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- Kevin Goddard

Fat Joe stopped by the Wendy Williams show this week to promote his new album Family Ties. While there, the Bronx emcee was asked about his thoughts on the late Juice WLRD, and whether or not he knew the 21-tear old Chicago rapper.

Despite only meeting him once, Joey said Juice was a beautiful kid and very respectful. “I only met him one time,” he said. “He was such a beautiful kid. He was so respectful when I met him, and I was just like, ‘Yo, this is a real good kid.’ So, rest in peace, Juice Wrld.”

Joey then took the opportunity to speak out on pill addiction, comparing his crack usage in the 80's to today's pill epidemic. In fact, Joey even says they used to smoke crack when he was younger, but they knew the danger and grossness of it. Whereas, Joey believes today’s kids think that since pills are prescription, it’s okay to use and they think they won’t get hooked.

“When we was younger, we would go smoke crack. But you knew you was copping rock cocaine, or you knew you was copping heroin – you knew it was disgusting!” Joey said. “So now, what happens with these pills, being that there prescribed, these kids don’t think they’re pill-heads or crackheads, or they’re nothing. [Nowadays they think] ‘It’s legal; it’s cool! We can do as much of it as we want.’ And that’s a big understatement because all these kids are dying.” (See below around the 9:22 mark) 

Joe continued describing the sad reality of the situation and the need to especially protect those living in poorer communities. “Everyday in the Bronx, all these kids are dying – overdosing off of pills,” he says. “We gotta try watch these kids as much as we can, ’cause it’s sad … This kid was filthy rich and died at 21 years old, on a private plane!” he concluded. 

R.I.P Juice WRLD.

- Aron A.

During a time when Drake became hip-hop's quintessential loverboy and Kanye West went full-on bourgeoisie, Troy Ave emerged as a reminder that the streets are very much alive. He brought back that New York energy at a time when some argued it was fading out, just as trap music rose to prominence and the South began to dictate hip-hop. 

Troy Ave in 2019 is different in a lot of ways, but at the same time, there's a lot about him that hasn't changed. Musically, his sound is still rooted in the East Coast hip-hop tradition from the early 2000s. But more than that, he's still the topic of discussion at barbershops, blogs and anywhere else where hip-hop conversations are prent, even when it doesn't pertain to the music.

In 2016, Troy Ave was arrested in connection to the Irving Plaza shooting that resulted in the death of his bodyguard and friend, Ronald McPhatter. This has been a major obstacle in his career for a few reasons including allegations of snitching. The trial officially began earlier this year and Troy recently shared an ambiguous updated on the proceedings on Instagram. "Left Court with a small Victory 2day, We Still fighting the Big War," he wrote.

When asked to elaborate on what the small victory was, Troy Ave was reluctant to speak on it. However, everything else was essentially fair game. Troy Ave detailed his new project, White Christmas 7 and the significance of the series. Although he isn't necessarily a fan of the holidays, it's a series that he knows his fans expect from him every year. And while Santa Claus might be a myth, Troy Ave is trying to keep it as real as he can. 

From 6ix9ine to Taxstone to his favorite Christmas movies of all time, over the course of our 30-minute conversation, Troy Ave certainly didn't hold his tongue.

HNHH: How you doing, bro?

Troy Ave: I’m blessed. How you doing?

I’m good. I just wanted to kick things off by talking about the new project. At number 7, why is it important to keep the White Christmas series going? What does this mean for your career?

It’s really consistency. That’s the key to success for me. I practice what I preach and I show that to my fans and supporters because they look at me a lot of times for the key to success, and I show them, I ain’t just preachin’ it, I’m practicing it. So y’all keep it going. Plus, I almost lost my life on Christmas day. So I kind of made a pact. And I was actually listening to White Christmas when I got shot in the head. I was listening to the prayer part of the intro. So no matter what as long as I’m able I’ma release a White Christmas. I could’ve not been here and not made it anymore. And, the thing is, it makes a lot of people’s Christmas. Some people don’t get a gift, they don’t get shit for Christmas, they get this. This is my gift to everybody that supported me throughout the years. I’ma always give them this White Christmas. They can buy it or get it for free, however, you wanna get it. You could stream it or whatever, but I’m going to make sure I’m consistent and I show my gratitude, appreciation, and love for all my fans. 

Just in terms of New York hip hop, this decade alone the sound has changed so much but you’re still bringing a relatively traditional sound with your music. 

It’s really just being comfortable with yourself and sounding like where you’re from. Most people like to wave ride and sound like whatever is popular. That’s why you see a lot of people coming out there and being a flash in the pan and when that style goes away, you go away. But if you come in with an original sound, even if you’re not hitting, immediately or eventually people will pick up on your sound. As opposed to you having to pick up on someone else’s sound. 

One thing that stood out for me was the intro. Why did you get Pastor Rema Duncan to do the intro? I know he did it on White Christmas 6, what’s that relationship been like?

Well, I’m a spiritual person, and religious, but I don’t go to church or nothing like that. I always saw a lot of preachers as money-hungry or money-grubbing or crooks or whatever. But Pastor Rema, he’s the person that drove me to the hospital when I was shot in my head and shot in my back on Christmas day. I just didn’t know he was a pastor. He was just a passerby driving by in the car. It just so happened that out of everybody on the highway, he stopped for me. That was part of saving my life, and he was praying for me on the way to the hospital. Him and his sister, they were praying for me. He was talking to his sister on speakerphone like, “Yo this guy is running down a highway, I’m going to stop for him” or whatever and his sister started praying for me when I got in the car all bloody. So I want to give people that Church, but I’m giving it to them in a way that they don’t even realize they’re receiving it. We’re putting their medicine in a cup of Kool-Aid. 

Nah, definitely. How long ago was the shooting?

It was two years ago, going on three this year. 

How did that impact the holidays moving forward for you?

Maybe I appreciate it more. I move a little differently. It just impacted my whole life, not holidays. I don’t get down on the holidays. I never understand why when something tragic happens, they were down and out. I feel like you should be happy you alive and you made it. So, I don’t know if it impacted the holidays, but definitely impacted my life.

Another thing about the intro I liked is the interpolation of “Wade In The Water.”

You caught that huh?

That was the first thing I noticed off the rip. What does that song represent your life right now?

That represents my faith. That represents walking on water. I had a picture, I was shooting a video at my house and the photographer took a picture, I had a bunch of money and I threw some money in a pool. There was hundred dollar bills floating on the water and he took a picture of it. The picture was just so dope that it inspired me to make an intro. So I called up my pastor and I’m like, “Yo pastor, I got this picture and this what I’m trying to feel. If you could interpret that through a prayer for the people or something for the people, for encouragement, that would be dope” and he said I got you. He just interpreted it like, I told him I’m feeling the vibe of “you gotta have faith to get to the money” and the faith of walking on water is what Peter or one of them had. The money equals success, you gotta have faith to get to that. And that faith in yourself and work ethic, you don’t give up, you keep going, and then you’ll get to your ultimate goal. I feel like Pastor Rema, he eloquated that, whatever the word is, he did that beautifully.

Ok, word. It’s interesting because it’s Christmas and all. 

It’s captivating, right? 

Yeah. It’s bringing those elements of your faith and your own beliefs into your music in a way that is tailored to the way you live your life. 

And not doing it in a corny way where it feels like you’re handing out a pamphlet. I’m not really with that.

Nah, exactly. I think most people aren’t necessarily living their life to the bible, but I think a lot of people can relate to it in the same way.

Dope, yup. I’m glad you picked up on that bro, that makes me happy.

Nah, for sure. It came across clearly. 

When you make music, you don’t know people’s reactions, or how they’re going to take to it, or if they’re going to get it. But the fact that you brought that up is super dope. I got the reaction I wanted to get. Even when I had the singing and everything behind it for  “Wade In The Water.” It just came together real good. 

You have Project Pat on the project, and I’ve noticed since you’ve been coming up in the game, you’ve been working with a lot of OGs like Raekwon and Cam’ron, I just wanted to know why has it been necessary to have artists like that on your project?

I feel like a lot of those are artists that I’ve always admired and stuff like that. Not only that, I just like to…I’m not a clout chaser, I like to put people that fit on a record that’ll be dope. So any collab you hear me with on one of my projects is an artist that fits on it, and they’re going to sound good on it. I’m not putting you on just because you got a buzz now. A buzz today doesn’t mean a buzz tomorrow. I want my music to have substance and stand the test of time and not just be for right now. So I make sure that the feature I get are features I actually want and that’ll fit. 

