Where did all of the people on Instagram promising to turn your $500 to $5000 go? In New Jersey and Philly, they’re sitting behind bars.
Federal prosecutors announced on Friday that criminal charges have been issued to ten individuals in Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia for their roles in a quick cash scheme that used Snapchat and IG accounts in order to scam social media surfers out of more than $1.5 million.
The defendants who are all in their teens and early 20s spent most of their ill-gotten gains on jewelry, watches, clothes, and cars.
prosecutors said the get rich quick scheme focused on social media accounts used by 22-year-old Kayla Massa of Gloucester City, NJ, who appeared to have built her extensive online following since her early teens.
Her Instagram account, Kayg0ldi, had more than 300K followers, while her YouTube account amassed over 100K subscribers, where she posted hair tutorials and updates on her “Golden Family”.
Prosecutors allege she used her IG stories feature for her online pitches, which always included wads of cash, money orders, and bank account balances.
The victims would DM Massa, where they would receive the instructions on what method they would use to make their money. According to federal prosecutors, all Massa and her crew wanted was her victims’ bank account information. Once they were done with the accounts, they would cease all communication with their victims.
The other nine named defendants are Kayla’s sister Leire Leian Massa, 19, William Logan, 22, Jordan Herrin, 22, Erasmo Feliciano, 19, Kevin McDaniels, 18, Jabreel Martin, 20, Dezhon McCray, 20, Andrew Johnson, 21 and Alex Haines, 27.
All were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
Sprite has long aligned itself with Hip-Hop culture. As far back as 1986, Sprite was authentically tapping rap music and the culture surrounding it to cement its place in our lives. Back then, Kurtis Blow was king and he broke barriers in the “I Love the Sprite in You” campaign. That campaign also was supported by artists like LL Cool J and Kris Kross.
Who remembers when they scooped then fresh-faced Native Tongue members from A Tribe Called Quest in their optically overwhelming “Obey Your Thirst” Campaign of 1994 or tapped into the battle rap scene with showcasing the long-fought rivalry of two of Hip-Hop’s most epic figures, KRS1 and MC Shan, in 1996.
The “Obey Your Thirst” plug was explosive in the 90s and allowed many a rap fan to see their favorites like Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Nas and Grand Puba in spots that told them that the Coca-Cola company is looking at them; they see you and not just your dollar. All the way up to 2020, they have shared emcees like 2Pac, Missy Elliott, J. Cole, Drake, Rakim, Lil Yachty, Vince Staples, DRAM and Vic Mensa with the audience in a variety of ways. Everything from rap in commercials all the way to their lyrics appearing on soda cans in the most recent “Obey Your Verse” campaign, showed again… they see us.
But moving passed seeing us, the question becomes “Do they feel us?” or “Do they understand us?”
With the new Sprite Ginger collection, that might be a “hell, yeah.”
In February 2020, they launched this new pop with a twist of ginger, a stable flavor on-trend with the current market. In their roll-out, they still skewed urban, but this time they truly unpacked another layer of who and what Hip-Hop really is. They looked at the oldest element of the four that constitute Hip-Hop culture (at least according to the pioneers in the Zulu Nation, KRS1, and various others who were there from the beginning). They shifted the focus from the emcee and in this move are looking at the artist.
Art/Eyes (Graffiti), The Drum/Heart (The DJ), The Word/The Mind (The Rapper/Emcee/Lyricist), The Move (Dance) makes up all four core elements of the culture. And Sprite Ginger, with a segue as bold as its flavor, expanded its understanding of art by translating it into fashion connected the senses of taste and sight to not only launch their brand but launch the careers of 8 millennial/ homelander artists that they believe will shift the world in their “Thirst for Yours” campaign.
In the spirit of reinvention, Sprite tapped this diverse group of up-and-coming creators from across the creative spectrum—fashion, art, photography and more—to add a hit of something new to their already impressive body of work. Their visions were brought to life through the “Ginger Collection”, the brand’s first creative capsule collection.
