Rapper, producer, label owner, concert promoter and Founder of The Alumni, Kwamé Holland is one of the hardest working rappers from the Golden Era. He is recently took a break from touring and producing hit records for R&B artists and made waves with a revelation about his former boss, Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor’s nose for sniffing out legends.
On The Soren Baker Show while talking about his career, he dropped a little gem the is sure to knock anyone who loved 80s Hip-Hop to the ground.
The first gem was about how his debut album, The Boy Genius, got made.
Though he grew up with Hurby Luv Bug, he was taking too long to produce a demo for the then teenaged Kwamé. Upon referral from a mutual friend, he went to a spot called The Music Building and cut his first joint. He produced a song entitled, “She’s Not Just Another Woman.” No one liked this song. He went back to the drawing board. The day was Christmas morning… and that’s how hit songs like “The Rhythm” and “The Mic is Mine” on that magical night. Six of the eight songs on that debut album was made in that 8 hour session. Kwamé shares the songs with Hurby and Sylvia Robinson (of Sugar Hill Records Fame). Hurby is not responding face enough, and so Robinson offers him a recording contract based off the demo. At the same time, his dad slipped the demo to Sony and they had an interest. This is exciting and upon returning back to Hurby, he finds out that the reason Hurby did not respond as quickly is because he was shopping it to a gang of labels and they were interested. Warner Bros., Atlantic and Epic records were presented by his neighborhood friend. He had a bidding war for the young gent. He wound up signing with another Sylvia… The Sylvia in the business… Sylvia Rhone.
The second gem is why he did not use vulgar language. Mostly for Kwamé, he never wanted to disrespect his Islamic faith or say/do something that would embarrass people that he cared about. He talks about his struggle to be authentic to who he saw himself, and what the crew wanted him to be. Just think about the polka-dots. He was 16, and had a few choice pieces to rock. He inter-swapped three pieces that he had, but some how created a movement. He could not spend money that he did not have.
The biggest gem that he dropped was about two of the dopest rappers of all time. Hurby apparently beat into his head that lyrical rappers would never work in Hip-Hop. The producer had his eyes on the bigger pie in the music industry, and was very much into making a cross-over rap record.
“He would say ‘Kane will never go anywhere. Rakim will never go anywhere. The people I was loving and the people I wanted to be on par with, he was just like it is not going to work. There are a million lyrical tough guys out here. You got to be ‘this,’ the light hearted high school kid that likes to have fun and chase girl.’”
But Kwamé again struggled to challenge his mentor. He understood in his heart that the artists who lasted forever focused more on artistry than gimmicks.
“On one end of the spectrum, you have Hurby saying ‘We got to go pop, we got to go pop’” Kwamé reflects. Then he continues “And then on the other end of the spectrum, I don’t want to be forgotten.”
Kwamé also gave props to people like Slick Rick, LL Cool J, KRS1 and Big Daddy Kane for not only being some of the top rappers of his time, but also for their production skills.
In the 80s and 90s, Philly was known for producing some of the top DJs in the culture. DJs like Cash Money, Miz and Jazzy Jeff set a standard that put “The City of Brotherly Love” on the map. If you were looking for a technician on the wheels of steel, you knew what city on the East Coast had them. Then the millennium rolled around, and Philly started to be known for something different. People started to finally zone in on the plethora of dope emcees being bred on those cheesesteaks, water ice and Frank’s sodas.
Roc-a-fella were one of the first to put a spotlight on these local rappers.
When they cultivated a crop of young lyricists, later known to the world as State Property, the Hip-Hop world took note. A movie, a clothing line and a new way of thinking and rhyme-flipping distinguished Philly from the pack of newbies cracking open the 2000s. A North Philly rapper by the name of Freeway was one of this crew’s top gunners.
Roc-a-fella was not alone.
Another Hip-Hop empire out of New York, Ruff Ryders, also identified Illadelphia as an incubator for rap music gold. They tapped a sexy shorty doo wop to be the darling of their crew named Eve. Eve came to the table, the pitbull in a dress, and did what few femcees have ever done at the time: She crossed over. But she also did that with the support of a whole team behind her. Features galore, she merged glamour and bars each time she took the mic. But there also was another: Cassidy.
The year was 2001 and Roc-A-Fella was on top of the world. The year prior, The Roc dropped Beanie Sigel’s classic The Truth, Memphis Bleek’s The Understanding, a compilation record with DJ Clue? and an album with Amil. 2000 proved to be a bankable year for The Roc, particularly with JAY-Z leading the pack with record that introduced State Property to the world, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. This set up 2001 for an especially amazing year.
Clue? dropped another record. As did Beans… and history will reflect that JAY-Z solidified himself as an icon by releasing The Blueprint (let that breathe) and a live record with the illy Philly band, The Roots entitled JAY-Z: Unplugged. Needless to say Jay and Dame were stunting all over the place. And everyone wanted them… especially Hot 97’s number one radio DJ and tastemaker, Funkmaster Flex.