Nah definitely. You brought up the word clout chasing which has obviously been a big term in hip hop for the past two years. I was just wondering what are your thoughts about the term relating to the current state of hip hop?

It’s like we live in bizarro world right now. Everything out now -- nothing’s what it’s supposed to be. Nothing is what it seems. It only hurts the real artists, the genuine artists like me. Like, if everybody wearin’ fake jewelry, just to clout chase, then, damn. If I got a diamond necklace, or say I got a bust down Cuban, and my chain costs $70K or whatever. And then somebody else, they got a bigger chain that looks like it would cost double of mine but there’s is fake. So now, they get the clout because they look like they got a big diamond chain. Meanwhile, that chain costs $2,000 and it's fake and mines really cost $70K. So, it really fucks up the game for the real ones. You can’t tell what’s what because of all these fake streams. Somebody look like they got a lot of streams but your streams is fake. My streams is real! I think it messes things up but at the end of the day, you can’t fake the money. But unfortunately, sometimes when you fake it, you get to the money.

For sure. You just dropped a single with Max B last week. I was wondering what your relationship with Max B is?

I know Max through one of my friends that’s close friends with him, too. He actually in jail right now, or he just went to jail. I had did a top 50 list of my favorite New York artists or something like that and I put Max B on there. He hit me on DM sayin’, ‘Ayo, good lookin’’ or whatever. I was like, ‘No doubt. I fuck with you.’ He sent me his manager’s number and then we went from there. And then, yeah, that’s the gist of our relationship. 

Word. You’ve been preaching this “Streets Is A Myth” concept for a while. After being at the 6ix9ine trial in support of Nuke and watching how that transpired, has that reaffirmed your position on the streets being a myth?

That was something that was super affirmed already. It ain’t nothing recently happened to reaffirm that. Like, I knew what was up with that. Even bigger than this 6ix9ine thing, it was another dude. The dude who sent [Nuke] to jail. He was supposed to be the biggest drug dealer and biggest gang member and all that. He turned around and basically lied and said that he gave him the drugs on this day, that day and a bunch of shit. I was like, “Wow. This is crazy.” And the fact that when he comes home, it’s just going to be all -- it ain’t gonna be a big deal because, you know, people chase clout. So all he gotta do is come home from jail, and give a little bit of money to some people and it’s all good. You know what I’m sayin’? It ain’t no real rules or nothing. Everybody is a free for all. You can’t get caught up in the streets unless you plan on living in the streets. Successful people, in the real world, is not living in the streets and not living by the street rules. If you got an expensive house and somebody break into that shit, you not gonna walk around, lookin’ in the streets. You’re callin’ the cops and file a police report so you can get the insurance claim and get whatever was stolen back. Straight up. 

Have you ever crossed paths with 6ix9ine during his reign?

Not in person but we spoke on FaceTime, twice. And some Instagram shit, like, you know what I’m sayin’? He put something in one of my comments on his page or whatever. I’m not a super friendly person with artists but I’m a great friend at the same time, if that makes sense. So, that’s the extent of that.

I know you mentioned that nobody will really care about the snitching if 6ix9ine comes out of jail -- 

Oh, I wasn’t even talkin’ about 6ix9ine. I was talkin’ about the other dude that was on there. It was a Spanish dude. Damn, I forgot his name. Damn, I forgot this guy’s name… Uh… CEO Kris! Yeah, he’s the biggest fuckin’ rat in the world, dawg. Like, that’s a fact. Or Kristian Cruz. That’s who I was talkin’ about. Kristian Cruz is who sent Nuke to jail, not 6ix9ine.

Did you have a relationship with him in anyway?

Nah, never. Nope, never met him in my life. Never knew him, Nothing. He claims they were doing criminal acts together and when you in a gang, street rules apply. Period, no matter what. And if you doing criminal acts, allegedly, with somebody in your gang, you keep your fuckin’ mouth shut. But, you know, streets is a myth, dawg.

There was that controversy from “2 Legit 2 Quit” where people said you were taking the stand. How did that affect your career, if it did in any way, and how do you think that’ll affect 6ix9ine’s career?

I don’t know. That’s a good question. I like to equate everything to money. So, if anything, it made me more famous -- infamous -- and that just turned into more money. So, like, from that point, to now, all that happened is my revenue increased. It just sparked debate. And the streets like Republicans and Democrats. Like this is the topic of the barbershop talk. It’s the topic on all the blogs. It’s the topic of podcasts. People are talkin’ about Troy Ave and my name buzzin’. 

So, I don’t know. My situation and 6ix9ine shit different because he was in a gang, he had dealings with his gang and over his friends and Blood members and he took the stand against ‘em. And that’s fucked up for what it is. But, my situation is, an enemy who tried to kill me, who put everything on social media and then he tried to frame me for the murder of my best friend. And then went and wrote a letter to the judge which is the equivalent to taking the stand and tried to get me indicted on some other crimes and then I’m sayin’, “Whoa! That’s not me. That’s not my gun.” It’s a big difference than his. It’s only in compared because we in the hip-hop world.

You’re talking about Taxstone?

Yup. I think it’s a lot of hypocrisy with it because in one breath, people will say -- well, most sane people with any type of sense would be like, “Hell no. You don’t go to jail for your enemy.” For your friends, that’s different. For any enemy, once they take their gloves off, the gloves is off. The hypocrisy in it is that people will tell you or some people will say, “You should go to jail for him. You should take the charges and then fight it. That’s the code of the streets.” Not even fight it -- you don’t say, “That’s not my gun.” Then the D.A. will say, “Who’s gun is it?” Then you gonna say, “I don’t know who’s gun it is.” But that’s crazy. They don’t want you to do that, because you should go down for that but in the same breath, they wouldn’t be willing to go down. I look at it like, alright, if you say that this person should go down for a charge of somebody that you support but why don’t you just kill that person and then you go down for that charge. It’s the same charge! Murder is murder, you both go to jail. So if you think this person should go to jail for an enemy, or because it’s somebody that you love, then why don’t you say, “You know what? I’m going to kill that person, and then I’mma murder them, and then my friend will get set free and then I’ll just go to jail for them.” If you so passionate about it one way, you gotta be passionate about the other, if you real. Unless you fake. Unless you’re clout chasing. And that’s the case in most instances.

There’s an IG post from a few days ago where you’re pretty much talking about real estate, ownership, and more importantly, making sure the next generation of kids are straight. I was wondering why that message is important for you to get across.

I think it’s important, if you consider yourself real, because so many people that consider themselves real, they got kids and they kids ain’t gettin’ taken care of. Or they make up excuses about why they kids ain’t taken care of. Or they die and they leave a burden for their family members -- they leave no legacy. They leave nothing…  You need to [buy] a home, you need to make sure your mama’s not livin’ in the same bum ass that you grew up in, you know what I’m sayin’? You need to do better for your people and for yourself and bein’ a boss is real. That’s what’s being real. You can’t talk about being real and talk all this tough sh*t and get up and punch a clock. ‘Cause at any time, your boss could get mad and say, ‘Hey, fuck you. Kiss my ass!’ And you just gotta keep your mouth shut if you want to keep your job. I think, like, for me, not to anybody else who livin’ in bizarro world like I said, it’s a whole different world. 

For me, I think things like that are real. I think the person who holds down a job and keep doing their thing is real. Not the person that’s running in the streets and getting money for a short period of time and then when you get locked up, you become a burden to your family.

Kevin Gates recently praised you on Instagram. I wanted to know what your relationship with Gates is like.

Gates? Gates is my dawg! We met a long time ago at Sirius XM Radio. He was doing an interview, I was comin’ up to do an interview. I seen this guy with a bowtie on, I said, ‘Why does this guy have a bowtie on?’ Like, the fuck’s this guy doing with a bowtie on? But, you know, we kept it cool. I’m not one of those people that judge people or whatever. I was passin’ by and I was like props and that’s when we crossed paths. And then, later on, like two [or] three years later, we end up gettin’ the [XXL] Freshman cover together. Shit, it might’ve been a year later. And we end up being on the [XXL] Freshman cover together, which is crazy. So that happened, we had formed a relationship from then. He got a strong faith in God, too. So, you know, Kevin Gates is a dope person, you know what I’m sayin’? His new album doin’ crazy. I think he’s a dope person and in a lot of ways, we alike. He don’t really have no features on his album, either.

Just back to the album real quick. On “Clown Cake Interlude,” you say that your kids don’t believe in Santa Claus. Will you ever launch "Santa Claus Is A Myth" campaign?