In addition to these artists selected by the company, veteran streetwear designer Jeff Staples crowdsourced the final addition to the “Ginger Collection” team from amongst his 250,000+ Instagram followers. From more than 25,000 submissions, Staple picked graphic designer and multimedia artist Bluboy.
Standing on the shoulders of other Hip-Hop artists, this ogdoad stepped up to deliver visuals (in the various mediums) to express the new flavor in their own lens. To do this, they had the mentorship of Jeff Staples and some of Sprite’s other cultural partners. Jeff gathered with the group and helped them move their dream to reality, giving them some life lessons on what it means to be an artist, that works with brands and does not compromise their vision, integrity, and the art they create.
“Sprite Ginger is all about adding a hit of something fresh and new, so as the first new product to launch under the ‘Thirst for Yours’ ethos, we used this concept of reinvention as creative inspiration for the collaboration,” explains Sam Beresford, senior manager, integrated marketing communications (IMC), Sprite. “‘Thirst for Yours’ is all about inspiring the Hip-Hop tastemakers of tomorrow to do more and dream bigger by ‘putting them on’, so we offered this group of incredibly talented young creatives a wide-open runway to bring their vision and voice to life.”
The collection includes graphic t-shirts, a custom cut-and-sew hoodie, a skateboard deck, accessories, a vinyl figurine and more. Sprite Ginger and the “Ginger Collection” debuted at a special media and influencer event at Extra Butter NYC, a premier streetwear boutique on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
To keep the vibe going throughout the year, Sprite will be hosting a series of “re-workshops” at Extra Butter, where emerging creative talent will share their expertise with participants from creative arts nonprofit organizations, Art Start, and fans of the re-workshop hosts.
The launch of Sprite Ginger and the “Ginger Collection” borrow a page from the streetwear playbook by coming to life via a “drop,” which is also how some of the most culturally resonant albums, movies, and sneakers build intrigue and interest before making their seemingly-out-of-the-blue debuts.
Sprite will share the story of the “Ginger Collection” creators in the coming weeks on the brand’s social channels, and select “Ginger Collection” items will be given away to members of the brand’s community as part of this storytelling.
“Our audience expects and appreciates the art of the ‘drop’… it’s a key part of how things are introduced in the Hip-Hop world, and core to how culture moves and works today,” Beresford said. “Given Sprite’s deep Hip-Hop credentials, we saw an opportunity to be the first beverage brand to ‘drop’ its latest release.”
Images from an unknown photo shoot have surfaced that shows Snoop Dogg’s oldest son Cordell wearing eyeliner and earrings. To top off Broadus’ Prince look, he donned a pink sweater vest with a large pink flower on the front over a lace shirt.
It is unclear when the pictures were taken or for what purpose, but it’ definitely not what Cordell’s future looked like from America’s living rooms on Snoop Dogg’s Fatherhood reality show over a decade ago. The 22 year old former UCLA wide receiver hung up his cleats back in 2015. Maybe he traded his gridiron dreams for modeling.
Hip-Hop is powerful. If you ever want to see the force of a person, place or thing, just put it to the test. It is often said by psychologists, “familiarity breeds enjoyment.” That is sort of one of the ingredients of hip-hop culture, familiarity.
In 1979, when the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” became one of the first Hip-Hop records on wax, Grandmaster Caz’s lyrics did not just stun the youth of New York City. The youthful rhythmic voices of Wonder Mike, Big Bank Hank, and Master Gee brought light to the global class of black youth and triggered a longing phenomenon that metamorphosed cultures.
Known as the motherland of mankind, the African continent, a terrain of the beautiful wide-range existence of various native cultures, Hip-Hop managed to head abroad and make its mark. Viewed as a profound way to express the unexplained humanity of African youth, Hip-Hop’s touch revolutionized their access and availability. Notoriety was a factor thanks to the blazing popularity of pioneering songs like “Rappers Delight,” along the culture’s paradigm of elements including breakdancing, djing, and graffiti.
