Music Artist Spotlight: Juriel Alexander

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Juriel Alexander was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, an infamous haven for some of the greatest Hip Hop and R&B artists. His love for music surfaced at the tender age of 3 years old as he began singing and showcasing his innate talent. With such a passion for vocal expression, it was only natural that Juriel became a member in the church choir and exceeding his prowess. Little did he know that his life would be forever altered as he had begun to mature. with impressive talent and steady determination, he is performing in sold out shows, touring with major artists and recording his best music yet out of one of the hottest recording studios in the heart of Brooklyn. He is even taking the stage at venues that he watched his idols perform. In the midst of his professional career, Juriel has graced the stage and opened for major faces such as the group INTRO, the group RIFF, the princess of comedy JESHILARIOUS, Terrell “T-Rex” Simon, Cory Gunz, T Soul from “The Voice”  and more. He also has singles with artists such as Fred the Godson, Myssone, and Chris Porter. With his single “Uh Huh” circulating on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Prime and anywhere else you may download music, the anticipation of the release of his new single “Everybody Knows” featuring Fred the Godson, and his album, “Made It” on the way; we can expect big things coming from this young prodigy.

Here are some music videos from Juriel Alexander below…

For more on Juriel Alexander check out his website Here.

Female Hip Hop Pioneers Make History

 

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When we talk about the history of Hip Hop music, we seldom, almost never, mention the contribution that women have had on the industry.  Some of the women in Hip Hop have actually had greater feats than their male counterparts and have broken records.  You have the iconic female MCs such as MC Lyte, Queen Latifah (one of the greatest lyricists, including both male and female, of all time), Roxanne Shante, Monie Love, YoYo, and many others.  However, contrary to what many believe, Lil’ Kim was not the first female rap artist that combined skilled lyricism with sex appeal.  That achievement goes to the iconic rap group, Salt-n-Pepa.  Yes, before Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Trina, and Nicki Minaj – all female rappers notorious for their inclusion of sexiness in their overall images, there was Salt-n-Peppa.  Just to note, that is not a biased opinion on women in Hip Hop having to be sexy, hence LL Cool J long being noted as a good MC and sex symbol.

Nevertheless, the Grammy Award trio, including DJ Spinderella, have recently made history becoming the first Rap/Hip Hop artists, male or female, to land a Las Vegas residency. To kick things off, they recently performed a medley of their hits on last night’s Billboard Music Awards.  They performed some of their greatest hits including “Shoop”, “Whatta Man”, and “Let’s Talk About Sex” – the latter being a ground-breaking hit where musicians specifically called out sex, safe sex, and the importance of it.  They did not allude to it or may a quick reference, but they spoke specifically about it.  That is something that was never done before until them.  It came during a critical time in history when the HIV and AIDS epidemic was gaining attention, but there still wasn’t enough effort made to combat the disease.  During the 80s and 90s, the FemCees solidified their place in Hip Hop, paving the way for many of the rappers today.

While we are on the subject of groundbreaking female rappers in history, there have been others that have broken records and paved the way.  In 1984, a 14 year old rapper from Queens, NY by the name of Roxane Shante became the first known female battle rapper, crushing guys in battle raps while still learning the basics of Algebra (insert Daaaammnnn! here).  Then there is my personal favorite, deemed one of the very first “conscious” rappers, Queen Latifah.  Overall, she is the most successful in terms of fame.  She is a rapper, singer, actor, producer, talk show host, movie star, Broadway star, and the list goes on.  Yeah, I love me some Queen La (insert head nod to U.N.I.T.Y. here).  Then there is MC Lyte who was the first solo female rapper to release a full album.  Da Brat was the first solo female rapper to have her album go platinum.  And Lauryn Hill is a whole other conversation (a good one).  And of course, Lil’ Kim.  Salt-n-Pepa may have opened the door for being sexy and still having good rhymes, but Lil’ Kim undeniably kicked the door down.  Not only was she forward about sex, and the personification of it, there is no denying that she is also one of the most skilled rappers ever.

