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Latinx Loyalty Reigns Supreme As Bad Bunny, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie Dominate 2018 Soulfrito Festival

Amara La Negra, Hood Celebrityy, Jaden Smith and PNB Rock also lit up Barclays Center on Friday (June 9). 

The day after attending my very first Soulfrito festival at Brooklyn's Barclays Center my heart was full. It was the weekend of the big Puerto Rican Day Parade so Latinx pride was on a 100. The performances were spell bounding, but the crowd is what won me over. Coming out in the droves, there were beautiful boriquas, Latinx women and guys decked out in their finest threads while others opted to rep the 2018 Soulfrito merchandise.

While chatting with a friend the day after, I shared how everyone recited the lyrics to the billed artist's songs like Amara La Negra, Hood Celebrityy, Jaden Smith, Bad Bunny, PNB Rock and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie.

Her response was simply, "Spanish ppl are loyal a** fans."

Founded by Melissa Giles in 2002, The Soulfrito Urban Latin Music Festival was created street team style as Giles took to avenues and hot spots to promote the event that brought together hip-hop and Spanish-speaking music from Latinx artists.

"What was going through my mind is that being an Americanized Latina in Miami, you don't live exclusively in a Latin world," Giles told The Miami New Times in 2014. "You don't just listen to Spanish music all day. At the time, there was no platform for bridging the cultures. So I built one. But a lot of people said it would never work to put so-called "urban" and "Latin" music on the same stage."

It's done more than work as its gone on to help launch the careers of Pitbull, Aventura, and Wisin y Yandel. Over the years, Soulfrito has seen bigger acts shine like Busta Rhymes, Nas and Don Omar. Just last year, the event arrived in New York where Cardi B, Fetty Wap, Farruko, Zion & Lennox and performed.

On Friday (June 9), the intersection of hip-hop, reggaeton and Latin trap continued. DJ Enuff and DJ Kallejero kept the party going between sets from openers LouGotCash and La Insuperable. Budding Dancehall gem Hood Celebrityy enticed the crowd with her hit single "Walking Trophy" and slow wines to reggae classics like "Everyone Falls In Love Sometimes."

Just before Hood Celebrityy busted a wine (and a split) on stage, Amara La Negra commanded it. Equipped with dancers and glittery attire, Amara showed off her entertainer side as she performed her hit single, "What a Bam Bam." There was no need for Amara to hype up the crowd as they seemed beyond thrilled to dance along in their seats, in the isles and on the drink line.

The songstress also kept the Dominican pride going with "Se Que Soy," and "Insecure." As a closer, all of the Caribbean kids came together for her cover of "Jump" by calypso maven Rupee.

While the women showed just how important stage prescience can be, artists like Jon-Z brought about the gift of visual delight. The "Latin Trap" artist hopped on stage with an mascot who happened to be an exaggerated version of himself. He also played a quick visual of his come up, showing snippets of his freestyle YouTube videos that birthed his career. Between his performance of "Viajo Sin Ver" featured the very lively mascot with a full head of hair flipping across the stage. If you didn't realize who Jon-Z was before, you had no choice but to remember him now.

Up next was De La Ghetto, who could only be described as the Spanish Young Jeezy. As one of the few artists who performed more than four records, fans were eager to recite "La Ocasión,"  "Si Tú No Estás," and "Escápate Conmigo (Remix)."

Around me, concertgoers were literally calculating when Bad Bunny would hit the stage. A group of teens seemed to have it down to a science as they predicted the songs Bryant Myers and PNB Rock would perform to time Bunny's arrival to the stage. Their dedication, like many proved to be admirable but yet a bummer as Jaden Smith hit the stage.

The artist had some technical difficulties as "Icon" visuals arrived on a jumbotron, but won the crowd over with moonwalk once things settled. After performing "Batman" and an unreleased track, Jaden could tell the crowd was growing impatient, as it was obvious Nicky Jam wouldn't be joining him to perform the "Icon" remix. Smith took hold of the audience one last time with an encore of "Icon," sans Nicky.

