Lil Kim at BET Hip Hop Awards
Carmen Mandato

New Music Fridays: Wale, Lil Kim, Casanova, Youngboy Never Broke Again

This week includes a comeback by Lil Kim, a full-length by Wale after a year of quality EPs, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again's first project of 2019.Look below for more information on this week's New Music Friday.

Wale - Wow... That's Crazy
With the announcement of signing with Warner Bros., Wale had a string of strong EPs in 2018, showing his fans that he was back in full creative mode. In 2019 he's released several singles – including the seductive "On Chill" with Jeremih, "BGM," "Love & Loyalty" with singer Mannywellz, and "Poledancer" with Megan Thee Stallion – as appetizers for Wow... That's Crazy, the follow-up to his last LP Shine (2017). An early listen of some songs show Wale revisiting his specialty of songs that adore black women ("BGM," "Love And Loyalty"), chronicle relationships ("Her Fault" featuring Bryson Tiller), and open up about his personal life ("Sue Me"). Other guests on the album include Ari Lennox, Boogie, 6LACK, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Lil Durk, Pink Sweat$, Kelly Price and Jacquees. Apple Music | TIDAL

Lil Kim – 9
Lil Kim's last official album The Naked Truth dropped in 2005, right before she served a prison bid. Now she's back with her fourth studio album, 9. The title is a reference to the date of Biggie's death (March 9), the birthday of her daughter (June 9), and the original number of members in Junior M.A.F.I.A. And even though Kim has a long history behind her (as seen by her performance at the BET Hip Hop Awards this week), Kim isn't resting on her legacy: "Auto Blanco" features signature Queen Bee shit talking and clowning people who lie on Instagram, and "You Are Not Alone" sees her carrying on the legacy of her friend. "I dismantle any competition to the coalition / What BIG started, I'm bout to finish," she snarls. Other singles include the Rick Ross and Musiq Soulchild-featured "Pray For Me," and the Bubba Sparxxx-sampled "I Found You," which has guest appearances by City Girls and O.T. Genasis. Apple Music | TIDAL

Casanova – Behind These Scars
Casanova has had a strong second half of 2019: "So Brooklyn" (featuring Fabolous)  took off to the point of sparking a challenge that inspired other rappers to take a shot at the beat,  "Coming Home" takes on romantic vibes with a chorus by Chris Brown, and released two more singles, "Stay Wit It" and "Live" featuring Giggs. The rest of Casanova's taut 10-song album, Behind These Scars, has guest appearances by Gunna, Young Thug, and Kaycyy Pluto. Apple Music | TIDAL

Youngboy Never Broke Again – AI Youngboy 2
Youngboy Never Broke Again (also known as NBA Youngboy) is one of the rap's most interesting figures: he doesn't get the most media coverage or radio spins, but he's one of the most streamed rap artists in the country. While legal issues have held him back from his usual prolific musical output, this week he released AI Youngboy 2, the sequel to his 2017 mixtape of the same title and his first release since 2018's Realer. The new project has 17 tracks and only two guests, Quando Rondo and NoCap, who both appear on the same track.

YK Osirus – The Golden Child
YK Osirus landed on the XXL Freshman list this year, and so far his output has proven his stardom: his single "Worth It" landed him a no. 48 spot in the Billboard 200, he released "Freaky Dancer" with DaBaby in June, and last week he dropped the sexy "Ride" with Kehlani. This week sees him dropping his Def Jam debut The Golden Child, which features guest appearances by Tory Lanez and Ty Dolla $ign on a "Worth It" remix, along with guest appearances by Kehlani and Russ. Apple Music | TIDAL

Curren$y, Trademark and Young Roddy – Plan Of Attack
Curren$y reunited with Wiz Khalifa earlier this year for their 2009 mixtape, and now he's getting back with his Jet Life comrades Trademark and Young Roddy for their album Plan of Attack. Apple Music | TIDAL