Yeah, so, the ladies of rap deserve acknowledgement as well.  Personally, I am an old school Hip Hop head. I’ll just say the classics.  I am not feeling the direction that rap is going in at all.  Skills are a thing of the past, and auto-tune appears to be a thing of the future (insert screw-face/it’s lame/shaking my head here).

In the meantime, walk down memory-lane with me below.

 

Netflix Original: The Santa Clarita Diet

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If you are into comedy and flesh eating zombie then this show is definitely up your alley. The Santa Clarita Diet is a morbidly hilarious show which pairs the acting talents of Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant. Joel Hammond (Timothy) and Sheila Hammond (Drew) play a husband and wife real estate agent duo who live in the Santa Clarita Valley in Southern California. Sheila, an organized, but boring wife goes about her normal routine with her caring yet timid husband Joel as they attempt to sell a property to a couple who cannot seem to make up their mind. In a rouse to make the sale Sheila begins to throw up literally everything in her system onto the new plush floors of the upstairs bedroom. In an awkward moment of silence she informs the couple that she is “sick” and runs to the bathroom. Later, she learns from the geeky son of her neighbor that she has supposedly died. In a moment of disbelief everyone begins to act different towards her except for their smart mouthed, but strong willed daughter who continues to dish out the same level of disrespect she always has. Sheila of course has the biggest change. She is no longer, monotonous to life, but now delves into her urges while living care free and of course feeding on random strangers when an intense hunger arises. The show adds different levels of humor ranging from how Sheila makes a complete transformation into a flesh eating zombie while trying to maintain her status as a mom, wife and friend to her gossipy neighbors, how Joel must break out of his timid demeanor and become an accomplice in his wife’s blood thirsty stints and how their daughter copes with everything while still trying to be a teenager.

If you have not seen the Santa Clarita diet yet, you should. This Netflix original is a great watch. Both seasons 1 & 2 are on Netflix now and season 3 will be coming soon…

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2018 Inductees

Recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held its annual induction ceremony.  As expected, it was Rock-Star-studded.  There were phenomenal tribute performances from music artists such as Lauryn Hill, the Killers, and even an overdue reunion by 2018 inductees, The Cars.  There were also appearances from stars such as Mary J. Blige and the ever controversial Howard Stone.  Recognition was given to performers that we have lost recently as well, which drew emotions from the crowd.

It was a great show.  Below are the 2018 inductees.  Congratulations to them all!

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi is probably the most well-known group on the list.  The American rock-band was started in 1983 and between 21 albums, they have sold more than 100 million records.  They are one of the most successful groups of all-time.  They have too many hits to name, but my personal favorite is “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

 

The Cars

Formed in the 1970s, The Cars are another successful rock-group, with 23 million in album sales in the US.  Their hits include “Dangerous Type” and “Drive”.

 

Dire Straits

Crossing over to the US post-British Invasion era, Dire Straits were also inducted into the hall of fame.  They are a British group formed in 1977, with over 100 million records sold.  Top hits include “Down to the Waterline” and “Tunnel of Love”.

 

The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues were a part of music’s British invasion.  They were formed in 1964 and have 18 platinum and gold albums.  Their hits include “Nights in White Satin” and “Ride My See-saw”.

 

Nina Simone

Singer, song writer, producer, pianist, and civil rights activist, Nina Simone is one of the most celebrated musicians of all time.  Although Simone may not have had the sells of her counterparts, she certainly has the impact.  Her hits include “Feeling Good” and my personal favorite, “I Put a Spell on You”.

 

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Known as the “original soul sister” and “godmother of rock and roll”, Tharpe received the award for Early Influence.  She began her career in the late 1930s, singing rock, blues, gospel, and other genres of music.  Her top songs include “Strange Things Happening Every Day” and “Up Above My Head, I Hear Music in the Air”.

