Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Consequence Opens Doors!

Don't Quit Your Day Job
GOOD Music / Columbia Records

It's finally here!!! Consequence's new video for the first single, "Callin' Me" is now available exclusively on AllHipHop.com

Director: Kai Crawford/Broadway/Consequence

Consequence's solo debut Don't Quit Your Day Job hits stores March 6.

Callin' Me [Clean Version]


Callin' Me [Explicit Album Version]

About Consequence

Consequence was born in Queens at the dawn of the hip-hop era, when all rap was East Coast rap and all of rap's influential early artists were based in the New York City area. Throughout his career, Consequence gained credibility not only on the streets with his peers but with the critics as well. A gifted storyteller, he has a keen and unwavering sense of what he is all about. His objective realism provides a clear alternative not only to gangsta rap but also to the watered-down and overly calculated pop-rap. “What I rhyme about is what I see around me, I’m a result of the hood, my rhymes are a reflection of what I see,” comments Consequence on his forthcoming release Don’t Quit Your Day Job on G.O.O.D. Music/Columbia on which Consequence has teamed with Kanye West. (Street Date: October 2005)

Consequence received his first big career boost from the chart topping trio A Tribe Called Quest. As a kid performing on the streets of his neighborhood he attracted the attention of A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and began running with the Tribe while still in high school. Consequence appeared on A Tribe Called Quest’s Beats Rhymes and Life album which debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Album Charts in 1996. He co wrote and appeared on eight tracks; the track he co wrote and appeared on with Faith Evans, “Stressed Out”, garnered significant attention from fans and critics alike and placed him on the radar of the power players in the industry.

In the years to follow, Consequence worked diligently on his craft, establishing his identity as an emcee separate from A Tribe Called Quest. The prolific artist emerged with several mixtapes: “The Cons Vol. 1: All Sales Are Final” (which was featured on MTV’s Mixtape Mondays on December of 2002, and in April 2003 was #1 Show ‘&’ Prove in XXL and #1 Off The Radar in The Source), “The Cons Vol. 2: Make the Game Come to You” and “Take Em To The Cleaners” (voted in the top ten independent releases of 2004 by AllHipHop.com). The latter mixtape's bonus track, "Turn Ya Self In," has already been released on twelve-inch featuring soul-inspired rhythms by Baby Paul on ABB Records along with joints “B*itch Rider” and “Yard 2 Yard”. Additionally, “The Cons Vol. 3: The Comeback Kid” and “A Tribe Called Quence” will soon be released. Take Em To The Cleaners is hosted by Kanye West who also appears on and/or produces nine tracks. The chemistry between West and Consequence is undeniable and Kanye’s involvement is no mystery as Consequence has always surrounded himself with and attracted the best in the business. On Take Em To The Cleaners, he also collaborates with Common, Talib Kweli, 88 Keys and John Legend among others.

In 2004 Consequence went on the road as a member of The Kon Man crew on the "School Spirit" tour in support of his appearance on the track "Spaceship," from Kanye West's Grammy winning and Platinum debut The College Dropout. On the track he raps ”I don't wanna ever go back there…So I won't be takin' no days off 'til my spaceship takes off” - a line reflective of his fierce determination to make it in the harsh reality of the music business. He maintains his unique style and approach to music and life despite all the twists and turns his career has taken, and that path has finally led him directly into the spotlight.

In 2005 his main focus remains on Don’t Quit Your Day Job, however; Consequence recently reunited with his cousin Q Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest) on the track “Sexy”, which also features Andre 3000 of Outkast, for Q Tip’s forthcoming 2005 Universal/Motown release. Consequence will appear on the track “Gone” with Cam’ron on Kanye West’s sophomore album Late Registration. Consequence will also be shooting the video for fellow G.O.O.D. Music artist Common’s single “They Say”. He will be appearing on other projects including Baby Paul’s album with Seleena Johnson and a project for The Last Poets with John Legend. Additionally Consequence has also recently collaborated with Keyshia Coles, Mike Jones, Lil’ Kim, Eve, Miri Ben-Ari, and P Diddy, among others. He will also be featured on the G.O.O.D. Music Mixtape hosted by Big Mike and is featured in the July 2005 issues of both Vibe and King Magazines. Additionally, he appeared in State Poverty 2 (Lions Gate Films) and will be appearing in an episode of Season Five of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

Interview Coming soon!

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Bow Wow Is Back

Bow Wow
The Price of Fame - In Stores Now!!!
Sony Urban

Bow Wow - "Outta My System"

Windows Media

Real Audio


About Bow Wow:

Just as diamonds are created from carbon through intense heat and pressure deep beneath the earth's surface, Bow Wow -- listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest solo rapper to ever hit #1 -- has matured from a multi-platinum teen rap star into a full-fledged musical force with his fifth studio album, The Price of Fame, a journey inside the mind of a man who's grown up in the public eye, felt the pleasures and pitfalls of acclaim, and learned valuable lessons from the wealth of his experience.

According to Bow Wow, who will be 20 in March 2007, this last year "was emotional and stressful. I felt like I was going crazy with things bothering me, and all this comes with being famous." Coming off of one of the busiest -- the SRO Scream IV Tour and top-grossing features films including "Roll Bounce" and "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" -- years of his career, Bow Wow wanted "to go in the studio and work because it's just natural. Every song is from experience. It's easy for me to do what I do because it is a reflection of my life."

As a youngster growing up in show business, Bow Wow felt that he couldn't freely express himself on a variety of issues because of his age. While his first four albums -- Beware of Dog (2000), Doggy Bag (2001), Unleashed (2003), and Wanted (2005) -- showed an artist progressively expanding the range of his style and the reach of his topics, The Price of Fame takes Bow Wow boldly into new areas of musical and lyrical exploration. "Now that I'm older, there are things that I can talk about. I feel free," says Bow Wow. "Finally I've gotten the green light to talk about what I've wanted to talk about for so many years. It's definitely a real rap album. I've stepped up lyrically. I want to become known as more of a lyricist, I want to prove I am more than a heart-throb.”

Bow Wow re-teamed with longtime mentor, friend, producer and current co-manager Jermaine Dupri to co-executive produce the new album. Always mindful of his fans, Bow Wow gives them heart-throb familiarity with his first single, "Shortie Like Mine," produced by JD and features R&B heartthrob Chris Brown and longtime songwriter and singing newcomer Johnta Austin. "Give It To You" is another high energy, Bow Wow-produced track destined to light up the dance floors of club land.

For The Price of Fame ,Bow Wow delved deep into his writing while trying his hand once again at production. On the intro to the title track, "Price of Fame," Bow is heard venting: "I'm letting people feel my pain, letting them know what I've been through in this year alone." Young Jinsu, a 13-year-old, Rhode Island rapper by way of New York, is heard throughout the track pumping Bow Wow up.

Bow Wow is both wordsmith and budding entrepreneur, having signed Jinsu to his own label, The LB Dub Gang. "I'm passing the Lil Bow Wow torch to Jinsu," Bow Wow offers. "This Bow Wow movement with teenagers, girls and kids goes back to Jermaine being a mentor, father figure and learning from him and watching him for the past seven years."

"This is my crew," Bow Wow announces and that includes Clee-O, an 18 year old actor/ rapper who co-starred with Bow Wow in "Roll Bounce" and The Rock in "Walking Tall." Bow Wow's vision for his new label reflects his growth and maturity. "Jermaine has blessed me with the ability to do what I do and he's given me my shot into the industry," acknowledges Bow Wow, "so now it's my turn to give blessings back to other people that also have the opportunity to do bigger and better things. It's only right to push your people forward."

As Bow Wow welcomes his fans into the truth of his world, it's apparent that The Price of Fame comes with a price tag. "People ask for this life but they don't really understand what comes with it," Bow Wow confesses. "People just see the outside and that looks good – big houses, cars, girls, but you never see how the person is feeling deep down inside. Me personally, being a man, I'm going to feel better displaying all of this and pouring my heart out on each record." As the rapper/actor/entrepreneur charts his course through the next phase of his career, Bow Wow is very clear. "There's a lot of pressure," he says. "I'm a real guy, and trying to hold all of this in one brain can make you go crazy sometimes. So that's really been the price of fame for me, just dealing with all the drama and the b.s."

With a new energy and spirit Bow Wow is playing the game to win. "I let life really guide me," he admits. "Just going through things that I've been through in my life has helped me to become a better person. Things have helped me grow and become who I am. Once you go through things, you'll see things differently, and that's basically my motto and what I've learned so far."

For Bow Wow, The Price of Fame is ultimately worth the cost. "I don't have a choice," says the born artist. "I'm ready to take on anything and this album is a way for me to release it all. I can take all the negative energy and turn it into a positive simply by purging my soul through music. That's how powerful music can be. When people hear this record, they will definitely know where I'm at as far as my life and me as an artist. This album is really a tell-all album."

