Pro Era DJ/producer Powers Pleasant has stepped into the foreground with his debut EP Life Is Beautiful. Powers first told HipHopDX about the eight-track entry during a Joey Bada$$ show in Denver last year and now, it’s finally come to fruition.
Boasting features from Joey, G Perico, Buddy, A$AP Ferg, IDK, Denzel Curry and The Underachievers, among others, the project is a wild rollercoaster ride West Coast gangsta rap, East Coast boom bap and raw, in-your-face anthems.
As for the title Life Is Beautiful, Powers chose it very carefully.
“It’s a reminder to stay positive and to see the best in everything and not get brought down by things that might not be positive,” Powers tells DX. “It’s about keeping your eyes on the prize through the sun and the rain.
“‘Life is a beautiful’ is a common thing I used to say a lot. People would think I was saying it for everyone else, but a lot time I was saying it to myself, to see the beauty in everything. There’s definitely been some challenges and some ups and downs, but me saying that consistently and doing that got me through it.”
Combined with the cover art — which was inspired by Malcolm Browne’s iconic photo a self-immolating monk — the project is a well-thought-out juxtaposition the positives and negatives life.
“That’s me in the photo actually,” he says. “That’s funny. Nobody really notices. That photo] was the inspiration for the cover, and I think I’m kind a pyro so I think fire is cool. The monk, positivity and protest — it’s a lot different things in one. Then there’s the skull in the background and it’s kind distorted.”
The album’s lead single, “Can’t Fucc Wit It” featuring G Perico and Buddy, recently got the video treatment and the song itself is a clear standout. Powers says he made the beat in one night.
“I was at a session with G Perico and it was my first time working with him,” he explains. “I’m from New York, but he came through like super L.A. with the Jheri curls dripping and a shower cap on. He’s like 100 percent himself.
“So, he came in and I think I was playing some beats. It was cool and he rapped over one beat. It was dope, but I was like, ‘Nah, I gotta to give him some real crazy West Coast shit.’ I just fed f the energy his vibe and I made that shit in one night.”
Powers, who just signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, has his eyes firmly set on the future.
But for now, check out the Life Is Beautiful album stream, cover art and tracklist below.
- Sway’s Intro
- Vintage Chanel f. Joey Bada$$ & Kirk Knight
- Please Forgive f. Denzel Curry, IDK & Zillakami
- Can’t Fucc Wit It f. G Perico & Buddy
- Pull Up f. Joey Bada$$ & A$AP Ferg
- Hit My Line f. Jay Critch, Joey Bada$$ & AKTHESAVIOR
- Purified f. Joey Bada$$, CJ Fly & Aaron Rose
- Pull Up f. The Underachievers & Joey Bada$$ (Beast Coast Remix)
Jidenna has dropped a new album titled 85 To Africa. The “Classic Man” creator’s latest work is the follow-up to 2017’s Boomerang EP and his first studio LP since The Chief, which was released that same year.
The Epic Records artist’s sophomore album features 11 songs. Guests include GoldLink, Fela Kuti’s son Seun Kuti, Mereba, St. Beauty and Mr. Eazi.
View Jidenna’s 85 To Africa stream, cover art and tracklist below.
1. Worth The Weight f. Seun Kuti
2. 85 To Africa
3. Babouche f. GoldLink
5. Sou Sou
6. Zodi f. Mr. Eazi
7. Sufi Woman
9. Pretty & Afraid
10. Jungle Fever
11. The Other Half f. St. Beauty & Mereba
Former Shady Records artist Obie Trice is back with a new album titled The Fifth. The LP is the “real name, no gimmicks” MC’s first studio release since 2015’s The Hangover.
“I’m 41 years old, so I make music and put it out when I feel like it,” he recently told HipHopDX. “It’s no rush for me. All the hype is gone for me, you know? That’s the thing — we’ve been there, done that. I feel like I had an album done and I wanted to release it. I want to get back out here and see what the world think about it. That’s it.”
Check out Obie’s The Fifth stream, cover art and tracklist below.
2. This & That f. G5 & Directorkasper
4. No f. Lyriq
5. Truth to Power
6. Ass f. Magnedo7
8. Take It There f. G5
10. Space f. Xzibit & Lyriq
12. 185+ Deuce f. Spice 1 & Swifty McVay
Brockhampton has released Ginger, their second studio album for RCA Records.
Kevin Abstract, Dom McLennon, Matt Champion, Joba and the rest the self-proclaimed boy band’s latest LP may finally put to bed the persistent rumors and speculation about the group breaking up.
“We all want the same thing out this at the end the day,” Abstract told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “No matter what it is we’re doing, we put our heart and soul into it.”
View Brockhampton’s Ginger stream, cover art and tracklist below.