“Family Matters” Cast Reunion

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Its been a long time since we have seen the Winslow family on air. We all grew up to the beloved “Family Matters” TV show that taught us life lessons while including comedic stints. “Family Matters” was one of the best shows about family next to the Cosby’s and now we get a peek of what everyone looks like now.

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Check out the video from their reunion below:

 

DJ Khaled Believes it is Better to Receive Than to Give

DJ Khaled has been trending on Twitter, but not for any of his music hits. A past interview from 2014 with New York’s morning radio show, The Breakfast Club, recently resurfaced. Khaled had an interesting take on oral sex, stating that he does not reciprocate with his wife, Nicole Tuck, when it comes to the particular form of pleasure.

“I don’t do that,” Khaled said. But, he believes that it is absolutely the duty of his wife to perform oral on him.  Saying, “You gotta understand, I’m the don. I’m the king.”

When asked if he’d be OK with his wife refusing to perform oral on him, Khaled continued “It’s different rules for men. You gotta understand, we the king.”

Well, aside from the trolling comments on Twitter, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson decided to chime in:  “Ahem.. *clears throat* as a man, I take great pride in mastering ALL performances. This is probably a little TMI.. I will now quietly excuse myself from this fun thread,” he tweeted, ending his post with the two-eyes emoji.

The interview is from 2014, so maybe the “Wild Thoughts” hitmaker has changed his thoughts on it.

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Avengers: Infinity War Review

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::::SPOILER ALERT::::

After watching Avengers: Infinity War I am both thrilled and disappointed at the same time. First of all, the movie was superb in its presence. There was literally action in every scene; never a dull moment where a person would normally fall asleep in the theater as I do sometimes lol. I actually could not keep my eyes off the screen for too long fearing that I would miss an important part of the fight. All the heroes from the previous movies make their return as well as heroes from different movies who are all now teamed up against a common enemy, Thanos. Thanos is of course all powered, mostly due to the Infinity gauntlet and the stones that he is collecting throughout the movie to basically control EVERYTHING. His resolve, although cynical is misunderstood by many and perceived to be acts that institute him as a villain. However, he believes that what he is doing is for the good of everyone and will stop at nothing to fulfill his purpose; even to the point of sacrificing those he loves. Again these are not the actions of a being that is evil, but a being that believes his way is the only way to make things right, albeit misunderstood. His pursuit brings him in contact with the six Infinity Gems which include the Mind Gem, the Soul Gem, the Space Gem, the Power Gem, the Time Gem and the Reality Gem. Each gem represents an unlimited source of power for the thing it represents. It just so happens that some of the heroes wield these gems which makes them immediate targets for Thanos and his children. However, this is one aspect that was slightly disappointing about the film. Although Thanos wielded the gems, he hardly enacted the untapped potential that they could portray. By being able to control space, time and reality or even mind, there was plenty of things he could have done differently to end things rather quickly (but of course the movie must be prolonged for 2 hours right?).

Of course none of the fighting scenes disappointed viewers, from street battle with Scarlet Witch and Supergiant, to the space battle with Ebony Maw and Dr. Strange to the all out war break out in Wakanda. There was never a dull moment. Although I was brought back to the show “Heroes”, where there is constantly scenes going on between random heroes and the show keeps shifting between each scene which was sometimes confusing and frustrating. In my opinion, the shifts worked in moderation, because unlike “Heroes” each scene served a significant purpose and each scene’s duration lasted for a suitable amount of time; enough to explain what is going on and to display enough action to satisfy the audience.

I was nonetheless, a bit upset on the manner in which the movie ended. It was a definite sour note, but also a surprising note for Marvel films. Marvel films always display postive endings in which the good guys succeed in their mission to rid the world of their “villain”. This is the first time I witnessed the opposite of that happening which was both saddening and refreshing at the same time. Having read the comics of Infinity War and knowing the importance of roles carried by both Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock, I realize the ending was a definite opening for a sequel. Adam Warlock is an integral part of the Infinity War storyline and has already made a small appearance in “Guardians of the Galaxy”. It is possible that he will make his entrance in the sequel that will make its way to theaters in 2019.