Each country had its own Kool Herc. Their own Lady B. Their own Grandmaster Flash. Each act reflecting the cycle of influence that reigns from the familiarity of song and rhythm the African continent holds the foundation of. However, exactly who are the Hip-Hop pioneers of Africa?
S.S.P. (South Side Posse) – Angola
Due to the reach and access to technology, some African countries caught on to producing hip-hop tunes a little bit late. Angola is one of those countries. Formed in 1992 with founding members Big Nelo, Paul G, Jeff Brown and Kudy, the South Side Posse was born, a band who infused hip-hop’s rap element with jazz, soul, funk, and ragga. In their early years, they were based in Germany but eventually returned back to Angola where they became mainstream show people for rap in local areas. Four years later, in 1996, SSP made history and became the first group to record a rap record with their debut album, 99% de Amor.
Negrissim’ – Cameroon
Influenced by the might of Public Enemy with the appeal of A Tribe Called West, emcees Evindi, Sundjah, Sadrak ushered in the essence of Hip-Hop in Cameroon in the collective name, Negrissim’. The trio became known for their clever ability to harmoniously articulate the French language and multiple native Cameroonian tongues. Touching base on topics relevant to Cameroonians, which is primarily centered on empowerment and the anomaly between urban and village culture, the trio became the first poster act of the country’s musical rap faculty.
Reggie Rockstone – Ghana
With an agenda to preserve the native identity of Ghana, Reggie Rockstone, affectionately heralded as the Godfather of the music genre, Hiplife, an execution of rapping that is relative to Ghanaian societies such as the Akan culture. According to GhanaWeb, founded in 1994, it was Rockstone’s intention to preserve the Ghanaian identity and dilute hip-hop’s westernized nature for the sake of local embrace. His debut album, Makaa Maka was released three years after the movement’s founding in 1997 and ultimately fostered the fluency of the Ghanaian music industry.
Ricky Oyaro – Kenya
The strategy for most aspiring African rappers of the late 1980s and early 1990s was the capture the swag of the New York City rappers of the Golden Era. Bridging the official language of Kenya, Swahili and English were considered to be a unique skill. Especially when it was applied harmoniously. In 1990, a teenager by the name of Ricky Oyaro mastered such skill and showcased his flair with his groundbreaking single “Renaissance.” Just like in the States, getting airtime on the radio was a sign of success at the time. The single was a radio banger and managed to influence and spawn a slew of aspiring Kenyan emcees, some who incorporate the native language of Sheng, giving birth to Kenya’s multi-million dollar music industry of today.
DJ Ron “Ronnie” Ekundayo – Nigeria
One of Hip-Hop’s earliest sightings holds residence in the country of Nigeria. Based on Hip-Hop history, the DJ is the first superstar. Emulating the position of both a disc jockey and emcee, in 1981 DJ Ronnie aka Ron Ekundayo, release a Run DMC inspired album titled The Way I Feel, which is credited as the first rap album of Nigeria. The success of the album, along with Hip-Hop evolution from it’s infancy to the Golden Era, later inspired cemented emcees in the likes of Emphasis, Sound on Sounds, and early 1990s powerhouse Junior and Pretty. Despite the popularity of the genres of Highlife, Juju, and Afrobeat, the desire to master the westernized manifestation of Hip-Hop in Nigeria has allowed the country to became the most dominant in the African continent today.