Santa Claus? Nah, nah, I try not to impose my thoughts on other people, you know what I’m sayin’? Like even with religion, I feel like we don’t want to impose our stuff. If we can put it out and people gravitate towards it will feel that way no matter what, then that’s cool. I don’t want to ruin that for other people. I know that because little kids learn that. I feel like I have an obligation as a man and as an artist to be responsible with what I’m doin’, you know? I don’t want to ruin that for any other parent that’s lettin’ their kids know Santa Claus is real or whatever.

I think everybody already knows that Santa Claus is a myth. And if Santa Claus isn’t a myth, I need my fuckin’ money back because I’ve spent a lot of cash on Christmas. I’mma forward my American Express bill to the North Pole, you know what I’m sayin’?

So, the last question. I know you’re not a fan of Christmas but you seem to be a big fan of movies. What are your top five Christmas movies of all time?

This Christmas. It’s like, it has Chris Brown in it and Gabrielle Union, or something like that. It had a bunch of people. I think it’s called This Christmas. I’m not sure. But, that one. Home Alone. Damn, I missed that other Christmas movie. Umm… The one with where they’re like, “You’re going to shoot your eye out!” And the kid got his tongue stuck to the pole. A Christmas Story, I think. A couple of other ones, I don’t know. If you shot some names off, I’d probably remember them. I don’t know right now. 

- Alex Zidel

Clearly, Quavo of the Migos has been taking his workouts seriously. Currently on the set of his music video for "That's Tuff" with Rich The Kid, the rapper decided to get some burn in between takes. The man set himself up at the bench press, added a disgusting amount of weight to the barbell and went ahead to show off his muscles. He managed to repeat countless reps with the plates weighing him down, creating a serious obstacle for the rapper. To top it all off, he completed this round with a blunt in his mouth, smoking away on some Sativa to get him up for the workout.

Whatever Quavo is smoking, we want some of that. There must be some performance enhancement drug mixed into his weed because no regular human would be able to lift this much with such ease. Uploading the video to social media, a number of his peers called him out for capping, claiming that the weights are props and that the barbell probably weighs, like, a pound. Jacquees, Pop Smoke, French Montana, Trouble, and others were all unsure of how Quavo pulled off this incredible feat of strength, leaving comments in his inbox.

As you will surely be able to tell, Quavo did not actually complete this drill with real weight and, if we're mistaken in assuming that, we apologize to the auto-tuned Migos member. However, it's pretty safe to say that this was just a set-up for some music video promotion.

- Alex Zidel

Akon is still out here releasing several albums per year and somehow, he's also finding time to allegedly build his own city. This man is all over the place but, apparently, he still can't tell the difference between real and fake jewelry. French Montana is fresh off the release of his self-titled album Montanarecovering from a terrifying health scare and speaking to DJ Akademiks about his experience in the intensive care unit. During his hourlong chat with the YouTube personality, the rapper told a story about his friend Akon, noting that he once received some fake goods from the multi-millionaire, never hearing back about a replacement.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

We all know that French Montana loves to rock his iced-out chains, bracelets, watches and rings. If it's not bust-down, he has no interest in wearing it. When Akon gifted the recording artist an expensive Hublot timepiece, Montana brought it to his jeweler to get the diamonds switched out, making it a little more driptacular. It turns out he had gotten finessed.

"It wasn't iced out and you know I like shit with diamonds on it so I just took it to my jeweler and was like 'yo, can you switch this for me? Akon gave it to me for my birthday.' He looked at me and was like 'Whatchu mean? Akon did not give you this, my guy.' So I'm like, yo, either my jeweler is playing with me or Akon made a mistake."

He ended up calling Akon to see what happened and the man apparently had no clue it wasn't authentic. French Montana still hasn't heard back about a replacement to this day. Watch the full interview below.

- Mitch Findlay

The year is winding to a close, and with it comes a bittersweet fact. KXNG Crooked's ongoing Hip-Hop Weekly series will, at least in theory, come to an end. Granted, the unrelenting lyricist may very well decide to prolong his onslaught, but even titans of Crook's stature deserve a break from time to time. Luckily for us, however, he seems hellbent on going out with a bang. What better way than to snap on a Twista classic, the dark and up-tempo "Adrenaline Rush?" 

Off the rip, Crook absolutely spazzes with a dexterous flow, proving once again why we confidently named him among the year's best lyricists. "As I consume light, as I resume like an army platoon fight, whatever the goon write fill another tomb site like a barefoot werewolf howling under the moonlight," he raps, putting his multisyllabic mastery on full display. And that's not even factoring in his scheme at 1:15, in which he deftly namedrops classic albums in breakneck fashion. By the end, his flow has switched so many times one has to wonder if he'll ever run out of them.

Quotable Lyrics

As I consume light, as I resume like an army platoon fightWhatever the goon write fill another tomb site Like a barefoot werewolf howling under the moonlight

View this post on Instagram

Gravitas project out now but I still have a commitment to the supporters of the Weekly series.. I turned it in super late last night so it won’t be available on all streaming platforms til later but better late than never! Enjoy 💯

A post shared by GOD BLESS THE KXNG (@kxngcrooked) on Dec 13, 2019 at 11:06am PST

- Aron A.

With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, Troy Ave is keeping his yearly promise with another installment in his White Christmas mixtape series. You can always count on Troy Ave around this time of year to drop off a brand new project. This time around, he keeps the features to a minimum while bringing along artists like Project Pat, Skippa The Flippa, YUNG DOM, SPMB Bills, and JS Paper for a bit of assistance.

The rapper released the first White Christmas mixtape in 2012 and it's been a staple in his own catalog. On the importance of the series in his discography, he told HNHH, "The thing is, it makes a lot of people’s Christmas. Some people don’t get a gift, they don’t get shit for Christmas, they get this. This is my gift to everybody that supported me throughout the years. I’ma always give them this White Christmas."

Peep the project below and stay tuned for HNHH's exclusive interview with Troy Ave. 

- Alexander Cole

CJ McCollum is the second half of the Portland Trail Blazers dynamic duo which includes the likes of Damian Lillard. Last season, the Trail Blazers were quite good and even made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals where they were eventually swept by the likes of the Golden State Warriors. Coming into the 2019-2020 campaign, there were high hopes for the Blazers as some felt like they could win a wide-open Conference.

So far, the Blazers have been having an off-year and can't seem to catch a break. With a record of 10-16, the Blazers are 11th in the Western Conference and will need a drastic shift in their play if they want any chance at making it to the postseason. According to Jason Quick of The Athletic, McCollum was recently asked about whether the team should tank or not and he had a pretty firm answer.

Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Per The Athletic:

"“You crazy,” McCollum said with a disgusted chuckle as he collected the final items from his locker and left. “You have a good one.”

Even bringing up the lottery is blasphemy to McCollum and Damian Lillard, players who have led Portland’s charge to six consecutive playoff appearances while forming a culture that is rooted in extra work, belief in the system, and trusting one another on the court and in the locker room."

For now, it really seems as though the Blazers have no plans to call their season a wrap just yet which should be good news for their fans. You always want to see your team put up a fight which is exactly what the Blazers are preparing to do. 

- Alex Zidel

Meek Mill is a true champion. If he hadn't released a good album last year, his career very well may have been over. After his release from prison, the Philadelphia rapper had a few options. He could have laid low and allowed all the previous negativity to ruin his mental health or he could brush it all off, channel that energy into a dope project and get back on everybody's good side. Championships saw him choose the latter. The Grammy Award nominee sat down with Charlamagne Tha God this week to discuss how he won, speaking on some of the hot topics attached to his personal and professional life.

Marketed as a Conversation Between Champions, Charlamagne Tha God led an interview with Meek Mill, asking the star about all that's happened in the last few years. During their sit-down chat, the beef between himself and Drake was mentioned and Mill explained that he's genuinely unsure of why he decided to activate his Twitter fingers. Noting that it probably wasn't the smartest decision he's ever made, the recording artist did dispell one rumor that it all had to do with Nicki Minaj. Previously, it had been suggested that a shopping trip where Meek's credit card got declined started off the whole thing. According to Meek though, that wasn't the case.

Elsewhere in the chat, Meek speaks about his experience with drugs, revealing that he used to take up to ten Percocet pills a day. These days, he's slowing down on everything, even laying off weed because he just doesn't want to be addicted to anything. 

Watch the full interview below.

