Yes Obama IS American!

Barack Obama was never going to have an easy journey as President of the United States; there has been much speculation from an increasingly vocal number of  so-called ‘birthers,’ who argue that Obama was not born in the USA and is therefore not eligible to run the country.

Health Director Dr. Chiyome Fukimo released a statement, explaining “I have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

State officials in Hawaii are hoping the statement will quieten both this outspoken minority and the media interest in the rumour. So for anyone who still doubts Obama’s nationality, yes he IS American; can we all move on now and deal with some actual issues?


Video: Fox News 

Chris Brown & Rihanna Back Together (AGAIN)?

I’ve just (unofficially) received word that even a court order can’t keep the volatile pair apart! The former couple split earlier this year after Brown violently beat Rihanna during an arguement that escalated. According to paps at the New York Post, Chris Brown and Rihanna spent this weekend in NYC’s Trump International Hotel.  They were quick to give up this information and yet interestingly have no photos of the ‘couple.’

Whether or not they are back together, as unadvisable as that may be, both Brown and Rihanna are adults and should surely be left to their own devices. Let’s just hope for their sake, if it is true, that some serious lessons have been learned before it is too late.

Please note that this ‘newsflash’ is yet to be confirmed…and yes, you do detect a hint of skeptism.



Jamie Who? Drake & Kanye West Take Over ‘Digital Girl’

‘Digital Girl’ is the fouth single from Jamie Foxx’s ‘Intuition’ album. It is not Foxx, however, that makes this track stand out to the hip hop community, rather the features by Drake and Kanye West.

Drake fever seems to have really set in leading up to the fourth quarter of 2009. Having inked a deal with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment, the Canadian rapper is set to release his first studio album ‘Thank Me Later’ this winter. Drake mixtape ‘So Far Gone,’ which spawned several singles, has only increased the buzz surrounding his highly-anticipated debut album. Whilst it could be argued that his performance on this track wasn’t exactly outstanding, especially when compared with West, it demonstrates the young rapper’s industry presence and gives an insight into where the industry is heading.

Kanye West, on the other hand, provides the highlight to this single. Infamously unpredictable when it comes to musical styles, West seems to be enjoying his return to rapping. Although this single is hardly ‘Ye at his best, I would consider it a warm up. With several high profile collaborations and a number of other projects, the next chapter of the Kanye West story is unlikely to disappoint.


Video: OfficialNewHipHop

Bless Beats – ‘The Rain’ ft. Charlie Brown & Wiley

I had this single through the post to take a listen to, courtesy of the lovely people at Stoked PR. Bless, the man behind Wiley’s grime smash ‘Wearing My Rolex,’ is one of the hottest grime producers around. ‘The Rain’ is the first single from his forthcoming debut album ‘My Interpretation’ and features smooth vocals from Charlie Brown and lyrics from Wiley.

This unique blend of grime and r&b really caught my attention, I loved the juxtaposition of the silky hook  and conventional grime verse. Elements of both genres are immediately apparent when listening to this track, which demonstrates Bless Beats’ versatility and innovation. I for one am looking forward to hearing a lot more from Bless in future. Grime best kept secret? Not anymore!

‘The Rain’ is scheduled for release on 23rd August.


Video: BlessBeatsUK

Jay-Z’s Third Blueprint for Brilliance?

There has been much anticipation surrounding the forthcoming Jay-Z album ‘Blueprint 3.’ For many fans that felt ‘Kingdom Come’ was a disappointment, this project marks the return of the passion and hunger that was once characteristic of the hip hop star.

Following the buzz surrounding ‘D.O.A,’ and The Game’s attempts to draw Jigga into a war of words, the already high-profile rapper has become a hot topic in the media. The latest glimpse at his latest project, ‘Run This Town’ featuring Kanye West and Rihanna, has only increased the anticipation for the project further. Not only does the single prepare for the return for Jay-Z but also serves as a return to rapping for West and a return to the limelight for R&B songstress Rihanna.