DJ Berry – Rwanda
Hip-Hop’s ability to hone ethics that touch home for those abroad is a gift. In Rwanda, the rebellious nature of the youth was unknowingly in need of some form of verifying support. As the youth dealt with a government that was negligent towards their well being, they needed a way to voice their survival. In the early 1980s, thanks to the late DJ Berry born Nsabimana Abdul Aziz, and his mastery of most the main elements of Hip-Hop, including breakdancing, and rap, he developed the blueprint for the Rwandan music scene. However, Berry had to pay a price. Hip-Hop in Rwanda faced opposition by leading authorities and Berry was forced to go into exile in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Not too long after, he left for Germany and recorded Rwanda’s first Hip-Hop hit record, “Hey You,” showcasing the positive effect westernized Hip-Hop displayed on the country.
Positive Black Soul – Senegal
If you ever wondered if there was ever an Eric B. and Rakim dynamic in the African world of Hip-Hop, there is and it was manifested through the pioneering Senegalese duo, Positive Black Soul. Founded in 1989, comprising of DJ Awadi and the emcee Doug E. Tee the Dakar based duo became the first nationally renowned hip-hop group in the country of Senegal. Fluent in the language of English, French, and Wolof, the main language of Senegal. PBS for short, the duo emulated a pro-black stance, with politically charged lyrics centered around Africanism driving the pride and societal practice of the African content, a mirror of the presence of Black pride of Hip-Hop’s Golden Era. On their international debut album, New York Paris-Dakar, they collaborated with Hip-Hop icon KRS-One for their song “PBS.” In an interview with German-based publication, Treibhaus, DJ Awadi recognized Hip-Hop’s rap element as a product of the slave. “Rap is a child of slaves, it was born in Africa, it grew up in America.”
Yok 7 – Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is another country where Hip-Hop sprouted over a decade after its founding. Influenced by the best of the ’90s in the likes of Method Man, Tupac, and Jay-Z, Yok 7 found emotional refuge in the art of rap. Around 1996, right amid the Sierra Leone Civil War, Yok ̶ an acronym of his birth name Yusuf Osaio Kamara, who along with his family fled to the Republic of Guinea, took on the hobby of creating music. He joined several music groups such as Planet Sounds Productions and later Noble Squad. When Yok finally embarked on a solo career in 2002, amid his campaign for peace with Sierra Leone rebels, he released the single “A-Bo” under Paradise Records. The song became the number one hit in Sierra Leone over the next two years. “A-Bo” is the first rap song to be done in the country’s dominant dialect, Creole, granting Yok 7 the title as the “Godfather of Hip-Hop” in Sierra Leone.
Senyaka Kekana – South Africa
Hip-hop will forever be the foundation of several sub-genres that transform into dominant genres on their own good time. The late Senyaka Kekana of South Africa is one of the continent’s greatest testimonies. Considered to be the first prominent rapper of South Africa, and one of Africa’s earliest hip-hop acts, Senyaka’s multi-talented identity ultimately molded the South African entertainment terrain. In 1986, Senyaka released his debut album titled Fuquza which was a fusion of rap, pop and house music, all inspired by the western region of the world. His debut single, “Jabulani MC” also titled “African Rap” was a solid lyrical track that reintroduced the element to South Africans and cemented Senyaka’s role as the country’s first rapper. His debut album, due to its grand fusion of rap, pop, and house, immediately laid the foundation for the Kwaito music genre where he is also recognized as the “Godfather of Kwaito.”
Kwanza Unit – Tanzania
One of the greatest examples of hip-hop nationalism in Africa takes place on the eastern coast of the continent in Tanzania. Inspired by the construct of Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation, founded in 1993, Kwanza Unit was a grand posse who took on their ethnic value with a strive for unity and ultimately became the first supergroup in Tanzania. With most of their songs performed in the Swahili language, the emcees of Kwanza Unit rapped about matters that are relevant to the Tanzanian community such as oppression, police brutality, and corruption. The collective’s main goal was to create an ethnic hip-hop nation within Tanzania, known as Kwanzanianz, where they incorporated their own ideals. The group is fundamentally made up of three groups, Villain Gangsters, Raiders Posse, and Tribe-X.