An interview is coming soon!

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Stomp The Yard

Here is some info I was told to share in hopes of promoting you guys to go support this move.


Like Alex Haley’s “Roots”, Making of new film found Author Gregory Anderson reaching into his past

When Gregory Anderson first sat down to pen the script for the upcoming Sony / Screen Gems film “Stomp the Yard”, while a student at Florida A&M University, the film’s future was nothing more than a dream. Several years later as he prepared to do the rewrite, he found that the story and history of “Stomp the Yard” had a deeper connection to not only his family, but to all African Americans. “At the end of the day, what I discovered about myself and my people, was far more valuable than I could have ever imagined” – Gregory Anderson.

The movie, which opens nationwide January 12, is driven by the unique artform called “Stepping”. Stepping (or “Stomping”) is a rhythmic dance tradition created by African American Fraternities and Sororities. This territory was nothing new to Gregory, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi and whose classmates Will Packer and Rob Hardy (Rainforest Films, Producers of “Stomp the Yard”) are members of Alpha Phi Alpha. But, as Greg crafted the story, he soon realized he had to go deeper. “I had a teacher in High School named Mrs. Hendricks, and she taught us that in life, we have to look beyond the surface of things, the shape of things. No matter how painful or hard, we have to search for what lies beneath, because that is where the truth is”.

Greg always knew he had a long lineage of frat / soror members in his family, dating back to the early decades of the organizations and spanning all the way to today. The key was to uncover the roots of stepping and why it stayed relevant. What he found along the way, was a reconnection he would never forget.

For more of this release go to www.tridestined.com/andersonspeaks


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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Common and the Freedom Writers

Common Has a new video for the movie Freedom Writers and it is absolutely amazing. I saw the movie the day it came out and found myself to be a pool of inspiration immediately after. Below is some information I received in regards to promoting the movie. I hope that you enjoy it and find it useful. Please feel free to post your comments. I will return with an write up of the movie shortly.

'A Dream'

In honor of Paramount Pictures’ upcoming film, “Freedom Writers” a YouTube group has been created that allows users to view and create their own videos related to a number of subjects including, peer pressure, personal inspiration, motivation, ethics, oppression, morals, tolerance, racism, youth, anti-violence and more. There are also a number of discussions going on within this group around these topics.

'Be Heard' YouTube Link

Check out a few of Mario's 'Be Heard' entries below:

Be Heard: Mario on Getting Into His Character

Be Heard: Mario on Emotions During Filming

About Freedom Writers
Erin Gruwell's passion to become a teacher is soon challenged by a group of Black, Latino, and Asian gangbangers who hate her even more than each other. When Erin (Hillary Swank) begins to listen to them in a way no adult has ever done, she begins to understand that for these kids, getting through the day alive is enough; they are not delinquents but teenagers fighting a war of the streets that began long before they were born. Erin gives them something they never had from a teacher before: respect.

ERIN GRUWELL, the Freedom Writers, and her nonprofit organization, The Freedom Writers Foundation, have received many awards, including the prestigious Spirit of Anne Frank Award, and have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Primetime, Good Morning America, and The View, to name a few. All 150 Freedom Writers went on to graduate from high school. Erin Gruwell is also a charismatic motivational speaker who spreads her dynamic message to students, teachers, and business people around the world. She lives in southern California.

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J. Kwest Chicago Legend in the making!

: When is your birthday?

J.Kwest Its Real Hip Hop!

By: Jessica Lashawn

JL: May 14th, 1983

JL: How many siblings do you have?

JK: Siblings: 4 (1 older and 3 younger)

JL: How were you introduced to rap?

JK: Well, I was 10 and like all 10 year olds, I was stuck to the radio. First off, it was Kris Kross “Jump”, Da Brat, and Bone Thugs (n Harmony). My uncle was a [hip hop] head so he put me on to Ice Cube, Dre, and the whole West Coast vibe. I fell in love with the freedom of expression and the fact that they just WEREN'T SCARED. Then, I found Tribe, and that sealed the deal. Hip hop is my first love and we haven't broken up since.

JL: When did you decide to pursue it professionally?

JK: I was writing and performing since 15, but once I got into college, I got really nice and started discovering who I am as a man and musician. I never stopped working on it, and when I graduated I knew that this would be my life. I was 21.

JL: What aided you in your decision to be a gospel rap artist?

JK: Well I've always felt like hip hop should express what the artist truly believes. NWA hated the police and you knew that. Bone loved smoking. I love God and am truly appreciative of the second chances along the way and opportunities to grow out of my circumstances to become a better man. I want to give that same opportunity to young people, so I pay my experiences forward. Its only “gospel” because I talk about life from a spiritual perspective. We all have spirit, so it’s good to speak to that sometimes. My life and my music have one purpose: to inspire.

JL: What sets you apart from other artists?

JK: Well the message obviously sets me apart from secular artists. I'm talking about something real and the listener can feel that. I'm also different from typical gospel cats because I don't beat anybody over the head with the Bible or anything. I like to talk to people where they ARE, and then encourage them to BE better. I don't preach and I don't praise the streets. The only person who sounds like J.Kwest is J.Kwest.

JL: What are the specific messages you like to relay to your listening body?

JK: My music affirms the beauty in everyone; lets them know that they can do anything, and challenges us to follow our dreams. We have a higher power and we can use that to do anything, including become better people.

JL: What inspires you to write your lyrics?

JK: Life inspires me. Everything I experience finds it way into a song. I love hearing stories and finding a way to tell those stories to help others. I just pay attention to everything, and I'm always ready to write. Short answer: the spirit inspires me.

JL: Is there pressure to pursue a more secular approach for your music in order

to reach a larger fan base?

JK: If by “secular approach” you mean music that the streets listen to, then YES. We try to make our beats sick so you can ride to it, then after you get past the beat; you get hit with the message. I NEVER compromise lyrics, and you can hear that, but we've got to make it hot, too. Most gospel rap is NOT hot. Folks are scared to play it outside. Those days are over now. I’ll make u proud to claim J.Kwest, because it’s hot.

JL: What is your favorite thing to do in your past time?

JK: I play video games for therapy. I play Basketball, I love to work out, keep myself healthy. What else? Cards…a good game of Bid Whist never hurt anybody.

JL: How do you feel about the current state of hip hop?

JK: I want to say its wack, but there is a lot of good music submersed by mediocrity. It’s just not serious anymore. Rappers write for sales now, they want money. The expression has been lost. But we can bring it back. All is not lost.

JL: How would you define religion or spirituality?

JK: Religion is what people follow; the ritual of it: rosaries and crosses, ankhs and such. Spirituality is how you feel, and the rules we create for ourselves. It’s how we govern our lives outside the mosque or church. Our spirit is what makes us better. That's what I want to speak to, the spirit in us all.

JL: What type of family environment did you grow up in and how did that effect


JK: I was in a Single-mother home, and my mother gave me my drive. I know that. We had a lot of drama in our house, but none of it ruined me. I learned from it and grew from it.

JL: How would you define your musical style?

JK: I've been told I'm in the same musical family as Common or Nas, and it’s definitely Chicago represented in the music. At the end of the day, it’s “PureMusic”; music to live a better life to. At least try. Soul Music for the soul.

JL: What's your favorite number and why?

JK: My favorite # is 12 because that's the age I went through the most drama. That's also the age I fell in love with hip hop, and I hit my first homerun when I was 12. The number just stuck with me.

JL: What's your real name?

JK: Julian.

JL: Where do you plan on being in your career ten years from now?

JK: Like 5 albums deep, reputable in the streets and the church, standing next to the best in the game. I want to be known as one of the most influential, not just as “that gospel dude”. I think the music can be heard right along with Kanye and Jay-Z. Cube or Dre. J.Kwest. Sales are cool. Of course I want to support my family. But what I want most is a career that is known for changing lives through music.

JL: What are three things that you are grateful for and why?

JK: 1. My mother. She went through so much to raise me and put me in the right situation to grow. She was a DJ, too.

2. The 70's. The age of creation that destroyed the box. Stevie, MJ, Marvin, Donny. They all paved the way for hip hops glorious age. They kept me company when I was alone and still do to this day. Our generation owes it to the late 60s/70s for their creativity and willingness to put it all on the line for their kids. We're those kids.

3. College. I got alone, made some mistakes, and became a man. Shouts to Morehouse for making strong black men, and for challenging me to be a leader and creator for the people. College was priceless.

JL: Who are a few artists that inspired you to pursue this as a career?