1. NO HALO
3. BOY BYE
4. HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU
5. ST. PERCY
6. IF YOU PRAY RIGHT
7. DEARLY DEPARTED
8. I BEEN BORN AGAIN
10. BIG BOY
11. LOVE ME FOR LIFE
12. VICTOR ROBERTS
Trae Tha Truth has released a new album titled Exhale. The project is the veteran MC’s first studio LP since Hometown Hero, which dropped in March 2018, and the follow-up to last summer’s 48 Hours Later mixtape.
The Houston Hip Hop stalwart’s latest work is comprised 12 songs. The ABN leader keeps it a truly solo affair with no guests featured on the album.
View Trae’s Exhale stream, cover art and tracklist below.
2. Not in the Mood
3. Same Ol Love
4. How It Go
5. Even Tho Its Hard
6. Run Away
7. I Gotta Get It
9. Yo Anthem
11. Letter 2 Truth
12. Feelin Dat
Missy has called the project a “collection new songs.” The EP marks her return after last dropping The Cookbook LP in 2005.
Check out Missy’s Iconology stream, cover art and tracklist below.
1. Throw It Back
2. Cool Off
3. DripDemeanor f. Sum1
4. Why I Still Love You
5. Why I Still Love You (Acapella)
Peewee Longway has added a new entry to The Blue M&M mixtape series.
The Atlanta-based trap rapper’s Blue M&M 4 project features 16 tracks. Quavo, Key Glock, Krazy Blacx, MPA Wicced and MPA HeadShakur contribute to the fourth edition the series.
View Peewee’s The Blue M&M 4 stream, cover art and tracklist below.
2. Whole Alot Love
3. Fiji Water
4. Up Up
5. Frost Bite
6. Gun Them Down f. Key Glock
7. Side Chicc f. MPA Wicced
10. White Chicc’s f. Krazy Blacx
11. Won’t Fit
12. Lon Lon
14. Bags f. MPA HeadShakur
15. Murder Rate f. Quavo
16. Fux Wit Shorty
Dayton, OH – Dave Chappelle is hosting a benefit concert in Dayton to support the victims and families affected by the recent mass shooting in the city. The show, which is called Gem City Shine, is free and will be held at the Oregon District at 4 p.m. this Sunday (August 25).
“This event will honor the lives lost and to reclaim the community’s favorite places to shop, dine and enjoy time with family and friends,” a Facebook event page stated.
Chappelle originally hosted a famous outdoor concert in 2004 that was later showcased in the 2005 documentary film Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. Although he was born and raised in Washington, D.C., the two-time Emmy Award winner spent much his childhood in Yellow Springs, Ohio just outside Dayton and currently resides there.
The location the party is where the tragic shooting occurred on August 4. Connor Stephen Betts, the gunman, killed nine people — including his sister — and injured more than two dozen before being fatally shot by police. Soon after the shooting, Rihanna and other public figures spoke passionately about the horrific event.
More information on Gem City Shine can be found here.
The concept, which ThirdEyeRaz tells HipHopDX he describes as “visually pleasing art” also sports music from Col3trane featuring GoldLink with their recently released track “Superpowers.”
Check out the Soltau NYC lookbook above and revisit the aforementioned record down below.
The forthcoming Warner Bros. Pictures’ film Just Mercy, which was inspired by the extraordinary exoneration falsely convicted death row inmate Walter McMillian in 1987, hits theaters this Christmas.
A notorious murder an 18-year-old girl was the spark life-changing events for McMillian despite a plethora evidence pointing to his innocence. The upcoming movie recounts the events leading to the false murder accusation and incarceration McMillian, played by Jamie Foxx, as he later becomes connected with a lawyer named Bryan Stevenson, who’s played by Michael B. Jordan.
The film shadows Stevenson through a maze legal and political obstacles coupled with racism. The lawyer tirelessly battles for MacMillian’s innocence as well as another black man (portrayed by O’Shea Jackson Jr.) who was wrongly convicted murder in Alabama.
With assistance from Eva Ansley, the local operations director the Equal Justice Initiative played by Brie Larson, Stevenson worked on one his first and most malevolent cases that ultimately became historic.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton brought the all-too-familiar story to life with the help Stevenson’s 2014 award-winning bestseller Just Mercy: A Story Justice and Redemption.
The drama will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and debut in theaters on Christmas Day (December 25).
Los Angeles, CA – In a recent interview on the No Jumper Podcast, Dame Dash fered his take on his former partner Jay-Z, who recently sat down with the NFL to discuss the possibility owning a franchise.
“Everyone knows Jay ain’t shit,” Dame says. “Listen, if you ask anyone in the industry, it’s common knowledge that Jay ain’t shit. He’s about the bag. We all know that. He’s self-preserving. Period.”
Hov has been the center much-heated debate with many finding it hypocritical to get into bed with an organization that he told others like Travis Scott (who performed at the 2019 Super Bowl regardless) to avoid participation.
