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 Tourto 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.
Something Cool is a weekly column that focuses on creative content and cool people around the web within the art and entertainment field.
THE X FACTOR
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 →
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 →
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 →
I’m really enjoying the growing Dreamvilleroster. With four stellar artists including J.Cole, Bas, Cozz and Omen, Dreamville is is quickly becoming the blueprint for what a quality label should embody. Authentic talent and a niche for reliability is the commonality that these artists seem to share. Authenticity and relatable messages are woven throughout Omen‘s debut album Elephant Eyes. As his first album with Dreamville, the Chicago lyricist creatively stitched together his childhood memories,and real-life scenarios as seen through his eyes. One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Love Drug” and I was excited to see a recent video release for the single. The thought provoking “Love Drug” takes us through the issues of social media that have altered the way that in which we communicate. Continue reading →
Something Cool this week goes to the double exposure photos by photographer Gavin Thomas. Taken in 2012, he’s creatively snapped photos of hip-hop and r&b artists such as Big Sean, J. Cole and Bruno Mars. Photographing since 2008, Gavin has accumulated a nice portfolio full of captures that include cool people, celebrities and athletes. He also has an extensive list of commercial and editorials clients that he has produced work for. If you like analog photography, Gavin does that as well.
Visit his portfolio here and take a look at some of the double’s below.