It was my first time at Sneaker Pawn in Harlem, an exclusive spot that’s more than just a sneaker store. I climbed the steps to the brownstone and met rapper Trip Lee upstairs where we took a seat on a bench surrounded by sneakers and sports gear. What a great setting to just kick it! We chopped it up discussing his new album Rise, the journey that led him to choosing his passion of music and much more!


Growing up in Sacramento, Victoria Monét started writing her own songs at a very young age. She comes from a musical family, so one might say that she was born to be a singer. Monét admits that it was a natural fit for her and she’s been singing and dancing for as long as she can remember; getting her start in the church.  She's come along way, now signed to Atlantic Records.  October was a big month for her as she was featured on two tracks on T.I.'s latest album, Paperwork.  She also made her iTunes debut with her own release, Nightmares & Lullabies Act I.  She is more than just another female singer that will be here today and gone tomorrow, Victoria Monét has all the makings of the real deal.  We caught up with her for the full story, before the breakthrough.


Joe Budden was never supposed to make it this far. Whether it was from the drugs or the streets, he probably should've been down and out somewhere. Once the music industry took hold of him that was only supposed to be one more powerful force that would eat away at him and leave for dead. And Def Jam surely tried. Looking back at where he started, it’s a wonder that he's still here. Had it been today's industry, he probably would've succumbed to the politics, but thankfully he's been in it since 2003. Hip-Hop aficionados are grateful for his time in the spotlight and for his Mood Music lyrical diary entries as well as his “emo” rap forays.


Lil’ Mo
emerged on the music scene in the late 90’s lending her voice to hits like, “Hot Boyz” by Missy Elliott, “Put It On Me” and “I Cry” both by Ja Rule. Still it was her breakout single, the 2001 “Superwoman pt. II” that helped solidify her name is music circles. The Fabolous assisted song led to the release of her debut album, Based On A True Story, garnering her tons of fans. With her success came the drama however, including an incident in San Francisco where she was attacked with a bottle of champagne and required 20 stitches. There also came industry beefs with some of the same people she found early success with, most notably Ja Rule.


If you know football, you know Deion Sanders. Primetime! Mr. “Must Be The Money.” Neon Deion. The Hall-of-Famer and two-time Super Bowl champion hasn’t really needed an introduction since his meteoric rise in the NFL spotlight, but these days it’s his moves off the field that require conversation. The second season of his reality show, Deion’s Family Playbook premieres on OWN Network on Saturday, November 1st at 9p.m. EST. For those that aren’t familiar, the show features Deion in a light that many might not be familiar with—Deion as a family man raising 10 children. That’s not all however, as Deion also helps run a charter school in Dallas Texas, Prime Prep Academy for grades K-12, and a nonprofit organization, Prime Time Association (aka TRUTH), which teaches young adults through sports and education.


Jagged Edge's eight album, JE Heartbreak II finds the quartet reunited with producer Jermaine Dupri, label So So Def and their original management Mauldin Brand Agency. The theme here is all about bringing back true R&B, so the guys shy away from Rap features or features of any kind, as well as Hip-Hop infused beats. Slow jams are plentiful in this 12 song album and with Bryan Michael Cox assisting the Casey twins on songwriting and production, its very much reminiscent to the sound of early Jagged Edge albums.



 
 

 

 


Female? Single? Looking for love?

Regardless of your age or previous relationship history, Paul Carrick Brunson seeks to guide you along your dating journey right into a healthy relationship. It's Complicated ( But It Doesn't Have to Be) is the gentleman's guide to dating - for women.

Read more: It's Complicated (But It Doesn't Have To Be) - Paul C. Brunson Review

At first glance, a Hip-Hop fan of two decades might overlook a book about the hustle and prosperity of Sean Carter. Having followed Jay-Z's music and his moves since he entered in the game with Reasonable Doubt in 1996, there's not much one wouldn't know about the undisputed heavyweight champion of Hip-Hop. What makes the book, Empire State of Mind great is that it takes the things you know and shines a brighter light on them, while putting the man and his business ventures under a microscope in order to find out those things the majority of fans wouldn't know.  As far as business biography's go, this is probably one of the best you'll ever read.

