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J. Cole Responds To Backlash Over Support For XXXTentacion, Kodak Black, And 6ix9ine

"I get it, there’s some people out there that do things that a person can’t fathom loving anybody that can do that. But nobody becomes that way overnight."

In the past, J. Cole has been heavily criticized for his support of XXXTentacion, Kodak Black and other artists accused of abuse. While Cole has never condoned their specific actions, his outward support on social media has rubbed many fans the wrong way. But according to Cole, everyone, even those accused of the most awful offenses, deserves some sort of healing.

The "Middle Child" artist addressed the backlash concerning his previous co-signs of Kodak, XXX, and Tekashi 6ix9ine in the Apr. 2019 cover story for XXL. Cole sparked outrage after he made a series of statements praising their music skills or encouraging others to pray for them during tough times. "I get it, there’s some people out there that do things that a person can’t fathom loving anybody that can do that," he admitted. "But nobody becomes that way overnight. Nobody is born that way. That sh*t is a product of unfortunate circumstances and mishaps in the person’s life, too many to count. Sh*t that they may not even remember that, in my opinion, causes someone to be as sick as they would be to be a fucking murderer, to be dumb enough to just take a life."

He continued: "N***a, I know many murderers. I still speak to them. These dudes have committed the ultimate crime in God’s eyes, or whatever, where they’ve taken a life. These people I still speak to, love and have compassion for. I see how in their life that happened, how you became a murderer. Maybe some of them don’t even know, don’t even have a chance to process why they become the monsters that they are."

Cole also explained how he would've confronted XXXTentacion about those abuse allegations. Prior to X's death in June 2018, the rapper was accused of beating and sexually assaulting his then-pregnant girlfriend. Cole previously tweeted about how "talented" he thought X was.

While he wasn't aware of the allegations at the time, he said if the late rapper was here today, he wouldn't turn his back on him. "Even if I [initially] knew what [XXXTentacion] did, I wouldn’t have cut him off, like, 'Hey, man, why are you putting your hands on women or why the fuck did you do these sick things to this girl?'" He explained. "I would’ve asked a series of questions that hopefully would’ve sparked something in his mind. It would’ve been towards the direction of healing. It wouldn’t have been in the direction of punishment, judgment, cancellation. Because he deserves healing. Especially the girl that he did all that shit to—she absolutely needs healing. It’s like, I’m just going to discard you and throw you in the trash and forget about you? That’s what they doing in the prison system. That’s what we’re actually fighting to stop. We’re trying to fight the fact that prisons offer no rehabilitation and that people come out even worse off than they went in."

Read J. Cole's full cover story here.

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Jay Z Is Allegedly In Talks To Sell Tidal

TIDAL could be shopping around for a new owner.

Square Inc., the mobile payment app led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, might end up acquiring TIDAL, according to Bloomberg. Dorsey and Jay Z have reportedly discussed a possible sale, but it is unclear if the alleged negotiations will actually result in an acquisition.

The rumored sale may have something to do with why Jay put his discography back to Spotify for his  50th birthday last year.

Hov acquired TIDAL for $56 million from Norwegian company, Aspiro, in 2015. The subscription-based music streaming company has been touted as a better option for artists in that it offers higher royalties than competitors like Spotify and Apple Music.

The company has however been accused of not paying artists, and settled an $84 million class action lawsuit last year amid claims of “fraudulently” persuading customers to subscribe by claiming that Kanye West’s Life of Pablo album was an exclusive release.

Despite a star-studded 2015 launch event attended by West, Beyoncé, J. Cole, Usher, Rihanna, Madonna, Nicki Minaj and more, TIDAL has had a rocky few years — especially when it comes to corporate leadership. The company went through four CEO’s in two years, the most recent of which, Richard Sanders, was appointed to run TIDAL in 2017.

That year, Sprint purchased a 33% stake in TIDAL for $200 million.

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Ashanti And Keyshia Cole Sign On For Verzuz Battle

Season 2 of Verzuz is already off to a good start. Ashanti and Keyshia Cole are next in line for a Verzuz battle, it was confirmed on Friday (Dec. 4).

The R&B stars will go up against each other for a “celebration of women empowerment” next Saturday, Dec. 12. The “Legendary Ladies Night” will be streamed on IG Live and Apple Music.