Bataka Squad – Uganda
If there is any place in Africa where profound rap was prevalent, it is certainly in Uganda thanks to the Bataka Squad. Formed in 1994 featuring members MoMo MC, Krazie Native, Shillingz and Babaluku, the Bataka Squad is credited with being Uganda’s first prime time hip-hop group along with the birth of the Lugaflow rap style. Lugaflow is the genre name for Ugandan hip-hop as it comprises the use of several of the country’s native tongues such as Luganda. Bataka recorded their first single, “Atooba,” which did not get airplay on the radio until two years after its release. Their contently promotes praise of Ugandan culture, traditions, and customs, ultimately teaching the youth how to maneuver about an unamenable society.
Hip-hop culture took precious time to lay a lasting foundation in several African countries. Noticeably, hip-hop has touched most of these countries in the early ’90s, with most of the artists releasing their debut albums towards the middle to late ’90s. Even though some of the early recordings have been lost in their history, the people who were around for these moments recall the vigor of their classic sounds. Overall, western hip-hop culture has inspired the motherland continent to take on the music industry as a straight-up multi-billion dollar enterprise today.
Photos hit the internet today showing images of Jay-Z and Beyonce sitting down during the National Anthem at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Former 49ers QB and civil activist Colin Kaepernick weighed in on what is now seen as a rebellious move on Instagram, calling out Hip Hop’s first family.
Kaepernick posted a screenshot of the TMZ post on his story that featured a headline talking about Jay and Bey not standing during the anthem.
Controversial comedian Dave Chappelle has taken a side in the political arena by publicly endorsing Andrew Yang for the Democratic Presidential candidate in the 2020 election.
Yang recently qualified for the ABC News Democratic Debate, slated for February 10, prompting Chapelle to join him on the campaign trail. Their first stop was Ames, Iowa where the funny man expounded on his support for Yang.
“You know you hear people talk about ‘Make America Great Again,’” he said. “How about Make America Feel Better Again? And I think his platform handles a lot of the emotional content of what being an American is like.” He went on to say, “I like the idea of giving people choices, putting money in their hands and giving them the choice. They would consider things that aren’t even an option to consider now. And that part of his platform I found incredibly exciting.”
Chappelle will be campaigning with Yang in Iowa and South Carolina, where he will be performing on Wednesday and Thursday in Columbia.
In light of the tragic passing of NBA legend, Kobe Bryant, it is only right to look back at his career as a Hip-Hop artist. Born and raised in Philly, another Hip-Hop capital, despite spending 8 years of his childhood in Italy, Kobe fell in love with the art of rap. It was not a secret either.
As early as 1992, Kobe was a member of a rap group called CHEIZAW. CHEIZAW was formed during Kobe’s days as a student at Lower Merian High School in Philadelphia where he joined a couple of high school buddies to form a megatron Wu-like rap collective. According to Grantland, when Kobe came back to the United States at the age of 14, he was recruited by a young gentleman named Anthony Bannister, who worked at the local community center who Kobe’s father, Joe Bryant, was the fitness director.
The group’s name, CHEIZAW, is an acronym inspired by the Chi Sah gang from the kung fu movie, The Kid With the Golden Arm. Featuring members Broady Boy, Tréoz, Russell Howards, Akia Stone, Jester, and Sai Bey, who were all for the most rap underground battle like rappers, Kobe, a varsity playing freshman was their lyrical poet who brought on the balance.
Words, from the duo Punch and Words, recalled his impression on the late Lakers icon with Grantland when he battled against CHEIZAW saying it was obvious he was inspired by Canibus.
” “You could tell he was influenced by Canibus,” said Words. “Kobe had a quality of lyrics. When he got into the cipher, you didn’t look at him as just Kobe. You looked at him as a dude that could rhyme and if you sleep on him, you could get embarrassed.”
