody seems to have the answers. A time when we all do what we need to do. Seen? By the end of the third verse, Chronixx is left crying a river of tears and hoping Jah Jah hears. Then it's time to touch the road—"Tuck it inna me waist and start up the bike." Today Boomshots and VIBE proudly premiere the official visuals for "Same Prayer."

This is the second song we've heard from Dela Splash, the follow-up to Chronixx’s Grammy-nominated debut Chronology. Where “Dela Move” explored fast-forward flows and trap-influenced drum patterns, the newly released Zion I Kings–produced track is grounded within the ancient traditions of the Niyabinghi order.

Judging by the first fruits of Chronixx's labor, the sonic palette of the new album will be diverse and the mindset noticeably hardened. Sorta like when 3 Feet High & Rising gave way to De La Soul Is Dead. While any similarities between the Long Island rap trio De La Soul and Jamar McNaughton’s beloved De La Vega City may be coincidental, both artists are attuned to Da Inner Sound Y'all.

“‘Same Prayer’ is, in part, a prayer for the younger generation to reflect on internally," Chronixx explains to Boomshots. "It’s also a reminder that there is a greater power directing things in the physical space." On the timeless tune "Exodus," Bob Marley challenged listeners to "open your eyes and look within." Chronixx approaches his latest release with similar introspection: "Instead of looking for solutions in our material lives," he advises, "we can both reach out to this higher power and look deep within ourselves.”

The Chron Dada is joined on this one by longtime sparring partner Kabaka Pyramid. “It seems only a divine Power can help humanity at this point," says Kabaka. "This song is a call to reach deeply within oneself to find that Power, and ask It to guide and protect against the unknown elements along the way. So many things happening in realms that we are not yet able to perceive with our limited senses. Until we reach that stage we must trust the process with faith and determination."

The creative chemistry between these two artists is bubbling as usual, although Kabaka is better known for rattling off bar after bar of deadly wordplay, "Same Prayer" finds him in a more melodic mood. "Give thanks for this work of art Chronixx," he says, "I’m glad to lend some smooth vocals to it 😅” Don't get it misconstrued though, Kabaka's lyrics are as accurate as ever. When he declares himself to be "confident in the victory," he's quoting Haile Selassie I by way of Bob Marley's classic anti-racist anthem "War."

Kabaka first met Chronixx in April 2011 while celebrating his earthstrong (Rasta slang for "birthday") at Protoje's house in Kingston. "At the time I was recording my first reggae EP Rebel Music," Kabaka recalls, "and Protoje had given me some beats produced by Chronixx and Teflon (Zincfence). Our mutual respect was instant and still remains years later." Since then the pair have given us memorable musical moments like "Mi Alright" and "Blessed is the Man."

"It’s always a joy to collaborate with Chronman because he’s simply a genius in the studio," says Kabaka. "Everything he does somehow just works. On 'Same Prayer' I wrote my verse and he recorded and coached my vocals at Skyline Levels studio. You can give him a lot of the credit for the sweet vocals I delivered—haha.”

Art direction, Editing/VFX: Ivor McCray

Animation: Vo7can

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BH Releases “Code of the Streets” Music Video Feat. Lil Baby

“I love my haters, they my biggest fans,” stated BH on “1 of 1,” his collab with Nipsey Hussle off the landmark Crenshaw mixtape. Hussle encouraged BH—aka Boss Hussle—to focus on music after the young homie recovered from a damn-near fatal shooting sustained while running the streets of the Crenshaw district. “Nip was my mentor with this sh*t,” says the All Money In affiliate who joined Cobby Supreme and YG on stage for an emotional BET Awards tribute to Nipsey in June of 2019.

Over a year since Hussle’s tragic passing, BH has stayed in Marathon mode just like Nip taught him. Today he drops the official music video for “Code of the Streets,” a no-nonsense collaboration with Lil Baby. The visuals were shot in a Beverly Hills mansion with a few of the homies—Cobby, James Harden, Meek Mill, and Young Thug—counting stacks of crisp 100 bills amidst the old master paintings, chandeliers and lion skin rugs. But don’t assume that money is going to BH’s head. “You know how people get rich and they change?” he asks, rhetorically. “No matter how much money I get I’m still hood. I wouldn’t care if I had a billion dollars, bruh. I ain’t switchin’ up. I still come from this.”

