Lil Kim and Lil Cease
Lil Kim and Lil Cease reunite at the first annual B.I.G. Family Dinner at Nomo Kitchen on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Eurila Cave

Lil Kim And Lil Cease Reunite, Resolve Differences At Biggie Birthday Dinner

Brooklyn rap legend and fashion icon Lil Kim started her career with The Notorious B.I.G. in the early ‘90s, and on what would’ve been the latter’s 47th birthday, Kim honored his life and reunited with her Junior M.A.F.I.A. cohorts.

On Tuesday (May 21), Kim hosted the first annual B.I.G. Family Dinner at Nomo Kitchen, in the swanky Soho neighborhood of New York City. In a gorgeous, candle and chandelier-lit room, artists, friends, and family of Biggie laughed, ate and celebrated the career of the artist they love and who welcomed them into the music industry. Attendees included Bad Boy labelmates Styles P and Jadakiss of The LOX, Bronx lyricist and Biggie’s friend Fat Joe, fellow Brooklyn MC Fabolous, business partner and record exec Lance “Un” Rivera, Biggie’s daughter T’yanna Wallace, and all of the members of Junior M.A.F.I.A. Revered Hot 97 DJ Mister Cee, known for discovering Big, proudly hosted the evening, introducing speakers and directing traffic.

Kim and Junior M.A.F.I.A. cohort Lil Cease entered the building on the red carpet: Kim wearing a splendid, shimmering, chest-baring silver dress with a black belt on her waist, and Cease wearing a gray suit, white tee and his signature Jesus piece chain with crisp white Air Force Ones. Artist wardrobes varied: Mister Cee wore a painted Biggie tee and Styles P wore a casual linen outfit, while Jadakiss donned a white suit and Fabolous wore a black tux.

Attendees were stunned at the sight of Kim and Cease together: they were once inseparable, but Cease said that night was the first time they had seen each other in person in 13 years. But they began planning the dinner earlier this year on March 9, the anniversary of when Biggie died after being shot in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been together on his birthday or doing any event together at all. For me, it was a spiritual awakening,” Kim told VIBE. “This was his heart. So it’s sort of for me, mending Big’s broken heart. All of us were Big, head to toe. Putting him back together is putting all of us back together.”

“I’ve been waiting on this day for years. This is somebody that held me down since B.I. passed, and somebody I knew before B.I. passed,” Cease said. “She always acted in my best interests … This was God’s timing. I’ve been trying to reach out to her for years but when God was ready for us to make it happen, He made it happen. No questions asked, no old rehashing, let’s start over from here and keep it traditional.”

“...We’d see each other, but it’d be eyes, and we’d keep it moving and do our separate things,” Cease continued. “This is the first time we’re literally face to face. We’ve been speaking since March, but this is the energy of back in the 90s.

Kim and Cease had a strained relationship since the mid-2000s, when Kim served a one-year prison sentence after being convicted of perjury and conspiracy for lying to a federal grand jury about her and her fellow Junior M.A.F.I.A. members’ involvement in a shooting outside of the Hot 97 studios. Kim testified that she didn’t know that Damion “D-Roc” Butler and Suif “Gutta” Jackson were at the scene, but both of them still served prison time as a result of the shooting. Butler and Jackson were both seats away from Kim and Cease at the dinner table on Tuesday.

During Cease’s speech at the dinner table, he explained how he moved in with Kim after Biggie died and apologized for the falling out of their friendship.

“I apologize for things I may have done that may have hurt you or affected you or made you feel bad,” he said. “I genuinely apologize, and I love you from the bottom of my heart. I thank you for bringing this energy here.”

“...This lets you know God is real. Sometimes you may not expect it to come but when it does, embrace it, be ready for it, and make sure your energy is right for it,” Cease told the crowd. “My energy was right for it. She read that from me, and that’s why she spoke to me. I hit her randomly one day, and she texted me back, I’m like ‘oh sh*t.’”

Kim was mum to VIBE on the details of a potential Junior M.A.F.I.A. reunion. “Just wait and see. I’ve got some special things planned, don’t worry. I can’t tell you nothing right now,” she said. But Lance “Un” Rivera gave the members a mission when he was given the mic.

“This is the beginning. Junior M.A.F.I.A. in one room. Everybody who was a part of it,” Rivera said. “What I want you guys to do is make this the official day that you all take back. ...You guys have to claim your rightful spot.”