With an exclusive invitation up, The Roc took over the Flex show and one of the stars of the night was Philly Freeway. For almost 45 minutes, Freeway and his crew lit up the airwaves with bars after bars after bars. He killed it. But that might have bit him in the butt in the end.
The energy around this night and the work that everyone knew was coming just a few months later, had JAY-Z on the phone (according to Freeway) stunting on Swizz Beatz.
While Freeway does not remember what was said, he did know that after that night they went back to the Bassline Studio for a quick moment to recoup. But shortly afterwards, he was whisked to another studio for another session. JAY-Z was like “Let’s go!”
“That was how it was back then. At any time, you would be called to battle. You had to be prepared to rap at any second. It didn’t matter where or who.”
When he walked in the room, he didn’t know Cassidy by face. But he “knew his name.”
“We knew who each other were. I knew him because he had a name for himself. He would call up Power 99, the radio station in Philly, and he would win all the freestyle contest on the air. There wasn’t social media like it is now and so, I didn’t know what he looked like. But I knew his name.”
Freeway and Beans had been battling all over the city. So it was likely that Cassidy, who is younger, would have know about them also. In fact they duo built them chemistry organically on the Philly battle circuit. Their first battle together was at a local teen club promoted by Philly legend Bobby Dance called “Dances.”
“I was in the crowd and was like let me rock with you. We been cool every since.”
But Cass and Free seemed to be on the opposite parts of each other’s world. Cass was at Central High School (one of the top schools in the city) and Free was in the cut. Without social media and acute geographical and neighborhood bias, their circles would not have met up.
“I believe the boah was from somewhere Uptown and I am from North Philly.”
Back to the studio… From The Roc, Beans, Chris and Freeway were repping. JAY picked Free.
And thus the history was made.
First Round:Cassidy rapped for a little over 1 minute. Freeway did almost 2.5 minutes.
Second Round:Cassidy rapped for a little over 2 minutes. Freeway did a little over 1 minute.
Third Round:Cassidy rapped for a little over 1 minute. Freeway did a little under 2 minutes.
Forth Round:Cassidy rapped for 1 minute. Freeway did a little under 2 minutes.
Fifth Round:Cassidy rapped for a little over 1 minute. Freeway did 2 minutes.
Sixth Round:Cassidy rapped for almost 2 minutes and the battle ended with Freeway asking for a beat to drop.
Freeway without doing a 6th round, rapped 52% of the battle. To that point, some of his rhymes were from the early freestyle on the radio.
“I don’t want to sound like I am making an excuse, but I had been rapping all day. I don’t know what he was doing. After a while, I just went into my bag.”
Had he not been on Flex earlier, he would have probably had the rhymes in tow to go longer. Not only that, you can see there was a different mind frame that Freeway was in during this season. He was not focusing on battling, but more focused at the time being prepared for the freestyling that lead to a check. Also stylistically, they were different.
“Cassidy had more punchlines and personal disses. As a rapper, I speak more personal, dealing with my reality and truth.”
It is true. As you watch the battle, Cassidy has a style most similar to battlers that break down and comes at their competition like a Lux, Mook, dare we say Goodz. Cassidy for all practical purposes is an opponent driven rapper, a style that is great for this current incarnation of battlers. Freeway, on the other hand had content that look at the complexity of urban life like a Shotgun Suge, Chess or T-Top.
The vibe was intense that night, but what could be said was a victory for the hometown is that these two Philly rappers were the leading snipers for these big New York based rap crews. Paving the way for others like Meek Mill to take his place in the landscape of Hip-Hop elite… and for people like Troy “Smack” White.
“Cassidy says that he basically started Battle Rap. I mean, then I can say that too. Smack and I have been friends forever and I freestyled and rhymed for him back in the day. Smack was every where getting every body rapping.”
“What they are doing now in the Battle Rap is incredible! I follow it.”
Some of the artists that Freeway actually likes may blow your mind. As a follower, of course, he loves those who are typically on people’s Mt. Rushmore like Murda Mook, Lux, Hollow Da Don and Arsonal. But he also has a great appreciation for new stars like Geechi Gotti, Ave, Nu Jerzey Twork, Rum Nitty and T-Top. He not only is a fan, but friends with Brizz Rawsteen and Shotgun Suge. Two others that he keeps his eye on are John John Da Don and Tay Roc.
“I might come down if my schedule allows. I got a few shows around that time. If I can’t make it, I don’t have a problem buying the pay-per-view.”
Everyone is excited about the upcoming battle against Philly’s own Cassidy and the Bronx born Goodz on URL in a few weeks. With the card, Resolution, everyone is curious to see if Cassidy can compete with one of the modern eras most formidable opponents.