JK: Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube, Pac of course. This cat BreevEazie is my favorite and took me under his wings. He never let me quit and I'm inspired by him everyday.

JL: What motivates you daily to continue thriving after what you love?

JK: Just imagining what is possible keeps me going. Seeing the youth today and how their brains are wired definitely drives me to work harder. They need this music. Watching the news motivates me. That makes me say “God, we gotta do this”

JL: Did you go to college and if so what was your major and why?

JK: I went to Morehouse College (class of 2005). I majored in Sociology. I wanted to understand more about society and why people act the way they do. A lot of it has to do with our group interaction, and I learned that in my major.

JL: What's one of your favorite songs you've done and why?

JK: This song “Startin’ Something” was fun for me because the track was so challenging. I had to stretch my lyricism and that was the first step in becoming a monster (I'm on my way). Startin’ something was serious for me. That's why we put it first on the last album. Every song is special to me though. I can go through them all, but we don't have enough time.

JL: What's the best thing about being in the industry?

JK: Wait, the industry is good? Naw, for real, I love meeting other artists who have good hearts. We encourage each other. Also, the shows…I love the people I meet. Everything else is a grind.

JL: If you have another job, what do you do? Why did you choose to pursue a job

in that field?

JK: I'm also a youth minister at Covenant UCC in Chicago. I love kids and God definitely has given me a message and charisma that is for young people. I can't run from my call. They don't call me Rev. J or nothin’ though. It’s J.Kwest.

J Kwest is on a mission to save the life of Hip-Hop by bringing the original meaning of soul to the art form. Known as the gospel rapper of Chicago that is taking the industry by storm, he expands beyond such a barricading title. Born and raised in Chicago this Morehouse graduate has a lot more to offer the game than a keen sense of style. His bright personality, catchy lyrics, and genuine heart are easily felt through each and every ounce of his material. J. Kwest is a natural born star that is rising faster than heat to the top of this cold and semantic industry. After watching him perform, I knew an interview was in order. Be among the first to be introduced to the ultimate quest of Hip-Hop’s rebirth.

BG: Are there any websites you want to inform the viewers of?

JK: www.jkwest.com


J. Kwest is certainly the people’s champ by gaining familiarity across the country at an unheard of rate. His performance is full of energy; his message breathes that of life. His passion is almost overpowering but his lyrics aid in the sharing of many testimonies. If you are not afraid to see how hip hop can embody the positive side of an M.C. travel down the road less seen, allow J. Kwest to guide you!


By: Jessica Lashawn

Cherish is one of the newest gurl groups to the music scene. Their innovative sound and extra sexy look has everyone wondering about these young ladies. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, they have been perfecting their harmonies and sisterhood in order to take this industry by storm. With common goals to be quality role models, advocates for higher education, and manifesting your own destiny, these four young ladies have more than their goals in mind, but all of their fans as well. It’s not hard to see that these girls are valuable and for that they are to be cherished.

JL: Hi ladies, you all look stunning today.

C: Thank you. We appreciate it.

JL: You have a performance in Chicago today. What’s so special about it that you had to become a part of it?

C: Well WGCI is hosting an event for all of the kids as a way to promote a safe and great summer. When we heard that it was to motivate kids to stay away from the negative elements out there, we knew that we had to be a part of that. It’s important that we, as artists try to make sure that we are setting the right example for our fans. So, whenever we have something good like this, we strive to be a part of it.

JL: How do you ladies feel about being role models now?

C: There is some pressure to it, but it comes along with the territory. We just have to try and be true to ourselves as much as possible, but yet take into consideration that our fans pay attention to all that we do.

JL: So who were your individual role models or the people you looked up to in the industry that inspired you thus far?

C: Well, definitely EnVouge, Aaliyah, TLC, and many others helped to pave the way for us to be right where we are. What made those artists special is the fact that they had their own style. They even developed over time as styles changed, but they were original.

JL: It’s very common to see a four member girl group in this industry, but what sets you guys apart from the rest?

C: Well, we are all sisters and we’re naturally close, so you don’t have to worry about us breaking up. We have been singing together since we were born and that shows within our harmony. We care about the lyrics we sing and that’s why it is important for us to write them ourselves. It is what helps us to be in charge of our own message that we are sending out to our fans. Plus, we’re young and we have a lot to offer.

JL: If you guys could be in any other profession outside of the music industry what would it be?

C: I hate to think about stuff like that because if I weren’t doing what I love which is this, then I would be working towards making it into the industry. But, you always need a plan. We’d all be in school. We’d go for medicine and become doctors, an artist, and music teacher. Education is important and we do plan on going back to school, but right now we are concentrating on our careers. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

JL: How did your hit single “Do It” come about?

C: Well, we were in our hotel room just playing around and the melody popped into my head. We took advantage of it and wrote it in 15 minutes right there in our room.

JL: Is it hard trying to conform to a certain image that your record label has in mind for you? Did you have any issues with that?

C: Well in this industry, that is kind of mandatory and we knew that, so we presented ourselves to our label and they just thought that we were fine. So our image was already there but the maintenance is the key. We have to look like stars all of the time. You never know when you have an appearance and you have to be prepared. We are happy with it and it wasn’t too much of a hassle. I guess we were already on the right track.

JL: What can we expect from the upcoming album?

C: Well people don’t expect to hear a lot of soul stirring music. We like ballads and good soul music. That’s what this album is about and we pride ourselves on our harmonies. So we’re proud of the overall album and can’t wait to share it with our fans. It’s something we worked hard on.

JL: What do you think this album will do for the R & B industry?

C: We hope that it brings real R & B music back to the industry. All of these different genres are merging and people are doing that to become more and more original but now we need to get back to the basics. This album is about life and it’s straight from the soul. It’s refreshing because of our harmonies, our lyrics, and our passion.

JL: Now you guys aren’t newbies to the scene. Didn’t you have an affiliation with Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat?

C: Yes we did and we thank them so much for believing in us from the start at an early age. We did a song with the Da Brat called “Love Wit You” and that was fun. We were in the video as well. That was a great experience and it helped us gain a larger fan base. We are grateful to them and we appreciate all that they did!

JL: Well ladies it has been a pleasure meeting you and I wish you the best of luck. Make sure you give it your all. BrownGurl believes in you!

C: Thank you so much for the opportunity

Check out their new video Unappreciated at the link below

Cherish – "Unappreciated" Video Streams
Windows Media

Cherish Official Site: http://www.cherishsisters.com/
Cherish @ MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/cherishsisters

Here is my Album Review:



The group Cherish is on top of the charts and at

the forefront of all the ladies’ hearts with their hit

single “Do It To It” which has gained them a spot on the BET tour, traveling the country with such greats as Chris Brown, NeYo, and more. The album entitled “Unappreciated” was named after the second single and is gaining immeasurable amounts of airplay. The ladies seem to take the Jazze Pha dynasty to a whole new level delivering what seems to be a darn good sophomore album for Ciara, but full of rich vocal harmonies, song topics, and head banging beats. I was convinced that these ladies were able to relay their individual, yet group style throughout each record displaying their talent and essence of womanhood. To be young ladies, their topic choices are befitting and they talk about real life issues in a classy and elegant way. The relationship driven ballad “Unappreciated” tells the story of a woman in love that has reached the end of her rope with an ungrateful man. My favorite track happens to be “Fool 4 You” where the harmony, sharp rhythm, and engulfing hook command one’s attention. The ghetto classic, A-town anthem happens to be none other than the soon-to-be hit “Chevy” with its gangster appeal as an ode to men from around the way that know how to keep it hood. Overall, this album is a must have. I was impressed and I look forward to seeing the ladies perform since much of the album is bass driven with pop and southern crunk styling.

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Shareefa Exposed

By Jessica LaShawn

Shareefa has made a grand entrance into the world of R & B soul. Hailed for her charisma and undeniable realness, her music is reaching those in need of inspiration and a sense of pride. Being the first lady of soul from the street acclaimed DTP crew headed by the boisterous Ludacris, she has already been handed street and industry creditability. Although her talent is undeniable she still tries to keep herself humble and within this interview she shows her gratitude for life and the blessings that have lead her onto the path of fulfilling her dreams. While sitting backstage at a Lyfe Jennings concert I was able to see her his her rawest form talking to family members, mentally preparing herself for her performance. She sat still with her feet kicked in the air resting on a soft stool that supported her stylish Gucci boots. From head to toe she was dressed like a star but a natural sence off comfort lingered amist her pressence. She may be one of the Divas in line to enherit the Crown of Hip Hop Queen but she doesnt let that tarnish who she is as a person. We connected as she prepared to walk to the stage, a heart felt prayer was belted out and immediately following a stomp of praise. The crowd began to roar as the beat drop and she was whisked away to the front line to fulfill her ultimate life calling: to be on the stage.