- Mitch Findlay

Who'd have thunk Ottawa would be home to such an ominous presence. Yet Night Lovell has continued to roam freely, almost exclusively by night, sending those unlucky enough to cross his path scurrying in terror. In honor of the inherently spooky day that is Friday The 13th, Night Lovell came through and dropped off the Outby16-produced "Lethal Presence;" in fact, it's been a busy day for Lovell, who also linked up with Lil West on the haunting "Pay Me (Remix)." On this one, however, he's handling this on the solo tip, living up to the track's name through pure sinister energy. 

As the beat floats like shadowy figures in the mist, Lovell cruises overhead with some appropriately threatening bars. "Try to take my bitch away I'll shoot you in the back," he warns. "Wish your face was in the spot that I done pissed in." Fans of Lovell will likely find much to love in "Lethal Presence," a dark banger that wholly encompasses his unique style and vision. Look for big things to come from the young Canadian. 

Quotable Lyrics

See them pussy n***s in the party and I'm watching as I sip this I don't come to talk to n***s, I just come to show all of my diamonds in a way that you can't miss itTry to take my bitch away, I shoot you in the backWish your face was in the spot that I done pissed in

- Kyle Rooney

NBA pre-game entrances have turned into a runway show in recent years, as each and every team has cameras stationed in the tunnel to see what the superstars are wearing before they take the court. From the cozy to the absurd, the fit check has become as much a part of the pre-game routine as stretching and layup lines.

On Thursday night, there was one man that stole the show as he made his way to the arena. Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Jordan Clarkson rolled up in some JNCO-esque jeans that were pulled right from the Michael Jordan catalog. Clarkson paired up his outrageously baggy jeans with a well-fitting blazer and you can imagine the types of comments floating around social media.

Despite his highly questionable pre-game attire, Clarkson had himself a night on Thursday, pouring in 25 points off the bench in his 31 minutes of action as the Cavs picked up a 117-109 overtime victory in San Antonio.

Up next for the Cavs (6-19) are a pair of road games, first in Milwaukee against the red hot Bucks on Saturday night, followed by a Monday night matchup against the Toronto Raptors. Stay tuned to see what Michael Jordan Clarkson does for an encore. 

- Kevin Goddard

Before we get treated to the upcoming Cactus Jack compilation album in the coming months, one of the label’s hottest new artist, Don Toliver, is readying a project of his own called Resurrection, and today we have a new offering from it. Following up releases like “No Idea,” & “Situation,” the rising Houston rapper decides to come through and share the new single “Can’t Feel My Legs.”

With the auto-tune effects intact, Don opens up about how he gets when speaking to a significant other and the physiological effects the emotions are having on him, making his legs go completely numb in this case. “Oh-oh-oh-oh/ I can't feel my legs (Legs)/ I can't feel my legs (Legs),” he croons on the hook.

Suggest you roll one up and enjoy the new vibes from the Travis Scott protege. Thoughts?

Quotable Lyrics:

I had to sit you down, to talk about itIt shows me a lot from your silenceYou told all your friends that I'm violentBut you can quit the cap, know you lyin'

- Don

- Alex Zidel

The last year has been rocky for YoungBoy Never Broke Again. On the music front, he's never been more popular than he is today. The 20-year-old rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana is currently leading his city, netting millions of streams on a daily basis and becoming the undisputed King of YouTube. His videos always pick up an overwhelming amount of attention with his loyal fanbase going hard on each new song. On the legal side of things, NBA YoungBoy appears to always be in trouble for something. When he was first bubbling on the scene, a video surfaced of him allegedly attacking his girlfriend at the time. He's also been involved in a shooting earlier this year, which led to his arrest and a short stint in prison. Wasting away months on house arrest, the young rapper finally got some good news during his court hearing this morning.

According to a local ABC News affiliate, the Baton Rouge rapper, whose real name is Kentrell Gaulden, was officially taken off probation today. Judge Bonnie Jackson made the decision to terminate his probation, which was reinstated after he was found with a firearm during a Miami shooting. Gaulden was reportedly very quiet in court, refusing to say much about the case. Judge Jackson said that she has seen growth in the recording artist, agreeing to let him off the hook.

He celebrated on social media after the fact, posting a photo all dressed up in his suit and warning his haters, telling them to "watch this." 

At least he can enjoy a little bit of freedom now. What do you expect in the new year from NBA YoungBoy?

- Mitch Findlay

Rap is a game for big spenders. One cannot simply get by in the Elantra, even if it does have ass-warming seats. It's not uncommon for young rap stars to assemble a collection of luxury whips, even if it means dropping copious bags in the process. For Pop Smoke and Calboy, two of hip-hop's fast-rising stars, there's no issue in balling uncontrollably. Today marks the arrival of "100K On The Coupe," the new single from the gravelly-voiced New York rapper.

Taking to an uptempo instrumental with percussion designed for his delivery, Pop Smoke handles the verse while Calboy is left tending with the chorus. As the song clocks in under two minutes, it's difficult to deem this one a proper followup to "Welcome 2 The Party," as it feels more like a freestyle than a full-fledged track. Still, it's cool to hear some new music from Smoke, who continues to impress with his Grime-inspired flow and distinctive cadence. Look for this one to go off if and when its played at high volumes. 

Quotable Lyrics

It could be your life, it's a scary sight Look, it's a state of emergency, I know you heard of meI'm stone-cold, ain't no hurtin' meI ain't with the foolery, I keep a tool on me

- Alexander Cole

Kobe Byrant played the game of basketball with a fairly rough exterior that made teammates and opponents fearful of his wrath. In retirement, Bryant has been much more compassionate and can be seen working hard as a father while also getting into his philanthropist bag. Bryant is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of sports which has allowed him to excel and create a brand identity for himself. He has completely changed his image for the better and his latest act of good certainly helps to continue to push the narrative.

According to TMZ, Bryant was recently spotted in California where he witnessed a huge car accident. Eventually, Bryant began to calm everyone down and was even directing traffic while talking to those who were involved. It was quite the scene especially with Bryant wearing a pink jumpsuit.

There is no information yet on the condition of the drivers although based on the clip above, it seems like everything was under control. Bryant used his problem-solving skills from his playing days to sort this situation out which certainly went a long way, particularly for those directly involved.

All we can in a situation like this is thank goodness Bryant was there to step in and do something.

- Mitch Findlay

It's honestly unclear as to what's actually happening with Joyner Lucas' ADHD album, if it even exists at all. Over the past year or so, we've seen the lyricist delivering a variety of singles, spawning theories of a "deconstructed" release of sorts. While we're left speculating, Joyner continues to expand on his narrative, using the visual medium to bring additional life to his latest single. In a clip directed by both himself and Ben Proulx via Projext 2 Studios, Joyner's "Revenge Intro/ADHD" video is striking to behold.

Featuring impressive use of color and editing transitions, Joyner's emotional single swaps from location to location, from the library to the basketball court to the hospital. The one constant, however, is the frequent medication he's faced with at every turn; we've already seen Joyner decry the hip-hop's emphasis on drug abuse, and in light of his recent Juice WRLD centric tweet, it's clear he only intends on doubling down. Check out the clip now, and sound off below - are you still here for Joyner's new album? 

- Breanna Chianne

AlienEmoji has graced us with a new track we can all vibe to, getting a little experimental in his production vibes and opting for a more high-pitched approach than usual. After a string of local performances, the young artist follows up "Maybach" with his latest single "Balenciaga," which is about exactly what you would imagine. We were definitely also happy to have Lil Computer Juice throw some bars on it as well. 

If you want to know how AlienEmoji rolls, it's always all-designer-everything. But not just any designer. This hot new drop is an obvious ode to Balenciaga. The Canadian rapper rhymes about balling hard and taking no prisoners. It's a non-stop grind to the top, but one thing's for sure, he's not messing up his Balenciaga.

Check out "Balenciaga" below on Spotify.

Quotable Lyrics

Said I'm gonna die in my BalenciagaAnd I wanna fly in my BalenciagaBalenciagaI'm rocking BalenciagaThat Balenciaga, that Balenciaga

- Kyle Rooney

The Jordan Dub Zero, a sneaker that originally debuted back in 2005, is slowly but surely making a comeback. The kicks have re-released in multiple colorways already, and fans of the cult classic will be happy to learn that the one of the OG designs is on the horizon.

An official release date has not yet been announced but it is believed the kicks will be available in the coming weeks.

For the uninitiated, the Dub Zero is a hybrid sneaker borrowing design cues from eight different Air Jordans including the Air Jordan 4, Air Jordan 6, Air Jordan 11, Air Jordan 12, Air Jordan 13, Air Jordan 15, Air Jordan 17 and Air Jordan 20.