Although it could be argued that Jay was outperformed by Kanye on this record, ‘Run This Town’ looks set to intensify the ever-increasing desire for the album, which is due to drop on September 11th 2009.


Video: Rap Radar

Seeing Ghosts?

The Rise of the Ghostwriter

‘Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write cheques;’ hip hop giant Diddy once famously described the benefit if using ghostwriters, such as Jadakiss, in his classic track ‘Bad Boy for Life.’  The music mogul is not alone in this practice, which was once frowned upon in the hip hop community; Brooklyn MC Dustorm began his career writing tracks for the late ODB, The D.O.C famously wrote for Dr Dre, whilst in more recent years Snoop Dogg admitted to using ghostwriters on his last album ‘Ego Tripping.’  The legendary Long Beach MC explained that ghostwriting was merely another way to introduce creative variety into a project.

The use of ghostwriters is fast-becoming accepted, even encouraged, in the urban music industry, as is evident by the success of R&B superstar Ne-Yo.  When the artist released his first solo effort ‘In My Own Words’ in 2006, it soon reached platinum status, selling over 4 million copies worldwide; Ne-Yo’s style was a source of déjà-vu for many, perhaps as the singer-songwriter had already penned a number of R&B hits, including Mario’s ballad ‘Let Me Love You’ and Beyoncé’s  smash ‘Irreplaceable.’  The lyricist is currently working on songs for a number of high-profile artists, such as Usher, Ciara, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Leona Lewis and Chris Brown.

Another ghost, who has been resurrected in the public eye, is R&B signer/songwriter The Dream, who wrote Rihanna’s hit single ‘Umbrella.’ After the success of the track, which was actually initially offered to Britney Spears amongst others, The Dream was signed to Def Jam and has enjoyed reasonable success due to a number of high-profile collaborations. Also behind a number of significant R&B hits, including J Holiday’s ‘Bed,’ Mary J Blige’s ‘Just Fine’ and Usher’s ‘Moving Mountains,’ The Dream has recently written for the likes of Diddy, Brandy, Ciara and Mariah Carey.

Many young urban artists could benefit from both ghostwriting or ‘vocal arrangement,’ which provides an opportunity to gain experience and perfect their style of writing, and ghostwriters, who can add diversity and new directions to a project.  With the practice and its benefits becoming more-widely acknowledged in the industry, hopefully we will be seeing more ghosts stepping out from the shadows in the future of urban music.

© Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)

Video: Ne-Yo sings ‘Irreplacable,’ which he wrote for Beyonce.


Video: The Dream’s Demo Version of ‘Umbrella’

Jordan Crawford’s Dunk on LeBron James Leaked

Despite the best efforts of NBA MVP LeBron James and his sponsors Nike, video footage of the 6ft 4 Xavier guard dunking on the Cleveland superstar has been leaked online. The video is the latest in a series of embarassments for James, after losing to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals and accusations of poor sportsmanship following the defeat.

ESPN recently spoke to Jordan Crawford, who respectfully downplayed his achievement and spoke highly of LeBron James throughout the interview.

Video: ESPN


The speculation about the alleged attempt to censor the dunk has been far more harmful to James than the dunk itself, therefore perhaps LeBron would have been better to take the dunk in a light-hearted manner and allow Crawford his 15 minutes of fame.


50 Cent Forever King Review

You have to hand it to 50 Cent; if nothing else, the man knows how to read the market. People have maintained that hip hop hasn’t been quite the same since the 1990s, so the hip hop heavyweight decided to take it back to the glory days with a number of nostalgic nineties samples on his latest mixtape.

Highlights of ‘Forever King’ include ‘Dreaming,’ which samples Christopher Williams’ 1992 hit ‘Dreamin’ from the iconic film ‘New Jack City’ and the beautifully smooth street joint ‘Get The Money.’ Moreover, the surprisingly witty lyrics of ‘Funny How Time Flies,’ provide another good reason to listen to the mixtape.