While the question is out there… Cass has put in enough work to walk him right up to the top stage, with one of their top gunners.
Homie has been smoking dudes on the mic for over 20 years. Anyone who is anyone in Philly’s rap scene is familiar with the lyrical dexterity of Cass, and no one can front on how dope he is as an emcee. Check out a video from Back2BasicsRealRapsTV, of Cassidy explain how he got on.
Also check him out as a buck, sick with the flows showing folk just why many believe that he “been” battle rap’s The G.O.A.T.
Well some people believe that. Clearly, Gilly aka The King Of Philly, didn’t agree (and you know when Gilly speaks… folk listen).
But none of these freestyles, his alleged 5001 victories in battle nor his street life scars- are what people reference when they talk about him as one of the originators of this current incarnation of battle rap. They look to the battle with former Roc-A-fella rhyme spitter Freeway, a contest that legend of Cass rest squarely on.
Back in the day, congregated in a studio, one of the most epic battles amongst commercial rappers not only took place but was captured on video.
Though the footage is grainy, the bars are preserved and presented by two of Philly’s greatest Hip-Hop voices.
In the footage you hear a young Freeway, with his high pitched and sliding scare vocals, spitting some of his most hard-hitting bars. Not to be outmatched, Cassidy brings the charm, clever word play and yes machismo to the field of combat. The overall consensus is that Cass won. His win was based more on the fact that Freeway seems to have ran out of rhymes in the footage, than just the idea that he saturated the atmosphere with superior rhymes. Both emcees where ripe with flows and bars. No one can deny that from the gate when Freeways starts his first round with, “You ain’t f*ing with Free for two reasons: my two kids, my two mouths to fee…” that Cass was not just dealing with any old emcee. This rhyme-fest showcase why the ferocious Philly spit-kicker was so attractive to at the time, the number one crew in rap. However, the rules of the game differed about 15 years ago. Of course your pen had to be nice, but you also had to write like your life depended on it (and have a stash for a “just in case” scenario).
Check out for yourself.
Interesting enough, Cassidy battled (and beat) West Coast rapper, Dizaster a few years ago. And while Diz is one of this generation of battlers faves, lyrically, that battle could not hold up against Cassidy vs. Freeway. Bar-for-Bar both Philly emcees hold a mountain-like weight in the culture that can’t be moved or destroyed.
But on the Resolution card, Goodz will surely try. With only 23 battles under his belt, few can say that they have beat him on stage. Sure you have those two disqualifications… and a few one offs where he joked the entire rounds… but no league owner or fan can say that Goodz is not worth the hefty purse that he requires to hold that glass of Henny and style on these n*ggaz. In fact, even Tay Roc felt the “Goodz Effect” last year when the two battled in Houston. This was the first time that “The Face of URL” and crowd favorite had ever been booed. Cass simply can’t sleep on Goodz. He is known to make people believers.
The sold out Resolution is set for April 27th in Atlanta. Other battles are Tay Roc vs. K-Shine, Nu Jerzey Twork vs. John John Da Don, Rum Nitty vs. T-Top, Shotgun Sure vs. Chef Trez and Yung Ill vs. Brizz Rawsteen. The card will be available on Watchbattlelive.com.
Yesterday, tickets for Nipsey Hussle’s memorial service hit the net and didn’t last twenty minutes before they were gone, unfortunately, some who were able to secure seats were looking for a quick buck on Craigslist. Those listings have now been shut down by the online service.
Tickets for Nipsey’s homegoing celebration were priced as high as $500, but TMZ details were quickly shut down.
Tickets were originally distributed by AXS and were required to have a California zip code for getting the free tickets, however, everyone in the California area was not able to receive tickets. Online messages expressed the anger at those who are looking to make a profit off of the celebration of life.
Nipsey’s celebration will take over the Los Angeles area on Thursday as he will take a “Victory Lap” around Los Angeles on the way to the Staples Center as he will take one last ride through the neighborhoods he supported. The procession will cover 25 miles leading up to Staples.
Get ready for a lyrical onslaught that’s become rare in the age of mumble rap and Hip-Pop as Curren$y, Trademark Da Skydiver & Young Roddy link up to drop bars like a clumsy Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
On their newest cut “No Hook” the members of the Jet Life clique reunite to bring a much-needed injection of lyricism into a game that’s filled with fluff and repetitive content.
Though we’re not sure if this is an indication that a new full-length Jet Life crew project is in the works, we’ll take what we can get an like it.
Check out “No Hook” below and let us know if this will be getting burn in your personal rotation for the weekend.
This coming Saturday (March 30th) the NAACP will honor Jay-Z at the 50th Image Awards.