Read more: Empire State of Mind - Jay-z business biography review

Jonathan Safran Foer made his name well known in the publishing world with his first break out book Everything is Illuminated. However it was his book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that has made him a household name. The book has recently been adapted to a movie staring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, will hit theaters Friday January 20th.  The movie has made a lot of waves causing protests and numerous attempts to stop it from being shown. I do not understand the protests and it is extremely clear that the people protesting have not bothered to read the book.
Yes it is being advertised as a movie about September 11th. However that topic is just a minor plot point within the book its self. The real story of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is so much more then a tale of the heart wrenching tragedy that changed the world we live in.
I fell in love with the main character nine-year-old Oskar Schell by the end of page two, and my heart broke for him by the end of chapter two. The story does not take place on September 11th or even the day after. It opens about a year later; Oskar is still struggling with the death of his father in the world trade center. Along with his resentment towards his mother and her new “ friend”.  A lot of the book is flashbacks and stories that don’t always fit with exactly what is going on. However you must keep in mind that the book it’s self is being told from the point of view of an vividly brilliant, poetically, and un-rationally afraid nine year old.
As the story unfolds we find Oskar sitting in his father closet remembering the scavenger hunts him and his father used to play.  With in the untouched closet he finds his fathers tuxedo sitting on the chair, and a blue vase with a tiny envelope inside. He instantly decided that both of these are out of place and clues to a scavenger hunt his father had yet to start with him. As he pulls down the vase he has no idea that the envelopes contents are about to take him on a life-changing journey.
Inside he finds a key, and the word Black written in red on the back of the envelope.  His life is suddenly consumed with finding the lock this key goes to. He decides the only clue he has in the name black and begins a journey to visits everyone with the last name black in the phone book.  Along his journey he unknowingly helps the people he meets over come their hardships and pain.  He meets a gentleman who hadn’t left his apartment is 25 year, nor turned on his hearing aids. Oskar gives him the courage to hear for the first time in 25 years.
The story is heartbreakingly beautiful tale of how a young boy over comes losing a loved one, even worse a parent. It is a concept that everyone can relate to and silently struggles with.  As Oskar fights to hold to his father with his last scavenger hunt, he is desperate to discover what the key goes to. He is struggling to let go while his heart is desperately holding on.
This is one of those rare books that will change how you look at life and will want to read over and over again.  You will find your self-laughing as Oskar marches literally to the beat of his own tambourine and cry and he struggles with the concept of death.  On a scale of 1 to 10 my personal rating is 10. It is a book everyone should have on his or her selves.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close  receives a PARLÉ
Rating:
P…Horrible
PA…Tolerable
PAR…Good
PARL…Kinda Great
PARLÉ… Classic
Also Check Out:

Jonathan Safran Foer made his name well known in the publishing world with his first break out book Everything is Illuminated. However it was his book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close that has made him a household name. The book has recently been adapted to a movie staring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, hitting theaters Friday January 20th.  The movie has made a lot of waves causing protests and numerous attempts to stop it from being shown. I do not understand the protests and it is extremely clear that the people protesting have not bothered to read the book.            

Read more: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close... book review

In the debut novel, Young Savage, by Rasheed Carter readers will be introduced to a young child, Rodney, who is the product of a single mother’s drug addiction.  Her priorities are on everything BUT being a mother to young Rodney so he is often left to take care of himself.
As a result, Rodney gets into some trouble and is sent to a youth detention center where he finally makes a real friend. At the same time he is educated on street life as well as survival and at the end of it all Rodney reemerges as a new person.
Young Savage tells the all so familiar story of your young male who is a product of his environment and although he wants better, he also lives by the code of survival of the fittest.  I enjoyed growing up with Rodney through the book, because of the author’s ability to truly take you into the main character’s daily life.  Kudos to Rasheed for his amazing character development.
There were many emotions filled within these pages, one definitely was sympathy for Rodney because he didn’t have any options it was him against the world (his mom), but that was also what made me keep reading because I wanted things to get better.
Young Savage was a good book but with a professional edit job this story would have been a much smoother read.  Nonetheless it is indeed a story of hope. I do look forward to reading future works from Rasheed Carter because from this debut it is clear this writer has the talent.
Young Savage receives a PAR
Rating:
P…Horrible
PA…Tolerable
PAR…Good
PARL…Kinda Great
PARLÉ… Classic
Also Check Out:

In the debut novel, Young Savage, by Rasheed Carter readers will be introduced to a young child, Rodney, who is the product of a single mother’s drug addiction.  Her priorities are on everything BUT being a mother to young Rodney so he is often left to take care of himself.

Read more: Young Savage... Rasheed Carter book review

CHECKMATE by Tiece Mickens tell the story of main character Monty Banks and at the age of 23 he is successful sex for hire escort but the only thing he is serving up is sexual relations and for his company  or I should say services he isn’t cheap either.
Monty has been able to survive and help his mom due to his lucrative business and he just wants to make his money and eventually retire from the “fast life” since it often comes with a lot of unwanted attention he isn’t actually seeking.
He wants to walk away but his pawns, as what he refers to as his clients the satisfaction of being able to bring these females to such sexual bliss is a pure adrenaline rush for Monty and he continues this lifestyle while padding his wallet.
Enter his sister’s best friend Candy into the equation a pretty young thing that he has considered taking it to the next level but due to her age he has forced himself to wait and he does but as soon as she turns legal he gives into temptation and a love affair is born.
CHECKMATE was a very interesting story and I could not put the book down, it definitely kept my attention because I wanted to know what was going to happen next especially between Candy and Monty, would it be love or money and would Candy stay around if the choice didn’t benefit her.
Tiece Mickens definitely wove together great storyline and perfect poly execution that will leave readers ready for her sequel. Definitely a literary job well done for debut novelist Tiece for Checkmate.

Checkmate by Tiece Mickens tells the story of main character Monty Banks.  At the age of 23 he is successful sex for hire escort but the only thing he is serving up is sexual relations and his services he isn’t cheap either.

Read more: Checkmate... Tiece Mickens book review

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