Something Cool: Oil Painter, Mariella Angela


Photo Credit: Mariella Angela

‘Something Cool’ is a weekly column that focuses on creative content and cool people around the web within the art and entertainment field. 


Falling in love with a hobby isn’t hard to do, but turning that hobby into a career takes times, patience and persistence. In 2013, artist Mariella Angela decided to turn her hobby into a full time career when she picked up a brush and started oil painting. Earlier this year, the 20 year old exhibited her work in a series of 21 paintings and has received rave reviews for artistry.

I never intended to ever take painting seriously, and it didn’t happen over night. It started as a past-time to kill boredom, became a hobby and along the way I fell in love with it to where I decided to pursue it as a career. But [and I won’t deny this] social media did come to play where I felt this type of obligation to paint what people requested, and while I’m glad that happened, it made my vision foggy for a while – Mariella Angela on her series, TwentyOne


By following her instincts, Mariella discovered more than she thought she would. This is inspiration to take that hobby to another level. Visit her website for more information on her artistic journey and additional paintings.



J.Cole Surprises Kids For Homecoming Show

Cindy Burnham

Photo Credit: Cindy Burnham, The Fayetteville Observer


It’s not every day that you hear of an artist doing great deeds for the community. Not that they don’t happen, but gossip events almost always overshadow their benevolent acts of kindness. And although J.Cole has been in the news before for lending a hand to the youth of Fayetteville, NC, he’s done it again. This past weekend, Cole held a show in his hometown of Fayetteville for the 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour to a sold out crowd. While the crowd witnessed performances by Jay Z, Big Sean and Drake, a 4 kids from the area got a chance to meet Cole for a chat. According to one report, the kids had been removed from their families and placed in CPS custody and what they thought was a summer exercise, turned into a one on one meet and greet with J.Cole, where he discussed rising above their current circumstances and education.

Last night, J.Cole brought out Jay Z and Drake, but he did something even greater for 4 special and deserving kids. These kids have been removed from their families and placed in CPS custody, they don’t wake up smiling every day because life isn’t peaches and cream. So a bunch of these kids on a voluntary basis wrote an essay about what success meant to them and their proudest moment. They had no idea why they were writing it, except as a summer exercise. One child wrote, “Letting go of anger against all those that have done me wrong.” Despite circumstances of no parental involvement or single home, lack of finances and role models, these kids have maintained good grades and behavior. Seeing beyond Fayetteville is just a dream for them if u ask them. Last night, Cole and Dreamville invited these young people to his concert and afterwards, he took out time to talk with them about life one on one and as a group. He encouraged them to get their education and go the right thing. He told them that circumstances don’t define them or what they can do.

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Dreamville 101: Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad




This week, journalist Elliott Wilson featured J.Cole’s friend and Dreamville President, Ibrahim “Ib” Hamad on his latest Rap Radar podcast. They conversed about the inspiring Dreamville movement, strategic marketing plans, the labels growing roster and the “Forest Hills Drive” Tour, which recently sold out Madison Square Garden. In the midst of the conversation, Ibrahim gave more insight about the recording process behind J.Cole’s 2013 album, Born Sinner. Ironically, in 2014, I’d written an article for RESPECT. Magazine entitled One Year Later: J.Cole’s Born Sinner and today is Throwback Thursday, so this was the perfect opportunity to revisit it. Continue reading

{Inspirational}: Manage Success & Negativity Like Drake


Photo Credit: Vibe Magazine

Late Tuesday night, Twitter erupted with retweets from Meek Mill, who ranted about Drake’s inability to write his own lyrics and other issues within the music industry. As the Twitter-verse conversed about that topic, I went on a search to determine what sparked the tirade. I was unable to come up with a valid reason, but I did come across something positive and interesting Drake said during his Sprite “Obey Your Thirst” documentary. He gives a couple of great quotables on success and battling negativity, which correlate perfectly with this current situation. Continue reading

{Inspirational}: Finding Opportunity In The Midst of Opposition

Here we are in the middle of another week and for most, an inspirational word is desperately needed. That mid-week drab leaves us feeling exhausted and mentally drained. But, as I write this, the word push comes to mind. This, in particular, holds true to those who have dreams and goals that they would like to accomplish. Instead of pushing through, though, we often let the adversities of life get in the way. With cloudy judgement and a weary spirit, these aspirations seemingly appear unobtainable. This, however, is the ideal time to push. When we do begin to push, we’re often met with more opposition than we’d like to carry, but this is the perfect time to seek opportunity. It’s hard to believe that opportunity can be found within opposing situations, but it is possible. To see opportunity, we have to push past the clutter or be pushed by opportunity to work harder and into our destiny. Continue reading

{Interview}: RESPECT. Interviews NC Lyricist, Drique London

Drique London may be Raleigh, NC’s newest rapper to grace the scene, but his latest album, Sound of The Rising Sun boasts the lyrical content and the production ability of a veteran MC. I recently sat down with Drique for an exclusive interview with RESPECT. Check out the snippets from the interview below and visit for the entire transcript. Continue reading

{Editorial}: The Beauty of Rapsody’s “Complexion” Verse From TPAB


One feature that I was really excited to see on To Pimp A Butterfly was NC female MC, Rapsody. Her music has a very poetic vibe as does the album, so what better artist to have chosen to compliment its style. Not to mention that Rap deserved some major shine. And ironically, on her 2013 mixtape, She’s Got Game, DJ Drama can be heard screaming, ” Footnote! Kendrick ain’t mention no females!” This of course, was in reference to Kendrick’s “Control” verse. She may not have gotten a shout out on the verse heard around the world, but she did get an album feature. That was the ultimate sign of respect. Continue reading