Dedicated to Michael Jackson, ‘Forever King’ marks a return to the hunger, grit and passion that Fiddy lost when he inked that Interscope deal. Granted 50 could do with fine-tuning his flow and stepping his lyrical game up a notch, but the mixtape is well worth a listen and has raised the bar when it comes to expectations for ‘Before I Self-Destruct.’

© 2009 Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)



Flo Rida Interview Teaser

Interview: Han ‘Info.’ O’Connor

Stepping onto the stage armed with a guitar and his signature shades, Tramar Dillard looks every inch the superstar. Towering above the crowd, he radiates the energy and charisma of a seasoned performer; it is hard to imagine that the Florida native was only thrust into the international spotlight with the success of his hit single ‘Low’ just two years ago. Although watching the captivated crowd hang onto his every word, it is becomes immediately clear why Flo Rida is rapidly becoming one of the biggest names in the urban music world.

In spite of his confident stage persona and huge success in the past couple of years, when talking to Flo for any length of time, his humble attitude can’t help but shine through. He prefers to look at his international fame as an opportunity to go “around the world and put smiles on all [his] fans’ faces.” Completely musically inclined, he is quick to relate his experiences abroad and his musical journey to his creative process. “Being able to travel internationally just takes my mind to a whole other level; just doing mixtapes and things like that definitely gives you ammo for the albums. I listened back to my first album and compared them both, it shows that I definitely do my homework and have a passion for music.”

Often facing harsh criticism for the light-hearted content of his lyrics and his syrupy sweet hooks, many do not realise the amount of creative thought and skill that goes into producing a Flo Rida hit. A true scholar of hip hop keen to explore the art of sampling, Flo seems to have found the perfect formula for using samples to compliment his own talents, in essence taking hip hop back to its own roots. He explains, “It’s not really just me sampling the music; it’s the combination of me and the music.” Having used samples from artists as diverse as Eiffel 65 and Dead or Alive on his sophomore album ‘R.O.O.T.S.,’ Flo maintains that “It just shows the versatility, it shows that you are trying to broaden your horizons.” After all, it is quite an achievement to be able to “take something that’s already hot and make it a number 1 record.”

Look out for the full interview, coming soon to Street Cred Magazine. Flo Rida continues to discuss his newest projects, plans with Beyoncé and the best methods of contacting him direct.

© Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)


Flo Rida-R.O.O.T.S [Front]

Marc Anthony Joins The Miami Dolphins

Grammy award-winning Latin singer Marc Anthony, who is married to Jennifer Lopez, has become a part-owner of the NFL team, the Miami Dolphins. The singer is no stranger to sports, having grown up ‘in a sports family.’ Interestingly, Anthony’s godfather Jim Fassel was actually head coach for the New York Giants.

According to a poll on the Dolphins official website, the fans feel that the best aspect of Anthony’s interest in the team will be possible appearances by his wife at Land Shark Stadium on game days. The Dolphins are no stranger to celebrity interest, already boasting part-ownership from Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio. The team’s owner Stephen M. Ross spoke on the importance of the latest addition to the Dolphins franchise:

“The Miami Dolphins, I want them to really represent the community itself and I think having Marc and Emilio and Gloria as part of that is important in showing the community that this team is about them. We want to involve them in the community, and I think they’re great representatives of the Latin community and there will be a few more people that will join them. But I think it’s all about working together because we recognize the importance of this team to the community and I think all of them having ownership in the team is an important way of showing that.”

Anthony explained in a press conference that his interest in Miami was sparked by the impact of Dolphins players Dan Marino and Don Shula ‘on American culture.’ The singer is due to perform the national anthem before the Dolphins-Jets game at the Land Shark Stadium, although he explained that he intended on fulfilling a far greater role within the franchise than merely performing at games.

© Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)


Video: AP