I was first introduced to Jhené Aiko on Kendrick Lamar's "Growing Apart." Her voice is gentle and somewhat tinged with a sultriness that often encroaches on cutting aggression. Aiko understands where to emphasize her voice, wrapping it around the lyrics to achieve a hypnotic mix of hip hop and R&B. Souled Out, the debut from the singer is made up of mid-temp melodies that emerge as freestyles, rather than songs. This is not a bad thing because Aiko has stated that her process of recording music is one of letting it unfold rather than rushing.

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Originality is such a hard thing to come by these days that it’s no wonder you’ll see so many movies, TV shows and music that look and sound the same.
 When is the last time you heard a song or movie that you couldn’t compare to something else prior? Probably never. That doesn’t mean that originality or creativity has died, but just means that people have a brand new way of seeing things. One of the greatest movies of all times, Star Wars is often compared to Star Trek. They have forums of geeks and nerds sighting the familiarities between these two, I’ll save you the time and say that I’ve seen all the Star Wars series and none of the Star Trek franchise despite their many TV shows and spin-off movies but I'm aware of how they tend to overlap each other in some aspects.


Blacc Hollywood is the fifth studio album from Wiz Khalifa - the rapper known for creating chill songs about getting high and living the high life. Being more of a fan of his mixtapes because he seems to offer more impactful, heavy-hitting rhymes on those, listening to Blacc Hollywood solidified my opinion even further.


Being born in the 90’s certainly touched the new up and coming triple-threat artist Jo’zzy aka @dopebyaccident in a special way. She’s the protégé’ of super producer Timbaland and a talented singer/songwriter/rapper. Not only is the 90’s an inspiration and influence, but a way of life for this 24 year old; whose real name is Jocelyn Donald. She says of new single “Tryna Wife”, “It’s just nostalgic music and only the beginning. Some of today’s R&B and Hip-Hop can be so watered down and cookie-cutter, but my style of music makes you think of the 90’s.”


"They only get to see a certain part of your life and it’s not even fifty percent. It may be about fifteen percent of your life that these people are getting to watch so that’s never a good thing because you become this fifteen percent of what people get to see and there’s way more to most of us that are on that show..."  ~Bambi


“One thing I feel that happens a lot on the urban side of music, not as much on the mainstream pop side of music is that if artists don't come out for a few years, we forget that we loved them. This was not just some song I liked, but this was my favorite group in the world. I feel like the urban audience, we don't hold our stars up like the pop audience do. Their stars will put out an album tomorrow and it will still be double, triple, quadruple platinum…”  
~Brandon Casey of Jagged Edge 


 
 

 

 

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Hip-Hop is best described as a culture and a way of life. That culture has become so multi-dimensional in the last decade and the culture continues to change, so finding long term longevity is more about perfecting your hustle and staying ahead of the culture rather than the art itself. DJ Vlad né Vladimir Lyubovny is a shining example of staying ahead of the culture.  With his site, VladTV.com, known to some as ‘the Hip-Hop TMZ’ and undeniably one of the most visited news and entertainment sites on the web, Vlad has found his niche and continues to not only perfect his hustle, but continuously enhance it as well.
Vlad was always a student of Hip-Hop, having tried his hand at break dancing, producing, DJing and quite a few other activities in between. Hip-Hop was only a passion on the side for Vlad at first. Attending the University of California Berkeley he decided to study computer science, another one of his interests. After graduation he entered the industry and found success, but the music kept calling him. "I kinda reached this point where I was like 'I really want to do music. Let me try and concentrate and try to do music as well,'" Vlad explains. DJing came naturally so that became the push.
Vlad launched a site DJvlad.com and started posting mp3 files of his mixtapes. "I was the first person to ever do that because I really didn't have an outlet," Vlad recalls. I lived in the Bay Area in California and there was no Africans on Canal St over there, so it was really all I could do." The site was not only a success but it proved to be profitable as well.
A year later Vlad made his way to New York City with hopes of being the biggest DJ out here. He released his Rap Phenomenon mixtapes series and his site and his brand continued to grow but he still wasn't finding the success or popularity he was expecting. He found himself DJing in strip clubs just to pay rent.
Next he started doing Hip-Hop DVDs, again growing the brand and the audience. Eventually, as with all things, the sales began to decline and the trend became over populated.  In January 2008, Vlad made his smartest move in life's game of chess with the creation of his youtube channel, which he called Vlad TV. Early on the skeptics were out in full force, but Vlad knew what he was doing. "It was just a youtube channel so people were wondering why I would call it that name. Now we're like the number 10 news channel on all of youtube and that includes ABC News, Associated Press and all those. We're number 10 on that list. Its one of those things, you gotta see the vision early and you have to adapt quickly because these hustles don't stay the same."
Vlad's story is important to all students of Hip-Hop, especially those who think the only way to find success is by grabbing a mic or by making a beat. Vlad's success is in part because of his education. The website, VladTV.com is programmed entirely by Vlad and his partner, Rob. Vlad found the perfect merger of his passion for music and his education in computers and he is successful now in part because of it. The rest of his success can be credited to his tireless devotion and 24-hour work ethic.
As we discussed in the beginning Hip-Hop is all about thinking ahead and Vlad knows this. Although he has found success, he isn't comfortable where he is.  He currently produces videos for artists all over the industry, having already done videos for Jim Jones, Lil' Jon and many others under his company, Monstar Films. He's the VP of Loud.com a division of SRC Records, part of the Univeral Records brand. Vlad is also developing two new websites and a television show which he hints may be getting picked up by a major network.
Did I mention his work ethic?
As a member of the Hip-Hop community myself and student of the game, I recognized that Vlad needed to be acknowledged, not just for his success, but because he is really part of the culture and continues to do his part in keeping it alive.