JL: So how did this industry deal come into fruition for you?

S: Girl, I want you to know that it wasn't overnight. I had to work and hustle. Where I'm from that's what you learn to do at a young age. It's all about believing in yourself and not being afraid to approach people and let them know what you are about and why you deserve to be about that. Overall I have just been blessed enough to be at the right place at the right time with favor. People have really gravitated towards me

JL: Have you been able to go out on the road to promote your album that hit the shelves 10-24-06?

S: Yes, I was out on another tour for a while and that was my first time on the road. I gained a lot experience from that and it made me feel a little better about my performance skills. But this upcoming tour will be my first major tour and I am looking forward to it because I have gotten a lot of support thus far from my fans. They seem to feel where I'm coming from. That's why going out on the road is so important. There is a difference between being able to listen to your music and when you get to see someone perform and you can sense the emotion that they put into it.

JL: What are you talking about on this album because you have a pretty diverse background? What can your fans expect?

S: They can expect me to give it to them as it is. I don't have a set category for what type of music I've done on this album but realness. That is what they can expect. I'm talking about the main things that all people can relate to no matter what background they come from such as love, inner issues, family, and aspirations. Life is all about being able to juggle those things and the different elements that stem form them. That is what I talk about. So, if you want to know what to expect, expect a situation that you have gone through to be talked about in more than one or two songs.

JL: What took so long with the release of your album? You've been with DTP for a while now?

S: You know how the old saying goes about if its worth having, then its worth waiting for. That's why my album took so long. With releasing an album that is my form of expression it is all about me telling my story from my point of view from the best way possible. I need hot beats and lyrics that flow. I love my DTP family and they totally supported the fact that I'm serious about my craft. That is what we are about anyway, putting out good music that people can respect and listen to a long time down the line.

JL: How do you deal with the pressures of this industry and the burdens they put on family, you emotionally, and more?

S: That is real simple; I lean on God to help me through. Sure, I have my family but they aren't able to be with me every moment and when I am in need. This industry isn't a game and it can either make or break you. You have to know yourself and where you come from if you want to be successful and continuously live your dreams. As far as family problems I just try to reach out as much as I can and keep a constant remind of who I am and where I came from. I am pretty much secure with who I am and I don't get bent out of shape often dealing with self esteem and all that other stuff. I keep sit real with myself. I keep myself up for me first and then for those who see me. I try to make time for myself to keep my mind right and I am constantly reminded of the blessings I have every time I open my eyes to a new day. Everything is great.

Shareefa's ability to just talk about herself and her life which is full of her love for music is inspiring. If you can look past the glamorous image of her that you see plastered all over from your TV screen to your bus stop then you will be able to lay your eyes on a beautiful being. She is here in the industry to raise the bar and force others to be about more than making money and trying to make others jealous but give back. In the end, nothing really matters if you are the only one to benefit from your own life and God given talent.

AUDIO: 'Cry No More'


Check out my Album Review for Shareefa Below

Artist: Shareefa

Label: DTP/ Def Jam

Title: Point of No Return

Site: www.dtprecords.com

Shareefa’s long awaited debut album from Disturbing The Peace record label solidifies her as the labels core of R & B and Soul. Her album, entitled “Point of No Return” highlights the ups and down of an unpredictable life full of hope, desired love, and self-sacrifice. She opens up with an upbeat anthem about moving on from a bad relationship and tragic experiences within “Cry No More” produced by the king of musical masterpieces, Mr. Darkchild. Then “U Told Me” takes you on an escapade that shows the struggle of loving someone so much that you are blinded completely and ignore their unrighteous actions. “Phony” tells a story about a friendship gone wrong that ended with Shareefa serving time in jail. The betrayal left her bitter and overly cautious about people she interacts with, but the song “Assumptions” eases that pain as she talks about the usual battle with self and being accepted by others. Overall this CD is worthy of listening to due to being reminiscent of Mary J. Blige’s first album. Shareefa is highly open and expresses a lot of things about life situations that many people would keep to themselves. If you’re ready to be shocked by spicy, but respectful lyrics, a soulful voice, and an abyss of truth and realness then welcome to “The Point Of No Return” with Shareefa as your tour guide.

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Ruben Studdard

Ruben Studdard

An Observation of His Struggle
By Jessica LaShawn

Being in the presence of an individual with pure talent, an inviting personality, and an overall good heart is one of the best experiences one could have on a rainy day. Ruben Studdard, known for being crowned an American Idol, the velvet teddy bear, and the man that took a stand for those dealing with weight issues mesmerizes people at first glance. Offering an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be able to perform at such a powerful venue, he paced back and forth while warming up his voice to perform for an audience at the DuSable Museum. The phenomenal event he prepared for was none other than the renowned Music Experience organized by the prestigious Dedry Jones.

Ruben’s band set up and encouraged each other to bring down the house as they played riffs to help Ruben with his vocal exercises. The time came near for the doors to open and Ruben adamantly raced towards the door to meet and great some of the people that were in line. He did an on the spot interview, drank a warm beverage and hit the stage with
power. Knowing that this show was to promote his new album appropriately titled “The Return”, he approached the stage with excitement. Belting out up-tempo melodies, heart felt ballads, and surprising club joints that were surely car worthy.

The audience showed interest in his new music as they stood frequently to sway back and forth in the midst of soul grabbing musical testimonies. Dedry allowed the crowd to feel closeness to the singing sensation while he performed on onstage interviewed that proved to be highly informative and inspirational. The night was full of magic as all events hosted by Mr. Jones are. The audience left feeling satisfied, grooved to the max, and ready to buy Mr. Studdard’s sophomore release. Ruben offers a sense of gratefulness for all of the love and support he has received, but would like people to know that he is more than the picture perfect lovable big guy the media portrays him to be. After the concert he expressed to another journalist and I that he wants people to know that he is a city boy that hasn’t lived his life so wholesomely. He has been through a lot and he isn’t afraid to show that on this CD. One audience member stated that “Ruben seems a little more hood this time around but he seems comfortable and natural.” I guess you never really know an artist until they decide to show you the true essence of their being throughout their music. “The Return” allows Ruben to take his message a different direction that resembles the whole fabric in which he calls home.

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LeToya London

LeToya London
Interview by Jessica-LaShawn

The Road Past American Idol

LaToya London was brought to the forefront of success after her liberating stint with the world famous show American Idol. She became one of America’s sweethearts by showing off her spunk, class and immeasurable talent week after week while belting out songs performed with such passion and soul that one felt inspired to reenact her routine right in the comfort of their very own home. Aside from being a superstar, LaToya is just your average girl from around the way with big dreams, high hopes and inspiration to make things possible. I was able to chat with her in-between a meeting with her girlfriends and found out what really makes her so inviting and appealing to audiences around the world.

JL: Do you feel that being on American Idol allowed you to grow and develop more as an artist?

LL: Yes I do. I think it allowed me to grow because it opened doors for me to grow. When we performed, we did it on a more professional level and that prepared us to do that after we left the show. It aided us on our journey to go wherever we were to go from there after the show.

JL: What particular things about you as an artist were personally analyzed as you progressed within that competition?

LL: It was really hard not to be nervous because being nervous can really affect your performance. That was the biggest task for me to work on in regards to trying to remain calm. I had to find a way that would allow me to be comfortable so that I could make sure that I tried to execute the song correctly. That is what I really had to figure out within myself in order to try and make things right before I went on stage each night. It paid off because I know how to prepare myself better now from that experience.

JL: What do you do to prepare yourself for a performance?

LL: I would drill the song to make sure that I knew all of the words. I’d practice how I planned to move with the song. I'd just work on different techniques if I was doing a song that was a little bit different. I would rehearse in order to make sure I was comfortable with everything. Once I got to that stage and they called my name everything became surreal and I had to just go out there and do it because there was no more practicing after that point. I just had to go out there, work that stage and just do it, you know.

JL: What do you think about while you’re on stage?

LL: While I was onstage I mainly thought about the words. I would try so hard to make sure that I didn’t forget the words and mess up on the song. I concentrate on how I’m moving, facial expressions, eye contact, gosh, just my whole presentation. Once you start thinking about that it is a little too hard to make room to concentrate on anything else. Then again, there are moments when you aren’t able to think of anything else. All that you know is that you are onstage and you naturally perform without the pain of worrying. It’s almost like spacing out, but those are the moments when it is all about what you are singing about and not how you are singing.

JL: What motivates you to stay driven in such a negative industry?

