Opening Reception For ''Stan Lee: A Retrospective''
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20 Rap Lyrics Paying Homage To Stan Lee

Stan Lee's presence helped influence a majority of rap history’s most iconic figures.

While the hip-hop community is largely comprised of creatives, executives, and fans playing an active role in furthering the culture, there are a number of figures beyond the rap world who are “down” by law. Legendary writer, editor, and publisher Stan Lee, who passed away Monday (Nov. 12) at age 95, was one of those people to gain the respect and adulation based on the strength of their own talents and contributions; His presence helped influence a majority of rap history’s most iconic figures.

Beginning his career in 1939, Lee was a pioneer and trailblazer in the world of comic books, helping turn Marvel Comics into a powerhouse as the company's long-time editor-in-chief. Responsible for creating legendary comic book characters (Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Daredevil, Ant-Man, Black Panther), Lee's work influenced scores of comic book fiends, including entire generations of hip-hop lovers.

Much like Lee, whose imagination helped affect how people see the world, many rappers morphed themselves into superheroes in their own right; Ghostface Killah gathered direct inspiration from his characters. After stepping out of the shadows and making cameos in various films based on the comics he created, Lee was as ubiquitous as ever prior to his death, with rappers and other figures within hip-hop invoking his name with the type of reverence reserved for an icon.

In celebration of his life and impact on hip-hop, VIBE compiled a list of 20 of the illest rap lyrics paying homage to Stan Lee.


1. Common - “Chapter 13 (Rich Man vs. Poor Man)”

A Manwich has mills like Stephanie Mills, dills like pickles/ I'm fancy, man, I tickles like the French/ Not Johnny but like Bench, I press on like Lee/ I stan' like Lee, while you stagger like Lee

2. Royce Da 5'9 - "I'm Me Freestyle"

"I take care of my family/ They say "Do the kid rock like Pam Lee?"/ The answer is yes and I invest/ It takes money to make money, so I make green off Green like Stan Lee"

3. Jon Bellium - "Adult Swim"

"My stance here as a bandleader is Pangaea/ My heart free-er, I'm cold, heater than Cambria/ I rock steady, my Johnson's Dwayne-heavy/ We just erase heroes, I Stan Lee your remedy"

4. Timeless Truth - "Pop Champagne"

"Illustrate like Stan Lee... Kubrick/ Color code a Rubik's Cube with my eyes closed/ Time froze... modern day Picasso's viotech flows/My dialect grows when I elect, yo"

5. Killah Priest - "Sword Clan"

"Meditate, talk to Magneto and Professor X/ Y'all world's last chance/ Telepathy like from the mind of Stan Lee/ My strength in the comic world is like family/ Your pix sticks of style of rap is weak"

6. Canibus - “Wreck Room”

Flaw's the illest and I put that on my daughters ‘cause/ I'm hungry, like the effect I get that marijuana does/ In this game, you'll be the horriblest//So even with Stan Lee fighting Marvin Hagler, you couldn't marvel us

7. Daylyt - "First Breath"

"Isley brother that Mister bigger than ever it's contra/ No contradiction we pill them like top prescription/ Here's my prediction, if y'all get offensive there's consequences so constantly/ Kinda Stan Lee, it's marvelous moments charcoal upon us?"

8. Chino XL - "Closer To God"

I'm feeling wild lately/ I don't know how to die, kill you, you can educate me/ I'm back when the game is horrible/ I stepped right out of Stan Lee's imagination, Chino is a living Marvel

9. Apollo Brown & Ras Kass - “Animal Sacrifice”

I'm at least top 10 breathing on land, me/ Helped Dylan raps, I got skills like Lee/ Which Lee? Any Lee, choose two/ Spike Lee, Bruce Lee, Stan Lee, Chun/ From Street Fighter 2 with the fire fall shoe/ Studied the best bars old school to the new

10. Redman - “Ni**a Like Me”

My credit card that I swipe/ True Religion's all on my Nikes/ 7:30 train wreck, brain freeze/ I'm Capo, Marvel, got the Iron Man, Stan Lee”

11. Joe Budden - “Going Through the Motions”

Here's a message to the haters tryna stampede/ You wanna kill the kid, you'll need a plan B/ Voices in my head soundin' louder than the banshee/ Callin' me a character, this ain't sponsored by Stan Lee

12. Chiddy Bang - “(Swelly) Extra Well”

Young Chiddy turn a verse into a masterpiece/ Ni**a focused on the pie, I can let you have a piece/ Everything you can't be, Fendis in the pantry/ Haters marvel at it like Stan Lee, damn me

13. Chris Webby - “Get By”

Never fade away, this the raw sh*t/ Blueprint, Stan Lee couldn’t draw this/ Flow a perfect 10, head-to-toe flawless/ Give ‘em a colostomy bag if they try to talk sh*t

14. Dumbfounded - “Zonin’”

There was no Plan B, told myself I can be/A superhero make myself dinero like I’m Stan Lee/I was a daydreamer, voted as the night mayor/ Packed inside a club like I don’t like air

15. The Last Emperor - “Secret Wars (Prince Paul Mix)”

Now with all these heroes down, Stan Lee refuses to surrender/ He got Storm from the X-Men, as if I couldn't match the gender/ Stan Lee shouts 'Excelsior!' Yo, Stan you best to chill'/ There's no match for Storm,' I guess he's never heard of Lauryn Hill

The Last Emperor - “Secret Wars II”

What if I had the power to gather all of my favorite MCs/ With the illest comic book characters and make them arch enemies?/ Inconceivable? Unbelievable? Yet as wild as it seems/ The Emperor and Stan Lee would coach the two opposing teams

16. Apathy - “Plan B”

I'm killin' about a million little innocent civilians/ And chillin'; still in my secret location on top a hill an'/ Narratin' this adventure like Stan Lee/ I narrowly escaped, time to start up my Plan B

17. Hieroglyphics - “Phesto D”

Manhandling, your crime family like Stan Lee/ Branding ni**as with the Hiero, symbol and/ Adrenalin is, hallucinogenic/ By the time the ambulance rolled up, the pharmaceuticals entered

18. Chuuwee - “Decension (Routine) (ft. dahLak)”

Trying hard to maintain things is the only thing I'm on lately/ Only going out if it pays me, the fuss and fighting just pains me/ But I dust it off can't stain me, Stan Lee can't create me/ I can sense the feeling ni**as hate me, but I can't be seen in HD screen

19. Cambatta - "Stoopid"

"My design was derived from Stan Lee/ Unequivocal mind I combine with hand speed/ Make a ni**a look like he died by stampede/ Even with a pair of God's eyes, you can't see"

20. Mickey Factz - “Sway in the Morning Friday Fire Cypher 2016”

Yeah, that mean the flow is too gamma/ And I could fly, teleport, I threw hammers/ I'm Stan Lee in a cipher, Jack Kirby of writers/ Frank Miller drawing lyrics in lightning

READ MORE: Beloved Marvel Co-Creator Stan Lee Dies At 95

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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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