Hip-Hop is best described as a culture and a way of life. That culture has become so multi-dimensional in the last decade and the culture continues to change, so finding long term longevity is more about perfecting your hustle and staying ahead of the culture rather than the art itself. DJ Vlad né Vladimir Lyubovny is a shining example of staying ahead of the culture.  With his site, VladTV.com, known to some as ‘the Hip-Hop TMZ’ and undeniably one of the most visited news and entertainment sites on the web, Vlad has found his niche and continues to not only perfect his hustle, but continuously enhance it as well.


Vlad was always a student of Hip-Hop, having tried his hand at break dancing, producing, DJing and quite a few other activities in between. Hip-Hop was only a passion on the side for Vlad at first. Attending the University of California Berkeley he decided to study computer science, another one of his interests. After graduation he entered the industry and found success, but the music kept calling him. "I kinda reached this point where I was like 'I really want to do music. Let me try and concentrate and try to do music as well,'" Vlad explains. DJing came naturally so that became the push. 


Vlad launched a site DJvlad.com and started posting mp3 files of his mixtapes. "I was the first person to ever do that because I really didn't have an outlet," Vlad recalls. I lived in the Bay Area in California and there was no Africans on Canal St over there, so it was really all I could do." The site was not only a success but it proved to be profitable as well.  


A year later Vlad made his way to New York City with hopes of being the biggest DJ out here. He released his Rap Phenomenon mixtapes series and his site and his brand continued to grow but he still wasn't finding the success or popularity he was expecting. He found himself DJing in strip clubs just to pay rent.   


Next he started doing Hip-Hop DVDs, again growing the brand and the audience. Eventually, as with all things, the sales began to decline and the trend became over populated.  In January 2008, Vlad made his smartest move in life's game of chess with the creation of his youtube channel, which he called Vlad TV. Early on the skeptics were out in full force, but Vlad knew what he was doing. "It was just a youtube channel so people were wondering why I would call it that name. Now we're like the number 10 news channel on all of youtube and that includes ABC News, Associated Press and all those. We're number 10 on that list. Its one of those things, you gotta see the vision early and you have to adapt quickly because these hustles don't stay the same."

 


Vlad's story is important to all students of Hip-Hop, especially those who think the only way to find success is by grabbing a mic or by making a beat. Vlad's success is in part because of his education. The website, VladTV.com is programmed entirely by Vlad and his partner, Rob. Vlad found the perfect merger of his passion for music and his education in computers and he is successful now in part because of it. The rest of his success can be credited to his tireless devotion and 24-hour work ethic. 
As we discussed in the beginning Hip-Hop is all about thinking ahead and Vlad knows this. Although he has found success, he isn't comfortable where he is.  He currently produces videos for artists all over the industry, having already done videos for Jim Jones, Lil' Jon and many others under his company, Monstar Films. He's the VP of Loud.com a division of SRC Records, part of the Univeral Records brand. Vlad is also developing two new websites and a television show which he hints may be getting picked up by a major network. 


Did I mention his work ethic?  

 

As a member of the Hip-Hop community myself and student of the game, I recognized that Vlad needed to be acknowledged, not just for his success, but because he is really part of the culture and continues to do his part in keeping it alive.

 

DJ Vlad Talks About The Key To Success

 

 

Images by Phi Emerson

 

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Producer, Bangladesh Talks About His Road To Success (video)

Rap duo, C-N-N talk Lil' Kim vs. Nicki Minaj (video)

Yolande Geralds - The Beauty of Humility Behind The Lens


 

About The Author
Kevin Benoit
Author: Kevin Benoit
Kevin Benoit, 27, is the founder and editor of Parlé Magazine. As a freshman in college, in May of 2004, Benoit created Parlé, an urban entertainment magazine that focuses on literacy through entertainment. The publication has since provided a stepping-stone for many individuals throughout the country, from teens to adults and continues to provide inspiration for inspiring entrepreneurs, writers, photographers and graphic designers. Benoit graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science in Legal Studies.

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