In 1999, just 3 years after Kobe was drafted to the NBA, CHEIZAW was signed to Sony Entertainment by Steve Stoute and Trackmasters and the label actually pushed for Kobe’s solo career. In a recent interview with The Breakfast Club, Stoute talked about his role in burgeoning Kobe’s solo rap career.
“As a rookie, I met him and he wanted to put out an album. He was actually a part of a group and I signed the group over at Columbia. Trackmasters, we signed them. We were just coming off of LL Cool J and Will Smith. We thought we can make this thing work,” said Stoute.
With the Mamba mentality always in motion, Kobe wanted to master the craft of hip-hop’s rap element. According to Stoute, Kobe spent quality time with Nas and Foxy Brown to gain insight.
“He stayed in New York. He spent a lot of time with Nas and Foxy really trying to acclimate himself to what he was going to do as an artist. To learn.”
Kobe was on the verge of releasing his debut album, Visions in 2000. However, due to creative differences, as Kobe preferred to emulate lyrical rap as opposed to the pop star rap the label attempted to lure the basketball phenomenon to pursue. The album ended up being shelved and Bryant was dropped from Sony Entertainment.
However, he did make a couple of memorable tracks along with some huge features. Reigning from his postponed debut was the posse embedded “Thug Poet” featuring Broady Boy, Nas, and 50 Cent and the self-titled “Kobe” featuring Tyra Banks. He also made a tuneful guest feature on the Trackmasters remix of Brian McKnight’s “Hold Me” and also made noise on a remix to Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name.”
One of his most memorable moments in rap is his feature on fellow Lakers baller, Shaquille O’Neal’s Clark Kent produced”3X’s Dope” which is featured on Shaq’s fourth solo album, Respect.
For an elite basketball player, Kobe had a pretty ample career. Hip-hop was a culture he respected and it even influenced his signature Mamba mentality. He admired the revolutionary component of hip-hop, where lyrics were used to combat realistic matters along with the toss of battle. The art of picking and choosing your battles wisely is one thing Kobe and Hip-Hop had in common.
“I never knew murderers confessed in stereo or on video…” – Jeru The Damaja “Ya Playin Yaself”
a 21 year old rapper from Indianapolis has been hit with a 180 year prison sentence after being convicted on robbery and murder charges stemming from a 2017 triple homicide.
Troy Ward, who goes by the name T-Ward, was convicted after the prosecution offered up cellphone records and a freestyle of T-Ward over 2 Chainz’ “I’m Different” instrumental.
The song mentioned swimming trunks, which one of the victims was wearing when he was shot. The prosecution said, “that song is pretty consistent with the facts of the case. We pretty much broke it down lyric by lyric.”
Arizona Police reportedly nabbed the graffiti artist known as “PENIS MAN” last weekend after a SWAT team raid jammed him up in Phoenix.
Tempe Police say that 38 year old Dustin Shomer is the man behind the lewd nom de plume, responsible for bombing municipal buildings, the Arizona State dorms and the famous “A” above the campus.
Last weekend, Shomer was charged with 16 counts of aggravated criminal damage, 8 counts of criminal damage and 1 count of criminal trespassing stemming from activity that allegedly began in November.
25 bulletproof-clad SWAT officers raided Shomer’s Tempe apartment. He has reportedly told authorities that he is not the original “PENIS MAN” and he’s only one of several copycats of the infamous artist.
After escaping the legal woes of last year’s bar brawl and defeating Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246, you’d think that Irish fighting great Conor McGregor would want to celebrate his recent victories in peace. Instead, McGregor has been making political statements and has even referred to President Trump as one of the United States’ best presidents ever.
Trump sent out a tweet in reference to his inaugural anniversary, which happened to fall on MLK Day this year, so the troubled president took that opportunity to pat himself on the back for African Americans’ lowest unemployment rate in the history of this country, according to him.
Only one boxer has ever made sensible political statements and McGregor is obviously no Muhammad Ali. Stick to the octagon, Conor.