Check out trailers below…

Music Artist Spotlight: Mook Dollas

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A Brooklyn, New York native born in 1988, Mook was raised by a single mother who loved R&B soul while all his childhood friends were hardcore Hip-Hop fans. As Mook progressed through school he took up a particular type of music in the form of instruments. Mook favored Trumpet, Baritones, Tubas and other strong instruments that increased his harmonic and melodic aptitude in music. Having been somewhat of a protege on these, he also took up external activities which heightened his skills. During this time, Mook also began to write his own lyrics and rap them. Because he was exposed to so much music forms and sounds he was considered a natural talent. Influences in his songs were extracted from his favorite rapper Ludacris, especially from the Southern artists’ album “Back for the First Time”. In 2011, Mook took it upon himself to seal his future as a Hip Hop musician by developing his own home studio and recording feverishly. He has produced several successful mixtapes which each display his progression as an artist and a raw talent that is matchless in comparison to others.

Mook’s latest project, “Do the Right Thing, Mook”, is loosely based off of the famous Spike Lee film and his life. If you want to check out his work click the links and videos below.

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TIME 100 Most Influential People 2018

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TIME Magazine recently revealed their list of 100 Most Influential People.  The list is diverse, inspirational, and expresses triumph in that it lists many people that have overcome adversity and are impacting the world.

There are too many to list, but take a look at the video below and hopefully you will be just as inspired by the list as we were.

 

http://time.com/5246585/see-the-time-100-in-one-minute/

 

 

 

 

Breakthrough in Death of Prince

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I’m sure everyone was shocked to learn that two years ago, on April 21, 2016, Prince had suddenly passed away. Prince, a singer, songwriter, musician record producer, actor and director was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was best known for his uniqueness in music, often flamboyant attitude and daring fashion choices. One of his greatest feats was his impressive vocal range and the innovation, similar to pop icon Michael Jackson, which he instilled in many musical forms. Prince was involved with such styles as funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul psychedelia and especially pop music. Worldwide, record sales were over 100 million which made him one of the best selling music artists of the time. Prince won 8 Grammy Awards, 6 American Music Awards, 1 Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. Among his many accomplishments, Prince was also an inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

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Prince had an outstanding wave of success throughout his time as an artist and was often considered a symbol in defying societal or industry labels. He was one of the most versatile artists and showed continuous artistic brilliance with his ability to experiment with a myriad of sounds, textures and genres. Although considered “different” he was well respected by everyone he came across and praised for his prowess. It was indeed shocking to learn that he had passed supposedly from drug overdose. However, recent news has identified Prince’s cause of death a result of ingesting a counterfeit pill filled with a powerful drug called fentanyl which Prince assumed was a common painkiller. What is even more shocking is that a prosecutor in the case states that no charges would be filed in Prince’s death even with the recent discovery.

Sources say Prince was addicted to pain medication as the artist had suffered from pain for years, but there was no direct evidence that a specific individual provided the fentanyl. Investigative materials were revealed which showed that Prince had been found on the floor of his Paisley Park estate near an elevator with his back on the floor and his eyes closed. In fact, the doctor previously accused of prescribing Prince illegal drugs was acquitted as the prescription he provided was not linked to the death. The autopsy revealed the dose of Fentanyl in his system which is a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.

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Many knew Prince as someone who lived a clean life, but uncovered documents say otherwise. He was supposedly a man struggling with an addiction. Nights before the passing, Prince passed out on a flight from Atlanta which had to make an emergency stop. He was revived with two doses of drugs that reverse effects of opioids. It is clear that Prince was struggling with pain and addiction. However, it is heartbreaking that he could not retrieve help before the situation turned fatal.

Check out Prince’s Purple Rain below…