This OG colorway features the familiar red, white and black design, highlighted by glossy patent leather detailing and an eye-catching laser etched upper that swarms both the medial and lateral portions of the silhouette. If you weren't a fan of the kicks when they debuted all those years ago you're probably still not interested in copping a pair now, but it's worth noting that this colorway is rumored to drop sometime this month for $160.

US_11

- Alex Zidel

50 Cent doesn't really care if he offends you. He is unapologetically himself, both in person and through his online presence. For years, the rapper-turned-television producer has been uncovering layers of his personality via social media, pissing off a ton of people along the way. It's not uncommon for him to attack his rivals on Instagram, sharing unattractive photos of them and adopting a bully-like mentality. Fif will stop at nothing to win a battle. His stubbornness has worked out in his favor, earning him legal wins against Teairra Mari and moral victories over Randall Emmett, Young Buck, Floyd Mayweather, and so many others. These days, the man is fairly positive online, enjoying time with his girlfriend Cuban Link and occasionally trolling her as well. This time, he decided to get a little protective, perhaps showing signs of jealousy when he snapped at a fan in her comments.

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Posting a photo of herself at the gym, Cuban Link got one man shooting his shot in her comments, asking what she was up to on the weekend. Attempting to prevent him from succeeding in stealing his girl, 50 Cent appeared in his replies, destroying his likelihood with a single sentence. "She doing shit you can't afford to do little n***a," wrote the entertainer. 

50 Cent and Cuban Link are adorable together, often sharing their favorite moments on social media and never passing up an opportunity to clown each other. Clearly, Fif sees something special in her.

- Mitch Findlay

Many North American listeners were first introduced to the wonders of Giggs by way of Drake’s More Life playlist. Appearing on two tracks, “KMT” and “No Long Talk,” the baritone U.K. legend quickly endeared himself to the masses with his unique style, formidable presence, and comedic timing. Today, Giggs found himself crossing paths with Ebro Darden on Beats1, where he proceeded to reminisce on his experience collaborating with Drizzy. An experience that found the 6ix God on his Grinch that Stole Christmas energy. 

Tim Whitby/Getty Images

“First we'd done the “No Long Talk” one. We'd done that one first, but that one was more like the first time we got a chance,” he explained. “That one's the stand-off cut. You know what I'm saying? He's getting hard and man. You know what I'm saying? When that's out of the way, then we can have fun now.” Unfortunately for Giggs, he quickly found his holiday celebrations interrupted by an all-too-eager Drizzy.

“Day after Boxing Day, I remember man hits me up, I'm all pissed off and that,” he remembers, laughing. “[Drake’s] like, "Yo, this beats mad, isn't it?" I'm thinking, "Blood, it's Boxing Day why are you calling me?” Then he's like, "Not even the Hollow Man can rest on Christmas". About four hours later, then he sent the verse and I was thinking, "All right man’s trying to test my work rate." That's why in my head its all talking about, "Lookin' all Christmas gift-wrapped, lookin' all turkey". I'm still thinking of dinner.” And like that, the seemingly random reference to a Holiday feast makes all the sense in the world.

- Alexander Cole

Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA and this past offseason, he ditched the Toronto Raptors to go back and home and play for the Los Angeles Clippers. California has always been where Leonard's heart has lied and the Clippers are a team that is able to give him the hometown comfort. Considering the Clippers star is a couple of months into his tenure with the team, it only makes sense that he would be looking to cop some real estate in the area.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Leonard has purchased a huge 4,280 square foot penthouse in Los Angeles which is right across the street from the Staples Center. The whole place cost the Clippers star a whopping $6.725 million and could prove to be quite the sound investment, especially when you look at the photos which can be found here

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Per LA Times:

Centered on the downtown cityscape, the 4,280-square-foot unit features vibrant wood floors, walls of glass, two custom fireplaces and magnetic, wall-mounted iPads for controlling smart home systems. The family room adjoins a center-island kitchen with a breakfast nook. In the master suite, there’s a steam shower.

A pair of underground parking spaces were included with the three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom residence, which had been listed for $6.995 million. A rooftop swimming pool, a fitness center and valet and concierge services are among building amenities.

Based on the specifications seen above, it's clear that the Clippers star will be living lavishly while he's in the city this year.

- joshua kellem

In anticipation of his headlining “Brandon Banks” tour, Maxo Kream released the visual to “She Live” today. The album cut is the sixth track from Maxo’s second solo album Brandon Banks, which was released in July via RCA Records.

She Live pic.twitter.com/CTpf31Ve0H

— PUNKEN (@MAXOKREAM) September 10, 2019

From the video’s onset, Maxo appears before 14 beautiful women in a parody of romance reality show Flavor of Love before the camera cuts away to Megan Thee Stallion paying her own homage to the VH1 series in the same manner. As Maxo and Meg spit their verses, several of the women from the opening scenes are namedropped and cut away to, putting faces to their names.

“Yellowbone Tina, dark skin Keisha, hood b*tch, she gon’ set it off like Latifah,” Maxo raps, as the camera cuts to the women named. “Bad b*tch down in Miami like Trina, bougie b*tch, only ride Benz or Beamer / B*tch named Katrina, tell me, have you seen her? Hurricane p*ssy so wet, call FEMA.”

Maxo’s “Brandon Banks” tour will start October 16 in New Orleans, Louisiana and end a month later, November 17, in El Paso, Texas.

You can watch “She Live” in the clip above and purchase tickets for Maxo’s tour here.

- joshua kellem

Jpegmafia‘s third solo album All My Heroes Are Cornballs isn’t out until Friday via EQT Recordings, LLC, but that didn’t stop the Los-Angeles-based artist from releasing a new song this week. Tuesday, Jpegmafia rolled out single “Beta Male Strategies”. The track is the third track on Jpegmafia’s 18-track effort and second single. Over a hazy, sharp beat with melodic vocals sprinkled in, Jpegmafia spends his verses mocking “keyboard warriors,” or those who express their feelings online.

https://t.co/1TVHLUmEGs

its out there. friday u get the shaft pic.twitter.com/EpMjMLT4E7

— JPEGMAFIA (@darkskinmanson) September 10, 2019

“Aight, we gon’ do it like this,” Jpegmafia raps on the second verse. “Say what you said on Twitter right now / You only brave with a board and a mouse / You wasn’t talkin’ when I put you in the ground / Don’t leave the house / Don’t get capped by a n***a in a motherf*ckin’ gown.”

Jpegmafia’s All My Heroes follows up his critically-acclaimed 2018 album Veteran. The album will feature Kenny Beats, DJ Dahi, James Blake, Jeff Tweedy, and Hannibal Buress, most notably. Next month, Jpegmafia will take his album on the road as part of his ‘”JPEGMAFIA Type Tour”.

You can listen to “Beta Male Strategies” in the clip above, and purchase tickets for Jpegmafia’s tour here.

‘”JPEGMAFIA Type Tour” Dates: 10/14 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Pubrock 10/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teregram 10/16 – Oakland, CA @ The New Parish 10/18 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater 10/19 – Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club 10/20 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos 10/24 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater 10/25 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room 10/26 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry 10/29 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge 10/30 – Detroit, MI @ The Pike Room 10/31 – Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall 11/02 – San Diego, CA @ Dia De Los Deftones 11/04 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair 11/05 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church 11/06 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom 11/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 11/09 – Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar 11/11 – Baltimore, MD @ Otto Bar

- Aaron Williams

Rihanna just released the scorching trailer for her upcoming 2019 Savage X Fenty fashion show taking place tonight and from the looks of it, it’s going to be a night to remember. Have no FOMO if you’re not in New York for Fashion Week though; the show will also stream later this month on Amazon Prime as part of Rihanna’s partnership with Amazon. The trailer teased a star-studded evening featuring performances from from huge stars like ASAP Ferg, Big Sean, DJ Khaled, and Halsey, as well as a huge look for rising star Tierra Whack. Fat Joe and Fabolous are also scheduled to perform, to add some throwback appeal for all the uncles tuning in.