Ne-Yo – Another Kind of Christmas
R&B/pop star Ne-Yo is getting ready for the holiday season with the release of Another Kind of Christmas, the first holiday album in his decorated career. He reimagines several Christmas classics, including "Someday At Christmas" (originally performed by Stevie Wonder) and Marvin Gaye's "I Want To Come Home For Christmas," along with five new original songs. Apple Music | TIDAL

Wiz Khalifa – "I Can't Stay"
Since releasing his 2009 mixtape with Curren$y in February, Wiz Khalifa has steadily been dropping several loosies as the year has went on with the likes of Alchemist, YG, and 24hrs, among others. The latest is the atmospheric, relaxing "I Can't Stay." Wiz has had a great couple months musically, and we're on board for as long as he'll have us.

French Montana featuring Juicy J, Logic, A$AP Rocky – "Twisted"
As the days approach for French Montana's album Montana, he's been dropping multiple singles with huge star power: "Suicide Doors" with Gunna, and "Writing On The Wall" with  Cardi B and Post Malone. This week he comes with perhaps the most unexpected combination of artists yet: Juicy J, Logic, and A$AP Rocky, all uniting for a club anthem called "Twisted." Apple Music | TIDAL

Joji & Jackson Wang featuring Swae Lee and Major Lazer – "Walking"
"Walking" appears on the new album Head In The Clouds II by 88rising, a crew/company that has earned a reputation for hosting festivals and world tours while breaking Asian and Asian American crossover artists. On this single, Joji and Jackson Wang join Swae Lee and Major Lazer for a mellow, soothing number that arranges all of their vocals seamlessly. The rest of Head In The Clouds II, according to a press release, "the album spans six countries (United States, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and China) yet creates a cohesive sound that blends elements of vintage R&B, hip-hop, disco, and forward-thinking pop."

Tiana Major 9 and EarthGang – "Collide"
Lena Waithe's upcoming film Queen and Slim is one of the most anticipated of the year, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith as a couple who unexpectedly kill a police officer after being pulled over. The first single from the film's soundtrack is "Collide," by EarthGang and Tiana Major 9. The rest of the soundtrack will feature songs by the likes of Ms. Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Baby, Vince Staples, and Coast Contra featuring BJ The Chicago Kid and Syd, along with previously released songs from the likes of Roy Ayers, Bilal, and Mike Jones.

Hit-Boy and Saweetie – "No L's"
Hit-Boy and Saweetie's "No L's" was originally heard on Madden 20, but now the song has a video, which showcases Saweetie living lavishly as the main attraction while Hit-Boy celebrates on the outskirts.

Gucci Mane featuring Lil Baby – "Tootsies"
Gucci Mane's Woptober continues with "Tootsies," a bouncy new record with Lil Baby. Woptober II drops next week. Apple Music | TIDAL

T.I. – "Sabotage"
T.I. has kept busy with his Expeditiously podcast and his role on Netflix's new show Rhythm and Flow, but his pen still does work – and the new song "Sabotage" is proof of that, with his flow still sounding sharp. Apple Music | TIDAL

Pusha T – "Puppets (Succession Remix)"
HBO's Succession is becoming a runaway hit in its second season, but one of the main attractions is composer Nicolas Britell's haunting, piano-laden theme song. Fans have been fiending for an artist to remix it, and Pusha T delivered with "Puppets," released this week. Such dark production is the perfect fit for Push's grim, rugged lyrics. Apple Music | TIDAL

Homeboy Sandman – "Lookout (feat. Quelle Chris, Your Old Droog)"
Homeboy Sandman's upcoming album Dusty is scheduled for an Oct. 18 release date with Mello Music Group, and "Lookout" features him barring up with Quelle Chris and Your Old Droog over what sounds like a quirky western guitar sample by producer Mono El Stereo.