Yeah, it’s official! The paperwork is IN 🚨🚨 It’s a legendary Ladies Night on Saturday, December 12th with @Ashanti and @KeyshiaCole.

Which Libra you got?!

Saturday, December 12th, 5PM PT / 8PM ET. Watch on our IG or in HD on @AppleMusic.

Drinks by @Ciroc Merch by @NTWRKLIVE pic.twitter.com/UCWJvaEl0y

— Verzuz (@verzuzonline) December 4, 2020

Both multi-platinum selling singers have impressive stats. Ashanti’s catalog of solo hits include “Foolish,” “Rock wit U,” “Rain On Me,” “Happy,” and “Baby.” On the collaborative tip, the Grammy winner joined Ja Rule on singles like, “What’s Love?” and “Always on Time.”

She was also featured on Lloyd’s debut single “Southside,” “Into You” by Fabolous, and “Body on Me” with Nelly. And she of course wrote songs for Jennifer Lopez and more.

Cole’s breakout single, “I Changed My Mind,” dropped in 2004 and her career took off from there. The Oakland native boasts a slew of classic R&B singles like “(I Just Want It) To Be Over,” “I Should Have Cheated,” “Let It Go,” “I Remember,” “Heaven Sent,” “Love,” and “Trust.” As a featured artist, Cole appeared on Sean Paul’s “(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me,” Young Jeezy’s “Dreaming,” and Diddy’s 2006 single “Last Night,” to name a few.

Although they’re technically going up against each other for Verzuz, there’s no beef between the two artists who previously collaborated for the title track off Cole’s 2012 album, Woman to Woman.

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Casanova Wanted By FBI In Connection With Racketeering Case

Rapper Casanova is wanted by federal investigators in connection with a sweeping indictment charging 18 alleged members of the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation Gang with various racketeering, murder, drugs, guns, and fraud offenses, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday (Dec. 1).

The FBI New York tweeted a photo of Casanova and encouraged anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the bureau. “We are still looking for Caswell Senior, aka Casanova, in connection with this case.”

The 34-year-old rapper is named in the indictment which was unsealed in a White Plains federal court Tuesday. Casanova is the only one out of 18 defendants who has yet to be arrested, the indictment states.

He faces single cont of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“As alleged in the Indictment, members of Gorilla Stone committed terrible acts of violence, trafficked in narcotics, and even engaged in brazen fraud by exploiting benefits programs meant to provide assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. “Because of that, communities across the Southern District – from Poughkeepsie to Peekskill to New York City – suffered.”

“Most shocking, as alleged in the indictment, a minor was murdered in furtherance of the gang’s activities,” continued Strauss. “Because of the extraordinary work of our law enforcement partners, the defendants now face federal charges for their crimes.”

The indictment outlines a string of crimes that took place between Jan. 2018 and Sept. 2020.

Alleged gang member Brandon “Stacks” Soto has been charged in connection with the murder of a 15-year-old victim in Poughkeepsie, New York, in September.

In July, Stephen “Chino” Hugh allegedly shot at rival gang members in New Rochelle to allegedly “maintain and increase his position” in the gang’s “racketeering enterprise.” A month earlier, suspects Naya “Baby”Austin, Dezon “Blakk” Washington, and Jordan “Flow” Ingram committed armed robbery of a rival drug dealer, the indictment alleges.

Austin and another suspect, Shanay “Easy” Outlaw, were also charged with filing fraudulent documents to receive COVID-19 related unemployment benefits

The indictment goes on to allege that Brinae “Luxury” Thornton shot a rival gang member in Brooklyn in 2018 in an attempt to “maintain and increase her position” in the gang. That year, another alleged gang member, Robert “Blakk Rob” Woods, supposedly slashed a victim in the face.

Also named in the indictment were Dwight “Dick Wolf” Reid, Christopher “Beagle” Erskine, Walter “Shells” Luster, Deshawn “Don” Thomas, Brandon “Untouchable Dot” Nieves, Ahmed “Ammo” Walker, Isaiah “Zay” Santos, and Robert “Trouble” Sligh, all of whom have been arrested and accused of being members of Gorilla Stone.

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