#SAVAGEXFENTYSHOW. SEPT 20TH. You have no idea how crazy of a show is coming to @primevideo !! Performances by @djkhaled @halsey @bigsean @Migos @fatjoe @asapferg @myfabolouslife & @TierraWhackpic.twitter.com/bE63HWMe4n

— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 10, 2019

and special appearances by @Caradelevingne @GiGiHadid @bellahadid @Normani @joansmalls @Lavernecox and SO many more! Strap in and shop the @savagexfenty collection now at @amazonfashion and https://t.co/cRui945Um2 😝

— Rihanna (@rihanna) September 10, 2019

The trailer also teased some “special appearances” by supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevigne, and Joan Smalls, along with singing sensation Normani and actress Laverne Cox, providing an interesting departure from the more conservative Victoria’s Secret show that Savage is clearly competing with. Savage was an instant hit for its inclusivity policy, marketing to a wider range of body types and using less conventional models in its promotions. When customers have pointed out issues with sizing ranges and the like, Rihanna herself has stepped in at times to address their concerns, contrasting sharply with Victoria’s Secret’s approach.

Combined with Rihanna’s ubiquitous international brand, Savage has become an instant hit and tonight’s show is almost guaranteed to make it bigger than ever. The show is set to stream September 20.

- joshua kellem

Rapsody‘s “Oprah” video goes back to the hood to showcase Black unity and power. From shooting dice with big-faced hundreds on the corner around a handle of Bumbu Rum to taking a homeless man on a joy ride with her in her Audi, Rapsody shows Black pride throughout her latest visual. Rapsody premiered the video on her Instagram account Monday.

In the video, Rapsody takes a homeless man to her food drive, the “People’s Free Food Program” — a reference to the food program originally started by the Black Panthers in the 1970s. The man receives a bag of groceries and a wad of cash from Rapsody before making off with a smile. Rapsody continues on with her day, popping Belaire at the grand opening of her Black-owned business. Scenes of the music video cut back and forth from Rapsody sitting down while draped in all black with an Oprah Winfrey quote above, “If you don’t tell them they won’t get told.” The message is clear: Black people helping each other will help everyone in the long run.

Rapsody’s “Oprah” visual comes on the heels of her “Nina” video. Both are a part of Rapsody’s third solo album Eve released via Roc Nation last month. In addition, Rapsody’s set to perform with Meek Mill for the NFL’s “Kickoff Experience” campaign, and she will tour with Big KRIT starting next week.

- Aaron Williams

In a new Complex cover story, emo-rap pioneer Kid Cudi reveals that not only is he working on new music, but that his next album will also be the soundtrack to a Netflix animated show he is developing with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. Cudi calls the project a “new, fun, and exciting way to write music,” and says that it will come out next year.

When Complex interviewer Karizza Sanchez asks Cudi about his recent tweet that he has new music on the way, Cudi revealed that “a lot of the songs are about love and relationships.” He also detailed some of the specifics about the upcoming album, saying that it would be a narrative format using the show’s character as his voice.

I can’t say much ’cause the music isn’t gonna come out till next year. But I will tell you this: I’m working on a Netflix TV show, an animated TV show, and Kenya Barris is producing it. My next album will be the music for the first season of the show, and the music will narrate the story. So a lot of the songs aren’t really from the Scott perspective; they’re from the perspective of the character.

Cudi also says he’s working on another, separate show with Jordan Peele of Get Out and Us fame.

I had this idea for the show, and then it was like, how can we incorporate the music? How can we have the music be a part of the show? I initially wanted to make a visual album, but I was like, that’s been done before. How can we give it a little twist? How can we do something different? That’s how I came up with the idea for the show, Entergalactic. I’m trying my hardest to still introduce new sounds and push the envelope, sonically. So it’s still gonna be like everything that people love about Kid Cudi music. The only difference is that it’s gonna be told from a different perspective.

You can read the full interview at Complex. Kid Cudi also has upcoming roles in the new Bill & Ted movie, opioid crisis drama Dreamland, the next season of Westworld, and an HBO series from Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino titled We Are Who We Are.

- joshua kellem

Swae Lee’s ex-girlfriend was arrested after allegedly headbutting him, according to TMZ. The police were reportedly called to Swae’s LA home, where he and his ex-girlfriend Marliesia Ortiz had apparently had an argument which escalated into a physical altercation.

At first, Ortiz allegedly threw objects at Swae, according to police. After that, Ortiz struck him with her hands and went so far as to headbutt the rapper. The cause of the argument is unknown. Swae’s security kicked Ortiz out after things got physical, but it was actually Ortiz who called the police to his residence.

While on the phone with police, Ortiz said he sexually assaulted her, but admitted that she started the altercation that led to his house items being broken and her hitting him when the cops came. Ortiz was arrested for falsifying her accusations over the phone, though no charges related to the physical incident were filed. The LA City Attorney has decided to hold a City Attorney hearing with both parties over the incident at a future date. We’ll have more on this story as news develops.

Swae Lee’s gearing up for the release of his sophomore solo album and a tour with Post Malone this month. “Won’t Be Late” with Drake and “Sextasy” are a part of the album’s rollout.

- Aaron Williams

This past weekend, Lil Wayne‘s Lil Weezyana Fest took place at UNO Lakefront Arena with a crowd estimated around 15,000 concertgoers. According to The Times-Picayune’s NOLA.com, a large number of those concertgoers stampeded following Meek Mill‘s set, causing damage to the festival grounds, reports of injuries, and thefts of both cash and alcohol in the aftermath.

While police were unsure of what caused the stampede, speculating that false reports of gunfire or a fight set the crowd off, the results were inarguable. The chaos damaged concession booths and a medical tent near the stage, while cash registers and tip jars were stolen in the rush. Some attendees took advantage of the abandoned concessions to take bottles of liquor or pour themselves drinks.

However, the show eventually resumed with Travis Scott restoring a semblance of order with his set, while Lil Wayne brought out Future and surprise guests, hometown heroes Choppa and Cheeky Blakk. Unfortunately, no announcement was made referring to the disturbance, prompting some attendees to leave early. One was noted as saying: “My brother said to me and my cousin, ‘Run. Just run. I don’t know what’s happening.’ I turned around at one point to see what was happening, but everyone was running away. No cops were going toward” the origin of the stampede.

The 2019 edition of the Lil Weezyana Fest was the first at UNO Lakefront, moving from Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square in downtown New Orleans. The move allowed the festival’s organizers to increase the capacity by double and while growing pains for scaling festivals are to be expected, it seems the organizers were caught off guard by the new security needs.

- Carolyn Droke

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Kanye West returned to his hometown to spread his gospel music. The rapper hosted a Chicago edition of his weekly Sunday Service performance and offered free entry. He entranced the crowd with motivational words and several of his hit songs during the 90-minute event.

Though the event was free, attendees required tickets to gain entry. According to ABC 7 Chicago, these tickets sold out in less than an hour. Those who were lucky enough to snag one made sure they lined up early enough to get a good spot. Before the outdoor venue opened its gates, thousands lined the streets and braved stormy weather in order to get a chance to see the rapper.

Crowd waiting to get in to stage area for Kanye West Sunday Service in Chicago pic.twitter.com/DGpF5Y5emr

— Joshua Mellin (@JoshuaMellin) September 8, 2019

Line is getting LONG ahead of Kanye West’s #SUNDAY #SERVICE @ Northerly Island. #chicago #Kanye #West @kanyewest @KimKardashian @ABC7Chicago pic.twitter.com/LidjfOPGG2

— DIANE PATHIEU (@pathieuabc7) September 8, 2019

“Watch this. This is my city,” Kanye said to a security guard before parting the crowd himself.

Kanye West at Sunday Service in #chicago: “watch this, this my City” 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5RLw5qx56Z

— Modern Notoriety (@ModernNotoriety) September 8, 2019

Kanye maneuvered to the center of the crowd and rapped “Jesus Walks” with the help of several gospel singers.

I just first hand witnessed @kanyewest smile for 90 straight minutes 🤗🥰 #SundayService pic.twitter.com/z2fbXkklyL

— Madeline Clauff (@MClauff) September 8, 2019

@kanyewest Sunday Service🔥🔥🎶 pic.twitter.com/j3vwCsyqsC

— 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐄𝐧𝐳𝐨𝐒𝐢𝐥𝐯𝐚 💛 (@BigPapiESilva) September 8, 2019

Kanye surprised attendees by inviting another Chicago native, Chance the Rapper, to the stage to perform a rendition of “Ultralight Beam.” The crowd went wild as Chance rapped the verse, “I met Kanye West / I’m never going to fail.”

I MET KANYE WEST IM NEVER GOING TO FAIL! @chancetherapper #sundayservice pic.twitter.com/dy6yjj7M65

— PordLorno🎡🤠 (@JimTacticZ) September 8, 2019

Chance The Rapper performing ‘Ultralight Beam’ at Kanye West’s Sunday Service In Chicago. pic.twitter.com/P1IHqIoVSV

— DatPiff (@DatPiff) September 8, 2019

Watch more fan-captured footage of Kanye West’s Sunday Service below.

