Photo Credit: Cindy Burnham, The Fayetteville Observer
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
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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‘OBEY YOUR VERSE’
When Sprite launched their ‘Obey Your Thirst’ campaign earlier this Summer, I was ecstatic because I knew how well the brand is able to connect with the hip-hop culture. This was eminent from the beginning, when they ran their ads in 1994, featuring artists such as Pete Rock, C.L. Smooth and Grand Puba. The brands aesthetic is brought to life by the studio setting, the clothing and most important, the freestyles. Continue reading
BACK 2 BACK
I felt Drake would do something else, but wasn’t sure exactly what. I thought he was going to release another diss track the other night after Meek dropped “Wanna Know”, but I guess he had something better in mind. Seeing how this years OVO Festival went, he had a well thought out plan. Drake’s relentless in his efforts in reminding Meek to never disrespect him nor the 6 ever again. After seeing the display of Meek meme’s during his “Back to Back” performance and the fans actively engaged in the beef, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to decipher what Meek’s next move should be. I still say Meek should try to spit some fire one more time. Continue reading
It’s been a few days since Meek Mill released the Drake diss track, “Wanna Know” and the internet is still showing no mercy and no signs of letting up any time soon. In fact, this is going to be one of those epic rap battles that will loom in hip-hop history. One because the allegations that were made against Drake haven’t been solidified, two, because Drake showed and proved on “Back to Back” and three because Meek tried and many felt he didn’t quite reach the mark. But, despite all that, I think that Meek could reinstate himself and come back from this rap beef roasting session. For reference on how the beef between Drake and Meek Mill started, EW has provided a great back story. Continue reading
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
Something cool this week goes to Drake who donated a $75,000 towards building a recording studio and providing equipment to Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia. He learned of the struggling school by watching a news program that aired on ABC News. Drake gathered the students during a stop in the area to present them with the gift;
“I love you. I care about you. I want to see you succeed.”
First things first; I rarely write music reviews. If I write a review, it’s because I feel strongly about a particular project. It has had to positively impact the way that I view and think about life. I also have to connect with it in some way. I often refrain from speaking in a negative tone, being careful not to sway another person’s opinion about an artists body of work, since music is solely based on the listener’s personal experience. In fact, my reviews aren’t reviews, but my own subjective evaluation.
Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late is one of a handful of projects that I’ve managed to connect with. I don’t know Drake personally, but oddly enough, it feels as if I’m inadvertently involved in the conversations that he’s having through his music. His strong story telling abilities set the scene and paint a vivid portrait of the people he knows and the places in which he’s been. What really makes me connect, though, is how he describes what he’s feeling, which is often my sentiments exactly.