Later in the interview, Dash said that Jay used to do the same thing with women the Dame Dash Studios founder was interested in.
“He’d do that shit to me with girls. I’ll be talking to a chick and I’ll be like, ‘Yo, she asked me to do this, that and the third.’ And he’d be like, ‘I wouldn’t do it.’ And then the next day he done wifed her. And I’d be like, ‘Oh, that some funny shit.’”
But Dash’s own words might actually prove that his point goes beyond just situations with women in the past.
During an August 2017 appearance on HipHopDX’s DXLive with Trent Clark, Marcel Williams and myself, Dame listed NFL ownership as the next thing he wanted to be involved in.
We spoke to the Harlem native about the many business ventures he’d taken on over the years (including his latest one at that time when he’d just started the Dash Diabetes Network) one the items that he was clear still hadn’t been checked f his “Did that” list as he put it, was ownership an NFL team.
“I want to own] a football team. I don’t wanna own a half a percent it. I want the whole thing. I don’t want to have perception. I want the real deal,” Dame said emphatically, making it clear that he didn’t want to be merely a semantic owner like most celebrities that get involved in sports ownership. “I really want to build a stadium, be a part the process making the uniforms as fresh as they’ll be, I wanna be put my own money up,” he added.
But for those that perceive Dame as riding with Kaepernick, what Dame said next did come as a surprise, especially since it happened to fall on the very same week that Donald Trump declared that NFL players that kneeled were sons bitches and should “get f the field.
We asked Dame point-blank if he would hire Colin Kaepernick to fill his roster at the quarterback position and his response may surprise you.
“Probably not. Not right now,” Dash told the DXLive crew. “If I’m on the block and I’m supposed to be hustling, I don’t want anything that distracts me from what I should be doing, so if I wanted to have a platform to showcase my points view I probably won’t do it in my workspace cause it’ll mess up the vibes and I don’t think anyone else would want to put in something that’s going distract everyone else on the team,” he added.
To be fair Dame, who is known to be an outspoken man himself, clarified that he’s not mad at the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s message, but simply the level distraction he’s allowing it to bring upon the game itself, and he fered what he thought would be a good solution.
“What I would do is, I would empower Kaepernick. I would give him a platform, I would help fund it, but I’d be like ‘We’re out here playing football. Use the fame that you got from football to make a statement someplace else,’ but you can’t expect somebody to hire you to do a job when everyone knows you’re gonna distract everyone else from doing their job,” Dash noted.
“That’s just how I look at it as a businessman. I don’t think what he says is wrong. I think what he says is right but I think it might be a little more powerful if he didn’t do it in the workplace.”
The issue has only become more complex since then as Kaepernick sued the NFL and was subsequently paid an undisclosed settlement.
Check out our full conversation with Dame Dash down below.
On Tuesday, season two of FX’s Pose came to an end, and out of all the characters, Ricky has definitely had one of the best character arcs.
When Ricky (played by Dyllón Burnside) first appeared in season one, he was a suave dancer who Blanca, a House Mother, took in from the streets to join her House of Evangelista. From his first flirty interaction with Damon (also an Evangelista member), I viewed him as just another smooth-talker who would surely break Damon’s heart.
To be honest, I thought he wouldn’t make it to episode three.
However, Ricky and Damon went on to have a committed relationship that unfortunately ended when Damon accused Ricky of cheating on him in season two. Ricky left the house of Evangelista and joined Elektra’s House of Wintour.
What makes Ricky’s character so interesting is that he constantly went against expectation that society, and I myself, put on Black men. In his debut scene, I assumed he was just another masculine heartbreaker who was only there for eye candy and a steamy sex scene.
However, throughout season one, he proved he had the discipline to not only walk in a House, but to also maintain a relationship with Damon. Despite their eventual breakup, it was refreshing to watch two Black gay men be in a committed relationship, which unfortunately is a rarity on T.V.
In season two, Ricky also explored all the different sides of himself, flipping any limiting expectations about masculinity. He sashayed and twirled for the gawds in a “Butch Queen Vogue Femme” category. Then, in the last episode of season two, he got all dolled up and pretty for the “Butch Queen First Time In Drag” category. His wig was secured, his heels were in place and his makeup was set.
If you didn’t think Ricky’s life was full enough, the guy did all this while coping with news that he had HIV. He also started an unconventional relationship with a much older man (Billy Porter‘s character Pray Tell), further reflecting his potential to love and stay committed.
Clearly, this is not the same smooth-talker we were first introduced to in season one.
Pose continually shows the vastness of queer and trans people. It’s especially comforting to witness a Black man who not only has room to explore his romantic relationships with other Black men, but he also gets to explore himself and how his gender flows between femininity and masculinity.
Hopefully, in season three, we’ll continue to follow Ricky’s journey and how his sexuality, identity and relationships pan out when HIV is still stigmatized and Black boys are still perceived with rigid expectations.