LL: This industry is a little difficult, but I rely on my relationship with God. I know that I can’t do anything without Him. He comforts me. That allows me to have a spiritual understanding of what is going on with me and my job. Yet, it is important to know that you have to accept that everybody isn’t going to like you. You have to stand up for yourself and express yourself accordingly. That is the only way that you can be true to yourself and your purpose. It is all about developing yourself and gaining that needed level of confidence.

JL: What are you doing to break away from being known as “the girl from American Idol”?

LL: I don’t see why being known that way is bad. I’m grateful for that opportunity and that experience. I am just happy that people know who I am and that show has done nothing wrong to me. It helped me get to new places. I’m grateful. I don’t care if people say that is the girl from American Idol. That is a part of my background and an important part of my career. That show allowed me to show what I can do and with my album I took it to a different place. People were able to see my growth and diversity quickly on that show. I’m just going to work on my next album and take that to a whole different level.

JL: What are some of your aspirations?

LL: Just the belief that I know I can do it. Everyone needs a principle to focus on in their life. It is all about survival. That is how I see this because when you grasp something that you love and you need it to survive then that is what keeps you focused. My drive is there because I love what I do and that is how I make it through. I want to do my part in trying to change the world for the better. I want to get involved with different organizations, put my money into different charities when I do start making money. I want to do my part physically because I do want to work with kids at some point in my life. I love kids and I think that we need to live our lives as examples and play our part. We will see how things go. I want to be a wife and have kids and do what I have to do in society.

JL: How do you deal with those moments when your self-esteem or confidence is a little low?

LL: I just pray, really, because that is where and how I gain my strength anyway. God already gives us the strength inside in order to equip us with what we need to gone ahead and do what we want to do. When we lose that within ourselves the only way we can get it back is to pray and regain that strength. You can go to that person that comforts you the most like momma, daddy or a friend and lean on them, [but] in the end we just have to reconnect ourselves again.

JL: What is the hardest thing about being in this industry?

LL: The fact that it is hard to stay true to who you are. So many people try to steer you in a certain direction that will benefit them. It is all about reminding yourself who you are and what you stand for. You can lose yourself in all of that.

JL: How would you describe yourself as a person outside of being a performer?

LL: Caring, giving, supportive and boastful about the good people in my life and their great achievements. I have my bad points, too, but don’t we all? I don’t want to disclose those. We all have bad points about us.

LaToya London has come a long way and yet, being humble, encouraging and respectful seem to be fruits that continuously sprout from her tree of being. She is focused on being a positive role model for women around the world. An aspiring singer, wife, mother and environmental activist, she is ready and willing but still waiting for her ultimate moment to shine. She fascinates us all with her wonderful personality, amazing drive to give back, and phenomenal rule of favor within the industry. She is said to be the next “Netty” within the play The Color Purple during its run in Chicago. We are excited about her accomplishments and wish her much success. LaToya London is truly the essence of a beautiful BrownGurl!

Want more LaToya London? Check out her official Web site www.latoyalondon.com.

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Saturday, January 6, 2007

J . Ivy "The Def Poet"

The Mind State of J. Ivy

Interview by Jessica LaShawn

Side Note: Mr. Ivy is now married and can be found on myspace at the following address: http://www.myspace.com/jivyspace
His wifes myspace is: http://www.myspace.com/tarreytorae

Could it be that the state of the world has changed for the better? In a society
where totting guns and sagging your pants brought fame and glory, an educated and
determined poet from Chicago opens the flood gates to rekindle a poetic revolution.
The man with a lyrical mission has become famous and adored by many. His passion is
undeniable while his symbolism engulfs your soul. Such poems as “Jamaica”, “Moon
Cry”, and “I Need to Write” have ensured this poets name to be etched in the stone of

Before I received a call from Mr. J. Ivy, I listened to Kanye West’s song “Never Let
Me Down” from his debut platinum album “The College Drop Out.” J. Ivy’s verse poured
like holy rain as his similes and metaphors teased my brain. I was amazed and simply
transfixed by this divine poet’s gift. I’d heard so much about him and felt that he
deserves as much exposure as possible. Mr. Ivy is a fellow Chicagoan from the south
side. His transition from the hood to the suburbs and then from high school to college mirrors a common struggle known to most of society. He isn’t claiming to be a thug nor is he flashy and unapproachable. This man is simply just a man with a mission. I am proud to introduce to some and review for others the Mind State of J. Ivy the Poet!

January 11th, 2005

Jessica: How were you exposed to poetry/spoken word?

Ivy: I was actually exposed to the stage first by my English teacher in high school. She had people read their prose pieces from her class and she really took to my style and delivery. She pulled me to the side and told me that I had a nice speaking voice and she wanted to enter me in some shows. At first I faked her out but she had another show coming up and she made me do the second show. My first time on stage I actually got a standing ovation. By my senior year I was doing Kwanzaa, Black History Months shows, and I just got hooked to the stage. But when I went to college was when I started writing poetry. I actually wrote a poem for this girl I was digging for Sweeties Day. That was the first poem I ever wrote. I was real cool with my English professor in college and I showed her the poem and got a lot of positive feedback and as a result she put me in a show. That is when I started doing poetry shows in college and by my second semester everyone was calling me the poet.

Jessica: What college did you go to?

Illinois State. I was there for a year and a half and flunked out. I went back home
and I realized I was only 19.I refused to be a failure so I tried to do anything. I hit up any club even though they were tripping on my lack of id. I just told them that I only wanted to do some poetry and I’ll leave. I didn’t even drink. The first show I did I met Malik Yusef (featured poet on Carl Thomas song “Trouble Wont Last”). I also got hooked up with WGCI ( a popular Chicago radio station).I did the African American art calendar yearly with 11 other Chicago black artist to collaborate with poets to write a poem for paintings. That was pretty much my start in a nutshell.

Jessica: What type of neighborhood did you grow up in?

Ivy: I had a culture shock growing up. I went from living on the south side to the south suburbs. I can’t say I was sheltered but my mom made sure I stayed on my block. I could go to the park and play ball because they always shoot up there. I couldn't’t get Jordan’s because people always got robbed for them and their starter coats. In the middle of my eighth grade year my brother went to Linblom and got beat up at the forest preserve and ended up at the hospital. Our crib was robbed and that was it for my mom. She decided that it was time for us to move to the suburbs. There were black folks out there but it was predominantly white at the time. It was a totally different atmosphere. There were a lot of black families moving out to the suburbs. It was a big difference from living in the city…just the up keep of the place was different. They called me the urban suburban.

Jessica: Can you describe what your relationship is like with your family?

Ivy: We all have a good relationship. I’m real close with my mom, that’s my dog. She makes sure that everyone knows what’s going on by keeping everybody posted. My two brothers and I are cool. All my cousins are cool. My pops passed away but we still have a good relationship now. Outside of my immediate family we aren’t real close nit but we are all cool though although, we don’t talk or see each other all of the time.

Jessica: Are you married or have any kids?

Ivy: Yes but no kids.

Jessica: Who is your favorite poet or spoken word artist?

Ivy: Me.

Jessica: Is there a difference between poetry and spoken word?

Ivy: Poetry is more so the written form and spoken word is the stage performance.
You just take the written form and combine it with a performance. It adds more to
Poetry. But if someone were to ask me what do you do I would say poetry. I only say
spoken word when I am trying to get someone to understand what I’m talking about. But
I always consider myself a poet.

Jessica: What actually inspired you to peruse your dreams as an artist?

Ivy: I guess since I was a kid there was always something in me that wanted to be on stage and receiving attention. When I watched movies I would study the actions of the actors. I would critique and I didn’t even know what the word meant or what I was doing but I would figure out how I would’ve acted out a scene. It was always something in me but it wasn’t until my English teacher got me on stage and brought it out. I knew when I fell in love with the stage I couldn't’t stop. One thing always led to another and I couldn't’ t stop. There is always a little fuel in the tank and I’d say okay I just gotta keep going. Plus I always had dreams to do big things. I just never saw room for limitation. Even though other people saw them… I know I didn’t and I wont.

Jessica: That is a good way to be.

Ivy: Yeah. Dream big!

Jessica: So what actually makes your style of poetry so unique? What makes you stand
out from the other artists?

Ivy: I really don’t know! I really don’t. I just feel that God chose me to do what I do.He decided that I’d be the one to do certain things. I guess I’m supposed to be the pioneer of different things. I have definitely been around poets that are more talented than me but I just thank God for my blessings. I really don’t know what makes me stand out. I’ve been given opportunities to do things that other people haven’t’. I did the Orange Bowl’s introduction and that was 31.2 Million viewers. I did a two-minute introduction on camera for that event. You could see me, hear me, and watch me do my thing. It was awesome. Things like that haven’t really been done before. I don’t think it has ever been done before. I was chosen to do it. I’m blessed to be apart of the history of poetry. Poetry has been around since the beginning of time but the Orange Bowl was like the super bowl for college. It was a ground-breaking event. For me to be the one to do I thank God! I don’t know why I was chosen and I don’t question it too much. I just do it. My path has been chosen. Everybody has his or her path.

