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.



 
 

 

 


Syleena Johnson is one of the bonafide soul singers of our generation and a true R&B Diva that has maintained a penchant for great music since the late 90s. Her musical diary in the form of her Chapter releases have been stacked with hit songs since the original Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness was released in 2001. Now with a new label, Blakbyrd Music, Syleena releases her sixth installment of the series, the true to life Chapter 6: Couple's Therapy. While she has grown in her years and through her experiences, the quality of music remains grand. An overall review just wouldn't do here, so we decided to deliver a track by track review of Syleena Johnson's Couple's Therapy.

Read more: Chapter 6: Couple's Therapy - Syleena Johnson album review


Following both the somewhat lackluster albums, No Mercy and Trouble Man, T.I. returns with Paperwork, a 15 track project that is essentially the second in a trilogy of albums from the Atlanta emcee - the first being Paper Trail, released in 2008. There are high moments and low points on Paperwork that ultimately allow for T.I. to showcase that he deserves to remain among some of the greats. Paperwork is intricate to the point where there is a sense that there were different personas at play in the studio. Pharrell executive produced the album, and that is a characteristic he has displayed in his previous trips in that role.

Read more: Paperwork - T.I. album review


The Game has been a mainstay in the world of Hip-Hop since his emergence in 2005. His consistency is commendable. While there may be many varying opinions about the way he goes about handling his business, from his use of name drops to the high number of guests on his albums, it's still undeniable that more often than not Game goes off on a rap and delivers some of the best stuff out. On Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf, Game does something different from his norm, this time aiming to spotlight his own crew Blood Money Entertainment.

Read more: Blood Moon: Year of the Wolf - The Game album review


Point of No Return
is the sixth album from Keyshia Cole and amidst 11 tracks, she lets loose. It is steeped in expressive candor. The Keyshia featured here is frank, direct and pulling no punches.

Read more: Point of No Return - Keyshia Cole album review


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.

Read more: Souled Out - Jhené Aiko album review

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