Kim and Cease also spoke to VIBE about a long-lasting hip-hop debate: what’s the better album, Ready To Die or Life After Death? Cease chose the former.

“I have a personal thing for Ready To Die. That was the birth. It was him at his prime, raw, still young and fresh. That’s what opened the gate. I grasp that more because aside from him being my friend, for me to be a fan and be young, I was super high and excited.

Kim chose his double disc classic.

Life After Death is the one where we all knew it was going solidified everybody. We were so proud of that album, that was special because we knew that was going to be the one who solidified who we were because it solidified who he was. … It was a double disc, and the more music I get from him, the better.

When asked about Biggie’s most slept on verses, Kim chose “You Can’t Stop The Reign” with Shaquille O’Neal - “I feel like not too many people know about that verse,” she said - and his verse with Michael Jackson on "This Time Around." Cease chose the second verse on “Everyday Struggle” and the third verse on “Niggas Bleed” as his favs.

The event also included a live painting, dueling violinists and a flutist playing over Biggie instrumentals, and comments by the aforementioned artists. The night ended with a reveal of the cover of 9, Lil Kim’s long-awaited upcoming solo album and her first since 2005's The Naked Truth.

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Rita Wilson Remixes Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hop Hooray"

Many artists are coming together to raise funds for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. Today (April 6), actress and singer Rita Wilson joined forces with Naughty by Nature for the "Hip-Hop Hooray (Remix)."

While recovering from COVID-19, Wilson posted an Instagram video of her rapping the classic record. She also sent it to the New Jersey rap group. Impressed with Wilson's microphone skills, and inspired by her recovery, Naughty reached out to Wilson for the remix.

 

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See it to believe it

A post shared by Rita Wilson (@ritawilson) on Mar 21, 2020 at 11:31pm PDT

“We were totally shocked she could rap the verses so well,”  the rap group said via press release.

“’Hip Hop Hooray’ is like modern-day Shakespeare,” Wilson adds. “It took me a month to learn because it’s so complex and nuanced; it was like training for a marathon. The rhythms and tempos are so unique and creative. When I was quarantined and recovering from COVID-19 I wanted to see if I still remembered it, kind of like a brain exercise. To my surprise I did. I thought it would be fun to put it on my Instagram to show people I was doing OK and to make them smile. When Naughty by Nature commented about it, I couldn’t believe it,” she continued.

Back in March,  actor Tom Hanks, Wilson's husband, released a statement saying that he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 while in Australia.

Listen to the Wilson remix above.

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Bob Levey

Tekashi 6ix9ine Breaks His Silence On Snitching

Tekashi 6ix9ine is out of prison, and he quickly fell into his trolling habits.

On Sunday (April 5), the Brooklyn rapper decided to add his two cents about snitching under the comment section on a social media post. The Shade Room reported on Los Angeles' mayor offering rewards for people willing to tell on their neighbors for breaking the city's stay-at-home order. The "Fefe" rapper commented by saying, "Coming to the rescue."

 

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TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh ___ Finish this sentence, “snitches get ____.” In Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s words, “rewards” would fill in the blank as he’s encouraging people to rat on others who aren’t following the city’s stay-at-home order. ___ It’s a lot different from the saying we grew up knowing but apparently since the “safer at home” order in California was instituted, Los Angeles city officials have received multiple reports about businesses violating the order. ___ “If any non-essential businesses continue to operate in violation of the stay at home order, we’re going to act to enforce the safer at home order and ensure their compliance,” he said, according to @cbsla. ___ “You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards,” Garcetti said. “We want to thank you for turning folks in and making-click the link in our bio to read more.📸: @gettyimages

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Apr 5, 2020 at 10:56am PDT

 

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A comment made by #Tekashi69’s account was left in #TheShadeRoom just days after he was released from prison 👀

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Apr 5, 2020 at 11:27am PDT

Tekashi was scheduled to be released from prison Aug. 2, 2020. But, after his lawyer petitioned the Federal Bureau of Prisons to have the rapper serve the rest of his sentence at home due to coronavirus fears, he was granted a early release.

According to his lawyer, Dawn Florio, 6ix9ine is free to return to social media and will spend the rest of his sentence on house arrest where he plans to work on multiple projects. 6ix9ine reportedly signed an eight-figure record deal with 10K Projects last October.

6ix9ine, who testified against his former associates and Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods members Anthony "Harv" Ellison and Aljermiah "Nuke" Mack, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and eight other charges in January 2019.

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
KMazur/WireImage

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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