Jessica: If you could offer advice for other artist what would it be?

Ivy: Never Stop. Set your goals and never stop. Always listen to your heart and your
first mind they usually know best. Never second-guess. When I moved to New York it
was a spur of the moment thing. I was just in NY visiting and an apartment became
available… I wasn’t even looking for an apartment but it was spontaneous. I was asked
if I want the crib and I just say yes without thinking. After I moved in I started to wonder what did I do… but so much happened to and for me after I moved to New York that I questioned what if I had second guessed or didn’t follow my gut instinct. I would have missed out on so many things if I didn’t jump at the opportunities in front of me. I wasn’t even in New York 4 weeks and I ended up recording with the RZA. Three months later I got the chance to go to L.A. and recorded “Never Let Me Down “ with Kanye. I got to meet people and gain support so if people heard of an opportunity they’d always say well how about getting J. Ivy for this or that. It was such a blessing. I just say dream real big because nothing is impossible.

Jessica: Is dream big your motto?

Ivy: Dream Big? That is one of them! I have a few. Dreams don’t come true they are true.

Mr. Ivy continued on with his love for poetry and how life has been real good for him. He expressed his concern for the youth and his desire to encourage them. Mr. Ivy
appears to be a survivor. He is a prime example of how one life can be chosen to touch other lives. It is important to know what talents and gifts you have in order to manifest your own destiny. There is no leadership in emulating but when you accept and understand your self, you begin to comprehend your purpose. Mr. Ivy makes sure that he surrounds his self with positive individuals with enough passion and drive to spawn a new universe. His lovely lady the very beautiful and talented Chicagoan, Tarrey Torae can be found on her website www.TarreyTorae. Her music is inspiring and her presence is that of an elegant queen reciting her devotion through enlightening melodies. Ivy is also featured on John “the” Legend’s song So High off of his Soul Sessions I cd. John is also a revolutionist to the music industry. His work can be found at www.JohnLegend.com. Mr. Ivy is destined for greatness! If you would like to find out more about this phenomenal poet, motivational speaker, artist, and revolutionist visit his web site at http://www.izntitivyous.com

www.sphinxmg.com is where you can get information on booking Mr. Ivy for an
event. He is an up and coming sensation. He loves his job but he loves motivating
others to strengthen their talents. Mr. Ivy is a wonderful speaker with a good Christian heart. If your college or organization is made up of the future leaders of tomorrow allow Mr. Ivy to sow a seed of encouragement in them today! I highly recommend him because this man has changed my life for the better.

Photos courtesy of www.Disilgold.com and www.See.umd.edu

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Young Rome

The Music,
The Man,
& His Plan!

Young Rome Gives us his "Food For Thought!"

BY Jessica-LaShawn

As one third of the super group Imx, Young Rome has embarked on a solo career.
Known for redefining the word longevity within the music industry this young man is ready,
eager, and willing to redirect Hip Hop to his plato of entertainment. Following the success
of his counterpart Marques “MH” Houston, Young Rome is determined to show the world
just what he is about. Over a decade of experience has given this soon to be 23 year old
the title of an industry veteran. His album’s full of his life’s stories, sex, alcohol,
and an overall good party! Staying extremely positive throughout the duration of
the album Young Rome invites his listeners into a world that isn’t considered
teenie-bopperish! He is in control and he’s giving everyone his “Food for
Thought”! Welcome to the Music, the Man, and his Plan!

The Music

1. Why’d you chose to go by the name Young Rome?

Young Rome represents who I am as a person. My family and
friends have called me that since I was little. Going by the name
allows me to make my message through my music more personal.

2. Why’d you name your album “Food for Thought”.

When I decided to drop a solo album people were wondering how I could stand
solo from Imx. By naming my album "Food for thought" I was able to educate
them on my life, my skills, and my determination. I basically want people to know
where I was coming from in my own unique way.

3. How is this album different from previous Immature/Imx albums?

I was able to discuss more mature subjects in my own way. I had no hold up with
this album because it was what was on my mind and in my heart. I was able to
just be me.

4 Do you feel that you had to change your image in order to gain more
respect for this album?

Nah. My image has been the same the only thing is that I’m getting older. I’m
able to do a lot more things.

5. Is this album a good representation of your actual lifestyle?
6. What is your favorite song?

Best Days and Look Down on Me.

7 What is the next single and when will you shot the video?

Freaky and Yeah I shot the video three weeks ago.

8 Will you tour to promote this album?

Yeah I think around late September.

9. Can we expect a sophomore solo album from you and MH?

Yeah I’ll do one after another Imx album. Mh is in the studio right now working on
10 When can we expect the return of Imx?

Sooner than you think!

11. Why hasn’t L.D.B. been actively supporting your solo careers?

He is more so on the business side of all of the things we do. Tell the fans not to
worry about him because he is fine. We all see each other like everyday so
everything is still tight between us. But overall he manages some of the TUG
artist and myself. He’s doing big things behind the scenes.

Is Kelton (LDB) in college?
Nah. He's working on managing artist for right now.

12 How long did it take you to record “Food for Thought“?

About 2 Months. Yeah, 2 Months.

13. Will Imx’s album to come have some of the same lyrical freedom as your
solo album?

Expect maturity.

14. Are you featured on Ray J’s fourth coming album?
Nah. Just a rumor.

15. What did you learn while on the road with MH during the promotion of
his solo project?

People were throwing hard questions at him all of the time and I knew it was hard
for him. I learned that I needed to prepare for everyone and their opinions of
me, Imx, and my solo project.
The Man
1. What is your middle name? (Isaac or Isaiah )
Isaiah but it’s spelled like Izzaich

2. Describe Jerome I Jones to the fans?

I’m cool, calm, and collective. I’m all about business and family. I love my mom
she is the center of my world and my little nephews are what gives me joy. I’m
just a family person. If I’m on the road I’m fine but when I get to my family I’m
complete. I’m strong, determined, and I’m focused man. (laughing) But I like to
control my environment to the best of my ability in order to be comfortable.

3. How tall are you?

4. Do you have a child? (The journey liner notes)
No not at all I’ll read the album credits but no I don’t have a child of my own.
5. Describe and explain your tattoos please.

One is the world and it means that I control what goes on in my world. That is my
main thing. The other one is an X with Romeo underneath it. That represents my
place in Imx.

6. Describe your potential soul mate. (physique characteristics, values)

Whew she just has to be strong. I need a woman that can handle this business.
She has to be able to trust me. Girls I’ve been with in the past couldn’t handle
me being gone a lot and they’d want me to stay and lay up with them. But then I’
d have to tell them if I did that who’s gonna provide for my nieces and nephews.
They’ll come up to me and be like Uncle why we can’t wear Jordan’s no more we
gotta downgrade to some other shoe. I need to do my job, work and pay the bills
and that’s real. But ummm I need a woman that understands me and my love for
the music. Looks ...well ummm...beggars can’t be choosers. I want a little
something to work with you know. (laughs) I need a woman that can just be for
me. When I’m on the road she can stay at home and take care of the kids and
be happy but when I come home she is there for me without an attitude. She
gotta love me for me and what I do and not just for what I do. She can get out
and have her own job I’m still gonna be a provider but that is her choice if she
wants to work or not. I’m straight. But she really just needs to be strong enough
to handle the things I go through daily and be her own person.

7. Are you involved currently in a relationship?

Nah-whew. I just got out of a 2 and a half year relationship right before I
recorded my album. A hard break up.

8. What have you learned about yourself during the promotion of this

I love music and I have a talent that I love to share. I never knew how much I
loved this game until I start playing by myself. I am a lot stronger and passionate
about my music. It is an extension of me.
The Plan

1. What are your plans for your 23rd birthday?
I have no idea, really, none!

2. Are you going to participate in the Imx Convention that will be help in
2005 in L.A?

What! Man I knew nothing about that but if I am in L.A I’ll make it a point to go
and mingle with my fans. Gosh that’s great. Man that’s hot. We would love to be
apart of that for sure!

3. How has this solo album aided in your musical career goals?
Man it made me find even more goals as a solo artist and as a member of Imx. I’
ve just grown and my love for music has grown. I just wanna be in this game
more seriously now.