Two artists the crowd were missing dearly were Ozuna and Tekashi69. Ozuna wasn't on the bill, but his songs like "La Modela" and "Te Botè" were go-to's for the DJ's. Meanwhile, Tekashi was removed from the concert after his alleged involvement in a shooting that occurred at the venue during an Adrien Broner boxing match in April. The Mexican rapper's spirit was definitely in the building as "GUMMO" played at ignorant levels.

Due to backstage shenanigans, the crowd's prayers were answered as Bad Bunny arrived on stage early. With his signature headphones, shades and overalls, the Puerto-Rican creative was met with plenty of screams.

Breakout jams like "Soy Peor,"  "Si Tu Novio Te Deja Sola" and "Krippy Kush" were belted out as fans Snapped and posted the performances on Instagram. "Te Boté (Remix)" and "Chambea" were also met with pink and purple confetti streams for fans.

While it assumed that the crowd would disperse after Bad Bunny, everyone waited patiently for Bronx native A Boogie With Da Hoodie. The switch of Bunny and Boogie as closers worked in the rapper's favor as he had the audience wrapped around his finger.

While performing jams like "Not a Regular Person," and "Beast Mode," he paid it forward by bringing out Don Q for "Bag on Me." The energy remained high throughout his whole set, including the closer tune, "Drowning."

With a perfect cocktail of new and emerging artists, it was clear the audience appreciated those who don't dominate the charts. Their loyalty runs deep– much like the dedication to Soulfrito's origins. The artists featured had a grassroots beginning, which has done wonders for their careers as the Latinx artists have brought in non-Spanish speaking fans like myself.

It won't be long till we see Soulfrito embodying the look of a Governors Ball or a Rolling Loud in the near future. The fans won't rest until it happens.

Learn more about the The Soulfrito Urban Latin Music Festival here.

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Watch: DJ Cassidy Debuts New Digital Music Show 'Pass The Mic' Featuring Legendary Music Greats

When we think of good times from back in the day, it's usually with some type of musical soundtrack that accompanies the action we think of fondly. Another layer to those scenes are usually the songs from the legendary artists that celebrity mixmaster, DJ Cassidy has on speed dial and in his new digital music show, Pass The Mic.

From the golden era to now, the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Jeff Red, Patrice Rushen, Ricky Bell & Bobby Brown of New Edition and many more, take turns passing the mic virtually over an impeccably timed mixed version DJ set by Cassidy, all from the comfort of their homes.

Having secured the social platform Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/djcassidy) for the debut run on Thursday (July 2) to the huge success of over 20k viewers, Cassidy reposted the 24-minute soul session in full through his Instagram TV (watch below).

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A post shared by DJ Cassidy (@djcassidy) on Jul 2, 2020 at 8:16pm PDT

DJ Cassidy explains the idea and inspiration for the program:

"This week is my birthday week, and since I’ve been known to celebrate by uniting my friends in droves and surprising them with legendary performances by iconic artists, I wanted to find a way to revisit that tradition in light of the times. One evening, during the heat of the quarantine, I FaceTimed with my dear friend and mentor, Verdine White of Earth Wind & Fire. While we were catching up, his classic record, 'That’s The Way Of The World,' came on my speakers. Hearing that song, while on the phone with Verdine, put a smile on my face and brought me some much needed calm. I thought about how fortunate I was to have friendships with many of my heroes and how lucky I was to be able to enjoy their music in their company.

I wondered if I could find a way to share that special feeling with others, so I sat at my turntables in my living room and began Zooming with my musical heroes of 1970s and 1980s, literally passing the mic from one home to the next, in effort to honor and uplift the heroes around the world on the frontlines of health, freedom, and justice. The result is PASS THE MIC.

I hope this virtual mix moves others as much as it has moved me. I am forever grateful to my musical heroes for their decades of hope, inspiration, and soul, and with them, I celebrate all the heroes around the world."

Overwhelming love for the project has Cassidy already looking at version two sooner than later. Be on the look out for more live home performances from our music icons and DJ Cassidy.