Kanye West Sunday Service is on another level pic.twitter.com/GRyctie1DL

— marianna (@Mariannaz98) September 8, 2019

I didn’t cry but my heart was so full , thank you for bringing this to us @kanyewest Chicago loves you 🤟🏽💙 #SundayService pic.twitter.com/JkWwUQgt6D

— jessi not nice 😈 (@PBM_Pretty) September 8, 2019

Kanye West has brought his Sunday Service event to several cities across America. His first public event was an Easter Sunday edition of his gospel service at Coachella. Kanye also brought his Sunday Service crew to perform a benefit concert in Dayton, Ohio.

- Carolyn Droke

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Last week, Nicki Minaj announced she would be retiring from music in order to start a family in a decision that shocked fans and the music community alike. Some responded with congratulations and others disappointment. Like 50 Cent, who wasn’t too happy about Nicki’s decision. The rapper took to social media, as usual, to share his opinion.

50 Cent posted a photo of Nicki and her new husband Kenneth Petty, saying he wishes the rapper would just take some time off rather than calling it quits. “Both these n*ggas crazy, but you know you gotta love it SOUTH SIDE. I don’t want Nicki Minaj to retire just take a break.”

Since making the sudden announcement about leaving her music, Nicki apologized to fans for the “abrupt [and] insensitive” news. Nicki promised that she’d further explain her decision on the next episode of Queen Radio on Beats 1. “I’m still right here,” she tweeted. “Still madly in love with you guys & you know that. In hindsight, this should’ve been a Queen Radio discussion & it will be. I promise u guys will be happy. No guests, just us talking about everything. The tweet was abrupt & insensitive, I apologize babe.”

I’m still right here. Still madly in love with you guys & you know that. In hindsight, this should’ve been a Queen Radio discussion & it will be. I promise u guys will be happy. No guests, just us talking about everything. The tweet was abrupt & insensitive, I apologize babe ♥🙏 https://t.co/eS0oHipwtg

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 6, 2019

Though Nicki just made the announcement about taking a break from music, she’s had these plans in line for years. In a 2015 interview, Nicki mentioned starting a family. She believes there is “a housewife somewhere” in her heart.

Well NM5 will be her final album for now. This better be HER BIGGEST ERA. pic.twitter.com/ayUXOpxJcN

— Twink Print (@goodsisnicki) September 5, 2019

In the same clip, Nicki said she would want to have at least five albums before she leaves to build a family, meaning her upcoming record will be her last for a while. “In terms of music, I would like to have at least five albums done so that I could come back and speak from a mother’s perspective.”

- Steve Bramucci

If you know anything about producer, rapper, and style icon 88-Keys — aka Charles Misodi Njapa — it’s that the man has stories. From meeting Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip at age 14 to crate-digging with Pete Rock to his lifelong love of Ralph Lauren’s clothes (he’s only worn Polo head-to-toe since ’93), 88-Keys has been at the center of some of the biggest moments in hip-hop and streetwear over the past three decades. Period.

In this episode of The Masters, host Eli Morgan Gesner sits down with the legend to talk about his rise in the late 90s hip-hop scene, his obsessions (both musically and stylistically), and working with legends from Kanye to Mos Def to the late Mac Miller. If you’re from that era or a student of history, you’ll want to check it out.

The Masters launches next Wednesday on Youtube.com/UproxxVideo and here, on Uproxx.com/Style.

- joshua kellem

While on their “Legendary Nights” tour with Meek Mill and Megan Thee Stallion, Mustard and Future have released their second music video together in as many months with “Interstate 10,” the fifth track on Mustard’s latest album, Perfect Ten.

The video starts with a flash-forward of cops pursuing Mustard and Future, who are weaving in and out of lanes during a nighttime chase before cutting to the duo in a poolhall, smoking and joking while they plot out a heist. Eventually, the gang straps up with guns and heads out. While in the bank, one security guard is smacked with a chopper, while the other gets sniped at point-blank range. After securing the premises and ordering the banks’ occupants to the ground, Mustard and Future peel off like bandits with bags full of cash. Escaping through the back, the gang pushes a button to blow up the bank when the cops arrive.

Perfect Ten was released in June via Interscope, peaking at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. Currently, Mustard’s supporting Future and Meek Mill on the road as part of the Legendary Nights tour. The trio of rap artists collaborated on loose-single “100 Shooters” in July in anticipation of the aforementioned tour, and hung out with models in the song’s video.

- Aaron Williams

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After spending a decade as the queen of hip-hop, Nicki Minaj has apparently decided to abdicate her throne and take a stab at being a family woman. The “Megatron” rapper sent a tweet to that effect earlier today after previously congratulating Lizzo on going No. 1 and praising Rapsody and Missy Elliott‘s new projects.

I’ve decided to retire & have my family. I know you guys are happy now. To my fans, keep reppin me, do it til da death of me, ❌ in the box- cuz ain’t nobody checkin me. ✅ Love you for LIFE 😘♥🦄

— Mrs. Petty (@NICKIMINAJ) September 5, 2019

“I’ve decided to retire & have my family,” she wrote. I know you guys are happy now. To my fans, keep reppin me, do it til da death of me, ‘X’ in the box- cuz ain’t nobody checkin me. Love you for LIFE.” The announcement comes a little over year since the release of her most recent album, Queen.

Where Nicki’s announcement would have once left a huge void in hip-hop for female representation, today, there are dozens of new female rappers experiencing levels of success even Nicki herself never achieved. Many of the new female rappers taking over the game now count Nicki as one of their biggest inspirations. In recent months, Nicki even made efforts to pass the torch after begrudgingly doing so unofficially in late 2017 with her appearance on Migos’ “Motorsport” alongside eventual rival Cardi B. This year, Nicki not only praised other female rappers for carrying on her legacy, but also appeared with Megan Thee Stallion on “Hot Girl Summer.” She also represented for New York hip-hop with a guest verse on Pop Smoke’s burgeoning hit “Welcome To The Party.”

- joshua kellem

Denzel Curry is back with new music. On a new episode of Carole & Tuesday Wednesday, the show’s character Ezekiel performs Curry’s “Crash The Server” on his behalf in a scripted rap battle among the show’s characters. Curry waxes poetic on a nostalgic, soulful beat, continuing to raise his star with its appearance on a Netflix series.

“Prophet Ezekiel, AKA the prophecy,” Curry raps. “I had to give you my government so you’d know me properly / See this is my property, yet the system don’t give a damn / Take Mars, remove the S, spell it backwards, I’m a ram / This the jam.”

The song is produced by Flying Lotus. The duo previously collaborated on Flying Lotus’ latest album Flamagra released via Warp in May on the track “Black Balloons Reprise.”

“Crash The Server” unepectedly leaked online in July, but the song was always intended for Netflix. Flying Lotus performed the song during his set for Warp Records’ 30th Anniversary in June, with the tracklist’s credits attributed to Carole & Tuesday stating that the track was unreleased. “Crash The Server” joins “Psycho Criminal” and “Shawshank” as songs that Curry officially premiered this summer. Curry’s latest album Zuu was released via Loma Vista.

You can stream the song here.

- Aaron Williams

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It’s almost time for Tekashi 69 to take the stand as a witness in the racketeering case against his former Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods associates and according to Complex, Tekashi and the prosecution received a huge break in court earlier today when the judge ruled that the defense cannot bring up his previous sex crime conviction or the accusations of abuse leveled against him by an ex.

Tekashi was convicted of using a minor in a sexual performance in 2015 after posting an explicit video to Instagram of two men engaged in sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl. US Attorney Geoffrey Berman argued that mentioning the case could unfairly bias a jury against his potential testimony against the Nine Treys. Tekashi brokered a plea deal to testify against them in exchange for a reduced sentence in his own conviction for racketeering and other violent crimes.

The defense in the case wanted to use Tekashi’s later media statements about the sex case to cast doubt on the veracity of his testimony, given he “lied” about the case in the media on several occasions. The judge, Paul Engelmayer, ruled that the defense can only mention that 69 was previously convicted of a felony, but cannot mention the details of the case, nor can the defense bring up the more recent reports of abuse allegations against the rapper by his ex-girlfriend Sara Molina. Partial lyrics from his songs, however, will be permissible, since he mentions the gang and their violent activities in lines from songs like “Billy,” “Gummo,” and “Kooda.”

The trial will be on September 16, after one final pre-trial hearing on September 10.