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Nas and A$AP Ferg host Hennessy All-Star Weekend Saturday night at The Old Post Office in Chicago in celebration of the newly announced multiyear partnership between the spirit and NBA.
Caleb Zahm

Nas Hosts Hennessy's All-Star Weekend Party, DaBaby And A$AP Ferg Perform

Hennessy celebrated its NBA multi-year spirit partnership with festivities during the league's All-Star Weekend. After hosting an intimate reception, the global cognac brand turned the vibe up, hosted an evening of cocktails and performances at the Gentlemen’s Lounge in Chicago's Old Post Office. Nas served as the welcoming host of the night as he introduced his fellow Hennessy ambassador A$AP Ferg, who kicked off the night of performances.

After warming up the crowd with performances of  "Work," "Plain Jane" and his new single "Value," he brought out MadeinTYO to perform a short number. Shortly after, DaBaby amped up the crowd with a high-energy set with performances of "Bop," "Suge," and more alongside Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment artists Stunna 4 Vegas and Rich Dunk.

As the Hennessy specialty drinks flowed and bites made their rounds, some of music and sports' biggest stars stopped by the event to enjoy the fanfare including Saweetie, Dave East, and others. Scroll through more images down below to see what you missed.

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Premiere: Caleb Brown Basks In The Success Of His "Moment"

Every aspiring rap artist hopes for the moment where all of their hard work has paid off – and in the video for "Moment," Caleb Brown enjoys his first taste of success.

Over a jubilant DJ Khalil production, Caleb Brown raps about the trials he persevered through in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., and the triumph of making it over. The GT Films visual shows the 21-year-old celebrating on the porch of his mansion, and hosting his family to a feast fitting of the work ethic necessary to provide for them. He also calls out shady politicians and reminisces on Nipsey Hussle and comrades lost along the way.

Watch the video for Caleb Brown's "Moment" above.

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Multi-platinum rapper and entrepreneur Pusha-T partners with Courvoisier Cognac and performs during Maison Courvoisier on Saturday, February 15, 2020. Maison Courvoisier is an immersive luxury experience that pays homage to the brand’s Chateau in France and showcases the power of shared success by partnering with talent at the top of their game to spotlight their favorite artists in the areas of fashion and art.
Jeff Schear

Pusha T And Courvoisier Welcome Chicago To Maison Courvoisier Experience

As the festivities from the bitterly cold 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago brought nearly the whole Midwest and beyond to the city, Courvoisier Cognac left everyone with a glowing warmth as strong and hearty as the liquor itself this past Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Morgan MFG. The esteemed brand opened the gates to its Maison Courvoisier Experience with Pusha T, featuring the artwork and fashion of Rhuigi Villasenor and Al-Baseer Holly, with surprise sets from Gunna and Tory Lanez.

For Push, teaming up with Courvoisier is all about staying true to their sacred moral codes, as he embraced their story of how the brand continued to prosper over the many years.

“We’re sticking to the mantra ‘honor your code’ and we’re living by that. It’s amazing to be partners with Courvoisier,” said Push.

The drip from meticulously crafted scenery falls as soon as you enter the make-shift liquor mansion. Between the walls of the rustic yet elegant area, the guests were treated to Al-Baseer’s colorful and eclectic interactive art gallery, Rhuigi’s fashion display, and a mini-tour of the private stock room with a tasting of one of their exclusive blends. Chicago’s own DJ Sean Mac soundtracked the night as the crowd drank barrels of Courvoisier VSOP and their special cocktails, the “King Push” and the Courvoisier French 75, all while snapping flicks at the high-end photo booths.

Meanwhile, the man of the hour, Pusha T blended into the crowd in his all-black attire. He spent part of the evening giving the media a quick tour of both exhibits and taking photos with Rhuigi and Al-Baseer.

After Sean Mac practically turned the building into the club scene from New Jack City with his fully loaded 90s set, the majority Black female crowd flocked to the front of the stage for King Push. Straight out the gate, he had the whole crowd screaming the lyrics of “If You Know You Know” word for word and continued with other deep cuts from his Grammy-nominated album Daytona.