4. What are your plans now since you’ve dropped a successful solo project?
Do more music!

5. Are the colors Red, White, and Blue symbolic to your album?
Nah not really. I felt those colors helped me to represent the classic struggle. I
am representing what a lot of people go through and I actually made it

6. How do you feel about fans approaching you off of the stage?

I love my fans first of all but you just gotta be respectful. If I’m in the hotel, that is
a business and you gotta be respectful. I don’t mind holding a conversation with
you because I love the fans. But if I’m out with my mom and my nephew is in my
arms don’t run up to me in a way that will freak them out. They aren’t use to that
so my mom would trip and my nephew will start crying. So just be respectful. It’s
happened and I don’t really mind!

7. Are you going to attend college?
Yeah I sure will. I haven't because I never really had the time. I don't want to
commit myself to something I wont be able to give my all too. I wouldn't want to
get an F and fail because that isn't me. But yeah I will go to school later on!

Anything you wanna say to the fans?
I love yall thanks. But you take care of yourself. See ya. IIght!

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Abstract MindState

Abstract MindState: The Revolution Must Now Begin!
By Jessica LaShawn

To be an abstract artist, one must have a unique form of character about their work that has no precedent. The
mind state of an abstract artist could be considered diverse and strong, while their talent is pure and untamable.
With these words in mind, the name for one of Chicago’s most respected unisex duos eloquently personifies their
talent, success, and their story. EP Da Hell Cat and OlSkool Ice-Gre demanded respect from hip-hop when they
joined forces at Jackson State University. Their mission was to solidify their talent in every metaphor verbally spoken
or liquified from a pen on paper. Their passion for music was regenerated by their cosmic bond and precipitated in
their contagious energy. I found the duo very entertaining and their music enlightening and inspiring. After listening
to samples of their previous work such as “The Gospel”, “My Music”, “The Last Demo”, and “We Paid, Let Us In”, I
wondered why hip-hop lovers have yet to flock to their music. Their newest endeavor “Chicago’s Hardest Working
Mix Tape Volume 1” is nothing short of a melodic and lyrical advancement of the industry. All one can wonder is,
how do they continue to keep coming up with more? I took the time to interview EP and Ice-Gre in order to talk about
Abstract MindState and felt blessed to travel in the mind of two lyrical geniuses.

EP: MindState in the building!
Ice: Yeah.
Jess: How did you guys come up with your group and individual names?
Ice: Well on the Abstract MindState side of things the name came about while we were going through a change
in the group. We were just trying to pick a name that matched the level we were mentally at during a particular point
in time. The name we had before in direct relation to a few things we went through didn’t fit what we were trying to
say and what we were going through mentally and lyrically within us. But with my name (OlSkool Ice-Gre), I’ve been
that name since I started rapping years ago. I was actually inspired by Ice T because he was hot stuff when I started.
Everybody was calling themselves Ice something so that’s what I did instead of calling myself Cold Greg. (laughs). I
just took the g off of Greg which gave me the nick name of Gre-Gre .I added OlSkool onto my name as a way of
showing my appreciation because 1. I put a lot of time into the game and I used that as a way to show my
appreciation of those that came before me. I see OlSkool as a term of endearment and appreciation.
EP: Well when Greg and I met my full name was Ebony Poetess the female messiah, which is kinda long.
Throughout our time together it just got shortened. Everybody started calling me EP and it got to the point where
people didn’t even know what EP stood for..I was just EP. But eventually down the line the phrase Hell Cat got
added because I guess fire is shot up out my mouth when I rhyme.
Ice: She spits fire don’t be scared because she does spit fire!
EP: That’s right I spit fire.
Jess: Do you feel that your names represent yourselves as a group, individually, and your lyrical content?
EP: Aww Fa’ Sho!
Ice: Defiantly ..Yeah!
Jess: I’d have to agree with you two. How were your individual lifestyles growing up in Chicago? EP I know that
you are from the west side and Ice-Gre you’re from the south side of Chicago.
EP: OMG but it so similar.
Ice: But it’s too similar but we’re from two different places which makes us trip out. Honestly just to be real … I
represented the rough part , I came up around one of the highest crime rate areas on the south side and EP came
up on the hard core areas of the west side. It’s crazy how similar our childhood lifestyles were.
EP: It was the same but actually it still is the same story, we say the same things, we have the same cycles
going, and knew the same people almost. We came to find that out later on.
Ice: The gang thing was both heavy in our lives…you know I never actually was in a gang but you know I hung
with all of them back then.
EP: I ran with them and I actually banged with them.

Although some might wonder how this mighty tag team came about such wisdom within their lyrics, they both insist
that their ages aren’t an important factor because they believe there is no age in true hip hop. Therefore, if you’re
wondering how long they’ve been on this earth, ask your self first, how long has hip-hop been reshaping their lives.

Ice: We really don’t focus on our ages anymore because young kids in the game start to associate your age
with your music. When you see us, hear us perform, and feel our music you don’t care about our age. Now when the
world hears our music and gets to know what we are about then we’ll keep our age to ourselves but when people
really start feeling us then we’ll gone and let them now.

Jess: How were you individually introduced to rap/hip-hop/poetry?

EP: Well I’m a dusty person, that is and was all I listen to and here in Chicago there was a radio station called
WHBK which was on late Saturday nights/early Sunday mornings. There was this guy named Strictly Love and his
flow just inspired me and later on I began to listen to Queen Latifah and she was the influential artist that made me
really want to get serious about hip-hop.
Ice: Well I had a cousin back in Dayton, Ohio who introduced me to Grand Master Flash “The rhythm to the
twist” but I use to play drums and sing background. I was actually in a band with my cousins like we were Prince and
the Revolution.
EP: But that is what it was like being from Chicago.
Ice: EP knows my cousin Kool-Aid well Kevin and we played the keyboards and synthesizers. I did all kinds of
things before rapping like graffiti, break dancing which I was good at and I got into poppin. But rap made me leave
all of that alone for the most part. My folks kinda thought that my rapping was a phase because they’d seen me give
up on break dancing, playing drums and all of that stuff. They didn’t know that I was serious about music until they
saw that I was serious about it when I came home from school for break and then when school was over for real.
Jess: What inspired both of you to go to a Historical Black University?
EP: Well my family is from Mississippi and my grandmother’s kids…well my mom and her sisters went to Alcorn.
We all laugh!
EP: I knew that if I were to go to college that I wasn’t going to go in the city. I needed to go somewhere where I
could escape. I chose a black college because my family went to one. The only reason I didn’t go to Alcorn was
because my family wanted me to go there. I went to Jackson State because it was the rival school of Alcorn and that
was my way of kind of pissing them off. They got over it because they were happy that I was actually going to
college in the end.
Ice: Yeah okay you took the rebel route.
EP: Yeah I took the James Dean route.
Ice: Well with me I have a similar situation as EP which is that my family is also from Mississippi and everybody
went to Jackson State which kinda made it a family tradition. Originally, I was supposed to go to Southern Illinois in
Carbondale with my best friend because I was accepted. But I had a cousin that had already been at JSU 2 years
and he came back and told me that I had to go there because it was hot. I am glad that I made that choice because
a lot of good things came out of that decision!
Jess: Well I must take this time to represent my alma mater the great land of the brave: academic resort…none
other than Alcorn State University!
Ice: Booooo the woods…you were out there in all of them woods.
EP: The woods.
Ice: Hey what was the name of that place you had to drive through to get to Alcorn, it started with a P.
Jess: Port Gibson.
Ice: Yeah Port Gibson yeah I know about Port Gibson. (Everyone laughs)
Jess: Did the southern/ country atmosphere have any effect on your style in terms of developing your music?
Ice: Well let me put it to you like this…I went down there thinking that couldn’t nobody even mess with me. I had
my cousin’s friend setting up battles with cats so I could lyrically destroy them. The south helped me developed a
positive arrogance about my music. I felt good when I demolished this guy from Chicago.
EP. Well since that is our roots it allowed something to come out that wasn’t on the surface. The south is so
relaxing and peaceful that when you go down there it feels like you’ve been sleeping and when you get there you
finally wake up. The south put me in a position to battle and actually develop my talent.

Abstract MindState adds to their ability to appeal to the masses by way of sharing their educational testimonies. Ice-
Gre was able to obtain a degree within Mass Communication from Jackson State University but due to financial
situations, EP continues to press towards earning her degree within education. She currently teaches within the
Chicago land area. She is eager to fulfill her requirement of 8 hours in order to obtain her degree. Many can relate
to her personal struggle to pursue her education. It may be somewhat easy to go to school but staying in school and
working towards earning that degree is the real adult maker of the college experience.

Jess: How would you categorize your music?
EP: Thought Provoking Hip-Hop!

The latest endeavor of these lyrical professionals happens to be the debut of their mixtape. The mixtape shows an
array of Chicago styles that have been personalized by this duos vision for making a hit unforgettable. With stereo
bumping tracks such as "Leave" , "Insanity" produced by Kanye West and "Don't Know What You Got"
featuring John Legend, this mixtape will definitely make the summertime complete.