BH and Baby’s chemistry on the track feels real because it is. Hussle’s always had strong Atlanta ties—Crenshaw was hosted by DJ Drama and Thugger featured on Victory Lap—and BH would often roll with Nip on trips to the A. “I would f**k with all the cool lil homies,” says BH. “And it just so happen that Baby, Gunna, all these ni**as lit now.”

The new track is taken from BH’s forthcoming project Blueprint, which he’s planning to drop sometime this summer. “I want the people to know no matter what you start with, that don’t mean that’s how you gotta end,” he says. “So I’m basically givin’ em the blueprint of how I did it. If y’all believe in me and what I stand for, this is my blueprint that took me from nothin’ to somethin’.”

BH was raised to abide by certain principles, hence the title “Code of the Streets,” a timely reminder of the rules he adheres to. “Look at Tekashi,” BH says as an example. “Nothin’ against his music—he dope. But that ain’t the f**kin’ code of the streets, man. What the f**k wrong with you, boy? You f**kin’ the code up. Get your bi**h a** outta here! Go raise your family and do whatever the f**k a snitch ni**a do. Don’t come back to music f**kin’ the game up where these kids thinkin’ it cool. Nah. You got ni**as you say you love life in jail. You knew what you was doin’. Don’t fold and give everybody else life and then come back out talkin’ all that sh*t—’I’m the king’ and all this. Ni**a, this is hip hop. This sh*t ain’t built on rats. How you the king? You the king of snitches.”

Speaking to VIBE amidst the wave of Black Lives Matter activism triggered by George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police, BH shared his thoughts on the incident. “Man, they did him wrong! My thing is this: if you resisted and you fightin’ and you free, alright it’s one on one. Y’all could fight until whoever get it. But when you in handcuffs and you layin’ on the ground, you can’t even do nothin’. You couldn’t’ hurt the f**kin’ ground if you tried to. Man, why the f**k is he still bein’ choked out like that? He tellin’ you he can’t breathe. You see the man checkin’ out, bro. He can’t even move.”

BH has had enough experience with the LAPD over the years to know what he’s talking about. “The LAPD used to stop me every day,” he says matter of factly. But some days are worse than others. This past November he was pulled over in Beverly Hills by a small army of cops for driving a car that police claimed was stolen. After holding him a gunpoint, police cleared BH of any wrongdoing, but the trauma of the incident still remains.

“They said I fit the description of a stolen car or some bullsh*t,” he says. “My mind state was like ‘BH, I know you been through it. Don’t make them shoot you.’ When they realized it was not me they let me go.”

“Police feel like they can do that sh*t,” says BH, still angry from the experience. “Come on bro. Something got to give. It’s so much sh*t goin’ on that we let slide and go under the rug.” Nipsey may not be around to lead the resistance to the pandemic of racism and police brutality, but his All Money In team is definitely out here making sure The Marathon don’t stop.

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Courtesy of Roc Nation

Premiere: Robin Thicke Keeps Love Alive With "Forever Mine"

The smooth sounds of R&B never get old. When it comes to the soothing tunes of Robin Thicke, they're no exception. To bring that heart-warming vibe to our days of self-quarantine, the soul singer is delivering a new track titled "Forever Mine."

As the piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, muted trumpet, and drums set the jazzy tempo, Thicke sings about holding on to the love of your life while keeping the romance alive. No matter how long it takes or what's going on in the world.

"Made for each other, feels like no other / Once in a lifetime, can't let a love like this pass you by," he croons. "Tell me your stories and I will tell you mine / I don’t mind living in paradise..."

"When you meet the perfect someone, you can’t let them slip away,” said Thicke to VIBE when asked about his new single. The 5-time Grammy Award nominee and The Masked Singer judge shared the personal significance of the new record, adding: “'Forever Mine’ was the last record I finished with Andre Harrell, my mentor, executive producer, and Godfather to my son Julian."

During BET and REVOLT's A Tribute to Andre Harrell: Mr. Champagne & Bubbles special on Sunday night, Thicke revealed that Harrell gave a "stamp of approval" for this single one week before his untimely passing and teased the song for viewers hear.

Play Robin Thicke's new record, "Forever Mine," which is slated to appear on his upcoming studio album.

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