Throughout the show, Push gave the Chicago crowd plenty of musical treats to go with their drinks, starting with his classic verses from Kanye’s “Devil in A New Dress”, “So Appalled”, and “New God Flow” from Cruel Summer, along with more Windy City love like his verse from Yeezy’s “Mercy” and his earth-shaking closer, his 16 from Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like” remix. And he kept his foot on the crowd’s neck as he took the room back to ’02 with the Clipse’s claim-to-fame hit, “Grindin.”

Before Pusha T would close the show, he brought out Gunna, to the surprise of the packed and semi-drunken room. Moving off the crowd's warm vibes, Gunna kept a hot hand all night as he rocked the stage with hits like “Speed It Up”, “Hot”, “Oh Okay”, and shut it down with “Drip Too Hard”. The crowd ate it up while he periodically took selfies with fans in front of the stage and rapped some of his verses on a few of their respective Instagram Lives.

After Sean Mac tempered the crowd from another set, an unexpected Tory Lanez ran on stage to “Broke In A Minute” with a hot crowd. He became a livewire, gyrating to “Talk To Me” and doing tongue-in-cheek call and responses. “If you got an STD then throw your hands up! All their hands mean some of yall lying,” he said in jest.

As the electrifying Lanez spent the whole show singing and getting to know his front row of ladies through singing to them and on their phones, he blew the roof off, wrapping up his set with the fiery “K Oh K”.

Before he hopped on stage, VIBE had a quick word with Pusha T inside the green room during the party and spoke with him about his collaboration with Courvoisier, sharing his love for fashion with Rhuigi Villasenor, and what stands out to him about Chicago’s culture and fashion.

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You’ve been a huge fan of Courvoisier for a long time. What drew you to the brand?

The heritage, man. The heritage, the whole story behind it, the whole idea of shared success and how the brand was birthed by pulling up one another. I see similarities in that and just how I look at life and where I am in music and how I can pull up the next future MCs and the next artists in general.

Or even how you and your brother [No Malice] were able to pull each other up over the years.

Brother, friends, family, everybody. Each one, teach one, that’s what it’s all about.

For decades, Courvoisier has been celebrated throughout hip-hop in songs and beyond. How has it been able to remain such a long-lasting staple in hip-hop?

I think hip-hop is drawn to heritage and things that are luxury. It has a luxury aesthetic to it. The taste level is up there, and I feel like hip-hop is drawn to those things.

What are the common threads that bond you and Rhuigi together, considering your passion for fashion?

I think our love for fashion, him being technically great at it and me just looking at it from afar. Me seeing his rise, him being—I own three stores, so I have my employees clamor over his stuff and I’m like, ‘okay, we gotta get this stuff in here.’ Just watching that fanfare.

How did he change your perspective on fashion, if he did in any way?

My perspective on fashion has always been the same in regard to music and fashion, just that whole fusion. All of my favorite rappers were always fresh, they were always fly. [Big Daddy] Kane, Slick Rick, everybody was always—I always saw it as one. I had to want to be like you in every aspect, not just rap like you.

Since you’re in Chicago during All-Star Weekend, what are some takeaways you got from the city’s fashion scene?

I have to say that there are a lot of trendsetters here. A lot of trendsetters here from Don C to Virgil [Abloh]. Even with ‘Ye, I see—watching them progress in fashion I will say that it’s really dope to watch them still learning and trying to learn. I think their hard work and ability and love of fashion is paying off.

Lastly, what’s something amazing from Chicago that you’ve seen since you’ve been here that you didn’t expect?

Well, I’m from Virginia and when I got here, I didn’t know house music was as big as it was here.

You didn’t know that?!

I did not know! This is the Midwest to us. Until I started coming here as an artist in traveling, that’s when I learned it was a part of your culture.

Since then, who are some of your favorites you may have picked up on?

No, I’ve never known. I’ve never known. Ever [laughs]! I just always knew it was a dance thing where we’re from. And I didn’t know when I came out here that house is like a lifestyle. [In Virginia,] you’ll have a house [music] set at a party, that’s cool. Here you have whole house clubs [laughs]. Things like that.

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