The idea of the hip-hop nation sleeping on two of the most innovative artists to come out of Chicago is depressing.
Yet their music is uplifting because it deals with real issues and not just glorified negative situations like carrying
your guns on the block. The beginning of the rebirth of hip-hop has not been hiding under a rock in-between the
street of Chicago’s south and west side but it has been maturing on the road from Chicago to Mississippi. My
warning to the music world comes clear and cutthroat, Abstract MindState is a force to be dealt with and they are
here to make a radical change in what we consider hip-hop music and it’s lyrics.

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Stat Quo

The Eminence of Stat Quo

Stat Quo was in a near fatal accident the day after this interview. We are praying for his speedy recovery as well as the others involved!

By Jessica-LaShawn

The state of hip-hop has changed since the start of the
millennium. It seems like hip-hop has become more spiritual and
analytical rather than the previous ideology of gangster images
and materialism The new “movement of awareness” has risen in
the form of an artist by the name of Stat Quo, a former mix tape
professional that burst on the scene with musical moguls Dr. Dre
and Eminem on their Shady/Aftermath label. While demanding
respect, this Atlanta native embodies different characteristics
that diversify his mass appeal to the public. After receiving his
degree from the University of Florida, he decided to apply his
focus, street smarts, determination, and education to his first
true love, hip-hop. Standing on his founding principles of always
being true to self and being proud of ones individuality, he has
managed to take it to the streets with his highly anticipated LP,
“Stat-Lanta”, scheduled to be released after the Anger
Management tour.

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005, I joined Mr. Stanly Benton Jr. (Also
known as Stat Quo) for a few hours while he worked out in the
gym, got ready for radio interviews, and prepared his wardrobe
for an event later on in the evening. At first glance he looked
average. Nothing stood out about him that made him different
from any other rapper I’d seen until he opened his mouth. The
passion and love he has for his newfound profession was
strengthened with each word spoken and shortly after a few
minutes, I was just amazed by his presence. His determination
was what fueled him during a vigorous and remorseless work
out. While working out Stat Quo stated that, “ he has to do it for
the ladies.” Many have labeled him the “educated thug” while
comparing him to Common and even Rakim. His lyrical content is
about the essence of life and the pursuit of happiness. Stat Quo
is about brining true lyricism back to hip-hop in hopes of
replacing anger driven words supporting the mass destruction of
many communities. It’s not about murder, drugs, death, and the
things you’d do to live the fast life but it is about how you work to
get away from the negativity in life. This interview is about Stat
Quo as an individual first and foremost , a rapper, and a protégé
of the ATL-invasion.

J.L. Describe your first battle.

S.Q When I used to battle I would get into it and I’d be on
some violent type shit, that is why I had to stop battling. I
remember the dude got too close to me and I got offended. I
actually had to punch him in his face. We really got into a fight
but I know I killed him on the mic.

JL How do you find the inspiration to write your lyrics?

SQ I actually talk about things I’ve seen in my life and the
things that other people around me have been through. That
right there is my inspiration.

JL Does your upbringing influence your musical style and image?

SQ I was raised to always be myself and not try to be
someone that I am not. I was brought up in Atlanta and
everything about my music and me is just that.

JL How does your family feel about you pursuing a career in rap?

SQ They love it. It’s money. It’s better than selling dope. I
went to school but school couldn’t pay me what I needed so I still
resulted in doing some bull shit out in the street.

Stat Quo continues to balance answering my questions while
sprinting on a treadmill. He expresses his love for his trainer that
quickly turns into hate the longer and harder the workout

JL Define success in your eyes.

SQ Success is basically accomplishing all of the goals that
you set for yourself. Success is on an individual mark, it’s
personal, it is whatever you set for yourself. You can’t base
success on everyone else because success can not be
universal. Whatever you call success as an individual is the
definition of success.

JL What do you think rap needs right now to regain positivism
established through its introduction during the late 70’s and
early 80’s?

SQ Rap basically needs more creativity, personal
expression, individuality, and people to stop doing what other
folks are doing and just be themselves in order to gain the
beauty of it back.

JL What do you hope people will be able to gain from your

SQ I want people to develop a sense of who I am as a
person and as an individual so that they can understand that I
am just trying to be myself and no one else on this album.

Still working out and making it a point to answer my questions
the words “S*&t” and “F#$k” become the best friend of this
gentleman. He realizes how much he is cursing and asks me to
excuse him. The work out he is doing seems like the regimen a
professional boxer would under take. I try to encourage him and
tell him to think about how the ladies are going to love the finish

JL Describe your college experience.

SQ I learned how to deal with people from different
backgrounds. I gained a business sense of mind and I learned
how to manipulate people and make them do what I want them to
do. Plus, I was able to hang around so many people that were
different from the people I grew up around. I grew as a
businessman learning how to deal with people.

JL Who are your mentors and why?

SQ Right now, Eminem and Dre because they are true to
the music and they have so much drive and passion about it.

JL Describe the mission and purpose of Grown Man Music.

SQ Well I wanted to create my own thing in order to help
the folks in my circle get on and make money, somewhat similar
to what 50 did with G-Unit. I want to give back and build another
recreational center back in Atlanta in my neighborhood that can
actually give kids something to do other than being on the
street. I want to help folks out the best way that I can. It’s about
remembering where you came from while you’re going

JL Does the fact that Shady/ Aftermath adds an unspoken ore of
respect for you as an artist effect your decision to sign a deal
with them?

SQ Yes, but they also went along with the vision that I had
for my music. They knew what I wanted to do and they
supported it.

JL What is the easiest thing to do while your on tour?

SQ F&*king groupies (he says with an innocent smile).

JL What is the hardest thing to do while your on tour?

SQ Eating right and working out. It’s so hard because you’re
on the road.

JL What have you learned about the business since you have
been on tour?

SQ I learned that you have to take care of yourself and that
means eating right and working out. It is the only way to keep up.

JL What are the three most powerful words in your opinion?

SQ Power, Integrity, and Respect.

JL Why do you think that you are the new leader of the rap

SQ I am really into being myself and not pretending to be
someone else. My style is so unique because I am an individual
and I rap about what is real in my life.

JL What has been your favorite city thus far on the Anger
Management tour this summer?

SQ I loved it in Indianapolis, Indiana. The crowd was feeling
it and they had energy. Everywhere was great but it was just
something about Indy.

We take a break as he goes to get cleaned up, dressed to
impress and ready to hit the road again.

JL What is your favorite cologne and how does it reflect you as
an individual?

SQ I love Egyptian Musk and I mix it with everything but I
have Chrome on now.

JL What makes you nervous?

SQ Performing in front of 25 thousand people makes me

JL What is in your cd collection as we speak?

SQ “Untouchables” by Scarface, “The Chronic” by Dr. Dre,
“The Marshal Mathers” LP by Eminem, a couple of songs from
my album (of course), “The Love Below/ Speaker Boxx” by
Outkast, and Issac Hayes “The Greatest Hits.”

JL What about those artist earned them the right to be on your
constant repeat list?

SQ They all have a unique sound that you cannot find
anywhere else. I just like originality.

JL What are some of your pet peeves?

SQ I hate liars. Why do you have to lie? I love the truth and I
love being an honest ni**a. Plus, bad breath. I think people
should take an hour, if they have to take an hour to do
something, it should be to brush their teeth because there is no
excuse for anyone to have bad breath!

JL What is your worst habit?

SQ I’ll work out for a month and then something could
distract me and I just wont work out anymore.

JL What do you look for in a woman?

SQ I use to be on that physical s*&t in my youth but now
that I am older I‘ve realized that the way a woman looks can fade
away but you really have to fall in love with someone for who
they are because everything else fades away. So, I look for
personality in a woman and not just how she looks. I get to love
the real person and let the physical grow on me.

JL How do you know when your in love? (He answers the
question while sorting through a box of 100 pairs of gym shoes
in order to pick the perfect match for his ensemble)

SQ Well I don’t know, I just know that when I feel I am in
love that is how I know I am in love. Right now I am in love with

JL Describe your love and devotion to hip-hop?

SQ Well that’s my girl. We’re married and she is pregnant
with my child. She is about to give birth and my album is our
seed, but outside of that I’m single.

Stat Quo has something about him that both women and men
can relate to and that is his realness. His album isn’t just another
attempt to go platinum, it is an attempt to reach the real people
with real issues from a real person. Sometimes the first thing
that needs to be established is the love for a message and not
the love of money. Stat Quo has already begun to raise the bar
for current and future M.C.’s by being an individual. The
question is will the others raise the bar and take hip-hop to the
next level?

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