How Dope Was LL Cool J’s ‘Radio’ ?

ll cool j

Photo Credit: Janette Beckman


The other night, a friend called and asked who were the pioneers of hip-hop. I rattled off a few names including Kurtis Blow,¬†Run DMC and N.W.A, who were the pioneers of Gangster Rap. It’s ironic that this question came right at the time I’d just finished listening to LL Cool J‘s debut studio album,¬†Radio.¬†I was introduced to LL Cool J’s “Jingling Baby” and “Mama Said Knock You Out” so having missed the time period of¬†Radio, was the the purpose for backtracking. I also credit a hip-hop discussion thread for bringing¬†attention to the topic. Continue reading


New Photographer On The Block, Lucas Creighton

Photo Credit: Lucas Creighton

Photo Credit: Lucas Creighton

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


In this day and age,¬†everyone who has some type of social media presence is a photographer. If you’ve ever missed a popular¬†concert, you’re bound to see countless photographs of music artists on¬†Instagram, layered in pre-made filters.¬†Occasionally, you’ll find the type of eye catching photography that has something special. 18 year old Lucas Creighton is that photographer that has an x factor quality.¬† Continue reading

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Style



While watching Straight Outta Compton this past weekend, I couldn’t help but notice how well the styling, props and additional set features worked together to bring the movie experience to life. The ’90s hip hop style was undoubtedly one of the most iconic periods in fashion and¬†costume designer, Kelli Jones brought¬†N.W.A¬†signature¬†style¬†into a contemporary setting. Continue reading

Build A Partnership Like Bally & J.Cole (5 Branding Tips)

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 05: J. Cole attends BALLY's 'Off the Grid' New York Premiere on August 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for BALLY)

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 05: J. Cole attends BALLY’s ‘Off the Grid’ New York Premiere on August 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for BALLY)


As an up and coming artist in today’s social media realm, it’s increasingly becoming more difficult to distinguish one’s artistic talents in an overly saturated market.¬†Luckily, there are ways¬†that can enhance an artists’ brand in a sea of contenders. One brand in particular,¬†who¬†has also utilized unique marketing to their advantage is Dreamville Records.¬† Continue reading

Are Rap Labels A Bad Thing?


We’ve long given hip-hop genre sub-labels, including titles such as¬†trap, street, gangster, and conscious.¬†For the most part, a theoretical answer for sub-labels is to separate authentic and¬†inauthentic hip-hop. Authentic¬†hip-hop is typically typecast as lyrical¬†and being a direct reflection of an artists reality. Inauthentic hip-hop is generally stereotyped as being chalk full of exaggerated lyrical content and watered down production. When it comes to labels, all artists that fall under one of the sub-labels within the rap category struggle to advance outside of their designated box. As limiting and frustrating as it is, are rap labels a bad thing or is it possible to prove the media and fans wrong¬†by pushing past the label limit?
Continue reading

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Movie Review



Straight Outta Compton¬†came straight out the gate with an estimated $24.5 million on it’s opening night (Friday August 14th) and is expected to reach at least $55 million by the end of the weekend. The F. Gary Grey directed film, which is produced¬†by former¬†N.WA members, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, was undoubtedly a highly anticipated film with much push from the media. Despite the buzz created around the film¬†and the companion ‘Compton’ soundtrack¬†by Dr.Dre, most of the reviews didn’t quite mirror the 87% rating given by¬†Rotten Tomatoes. Vanity Fair, however, composed the most¬†reflective review, in that it captured the¬†gist and the purest¬†essence of the film. I happened to enjoy the movie in its entirety and was¬†a¬†great¬†viewpoint of N.W.A¬†and social issues in the¬†80s and 90s era. It was a far cry from the made for TV¬†movies that we are accustomed to. Straight Outta Compton is¬†definitely a must see. Continue reading

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