- Aaron Williams

In the new video for Rexx Life Raj’s new video, “Moonwalk,” space ranger Kenny Beats has been missing since the 1980s, so it’s up to Raj to suit up and bring him back. Inspired by sci-fi, B movies, the “Moonwalk” video sees Raj complete a battery of tests before being launched to the moon to look for Kenny Beats, but when Raj gets there, he’s still unprepared for what he finds. Using clever camera tricks, green screen, and plenty of gravity-defying wire stunts, the video is an amusing companion to the vibey track, which also appears on the soundtrack of NBA 2K20.

Raj has been working on his upcoming album which is due later this year, dropping off the California Poppy and En Route EPs along the way. Whether “Moonwalk” is an official single or just a placeholder until the real rollout begins, it’s an excellent introduction to the Berkley, California rapper’s melodic style, featuring his signature wordplay and woozy flow. Lyrically, the track finds Raj spitting upper echelon lifestyle raps but working to remain relatable to the point of even joking: “Baggage claim like I work at Spirit, but it’s only Spirit so you can relate to it.”

For more Rexx Life Raj, check out his August single, “Grey Clouds & Raindrops.”

- Derrick Rossignol

After spending an amazing 19 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” finally lost its No. 1 spot. Now that the viral hit is no longer the top song in the country, Lil Nas X has shifted his focus to his other big single, “Panini.”

To kick off September, Lil Nas x apologized for the delay with the song’s video, writing, “sorry the panini video taking so long they are still editing the scene where i cry in the bath tub.” Jokes aside, Lil Nas X finally dropped the “Panini” video this morning, and while there’s no bathtub cry involved, there is a lot of Lil Nas X.

The video follows a woman in the distant future, a future where Lil Nas X is omnipresent, with his face on billboards and holograms everywhere. The protagonist tries unsuccessfully to escape Lil Nas X, and is eventually driven to take a flight out of the country. Even that doesn’t work, though, because as we learned during those 19 weeks of “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X cannot be ignored.

This new clip comes shortly after Lil Nas X earned himself a CMA Award nomination for “Old Town Road,” which is up for Music Event Of The Year.

Watch the “Panini” video above.

- Aaron Williams

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Lil Nas X’s historical run at No. 1 on the Hot 100 was made even more historical when he came out as queer while “Old Town Road” continued to dominate the chart earlier this year. Naturally, the subject was raised during Nas’ appearance on the LeBron James talk show, The Shop last night, with Maverick Carter asking Nas why he came out when he did. Nas began to explain, but was interrupted by fellow guest Kevin Hart, who questioned why it should be a big deal. “He said he’s gay,” he replied, “So what?”

.@lilnasx speaks the truth about his choice to come out while at the top. More of The Shop on @HBO now! pic.twitter.com/wETNaPUU5t

— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) September 4, 2019

Nas tried to take the opportunity to elaborate, explaining, “It’s just like growing up… I’m growing up to hate this sh*t.” When Hart interrupted again, trying to undercut Nas’ point by questioning, “Hate what?” the “Panini” rapper subtly checked the gaslighting effort without acknowledging it, expanding on his earlier point. “Homosexuality,” he said. “Gay people. Come on now. If you’re really from the hood you should know it’s not something…. so it’s like for me, the cool dude with the song on top of everything, to say this any other time like I’m doing this for attention in my eyes. But if you’re doing this while you at the top you know it’s like for real and it shows that it doesn’t really matter.”

Hart was previously criticized online for past accusations of homophobia, prompting him to drop out of hosting the Oscars and issue an apology for his use of anti-gay rhetoric in his prior standup specials. Hart is recovering from back surgery after getting into an auto wreck over the weekend.

Lil Nas X is no stranger to controversy himself; earlier this year, he was also taken to task by the #LilNasXIsOverParty hashtag, which dredged up old, Islamophobic tweets from an old fan account he used to run. Like Hart, Nas also apologized, scrubbing the old tweets and acknowledging that he was wrong to make jokes at the expense of other marginalized groups.

- Aaron Williams

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Today, the Drug Enforcement Agency arrested a 23-year-old Hollywood Hills resident named Cameron Pettit for allegedly selling Mac Miller counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl before his death from overdose, according to LA’s Fox affiliate reporter Bill Melugin and other sources. Melugin tweeted a copy of a report from the DEA announcing Pettit’s arrest as well as the charges against him. A copy of the report can be viewed below.

BREAKING: DEA announces arrest of a Hollywood Hills man in connection to death of rapper #MacMiller. 23 y/o Cameron Pettit accused of selling #MacMiller counterfeit drugs containing fentanyl two days before he died of an overdose. Oxycodone, cocaine, & Xanax mentioned. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/u1ojBsCoBU

— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 4, 2019

According to the press release, Pettit allegedly knowingly sold the pills to Miller two days before Mac died of overdose. Pettit was arrested by the DEA’s Fusion Task Force on a “distribution of a controlled substance” warrant this morning, and is expected to appear in court on Wednesday. The report states that Pettit agreed to sell Miller with oxycodone, cocaine, and Xanax, but instead gave him counterfeit oxycodone containing the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin.

Mac’s struggles with substance abuse were well-documented — most often, by Mac himself on albums like Watching Movies With The Sound Off and in interviews where he acknowledged that drugs were holding back his career. On latter albums such as The Divine Feminine and his final album Swimming, it seemed he was coming to terms with his issues, but was later arrested for drunk driving just before the release of Swimming, indicating that his struggle continued. Unfortunately, he was robbed of the opportunity to make a full recovery; hopefully, hip-hop can learn from his cautionary example.

Mac Miller is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

- joshua kellem

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Oops, Azealia Banks is clout-chasing again. Tuesday, Azealia Banks took to Instagram to post her opinion of fellow female artist Lizzo, while comparing her to Adele and Jasmine Sullivan. Seemingly unprovoked and in the comments section to an unidentified post, Banks engages in a conversation with users posting a series of opinions.

First, Banks equates Lizzo to Jasmine Sullivan with the latter not achieving the same feats, then she proceeds to imply that Lizzo, unlike Sullivan, is making a fool of herself. In a backhanded compliment, Banks says Lizzo is better than Adele, who both resemble each other to some extent, though Adele is Caucasian. Whether lost in translation or if it’s just a case of right message, wrong messenger, Banks says that they (referring to white people) better let Lizzo be a “big star” without having to do the “extra sh*t.”

Azealia banks attack lizzo pic.twitter.com/VPuxpmb2C5

— nicole145 (@nicole31556167) September 3, 2019

In her following post, Banks says she sees the body positivity angle that Lizzo is going for, but that it comes off as Lizzo “making a fool” of herself for “white America.” In addition, Banks says Lizzo isn’t talented, but that she’s new and listens to execs.

Piggybacking off of her second post, Banks uses Cardi B and Lil Nas X as an example of artists who are new and listen. For her finale fourth post, Banks flat-out says that Lizzo’s songs and her live set aren’t good, but in the same breath says Lizzo is talented. You can read Banks’ posts in their entirety above. Banks has attacked a slew of artists unprovoked in the past, including Lana Del Ray, Remy Ma, RZA, and Nicki Minaj.

- Aaron Williams

Conway The Machine is back with more of his signature, sinister, street slang on “Tito’s Back,” the lead single from his upcoming mixtape, Look What I Became… along with his Griselda Records cohorts Benny The Butcher and Westside Gunn. The Buffalo, NY rapper and Griselda founder’s new tape offers up a prelude to his upcoming Shady Records debut, God Don’t Make Mistakes, due out in October.

Over a brick-hard beat produced by Daringer, Conway, Benny, and Gunn do what they do best: Snarl and sneer their way through mean-mug verses sprinkled with silver-tongued punchlines and wise-guy wordplay. The way the trio makes rhymes ping-pong throughout their verses while still projecting the stone-faced menace of the grimy Buffalo streets they hail from is honestly impressive, with “Tito’s Back” delivering a sample of exactly the qualities that inured them to their growing audience and secured them a deal with Shady Records in 2017.

In the press release announcing the new track and mixtape, Conway says, “Look What I Became… is an appetizer before God Don’t Mistakes. I’m just staying on fire and keeping the streets feed and satisfied…. I came from the bottom, from nothing, and now I’m on a major label and making music with Eminem. This project is a blueprint of that.”

Look What I Became… is set for release on September 13 and will feature non-Griselda appearances from fellow New Yorkers Dave East and Jim Jones and production from Alchemist, DJ Muggs, and Statik Selektah.

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