The iconic MC and music mogul will receive the 2019 NAACP President’s Award, which is given “in recognition of a special achievement and distinguished public service,” a press release said. Past recipients include Danny Glover, Spike Lee, Lauryn Hill, Ella Fitzgerald, John Legend, and others.
Since its inception, the annual NAACP Image Awards have celebrated “people of color in the arts” and those who “promote social justice through creative endeavors,” according to the civil rights organization.
The oldest civil rights organization in American took to Twitter to announce that they will be honoring “The Story of O.J.” rapper. ANNOUNCEMENT: Mogul and culture icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter will receive the prestigious President’s Award during the #ImageAwards50. The President’s Award is presented in recognition of a special achievement and distinguished public service. Tune in live on @tvonetv 9/8c #HOV
ANNOUNCEMENT: Mogul and culture icon Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter will receive the prestigious President’s Award during the #ImageAwards50. The President’s Award is presented in recognition of a special achievement and distinguished public service. Tune in live on @tvonetv 9/8c #HOVpic.twitter.com/eXiWYwKxOa
Jay-Z, whose classic album “The Blueprint” was recently added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry earlier this month, is being recognized by the NAACP for his social justice work. He formed the Reform Alliance with Meek Mill to address prison reform. He co-produced the 2017 docuseries “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” which chronicles the story of Kalief Browder, who spent three years as a teenager in solitary confinement in New York’s Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. He also was behind the docuseries Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story. He recently helped rapper 21 Savage with legal representation when he was detained by ICE.
Explaining the reasoning behind choosing Jay-Z for the prestigious award, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said, “Shawn Carter has been committed to shedding light on the issues that plague the black community including systematic racism and unjust treatment under the law, utilizing his global platform to create everlasting change. There is no better time than now, as we celebrate our 50th year, to honor him with this award.”
The Image Awards, hosted by Anthony Anderson, will telecast live at 9 p.m. Eastern Time from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Billboard is now the target of intense criticism for removing Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” from the Hot Country Songs Chart. The track “Old Town Road,” was released in December 2018 and grew in popularity because of social media memes and the music app TikTok. Since the songs official release, it also charted on the Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. As the song grew in popularity, it debuted on the Hot Country Songs chart at no. 19
According to Rolling Stone, Billboard told Lil Nas’s label Columbia Records, “his inclusion on the ranking was a mistake.” Because of Billboard’s stance, social media has been in an uproar. Many are calling the removal of “Old Town Road,” an obvious case of racial discrimination.
Addressing the situation, Billboard replied in a statement to Rolling Stone:
“Upon further review, it was determined that ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X does not currently merit inclusion on Billboard‘s country charts. When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost is a musical composition. While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
Drake is making good on his promise to be a great co-parent. The 6 God’s baby mama, Sophie Brussaux, got the VIP treatment at the Paris stop of his Assassination Vacation tour.
The Internets spotted Brussaux getting her dance on during the show at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris. With drinks in hand, she was seen shaking the goods, per TMZ. By now it’s known Drizzy has a type, and she fits the bill.
Brussaux and Drake have a son, Adonis, who happened to be born on the same days as his dad. The discovery that the “God’s Plan” rapper didn’t exactly go to his plan thanks to Pusha T, but it is what it is. We still haven’t see a proper pic of the kid, but it seems that the Boy has him tatted on his arm.
We are currently in week 2 of the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal. While many have criticized Jordyn for “betrayal” as an extended member of the Kardashian family, some have taken her side. One of those people is Michael Rapaport. Rapaport took to social media to give Woods some advice.
“Bring ’em all down with you. Bury ’em all,” he said in his video. “Take ’em all f***in’ down with you because every single one of these people is trying to exploit you. Get your own show, get your own clothing line, start your own make-up line — I don’t know you’re into — f***ing’ toothbrushes, batteries, whatever the f**k you’re into, get it all. Get your own Red Table. Shut all of them of them down.”
“Whatever you did or didn’t do is not worth the kind of ridicule you’re getting so my advice to you is bury each and everyone one of them, one by one.”
Although is not direct to whom Woods should “bury”, it’s obvious that Rapaport is not a fan of the Kardashians.
We have heard everyone’s side of the story except Thompson’s. Woods sat down with Jada Pinkett-Smith on Red Table Talk aired on Friday, in where she confessed to only kissing Thompson. She also states that she had never been there, to begin with, and denies all allegations of sexual encounters with Thompson. Khloe initially called Woods a liar but has now included her baby daddy in the blame game of her family’s breakup.
Tristan is equally to blame but Tristan is the father of my child. Regardless of what he does to me I won’t do that to my daughter. He has been addressing this situation PRIVATELY. If Tristan were to lie publicly about what conspired,then yes I would address him publicly as well
What’s been harder & more painful is being hurt by someone so close to me. Someone whom I love & treat like a little sister. But Jordyn is not to be blamed for the breakup of my family. This was Tristan’s fault.