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Pop Smoke attends the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 16, 2020 in Paris, France.
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Listen To Pop Smoke’s Posthumous Debut Album ‘Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon’

Pop Smoke’s heavily anticipated debut album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon, was released on Friday (July 3).

The album dropped with new cover art after Virgil Abloh caught backlash for his initial design. 50 Cent offered to help Abloh rework the cover but its unclear if he had a hand in the final product.


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A post shared by @ shootforthestars on Jul 2, 2020 at 9:07pm PDT

Pop Smoke, whose birth name was Bashar Jackson, was shot and killed in February. The Brooklyn native would have celebrated his 21st birthday on July 20.

Last month, the late rapper’s mother family announced the official launch of the Shoot for the Stars Foundation, which was established before his passing. “The foundation is meant to inspire inner city youth to do just what the name said ‘Shoot for the Stars,’” his mother said in a statement.

As for the album, Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon features 19 tracks, with guest appearances from 50 Cent, Quavo, Roddy Ricch, Lil Baby, DaBaby, Tyga and more.

Listen below.

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Celebrate International Reggae Day With A New Bob Marley Music Video, "No Woman No Cry"

Amidst outbreaks of viral pandemic and police brutality, the best thing anyone can say about 2020 is that it's the year of Bob Marley's 75th birthday celebration. And while the year has been terrible and dreadful, Bob Marley's music has offered much-needed inspiration. The Tuff Gong's 1984 greatest hits collection Legend has topped the charts every week since mid-January when it knocked Stick Figure out of the top spot.

Today is July 1, International Reggae Day, and what better way to celebrate than by rediscovering one of Marley's classic songs, "No Woman No Cry"? Today, Boomshots and VIBE proudly present a brand new official music video, directed by Kristian Mercado Figueroa. Shot in Jamaica and New York City, the poignant, verite visual tells the tale of a family divided by geography yet connected by love and a shared commitment to providing a better life for their youths. In Jamaica, a strong and loving Mother strives to look after her children while their Father works tirelessly as a cab driver in New York City, grooving to Bob Marley while he prepares a barrel to send home.

"My feet is my only carriage, so I've got to push on through. But while I’m gone..."

Co-written with Bob's bredren Vincent "Tata" Ford, "No Woman No Cry" was inspired by real life events that took place "in a government yard in Trench Town, the same humble space on First and Marley resided, now known as the Culture Yard Museum. "Georgie," who makes the fire light, was a real person and some even say they know the true identity of the two women whose tears inspired the song. Marley's studio recording of the track, with backing vocals by the I Threes, first appeared on the 1974 album Natty Dread and has been covered by Nina Simone, The Fugees, and Erykah Badu, to name a few. The definitive version was recorded live at the Lyceum in London, the final stop of Marley's Exodus tour. Appearing on the 1975 album Live!, this rousing version became Marley's first hit single in the UK, and was later included as the second track on Legend. The new video shines a light on the genuine struggles many families face in the modern world, isolated due to poverty. In times like these we can all appreciate a song that reassures us "Everything is gonna be alright."

Boomshots and VIBE's celebration of International Reggae Day continued earlier today as Ziggy Marley joined Reshma B for a live Instagram chat on the VIBE's Instagram. Bob's firstborn son has been finishing up a new album called More Family Time, which is coming later this summer. The follow-up to 2009's Grammy-Winning Family Time. His 2018 album Rebellion Rises is more relevant than ever in 2020, with tracks like "See Dem Fake Leaders," "Rebellion Rises," and "Circle of Peace."

Ziggy and Reshma will be reasoning about Bob Marley's 75th birthday, surviving Corona confinement, as well as what actions we can take as human beings moving forward. And as a special surprise, she'll also be joined by a living legend, none other than the great Toots Hibbert.

Toots of Toots & The Maytals recently dropped a video for his latest single "Got To Be Tough," the title track of his first studio album in 10 years, which will be released August 28. The project includes a duet with Ziggy Marley singing another Bob Marley classic "Three Little Birds. Toots was lead vocalist of The Maytals, a Trenchtown trio that was making hits even before The Wailers. Toots even invented the term reggae with his song "Do The Reggay." Nuff respect to the legend.

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